By Jim Keogh
MethuenLife Writer

In the spring, summer and fall, we at Olde New England Tours operate about one bus trip a week to a variety of destinations. These include theater trips, sightseeing destinations, special events and festivals.

But because of possible snowstorm conditions in the winter months, we scale our operations down to just one trip per month in January, February and March. This year, the January and March trips went without a hitch. But we had to change the February departure due to the weather forecast for snow on the original tour date.

January featured a Mystery Day Trip

From Methuen, we traveled to Concord, N.H., and had lunch at The Common Man restaurant. The menu options included grilled steak tips, baked haddock and roasted turkey.

Following lunch, we re-boarded our chartered luxury bus and headed to a “surprise attraction.” Our afternoon was spent at the newly renovated Planetarium at the Discovery Center, an air and space science museum. The Discovery Center is dedicated to the memory of two of New Hampshire’s air and space pioneers. These are Alan Shepard from Derry, the first American in space, and Christina McAuliffe, a social studies teacher at Concord High School who was selected by NASA to be the first teacher in space. In the winter, the Discovery Center is closed on Mondays, but through special arrangements with the executive director, they agreed to open for our VIP group.

The center’s newly upgraded planetarium is one of only 3 full-dome planetariums in North America equipped with a 10K digital projector system that provides the highest resolution possible. We experienced “Tonight’s Sky,” a show in the planetarium, led in person by one of the center’s distinguished educators.

February featured fabulous cheesecake

February’s trip was scheduled to operate on Tuesday, Feb. 28, but we switched the date to the 27th due to winter weather issues. Lunch was at the fabulous Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Cambridge. Everyone was invited to order from an extensive menu with many, many lunch selections. You can guess what we had for dessert … the ever-popular cheesecake of our choice!

After lunch, our bus took us to Boston’s Museum of Science, where we attended a 2pm showing at the IMAX Omni Theater. On a five-story-high screen, we were mesmerized during the spectacular presentation of “Ancient Caves,” which took us on an amazing adventure to explore hidden caves in France, Iceland, the United States and Mexico.

March matinee

In March it was time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Reagle Players’ production of “Wee Bit o’ Ireland,” an afternoon show filled with Irish melodies and dance. Joining the Reagle Players were Irish-born singer Ciaran Sheehan and musicians from Galway and beyond. Before the matinée performance, we enjoyed a full-course lunch at the Chateau Restaurant in Waltham.

Now that the winter season is behind us, we are preparing to return our bus tour operations back to full swing. Stay tuned for announcements about our future tour plans. Spring, summer and fall will bring some exciting itineraries for your consideration and enjoyment.

Jim Keogh is president of Cosmopolitan Travel and Olde New England Tours of Methuen.