Staff Report

A group of 18 people from the Santa Ynez Valley enjoyed the festive holiday events and Christmas decorations of New York City in December.

Highlights of the tour from Dec. 4-8 included the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall; a poignant tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum; a ferry ride to Ellis Island to learn about the 12 million immigrants who were processed there; the Statue of Liberty; a nighttime carriage ride through Central Park; St. Paul’s Chapel, where George Washington worshipped; brilliantly lighted Times Square; Greenwich Village; and The Top of the Rock, which is the 70th floor of the Rockefeller Center with 360-degree city views.

The group was guided by local travel agent Linda Johansen, who donates her commissions from such trips to benefit the Atterdag Village Rehab Wing and Solvang Rotary in support of the Solvang Senior Center Building Campaign.

The group was also mesmerized by the magical holiday displays from Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Tiffany’s and the various window displays along 5th Avenue. They enjoyed their choice of  Broadway musicals of “Phantom of the Opera,” “Kinky Boots,” or “Bronx Tale,” as well as holiday drinks at the Plaza Hotel, the colossal Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and a fun-filled breakfast at the famous Ellen’s Stardust Diner, which is a 1950s-themed restaurant featuring a singing wait staff who are all trying to get their big break on Broadway.

Other trips scheduled for 2018 include Vietnam in February; Iceland in May; the Rhine and Moselle River Cruise in September; and South Africa, Victoria Falls and Botswana in October.

For more information, call Johansen at 805-686-1644 or email her at