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March 18, 2011
Spring—a time for new beginnings and exciting news …
“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden.”
So wrote Ruth Stout, an American author best-known for her popular “no work” gardening books and techniques. As an avid gardener and flower-lover myself, I couldn’t agree with Ruth more—especially this year, since much of the country, including my beloved native New England, continues to experience one of the snowiest winters in recent memory. So as much as my family and I enjoy winter’s wonders, I’ve been daydreaming about a few of my favorite spring destinations as I look forward to the green season’s long-awaited return …
I’m sure many of you will agree that the Netherlands—or “Holland”—is the quintessential place to witness the full measure of spring’s blossoming beauty. After all, where else can you savor fields of richly hued tulips and other colorful perennials stretching across the horizon, while pedaling leisurely along a lazy canal? Another seasonal highlight in this stunning country is most definitely a visit to the renowned Keukenhof Flower Park in Lisse, Holland—which, at 70 acres, is the world’s largest flower garden. Because the park’s expert gardeners vary the thousands of plantings and garden designs annually, it’s likely to look different on every visit.
Speaking of gardens (as I have in past journal entries)—come springtime, England and Ireland are two of my other dream destinations. In addition to London’s spectacular Memorial Gardens, I can’t say enough about the gardens at Chartwell—Winston Churchill’s former home in Kent. Meanwhile, whenever I’ve visited the Emerald Isle, the lush pastoral beauty is accented by wildflowers, while the simple homes (which are often painted in bright colors) in both rural and urban areas typically display well-tended gardens.
Not only will spring 2011 mark the much-anticipated return of flower-friendly weather throughout the world—as well as popular springtime events like Prague’s Easter Markets—but it’s a time for new beginnings at Grand Circle as well! In case you haven’t already heard the news, we’ve recently introduced the new Grand Circle, and I really couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store. That’s because, beginning with May 2011 departures, you’ll travel in smaller groups of just 32-38 travelers and enjoy personal wireless headsets on all included and optional tours (so you won’t miss a word); while we’ve enhanced our Grand Circle Land Tours with additional included sightseeing, meals, and free time. And what else is new in 2011? Thanks to feedback from travelers like you, we’re also bringing back three classic, discovery-filled vacations—in Costa Rica, Morocco, and Portugal and Spain.
Do you have any favorite springtime travel destinations or gardens? Or perhaps you’re looking forward to something special this coming spring? If so, I’d love to hear more about them. You can share your thoughts with others by posting your comments below this Journal entry, or you can email me directly at email@example.com.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be spotlighting our European River Cruises, including our newest trip along the Elbe River. If you've traveled on any of these exciting vacations with Grand Circle, or anywhere in Europe, please share your stories—and pictures—with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.