Don’t you love learning about people and what makes them tick? We’ve started a new blog series to highlight some of the tour operators who we love working with! Here’s the first one. Let us know what you think in the comments section.
Have you ever had a dream?
Helen Cooper did.
After she retired and recovered from a major health issue, she decided she wanted two things: to be a grandmother and to travel. So what did she do?
She joined a tour company and eventually branched out on her own!
You’ll love this story about one of our favorite tour operators, Helen from Travel Tours of Vermont!
How did you get into the tour business and how long have you been doing it?
I retired after celebrating 26 years at Rutland Hospital in 1988 and a diagnosis of lymphoma (which I have been in remission since 1989). I realized there were 2 things I wanted to experience before I died: being a grandmother and traveling.
My retirement was short lived.
I had an opportunity to become a tour guide for a bus company. I worked with them for 10 years before deciding to start my own company, Travel Tours of Vermont.
What do you love about being a tour operator?
I use Premier Coach, a top of the line reliable and comfortable bus company and I have three drivers that have gotten to know my “bus family”. We get hugs and laughs from them.
The most gratifying thing that makes me happy is I have changed the lives of so many lonely people who have never had an opportunity to travel.
They have made so many friends on our tours! I have many people who travel with me on as many trips and I make a sincere effort to keep my trips affordable. I would rather have more people travel with me for less money than fewer people for more money. The people who travel with me bring their friends and I do not have to spend any money advertising. We play games and bingo on the longer trips and show movies to make the time go by faster and have lots of laughs.
What are some of the destinations your groups have been to by bus?
We do trips across New England and the greater United States such as festivals, concerts, and historical landmarks. Some of the places we have visited are Niagara Falls, Branson, Nashville, Dollywood, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, coastal Maine, Amish country, casinos and much more including a “mystery trip” where the people have no idea where we are going!
What do you and your guests like about A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours?
The life style in Brooklyn is so different from Vermont that we were all fascinated with his stories of the mafia, the million dollar homes, Coney Island, and of course, the movie segments.
We LOVED A Slice of Brooklyn tour we did with Tony a few years ago (which is why we are doing it again this October). Not only is Tony so very knowledgeable about Brooklyn history and sights, his sense of humor and personality was fantastic! The folks who took the tour are still talking about it and are anxious to go again in October.
What’s your favorite tour story?
Many years ago, before I started my own business, we were scheduled to leave on a bus trip at 6:00 A.M. My boss needed to get ahold of me beforehand, so called my home number at 4:00 A.M. As soon as the phone was picked up he said, “Get your lazy ass out of bed”! Guess what? He dialed the wrong number, so it wasn’t me!
P.S. My beautiful granddaughter was born in 2000 and she was on our A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour! That’s her in the photo with Tony!
Do you want to experience Brooklyn with stories of the mafia, million dollar homes, Coney Island, and movies? Here is your chance!