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Salem city sign at the entrance of the city

Consider Adding Salem to Your Next Trip to Boston

By Travel

A trip to Boston without a visit to Salem wouldn’t all that it could be.  With Salem only 25 brief miles away, it’s an easy day trip which yields incredible learning opportunities.

Educators needn’t be told about the rich history of this Massachusetts town.  Best known as the site of the infamous witch trials of 1692 and the setting for Arthur Miller’s famous play, the Crucible, Salem was also home to the privateers, who sailed the first ship from American shores to China, returning with the spice pepper.  Salem was, in fact, one of Puritan America’s most crucial seaports.

The power of fear.

image from Salem Witch MuseumOne of the most important lessons educators can share with students when visiting Salem is the power that fear has over the actions of a group.  The hostility towards suspected witches modelled in Salem grew from a small knot of communal ignorance, becoming an inferno of public trials and hangings.

Educators are given a unique opportunity to not only share this fascinating part of American history with their students, but to do it through the lens of social commentary.  As Miller’s Crucible details, the power of fear to ignite groups of people to act against their neighbors can never be underestimated.  The Salem witch trials remain one of the most poignant examples of this unfortunate effect.

Rich educational experiences await teachers who bring their students to this living historical monument and many of those experiences have a resonance which informs the current age.

House of the Seven Gables.

Salem’s place in the annals of American literature certainly doesn’t end with the Crucible.  The subject of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous work, the House of the Seven Gables, still stands today, ready for students to explore its famed precincts.

The house is now part of what’s been designated a National Historic Landmark District.  Visitors may also view Hawthorne’s birthplace.  While he lived in this home until he was 4, it was moved from its original location (several blocks away) to form an easily accessible complex of Hawthorne history.

An open-air museum.

Salem, with its proximity to Boston, presents an enticing prospect for educators keen to share American history with their students.  In combination with a visit to the extraordinary historical sites on offer in Boston, Salem, only 25 miles away, can enrich and illuminate the experience of visiting Boston.

On every corner in both these centers of American history and culture are examples of early American architecture and sites of historical interest that render them both open-air museums.  While continuing to thrive as modern cities, both Boston and Salem offer educators and their students the chance to experience the American story first hand.

Junior Tours has been creating exceptional student travel experiences since 1967.  For 50 years, we’ve worked with teachers and students from all 50 states, bringing them logistical excellence and keen destination knowledge.

Salem is just a stone’s throw from Boston, so combining the two destinations for a truly memorable student tour makes sense.  Contact Junior to make it happen.

subway train in NYC

Safety on Tour – The Subway Ride

By Travel

When you’re touring with students in a major city, public transit should be part of the experience.  While most educators don’t relish the thought of getting on a bus with their students, a subway is an even more daunting prospect.

You’re in the Big Apple with a large group of students.  Spirits are high.  Cats are being herded.  Anything’s possible.  As a teacher responsible for these kids while they’re away from home, you have support, but it doesn’t seem enough as the turnstile nears.

But safety on tour is a mindful process and one that can be managed with the right preparation.  Let’s talk about safety on tour – the subway ride and how you can pull it off without a hitch.

It’s not that scary.

Subways, wherever they are, are conveyances which move perfectly normal, hardworking people from point “A” to point “B”, every day of the week.  While we’ve all heard horror stories about the subway in New York and other major cities, it’s helpful to remember that these stories relate isolated incidents.

Taking the subway with a touring student group doesn’t have to be scary.  Preparing your students before you even leave on tour, though, is an imperative.  Set clear protocols and ensure that everyone understands them.  Divide your group into smaller sub-groups and assign a chaperone to each one.  This makes the effort much more manageable.

When entering a subway car, enter as a group. This won’t be possible at peak times of the day (morning/evening rush hours, trains headed to major events), so that’s not when you’re going to take the subway.

You’re going to ensure you’re taking the subway at times when the stations aren’t overly crowded.  This allows the group to file onto cars and file off in a more orderly fashion.  Instruct your groups to remain together, as much as possible and to always be aware of where their chaperones are.   Ensure they move away from the car and toward the nearest wall to meet with others in their groups.

Subway made easy.

Because we grew up in New York, the folks at Junior Tours know how to wrangle a group on the subway.  It’s second nature to us.  No matter where we are, we’re veterans of the subway wars who will guide you, ensuring that everyone who descends into the warrens of the subway system comes out the other side.

We make sure that everyone’s where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there, because we’re not only subway vets, we’re student tour vets, too.

For 50 years, Junior Tours has been creating outstanding student educational experiences – including the occasional foray onto the subway.

Ready to climb aboard?  Then Junior’s ready to click through the turnstiles with you.  Since 1967, we’re been taking teachers and students places.  We’re old hands at herding cats.

In 2017, we’re celebrating our 50th Anniversary as a boutique student tour provider that delivers customized itineraries.  Contact us for a quotation and sample itinerary.  With Junior, the subway is a cinch.

image showing a hand putting a little suitcase in a piggy bank

Choosing the Best Tour for the Dollar (Value)

By Travel

As an educator, you want your young charges to have the best possible experience when you take them on tour.  You’re looking for educational experiences that change student perspective and animate your goals as an educator.

But value is always a consideration.  Choosing the best tour for the dollar is about weighing your objectives and the desires of your group against value.  That can mean some tweaks that find the balance between monetary value and educational value, because both are important.

You have a budget.  It’s tight.  But there are ways and means of stretching your tour dollar, while still getting the high quality you’re looking for.

High season.  High prices.

You’ve chosen a destination, with an itinerary in mind.  You know what you want your students to take away from the tour.  But have you considered the cost-savings inherent in taking your kids on tour when everyone else isn’t doing the same thing?

Anyone who travels knows that things cost more at certain times of the year.  Determining the high season for your destination is one of the most efficient ways you can cut costs.

For example, taking your class on tour to New Orleans, LA will cost more during festival season.  During the month of May, NOLA becomes much more expensive because of events like the Jazz Festival, which is the centerpiece of the city’s season of musical events.

Waiting until the major events have passed to book your tour provides you with a wider selection at a more attractive price.  This applies to both transportation and lodging and you’ll save an enormous amount of money.

Select an experienced tour operator.

Taking your kids on an adventure becomes so much easier when you book with an experienced tour operator.  Your tour operator is a valuable partner, smoothing the way to a seamlessly realized itinerary that covers all the important points you want to share with students.

What’s more attraction, museum and concert tickets become much more affordable when they’re obtained in blocks with a tour operator like Junior Tours.

Because we’ve been around since 1967, we’ve developed key relationships with vendors in destinations all over the USA and beyond.  That means you get more bang for your buck.  And that doesn’t just apply to attractions and points of interest you’ll be needing tickets for.

Junior Tours also has excellent relationships with transportation and accommodation vendors which allow us to get you the best possible deal.

Education tour pros since 1967.

Founded by teacher Marty Abrams, Junior Tours has been bringing students in all 50 states the best in educational tours since 1967.  This year, we’re celebrating 50 years in the business of taking students on tours that honor educator vision, while providing them with the kind of excitement young people crave.

Choosing the best tour for the dollar is easier when you call on the pros at Junior Tours to support your budgetary goals.  We’ll even set you up with fundraising resources to make your tour more affordable.  Contact us to find out more.

The magnificent mile in Chicago

The Windy City – Educational Travel Destinations In Chicago

By Travel

Chicago is a city that has it all.  From magnificent architecture to world class museums, the Windy City offers visitors a wealth of fascination.

The streets of this famed city, home to young Senators who become President, monolithic financial institutions, theater, fashion and exceptional art galleries, offer something here for everyone.

On its broad shoulders rest the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and internationally acclaimed poet Carl Sandburg, who described Chicago as a resilient, hard-working hub of commerce – where Americans came to realize their dreams.

In the early part of the 20th Century, Chicago was the land of opportunity.  This reality brought Americans from all over the country to take part in the city’s bounty, doubling its population every 20 years.

Frank Lloyd Wright house and studio.

It was in Chicago’s windy embrace that Frank Lloyd Wright was to live out the first 20 years of his renowned career as one of America’s most influential architects.

His former home and studio have been fully restored as a museum, where students can experience the vast reach of his work.  Chicago is also home to many of his buildings, including the Unity Temple, Frederick C. Robie House and The Rookery.

Students of design will thrill to having a first-hand experience of this famed architect’s seminal work.

The Magnificent Mile.

North Michigan Avenue offers students much more than high end shopping.  Located between the famous Loop (Chicago’s historical center) and the Gold Coast area, the “Mag Mile” also features some of the USA’s most incredible architectural achievements, including some of its tallest buildings.

The John Hancock Center can be found here, towering over the area, as well as landmarks like the Wrigley Building, the Chicago Water Tower and the Allerton Hotel.

There is nothing more quintessentially American than the skyscraper and Chicago’s internationally-recognized skyline features some of the most impressive in existence.

The Art Institute of Chicago.

Do over 40 centuries of art boggle your mind?  Prepare to be dazzled by the broad sweep of history at the AIC.  With over 300,000 pieces on display, students will experience the AIC’s impressive collections.

Its permanent collection features some of the most recognizable works of art in history, including American Gothic, by Grant Wood, a painting which has inspired satirists and artistic commentators since being created in 1930.

Works by Seurat, Van Gogh and Picasso invite educators to engage with their students, discussing the role of art in their lives and futures.

Chicago Board of Trade.

Referred to by Sandburg as the “hog butcher of the world” in his poem, “Chicago”, the role of the city as a hub of agricultural commodities trading is embodied in this institution.

Here, agricultural commodities continue to be traded on “open outcry”, the practice here since it was known as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board.  The Board of Trade offers students a unique glimpse into Chicago’s past and the practice of trading agricultural futures as an enduring commercial reality.

Let Junior Tours show your students the amazing diversity of Chicago.  Contact us.

famous statue in Boston

Freedom Trails and Tea Parties – Educational Travel Destinations In Boston

By Travel

Established almost 4 centuries ago, Boston is a national treasure, where your students can encounter American history at its most dramatic.

Poets, philosophers and heroes are Boston’s proud legacy, from the magisterial musings of Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond, to America’s first Town Hall meeting at Faneuil Hall, Boston is a living historical site.

Revolution in the air.

It’s just outside the city of Boston that the first battle of the American Revolutionary War took place, at Lexington and Concord.  The Old Burying Ground and Minuteman statue can be seen here, as students are walked through pivotal moments in the formation of our nation.

Bunker Hill is another living monument to the American Revolution, hosting one of the most important battles of the struggle for America’s freedom from British imperial rule, at Breed’s Hill in 1775.

Boston’s famous Tea Party took careful planning and that planning took place at the Old South Meeting House in 1773.  5,000 colonialists met here to set the wheels in motion for this act of rebellion, but people have been meeting here for three centuries, right until the present.

Students will be treated to a rich, exciting encounter with the fullness of the American story at these and other sites in and around Boston.

Pilgrims, witch trials and massacres.

The pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock were conveyed in the famed vessel, the Mayflower.  Today, a replica of this historic 17th ship offers students a window into the worlds of their ancestors, who came to flee tyranny.

The terror and communal fear of the Salem Witch Trials can be discovered by students desiring to understand all aspects of American history.  The museum features dramatically presented displays which remind us how rapidly neighbours can become enemies.

The site of the Boston Massacre is a stark memorial to the tensions between the British and the colonialists during the revolutionary period.  Here, British red coats encountered the wrath of the colonialists and felt the brunt of their burning desire for freedom.

Midnight rides and freedom trails.

Paul Revere’s midnight ride started here in Boston on April 18, 1775.  This unassuming silversmith was to become a legend of the American Revolution, teaching students that even the most modest person can make an enormous impact.

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile historical walk, taking visitors to 16 historically-significant sites.  Experiencing the birth of the USA through the monuments which commemorate its institution is a walk through some of the nation’s most turbulent and formative moments.

Boston – where American history lives.

The scope of historical experiences available to student travel groups visiting Boston is broad and richly populated by the voices of freedom fighters and philosophers, witches and poets.  The deeds of those who laid the foundations of the USA live on here as our legacy, reminding us of the cost of freedom.

At Junior Tours, we’ve been professional student educational tour operators since 1967.  We bring your group personalized itineraries which honor educator vision and make learning an adventure.

Contact us for more.