Reservations, please

Our travel expert gives advice on touring Arizona's Indian reservations, crossing the Rockies by train and poking around Savannah and Charleston.

By Donald D. Groff

Published November 4, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

For a trip to Arizona, where can I get information on visiting Indian reservations and finding lodging?

Arizona has well over a dozen reservation destinations, and you can learn about them by consulting guidebooks such as "Indian America: A Traveler's Companion," by Eagle Walking Turtle (John Muir Publications, 4th edition 1995). For each Indian group the book provides contact information, dates for public ceremonies and powwows, art forms and visitor information such as museums. As for lodging, some are close enough to cities such as Phoenix and Tucson that you would have no trouble staying in the city and making a short drive. For the more remote locations, call the tribal headquarters and ask for recommendations.

The state has designated its northeast corner as Indian Country, and you can find itineraries for this and other areas in the state vacation guide, free by calling (602) 230-7733 or visiting the Arizona Guide site. That site also provides detailed accommodations information.

Arizona Highways magazine also produces a book called "Indian Country: A Guide to Northeastern Arizona," available by calling (800) 543-5432. Another book, recently updated, is "Native Roads: The Compete Motoring Guide to the Navajo and Hopi Nations," by Fran Kosik (Creative Solutions Publishing, 2nd edition 1999). Another guide is "North American Indian Travel Guide," by Ralph Shanks (Costano Books, 5th edition, 1994).

We saw a PBS show about crossing the Rockies by train. Where can we find out more about such a trip?

You're probably referring to the "Rockies and Yellowstone" trip offered by American Orient Express, which this year scheduled four trips between Denver and Portland, two in each direction. From Denver the luxury train rolls through the heart of the Rockies to the canyons and mesas of Colorado National Monument, then to Salt Lake City, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

Next year, eight Rockies trips will be offered, though the itinerary will change. The tour will operate between Denver and Salt Lake City, with new stops in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Grand Junction, Colo. Departures from Salt Lake City are June 15, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 4 and Nov. 18; from Denver, June 22, Sept. 14, Oct 14 and Nov. 11. Rates for the seven-day trip start at about $2,700 and go up to $4,700, depending on sleeping category. For details, contact the company at (888) 759-3944 or visit its Web site.

The American Orient Express train is made up of distinguished or renovated cars from the streamliner era of the 1940s and '50s. Among the train's 15 cars are two gourmet dining cars with china, silver, linen and crystal; two club cars, one with a baby grand piano; and an observation car from the famous 20th Century Limited.

Others tours aboard the train are the Jazz & Blues Express, Antebellum South, Pacific Coast Explorer, The Great Transcontinental Journey, National Parks of the West, Great Northwest, The Great Trans-Canada Rail Journey and Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes.

Any travel agent can also book the American Orient Express trips. A Web site with links to rail-oriented tour companies is Trainweb. You can find a PBS description of the show by going to the PBS site and searching for "Rockies" to find "The Rockies by Rail."

For a trip to Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., where can I get tourist information?

Savannah, known for its architecture and as the setting of the best-selling book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," is located in a section of Georgia called the Colonial Coast. The city promotes its historic landmark district as the largest in the country, with lush squares, living history museums and antique shops. Among highlights are its Victorian District, City Market, Bonaventure and Colonial Park Cemeteries, history, science and nautical museums and home tours -- in particular its annual spring home tour, which coincides with the blossoms and attracts thousands of visitors.

For tourist information, contact the Savannah Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, phone (800) 444-2427 or (912) 944-0456.

Charleston is another coastal city renowned for its historic architecture, with about 200 buildings that were constructed before 1800 and more than 600 others built by the 1840s. For sightseeing and lodging information, contact the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, phone (800) 868-8118 or (803) 853-8000.

Donald D. Groff

Donald D. Groff has been dispensing travel advice for a decade for such publications as the Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday, the Boston Globe and the Kansas City Star.

MORE FROM Donald D. Groff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------