History Archives - Page 2 of 6 - Starr Tours & Charters
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2017 End of Year Recap and Thank You

As we approach the New Year, let’s take a look at the past, present, and future of Starr. Let’s also give thanks to everyone involved, from our readers to our drivers, our office staff to our Tour Directors, our Mechanics to our Travel Partners and finally our wonderful customers. We could not be the business we are today without the blessings and support from all of you.


The Past

The story of Starr starts with a bus – well, two buses actually. Our journey started in the year 1947. There were two transit buses that went in between Trenton and Hightstown, NJ. Back then, no one riding those buses knew that this little bus company would become one of the largest privately-owned tour and motocoach companies in America.


Then came the 1950s. Starr grew into a fleet of charter buses that were sleek and modern, unlike anything anyone had seen at the time. We started giving individual tours in the 1960s with the World’s Fair in New York and developed several and exciting bus trips – both day-trips and multi-day trips.


In the 80s and 90s, Starr developed into a first-class Tour Operator. With 80s hair and Culture Club pumping through our Walkman radios, Starr quickly became one of the largest operators of day trips and fabulous vacations in the United States.


The Present


Now, Starr is one of the best companies in the world. With luxurious motorcoaches, exclusive trips, and amazing customer service, Starr caters to your every need. We are constantly expanding and innovating within the bus industry and we are always on the lookout to provide every comfort and need. However, Starr wouldn’t be where it is today without the tireless work, determination, and support of many people and employees. From our Starr Family including Alan, Renee, Sandy and Pete, we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all who have helped us get here today and will continue to have us grow into tomorrow and beyond.


The Future


The future is bright! Not only are we continuing to evolve and improve ourselves, we also have several fun events planned. Next October, we will be celebrating our 71st birthday, so get ready to head south to our Myrtle Beach Birthday Bash!

Starr has come all this way thanks to all of you and we are all so eternally grateful. Let’s keep riding, folks! Stay tuned for our New Year´s Resolutions for the Young at Heart series where we will will examine four big vacations that will surely hit your bucket lists.

A Happy and Healthy New Year to All!

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!

Long Island?  Yes,  Long Island!

Long Island… or, as we NooYawkas say… Lawn Guyland.

Join me for a delightful getaway that’s a shorter ride than Washington, DC or Boston (which are also great trips!) there is so much to see, so close to home.

I grew up on Long Island, and always knew that there were interesting and beautiful places to see there, but would anyone else be interested?

Montauk Point Lighthouse

In the summer, my dad and mom would take us to Jones Beach or Oak Beach on the South Shore or maybe a longer ride out to the tip of the island: Montauk Point. My brother and I would climb up to the top of the lighthouse, look out over the Atlantic ocean and made believe we could see Europe. On a clear day, it really does seem like the view goes on forever!

Other times we’d visit my dad’s cousins in Glen Cove, part of the early 20th century Gold Coast of the North Shore, where I learned about the many mansions that the wealthy industrialists had built in that area between the 1890s and 1930s.

Around the turn-of-the-last-century, wealthy industrialists like Vanderbilt, Woolworth, Phipps, and duPont, seeking a retreat from urban life, built grand country estates surrounded by acres of landscaped grounds. Often modeled after English country houses, many of these properties were the work of America’s foremost architects and landscape designers.  The North Shore of Long Island, known as the Gold Coast, was a popular and convenient location that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in the United States.  Only a few mansions remain today as post-war inflation, the advent of property and income taxes, the expense of maintenance, and the need for more middle class housing, brought about the destruction of the large estates.

Westbury Gardens, Photo by Vince Kish

We’ll begin our Long Island experience with a stop at one of these grand country estates, Old Westbury Gardens. Built in 1906 and the former home of the Phipps family, this “magnificent Charles II-style mansion is nestled amid 200 acres of formal gardens, landscaped grounds, woodlands, ponds and lakes.  Westbury House is furnished with fine English antiques and decorative arts from the more than fifty years of the family’s residence.”

Our hotel in Riverhead is the nicest around, right at the head of the Peconic River, hence, its name.  We’ll spend the next day exploring the south fork towns of Long Island: The Hamptons, where the rich and famous now spend their leisure time,

Vanderbilt’s Eagle’s Nest

and Sag Harbor, an old whaling village with a fascinating history as one of the main ports of entry into the United States complete with antique shops and boutiques along its centuries old streets. And, of course, a trip to Long Island wouldn’t be complete without an exciting ride on the only road to Montauk Point and New York state’s oldest lighthouse that has stood there for over 200 years and still serves as an active aid to navigation.

Our trip rounds out the next day with a visit to the Eagle’s Nest, summer home to the Vanderbilts, with 24 rooms! We’ll learn about what life was like on the Gold Coast during this opulent time and all about the Vanderbilts’ eclectic collections.


There are plenty of reasons to take a trip to the island and Starr does a fantastic job of including the great highlights on their tour. I hope you will join me on October 1-3!


Bette Barr
Starr Tour Director

Great Spots for Kids in the Tri-State Area

If you’re lucky enough to live in the PA – NJ – NY Tri-State area, you know that you have a world of options at your fingertips for everything from the shore to the mountains with attractions centered on history, science, entertainment, and more! With summer vacation in full swing this convenience is especially handy as there are so many kid-friendly destinations that make great day trips.

Here are our favorites for a kid-friendly outing:

New Jersey:

Liberty Island & Ellis Island; Ferry departs from Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ – Recommended: 4 hours
Lady Liberty, a symbol of freedom that once welcomed immigrants into the harbors of NY, now welcomes visitors to her shores. On Ellis Island, discover your own history. Travel there on a bus trip with Starr!


Liberty Science Center; Jersey City, NJ – Recommended: 2 hours
Experience more than 250 interactive exhibits focused on invention, environment, and health as well as the nation’s largest IMAX screen.

Adventure Aquarium; Camden, NJ – Recommended: 2 ½ hours
Named “America’s Most Touchable Aquarium,” children and adults will delight in all that this great aquarium has to offer.
Grounds for Sculpture; Hamilton, NJ – Recommended: 2-3 hours
An extensive sculpture garden displaying works by established and emerging American and international sculptors in a variety of styles and media. The grounds stretch over 42-acres with ponds, cafes, picnic areas, and interactive/touchable pieces.
Cape May County Zoo
; Cape May, NJ – Recommended: 2 hours
Over 250 different species make up the 550 animals on Cape May County Zoo’s 85-acres of exhibits. Be sure to check out their Tree to Tree Adventure Park.


Amish Country; Lancaster, PA – Recommended: 1 day
Travel through Amish Farmlands and experience Amish history, clothing, customs, and culture. Go there on a bus trip with Starr!
Hersheypark & Hershey’s Chocolate World;
Hershey, PA – Recommended: 1 day
Experience Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour ride, complete with your own free Hershey’s sample, then head over to Hersheypark for over 60 rides and attractions. Hershey, PA is one very sweet destination!

Turkey Hill Experience
; Columbia, PA – Recommended: 2 hours
Explore Turkey Hill’s history while highlighting its ice cream and iced tea making processes. The Experience includes interactive exhibits, including a chance to make your own virtual ice cream flavor, a gift shop, and lots of other fun things!


Philadelphia Zoo; Philadelphia, PA – Recommended: 3 hours
Experience this 42-acre garden that is home to more than 1,300 animals, many of which are rare and endangered.


Franklin Institute; Philadelphia, PA – Recommended 3-4 hours
Located in the heart of Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute is one of America’s most celebrated museums – a renowned leader in science and technology.

New York:

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
; New York City, NY – Recommended: 2 hours
Get up close and personal with over 200 historical figures, world leaders, celebrities, and more!

Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum
; New York City, NY – Recommended: 2 ½ hours
On the aircraft carrier Intrepid, experience interactive exhibits and events providing a snapshot of heroism, education, and excitement.


American Museum of Natural History; New York City, NY – Recommended: 2 ½ – 4 hours depending on activities
The museum serves as a field guide to the entire planet and presents a panorama of the world’s cultures.

Top of the Rock
; New York City, NY – Recommended: 1 hour
Standing 70 stories above the city, you will find an unobstructed 360° panoramic view of Manhattan and surrounding areas.
NBC Studio Tour
; New York City, NY – Recommended: 75 minutes
Visit the NBC Sharp Globe Theater, Broadcast Operations, the Make-up Room, and even produce your very own news and weather program in the High Definition Mini-Control Studio!

Your kids will love any of these attractions, and you will, too! Make this the best summer yet for your whole family.

What tri-state area attractions would you recommend? Share in the comments below!

Favorite Picnic Recipes from Starr

Summer is upon us and that means the season of picnic potlucks has begun!

Here are some favorite, go-to crowd-pleasers from Starr:

Paula Deen’s Broccoli Cole Slaw
This is always a big hit when I make it for BBQ’s – Lisa Lande, Human Resources


Slaw Ingredients:
2 (3 oz) bags of Ramen Noodle Soup in Oriental (other flavors will work, too)
3/4 stick of butter
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 (12 oz) bags broccoli cole slaw
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
chopped green onions for garnish

Dressing Mix:
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown or white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Ramen Noodle seasoning packet


Put the Ramen noodles in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin while melting butter in a large skillet over low/medium heat. Add the crushed noodles and slivered almonds to the skillet and saute, stirring occasionally (keep temperature at low/medium heat). Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Place the shredded broccoli into bowl and toss with the noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Orzo Salad
This Orzo Salad is always a hit at a party or gathering. Someone always asks for the recipe! – Diane Gillispie, Executive Assistant

12 oz. Orzo pasta
2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups crumbled seasoned Feta cheese
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
4 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts


Cook Orzo according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 2 tbs. olive oil. Add crumbled Feta cheese, chopped bell peppers, Kalamata Olives, green onions, and capers.
Combine lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt & pepper.
Add dressing to Orzo mixture and toss to blend.
Can be prepared in advance. Cover and refrigerate.

Baked Beans
Friends & family love this baked beans recipe.  Whenever I made them for parties/picnics – I got wonderful compliments.  It’s delicious – especially piping hot!! – Linda Ruggieri, Tour Services

2 (16 oz) cans of baked beans
1 onion – chopped
½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup of maple syrup
¼ cup of spicy mustard
¾ cups of ketchup
8 slices of bacon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, stir together the baked beans, onion, brown sugar, syrup, ketchup and mustard.
Pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Lay strips of bacon across the top.

Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bacon is browned and the beans have thickened.

Pigs in a Blanket
There isn’t much to this recipe, but they’re my favorite! – Cassie Coate, Sales Assistant

8 frankfurters
8 slices American cheese
1 (10 oz) package of refrigerated biscuit dough


Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Wrap cheese around each frankfurter, then the biscuit around that. Put on a cookie sheet with the overlap of the biscuit faced down, so you don’t have to use toothpicks. Bake in preheated oven until biscuits are brown, about 10-15 minutes.

South Carolina Sweet Vinegar Coleslaw
Among the South’s great flavormates are barbeque and coleslaw. This favored rendition – a sweet but tangy combination of shredded cabbage and onion – provides the perfect foil to smoky meats or stews. It also is a welcome addition to another Southern favorite, the vegetable plate. This salad is best made the day of serving. – Carole Brown, Starr Tour Director

2 green bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 large head green cabbage, about 3 lb., cored and shredded
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
4 carrots, grated
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon celery seeds
Thinly-sliced red bell pepper rings for garnish


In a large nonreactive serving bowl, combine the chopped bell peppers, cabbage, onions, and carrots and set aside.

In a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, oil and vinegar.  Add the mustard, salt, pepper and celery seeds and stir until well blended.  Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.

Pour the hot dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss until well blended and evenly coated with dressing.  Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.

To serve, garnish with thinly sliced red bell pepper rings, if desired.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

(From The South: The Beautiful Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from the American South, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1996, pp. 40-41)

Antipasto on a stick
This goes really well with a glass of wine (I recommend a nice Rose) and Italian bread! – Randi Charen, Retail & Group Travel Advisor


Fresh Basil
Small mozzarella balls
Grape tomatoes
Assorted Italian meats
* you can substitute for your taste preference


Place food onto a long toothpick in any order you choose
Lay on a plate
Drizzle with balsamic glaze and EVOO, pinch of kosher salt and pepper
Refrigerate and enjoy.

Star Spangled Dip from Tostitos
I love making food that looks like something else! When you’re finished, this layered bean dip looks like the American flag. – Dawn Nachbaur, Tour Services

1 bag of Tostitos Bite Size Tortilla Chips
1 jar of medium salsa
2 cans of Fritos bean dip
2 cups of shredded cheese
2 cups guacamole
1 bunch of chopped scallions
1 (24 oz) container of sour cream
35 grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
50 sliced olives – drained on a paper towel


Evenly spread your bean dip on the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish. Generously sprinkle the cheddar cheese and scallions on top.
Add a layer of salsa.
Layer on the guacamole, and top it off with a sour cream layer. Use as much sour cream as you need to give your flag a white base.
Build the rows of tomato and Tostitos chips, alternating tomato and chip until you have 3 rows (stripes) of tomatoes, and 3 rows of chips.
When you get to the third chip row, start placing your olives on the top left half (corner). Be sure your olives are “dry” so that the juice doesn’t run on the sour cream. The spacing of the olives is a row of 6, then a row of 5, until there are 9 rows and 50 “stars.”
Continue making the tomato and chip stripes on the right side until you have finished your flag.

Beef Hamburgers
These simple burgers are always a crowd pleaser! – Margie Mangione, Travel Advisor

1 lb. ground beef
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing & seasoning mix
2 onions
a handful of chopped parsley


Mix all of the ingredients together and form hamburgers. Poke a small hole in the center with your finger and toss on the grill.

Marilyn’s Green Salad
This recipe from my grandmother is from the good ol’ days of Jello salads and was always my favorite as a kid! It’s sweet, refreshing, and lightly savory.  – Shana D’Attilio, Marketing

1 large package of lime jello
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup of cottage cheese
1 small can of crushed pineapple
1/2 cup of mayonaise
1/3 cup canned Cowden milk


Dissolve the jello in the hot water and add sugar. Add the remainder of the ingredients and refrigerate until firm.

Rice Pudding
I was never a fan of rice pudding, until I tried this recipe. It’s to die for! – Nancy Reese, Product Development

3 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup of rice
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla


Heat milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, and cinnamon stick. Stir in rice; reduce heat; cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, cream, and remaining sugar and vanilla.
Stir in rice mixture. Bring to a boil; cook; stirring for 2 minutes.
Transfer to a serving dish; cool and serve.


Share your favorite picnic recipes in the comments below!