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2002 Garden Tours

California Wine Country Gardens | Vancouver/Victoria Gardens
English Country Gardens | Irish Gardens and Castles

We offer a variety of garden travel experiences for the avid gardener as well as the novice. The programs vary: day tours to the renowned English Gardens of Sissinghurst, Hidcote, and Great Dixter compliment fully escorted programs to England, France, and North American treasures at their seasonal best. Each program is created with the expertise of seasoned professionals and expert guides creating a travel experience that is personal, educational, and enriching. Custom itineraries are our specialty.

California Wine Country Gardens
June 4-9, 2002

A fully escorted tour of the California Wine Country with Alice Joyce, author of West Coast Gardenwalks and San Francisco Chronicle Garden writer. Tour highlights include two nights in San Francisco at the elegant Westin St. Francis, located on Union Square and three nights at The Lodge at Sonoma Hotel & Spa. You will visit spectacular gardens in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties, and travel to Filoli, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

This is a unique opportunity to travel in a small group with a personalized itinerary. The tour offers a world-class city experience combined with a restful spa in the heart of the wine country. You will meet with head gardeners from beautifully designed gardens, taste wine, luxuriate in a tranquil setting and enjoy meals prepared by renowned chefs. Together with the expert guidance of Armstrong & Hedges LTD you can be assured of an experience you will long remember.


Tuesday, June 4: Arrival in San Francisco at your leisure, the day is yours to explore the city and perhaps visit the Strybing Arboretum and the Japanese Tea Garden located in Golden Gate Park. We can suggest optional sightseeing, great bistros for lunch and of course shopping. You may check-in to the Westin St. Francis, your leisure. This evening enjoy a wonderful dinner with your traveling companions at a noted San Francisco restaurant.

Wednesday, June 5: After a lovely breakfast depart for the Peninsula and a visit to the garden at Sunset Publishing before proceeding to Filoli, a wonderfully preserved country estate. We have arranged for a private tour of Filoli's Georgian Revival mansion and spectacular gardens. Lunch will be enjoyed in the Quail's Nest. A late afternoon return to San Francisco. The evening is yours to choose from a fine restaurant, local theater or a Bay Cruise.

Thursday, June 6: This morning, bid farewell to San Francisco and venture across the Golden Gate Bridge, traveling north to Sonoma County. Our highlight garden today is Matanzas Creek Winery Estate Gardens. Matanzas Creek Winery is celebrated for the artistry of their terraced lavender field reminiscent of Provence. You will experience the lavender at its peak just before harvest. Enjoy lunch at the famed John Ash & Co. before proceeding to Sonoma and The Lodge at Sonoma Hotel & Spa. Enjoy the rest of the day end evening exploring the charming town of Sonoma or indulging yourself at the full service spa located right at the hotel.

Friday, June 7: Following a hearty wine country breakfast we travel north to Mendocino County, and the acclaimed five-acre Valley Oaks Garden at Fetzer Vineyards. Head gardener, Kate Frey will take us on a tour of Fetzers organic gardens; overflowing with ornamental displays of flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs. We will enjoy a lunch under the arbor made from local specialties. Our journey continues with a visit to Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery. Italianate elegance awaits, in this stunning setting distinguished by fountains, parterres and luxuriant floral displays. The afternoon continues with a visit to Healdsburg, a charming wine country town. You can taste wines from all over the valley, shop for antiques or visit the famed Oakville Grocery. Dinner this evening will be on your own. Select from the fine restaurants in Sonoma or enjoy a light meal by the fire at the hotel.

Saturday, June 8: The quest for gardens takes us to the Napa Valley. Gardener David Alosi presents a rare tour of Katie Trefethen's private garden at Trefethen Vineyards. An exclusive visit will give a glimpse of an acclaimed vista of Italian cypress trees standing sentry over an array of roses in the heart of the vineyards. The afternoon features lunch at Greystone, The Culinary Institue of America located in St. Helena. After our tasting menu lunch with wine we will attend a cooking demonstration in the famed kitches. You may explore the gardens and gourmet shop at your leisure. This evening a festive farewell dinner will be served in the Carneros Room at the hotel.

Sunday, June 9: After breakfast we will depart Sonoma for San Francisco and your return home with wine, flowers and great memories.

The tour includes: Five nights first class hotel, full breakfast daily, two dinners, four lunches, private transportation, all admissions private garden tours and wine tastings per itinerary, porterage of two pieces per person, escort throughout and all taxes and gratuities for included service.

Cost: $2195.00 per person double occupancy. Single supplement $625.00 additional. Travel insurance is recommended, cost $145.00.

Transportation to San Francisco is additional, contact our office if you need assistance. Spa services are not included. Group is limited to twenty (20) persons.

Please contact us for full itinerary and details.

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Gardens of Victoria and Vancouver
June 20-25, 2002

A fully escorted tour of Vancouver and Victoria with Michele Abrate, a frequent escort of tours for Victoria Magazine. Tour highlights include two nights in Vancouver at the beautiful Hotel le Soleil and three nights at the Hotel Grand Pacific overlooking the inner harbor in Victoria. You will visit spectacular gardens, enjoy tea at The Empress, and shop for fine British goods in exquisite shops and boutiques.

Your visit to Vancouver will include a complete city sightseeing tour with a private guide, visits to Stanley Park, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Gardens and a leisurely visit to Granville Island. Free time to enjoy live theater at more than 35 theaters, experience Bard on the Beach and wonderful international dining in this city of many cultures.

Travel to Vancouver Island and the City of Victoria will be by private coach and ferry. Enjoy tea at the world famous Empress Hotel, travel to Salt Spring Island for visits to many of the most spectacular private gardens in British Columbia, dine at The Hastings House and see a French lavender terrace in bloom. Experience the beauty of Butchart Gardens and Craigdarroch Castle while sampling the treats at Roger's Chocolates and Murchies on Government Street. A beautiful drive to Sooke Harbour Inn and a tour of the gardens before indulging in a gourmet lunch made from local specialties. We will be guided on vancouver Island by Joan Looy well known garden expert and tour guide. The grand farewell will be at Raven Hill Herb Farm, all in all a memorable experience for gardeners and lovers of nature eveywhere.

Included in the tour package:

  • Five nights superior first class hotels
  • Full brakfast daily
  • Welcome dinner and reception at Oritlaia
  • Afternoon tea at the Empress
  • Dinner at Camille's, Victoria
  • Lunch at Hastings House
  • Dinner at Butchart Gardens
  • Lunch at Sooke Harbour Inn
  • Farewell dinner at Raven Hill Herb Farm
  • Sightseeing and admissions to Butchart Gardens, Craigdarroch Castle, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens and all of the private gardens on Vancouver Island.
  • The services of private and local expert guides throughout
  • Deluxe motorcoach service entire tour
And many more surprises.

Tour cost $1895.00 per person double occupancy. The single supplement is $450.00 additional. Air travel to Vancouver is not included.

A complete brochure is available by mail. Valid passport required to travel to Canada.

Please contact us for full itinerary and details.

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English Country Gardens and Antiques
June 30-July 10, 2002

english country gardens - Avon A true gardeners delight to visit private cottage gardens in quaint villages and country towns along with a full day at the Hampton Court Flower Show. Your escort is Michael Smith, a Royal Horticultural Society lecturer and guide for more than thirty years. He apprenticed at Balmoral Castle; Michael is well known among our clients and gardeners the world over.

Your ten day journey will begin at London Heathrow on July 1 and continue along the country lanes to Lacock, Bradford-on-Avon, Bath, Stow-on-the-Wold, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Bibury and the small villages of Kent, the "Garden of England". Visits are planned at Barnsley House, home and garden of the late Rosemary Verey, Hidcote, Kiftsgate and Sissinghurst. There are several castles to visit including Hampton Court, Hever Castle, Sudeley Castle and Scotney in Kent. Each offers a distinct garden design and place in the history of Great Britain.

Each day will offer a different experience with private guides in the ancient Roman city of Bath, talks and discussions with head gardeners, tea in Rosemary Verey's private home, and ample time to explore the antique market in Bath and the individual shops in Stow-on-the Wold. This tour offers a great opportunity for those that have not ventured out of London for more than a day to see the real English countryside and share in the daily lives of the people tending their gardens and homes.

english country gardens - Lacock You will enjoy three nights at the Francis Hotel in Bath, three nights at the Grapevine in Stow-on-the-Wold and three nights at Ockenden Manor, a member of the Best Loved Hotels of the world. You will enjoy a full English breakfast each day, lunches in local tea rooms and several dinners. There is plenty of choice and opportunities to sample the local cuisine along with a variety of international cuisines.

For those desiring a visit to London, we offer a three night extension July 10-13, your hotel is a first class Edwardian style hotel centrally located. Included is a private guided tour of the Wallace Collection, afternoon tea at Brown's and tickets for a top London Show (best seats) and return transfer to London Heathrow.

Tour cost: $3095.00 per person double occupancy, single supplement $450.00.
London extension: $650.00 per person double occupancy, $275.00 single supplement.

Complete brochure available by mail. Travel to London is additional and travel insurance is recommended.

Please contact us for full itinerary and details.

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Gardens, Castles and Great Houses of Ireland
July 19-30, 2002

Portobello Road London Antiques Fully escorted, country house hotels, private cottage gardens $ 3660.00 per person double occupancy

Please contact us for full itinerary and details.

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Looking ahead for 2003 . . .

Provence with Louisa Jones, noted author of The French Country Garden and Provence, A Country Almanac. The program will be centered in Avignon with six nights at the legendary Le Mirande Hotel complete with elegant meals and a cooking class. Visits will be made to hidden gardens throughout Provence with an emphasis on private visits with well-known designers and artisans. Group is limited to 12 persons, the dates are May 4-10, 2003. Fully escorted by Michele Abrate, brochures available in July 2002.

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© Armstrong & Hedges, Ltd., 2002