Meet Barbara B: VBT’s Traveler of the Month for September 2013

Iconic Rome
One of our favorite things about providing excellent active vacations all over the world is hearing about all the different places our guests have traveled with us. We’d like to introduce you to September’s VBT Traveler of the Month, Barbara from Kansas City, who recently returned from her 6th VBT vacation! Barbara and her husband Ken traveled on our Amalfi Coast & Capri Walking Vacation where they  had another fabulous vacation. We had a chance to talk with Barbara about her VBT experiences over the years.

You recently returned from the Amalfi Coast, have you been anywhere else in Italy with VBT?
This was our first VBT trip to Italy. We chose the Amalfi Coast because we knew it would be beautiful and we chose VBTBeautiful vista crop because of our past experiences with the company. VBT trips always featured great rides and walks, spectacular scenery, fabulous hotels and inns, delicious meals, interesting and fun fellow travelers AND knowledgeable, attentive, caring, competent leaders. We needed these leadership qualities this trip because I stepped in a hole on Capri and broke my ankle! I’m grateful that I was in good hands with our Trip Leader Marcello, who guided my husband to a pharmacy where they were able to get crutches and medicine. Marcello helped Ken talk with the trip insurance company and also made intricate arrangements to get me to the next hotel.

Oh no! What about the vacation was so special for you considering your unfortunate immobility?
Touring the pasta factory
Our Trip Leaders Vincenzo and Marcello were amazing. They arranged hotel rooms with magnificent views.   Marcello always made sure I had an office chair with wheels so that I could easily get around the hotel. My husband was so sure that I was well taken care of that he was able to continue on the walks. He brought back lots of photos. So I had a vicarious experience!!  Our leaders made sure I had the opportunity to participate in activities. They even arranged a chair with wheels and the use of a tiny elevator so I could tour the pasta factory and have lunch there.

You’ve been on six vacations with VBT, where else did you go? What was your favorite place to travel?
We started going on trips long before cell phones were in everyone’s hands!!  Our first trip Ken and I ready for a wonderful hikeeditwas in Vermont where we were going to a wedding and wanted to do a bicycle trip. Our next and so far, our favorite was in Provence, we did a Bordeaux trip and the Cape Cod trip. The most exotic was the Vietnam trip. All trips were exceptional. 

So you’ve been on both bicycling and walking vacations. Was there anything different about the two?
All of our previous trips have been on a bicycle and this was our first walking trip. I don’t think there is much difference between a bicycling or walking trip.  To me, the difference is feet on the ground versus feet on the pedals. Same great leaders. Same exciting tours, lodging, food and fellow travelers.

That’s good to hear. So, where are you off to next?
 Ummm.  Where shall we go next??  Bike and Barge sounds like our next VBT adventure. 

Bozeman, MT: The Perfect Pre-trip Extension for VBT’s Yellowstone Ski Vacation

Did you know that on most VBT vacations there is an optional pre- or post-trip extension meant to ease you into your vacation and help you explore a city that won’t necessarily be on your tour? If you are traveling on—or thinking about reserving a spot on—our Yellowstone in the Winter: Skiing America’s First National Parkthis winter we want to suggest adding the Pre-trip extension to the wonderfully western city of Bozeman, MT. Spending a couple days in Bozeman is the perfect way to acclimate to the elevation change before you head to Yellowstone, which is over a mile above sea level.


Bozeman is a great, little city in Big Sky country located in the middle of a gorgeous valley surrounded by the peaks of the Bridger, Gallatin and Madison mountain ranges. Perhaps best known as the home of Montana State University, Bozeman also offers fantastic shopping along main street, great restaurants—we’re a fan of Montana Ale Works, a retro-industrial railroad freight house that was transformed into a restaurant & bar—museums and access to some of the world’s best downhill skiing (both Bridger Bowl and Big Sky are within an hour).

800px-Museum_of_the_RockiesSince you’ll be leaving for Yellowstone right after your stay in Bozeman, we wanted to tell you about a great exhibit running through January at the Museum of the Rockies called “Welcome to Yellowstone: Tourism in America’s First National Park”. This fascinating exhibit features artifacts, photographs and movie footage from the National Park Service and other historical collections. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the fabulous planetarium and the museum’s most well-known collection: dinosaur fossils. In fact the Museum of the Rockies houses the most Tyrannosaurus Rex specimens anywhere in the world!

During your 2-day pre-trip extension you’ll be staying at the Lehrkind Mansion Bed and Breakfast, which provides a Lehrkind Exteriorcomfortable base from which to explore the Bozeman area. Located within walking distance of Bozeman’s historic Main Street, the Lehrkind Mansion is well situated in a quiet neighborhood. The Lehrkind, originally built in 1897 as the home of Bozeman Lager Beer master-brewer Julius Lehrkind, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Legend has it that each brick in the home was cured in large vats of beer before being set, making it “the house that beer built.” The home itself is a classic representation of Queen Anne Victorian architecture and one of Montana’s finest.

The current owners of the Lehrkind Mansion, Chris and Jon, turned the classic Victorian home into Bozeman’s finest bed and breakfast. Both owners are former Yellowstone National Park Rangers and are excellent resources for information as you prepare for your winter vacation in Yellowstone. For more information about the Bozeman Pre-trip extension, please visit our website.