In full flower

TRAVEL SMARTS

Little spots of paradise all over the globe await garden lovers

January 07, 2001

Longing for spring already? Expo Garden Tours, a 13-year-old company specializing in tours of public and private gardens around the world, offers vacations in places where the flowers are in full bloom.

The company offers six- to 11-day trips that include visits to castles, mansions, cathedrals and museums. But the real attractions, of course, are the gardens: in Costa Rica, England, Scotland, Tuscany and Provence, among other locations.

Each trip includes accommodations, most meals, lectures, all admission fees and gratuities and ground transportation. About the only thing you have to do is arrange a flight. For more information, or to order a free catalog, call 800-448-2685 or go to www. expogardentours.com.

DOWN U.S. HISTORY'S PATHS

History America Tours, a travel company in partnership with the History Channel, offers trips that explore some of the country's most interesting and devastating events.

A featured tour is a cruise next month from New Orleans that will explore the making of the 1993 movie "Gettysburg" (which was based on the 1975 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Killer Angels"). The movie -- and the cruise -- focus on the climactic Civil War battle and its participants. The tour guide is Patrick Falci, the film's historical adviser.

Guests will spend seven nights aboard the Mississippi Queen luxury steamboat as it traverses area waterways and stops at sites used in the film -- including battlefields in Vicksburg, Miss., the plantation homes of St. Francisville, La., and Baton Rouge, La. Lectures, presentations and re-enactments round out the itinerary.

Other History America Tours itineraries examine John F. Kennedy's assassination, Custer's last stand and Billy the Kid's infamous exploits. For a complete listing, call 800-628-8542 or go online to www.historyamerica.com.

Planning a getaway to Virginia's foothills

Virginia's newly formed Foothills Tourism Partnership offers a guide to those interested in visiting the towns along the Appalachian Mountains. By calling 877-270-1315, you can get the free brochure listing what's happening around the region, including the names and numbers of antiques dealers, lodgings, outdoor recreation spots, wineries, historical sites and events information.

The new guide lacks some necessary details -- like addresses -- but the group's Web site (www.visitfoothills.org) provides links to many of the places listed. It also offers suggested itineraries. Don't rely on this as your only resource in planning a getaway to Virginia's foothills, but the guide is a good, concise directory you can slip in your pocket.

-- Tricia Bishop

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