DESTINATIONS & GUIDES

Nine Muses Travel takes its name from the nine muses of Greek mythology. Daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (representing memory), these nine goddesses ruled over poetry, history, dance, astronomy, comedy, music, and song and were called upon by anyone needing inspiration. Because our distinctive trips are infused with local culture and history, what better source to guide our travel inspiration than the muses? As it was a centuries-old tradition to invoke the muses at the start of artistic endeavors, please enjoy these sample itineraries to spark ideas for your next trip, whether you’re traveling in a group or simply with family and friends. These are locations near to my heart, and I’m always
happy to talk about them! Let’s get inspired, together.

CONTACT ME

PORTUGAL

Best time of year to visit: 

I carry much saudade for this beautiful country and its warm and welcoming people and would personally visit any time of year!  When traveling in the north and Douro Valley, I recommend visiting in Spring when the camellias and almond trees are blooming and in Fall during grape harvest season. Lisbon is a relaxed and beautiful city filled with museums and enough to entertain year-round, however spring and fall are really ideal. Spring and fall are also best for the Alentejo region where this more undiscovered region of Portugal has fields of wildflowers in the spring and bountiful fall harvests. The Algarve, where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic, can be a year round destination with a long spring and summer and short but mild winter. The spectacular Azores and island of Madeira are best from June to September to avoid the winter rainy season.  The winter months tend to be rainy throughout the country, but it rarely snows in Portugal. Keep in mind, the off season can be great for deals if you just bring an umbrella!

Itinerary suggestion:

Porto & Douro Valley River Cruise

Portugal is my favorite country, so it’s hard to choose just one itinerary to recommend! But a 7-night cruise along the stunning Douro River is arguably Europe’s most beautiful river cruise and a spectacular way to experience this region.  Portugal is a relatively small country, so you can easily pair your Douro River cruise with a land trip featuring places like Coimbra, Fatima, Tomar, Obidos, Sintra, Cascais, Evora and can’t-miss Lisbon.

 

Highlights:

  • Marvel at the lush, undulating landscapes as you sail past vineyards and villages from the comfort of your ship. Unpack once and relax into the magic of the Douro Valley.

  • Sample incredible local delicacies and wines throughout the majestic Douro Valley, the oldest demarcated and regulated wine region in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

  • Admire a range of architectural styles including the Mateus manor home and gardens, the medieval castle of a quaint hilltop village, and Rem Koolhaas’ Casa da Música.

  • Stroll through the whimsical gardens of Quinta da Aveleda and enjoy a tasting of their wines including the regional Vinho Verde.

  • Explore the captivating city of Porto and its riverfront historic quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Step inside the Lello Bookshop which inspired loyal customer JK Rowling and see São Bento Railway Station’s terrific azulejos (decorative tiles) depicting scenes of Portuguese history.

 

Exclusives:

  • Because of my long-standing relationships in Portugal and throughout the Douro Valley and Porto, I’m able to arrange many unique excursions and activities for my clients that you won’t find on any standard cruise itinerary!  Contact me to learn more.

CUBA

Best time of year to visit:

Havana will keep half of your heart any time of year, but December to May is recommended for its drier, sunny days. The wet season starts in June, and hurricane season from August to October should be avoided.

 

Itinerary suggestion:

Cuba Cultural Experience
Few places on earth have such an allure to the American imagination as Cuba. For all its complexities, it’s an unforgettable place that will enchant you with its Caribbean breezes, incredibly vibrant art scene, colonial Spanish architecture, fascinating history, and all those classic cars!

 

On a "Support for the Cuban People" program, which is still legal even after the June 2019 restrictions, you'll discover an array of Cuban artists working in all media and possibly find yourself starting your own original Cuban art collection. Venture outside Havana to places like Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba and gain a deeper understanding of this captivating country. A cultural exploration of Cuba and meeting with  the local people will make a journey you won’t ever forget.

 

Highlights:

  • Stay in deluxe private accommodations

  • Promote local Cuban entrepreneurship

  • Join exceptional cross-cultural experiences

  • Connect with locals in a meaningful way

  • Enjoy well-planned tours with established tour companies licensed to legally operate in Cuba with "Support for the Cuban People" programs

  • Five and eight day immersive culinary tours available

  • Stroll through the lovely plazas in Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • Visit a vintage car repair shop and talk with the owners about how they keep them running

  • Mingle with Cuban revelers at Havana's Fabrica de Arte Cubano and admire all kinds of arts- music, painting, dance and more, housed in a re-purposed factory

  • Dine in a variety of authentic “paladars,” restaurants that are privately owned

  • Walk the colorful streets of charming Trinidad and visit the gallery Lazaro Nieblas who creates lifelike portraits of Cubans using reclaimed wood from the town’s shutters and doors

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Exclusives:

  • There are many engaging “Support for the Cuban People” activities we can include in Cuba including visiting dance companies in rehearsal and working artists in their studios. YES, you can relax and enjoy your insightful trip packed with the arts, culture and history of this island nation.

ENGLAND

Best time of year to visit: 

Any! The English climate is relatively temperate without extreme highs or lows, and Spring and Fall are good for warm, dry weather.  English garden trips are best in May when you’ll also want to attend the famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. (I can arrange Member Day tickets.) And of course, London is London, amazing any time of year.

 

Itinerary suggestion:

London & Stratford Theater 

London is a theater-lover’s dream, from the National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and Almeida Theatre to West End celebrities, fringe venues, and pub theater, and we can arrange for you to see as many shows as you like. Of course, Shakespeare fans will flock to Stratford to walk in his footsteps and attend performances by the preeminent Royal Shakespeare Company, and you will have the added benefit of exploring the bard’s hometown with a resident expert. With evening show schedules, this kind of trip can be designed to avoid early morning activities, and since London has so much to offer, ample free time will be included to visit your favorite parts of the city. I’ve worked for theaters in London, so I understand the scene and how exciting a well-executed theater trip can be.  For an added jolt of theater, consider including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August!

 

Highlights:

  • Pre-arranged tickets at productions you choose (I’m happy to make recommendations!)

  • Go behind the scenes at Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre

  • Tour the extensive Theatre and Performance collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum

  • Walk the West End with a theater historian and learn about its colorful past

  • Stay overnight in Stratford, tour the home of the RSC and see shows on both stages: the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and its more intimate Swan Theatre.

  • A centrally-located hotel in London will be your home away from home

 

 

Exclusives:

  • In Stratford, I can arrange a private viewing of priceless archival documents including rare original copies of Shakespeare’s sourcebooks. For groups in London, even more exclusive access opportunities are possible.  Contact me to learn more.

 

HUDSON VALLEY

Best time of year to visit: 

Late Spring and Summer are good times to visit, but Fall really comes alive with spectacular foliage and the spirit of Halloween. This is where you find the actual town of Sleepy Hollow, after all!

 

Itinerary suggestion:

Hudson Valley Art & Estates

New York’s Hudson River Valley has played a vital role in American history, industry and art, and there is something for everyone to enjoy here.  The valley offers a wealth of Gilded Age manors, homes of prominent writers and painters as well as rich American history, excellent cuisine and breathtaking views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. You can explore eclectic architectural heritage ranging in style from the first Dutch homes to Gothic Revival villas. The famous Hudson River School of artists in the mid-19th century captured the surrounding majestic landscapes, but there’s nothing like experiencing them for yourself. Of course you’ll want to include New York City in your trip, and you might also consider adding time to explore Catskills enclaves or take in the culture and scenery of the neighboring Berkshires.

Highlights:

  • In New York, tour The Met’s American Wing featuring Hudson River School artists. Later on, tour you’ll visit Cedar Grove and Olana, the former homes of Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, luminaries of America’s first artistic movement.

  • Enter the residences of prominent art collectors for private tours.

  • Enjoy private, guided mansion tours at Boscobel, Wilderstein, Vanderbilt, Kykuit, Sunnyside and more - discovering the history of the sites, their illustrious former inhabitants and important collections of art and lovely period decor.

  • Admire world-class modern and contemporary art in unique environments at Storm King Art Center (outdoor sculpture park) and Dia:Beacon (converted industrial space).

  • Savor incredible food and wine at the Culinary Institute of America, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and the Valley’s many wineries set amid lush surroundings

 

Exclusives:

  • I have great professional relationships throughout the Hudson Valley from years of designing itineraries in this region and can arrange curator-led tours and private events at several historic estates and museums! Contact me to learn more.

 

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