Traveler Reviews

Why do you travel with SBMA?

"SBMA has been my very favorite travel agent since 1987! I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am to the Museum for the most wonderful travel opportunities that I have taken advantage of through the years." - Lorna Hedges, most frequent SBMA Traveler with 36 tours

"Every SBMA trip has been exceptional in so many ways ….you craft them well!!!!!" - Amanda McIntyre, 27 SBMA tours

"Because they are always the best!" – Nancy Schlosser, 22 tours

"Being able to travel the world and see art and architecture is a gift that SBMA gives their members. Thank you for all your hard work and enthusiasm!! ❤️✈️" - Judy Little, 21 SBMA  tours

“You make my travel dreams come true.” - Susan Stevens, 10 tours

"The pleasure of the company of fellow interesting travelers and the excellent “study leaders” ensure a memorable trip!" – Gwen Baker, 10 tour

"Because the trips are GREAT!" - Dorothy and John Gardner, 9 tours

"When I look at your tours I feel like a kid in a candy store; they’re all so wonderful." - Melissa Dvorak, 5 tours

"Museum trips are intelligent, well planned, and well executed.  The itineraries are terrific and travel mates are well-traveled and interesting." - Barbara Ben-Horin, former Development Director, 3 SBMA tours  

"They are always well arranged and stimulating." - Chris and Dave Chernof, several SBMA tours to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“I always feel, that with SBMA planning a trip, I’m going to be safe, taken care of, and in for an exceptional experience!” - Celeste Gainey, 3 SBMA tours

"Based on my one trip with SBMA to Philadelphia I would go anywhere with the museum. If I had not joined the museum I would never have found your travel program. It was serendipity.”  - Leslie Carlson, 1 SBMA tour 




From India, 2019:

“The kindness and attention and patience and helpfulness was unlike any trip I have been on. I’ve traveled a lot, with other organizations, and SBMA has far surpassed them.” - Susan Weisbarth

“The trip was truly amazing and I am so happy to have had an opportunity to join the Santa Barbara Museum group and leaders. Truly wonderful experience.” - Abbie Dean

“I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful trip it was. I absolutely loved India. The guide was beyond fantastic. He was a doll, he was so smart—he knew everything, and took care of everybody. The hotels of course were fabulous. The group was lovely. I really have NOTHING bad to say about it!” – Patti Bell


From Mexico tour: Oaxaca, Puebla, Cuernavaca with Florencio Moreno, 2019:

"This was a phenomenal trip that provided access to artists, galleries, and meals that would be very difficult to encounter on one's own. Florencio is a wealth of knowledge and incredibly thoughtful, kind, helpful and personable. He is an absolute joy and keeps everyone’s needs in mind…and makes each day the best it can be.” – Anonymous

“The trip was phenomenal. Probably the best trip I’ve ever been on. Florencio is amazing, the itinerary is amazing, Mexico’s amazing. Everything. Thank you, thank you!” — Paula Lutomirski

“I loved everything about the trip!” — Marjorie McShirley


From L.A. Overnight Architecture Tour, 2019:

“Our trip to L.A. was THE BEST! Every aspect was incredibly exciting, very well-planned, and especially memorable. What a fantastic and fun group! Thank you so much! I truly look forward to
another adventure with SBMA.” — Kathy Farrington


From Chicago tour, 2019:

"We’re home after another fabulous SBMA trip! Dylan and Brittany provided a fabulous tour for all of us. It was really great!" - Barbara Blatt

"Terrific trip!  Brittany was great!  It was extra special as she was a native and added so much about Chicago!  Dylan, of course, was his usual entertaining and informative self!  The visit to Susan Bowey's was really lovely." - Carol MacCorkle 

“Great art, great people, great food + fun. We look forward to our next trip!” — Carrie Cooper


From Ashland tour to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2019:

"The trip with Devin & Melissa was fantastic as usual." - Owen Patotzka 

"EVERYTHING was splendid…I was more than pleased with my 4 1/2 days - no hiccups." - Amanda McIntyre


From Southern Italy: Apulia & Basilicata with Nigel McGilchrist, 2019: 

"The trip was incredibly good and so much fun!  I'm sure you've already heard that it was a dream group." - Judith Taylor 

“The tour was fantastic! The leader, the planning, the special care are the reasons I travel with SBMA.” — Anonymous


From Greece tour, 2019:

“Nigel imparted to us a Greece that is hidden from most people. Due to his facility with the material along with his unique vision and poetry surrounding it, he fluidly gave it wings, able to creep into our minds and souls, never to be forgotten by us.” - Lucinda Lester Owen

“(Greece) was an amazing trip with lovely fellow travelers!!” - Laura Adler


From the Baltic cruise, 2019:

“Our Baltic trip was so much FUN! I can’t name a highlight. The SBMA host was always friendly and upbeat. The quality of the guides and accommodations, combined with the focus on art and architecture, made it a really special trip.” – anonymous traveler on the Baltic tour


From the Rivieras cruise, 2019:

“I absolutely love how everything is arranged for us, from baggage claim on arrival to transport to the airport at the end. It was all seamless. The ship was stunningly beautiful, we had great traveling companions, John Meffert (lecturer) was most entertaining, and the SBMA representative Ariana had so much positive energy – she made the trip!”  - David Whiting, traveler on the Italy, Spain, and France cruise


From Santa Fe, 2019:

"I am still daydreaming about all the wonderful art we saw on the Santa Fe trip…and about the gorgeous landscape.  What a great inspiration and privilege to see all the wonderful private collections.  Thank you so much for arranging such a lovely trip."  – Susan Stevens

"Fabulous trip!" – Sadie Hall

"On a scale of 1 to 10, the Tour and Rachel and Peter were 10 1/2!!!!!"  - Dick and Gail Wheaton

"We really had a great trip and perfect weather.  Thank you for all your work to put it together."  - Barb and Stuart Calder

"We had a splendid trip!  Thank you again for all your efforts to make it happen.  Rachel was wonderful!" - Margaret Kemp


From Prague, Vienna, and Budapest tour, 2019: 

“The trip (to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest) was fantastic! It was as near a perfect tour as one could have. It’s difficult being back in the U.S.; my mind and heart are still on the Danube.” - Celeste Gainey 

"Loved the trip and all the things we did plus a great group to travel with."  Polly Bonnell 

"Wonderful trip!!!"

"We had quite an amazing trip at top speed.  Harriet is terrific and worked us older members hard to see as much as possible." - Cinda Erdman


From Marfa to Crystal Bridges, 2019:

"This was one of the best trips I have ever been on! The group was so compatible. Dylan is so wonderful, just so pleasant to be around and lovely." – Judith Taylor

“(The Marfa and Crystal Bridges trip) was one of the best tours I have ever taken!” – Barbara Blatt


From cruise in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia, 2019:

"We really enjoyed the excellent Monteverde Cloud Forest/Costa Rica/Panama Canal tour!" – Judy and Dale Seborg

"I’m having an incredible time on the Hebridean Sky ship to Costa Rica, Panama, and now in Cartagena, Columbia." – Robin Huber


From Ireland tour, 2017

Thank YOU for managing the trip/tour so beautifully.  It was wonderful to share this trip with family. – Maryan Schall

Thanks so much for all the attention you us on the trip to and from Ireland.  What a wonderful, wonderful trip!  I’m still in awe of the places we stayed, the things we saw and the 5-star meals we ate!!  Such a memorable vacation. - Dawn Saglio

It was like magic having all these exquisite dinners in exquisite homes. Tourists can't do the things we did. There's no way I would be able to go to these places on my own. I would never have gone to Ireland if it weren't for the art museum. The doors that were opened and the opportunities we had totally blew me away. – Sharon Felder

It was one magical evening after another. Our guide was an Irish encyclopedia with a sparkle in her eye. – Kim and Michael Hayes


From Low Countries tour, Spring 2017

Susie and Nigel are the dream team. The success of these trips is due in no small part to Susie’s considerable skill and experience! Some days I felt as if I were driving through a 17th-century Dutch landscape painting – cloud-filled skies joining flat land – the paintings came to life. The tour was lovely, start to finish! – Gwen Baker

Every trip I take with Nigel, I think it was the best—until the next one. This was the best. - Nancy Schlosser

Everything was 5 star – I was really impressed and happy! Friends said how great traveling with SBMA is, and now I know it is also! – Gabrielle Davis

We are great fans of trips planned by Susie Orso. Nigel and Susie are a great team. Nigel’s painting lecture and Susie’s dining arrangements were highlights. – Melissa Dvorak

It was a wonderful trip…Susie is fabulous and Nigel…well…a gift to the world – Marilyn Easly

Susie is phenomenal, handles everything so professionally, thinks ahead, great planning. Nigel is a treasury of wisdom and imparts it so well, could listen all day. Susie and Nigel are an unbeatable team. Every angle was covered logistically and educationally. We love Nigel’s ability to explain the art, history and background of what we saw. We loved the itinerary, such diversity. Highlights were the Kroller Muller Museum, Mauritshuis Museum, The Rossens’ home, Frans Hals Museum. We loved all the museums. – Linda and Peter Beuret


From New York City tour, May 2017

I thank you for a most memorable trip to New York.  I could go again in a heartbeat.  - Diane Sullivan 

This was the trip of my life. It was absolutely delicious. It was such an immersion into the arts of New York. That first morning at the Met Conservation Department knocked me out and then it just got better and better. I fell into the art. It was an unforgettable, educational, and personal experience and I can’t wait until the next one. – Donnovan Field

Donnovan said it best—Delicious!!  The trip was truly delicious in every way and every sense of the word.   I loved every minute of it and am so happy and feel privileged as well to have been a part of it. – Lorna Hedges

I loved every minute! – Gail Wasserman

I've never done anything like this and know I'm hooked. - Hildegard Gray, first time group traveler 

(We) have been gushing about it to friends and family.  We loved everything about it from the itinerary to our wonderful Santa Barbara travel companions.  - Polly and Camille Bonnell

I can't stop talking about the trip to my friends. It was just wonderful! – Gail Wasserman

“Masterfully planned. We got to see all that we wanted and the “behind the scenes” events were things we couldn’t have seen on our own.”-  Penny and Wayne McCall

“Excellent. It exceeded all expectations”- Diane Sullivan

“We had such a good time , and so enjoyed getting to know New York City. It was really a very special tour, and we are so pleased that we were able to be a part of it.”- Gail Wheaton

“A ‘bucket list’ trip to N.Y. from the tour staff to the itinerary- couldn’t have been better!” – Polly Bonnell


From L.A. 2016

Melinda Johnson, a resident of Malibu, said at the end of it: "At first I thought, 'I am spending a lot to go to downtown L.A. for two days.' Now I realize it was worth three times the cost!" 

“This was such a tremendous weekend!  Thank you for all the effort you put into it.”  - Marcia and John Mike Cohen

“A perfect ‘get-away’. We felt like we were gone for a week!  Great cultural excursion in our own backyard.  We came home refreshed and excited by what we found in Los Angeles.” – Jack Hewett 

“Thank you for a most wonderful weekend. You organized a great excursion.  Really educational ----- spoon feeding us "culture" while making the trip really FUN!  We look forward to more!” – Janice Meaden Hewett


From Savannah and Charleston 2016

“Our trip to Charleston and Savannah was topnotch in every way. We stayed in lovely places, saw so many beautiful homes and gardens, met such interesting people and learned so much about restoration.” – Jo Haldeman, who went on the trip with her two daughters

“Definitely was an experience, not just a tour. Left a lasting impression on me which I did not expect.  I was so impressed that I am planning another SBMA tour in September.” – Susan Haldeman

“I find the people I have met on these tours to be so much fun and interesting. I look forward to going on more tours with SBMA.” – Anne Marie Westmoreland

“This trip was phenomenal.” – Mary Jane Cooper


From the Amalfi Coast 2016

“The trip was wonderful! It was FULL of fabulous places to visit and lovely places to dine.  The group was very compatible.” – Alice Van de Water


From Mexico 2016

"This was my first trip with SBMA and I was very impressed with its breadth and depth of subject matter as well as with the excellent (virtually flawless) logistics." - anonymous


From Peloponnese 2016

“I did truly love the trip. I felt very safe and it was wonderfully fulfilling in every way. It was a fabulous trip in every way.  I so enjoyed all of the other trippers and the professors and the boat personnel and and and....just perfect.” Patricia Smith  


L.A. day trip to the Norton Simon with Charlie Wylie, July 2016

"I would have to say the highlight of our day trip was meeting a group of lovely and interesting people - that includes the wonderful museum staff.  Charlie’s comments provided much needed insight into some of the works."  - Ursula Ginder

"I very much enjoyed the day.  It was well planned—and knowing the two of you I know that you did your research and were meticulous in your planning. Bless Charlie for stepping in and making some sense out of the exhibition." – Lorna Hedges

"Love your trips and YOU Guys treat us so well, thanks!" - Ella Aarberg 


India 2013

"We frequently think about the magical trip to India: wonderful food eaten in the most remarkable venues; the most astounding sites; travel companions we enjoy seeing when we are out and about in SB." - Bob Boghosian (quoted December 2020)






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