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No men? No kids? (No pets?!) Excursions for women

Email|Print| Text size + By Richard P. Carpenter
Globe Staff / June 12, 2005

Even with Father's Day comin' around the corner, news releases about trips for women only far outweigh those concerning all-male excursions. It's not that guys don't travel together, but I suspect their trips tend to be more last-minute and loosely organized, as in: ''Let's rent a cottage, grab a six-pack, and go!" In any event, there is always a plethora of women-only excursions. Here are a few:

Women Traveling Together is offering a two-nation vacation to Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Oct. 13-18 for $1,550. The price includes lodging, four dinners, sightseeing and other activities, airport transfers, and train and ferry transportation. It does not include air fare. Join Women Traveling Together for a $45 annual fee and get $75 off. Put $250 down by July 13 and get another $50 off. Statistically, any given tour by the group consists of 30 percent married women, 55 percent single or divorced, and 15 percent widowed.

Visit www.women-traveling.com or call 410-956-5250.

Paddling Ontario is an alliance of 24 tourism operators that concentrate on women's wellness in the wilderness, with accommodations, outfitting services, and canoe and kayaking packages. Among paddling experiences is one in Ontario's far north, providing an opportunity to see bears, birds, and belugas. The Kayak to Hudson Bay package from Canoe Frontier Expeditions is scheduled Aug. 15-22 and costs about $2,625. Meanwhile, Grand River Experiences offers Women of the Grand, a weekend of learning paddling skills, for about $190 per person. It's an overnight camping experience that sets off from the pretty town of Paris, famous for quaint shops and riverside cafes.

Visit www.paddlingontario.com or phone 705-745-9343.

The Women's Travel Club, which boasts that it is ''designed by women for women," is planning its ''umpteenth group trip" to Canyon Ranch Health Resort in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Oct. 19-23 and 26-30. The day begins with a morning walk, includes age-appropriate classes, and finishes with talks and often well-known speakers. There are day trips for hiking, canoeing, visiting local museums, and seeing the sights as well. The price of $1,820 is all-inclusive, once you arrive at the airport or train station, and provides a $400 allowance toward spa and sport activities and $110 toward health and healing services. To participate, you must join the Women's Travel Club, with annual dues of $35 a year or $65 for two years.

Visit www.womenstravelclub.com or call 800-480-4448.

''Adventure vacations for women of average age 50 is the fastest-growing segment of the travel market," says Susan Eckert, who founded AdventureWomen Inc. 23 years ago, when participants in women-only adventures had to fend off questions such as, ''What's wrong with your marriage?" Times have changed: Among AdventureWomen's many upcoming trips is Trekking Nepal's Himalayas, Oct. 26-Nov. 11 for $5,495, including air fare from Los Angeles. For details on that and lower-priced trips, visit www.adventurewomen.com or call 800-804-8686.

Next April 29-May 10, a small group of women from across the United States will fly from Boston to Ireland for a 10-day, all-inclusive trip led by Ann Quinlan of Massachusetts and Ireland and Frederica Chapman of Maine, both of whom have had extensive experience in women's workshops and Ireland journeys. Workshops and daily offerings include sharing circles, meditation, yoga, reiki, poetry reading and writing, mythical sites, holy wells, storytelling, and (they promise) laughter. The all-inclusive price (except air fare) will be about $3,500.

(The fine print: Only 18 can make the trip. Deposits of $1,000 are required by Sept. 1, with full payment by Nov. 1.)

Visit www.spiraljourneys.com.

Women-only trips to Las Vegas are becoming increasingly popular. The newly expanded Salon Bellagio at the casino-resort has two-hour, $350 Girlfriends Packages available through Oct. 31, even if you are not staying at Bellagio. The Mother & Daughter Package is highlighted by tea and scones, with cream, while having a milk-bath manicure and pedicure in Salon Bellagio's private suite. The Girlfriends' Polynesian Package presents an elaborate manicure and pedicure based on an ancient Polynesian bathing ritual for arms, hands, and feet, complete with floating tropical flowers and Hawaiian music, along with a four-course lunch from the hotel's new Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie.

To book an appointment, call 702-693-8385; reservations are accepted up to three months in advance. For salon details, visit www.bellagio.com and click on Amenities, then Spa & Salon.

Trek Travel has a women-only, five-night biking trip to California Wine Country for $2,475, departing Sept. 18, and using new Women's Specific Design bicycles. The trips feature activities such as yoga, cooking, and painting.

Call 866-GO4-TREK (464-8735) or visit www.trektravel.com.

Gutsy Women Travel is offering a ''bring a friend" promotion, in which travelers receive $100 off the price of their tour for each friend who books -- and the friend also gets $100 off. Among several available trips is a five-day escorted tour of Quebec City, leaving Aug. 17. Included are airport transfers, four nights at the Hôtel Manoir Victoria, four breakfasts, two lunches, three dinners, and an afternoon tea at Le Château Frontenac. There will be visits to several wineries, a cooking class on French-Canadian cuisine, a visit to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, an exploration of the Copper Museum, a tour of Quebec City, a visit to a working flour mill, and a ''ghost walking" tour of the city. Prices begin at $1,299 per person.

Visit www.gutsywomentravel.com or call 866-IM-GUTSY.

When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Richard P. Carpenter can be reached at carpenter@globe.com.

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