Crawfords to Lead 23rd Annual Trip
Seven Lakers Dudley and Peggy Crawford will lead a group from Moore County to Eastern Europe this May, marking the 23rd year of these overseas trips.
More than 500 Moore County residents have traveled with the Crawfords over the years.
"We didn't originally plan to do annual trips, but travelers kept asking, 'Where are we going next?' and the trips evolved," says Peggy Crawford.
Previous tours have included Greece, Spain and Portugal, Italy, Alaska, Australia and New Zealand, Scotland and England, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Paris and Normandy, Ireland, Bavaria and the Alps, Russia and the Baltic, the Rhine to the Riviera, and South America.
Dudley Crawford is the retired minister of the West End Presbyterian Church. An avid amateur photographer, he enjoys chronicling the trips in pictures and setting the photos to music. He has presented his travel shows to the Sandhills Photography Club and local civic groups, including the Kiwanis Club.
Peggy Crawford, who recently retired from 20 years with Moore County Schools, custom-plans each trip.
She attributes the popularity of the trips to several factors: Dudley's humor, the convenience of not having to drive a car to the airport, a comprehensive, reasonably-priced itinerary, but most of all, she says, "Travelers enjoy the camaraderie of neighbors, forming friendships and sharing the memories of the trip once they return home."
Although many travelers have been on multiple trips with the Crawfords - including Bill and Lillian Schafer, who hold the record with 15 - each trip has welcomed new travelers.
When asked which has been their favorite trip, the Crawfords reply that this question is like asking them which is their favorite child.
"Each area of the world has its own beauty, and there is something to learn from each culture," says Dudley Crawford.
They quote author Miriam Beard: "Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."
The Crawfords are especially enthusiastic about this summer's trip, since Eastern Europe is one of their favorite destinations.
"I first became enchanted with Eastern Europe in 1970 after camping through the Soviet Union from Leningrad to Odessa," says Peggy. "After being carefully monitored by the Soviets for six weeks, traveling in Poland, Hungary and Romania was a breath of freedom, even though it was still behind the Iron Curtain at the time."
Eastern Europe is high on many "bucket lists." It is elegant "Old World" Europe and the grandeur of past empires. > Traditional folk cultures thrive, as does national pride, after years of Soviet domination. >
East meets West, with Byzantine, Ottoman and orthodox influences - chandeliered coffee houses and Turkish thermal baths. >Jewish history and heritage in the area shed new understanding on World War II.
Eastern Europe was one of the world's richest sources of creative talent from the 17th to 20th centuries, especially in art, music and literature. Gothic and baroque architecture mix with art deco and avant-guard; music is performed everywhere. And Danube valley wines, beer and strudel are big draws. >
The Crawfords can be contacted at (910) 673-0680 or peggycrawford@ nc.rr.com for information about the Eastern Europe trip.
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