October 2017 - Starr Tours & Charters
The Magic of Radio City

The Magic of Radio City

One of my favorite childhood memories is watching the movie Annie when I was a little girl and delighting with wonder and fascination at the scene where Daddy Warbucks takes Annie to Radio City to watch the Rockettes perform. I stared at the beautiful dancers in the same way Annie did, with such wonder and fascination, as the Christmas carols played in the background. Although I am far from being a red-haired orphan living in the 1930s, the wonder of the Rockettes is a universal feeling, one that many have shared for decades.


There is nothing quite like the holiday magic of Radio City Music Hall, which opened in 1932. Over 300 million people have flocked to the theatre to escape to the world created between the velvet curtains. Despite being 80 years old, the theatre still creates that pure sense of joy and wonder for people of all ages, while staying true to its history and roots. This season, millions will take a step back in time and enjoy the Christmas Spectacular which has wowed audiences from around the world with sparkling costumes, twinkling lights, and of course, the high-kicking Rockettes.


The first Christmas Spectacular, which debuted in December of 1933, was only thirty minutes long, but today the show has bloomed into a 90-minute celebration of the holiday season straight off the pages of a storybook. However, to the delight of audiences everywhere, two iconic numbers done by the Rockettes have remained completely unchanged for decades. “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity” give the same holiday joy to millions over, and over again while transporting them back to a similar, classic era.


Every April, hundreds of New York’s best dancers strap on their tap shoes to audition for a chance to dazzle audiences on one of the world’s most famous dance teams, the Rockettes, and continue this iconic piece of history. Over 3,000 women have performed as Rockettes, and even more hope of someday joining the kick line that so many dancers dream of being a part of. Those dances have become a part of history, and many want to continue that tradition.


This season, you can be part of history and experience the timeless beauty of the Christmas Spectacular. Take a relaxing motorcoach trip and gawk at New York City, glistening and shiny with the Christmas season. Then, take a step back in time to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Spectacular like no one has seen it before. Watching from Orchestra Seats, you’ll be immersed in the sounds and sights of show. Finally enjoy some free time, and look at the cheery holiday energy in the City, maybe watch the skaters at Rockefeller Center, or just enjoy a bite to eat under that massive Christmas tree. This is an experience that is essential for the holiday season. Dazzle your eyes, maybe bring a little dancer with you, and book your trip now. Starr tours has 28 departures this year – but tickets are selling fast. Spend a day in the city with us and experience this once in a lifetime opportunity!

The Science Behind Fall Foliage

The Science Behind Fall Foliage

There’s something about fall weather that people just seem to love. From drinking apple cider to hayrides, and dressing in spooky costumes for Halloween, fall is a great old pumpkin of fun. But my favorite part of fall is watching the leaves change color and turn into brilliant shades of red and yellow before floating to the ground. But why do the leaves do what they do? Come with me on a scientific journey as we find out why! So welcome to Melanie’s fall foliage spectacular! I will be taking the role of sort-of a Bill Nye the Science Guy character as we discuss the interesting science behind fall leaves.


Nighttime Gives Leaves Their Color

When I was in school, we learned what makes leaves green is this magic little stuff called Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what enables the leaves to take carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into the sugars and starch that feed the plant. When the days begin to get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, the trees begin to go into a state of dormancy or hibernation and slow down their food making process thus producing less chlorophyll. It’s kind of like how our skin gets paler in the winter because we are outside much less often. Well, except I am a human and these are leaves, but you get the picture.




The Chemistry of Great Foliage

There are three pigments that give leaves their color:

Chlorophyll uses the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into food for the plant and gives the leaves their green color.

Carotenoids are the pigment that give many fruits and vegetables, like carrots and bananas, their bright yellow/orange coloring. They are always present in the leaves, but are often masked by the green of the chlorophyll.

Anthocyanins are responsible for the red coloring of cranberries, apples, and other fruits and vegetables. This pigment only shows up in autumn under the right circumstances and is not produced by all trees.

Every color observed during the fall is a result of the mixing of varying amounts of chlorophyll residue and other pigments in the leaf. As the days become shorter and the chlorophyll breaks down, the carotenoids get their opportunity to shine through, thus giving the leaves their common yellow/orange coloring. In the warm autumn days, the leaves can produce a lot of sugar, but cold nights prevent the sugar sap from flowing from the leaf veins into the branches and down the trunk. In order to recover the nutrients in the leaves before they fall, the tree produces anthocyanins and the result is brilliant red leaves.

So, what is the perfect combination for a fabulous display of fall foliage? The winning combination is a warm growing season with a lot of moisture in the air, a summer that isn’t too hot or too dry, and a warm, sunny autumn with cold nights. These cold nights are very important, but temperatures need to stay above freezing as frost will cause more subdued reds. A severe drought will delay the leaves changing color, and a warm wet fall will dampen the intensity of the colors. Heavy wind or rain can also cause the leaves to fall before they fully develop color.


The Science Behind Purple Leaves

Temperature, sunlight, and soil moisture all play roles in how exactly the leaves will look in the fall. We know what exactly causes the leaves to change, but what determines what color they will turn into? Back to anthocyanins! The key to getting purple leaves is also cooler nighttime air. If you notice, we haven’t had a whole lot of purple and red leaves this year, and that’s probably because the nights have been warmer. Science is cool, right?


So the next time you look out the window and see a glistening leaf floating gently to the ground, think about the fascinating science behind it!

Not Your Parent’s Motorcoach

Bus travel has changed a lot in the past few years. Long gone are the days of cramped quarters, stuffy interiors, and endless hours with nothing to do. Modern motorcoaches now come with a host of amenities, unheard of several years ago, to make your ride smooth, easy, and comfortable. As we add new coaches to our fleet, we are making conscious decisions about what to change and improve upon to make your ride even better.


Here are modern improvements that we are currently adding across our fleet:


Wi-Fi Access:
Did you know? All of our motorcoaches now come with wifi so that you can leave home, but stay connected to family and friends. Share pictures and notes to social media, play a game, listen to music, read the news – the world is at your fingertips with your ipad or smartphone connected. We’re a mobile hotspot of connectivity!

Speaking of being connected, when you’re on the road (or at home) be sure to check out Starr’s Facebook page, Twitter account, or Pinterest boards and share your pictures and comments with us!


Onboard Entertainment:
Today’s buses now feature state-of-the-art entertainment systems with a PA System for important announcements and fascinating information to accompany your journey as well as DVD players and TV monitors to make the time pass a bit more quickly.



Comfortable Seating:
Long gone are the days of stiff backed, hard seats. As we add new coaches to our fleet, we consider ways to improve your ride all the way down to what type of upholstery works best. The seats in today’s motorcoaches are more ergonomic with foot rests, arm rests, and reclining options.



Power Outlets:
Stay connected, and stay charged! Our newer buses come with power outlets so that you never have to worry about losing battery power while on vacation.




Starr stays on the cutting edge of all safety regulations, trainings, and practices to ensure that we are prepared for anything. Our drivers undergo rigorous training before being hired. We have some of the strictest regulations in the industry to ensure the well-being of our drivers and passengers, and we are constantly making improvements to stay on top. We take your safety very seriously, find out more here.


Clean buses and cleaner energy:
Our staff is committed to giving you a clean and comfortable ride all the way so that you can relax and enjoy your trip. And while you are relaxing, you can also rest assured that you are doing something great for the environment while you do something good for yourself! Did you know? A couple traveling by motorcoach while on vacation cuts their carbon footprint nearly in half, even when compared to driving a hybrid vehicle. Click here to check out all of the ways that motorcoach travel is greener!


So, the next time you are planning your family’s vacation, be sure to check out Starr’s lineup of fabulous tours! Great memories are made on motorcoaches and now they are better than ever!