Stories of Scotland Tour – Spring 2018

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Stories of Scotland

Spring  2018

Join us as we explore Scotland’s rich tradition of myths, legends and stories on two five night tours of Scotland! We will immerse ourselves in the dramatic and verdant landscape of Scotland in the Spring whilst hearing tales of Faeries and Kelpies; explore formidable (and sometimes haunted!) castles and houses with bloody histories, dark legends, and tales of secret trysts; and find pubs to settle down in with a wee dram of Uisge Beatha or a pint of craft beer at the end of the day with some toe-tapping music thrown in for good measure.

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This set of small group tours seeks to explore Scotland by combining highlights such as Edinburgh and Stirling Castles and Loch Ness with off the beaten path locations which serve as a backdrop for stories that convey its spirit. We aim to weave together history and legend in order to fully appreciate the complex fabric of Scotland today.

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Tour Includes:

  • Castles such as Stirling, Brodie, Cawdor, Edinburgh, Gilnockie and Urquhart
  • Lunch and Craft Beer Tasting at The Loch Ness Brewery
  • Tour and Tasting at a Distillery
  • An Evening of Storytelling
  • Traditional Music
  • Tour and Craft Beer Tasting at Traquair House
  • Dryburgh Abbey
  • Tour of Edinburgh’s infamous Vaults
  • Dumfries House
  • Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford House
  • Robert Burns Birthplace Center
  • Pictish Stones and Stone Circles

And more!

 

Wool & Wispy Northern Lights Tour – September 16-25, 2017

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Knitting in The Faroes

September 16-25, 2017

Registration Now Open!!!

Although one can never guarantee Northern Lights displays, I couldn’t resist including it in the title since I have done everything I could to arrange the itinerary for maximum opportunity!  We will be spending a few nights outside of Torshavn in northward facing accommodations (one with hot tubs) and the Aurora Borealis does start in September.   On this trip we will visit several islands in the Faroes, with scenery ranging from gentle hills to mountain passes and dramatic cliffs.  In addition to dramatic landscapes we will have a workshop with Katarina i Geil and learn about the Faroese colorwork patterns and how to make Skoleistar – Faroese slippers!   Along the way we will be visiting various yarn shops and local knitting groups.

Day by day Itinerary:

September 16 – Depart for Iceland (overnight flight)

 

Day 1 – Sunday, September 17   

After arriving in the morning at Keflavik airport in Iceland, you will be transported to Reykjavik for one night.  Reykjavik is a fascinating city to explore with lots of wonderful museums, shops, cafes and restaurants, not to mention a visit to The Handknitting Association!  Alternatively, just relax at Arnarhvol, where there is a spa for you to relax in after your overnight flight. 

Optional Extra – NorthernLights Cruise & Dinner ($130)

Day 2 – Monday, September 18

No rush to get up today unless you want to explore more of Reykjavik before our onward flight to The Faroe Islands.  Primarily a travel day, once we arrive in The Faroes, we will be transported to our hotel in the quaint capital, Torshavn.  Check in and get comfortable, and then we will head out for a guided walking tour of Torshavn so that we will have our bearings for the next few days and get a chance to hear about the history of this fascinating city.  Turf roofed buildings are not restricted to the historic old town, but are still used frequently today for their wonderful insulating properties. Dinner is on your own, but don’t forget to enjoy the café in Hotel Hafnia, where a basket of knitting sits beckoning on the bench!

Day 3 – Tuesday, September 19

Now that we have eased into the time zone, it’s time to get started with some real knitting!  After a morning visit to a local yarn store to stock up on some materials for our skoleister (slipper) workshop on Wednesday, we will meet Katarina í Geil, a local knitwear designer who will guide us through an exploration of Faroese colorwork patterns and how to design our own.   We will sketch and knit through lunch in a wonderful historic property, playing with color variations and knitting swatches.  After our workshop, Katarina will join us for dinner at one of Torshavn’s best restaurants.

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Day 4 – Wednesday, September 20

Today will be a bit flexible depending on interest and the weather.  We will be taking the ferry in the morning to the neighboring island of Nolsoy where Katarina í Geil will join us and teach us how to knit skoleister, the Faroese slippers.  Shortly before lunch, we will go for a guided walk and gather some wild greens for our salad and assist our hosts with our lunch preparations.  After lunch, local knitters will join us for a community knitting session, and we will return to Torshavn in time for dinner.  The flexible bit will be whether there enough interest in the group and good weather to take a sail over to Nolsoy’s cliffs on our way to or from Torshavn.   Warm and waterproof suits will be provided if we prove adventurous!

Day 5 – Thursday, September 21

Another day, another island!  Today we will meet our local driver guide who will take us to the island of Sandoy, where we will have our best chance at seeing the Northern Lights.  We will be staying in the Hotel Skalavik, in a combination of one large apartment and several separate rooms.  The apartment will give us a communal space to knit in the evenings, and we will stay here for two nights.  Of course, if we tire of knitting in our living room, we can always knit under the starry sky in the hot tubs! (Cue Aurora Borealis, please!)  Tonight we will dine in one or two of the hotel’s cozy grill huts, where we will cook our own meal on the grill in the center of the table.

Day 6 – Friday, September 22

Sandoy is one of the older islands, where the hills are worn and smaller than on the northern islands.  Our time on Sandoy will also be flexible, with time for walks along the shore, renting bikes from the hotel, and meeting with local knitters, some of whom have famously covered a large boulder with a sweater!  The sweater depicts a local legend about a witch, who is prominently displayed on the boulder!  Dinner will be on our own tonight at the hotel restaurant.

Day 7 – Saturday, September 23

From the relatively rolling hills of Sandoy, we will hop on the ferry again and head north to the dramatically mountainous island of Eysturoy.  High mountain passes, tunnels through mountains and under fjords, and sheep clinging precariously to steep hills that plunge into the sea will be familiar sights by the end of the day.  Our guide will regale us with local legends and some history for good measure, and we will make various stops along the way, including at a yarn store or two.  The charming village of Gjogv will be our destination.  There, a small gorge opens into the sea, and rainbows are a frequent occurrence due to the ever churning water.  Dinner will be together tonight at Gjaardargur Guesthouse.

Day 8 – Sunday, September 24

After just one night in the small holiday village of Gjogv, we will make our way over mountains and under fjords again, back to Torshavn.  Along the way, we will see remote farms and isolated churches, and stop in Vestmanna for a boat trip to see cliffs dotted with birds and grottos large enough to take the boat inside.  We will return to the Hotel Hafnia tonight for our final night in The Faroe Islands.  Dinner is on our own.

Day 9 – Monday, September 25

Homeward bound.  A day of airport transfers and flights.

Wool & Wispy Northern Lights 2017 Total Costs: $3500.00*

 * Discount of 3% when paid in full with check or bank transfer upon booking. 

Optional Extras Include: Single Supplements and Custom Airfare

Optional Extensions Available:

Extensions are available for those wishing to arrive early or stay later to explore more of Iceland on their own.  Please note on the registration form if you are interested.

Included in the Package Price:
  • Airfare from Boston or New York
  • 1 night accommodation at Arnarhvol in Reykjavik
  • 4 nights accommodation at Hotel Hafnia in Torshavn on Stremoy
  • 2 nights accommodation at Hotel Skalavik on Sandoy
  • 1 night accommodation at Gjaargardur in Gjogv on Eysturoy
  • 8 Breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • 2 Knitting Workshops with local designer Katarina í Geil
  • Boat Tour
  • Visits with Local Knitters and to various yarn shops
  • Guided Walking Tour of Torshavn
  • Museum Entrance Fees
  • Transportation in private minbus
  • Local English speaking guide
 Not included in Package Price
  • Custom Airfare
  • Alcoholic drinks and personal items
  • Northern Lights – not guaranteed!
  • Yarn!

This group is limited to 16 participants to ensure a small group experience. Rowan Tree Travel has purchased a Group Protection Plan on behalf of all participants.*

*The Group Protection Plan may not apply to participants who are not US Citizens.  Please inquire for details.

This trip needs at least 12 participants in order to proceed.  Please refer to the Group Protection Plan Document for cancellation coverage.  All cancellations should be communicated as soon as possible via email to heather@rowantreetravel.com

Rowan Tree Travel cannot be held responsible for the acts, defaults or delay of any hotel, coach, operator, airline, guide, restaurant or any other persons or companies, however caused. RTT is not responsible for losses in the event of force majour, such as natural catastrophes, strikes or other corresponding causes. We also reserve the right to alter routes due to road or weather conditions without prior notice. In the rare cases that there is a double booking or a good reason for moving the guest, we reserve the right to do so by providing similar accommodation or better in the same area.

Sagas of Iceland Tour – September 6 -17, 2017

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 Sagas of Iceland

September 6-17, 2017

The early history of Iceland is as wondrous and mysterious as the land itself.  Legendary figures perform superhuman feats as they negotiate the magical landscape populated by witches, trolls, and elves. 

eiderfoss-in-husavik

These legends are recorded as the Icelandic Sagas and are fascinating amalgams of fact and fiction, much as the landscape itself is a jumble of fire, ice, and farmland. 

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Remarkably, as you pass the farms that dot the Icelandic landscape, the place names recorded in the sagas are still farmed today, the hard work spent to tame them not wasted, but handed down from generation to generation as a legacy of those who first settled this stark land.  Although this tour will have plenty of opportunities to experience Iceland’s dramatic waterfalls, lava fields and geothermal vents, as well as modern pleasures such as hot tubs and modern Icelandic cuisine, we will keep a fixed eye on the tales the landscape tells of the Saga Times.    16 people maximum, singles limited, some accommodations will have shared bathrooms.

Baronial Borders Knitting Retreat – July 17-24, 2017

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Knitting Retreat in the

Scottish Borders

July 17-24, 2017

Registration is now open!!

 This retreat is designed for knitters who enjoy a more relaxed pace on their holidays, with plenty of time to get to know an area.  After our first night in Glasgow, we will be traveling to the Scottish Borders where we will spend five nights at Sir Walter Scott’s Baronial Manor Home, Abbotsford.  From there, we will make short excursions into the surrounding countryside, visiting other stately homes, castles and romantic abbey ruins. The Borders has always been a textile hub of Scotland with mills churning out everything from tartan and hosiery to, more recently, Alpaca yarn!  We will have a knitting workshop with designers from Eribé, one of Europe’s largest hand-knitting companies, and, since we will be staying in the historic home of Scotland’s most famous author, we also enjoy an evening of storytelling!

Day by Day Itinerary:

July 17         Depart for Scotland (Overnight flight)
Day 1        Tuesday, July 18

After arriving at the Airport you will be transferred to Glasgow’s Belhaven Hotel and will have the option of join the group for an afternoon of exploring Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Art Nouveau buildings or exploring Glasgow on your own, perhaps taking in the nearby Botanic Gardens and Yarn Cake, a knitting café.

Day 2      Wednesday, July 19

Today we head into the Borders of Scotland to our home away from home, Abbotsford!  Our luxury semi self-catering accommodation is surrounded by manicured gardens and parkland on the banks of the river Tweed, with many trails to explore.  Before we arrive, however, we will be visiting Velvet Hill Alpaca Farm to meet the Alpacas and have a little Alpaca trek in the countryside! 

From there, it is on to Traquair House, the oldest continuously inhabited house in Scotland.  There we will have lunch in the 1765 Tearoom, enjoy a textile tour of the house, and have time to explore the grounds and have tea with local knitters. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Traquair House

Day 3     Thursday, July 20

After a wonderful breakfast prepared for us by Abbotsford’s catering staff, we will enjoy a tour of the public areas of the house and learn about its history and it’s original owner, Sir Walter Scott.  In the afternoon, we will travel to the Lochcarron Textile Mill for lunch and a tour, and then on to Hawick to visit the Textile Tower House, a museum exploring the history of the Textile industry in the Borders, from tartan and hose (stockings) to luxury cashmere.  After dinner at a nearby restaurant, the long summer evening can be filled with walks on the grounds, or knitting in the drawing room, whichever strikes your fancy.

Day 4      Friday, July 21

After a wonderful breakfast prepared for us by Abbotsford’s catering staff, we will host a knitting workshop with one of Eribé’s designer’s in our drawing room.  After lunch, we will then head off to The Border Mill to see the alpaca yarn produced.  A stop at Dryburgh Abbey and perhaps a scenic walk will whet our appetites for dinner at a local pub.

Day 5     Saturday, July 22

Today we will visit Floor’s Castle for a tour of the Castle, time to explore the gardens, and a proper Tea for Lunch. In the afternoon, we can walk into the town of Kelso for the annual festivities of The Kelso Riding, a unique border tradition which involves The Kelso Laddie and his men riding the borders of the town and returning to the town square to report back to the citizens.  A local Ceilidh band will be playing in the square and we will stay in Kelso for dinner before returning to Abbotsford.  There is a dance occurring that night in Kelso, and we can possibly attend if enough of the group is interested.  More details will follow as they become available.

Day 6     Sunday, July 23

Our final day together will be spent enjoying the town of Melrose, including its Abbey and gardens before returning to Abbotsford for a farewell dinner in the grand dining room and an evening of Storytelling! 

Day 7     Monday, July 24

After breakfast at Abbotsford, we will head to Glasgow International Airport for your flight home.

Baronial Borders Retreat 2017 Total Costs: $2850.00

*Early Bird Discount of 3% when paid in full with check or bank transfer upon booking. Discount of up to $1200 when combined with Wool & Whisky!

Optional Extras Include: Single Supplements and Custom Airfare

Optional Extensions Available:

Extensions are available for those wishing to arrive early or stay later to explore more of Scotland on their own.  Please note on the registration form if you are interested.

Included in the Package Price:
  • 1 night accommodation in Glasgow’s Belhaven Hotel
  • 5 nights luxury self-catering accommodation in Abbotsford’s Hope Scott Wing with some shared bathrooms
  • 6 Breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners and 1 Afternoon Tea
  • Entrance fees
  • Knitting Workshop with Eribé designer
  • Scotland Airport transfers and Private Mini Coach
  • International Airfare from New York or Boston
Not included in Package Price:
  • Soda, Alcoholic drinks and personal items
  • Gratuities
  • Yarn!

This group is limited to 14 participants to ensure a small group experience.  Rowan Tree Travel has purchased a Group Protection Plan on behalf of all participants.*

To register, please contract Heather Radl via email to heather@rowantreetravel.com. 

*The Group Protection Plan may not apply to participants who are not US Citizens.  Please inquire for details.

Note: Small hotels in Scotland often do not have elevators – if you require a ground floor room, please note it on your registration.  Otherwise, please pack accordingly. 

This trip needs at least 12 participants in order to proceed.  Please refer to the Group Protection Plan Document for cancellation coverage.  All cancellations should be communicated as soon as possible via email to heather@rowantreetravel.com

Rowan Tree Travel cannot be held responsible for the acts, defaults or delay of any hotel, coach, operator, airline, guide, restaurant or any other persons or companies, however caused. RTT is not responsible for losses in the event of force majour, such as natural catastrophes, strikes or other corresponding causes. We also reserve the right to alter routes due to road or weather conditions without prior notice. In the rare cases that there is a double booking or a good reason for moving the guest, we reserve the right to do so by providing similar accommodation or better in the same area.

 

Wool and Waterfalls 2017 – Registration Closed

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Knitting Festival in Iceland

 

Registration Closed

Join with us in traveling to the source of some of your favorite yarn to explore this land of sheep, sweaters, volcanoes, glaciers and, of course, Wool & Waterfalls!  In addition to the usual stunning scenery and wooly endeavors, we will have a workshop with Einrum Yarn and attend the Prjónagleði knitting festival.  Along the way, we will seek out hot springs at every opportunity, so keep your bathing suit handy!  Come and see the land of contrasts that inspire the Lopi sweater patterns we know and love while enjoying a local knitting festival in Iceland! 

Day By Day Itinerary:

June 3 – Depart for Iceland (Overnight Flight)

 

Day 1 – Sunday, June 4     

We will arrive at Keflavik Airport, have breakfast, and be transported to the Laugarvatn Fontana Nature Baths for a few hours of relaxation in the hot springs and saunas, lunch, and a visit to their Geothermal bakery.  (Have your bathing suits handy!) From there we will proceed to our apartments at the luxurious Grimsborgir Hotel.  Since we will be sharing 2-4 bedroom apartments, we will have our own private spaces and hot tubs where we can spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing, knitting, and getting to know each other.  Dinner will be on our own at the hotel restaurant.

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Day 2 – Monday, June 5

Today we will explore Southern Iceland, visiting waterfalls, Thingborg Wool Center, and The Saga Center.  At the Saga Center, you will have the opportunity to contribute some stitches to the Njall’s Saga Tapestry, which will be the longest tapestry in the world when it is completed.  We will have lunch in their great hall, and also visit the exhibition explaining the story of Njall’s Saga with wax figures.  When we return to Grimsborgir, we will have a knitting workshop with Einrum yarns designer Kristin Brynja to get us started on our own fairy crowns from their lovely yarn which combines lopi wool and thai silk.  We will all have dinner together following the workshop.

Day 3 – Tuesday, June 6

On our way north today, we will stop in Alafoss for a tour of the Istex factory – home of the Lopi yarn we know and love.  A few other surprise stops along the way to explore the landscape will bring us to the beautiful seaside town of Siglufjörður, where we will check into the Siglo Hotel.  Dinner will be on your own in Siglufjörður.

Day 4 – Wednesday, June 7

Today is the only day that breakfast is not included, but you may choose from a full breakfast at the hotel, or a trip down the street to a wonderful little bakery.  We will have a leisurely morning before embarking on our way to Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland.  This charming “city” feels very European and has pleasant pedestrian streets to explore in search of lunch and souvenirs.  Our next stop will be the powerful waterfall of Godafoss, then on to the harbor town of Husavik, where we will check into our guesthouse.  Like in Grimsborgir, the bathrooms will be shared, but we will have the whole house to ourselves.  While in Husavik, you will have the opportunity to go on a Whale and Puffin cruise!  Dinner is on your own in Husavik.

Day 5 – Thursday, June 8

This area of North Iceland is famous for its geothermal activity and strange volcanic landscapes.  Myvatn will be our focus for the day, from crater lakes and bubbling pools of sulfurous water to strange lava formations.  Lunch will be at Vogafjos Cowshed Café, where you can either gaze out the window at the wonders of Lake Myvatn and its astonishing bird life or watch the cows being milked before you enjoy the homemade ice cream for dessert!  Of course, we will stop for a couple of hours to enjoy the Myvatn Nature Baths with beautiful views over the valley.  When we return to Husavik, dinner will be on your own.  After dinner, feel free to join in a knit night with local knitters.

Day 6 – Friday, June 9

As we travel around Iceland, you will see sheep and horses everywhere, but this morning you will have the opportunity to meet some Icelandic horses up close and personal. 

After horsing around (did I really just write that?) we will head back west toward Blonduous where we will check into our hotel and have some time to enjoy the local pool before we attend the opening event of the Prjónagleði knitting festival.  Pools are extremely important to Icelandic society and for many a visit to the pool is a daily ritual since they are geothermally heated year round.  Dinner will be together at the Festival Opening Event.

Day 7 –  Saturday, June 10

The morning will be spent enjoying the knitting festival, and if there is an afternoon workshop that you just can’t miss, you may stay for the whole day.  This is a small local festival, however, and just in case it does not have enough to capture your attention for the whole day, there will be an excursion to drive around a nearby peninsula to see some stunning scenery, visit a seal colony, and have dinner in a nearby restaurant.

Alafoss Yarn

Day 8 – Sunday, June 11

Today will be a bit flexible since we will wait to finalize plans until the knitting festival schedule is posted.  Ultimately, however, we will be making our way south towards Reykjavik today.  Along the way we will stop at Hespa Yarns, where Gudrun Bjarnasdottir will give us a yarn dying demonstration in her studio.  We will be staying just outside Reykjavik at Hilð, a collection of replica fisherman’s cottages by the sea.  Dinner will be together.

Day 9 – Monday, June 12

Reykjavik here we come!  After a relaxing morning by the sea, we will have some free time in Reykjavik, coming together to visit Helene Magnussen’s studio, visit the Handknitting Association, and have a farewell dinner before returning to Hilð.

Day 10 – Tuesday, June 13

Alas, we have reached the end, and will return this morning to Keflavik airport for our flights home.

Optional Extensions Available:

Extensions are available for those wishing to arrive early or stay later to explore more of Iceland on their own.  Please note on the registration form if you are interested.

Wool and Waterfalls Total Cost: $4600.00*

*Discount of 3% when paid in full with check or bank transfer upon booking.

Optional Extras Include: Single Supplements and Custom Airfare

Optional Extensions Available:

Extensions are available for those wishing to arrive early or stay later to explore more of Iceland on their own.  Please note on the registration form if you are interested.

Included in Package Price

  • International Airfare from Boston or New York
  • 2 nights accommodation in Grimsborgir Hotel Aparments
  • 1 night accommodation at Sligo Hotel in Siglufordur
  • 2 nights accommodation at Arbol Guesthouse in Husavik
  • 2 nights accommodation at Blonda Hotel in Blonduos
  • 2 nights accommodation at Hilð, just outside of Reykjavik
  • 8 Breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Einrum Knitting Workshop
  • Prjónagleði knitting festival
  • Entrance fees to The Saga Center, The Settlement Center, Glaumbaer Open Air Museum, Textile Museum and Laugarvatn Fontana Baths and Myvatn Nature Baths, including towel rental
  • All Transportation with local English speaking guide

 Not included in Package Price

  • Custom Airfare
  • Optional Activities
  • Alcoholic drinks and personal items
  • Yarn!

This group is limited to 14-16 participants to ensure a small group experience. Rowan Tree Travel has purchased a Group Protection Plan on behalf of all participants.*

*The Group Protection Plan may not apply to participants who are not US Citizens.  Please enquire for details.

To register, please contract Heather Radl via email to heather@rowantreetravel.com. 

This trip needs at least 14 participants in order to proceed.  Please refer to the Group Protection Plan Document for cancellation coverage.  All cancellations should be communicated as soon as possible via email to heather@rowantreetravel.com

Rowan Tree Travel cannot be held responsible for the acts, defaults or delay of any hotel, coach, operator, airline, guide, restaurant or any other persons or companies, however caused. RTT is not responsible for losses in the event of force majour, such as natural catastrophes, strikes or other corresponding causes. We also reserve the right to alter routes due to road or weather conditions without prior notice. In the rare cases that there is a double booking or a good reason for moving the guest, we reserve the right to do so by providing similar accommodation or better in the same area.

 

Wool and Whisky – July 10-18 2017

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Wool & Whisky

Extended Summer Edition!  July 11-18

Registration Now Open!!!

 Wool & Whisky returns for the third year in a row, but rather than our usual September departure, we will be traveling to Scotland in July and extending the tour so that we can take the time to visit the Tomintoul Highland Games!  As usual, we will have the opportunity to learn about Gansey sweater patterns from Di Gilpin on the grounds of Kellie Castle, go on a yarn crawl to two of Edinburgh’s independent yarn shops, visit a whisky distillery and visit two historic wool mills – one producing yarn, and the other tartan cloth!  Extending our trip means that not only will we have time to visit a Highland Games Festival, we will visit a sheep farm producing its own yarn, and see a sheep dog demonstration!

Non-knitters are welcome, and will have other options during knitting specific activities, such as a visit to St. Andrews, or The Scottish Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. 

Day by Day Itinerary:

July 10 – Depart for Scotland (overnight flight)

Day 1 – Tuesday, July 11

After arriving at the Airport you will be transferred to Edinburgh to check in to the centrally located Parliament House Hotel.  That afternoon we will stroll over to National Museum of Scotland for a guided Knitting and Textile Tour and Afternoon Tea.  After tea, you will be free to explore Edinburgh.  Dinner will be on your own, if you require any!

Day 2 – Wednesday, July 12

After a fortifying breakfast, we will start the day with a walking tour of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, including Edinburgh Castle itself.   After lunch on our own, you can choose to meet up with the group for a slightly spooky and very quirky underground tour of The Real Mary King’s Close.  From there we will have a taxi transfer for our yarn crawl, including Ginger Twist, a vintage inspired yarn shop, and Kathy’s Knits, Edinburgh’s premier British Wool Specialty Shop.  Dinner will be together at Stac Polly – yes, Scotland does have fine cuisine!  Non-Knitters will have many options for exploring on their own in Edinburgh, or may request to be booked on a tour of The Scottish Whisky Experience.  Prices vary.

Day 3 – Thursday, July 13

After breakfast we will depart from Edinburgh and begin to explore the countryside.  Our first stop will be the Scottish Fisheries Museum for a guided tour of their surprisingly large collection of boats and examine some of the old gansey fisherman knit sweaters.  After fish and chips at the famous local chippie, we will head to the beautiful Kellie Castle where Di Gilpin will explain how she has been inspired by the traditional gansey patterns and incorporated them into her own modern designs.  She will then start us on our own wee project with gansey patterns. The Ardgowan Hotel in St Andrews will be our final destination, and you will be able to explore the lovely seaside town on your own in the evening.

Day 4 – Friday, July 14

Enjoy breakfast at Ardgowan Hotel before we embark on our journey to discover the dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.  We will visit Glamis Castle in the morning – a rather haunted castle that was the birthplace of The Queen Mother and looks like it belongs in a fairytale.  After lunch, we will continue on into the Highlands to reach Knockando Woolmill, which has been spinning and weaving since 1784.  They have recently restored the aging machinery and added new machines to increase production of both tartan cloth and yarn.  Special orders are still produced on the machines from the 1800’s.

Finally, we will visit Elchie’s Farm and see the Ryeland sheep used to produce their yarn.  We will end our day in Grantown-on-Spey at the Garth Hotel.  Dinner will be on your own.

Day 5 – Saturday, July 15

Today we go local and will spend most of the day at the Tomintoul Highland Games where you will have the opportunity to watch bagpiping and highland dancing competitions, as well as heavy athletics competitions such as caber tossing! 

Of course, we will start the day by fortifying ourselves with a tour and tasting of the local Uisge Beatha (water of life) at the Aberlour Distillery. After a group dinner, we will return to Grantown-on-Spey for another pleasant night at the Garth Hotel.

Day 6 – Sunday, July 16

Another lovely day in the highlands in store for you today, including a stop at another sheep farm where we will have a sheep dog demonstration, as well as a lunch stop at the open air Highland Folk Museum for a peak at life in the Highlands through time.  You may recognize their 1700’s Township from scenes in the ever popular series Outlander.  We will arrive in Pitlochry with plenty of time to enjoy the town before dining together at The Pine Trees Hotel.  In the evening, you can choose to knit together in the cozy lounge, or head down to the local pub.

Day 7 – Monday, July 17

Our final full day together will begin by heading down from the Highlands to Doune Castle – a wonderful partially restored castle ruin to explore and another famous filming location, appearing not only in Outlander, but Game of Thrones and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Then it will be on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of The Mill at New Lanark – a restored mill with a unique social history that has switched from producing cotton yarn as it did during the industrial revolution to a wonderful variety of British wool yarns.

Here we will have lunch, including their award winning ice cream before our guided tour begins.  We will end the day at The Belhaven Hotel in Glasgow’s trendy West End.  If you would like, you can walk down to Yarn Cake – a wonderful yarn café!

Day 8 – Tuesday, July 18

After breakfast at The Belhaven, you can take a relaxing stroll through The Botanic Gardens, or pop down to the center of Glasgow for those last few souvenirs. Then it is on to Glasgow International Airport for your flight home.

 

Wool & Whisky 2017  Total Cost: $3200.00*

*Discount of 3% when paid in full with check or bank transfer upon booking.

Optional Extras Include: Single Supplements and Custom Airfare

Optional Extensions Available:

Extensions are available for those wishing to arrive early or stay later to explore more of Scotland on their own.  Please note on the registration form if you are interested.

Included in the Package Price:

  • 2 nights accommodation in Edinburgh’s Parliament House Hotel
  • 1 night accommodation at Ardgowan Hotel in St Andrews
  • 2 nights accommodation at Garth Hotel in Grantown on Spey
  • 1 night accommodation in Pitlochry’s Pine Trees Hotel
  • 1 night accommodation in Glasgow’s Belhaven Hotel
  • 7 Breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners and 1 Afternoon Tea
  • Entrance fees
  • Knitting Workshop with Di Gilpin
  • Scotland Airport transfers and Private Mini Coach
  • International Airfare from New York or Boston
Not included in Package Price:
  • Soda, Alcoholic drinks and personal items
  • Gratuities
  • Yarn!

To register, please contract Heather Radl via email to heather@rowantreetravel.com. 

This group is limited to 16 participants to ensure a small group experience. Rowan Tree Travel has purchased a Group Protection Plan on behalf of all participants.*

*The Group Protection Plan may not apply to participants who are not US Citizens.  Please inquire for details.

Note: Small hotels in Scotland often do not have elevators – if you require a ground floor room, please note it on your registration.  Otherwise, please pack accordingly. Hotel staff are often willing to help if needed.

Rowan Tree Travel cannot be held responsible for the acts, defaults or delay of any hotel, coach, operator, airline, guide, restaurant or any other persons or companies, however caused. RTT is not responsible for losses in the event of force majour, such as natural catastrophes, strikes or other corresponding causes. We also reserve the right to alter routes due to road or weather conditions without prior notice. In the rare cases that there is a double booking or a good reason for moving the guest, we reserve the right to do so by providing similar accommodation or better in the same area.

Knitworking in Denmark September 21 – 28 , 2016

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Knitting in Denmark

September 21-28, 2016

A 6 night Trip to Denmark for the Knitwork Festival in Copenhagen, visits to Castles and Cliffs, and a private workshop with designer Vivian Hoxbro.

Highlights:

The Knitwork Festival will feature workshops such as brioche knitting with Nancy Marchant, Openwork with Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton, and a top-down shawl with Marc Smollin.

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Vivian Hoxbro will lead us in a workshop on vibrant color combinations.  In addition to Rosenborg Castle in the center of Copenhagen, we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the stunning cliffs of Mons Klimt, and Hamlet’s Kronborg Castle.

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Dates:        September 21-28
Cost Per Person:        $2,900
Single Supplement:        $500
Deposit to secure spot:     $500

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Price includes airfare, accommodation in boutique hotels, and a chauferred minibus.  Additional Costs: Canal Dinner Cruise in Copenhagen, Knitwork Festival Registration. Cost is based on shared rooms.  6 breakfasts & 2 dinners are included.  Tour requires 10 to operate.  Deposit is non-refundable unless the trip is cancelled.  Trip Insurance is available.

2016 Cotswolds Walking Tour

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Costwolds Holiday: Walk 6, Knit 2* 

May 18th to May 26th 2016

A tour designed for women knitters who want to actively explore England’s picturesque Cotswold region with a group of like-minded companions while taking time to smell the roses (or the daffodils!). We will be walking 5-7 miles per day over varied terrain from village to village, so a certain level of fitness is required, but we will be able to walk at a leisurely pace and have time to enjoy the local attractions and villages each day. There will also be plenty of time to gather together in local pubs and tearooms and knit along the way!

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY:

Thursday, May 19th

We will be collected from the airport and driven to Chipping Campden, where we will spend our first two nights in various Inns and B&Bs. We will have plenty of time to explore this beautiful, historic market town in the afternoon on our own. In addition to the lovely buildings from the medieval period on, The Court Barn Museum features work from the Arts and Crafts Movement, and there is a collection of local art, ceramics, and silver galleries at the former Silk Mill.

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Friday, May 20th

In the interest of adapting to the local time zone before starting any serious walking, we will head to Stratford-Upon-Avon today to explore Shakespeare’s Birthplace. There are several historic buildings available to visit in the center of town, and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is a pleasant 2 mile walk from town. In the interest of flexibility and the environment, transportation will be via local bus, which has frequent service between the towns.

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Saturday, May 21st

Our first day of walking, we will walk 6 miles from Chipping Campden to the quintessential English village of Broadway. Along the way, we will pass Broadway Tower, the highest castle in the Cotwolds with expansive views from its base, let alone its turrets! Perhaps we will have lunch at the café there before heading down into Broadway with its antique shops, art galleries and tearooms and deep connections to the Arts and Crafts Movement.

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Sunday, May 22nd

Our second day of walking will be our longest, with 12 miles between Broadway and the town of Winchcombe. However, there is an historic steam railway 7 miles into our walk that can take us the last 5 miles! Along the trail we will pass the remains of an Iron Age hill fort as well as more outstanding views and many, many sheep!

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Monday, May 23rd

Our final day of walking will take us from Winchcombe to Cleeve Hill, an outstanding journey of 5.6 miles that will take us past several points of interest. Just outside of Winchcombe the path heads through the grounds of Sudeley Castle, which was once a favorite retreat for the Tudor and Stuart monarchs, and we can stop to tour. Further on along one of the most scenic stretches of the path is a 5,000 year old burial chamber, called Belas Knap.

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Tuesday, May 24th

After three days of walking, we will be ready for a bit more leisure, so today we will have a private minibus collect us from the Inn and take us to Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and once home to Winston Churchill. We will have plenty of time to explore the Palace and grounds before heading to our final stop, and another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the City of Bath. After checking into our guesthouse, we will have the option to follow thousands of years of tradition dating back to the Roman occupation, if not earlier, of relaxing in a thermal spa.

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Wednesday, May 25th

A full day to enjoy all that Bath has to offer, including The Roman Baths, The Fashion Museum, and two local yarn shops. When an entire city has been named a World Heritage Site, there is no shortage of things to see! Our trip will culminate with an evening of knitting in a pub with a local group.

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Thursday, May 26th

Airport Transfer and return trip to Boston.

Important : We will endeavor to keep all participants within the same town at each stop. However, due to the limited availability of twin and/or single rooms in the Cotswolds, there may be some locations which require a few people to be located outside of town. In this case, transportation to your B&B will be provided.
Please be sure that you are physically able to walk for 5-7 miles per day before signing up for this holiday. In the event that you twist an ankle or become too tired along the way, however, there is a public bus that runs through the towns we will be staying in.

  • Details:

    Cost Per Person:  $2,650†
    Single Supplement: $300†
    Deposit to secure spot: $500
    Full Payment due: February 1, 2016

†This price is based on the current exchange rate and may vary at the time of payment.

  • Optional Extras

    • Trip Insurance: $172 per person (due March 1)
    • Single Supplement: A limited number of singles are available for an additional Single Supplement Cost of $300 February 1
    • Thermal Spa Evening and/or Treatments: Please Enquire
  • Included in Each Package Price

    • 7 nights of accommodation in B&Bs and Small Inns
    • Luggage Transfer
    • Breakfast
    • Private Minibus Day Tour
    • Airport transfers within England
  • Not included in Package Price

    • Soda, Alcoholic drinks and personal items
    • Lunch and Dinner
    • Admission costs
    • Spa Treatments
    • Gratuities
    • Trip Insurance
Limited Availability – contact Heather at Rowan Tree Travel for More information

Phone: (603) 731 5599
Email: heather@rowantreetravel.com

Stories of Scotland Tour September 6 – 16, 2016

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Stories of Scotland

September 6-16, 2016

Join us as we explore Scotland’s rich tradition of myths, legends and stories on two five night tours of Scotland! We will immerse ourselves in the dramatic and verdant landscape of Scotland in the Spring whilst hearing tales of Faeries and Kelpies; explore formidable (and sometimes haunted!) castles and houses with bloody histories, dark legends, and tales of secret trysts; and find pubs to settle down in with a wee dram of Uisge Beatha or a pint of craft beer at the end of the day with some toe-tapping music thrown in for good measure.

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This set of small group tours seeks to explore Scotland by combining highlights such as Edinburgh and Stirling Castles and Loch Ness with off the beaten path locations which serve as a backdrop for stories that convey its spirit. We aim to weave together history and legend in order to fully appreciate the complex fabric of Scotland today.

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Tour Itinerary Includes:

  • Castles such as Stirling, Brodie, Cawdor, Edinburgh, Gilnockie and Urquhart
  • Lunch and Craft Beer Tasting at The Loch Ness Brewery
  • Tour and Tasting at a Distillery
  • An Evening of Storytelling
  • Traditional Music
  • Tour and Craft Beer Tasting at Traquair House
  • Dryburgh Abbey
  • Tour of Edinburgh’s infamous Vaults
  • Dumfries House
  • Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford House
  • Robert Burns Birthplace Center
  • Pictish Stones and Stone Circles

And more!


Included in each tour:

  • 9 nights in 3 or 4 star Hotels
  • 9 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches and 2 Dinners
  • All entrance fees and tours
  • Chauffeured minibus in Scotland
  • Day tours with Local Guides
  • Storytelling Evening
  • Airfare  From Boston Logan International Airport

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Optional:

  • Pre or Post Tour Extension in Edinburgh or Glasgow
  • Travel Insurance

Details:
Cost Per Person:    $3,200
Deposit: $500
Single Supplement: $500
Full Payment due:  July 1, 2015

 

Wool and Whisky Tour September 15 -21, 2016

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A Wee Woolen Holiday

September 15-21, 2016

 

Join with us in traveling to the source of some of your favorite yarn!  This group is limited to 18 participants to ensure a more intimate experience.  We will have the opportunity to learn about Gansey sweater patterns from Di Gilpin on the grounds of Kellie Castle, go on a yarn crawl to two of Edinburgh’s independent yarn shops, and visit two historic wool mills – one producing yarn, and the other tartan cloth.

Kellie Castle

Non-knitters are welcome, and will have other options during knitting specific activities, such as a visit to St. Andrews, or The Scottish Whisky Experience in Edinburgh.  These options may be an additional cost, please inquire.

Lanark Spinning Co

Note: Small hotels in Scotland often do not have elevators – if you require a ground floor room, please note it on your registration.  Otherwise, please pack accordingly. Hotel staff are often willing to help if needed.

 

Dalwhinnie Distillery

Day by Day Itinerary:

Day 1        Friday, September 16

After arriving at Glasgow International Airport you will be transferred to Edinburgh to check in to The Parliament House Hotel.  Once settled into the hotel, those who are up for it can stroll down to The National Gallery and Princes Street Garden, and from there to the National Museum of Scotland for a guided Knitting and Textile focused tour and Afternoon Tea.  (If you require a break at the hotel, you can take a taxi directly to the National Museum.)  After tea, you will be free to explore Edinburgh.  Dinner will be on your own, if you require any!

Day 2      Saturday, September 17

After a fortifying breakfast, we will head up to explore Edinburgh Castle.   After lunch on our own, we will meet just down the street at St. Giles Cathedral for a 1 ½ hour walking tour which will illustrate the Secret History of Ediburgh as revealed through the architectural details of The Royal Mile.  From there we will have a taxi transfer for our yarn crawl, beginning with Ginger Twist and ending at Kathy’s Knits, Edinburgh’s premier British Wool Specialty Shop.  Dinner will be together at Stac Polly – yes, Scotland does have fine cuisine!  Non-Knitters will have many options for exploring on their own in Edinburgh, or may request to be booked on a tour of The Scottish Whisky Experience.  Prices vary.

Day 3        Sunday, September 18

After breakfast we will depart from Edinburgh and begin to explore the countryside.  Our first stop will be The Mill at New Lanark, where we will take a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which has been producing yarn and fabric since 1784.  After the tour, we will have lunch in the café, before heading north towards the Highlands.  We will stop at Doune Castle on our way north, which is famous for its roles in Outlander as well as Monty Python and The Holy Grail.  We will arrive in Pitlochry at The Pine Trees Hotel just in time to explore the town before dinner at the hotel.

Day 4     Monday, September 19

Enjoy breakfast at The Pine Trees Hotel before we embark on our day trip to discover the dramatic landscape the Scottish Highlands.  We will visit The Knockando Woolmill, which has been spinning and weaving since 1784.  They have recently restored the aging machinery and added new machines to increase production.  Special orders are still produced on the machines from the 1800’s.  After a light lunch, we will continue on to Cardhu Distillery for a tour and tasting of Uisghe Beagh – The Water of Life!  Time allowing, a stop at the Highland Folk Museum will give us a glimpse into how the use of wool has changed over the centuries in Scotland.    Dinner will be on our own in Pitlochry.

Day 5     Tuesday, September 20

After breakfast at the hotel, we will say goodbye to the highlands.  Heading south, we will begin our day with our knitting workshop on the old gansey fishermans sweater patterns with Di Gilpin.  There will be an option for those interested to tour Kellie Castle before we sit down for a light lunch.  After the workshop, we will hop in the bus again for a short trip to the Anstruther Fisheries Museum, where we will have the chance to view some of the old gansey fisherman knit sweaters we will have learned about.  Our day will end in Glasgow at The Belhaven Hotel.  Dinner will be on your own, with many fine restaurants to choose from.  Feel free to wander down the street to Yarn Cake – a yarn shop with a fine selection of British Wool and some absolutely delicious desserts!  Non-Knitters will be able to ride the bus into St. Andrews to explore the lovely seaside town, its castle and cathedral, and of course, The Old Course.

Day 6     Wednesday, September 21

After breakfast at The Belhaven, you can take a relaxing stroll through The Botanic Gardens, or pop down to the center of Glasgow for those last few souvenirs.   Then it is on to Glasgow International Airport for your flight home.

Optional Extensions Available:

Extensions are available for those wishing to arrive early or stay later to explore more of Scotland on their own.  Please note on the registration form if you are interested.

Sheep

Wool & Whisky 2016 Costs and Payment Schedule

Item                               Price Per Person               Due

Deposit                                 $500                          As Soon As Possible
2nd Payment                     $600                          June 1, 2016
Final Payment                   $630                         August 1, 2016
Total Cost:                        $1730.00 (Airfare not included)

Optional Extras:
Airfare                                Variable                        Upon Booking
Extensions                       Variable                       Upon Booking
Trip Insurance               Variable                        August 1, 2016
Single Supplement:   $400    (limited)         August 1, 2016

Whisky drink

Included in the Package Price:

  • 2 nights accommodation in Edinburgh’s Parliament House Hotel
  • 2 nights accommodation in Pitlochry’s Pine Trees Hotel
  • 1 night accommodation in Glasgow’s Belhaven Hotel
  • 5 Breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners and 1 Afternoon Tea
  • Entrance fees to the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Castle, Gladstone’s Land, Kellie Castle, Doune Castle, The Mill at New Lanark, Knockando Woolmill, Cardhu Distillery, The Highland Folk Museum and The Anstruther Fisheries Museum
  • Knitting Workshop with Di Gilpin
  • Scotland Airport transfers and Private bus

Not included in Package Price:

  • International Airfare
  • Soda, Alcoholic drinks and personal items
  • Gratuities
  • Trip Insurance
  • Yarn!
  • Extra Admissions for Non-Knitting Options
Limited Availability – contact Heather at Rowan Tree Travel for More information

Phone: (603) 731 5599
Email: heather@rowantreetravel.com

 

Small Group Cultural and Craft Tours of Northern Europe and Beyond

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