History Archives - Page 2 of 7 - Starr Tours & Charters
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Summer of Starr

How it is that I feel like I just took out my white pants, when in reality Memorial Day was 2 months go? How is it that our (first and last) family-day-at-the-beach is planned for Labor Day Weekend, just a few days from now? Summer has flown by! But it’s no surprise – time flies when you’re having fun. Can we ever slow it down?

 

Here’s a recap of the “Summer of Starr” that brought so many of us wonderful travel memories:

On our Agawa Canyon bus trip, Carole Brown and her group had a wonderfully scenic train ride to the bottom of the Canyon where tour guests had some time to spend and take in the beautiful Canadian landscape. Do you think the Starr Bus was going to race the train? Hmmmm…

 

 

You can’t look for ponies on Assateague Island on an empty stomach which is why we stop for lunch at Phillip’s Crab House in Ocean City. Sure looked like the group was enjoying their meal. Glad the weather held out for them, too! Starr Tour Director Angie made sure the weather forecast was looking good!

 

 

 

Tour Director MaryAnne and Driver Bill (also MaryAnne’s husband) had a great time on their trip to Cape Cod. This shot shows 40 happy hands in the air at the National Seashore. Our fabulous tour guests loved Starr’s new hotel and the Dune Riding Tour was the favorite activity!

 

 

Our 3-day Bus Trip to New York’s Hudson Valley stopped for a visit to FDR’s Hyde Park home where Tour Director Bette snapped a photo of these two lovely couples: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and two happy Starr bus tour guests. We also stopped at West Point, a Winery, Innisfree Gardens, Vanderbilt Mansion and did a Boat Cruise. It was a busy but memorable trip!

 

 

 

For the first time in many years, we operated a bus tour to the American side of the Falls – where you don’t need your passport. These (thankfully) dry Starr travelers had a wild time on the Maid of the Mist Boat Cruise with their Tour Director Karen. On this Niagara USA bus trip we wanted to make sure our tour guests got up close and personal with the Falls! The feedback was very positive for this first-time tour itinerary and the tour guests loved staying at the Seneca Niagara Casino Resort!

 

Penny Rudolph, Starr Tour Director and resident photographer, took this wonderful group shot on our August trip to Quebec City and Montreal. Our Canadian neighbors welcomed us with open arms and warm hospitality. Boy the Hilton Quebec City is magnificent and in a great location!

 

 

Summer heated up with Christine Durling and her tour guests on this trip to the Yuengling Brewery and Jerry’s Classic Cars & Collectible Museum. We tasted some beers at America’s Oldest Brewery and then relived the past at Jerry’s with over 20,000 interesting items! What fun!

 

 

So as you can see, the summer flew by but here is an example where Starr tour guests stopped to take care of themselves. They treated themselves to a wonderful vacation that delivered memories that will last much longer than our short 2 month summer! Don’t let the fall pass you by, we have lots of bus trips to choose from!

What memorable trips did you take this summer?

Throwback to the Days of Great Adventure

Great Adventure’s Safari Tours are a common snapshot in the family vacation albums of many families in the tri-state area. From 1974 – 2012, visitors to the safari park had the freedom to drive their family vehicles through the wilds and have up close and personal (at times very personal) experiences with the animals. Chances are you or someone you know has a story about the time the giraffe stuck its head through their sunroof, or the time the chimps climbed up on top of the car and stole their windshield wiper. These stories are a part of Starr’s history, too!

The motorcoach in the picture is parked in the hospitality area of Great Adventure. It’s #116, one of 6 sister coaches purchased in 1988 – with a 49 passenger capacity and onboard lavatory.

Starr ran a regular daily shuttle through Great Adventure’s safari for at least 5 years, providing up to 15 buses per day. Starr owner, Alan Glickman, dispatched the buses on the weekend when the demand was the greatest and even drove the route through the park from time to time! He often joked that the buses were going to the “Monkey Farm.”

The shuttle service began as a solution to the problem some Great Adventure customers encountered when the chimps in the safari started tearing up and eating the vinyl roofs and other parts from personal cars that drove through the park. For a small fee, customers who did not want to take the “Baboon Bypass” to spare their own fragile cars, could ride on safari shuttle buses through the park and avoid possible damage to their vehicles. We typically sent our older buses to run the Great Adventure Safari Shuttle because of the threat of damage by the animals and the off-road route they had to travel through the safari. The monkeys often tore off the bus’ wipers and ate the marker lights so we had to replace the plastic lenses with glass ones in order to stop the damage. Alan says there was other monkey business that occurred, too, but it’s “too dirty” to talk about in this post. On personal vehicles, over 100 vinyl tops were torn off daily and Alan recounts watching cars finish the safari trip with only bare grey metal left on the cars’ roofs.

Thunderstorms were another challenge as the safari tours ran rain or shine and the storms would often get the animals excited. Alan recounts that there were several lion and tiger attacks on the bus’ front tires and adds that breakdowns in the middle of the safari were an “adventure” for mechanics and drivers! Alan’s wife, Renee, recalls many a summer weekend when he would be away from home tending to his dispatch duties at the park.

When Great Adventure, now Six Flags Great Adventure, ceased allowing personal cars to ride through the safari in September of 2012, the decision was met with nostalgic regret and hopeful relief. It was the end of an era for many who fondly recalled the “great adventure” of driving through the park and making memories with their family and the animals. While for others, it was a shift in the right direction for the welfare of the animals.

Today, Six Flags still operates a safari park with the Safari Off-Road Adventure included in the price of general admission and visitors get to ride in rugged off-road vehicles specially designed for splashing through ponds, climbing hills, and over rugged terrain as they traverse the 350-acre preserve.

What’s your favorite memory of Great Adventure’s Safari? Share it in the comments section!

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!

 

Fondly,
Bette Barr
Starr Tour Director