Editor's note: Today begins a new column about activities and events offered through the Traverse City Senior Center.
Imagine unfolding scenes of castles, kingdoms and cathedrals as you travel down the Rhine and Mosel rivers from Basel, Switzerland, to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Imagine retracing the routes of history, as you pass by quaint villages and sloping vineyards in elegant river cruising in the heart of Europe.
Or, in the 2010 list just released by the Travel Alliance, imagine taking in breathtaking Alaska by cruising the Inside Passage on a trip that begins in Fairbanks and is highlighted by the stern-wheeler Discovery and a journey to Denali National Park.
The Travel Alliance was initiated in 2001 between the Traverse City Senior Center and the Leelanau County Commission on Aging. Antrim County was added in 2009.
For many years, trips were offered to seniors within each organization, sometimes creating overlap. By combining their efforts, they can provide more diverse travel programs and lessen cancellations due to too few reservations.
The new tours for the 2010 travel year feature destinations including Branson, Mo., by train from Grand Rapids; a bus tour of the heart of Texas; a patriotic guided tour of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore; the glitz and glitter of New York City; a late summer tour to coastal Massachusetts and Boston; autumn in the U.P.; and a look at the Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch culture in Lancaster County with a stop in Hershey, Pa., to sample the chocolate.
Also on the list are mini-trips in our own region, trips to see the Detroit Tigers, Pistons and the Red Wings and interesting day trips.
"I had heard that Pat Thompson ran a very good tour and was well prepared," said Sheri Varner, a recent traveler on the New York tour. "It was my first trip with Travel Alliance. The people on the trip were local and I felt comfortable going as a single person."