Monday, October 7, 2013


 Map of "Islands of New England" tour, courtesy of Collette Vacations

I just came back from a three week trip to the East coast that left me practically giddy with excitement. No kidding! In fact, the only words that I can think of to describe it are: “awesome, cool, and wow!” And, the weather could not have been more perfect! It’s a good thing I called “my main man” Al Roker, weatherman on the Today Show, and requested great weather before I went. Boy, did he deliver! Thanks, Al!
(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

“Islands of New England” tour with Collette Vacations

The good times started before dawn on September 6th  when I flew out of San Diego to join the Collette Vacations’ “Islands of New England” tour. This is my second trip with Collette, however this time I went as “talent”, to be photographed and interviewed for future advertising promotions for Collette Vacations, as well as to experience one of their best tours and write about it. 
This is the "Face of Collette"? Get out!!

I spent a couple of hours every day with two videographers (Dan and Kevin), a photographer (Sadie) and Courtney, Art Director for the company. It was like traveling with my kids! Young and funny, they were a total delight to be with, besides being off the charts talented.

 Left to right, Dan, Kevin and Sadie. Thanks, Guys, for making my trip so memorable!

Courtney, Art Director for Collette Vacations and me somewhere in Cape Cod!

There was still plenty of time in between photo shoots for me to enjoy the sights and get to know the rest of the 50 plus people on the tour. Nearly half were from the same area in Louisiana and either knew each other or had known of one or more of their relatives. And boy, did they know how to have a good time! Their laughter and high spirits were infectious and before long, there was not a stranger on the bus. (They literally adopted "the kids", Dan, Kevin, Courtney and Sadie.) 

 This group never stopped laughing!

Yet, I have to give most of the credit for the enjoyment of this trip to two other people—one was Melanie, our Tour Director and Josef, our bus driver. These two have been working together for twenty years and were an outstanding team. I really can’t say enough about them, except to say that they do not consider what they do a job. I don’t think I’ve ever known people more dedicated to enjoying each moment of every day as much as these two, AND they made sure everyone else had a good time too. To my amusement they often reminded me of an old married couple as they occasionally bickered at each other in good humor, but there was no doubt of their sincere respect and liking for each other.

Melanie our Tour Director and Josef our Driver showing us a 20 pound meal
 in a shell while in Boston. Notice his "duck" tie! 
They made the trip more fun than a barrel of lobsters!!

Then it was on to Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia!

After the tour was over, Sadie drove me back to Boston where I stayed with friends I made last year on my “England, Scotland and Wales” tour. I couldn’t have asked for more gracious hosts than Pat and Bill. They not only invited me into their beautiful home, but took great care to show me many historic places that were practically in their backyard! I walked around Thoreau’s Walden Pond, visited Louisa May Alcott’s home, ate lunch at the oldest working inn in America, and stood on a field of a Revolutionary battle. I felt as if I would bump into George Washington’s ghost any minute, the past and present seeming to exist simultaneously on that famous ground.

The Wayside Inn, the oldest working Inn in America.

I then flew down to Columbia, Maryland where other friends from my “England, Scotland and Wales” trip, Chuck and Paula, treated me like a royal guest! They took me to see everything I wanted to see and more. We went to Washington DC, twice, drove into Virginia to see one of those “OK, I can die know” sites—Mt. Vernon. I even met the “General” and had a private tour of the house!! They also drove me to see Montpelier, Madison’s home, and Monticello, Jefferson’s home, all on my “must see” list.

Monticello, Jefferson's home in Virginia. Did I mention the weather was SPECTACULAR??

I am overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of all of these wonderful people: the good folks at Collette Vacations, Pat and Bill, and Chuck and Paula. I feel very blessed and honored to be a part of their lives. Thank you!!

See the Video of the trip!

**Next Time: The whole scoop on my ISLANDS OF NEW ENGLAND tour!
**Later: Exploring Colonial America...Stay tuned!

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