Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

America’s Canyonlands

Saturday, November 10th, 2018
Dear Compass Travelers,

Today, I share a travelogue from Compass traveler Lois Watts who joined us on our Western adventure to America’s Canyonlands this Fall. Enjoy!


Lois Watts

On September 19, a merry band of 18 travelers, hosted by Compass Travel, left the ordered world of New England behind for a 10-day tour of another world: America’s Canyonlands—ancient, primeval, surreal, untouched by time and civilization.

Our first stop was Utah, where we met up with Jennie, our fantastic tour guide and “Happy Max,” our bus driver. We began our visit in Zion National Park, a world of towering red stone cliffs that surrounded us as we set off on a hike. No words or photographs can begin to capture what rain, wind, time and the Colorado River shaped over millions of years. Suddenly, we felt reduced in size and significance entering these giant red canyon cliffs of Zion. Some of us took the difficult trails, others the easy trails with our guides. We all felt the awesomeness of this towering world that enveloped us.

Evenings we stopped to check into our hotel, the bus bursting with cheers when Holly announced, “There’s a bar in the hotel!”

Next was Bryce Canyon, a vast series of amphitheaters that unfolded ad infinitum with dazzling colors of red, pink, lavender, and orange stone shapes called “hoodoos” created by nature through the millennium. The hoodoos rose from the plateau in all shapes and sizes as if a giant had been playing in the sand. Some were shaped like castles or cathedrals, all otherworldly as the mind struggled to take in the size, shapes, and colors. There are no words to describe the majesty of this natural phenomenon created by wind, ice, and rain, eroding into fantastic shapes as far as the eye can see.

13DSC_3845We then boarded small eight-passenger planes and flew over Monument Valley, the ancestral and mysterious homeland of Navajo Indians. Upon landing, we traveled by jeep with our Navajo guide along the dusty roads through the valley. Stark red stone pillars of all shapes arose throughout the desert, standing as high as 400 feet, sentinels standing guard over this land. To the Navajos who live here, this is a sacred land, rich in the ancient traditions of their ancestors, carried on to this day.

Back on the bus, we drove to the Museum of Northern Arizona, which houses pottery, jewelry, basketry, rugs, and weaving representing the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni cultures.

The Grand Canyon is a place unto itself, stretching 277 miles long, 18-20 miles wide and 18 miles deep. The surrounding rim has many viewpoints, each presenting a unique perspective of the whole. Civilization comes close here with many hotels and lodges located near the rim. Imagine sitting on the porch of the lodge sipping a drink as the sun moves across the massive canyons turning them red, then purple, then green and then orange. An experience to savor; a moment where civilization and ancient canyons meet.


We then began our downward trek from almost 8,000 feet, the Colorado Plateau, to our destination in Sedona, with a stop in Flagstaff for lunch along the way. Jennie said we might “feel the vortex here” and, while I never felt it, Sedona was a positively beautiful town situated in a pocket with red cliffs surrounding and protecting.

By the last day, we were all getting a bit tired and the bus had grown quieter until it was announced that our hotel had a bar. Then the cheers erupted from the back of the bus as the merry band of travelers capped off their days with a cool one.

What a fun, friendly, traveling group. Here’s to Compass Travel for organizing this unforgettable trip!

For more photos, click here.

A Costa Rican Adventure

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Hello, Compass Travelers!

Here at Compass Travel, planning unique travel experiences for our clients is what we do best. We take the time to learn what you want, then provide options to help you get the most out of your time away. We could tell you all about our services, but we think it’s better for you to hear what some of our travelers have to say directly. Here is a note from a family we sent to Costa Rica on a tour with Trafalgar Tours a couple of months ago:

A Letter to Compass Travel Agent Wendy:

Our vacation was AWESOME. We had so much fun. All of our travels went smoothly. Our tour director, German Rojas, was great. It was the perfect combination of activities and relaxation—we had so many interesting things to do. Our tour group included 22 people. Traveling by bus, we saw many different parts of the country; rest stops and attractions along the way helped break up the driving.

slothThe girls’ favorite part was Tortuguero, where we took boat rides into the rain forest. We saw a wide variety of animals including sloths, crocodiles, monkeys, otters, turtles, iguanas, king fishers, toucans, and every imaginable bird, flower, and butterfly. We visited an organic pineapple plantation (delicious), stopped at a farm where we watched how hearts of palm were harvested and then tasted them in homemade tortillas cooked over an open fire, drank coconut milk and visited with a very kind and gracious couple who opened their home to us.

We visited the Arenal Volcano, walked through the rain forest on suspension bridges hundreds of feet above the ground, went zip lining (thrilling), went to a breathtakingly beautiful beach and swam in the Pacific Ocean, filmed the monkeys frolicking in the forest, visited small towns along the way, enjoyed beautiful countryside, shopped for souvenirs, sampled all kinds of delicious foods and all in all had a terrific time.


A special treat on the tour was a New Year’s Eve Party at our hotel with dinner, entertainment, and fireworks. We would highly recommend Trafalgar Tours! Thanks so much for all of your help and hard work in arranging this trip for us. We are most certainly satisfied customers!



Walking high atop the rain forest–an adventure of a lifetime!

Please contact Wendy to book this trip for your own family, or choose from a number of itineraries to Costa Rica for families or for couples!

Club Med Punta Cana

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Recently, I spent a few days at Club Med Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, to learn more about this all-inclusive resort. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a gorgeous view. This property is stunning: white sand beaches, turquoise water, gently bending palms. The buildings fit seamlessly into the landscape. No modern high-rises here…the reception area and main bar are open air and covered by thatched roofs. Club Med prides itself on celebrating the geography and the local building style of its location.

A 2,000-foot beach fronts the property, with a long and winding pool behind it. There are expansive lawns surrounded by palm trees, lined by large family-sized day beds, covered by netting – a perfect base from which to partake in the staggering schedule of activities offered each day. The activities are endless! And most are included in your cost. Sailing, yoga, aerobics, volleyball, dance lessons, tennis lessons, golf lessons and more are all included. Scuba, snorkeling, kite surfing, fishing, golf and excursions can all be added for an extra nominal fee. Seriously, there was something happening here every hour of every day. But you could also choose to lay on the beach or by the pool, with no interruptions. A lovely spa is on site where you can schedule your massage on the beach or in a treatment room.

The rooms themselves are in brightly colored 2-story buildings running parallel to the beach line. My room, a deluxe couple accommodation, had a lovely huge closet, a large double bed (which was two twins zipped together), tiled floor, stucco walls, a sitting room with a fridge, two televisions, and also featured a lovely porch with two teak chairs and a table…a perfect place for morning coffee or tea or an evening glass of wine. The bathroom featured a large shower, and a separate water closet. These rooms are comfortable, clean and definitely fit the style of the resort: casual, and “ beach-y.” This is a great choice for families. There are kids’ clubs for children of all ages and they all seemed to be having a blast. The recently added “Creactive” area (designed and built by Cirque du Soleil) offers trapeze and circus training for all ages. The recently added adult-only Zen section has its own pool and bar. It’s removed from the more active areas and near the spa – a perfect spot for a relaxing, romantic getaway.

To learn more about Club Med Punta Cana and other Club Med vacations, give me a call!

Compass Travel Consultant


Another Trip to Italy?

Sunday, December 8th, 2013
Dear Compass Travelers,

Today, I share some thoughts from longtime Compass traveler Pam Broadley who joined us in Piemonte this past fall. During the two weeks we spent in Italy, Pam kept a daily journal, which is excerpted here. You can read Pam’s full travelogue in our newsletter section, Journeys.

“Another trip to Italy?” friends and family ask. I first visited Italy just out of college to track down the museums and works of art memorized for my art history classes. I’ve long since graduated from back packs, foreign train stations and pensiones, those small family rooming houses with dubious plumbing. Instead, I go to Italy with Holly and Luigi knowing that I’ll have a spectacular vacation eating at fabulous restaurants, staying in charming hotels, and having plenty of time and freedom to soak up what I love about this country—the beauty, the flowers, the food, the long lunches with wine and water bottles scattered across the table, the way the architecture and landscape blend in perfect harmony, the people, so generous and welcoming. Dare I say the shopping?  The treasures—how can one country have so many?  The expressiveness of this place…

Day One: Villa Beccaris is perched above the town of Monforte D’Alba in the middle of Barolo and Barbaresco wine country. Marco, our affable tour guide, tells us that the grape harvest is two weeks late this year due to a cold, rainy June. So, we get to see tightly packed cones of plumy grapes weighing the vines. We are treated to lunch in a glass conservatory overlooking vineyards, hill towns and in the distance, the Alps. Lunch includes fresh squeezed blood oranges and a salad bar with impossibly fresh, crisp vegetables, great antidotes to jet lag. Oh, and the wine that says, “you are back in Italy.”

Day Five: I think this was my favorite day in Piemonte! We travel to the Alta Langhe to meet two food artisans. Leaving the vineyards behind, we drive through forests, villages and high meadows to the town of Borgomale. The bus drops us off on a narrow road and we walked until coming to a round, hand painted sign hanging from a tree: “Formaggi di Pecora a Latte Crudo,” loosely translated as “raw sheep milk cheese.”  There, we meet Silvio Pistone, a handsome farmer who fashions delectable cheese from his small flock of Langhan sheep.

Day Eight: We arrive at Hotel Cannero, and I have the sense that this place has been waiting for me to return. The lake is placid, the air is balmy, and the mountains rise up just as dramatically as I remember. The Hotel feels like an old friend, and I run around reacquainting myself with the beautifully appointed spaces. The staff is familiar, too—the same daughter-in-law in the wine cellar, the same Maitre d’ with his mischievous antics, the same dignified son at the front desk, and the same watchful mother. My room overlooks the courtyard fountain with a balcony facing the lake. From here I can watch the day unfold.

Thank you, Pam, for sharing your personal experiences on one of our escorted tours. As we turn the calendar to 2014, we look forward to many more wonderful adventures with our clients. Check our site often for updates – We are planning a fabulous sojourn to Portugal and we are happy to collaborate again with Words in Play for a wild west adventure in Wyoming! Stay tuned…

Happy Holidays from Holly and Luigi!


A New Year of Travel Adventures

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

It’s the beginning of a new year, and all of us at Compass Travel are looking forward to helping you experience new adventures and make new discoveries. Our team of agents don’t just sit at desks and sell airline tickets from our computers. We get out there and test drive, if you will, all manner of adventures—for you. For instance, when it comes to planning a Disney vacation, no one has the magic like Wendy! She knows just about everything Disney and can conjure up an enchanting trip just for you!

Allie has a flair for adventure. She just returned from a trip to the Galapagos Islands to gain inside knowledge about that very distinctive place. You can read all about her trip in our newsletter section, Journeys!

If Old World European culture is your style, we are offering some wonderful escorted tours this year – retreat to a Cotswold country house and bask in the timeless beauty of spring gardens with private tours of some of England’s most glorious floral displays.

Or, perhaps you need something a little more exotic – then Spain is your ticket. Join Colby-Sawyer’s excursion this May for a zesty treat.

And speaking of treats, Luigi and I invite you on a culinary road trip to northern Italy in September. You can’t get much closer to heaven than eating your way through the Piemonte region of the Alps, where at every turn there is a magnificent view and every meal is a delightful experience.

To top off 2013, we are planning New Year’s Eve in Paris! We hope you will join us to celebrate life and travel around the world!

So, our wish for all our clients this year – Enjoy an Adventure – the World is Waiting for you!


Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

2010 is winding down and what a year it’s been. Volcanoes and oil spills, tornadoes and war-torn cities — we have all felt the impact of both man and nature’s wrath on the environment. However, the good news is that there are still many beautiful, pristine, culturally exquisite places to visit on this Earth. We are looking forward to a new year with lots of adventure and lots of laughter. There are forces we cannot control, but there are many pieces to our lives that we can control. One, never take the present for granted. Enjoy it, treasure it, and share it. That is a great philosophy to live by.

We at Compass Travel want to thank all our clients, those we have sent off on their own travels, and those who have traveled with us. We love what we do, we enjoy the moment and the anticipation of joy we feel in helping you cross the globe.

We wish you all the best and brightest happiness for this holiday season and for the coming year. Happy Travels!

Holly, Wendy, Allie, Rose, and Tom

Happy Summer

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Although the weather is hot here in New Hampshire, our staff is thinking cold weather…no, it’s not too early to be booking your holiday flights. Why pay peak rates, when you can get great deals now? If you have college students who need flights home over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, we recommend you book those now, as well.

Giuseppe Verdi, composer of some of the world’s best Italian operas, once said, “You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” Well, I could not agree with him more. Every time I travel to Italy, I revel in its beauty, and its ability to charm. So, if you happen to notice more trips lined up for that wondrous place on earth, do not be surprised. Oh, sure, we’ll still go to other places; I love exploring new ports of call. BUT, I will return again and again to Italy, for sure. My joy is enhanced by sharing the experience with others. So, check out our upcoming tours to Cortona, Lake Maggiore, and Sicily.

To whet your appetitie, this is the restaurant in our hotel, the Bellevue Syrene. We sat overlooking the ocean (a gorgeous view) every day!

The drive along the coast was truly dramatic; I could almost imagine Neptune appearing out of the sea!