It all began in the early 1990s on a relaxing visit to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, when a beautiful handwoven rug labeled from Oaxaca caught Sharon’s eye. As a fiber artist since the 1970s when she received a B.A. in Textile Design from Albright College, she did her research and eventually took a mask-making workshop in Oaxaca to be able to travel to this part of Mexico. In 1997, when Sharon was co-teaching a textile course at Albright College, she organized a student tour to Oaxaca. She quickly fell in love with this part of the world, enthralled by its remarkably high concentration and wide variety of quality textiles and crafts - not to mention its rich cultural traditions, colorful markets and fabulous food.
Over the past two decades, she has traveled extensively to Mexico and Central America, and has led many small group tours to destinations such as Oaxaca, Chiapas, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City, Puebla and Michoacán for the monarch butterfly migration.
Sharon’s tours cater to those like-minded souls who prefer to experience new places in a more intimate way. Her tours attract curious travelers with interests in art, crafts, food, history, nature and music, who crave off-the-beaten-path experiences. Over the years, Sharon has enjoyed becoming friends with many Mexican and Guatemalan craftspeople, merchants, museum curators, lodging owners and local tour guides. These personal connections are what allows her to offer unique cultural experiences on every tour.
Sharon has a growing group of repeat travelers, who continue to ask eagerly, “Where are we going next?”. Planning is currently underway for adventures to new parts of the world, including an archaeological trip to Machu Picchu, Peru as well as a textile and culture trip to Morocco.
As a long-time textile artist based in Pennsylvania, Sharon has pursued her interest in weaving women's clothing, accessories and a line of rugs and placemats. Now retired from participating in craft shows, in the past she participated in craft shows along the east coast from Maryland and Virginia to Rhode Island and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. She also loves to collect textiles from her travels all around the world and has an extensive collection of Mexican textiles and huipils.
What You Can Expect on Our Tours
Tours By Sharon curates unique travel experiences that focus on connecting with the local culture. By keeping the groups small (8-14 people) everyone gets the personalized attention they deserve. It also allows for more flexibility in scheduling and can give travelers the chance to pursue specific interests. Traveling in small groups also allows everyone to have more personal interactions with the people and places we visit.
For example, we might be invited to a spinning, dyeing and weaving demonstration in the courtyard of a local weaver’s home, where we meet the whole family and get a peek at how they live. We might visit a potter’s studio and hear her story of overcoming the stigma of being a single, female potter in a craft dominated primarily by men. The workshops we visit are selected because the craftspeople produce beautiful, high-quality work and, while they may be lesser known, have meaningful stories to tell.
There is so much to see in every place we travel. While our itineraries are packed with plenty of amazing experiences, some may consider our pace more relaxed. Some days we are out on a day-long tour and arrive back around dinner time. Other days, there is scheduled free time in the afternoon to explore the city on your own or take a siesta as locals do.
Our private tour guides are carefully selected for their knowledge and passion. Lodging is chosen to balance comfort and character with affordability. Every trip culminates in a group farewell dinner where we exchange goody bags of small treasures collected along the way. Overall, we aim to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will stay with you forever.