Archives

9 Sep 2015

Brian DeToy was our tour guide for a 5 day tour of Normandy this spring. He was absolutely fantastic. His experience as a retired career infantry commander gives him a unique perspective that is unmatched by any other guide. On top of this, he spent years as a West Point history professor and has multiple advanced history degrees. The breadth and detail of his explanations make history come to life!

Let Essential History Expeditions guide your next tour. You will not regret it.

9 Sep 2015

Just returned from South Africa, where Brian and Sheryl led a phenomenal trip following in the steps of Nelson Mandela. This was my second excursion with EHE; my husband and I did the WWI battlefields tour last summer. Both trips were beyond fabulous!!

Stated very simply, there is no better way to learn about history and actually experience it than on a trip with EHE. Brian’s in-depth knowledge of historical events, why they mattered, and how they shaped and influenced current times is really astounding. He is an engaging and charismatic storyteller, funny and passionate, conveying both details and the bigger picture of the sweep of history. Sheryl ensures that every logistical detail of the trips is flawlessly attended to; she is warm and open and treats every traveler like a family friend. Show up and Sheryl takes care of the rest!! In South Africa, we also experienced other cultural highlights, including the Cape of Good Hope and the magnificent wine country in Stellenbosch, as well as an optional two-day safari in Sabi Sands.

EHE is a real treasure; take a trip and you will kick yourself for waiting so long to do it. I am already signed up for additional trips with Brian and Sheryl in 2020 and 2021, and wish I could do more. Really wonderful!!

9 Sep 2015

My second trip with Brian & Sheryl and the same fantastic experience. The coordination, communication and planning of the 75th Anniversary D-Day trip was perfect. And again, with multiple heads of state attending numerous events, there were unanticipated changes and last minute notifications for security reasons. Brian and Sheryl adjusted and provided a superb and seamless experience. I don’t know how they did it, but we were able to board a ferry in the UK on the evening of June 5th, cross the channel and land in France on the morning of June 6th! With thousands of people attending the events, we were able to visit every beach, the sites of the two major airborne drops, Bayeux and Mount Saint Michel. A huge shout out to Sergei our driver who managed to maneuver a full sized bus everywhere we went. The experience was poignant and moving but also uplifting to view and hear first hand what this generation was able to accomplish for us and the world. Thank you Brian & Sheryl for including me in another lifetime event.

9 Sep 2015

My husband and I just returned from an EHE excursion to South Africa, and I can’t say enough about our experience. We thoroughly enjoyed the safari, where we were able to get close to animals we have only ever seen in captivity — leopards, elephants, kudu, hippos, giraffes, and many, many impalas, just to name a few. Watching these animals in their natural habitat was extraordinary. The main part of the tour focused on Nelson Mandela and his incredible “Long Walk to Freedom.” We were able to visit sites that were important in the apartheid struggle, including Mandela’s house in Soweto, Liliesleaf farm, the Palace of Justice in Pretoria, and several of the prisons where Mandela spent his 27 years in captivity. Along the way, we developed relationships with the local guides and people, who enriched the experience with their first-hand knowledge of the culture and history of South Africa. Brian has an astounding wealth of knowledge about the history of the country and was able to make insightful and meaningful connections from the past to the present. I feel like we should have received college credit for everything we learned on this trip! Sheryl ensured that every possible logistical detail was attended to, which allowed us to fully relax and enjoy the whole trip. Along the way, we indulged in the local food and wines, which were outstanding in every way. This was an incredible learning experience and a wonderful, memorable vacation all in one. It will stay with us forever. Thank you, Brian and Sheryl, for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

9 Sep 2015

South Africa…Safari and history tour!  Over a two week period we couldn’t decide on what was the best part….it was all so awesome.  The guides, facilitation and education by Brian on past and present day S. Africa was amazing and to be able to draw parallels for what was happening in the U.S. at the time brought a whole new twist to understanding an evolving world.  It just doesn’t get better than this…exciting, fun, educational, stunning venue’s, outstanding accommodations and a foodies delight!  We will be repeat travelers for sure!

9 Sep 2015

You simply will not find a better “team” than Sheryl and Brian. Sheryl’s attention to detail is unsurpassed – her goal is your comfort at all times. Brian’s expertise and his ability to share his depth of knowledge and commitment to our country in a way anyone can understand is truly a gift not to be missed.

My husband and I spent 11 days with Essential History Expeditions exploring the history and sites of D-Day. Brian’s experiences as a U. S. Army Ranger (Col. ret.) and professor at West Point, along with his intimate knowledge of war, are shared with a passion that is palpable. Our new understanding of the D-Day operations is beyond anything we imagined.Sheryl’s compassion for her fellow travelers overflows -she anticipates your every need and is ready to provide whatever it is you need.

I simply cannot imagine choosing any other leaders now that I know what an educational trip can provide. If you are considering a trip – don’t miss this organization. If you do, you will miss something to treasure for the rest of your life!

9 Sep 2015

Just returned from Essential History Expeditions tour of D-Day sites with Brian and Sheryl. It was amazing. They not only shared their expertise and incredible stories of WWII heroism, they also shared themselves, creating a warm and welcoming environment. We learned about D-Day during the day at various sites, hearing incredibly moving stories about the soldiers and learning about the strategies that helped move the invasion, and then gathered around meals at night to process and discuss what we had learned. Brian and Sheryl were always available to answer questions and discuss difficult issues surrounding the war. It was a wonderful experience all around!

9 Sep 2015

I would not, ever, take a history-focused trip with anyone else!  Brian is a walking encyclopedia, and Sheryl the most competent and caring person I know.  Having worked with them for several years now on several trips, I can say without reservation that they are THE BEST and we will be happily planning and taking more trips with them in years to come!

9 Sep 2015

I have never been on a trip like this. It was beyond my expectations. My sister, niece and I just completed the 75th Anniversary of D-Day expedition with Brian and Sheryl. Our father (and grandfather) was in WWII. Brian looked up the information and made us feel like our loved one was standing next to us. Brian’s knowledge and humor made the experience unforgettable. Sheryl ‘s organizational skills made every step look effortless. The sleeping accommodations were top class and the food was exceptional. I highly recommend any expedition with Brian and Sheryl.

9 Sep 2015

We were educated, inspired, and deeply moved by the D-Day program and tour!  The tour was life-changing.  Thanks to you and your team for doing an outstanding job in conveying the extraordinary bravery, courage, and sacrifice by U.S. and Allied military personnel during WWII.  We are forever indebted to them for the freedom to live our lives as we do today.

The group on the tour was a terrific mix of students, alumni, and friends of the University.  You and Sheryl are now members of the SMU family.

Cheyenne and I have already told others about the extraordinary quality of your work and that you have an effective business that delivers the tours.

9 Sep 2015

It is a shame that rating Essential History Expeditions is limited to only five stars. EHE earns a constellation of positive recognition.

Brian is learned in history of great depth as well as the ability to impart such knowledge in a clear and enthusiastic manner. His knowledge is not limited to the topic at hand, in this case EHE’s D-Day tour, but of eclectic history over the ages. We passed a street in France and when someone mentioned the name of the street Brian entertained us with an impromptu mini lecture on the person after whom the street was named, who they were and what they did that earned a street. We visited Mont Saint-Michel whose groundbreaking occurred in the 10th century and the ribbon cutting ceremony centuries later and yet once again Brian provided great insight into the history and events surrounding this island commune.

Sheryl, Brian’s most capable and gracious business and life partner, made a complex trip look easy. A most worthy and appreciated skill. Be it lodging, box lunches, transportation (impromptu or otherwise), it all just magically happened(!). I have never been so well cared for on a hosted trip.

I learned so much from this trip of a lifetime while being well cared for and socializing with well matched people of similar interests all of whom immensely enjoyed the camaraderie.

We all were guided through the shadow of history of very brave people, soldiers as well as civilian; Allied as well as Axis and we were honored to do so. I encourage you to experience Essential History Expeditions. It could be your trip of a lifetime as well.

9 Sep 2015

I just returned from a 2-week tour of Vietnam with Brian and Sheryl of Essential History Expeditions. When I initially read the itinerary on this trip, it immediately piqued my interest and I signed up. But there was no way that I could ever imagine what an educational, cultural and pleasing experience of the senses this would be. We did not just go to typical tourist sites in Vietnam, instead we traversed the country starting in the south in Ho Chi Minh City and making our way up through the Central Highlands, stopping along the coast, winding up mountainous regions eventually ending up in Hanoi and then almost to the Chinese boarder in the Tonkinese Mountains of Sapa. We visited sites in the cities, in villages and along rivers- the Mekong, the Perfume and the Red Rivers. We learned so much about the history of this country through Brian’s expertise and his military knowledge – he immersed us in the history at the very sites where it took place – at battle grounds, prisons, forts and fortresses, Presidential palaces, Vietcong hand dug tunnels and trenches…
Between Sheryl and Nhu, a Vietnamese tour guide who traveled with us,  every detail of the trip was planned and executed – from the travel from place to place to the hotels and restaurants and sites to see. Whether traveling by van, SUV, boat, or cyclo – our vehicle awaited us at the very hour it was scheduled. The accommodations at each hotel we stayed at were superb and each restaurant a unique atmospheric and new and tasty experience for the palate. I can’t say or write enough about this tour company and about Sheryl and Brian – not only their attention to detail and their knowledge, but also their warmth, enthusiasm and their genuine concern for each participant who travels with them.

9 Sep 2015

We just got back from the D-Day/Normandy trip with our family. Since our five kids are now between ages 27 & 17, it was likely our last vacation with the whole family. Two friends of our children joined us. Perfect falls short of describing it. There were excellent accommodations, comfortable transportation to the sites, tasty meals, completely thorough presentations of the history with a personal touch and fine company to share. It all went off like clock-work – even bathroom breaks. Sheryl & Brian have this wired and are experts at their craft. Worth every dime and beyond our wildest expectations – we were thrilled to have this experience for our family. It was a stress-free trip and the standard by which all other vacations will be judged.

9 Sep 2015

My son and I just returned from the World War I trip. It was better than I ever imagined. Everything was absolutely beyond what I had envisioned. Brian made the history come alive, and Sheryl attended to every little detail. I could have spent another week or two with them. 5 stars is not enough. Can’t wait to go with them again.

9 Sep 2015

We traveled on the D Day trip. It exceeded my wildest expectations! Brian and Sheryl were the consummate professionals and I now have a bunch of new friends!

9 Sep 2015

My boyfriend and I went on a tour to Cuba. It was absolutely wonderful! Sheryl is always on top of the logistics and is very detail oriented, so you do not have to worry about a thing. Brian is very knowledgeable and taught us so much about the history of Cuba. This was an eye-opening trip where we gained so much while having an awesome vacation. I love that Brian and Sheryl always make an effort to help the Cuban people as much as possible by taking us to Cuban-owned restaurants and places.

9 Sep 2015

Diane S., IBM Project Manager

History comes to life within all of your senses on a tour with Essential History Expeditions.  A magical and professional team of travel experts take care of every detail in order to allow for total immersion.  Our tour of Vietnam was beyond my expectations of learning and experiencing in a very visceral way.   Brian is an exceptional historian with a gift of language and knowledge that keeps you totally engaged.  His passion for sharing historical events, dates and details allows clients to open their minds and absorb the information with contagious thirst.  Sheryl’s planning and organizational detail along with an amazing agenda and wonderful places to stay provide a stressless and wonderful experience.  Very quickly you feel as though you are traveling with family. Even if you are only curious about history of An particular area, you will be more than pleasantly surprised how you will be “pulled In” and want more.  Sheryl and Brian will have another repeat customer in me and I will recommend them without pause.

9 Sep 2015

I have made two trips to Cuba. The most recent visit with Brian DeToy and Essential History Expeditions was far and away the better of the two. Brian has extensive experience in Cuba and his encyclopedic knowledge of the military, social, and political history of the island contributed to a fuller understanding of the nation and its people. His ability to successfully team with Cuban guides enabled the group to see things not on most itineraries. I was impressed with his flexibility to meet the special interests of a group of fortification and coast artillery enthusiasts. Brian’s extensive academic training, experience as an instructor at the college level, insight gained as a career Army Infantry officer, and field experience on the ground makes him an interesting, enjoyable, and personable companion and guide.

9 Sep 2015

I just completed a tour of the Battle of the Bulge, with an add on segment in Prague.  Brian and Sheryl run a terrific tour with everything smoothly taken care of.  The restaurants were always great, the information from each of them about the history of our locations were superb, and the overall enjoyment level was outstanding. I had previously done a Gettysburg tour which was great, but the European trip surpassed it.  Highly recommended.

9 Sep 2015

Essential History Expeditions is the real deal if you care about history.  With Brian DeToy and Sheryl Shafer, you get it all: a guide who is a superb teacher – Brian makes it all vitally interesting and relevant – and a tour manager in Sheryl who is quietly and graciously capable of handling any problem or concern. You will have no worries with them. All you’ll be required to do is to love every minute of your tour. We just completed the Normandy and Battle of the Bulge tours, and the moments of true inspiration and emotion were too many to count. Though it is a guided tour, and you will be in a van or bus, you always feel you are sharing important and memorable experiences with a group of friends. And we had the most fantastic food and wine, in beautiful settings!
GO!! You will love it.