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Take a vacation with the arts
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If you're looking for a vacation that will stimulate your mind or your taste buds, a couple of locally organized European vacations may be just what you need.

First, local artist Jim Chapman is planning two watercolor workshops, one in Cortona, Italy, in September and one to the island of Santorini in Greece in October.

Chapman, who led a trip to Cortona last year, said the idea to expand to Greece came from the organizer of Tuscana American Workshops, who helped assemble the Cortona trip.

"I've never been to Santorini but it sounds great," he said. "I love travel and painting and art instruction."

The all-inclusive trips are for any skill level, from beginner painters to experienced artists just looking to get away. Instruction takes place outside, where students use the natural environment as inspiration.

Chapman is a former contributing editor for The Artists Magazine where he has exhibited with the National Watercolor Society and is an adjunct instructor for the Art and Design Department at Brenau University in Gainesville.

If you're more into tasting the local culture, not painting it, then take a trip to Germany with Grapes & Hops Bar & Bistro in Flowery Branch.

The restaurant is putting together an eight-day cruise down the Moselle and Rhine rivers.

Co-owner Bernd Koerner said the trip, set up in conjunction with travel agent Susan Rogers, relates to his German heritage, and the restaurant's love of wine. Highlights of the trip include guided tours into the German wine country and includes all meals.

For more information on Chapman's trips to Cortona and Santorini, call 770-530-9671 WaterColorSketch, and for more information on the Grapes & Hops river cruise, call 770-560-2411.

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