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Historical Attractions

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Veteran-Friendly Venues

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c on t e n t s

JJANU UAR RY Y/FEBRUA ARY 2017 Vo V olume X XX XXVIII, Numbe er 3





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D I N I N G AN D L O DG I N G Tour passengers look forward to stops that include good food and comfortable rooms, as well a s t he chance t o t ake in the local color, indulge in a decadent treat or pick up a meaningful souvenir.

SSpecials pecials 4



HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS Part of the fun of a motorcoach tour is learning about the regions visited. These historical attractions and museums are filled with the history, culture and spirit of the areas they represent and offer tour planners the choice of short stops, day trips and overnight st ays – all sure t o ent ert ain and educate groups of any age and interest. GATLINBURG Find out what we, as bus tour planners and operators, can do to support this popular destination and hasten its recovery from the devastating wildfires that swept through in November 2016. NEW, IMPROVED & DIFFERENT

Editor & Publisher . . . . . . . . . Larry Plachno Business Manager . . . . Nancy Ann Plachno Bookkeeping . . . . . . . . . . . . Dianne Billquist Typesetting/Page Layout . . . . Sherry Mekeel Office Asst.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nicole Fehler Editorial Assistant . . . . . . . . . . . Karla Nagy Bus Tours Magazine 9698 W. Judson Road Polo, Illinois 61064-9015 (815) 946-2341 Fax: (815) 946-2347 Web site: www.b bustoursmagazine.ccom Ad dvvertising

28 Guides G uides


Features F eatures 20


VETERAN-FRIENDLY VENUES These attractions and museums not only welcome veterans and active military personnel, but also chronicle the history of our branches of services while honoring the contributions and sacrifices of those who serve.

ESCAPE TO THE NORTHEAST From the one-of-a-kind experiences to be found in historic West Virginia, to the beautiful scenery of New York’s Finger Lakes Region, discover the wonders of a motorcoach tour through the Northeast.

And A nd More More 39



20 TIPS by Dr. Charleen Jaeb



Central/International – (815) 946-2341 West Adinfo.B BT– (800) 440-0231 Midwest – (815) 946-2341 Northeast – (815) 946-2341 Southeast – (815) 946-2341

COVER PHOTO Historic interpreters offer a glimpse into frontier life and perform daily musket firings and military drills at historic Old Fort Madison’s oldest American military garrison on the upper Mississippi River. Each year, on the weekend following Labor Day, the site recrea t e s t h e O l d F o r t M a d i s o n Wa r o f 1 8 1 2 Siege, during the Tri-State Rodeo weekend. IOWA TOURISM OFFICE.

B US T OURS M AGAZINE (ISSN 0199-6096) is published six times annually by National Bus Trader, Inc., 9698 W. Judson Road, Polo, Illinois 61064. Subscriptions, $15 (in US funds) annualllly, Canadian & International $20 (in US funds). Printed in U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at Polo, Illinois 61064 and at additional mailliing offices. POSST TMASTER: Send address changes to BUS TOURS MAGAZINE, 9698 W. Judson Road, Polo, Illllinois 61064. Chaan nge of Address: Please send old mailliing label (or old address and computer number) as well as new address. Ad dvverrttising: Display advertisiin ng rates sent on request. Adverrttising deadlliine is the last day of the second month preceding publication. Founded in 1979, BUS TOURS MAGAZINE is the oldest independent magazine in the bus and group tour market. Circulation includes bus and group tour planners in the United States and Canada regardless of affiliation or whether commercial, private or corporate or group leader. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced eit her in whole or in part without the written consent of the publisher. The name BUS TOURS MAGAZINE and the logo iin ncorporatiin ng the passengers, bus and destinations are trade marks of National Bus Trader, Inc.

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 3

the Welcome Center, showing a 20-minute video; displays illustrating the mountain work and progress; the Indian Museum of North America®; the Native American Educational & C u l t u r a l C e n t e r ® ; a n d S c u l p t o r ’s S t u d i o / H o m e a n d Wo r k s h o p s . D i n i n g options are available at the Laughing Water Restaurant and the Snack Shop, and an onsite gift shop features exclusive Crazy Horse and Native American handmade gifts. During the summer months, featured seasonal activities include Native American performers and artists and The Legends in Light® Laser Show, a unique display of color and culture, shown nightly at dark. Crazy Horse Memorial is located between

Historic H Hi istoric ri A Attractions ttract tt ttr ctio i ns


Custer and Hill City on U.S. Highway 16/385. For more information, phone (605) 673-4681 or visit online at c

very place has a story: about the peo-

where my dead lie buried.” Ziolkowski and

Gearry y County

ple, the land, the struggles, the vic-

Standing Bear designed the mountain carrv ving

Junction City, Kansas

tories, the defeats. All of the loca-

to be the centerpiece of the greater goal – to

Historic Junction City and Geary County,

tions in this section abound in those stories.

foster education and cultural understanding

in the heart of the Kansas Flint Hills, make

F r o m m u s e u m s t h a t c h r o n i c l e a l e a d e r ’s

among all people.

the perfect stop for bus tours. Located on

a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s o r a r e g i o n ’s h i s t o r y,

Once completed, the mountain carving

Interstate 70 and U.S. Hwy. 77, about midway

locales that explore of the remnants of our

will be 563 feet high and 641 feet wide. The

between Topeka and Salina, Junction City is

seafaring past or trace the evolution of trans-

head of Crazy Horse stands 87 feet high – by

a great choice for an overnight stop.

portation, to living history sites and more,

comparison, the heads carved at Mount

The area offers many places to explore

these destinations are sure to provide motor-

Rushmore stand 60 feet high. The continued

and visit. In Junction City: The Geary County

coach tour groups with moving and memo-

focus points of the mountain carving are the

Historical Society & Museum has three floors

rable experiences.

h a n d , e l b o w, s h o u l d e r a n d h a i r o f C r a z y

of exhibits and a gift shop. The Spring Valley

H o r s e h i m s e l f a n d t h e h o r s e ’s m a n e . A n

Heritage Site features several historic build-

Crazy Horse Memorriial

expert mountain carving crew is removing

ings, including a one-room schoolhouse, log

Crazy Horse, South Dakota

the rock in this area by hand, using special-

cabin church and pony barn. The restored

C r a z y H o r s e M e m o r i a l i s t h e w o r l d ’s

ized tools due to the delicate nature of the

Starcke House, built in the 1880s by a promi-

largest mountain carving in progress.

area. Be sure to look for the dust plumes

nent local jeweler, showcases furniture and

Located in the Southern Black Hills of South

kicked up by the carving and drilling when

household goods of that era.

Dakota, Crazy Horse Memorial is 17 miles

you visit.

from Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Just 15 minutes north is historic Fort Riley,

The memorial is easily accessible and bus-

home of the famed 1st Infantry Division, nick-

and five miles north of Custer, South Dakota.

friendly, with loading and unloading zones in

named the Big Red One. The fort was estab-

The dream began in 1939, when Lakota

front of the Welcome Center, and ample free

lished in 1853 to protect the many pioneers

Chief Henrry y Standing Bear asked sculptor Kor-

parking on site, with a designated area for buses

and traders moving along the Oregon-Califor-

czak Ziolkowski to create a memorial to show

and RVs. Advanced booking is recommended

nia and Santa Fe trails. In 1887, it became the

that “the red man has great heroes, also.” The

and group rates are available. The average visit

United States Cavalry School. The fort now

memorial Ziolkowski created is a representa-

is two hours, with special group activities avail-

covers more than 100,000 acres, and several

tion of the Lakota leader Crazy Horse, riding

able with advanced reservations.

of the original native limestone buildings still

his horse while pointing in the distance toward

C ra z y H o r s e M e m o r i a l i s m o r e t h a n j u s t

stand. Group walking and driving tours of Fort

the sacred Black Hills, declaring, “My lands are

a mountain carving. The memorial includes

R i l e y a r e a v a i l a b l e, a n d o n - s i t e m u s e u m s

4 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Special: Special: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions a and nd M Museums useums include the U. S. Cavalry Museum, 1st Infantry

Staff members will design an itinerary that

Division Museum and the Custer House.

meets your needs from beginning to end, and

Other area attractions include Heritage

their services are free. Whether planning a

Park and its various military memorials, the

short stop or an overnight stay, Geary County

Milford Lake Nature Center/Fish Hatchery

CVB staff members understand your need for

and the Kansas Arboretum.

local assistance in putting it all together. They

Junction City offers many lodging options

will customize your tour to fit your time frame

that can accommodate large groups, and din-

and needs. Materials to aid you in selling your

ing choices range from popular national

package, including brochures and photos, are

chains to established local restaurants.

available on request. The CVB can also arrange

The Geary County Convention & Visitors

special services for your group that include

Bureau is a “one-stop shop” for group tour

entertainment, welcome packets and step-on

planners to plan a successful motorcoach stop.

guide service. The beautiful Kansas Flint Hills region offers your group easy accessibility to a multitude of attractions, along with plenty of down-home hospitality. The local experts at Geary CVB can assist you in making arrangements with nearby communities to help to make a stop to Geary County an enjoyable and memorable experience for your tour

Courtesy of Geary County Historical Society

group. For more information, visit online at

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 5

Special: S pecial: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions a and nd M Museums useums Mount Washington Cog Railway Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

at the top of Mount Washington and get their photo taken at the summit marker.

Bus tour groups will revel in the adventure and history of a ride

At the bottom, at the Marshfield Base Station, bus tour groups can

aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world’s first moun-

enjoy the new interactive Cog Railway Museum, which offers exhibits

tain-climbing cog (rack-and-pinion) railway and its second-steepest.

on the history, technology and engineering of the railway, along with a

Operating since 1869, it offers visitors a three-hour round-trip scenic

10-minute media presentation. Also at the base is a trout feeding pond,

train ride up Mount Washington – at 6,228 feet, the highest peak in

plenty of space for indoor and outdoor dining and a gift shop.

the Northeast.

Group reservations must be made a minimum of 30 days prior to

On the trip up and back down, knowledgeable brakemen provide

your excursion date. A deposit is required to secure a reservation.

an educational guided tour about the railway’s history, mountain

Contact the group sales department at (603) 278-2256 or

weather and fun facts. Passengers get the opportunity to move about for detailed group pricing and assistance in

the train and take pictures along the way.

booking your group tour. On-site dining is available, with choice of

At the summit, on a clear day, the view covers

Mt. Washington Cog Railway

cafeteria, buffet or box lunch, and shop and museum tours are available upon request. The Cog Railway has competitive student and

four states, the Province of

group rates and educational add-ons. The building is handicap-

Quebec and the Atlantic

a c c e s s i b l e, a n d b u s e s d r o p o f f a n d p i c k u p p a s s e n g e r s n e a r t h e

Ocean. Here, passengers

entrance, at a walkway leading to the Marshfield Base Station. Motor-

will have approximately

coach parking is available in the adjacent lot.

an hour to explore the

The Cog Railway’s season runs late April through November,

mountaintop community,

a n d i t i s o p e n d a i l y f r o m M e m o r i a l D a y t h r o u g h O c t o b e r. I t i s

which includes the Sherman Adams Visitors Center, Mount Wash-

located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, just three hours

ington Observatory’s Weather Museum and 1853 Tip Top House. They or phone (603) 278-5404 for n o r t h o f B o s t o n . Vi s i t

can even send a letter with a stamp postmarked from the post office

more information.

6 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Special: Special: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions and and Museums Museums Little Sable Point Light Station

out. A one-and-a-half story brick dwelling

Tour passengers must climb 130 stairs to

Mears, Michigan

connected to the tower by means of an

reach the top of Little Sable Point Light Sta-

Along the east coast of Lake Michigan,

enclosed walkway, a brick lean-to for wood

tion. With room for only 15 people to climb

Ludington is your motorcoach tour destina-

storage attached to the rear of the keeper

a t o n e t i m e, t h o s e w a i t i n g c a n e n j o y t h e

tion for historic lighthouses. In the distance

dwelling and a brick privy completed the sta-

dunes and beach. Upon request, Silver Lake

of about 60 miles and the time of about one

tion structures. In response to complaints

State Park offers a naturalist to take tour

day, your passengers can visit and climb four

from mariners who could not see the tower

members on a dune walk while others of the group climb the tower.



during the day because of its natural color,



in 1900, the tower was painted white. It was

Tour passengers may bring picnic lunches

served and pro-

repainted white every two years until 1977,

to enjoy on the beach, or dine at one of two


when the Coast Guard sandblasted the tower

local restaurants that welcome groups: The

to reveal the beautiful red brick.

Sands, 8448 Hazel Road (about three miles





Lighthouse Keep-

Discounted rates are offered to groups of

from the lighthouse) or the Open Hearth Grill

ers Association

more than 12; no escort or driver comps. Pay-

& Bar, 2430 N. 56 Avenue (about eight miles


ment can be made ahead of time or when


Just south of Ludington,

the tour arrives. Buses drop off and pick up

Registration for tours should be made


passengers in the parking lot, where groups

ahead of time by contacting the SPLKA via

Mears, is a magi-

will be greeted by volunteer docents. It is a

e-mail, at, or by

cal world of 70-foot sand dunes and ever-

100-yard walk on an ADA-compliant side-

phone at (231) 845-7417.

green forests. Here, burrowed amidst the Sil-

walk through the dunes to the Little Sable

ver Lake State Park sand dunes, stands the

tower; buses wait in the parking lot. Docents

Warren Coun nty History Center

spectacular Little Sable Point Lighthouse.

both at the base and top of the tower tell the

Le ebanon, Ohio

The tower of the Little Sable Point Light Sta-

story of the light.

t i o n a p p e a r s o u t o f p l a c e, a l m o s t s u r r e a l .

Motorcoach tour groups will enjoy a s t o p a t t h e Wa r r e n C o u n t y H i s t o r y C e n t e r

Save for the top, the conical tower resembles a brick smokestack from a long abandoned factory. It soon becomes obvious that there is more to the spire. The catwalk, windows and roof reveal a beacon for mariners. Dwellings and other buildings have long since disappeared, robbing it of the grandeur of other lights. O r i g i n a l l y n a m e d P e t i t e Au S a b l e, i t i s located halfway between the Michigan-Indiana border and the Straits of Mackinac, just 10 miles South of Pentwater on one of La ake Michigan’s marvelous eastern beaches. Little Sable Point Lighthouse was built in 1874 after local merchants’ lobbied congress for a light in this area. The graceful 115-foot light was designed by Col. Orlando M. Poe of the Engineers of the Eleventh Lighthouse District. The brick walls are five feet thick at the base, tapering to two feet at the highest point. When a third order Fresnel lens from France, nearly five feet tall, was carefully lifted to the lantern room, the light could be seen from 19 miles Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 7

Special: S pecial: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions and and Museums Museums books covering topics from the Civil War and

t h r e e o w n e r s ov e r 1 0 0 y e a r s o f Wa r r e n

local history to Shaker cooking.

County history. The house showcases furni-

The Warren County History Center, 105

ture, paintings, textiles and decorative arts

S. Broadway, is owned and operated by the

of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Glen-

Warren County Historical Society, a nonprofit

dower, open June through August and week-

organization founded in 1940. It can easily

ends in December, offers free on-site parking

accommodate 50 or more visitors at a time,

and is not handicapped accessible.

and is handicapped accessible with an ele-

For group reservations or more informa-

vator. Special rates are available for groups

t i o n a b o u t Wa r r e n C o u n t y H i s t o r y C e n t e r ,

of 25 or more, and the bus driver and escort

Warren County History Center

are admitted at no charge. Reservations are required at least one month in advance, with

in Lebanon, Ohio, just 35 minutes south-

payment due a week before your visit via

west of Dayton via Interstate 75 N and 35

check or credit card.

minutes northeast of Cincinnati via I-71 S.

No on-site dining is available at Warren

Housed in Harmon Hall, an historic,

County History Center, but with two months’

38,000-square-foot, three-story brick build-

notice, lunch can be provided in the center’s

ing displaying thousands of artifacts and

banquet hall, which seats 100; the dining pay-

more than 30 exhibits ranging from pre-

ment is due two weeks prior to the date of

historic eras to the mid-20th century, this

your visit. Locally, the historic Golden Lamb

award-winning museum and research

Inn & Restaurant (c1803), at 27 S. Broadway

library is dedicated to preserving and cel-

– just down the street from the History Center

ebrating the heritage of Warren County and

– welcomes large groups. Tour groups will

the Old Northwest Territory.

a l s o e n j o y b r o w s i n g L e b a n o n ’s m y r i a d

Warren County History Center will provide a step-on guide by request. Upon arrival, bus

antique stores and unique specialty shops, all within walking distance of the center.

tour visitors will hear an introductory talk by

Prior to May 2017, buses must unload on

one of the center’s qualified staff before start-

Broadway at the History Center’s Broadway

ing a self-guided tour. Motorcoach tour pas-

entrance; those passengers needing assis-

sengers can view the museum’s nationally

tance must be able to walk approximately

recognized exhibits, which include: Following

250 feet to the handicapped entrance. After

the Tracks of the Underground Railroad in War-

May 2017, buses will unload at the new hand-

ren County; The People Known as Shakers;

icapped-accessible entrance off South Street,

and Russel Wright, American Designer.

within 50 feet of the doors. Buses must park

The History Center is also known for its textile collection of quilts, samplers, woven

on Broadway, South or Sycamore streets, which surround the museum property.

coverlets, household linens, shoes, hats and

More Warren County history is available

clothing. Its textile department develops two

for motorcoach tour passengers at Glen-

special exhibits each year based on the His-

dower Historic Mansion, also owned and

tory Center ’s own collections. Self-guided

o p e r a t e d b y t h e Wa r r e n C o u n t y H i s t o r i c a l

ov e r l a y t o u r s i n c l u d e t h e S p i r i t o f T h o m a s

Society (separate fee required). Located at

Corwin; The Underground Railroad; Gruesome

105 Cincinnati Avenue, just three blocks from

but Truesome; and STEM in History.

t h e H i s t o r y C e n t e r, G l e n d o w e r i s n o t e d b y

Tour group passengers can also browse

architectural historians as one of the best

The Rocking Horse Gift Shop, located in the

examples of residential Greek revival archi-

center and featuring artisan décor and coun-

tecture in the country. Built in 1845 by a local

try-style items, along with a selection of

builder using a published plan book, the museum chronicles the rise and fall of its

8 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Special: Special: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions and and Museums Museums phone (513) 932-1817, email or visit online

tional fee, docent tours are available, at one docent per 15 visitors.

at w

Self-guided tours are also welcome. Groups are required to pay in one form of payment to be eligible for group rate.

LeMay – America’s Car Mus seum Tacoma, Washington

Bus parking is available on a limited basis; information and parking instructions will be given at the Guest Services counter upon arrival.

As your motorcoach tour travels Interstate 5 through Tacoma, Wash-

W h e n AC M o p e n e d i n 2 0 1 2 , U S A T O D A Y n a m e d i t o n e o f t h e

ington, you will spot something very interesting – a glistening, polished

world’s “Top 8” cultural attractions opening that year. The museum


metal building that appears

will celebrate its fifth anniversary in 2017, having welcomed hundreds

both stunningly modern, and

of thousands of visitors from around the world. America’s Car Museum

a t t h e s a m e t i m e, s t r a n g e l y

bills itself a place to celebrate America’s love affair with the automo-

f a m i l i a r. I t i s a s i f t h e h o o d

bile. The success ACM has achieved in its first five years shows that

scoop on a 1957 Ford Thunder-

love affair extends well beyond our shores. Join the celebration with

bird has been magically trans-

a visit to America’s Car Museum.

formed into America’s largest automotive museum – 165,000 square feet large. It is LeMay – America’s Car Museum, winner of count-

Reservations can be made Monday through Friday during regular business hours by emailing or phoning (253) 779-8490.

less awards as one of the region’s premier destination attractions.

City of Aztec, New Mexico

America’s Car Museum is purpose-built to be visitor friendly, especially for tour groups. Bus access is doorstep close, and the staff is

“Even though we live in a high sierra desert region, northwest

warm and welcoming. Knowledgeable docents are on hand to share

New Mexico is blessed with vast pockets of deciduous shrubs and

history and answer questions. The museum features 12 rotating

trees that color burst like fireworks in the fall,” says Aztec Visitor

exhibits and hosts five annual Signature Events. The interior was

Center Manager Wilann Thomas. “Nowhere is that more apparent

specifically designed to foster ease of movement. Gently sloping ramps

than here in Aztec, where streets, parks, businesses, historic district

branch off from the main entry level gallery and lead down three

and the meandering Animas River are transformed by towering, yel-

levels past engaging exhibits covering a wide range of styles and eras

low- and red-leafed cottonwood trees. Visually, it’s one of the more

– everything from vintage British sports cars to elegant saloons and

breathtaking sights in the Southwest.”

the latest in automotive energy efficiency.

That kind of supernatural splendor offers a compelling attraction

Those wishing to expand their experience beyond the vehicles on

for residents and visitors who are drawn to an increasingly popular

display can certainly do so. ACM’s “Speed Zone” features a four-lane,

outdoor lifestyle. In fact, Aztec is renowned for its world-class recre-

pro-class slot car track and CXC sound/sight/motion racing simu-

ation, including mountain biking, hiking and boating. Further, the

lators. Bus tour passengers can catch a movie in the State Farm The-

area is celebrated for its myriad natural sandstone arches and its

atre, savor a tasty snack in Classics by Pacific Grill and find the perfect

close proximity to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

gift of clothing, die-cast models, books and more in the ACM Store.

“We tease everyone that Aztec has been a destination of choice

There is even a NAPA Car Care Center, where you can watch the Col-

since 1100 A.D., about the time when Ancestral Puebloans established

lections Team at work.

what are now the Aztec Ruins National Monument, Chaco Culture

The automobile has been key in shaping the social, cultural, eco-

National Historical Park and Mesa Verde National Park,” says Thomas.

nomic and technical history of America. No other device, with the

“Collectively and individually, these sites are legacies of transcending

possible exception of the computer, has had more influence on the

historical significance and unlike anything found anywhere else on

way we live, work and play. Cars have been our companions through


life. They feature in the stories we tell, the ones that make us laugh.

At the forefront are the Aztec Ruins, commonly described as a critical

We give them names and pose next to them in photos. With up to 300

landmark to the roots of civilization. Toured by 45,000 visitors annually,

on display in ACM’s 16 galleries, it is almost certain you will come

the exquisitely engineered masonry includes the three-story, 450-room

across your family’s car or the one that took you to your high school

West Ruin, plus a roofed Great Kiva that features 900-year-old timbers

prom, college or your first job. LeMay – America’s Car Museum, 2702 E. D St., Tacoma, Washington, offers discounted rates for groups of 10 or more. Reservations are required to receive group rates; allow 24 hours’ notice on all reservations, and 14 days’ notice for scheduling tour guides. For an addiBus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 9

Special: S pecial: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions a and nd M Museums useums that shelter intact plaster rooms, which in autumn are framed and illuminated by towering yellow-leafed cottonwoods.

The city’s Visitor Center is located at 110 N. Ash Avenue. Bus tour planners, mention “BTM” when calling the Visitor Center at (505)

The visitor center at the ruins offers a museum, 15-minute infor-

334-9551 and receive

mative video, park store and picnic area. The park easily accommo-

souvenir Welcome Bags

dates groups of 50 or more and has a pick-up/drop-off area and free

with local information

bus parking just west of the visitor center. All groups will receive an

for your bus group.

orientation from a ranger when they arrive.

For more information

Another must-see experience is the Aztec Arches, a 300-plus col-

about the City of Aztec,

lection of natural sandstone arches and windows located within an or visit a

hour’s drive of Aztec.

phone the tourism office

“Many of these naturally formed ‘rock rainbows’ are immense,”

at (505) 334-7632.

Courtesy of Iowa Tourism Office

says backcountry explorer and Aztec resident Ed Kotyk, who personally has located and recorded about 200 of the impressive formations. “The canyon lands east of Aztec offer a plethora of arches, and in

Fort Madison, Iowa Historic Fort Madison, Iowa’s location on the Great River Road and

nearby La argo Canyon there’s a huge collection of arches plus hundreds

the Mormon Trail offers scenic drives throughout the region. Old Fort

of Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites. It’s quite spectacular.”

Madison, acting as a Great River Road Interpretive Center, is a replica

The City of Aztec welcomes bus tours, and offers a variety of lodg-

fort that pays homage to the original US Army Outpost, circa 1808 to

ing options, including several budget-minded motels and a recently

1813. The site offers reenactments, tours and education programs about

constructed major-chain hotel. The city’s cuisine ranges from sump-

life along the Mississippi following the Louisiana Purchase. Learn about

tuous regional specialties to deliciously authentic Asian. In historic

the area’s Native American tribes. Find out about the trials and tribulations

downtown Aztec, stores and unique boutiques offer arts and crafts,

of the soldiers who lived and died here. From fur trading to wars with

sporting goods, food markets, sundries and specialty shopping.

Native Americans, bus tour passengers learn about the story of our military’s fortitude when taming the U.S. frontier.

10 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 11

Special: S pecial: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions a and nd M Museums useums The community is also home to historic

R a n k e d a s o n e o f I o w a ’s To p 1 0 M a i n

o f b o y s l i v e d a t t h e v i l l a g e, w h i c h g r e w t o

Iowa State Penitentiary, the oldest continually

Street Communities, with buildings and

in clude a scho ol, dorm itori es and admini s -

used prison in the United States. The prison

architecture that date into the mid 1800s,

tration buildings.

began its history in 1839 as the Iowa Terri-

Fort Madison offers shoppers great boutiques

News of Flanagan’s work spread world-

torial Prison and was an active maximum-

a n d fi n e d i n i n g . T h e B N S F R a i l r o a d & t h e

wide with the success of the 1938 movie Boys

security prison until August 2015. The orig-

Southwest Chief Line, from Los Angeles to

Town. For his portrayal of Father Flanagan,

inal 1839 cellblock and parts of the massive

Chicago, has been bridging the Mississippi

S p e n c e r Tr a c y w o n a n A c a d e m y Aw a r d ,

stone walls still stand as a testament to this

here since 1888, crossing over the longest,

which he later donated to the priest. This

institution that has played an important role

double-decker swing-span bridge in the

Oscar is on permanent display in the Hall of

in the history of our justice system.

world. In addition, the Santa Fe Depot

History. Although Flanagan died in 1948, his

Museum, the state’s oldest courthouse, and

work at Boys Town, which he called “God’s

h i s t o ry g a l o r e m a k e F o r t M a d i s o n a n i n t e r -

work,” continues. Girls were welcomed in

esting piece of Americana.

1979, and today, Boys Town has a population

With annual festivals such as the Tri-State

of nearly 750.

R o d e o , t h e O l d S a n t a F e To w n M e x i c a n

B o y s To w n , c o n v e n i e n t l y l o c a t e d o n

Fiesta, train shows and arts and music, Fort

Dodge Road just off Interstate 680 W, within

Madison offers bus tour passengers a great

20 miles of downtown Omaha, welcomes

opportunity to explore the heartland. With

groups. Tours begin at the Visitors Center,

close proximity to The Villages of Van Buren

where a step-on guide greets the bus. From

County, numerous agro-tourism destinations

there, a driving tour through the village will

and communities such as Keokuk, Burlington

show where the children live, play, work, go

and Nauvoo, Fort Madison has multiple day

to school and pray. Trees, farmland, open

trips available to any bus tour.

spaces, memorial statues and fountains cre-

For information, visit online at visitfortvisitfort-

ate a picturesque, small-town setting. In addi- or phone (800) 210-8687 or

tion to the tour stops highlighted, many

email Come experi-

events are planned throughout 2017 to cel-

ence Fort Madison, the place where Iowa

ebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary.


The Hall of History museum presents the unique history of Boys Town and its first 100

12 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Boys Town USA

years through permanent exhibits that use

Douglas County, Nebraska

audio and video presentations. Tour passen-

You may recall the Oscar-winning movie

gers will discover how Boys Town programs

Boys Town, but did you know the village

developed and how Boys Town continues its

made famous by Hollywood is still working

mission to change the way America cares for

to give children a second chance and is open

children, families and communities. The

year-round for tours? More than 100,000 vis-

museum is located in the former dining hall

itors from across the United States tour the

built by Flanagan in 1939. Some of the arti-

Village of Boys Town annually. This year is

facts on display include the Best Actor Oscar

especially exciting, as Boys Town celebrates

presented to Spencer Tracy for his role as

its 100th anniversary.

Father Flanagan in the motion picture Boys

B o y s To w n h a s h u m b l e b e g i n n i n g s . I n

Town and the Flxible Visicoach bus that once

1917, a young Irish priest named Father

c a r r i e d B o y s To w n a t h l e t i c t e a m s a c r o s s

Edward J. Flanagan opened Father Flanagan’s

America. Tour passengers can listen to voices

Home for Boys and welcomed all boys,

from the past to learn how Flanagan’s revo-

regardless of race or religion. In 1921, Flana-

lution in childcare began and how Boys Town

gan moved his boys’ home to the outskirts

continues to work for America’s future.

of Omaha, where it became known as the

The Father Flanagan House museum is

Village of Boys Town. By the 1930s, hundreds

t h e f o r m e r r e s i d e n c e o f t h e B o y s To w n ’s

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The people. The product. The markets. NTA. Register today at 32£-2'W$31c$32='2ধ32.

Special: S pecial: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions a and nd M Museums useums founder. The house was constructed in 1927

time symbol of Boys Town and its national

and was the priest’s home until 1941, when


he moved to the rectory of Dowd Memorial

The chapels are linked by the three-acre

Chapel. The home’s décor and furnishings

Garden of the Bible. If your bus tour group

reflect the year 1929, when Flanagan would

visits in the spring or summer, the garden is

have been in residence. Many of his personal

a must-stop. Maintained by Boys Town youth,

belongings are on display in his bedroom and

the site includes rose bushes, lilies, rose of

study. One of his most prized possessions –

Sharon, a burning bush, fountains, benches

a desk made for him by his boys – is the cen-

and olive, fig, pomegranate and cedar trees.

terpiece of the study. It consists of more than

In addition to its more than 150 plant species

250,000 inlaid pieces of wood, 25 varieties

(all of which are mentioned in the Bible), the

in all. A statue of Flanagan, a gift from the

garden’s brick path forms a Gothic window

Boys Town National Alumni Association,

design that complements the nearby Catholic

stands in front of the house, surrounded by

and Protestant chapels. The picturesque sur-

m e m o r i a l b r i c k s h o n o r i n g B o y s To w n alumni.

roundings are a favorite spot for quiet reflecOther decorative highlights include cast-

tion and Bible study.

Dowd Memorial Chapel of the Immacu-

bronze gargoyles and stained-glass win-

In the 22-bed Rose Garden, hundreds of

late Conception has stood at the center of

dows. Visitors are welcome to attend services

roses bloom every summer, tended to by vil-

the Village of Boys Town for more than 60

at Chambers Chapel throughout the year.

lage youth. The garden’s roots date back to

years. Rising from the landscape in the tra-

Chambers Chapel’s Gothic architecture

the 1930s, when Father Flanagan encouraged

dition of a 15th-century Gothic church, it

was specifically chosen to complement Dowd

gardening as a positive outdoor activity for

shines as a beacon of hope for thousands of

Chapel. Both chapels stand equidistant from

children. It is adjacent to the Father Flanagan

children seeking comfort and consolation.

the famous Two Brothers Statue, the long-

House and a bronze statue honoring the man

The timeless beauty of Dowd Chapel’s Gothic

who dedicated his life to improving the lives

influence is evident in the use of Indiana Bed-

of children around the world.

ford limestone inside and out. Strong but-

The Leon Myers Stamp Center is a

tresses line the nave and support a simple

museum and office located in the Boys Town

timber ceiling inside and an English tile roof

Visitors Center. The Stamp Center promotes

outside. The chapel is a symbol of the com-

stamp collecting among youth and adults,

munity’s commitment to helping troubled

and supports Boys Town programs by selling

youth heal in body, mind and spirit.

donated stamps. Exhibits display stamps

A d j a c e n t t o t h e n av e o n t h e w e s t s i d e i s

designed by kids, children on stamps and

F a t h e r F l a n a g a n ’s t o m b, w h e r e t h e B o y s

children’s fairy tales on stamps, along with

To w n ’s f a m o u s f o u n d e r i s e n t o m b e d i n a

a variety of educational and philatelic topics.

bronze vault that briefly tells his life story.

The World’s Largest Ball of Stamps, a favorite

Flanagan often said, “All boys need to learn

of children and adults alike, also is on display

how to pray; how they pray is up to them.”

at the Stamp Center. Next to the Stamp Ball,

Flanagan’s tomb is a very special place for

children can go though the “penny bin” and

all those who live, work and visit the village.

pick out colorful stamps for their collections.

It has become even more special after Flana-

The experienced and friendly tour guides

g a n ’s c a u s e f o r s a i n t h o o d w a s o p e n e d i n

offer groups an insider’s perspective on life

2012. Visitors are welcome to attend Mass

in the village and share stories about the spe-

at Dowd Chapel throughout the year.

cial moments and famous faces that make

The Herbert B. Chambers Protestant

up Boys Town’s illustrious past. Passengers

Chapel of the Nativity of Our Lo ord is the spir-

can augment their physical tour with the

itual home for the village’s Protestant youth.

I n t e r a c t i v e B o y s To w n To u r – a l l t h a t i s

The chapel’s altar area is decorated with terra

needed is a Smartphone. Simply scan the QR

cotta tiles designed by Boys Town children.

code for instant access to faces, photos and

14 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Special: Special: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions and and Museums Museums v i d e o s o f t h e v i l l a g e ’s t o p

Wall, or lay a hand on a real steel beam recovered from the World

attractions, and watch for

Trade Center after 9-11?

stands with the large QR

Tour passengers will not just learn about the history of the Amer-


ican Presidency, but will immerse themselves in Ronald Reagan’s

Tours can be customized to fit a group’s theme, interest or age, and can include, among other options, a pic-

path to the White House. Starting back in his days as a sports radio

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

nic lunch, dining in the café or attending a religious service in one of the chapels.

announcer and moving to his years as a Warner Brothers movie actor and then as host of television’s “GE Theater,” tour passengers step into his shoes, through the use of green screen technology, to call a Cubs game, introduce a GE Theater episode and even act in a movie. They will follow President Reagan to the White House and deliver the

For more information, phone (800) 625-1400 or visit b

Presidential Inaugural Address through the use of a teleprompter. They will travel the world on diplomatic missions on board Air Force One and Marine One, and explore the White House Oval Office and

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum Simi Valley, California

the White House East Wing. Tour passengers may also enjoy the library’s outdoor grounds,

The American Presidency comes alive at the Ronald Reagan Pres-

where they can stroll through a replica of the White House Rose Gar-

idential Library and Museum. From Air Force One to historic photos

den or the White House West Lawn. They can enjoy a meal in one of

and video to interactive games to exquisite landscaped grounds, the

the library’s two restaurants, Reagan’s Country Café and The Ronald

Reagan Library is truly one of the most unique and beautiful travel

Reagan Pub. Group tours are encouraged to call ahead and reserve

destinations in southern California. Wholly renovated in 2011, the

seating. Group tour meal packages are also available, from sandwiches

galleries were designed to bring history to life. Where else in California

and salads to hot chicken and beef buffets, to the upscale White House

can bus tour passengers walk onboard an actual Air Force One aircraft

Lunch program, which comes complete with linen and china service

that flew seven U.S. presidents, touch an authentic piece of the Berlin

and professional waitstaff to attend to your group. Lunch options

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 15

Special: S pecial: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions a and nd M Museums useums range from $10 per person through the café, up to $54.95 per person for the White House Lunch program, and everything in between. (Price of museum admission and a docent for your group is included in the White House Luncheon program pricing.) In addition to its permanent exhibits, The Reagan Library, 40 Presidential Drive, Simi

Brenham Street Scene

Valley, features many world-class traveling

and specialty shops, as well as a variety of

exhibits. It is always best to go on the library’s

lodging and dining options. It is also the

Web site at or to phone to

home of Blue Bell Creameries with its iconic

see what exhibits may be open for touring

Ice Cream Parlor and Country Store.

during your visit.

One of the many historical attractions

Tour groups should book ahead by phon-

offers group tours of up to three grand homes

ing (805) 577-4066. The visitor services

of a past era (mid-1800s) to experience the

department will book your reservation, greet

lifestyles of our forefathers. These homes,

your bus and collect your payment upon

owned and operated by the Heritage Society

arrival. Bus parking is available on site in the

of Washington County, have been designated

parking lot, free of charge. Groups of any size

Te x a s H i s t o r i c L a n d m a r k s . To u r s a r e b y

can be accommodated, but docents are avail-

appointment. For information, visit online at

able only for groups of 15 or more. All groups

20 persons or larger must make a reserva-

H e r m a n n F u r n i t u r e, t h e o l d e s t s t o r e i n

tion, whether or not they elect to have a tour

Te x a s o w n e d a n d o p e r a t e d b y t h e s a m e

guide. Groups must use one form of payment

fa m i ly s in c e 1 8 76 , i s m u ch m o re t ha n a fur-

for the entire group.

niture store. The ambiance of the old build-

Open seven days a week, the Reagan

ing is the perfect setting for the experiences

Library is closed only on Thanksgiving Day,

that await the visitor. Its wooden-floored

Christmas Day and New Year ’s Day. With

s p a c e s i n c l u d e c h i c h o m e d é c o r, a n t i q u e s

more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit

and a General Store with everything from

space, it is recommended that you plan for

children’s apparel to a variety of treats and

at least a half-day visit to the Reagan

other items. Find more information online

Library. The library is wheelchair accessible.

at h

Audio wands (in English, Spanish and Hear-

Lodging is plentiful in Washington County

ing Impaired) are available for a separate

and includes great options such as Best West-

charge. For a complete list of museum

ern Inn of Brenham, with its group-friendly

admission pricing and exhibits, please visit

attitude and ample parking. Learn more at Burton is the home of the Texas Cotton

Washiington Coun nty, Texas

Gin Museum. Nestled in the heart of Burton,

Brenham/Washington County, halfway

the restored gin remains on the same site

b e t w e e n H o u s t o n a n d Au s t i n o n H i g h w a y

where it was built more than 100 years ago.

290, is the perfect area for bus tour groups

Regular tours are scheduled Tuesday through

to enjoy affordable activities at historic sites,

Saturday and groups are welcome with

wineries and lush gardens. Winding country

advance reservations. The tour includes a

roads and rolling green hills provide a relax-

presentation about cotton, a 20-minute video

ing rural setting.

and a guided tour of the historic 1914 Burton

Brenham, the county seat, includes a historic downtown with an array of antiques 16 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Farmers Gin. Visit online at texascottongintexascottonginm for more information.

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 â&#x20AC;¢ 17

Special: S pecial: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions and and Museums Museums Chappell Hill hosts two great festivals –

c ou rt n e y@ br en ha m te xa s . co m, p ho ne (8 88 )

spring’s Official Bluebonnet Festival of Texas

273-6426, or visit online at visitbrenham-

in April and the Scarecrow Festival in Octo-

b e r. T h e C h a p p e l l H i l l H i s t o r i c a l M u s e u m includes fascinating exhibits and artifacts

Washington on the Brazos

a b o u t t h e r e g i o n ’s h i s t o r y. C e n t u r y - o l d

Washington County, Texas

churches and cemeteries, and the oldest continually operating bank in America are just

San Jacinto

a few additional stops in town. Guided tours

La Porte, Texas

are by appointment. Visit to learn more.

At Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site, motorcoach tour passengers will

The town of Independence was born in

travel back in time to discover “Where Texas

1824 on land granted by Mexico; it was later

Became Texas.” Located on the original town

named in honor of Texas’ declaration of free-

site of Washington, its name is meant to dis-

dom from Mexico. Several original structures

tinguish it from the “other” Washington on

offer tours. Baylor University was founded

the Potomac. Washington hosted the Con-

here in 1846 and spent 41 years in Indepen-

vention of 1836, where the Texas Declaration

d e n c e ; i t s r u i n s s t i l l s ta n d , s u r r o u n d e d b y a

of Independence was drafted and signed on

peaceful park area. Independence Baptist

March 2, while the siege at the Alamo was

Church, organized in 1839, was attended by

taking place just 170 miles west. On March

Sam Houston and now serves as the Texas

1 7 , Wa s h i n g t o n r e s i d e n t s h a d t o fl e e t h e

Baptist Museum. Independence is also home

advance of Santa Anna’s army but were able

to the renowned Antique Rose Emporium.

to return following the army’s defeat on April

For information, e-mail ihsinindepen-

21 at the Battle of San Jacinto. or visit online at

This 293-acre scenic park, along the banks of the Brazos River, is the perfect stop

Washington on the Brazos State Historic

for a motorcoach tour, with three incredible

Site is another excellent group tour desti-

attractions: Independence Hall, a replica of

nation, where visitors are able to step back

the building where representatives wrote the

i n t i m e a n d e x p e r i e n c e “ W h e r e Te x a s

Texas Declaration of Independence; the Star

became Texas.” This site offers attractions

of the Republic Museum, with collections

such as Independence Hall (where dele-

and programs honoring the history of early

gates declared independence from Mexico

Texans; and Barrington Living History Farm,

in 1836), the Star of the Republic Museum

where interpreters dress, work and farm as

(housing collections focused on the 10

the original residents of this homestead did.

years of the Republic), and Barrington

Each year, the anniversary of Texas inde-

Living History Farm (where interpreters

pendence (a state-wide holiday) is commem-

work a farm as residents of the original

orated at Washington on the Brazos with a

farmstead did). Visit wheretexasbecame-

Texas-size, two-day “Texas Independence for more information.

Day Celebration.” Held in 2017 on March 4

T h e Wa s h i n g t o n C o u n t y C V B o f f e r s

and 5, it features live music, food, traditional

detailed information about the attractions

crafts, living history presentations, historical

and amenities available throughout the

encampments and commemorative pro-

c o u n t y, a n d h a s s t a f f o n h a n d t o a s s i s t i n

grams so that bus tour passengers can expe-

coordinating all of your group activity needs.

rience life in Texas in 1836.

For more information, contact Courtney Pow-

The complex at Washington on the Bra-

ell, visitor center and group marketing coor-

zos, 23400 Park Road 12, Washington, Texas

d i n a t o r, a t v i s i t @ b r e n h a m t e x a s . c o m o r

also features a state-of-the-art Visitor Center,

18 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

Special: S pecial: Historic Histor ic Attractions Attractions with hands-on interactive exhibits that walk bus


through the birth of a n e w n a t i o n – Te x a s . The

Wa s h i n g t o n

Emporium, located in the Visitor Center, is a

Texas Independence Day Celebration

p r e m i e r Te x a s g i f t shop. Group tours are always welcome but it

is requested that arrangements be made two weeks in advance. Admission to this Texas state park is free. For more information, visit online at w or phone (936) 878-2214. For lodging information, please contact the Brenham Visitor Center at or (888) BRENHAM, or the city of Navasota at n Motorcoach tours will want to continue their exploration of Texas history by heading just about 100 miles southeast, to the site of the battle that won Texas its independence. The 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in La Porte includes the site of the battle of San Jacinto; the 570-foot-high San Jacinto Monument; and the battleship USS Texas. The monument was completed in 1939; the battleship arrived in 1948; and the entire location was declared a National Historic Site in 1960. The base of the monument houses the San Jacinto Museum of History, with a collection of more than 2,000 artifacts and pieces of art. Tour passengers can take an elevator ride 498 feet up to the observation tower and enjoy a panoramic view of the area. Each year, the historic battle is commemorated with a daylong festival that includes entertainment, vendors, food, family activities, cultural exhibits, games and fun set amidst living history. To be held on this year on April 22, its highlight is a reenactment of the Battle of San Jacinto, with hundreds of historic reenactors, cannons, horses and pyrotechnics. For information about the San Jacinto Monument, phone (281) 479-2421 or visit online at For information about the Battleship Texas, phone (281) 479-2431 or visit online at For lunch, tour groups can stop at the famous Monument Inn Restaurant, which features a beautiful view of the Houston Ship Channel. Located just minutes from the historic site, at 4406 Indep e n d e n c e P a r k w a y, t h e r e s t a u r a n t i n c l u d e s d e l i c i o u s s e a f o o d , pasta, beef and chicken dishes as well as specialty appetizers and desserts. Nearby, the city of Deer Park offers motorcoach tours respite in several beautiful hotels that can accommodate large groups, including Candlewood Suites, Comfort Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites and the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites. To learn more, go online to m.

❑ Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 19 7

Veteran-Friendly Venues


a Star Wars™ X-Wing Starfighter; an in-depth

and training modules. Visitors are also wel-

ilies have made many sacrifices

space and rocketry exhibit; and dedicated

come to explore the museum on their own.

for their country, and across the

v o l u n t e e r s w h o p r ov i d e t o u r s t o g r o u p s o f

ur military veterans and their fam-

c o u n t r y, a t t r a c t i o n s a n d d e s t i n a t i o n s

all ages and interests.

Bus tour planners should allow passengers two to three hours to see everything.

acknowledge those sacrifices. These veteran-

Wings Over the Rockies welcomes tour

Visitors are encouraged to engage with the

friendly destinations, which welcome bus

groups year-round, offering group discounts

museum’s volunteers, many of whom are

tours, not only provide a fascinating record

as well as discounts for seniors, students,

f o r m e r U. S . s e r v i c e m e n a n d w o m e n w h o

of the service of our military throughout his-

veterans and active-duty military. Individual

enjoy sharing their aviation experiences and

tory, but also honor active and retired service

experiences in thrilling flight simulators are

in-depth stories and descriptions of each air-

personnel with ceremonies, exhibits and spe-

available for an additional fee. Tours must

craft – some of which they have actually

cial discounts.

be scheduled at least two weeks prior to

flown. While Wings Over the Rockies does

arrival, with a minimum of 10 people per

not have on-site dining facilities, it does offer

Wings Over the Rockies

group. Buses drop off passengers at the

Subway sandwiches at a reduced price, and

Denver, Colorado

entrance and conveniently park on the east

several restaurants within walking distance

Wi n g s O v e r t h e R o c k i e s A i r & S p a c e

side of the museum.

offer an outdoor beer garden, modern-Italian

Museum, Colorado’s official air and space

Upon arrival, motorcoach tour passengers

cuisine, gourmet sandwiches and more.

museum, is currently rated as a Top 25 tourist

will be welcomed by a staff member or vol-

Wi n g s O v e r t h e R o c k i e s A i r & S p a c e

attraction in the U.S. by TripAdvisor. Located

unteer. Following a five-minute history of the

Museum is located at 7711 E. Academy

in Hangar 1 of the former Lowry Air Force

former Lowrry y Air Force Base and the museum

Boulevard, in the heart of the historic Lowry

B a s e i n e a s t e r n D e nv e r, Wi n g s O v e r t h e

itself, and an eight-minute film highlighting

n e i g h b o r h o o d o n t h e e a s t s i d e o f D e n v e r,

Rockies Air & Space Museum has inspired

Colorado’s aviation endeavors, they will be

just two miles south of Interstate 70. It is

and educated people of all ages about avia-

shown the museum. Group tours may be

open daily except for Easter, Thanksgiving

tion and space endeavors since 1994.

guided by a docent, who focuses on the historry y

Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. To

Bus tour visitors will find more than 50

and science of flight and gives visitors the

b o o k a g r o u p t o u r o r t o l e a r n m o r e, v i s i t

iconic aircraft, from a B-52 Stratofortress to

opportunity to view the interior of cockpits

20 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

Feature: F eature: Veteran-Friendly Veteran-Fr iendly Venues Venues or phone

Yard’s park-like quadrangle; Bancroft Hall,

Bay, features an Information Center, Quar-

(303) 360-5360, ext 121.

the midshipmen’s dormitory with five miles

terdeck exhibits, free film (100 seats), Grad-

of hallways; Tecumseh Court, where a statue

uates in Space and John Paul Jones exhibits

U.S.Naval Academy/

of the Indian warrior watches over the

and an original Dahlgre ren boat howitzer. Tour


impressive noon formation of midshipmen;

passengers will want to include time to shop

Annapolis, Maryland A must-stop for motorcoach tours in

and the crypt of John Paul Jones, the Revolutionary War naval

Annapolis is the U.S. Naval Academy, a 338-

hero famous for his

a c r e c a m p u s k n o w n a s t h e Ya r d , l o c a t e d

q u o t e, “ I h a v e

a l o n g t h e b a n k s o f t h e S e v e r n R i v e r. T h e

not yet begun

prestigious four-year academy has been

to fight.”

training future officers of the U.S. Navy and

U.S. Naval Academy Noon Formation

hats, gifts and souvenirs at the Naval Academy Gift Shop. Bus tour passengers


Marine Corps since 1845. Designated a


National Historic Site in 1961, it is home to

t o u r, b u s p a s -

the largest collection of Beaux-Arts architec-

sengers may visit

ture in the U.S.

the Naval Academy

Group walking tours of the Yard are avail-

the finest selection of tax-free clothing,

may choose


between two on-site dining options. The Drydock

Museum, located in Preble


located in historic Dahlgren

able daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., except for

Hall, to see the famous Gallery of Ships and

Hall, welcomes students and adults and offers

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day,

more than 50,000 naval artifacts. Group tours

deli sandwiches, salads, pizza, snacks and

and are given by official Naval Academy tour

are available; contact Grant Walker, educa-

beverages for groups at reduced prices (group

guides, who discuss the history and traditions

tion specialist, at




of the academy and midshipmen life. High-

Visits to the Yard begin at the Visitor Cen- The Naval Academy Club

lights of the walking tours include the Naval

ter. This state-of-the-art facility, which over-

is available for adults only (group reservations

Academy Chapel, the centerpiece of the

looks Annapolis Harbor and the Chesapeake

required; e-mail

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 2 11 7

Feature: F eature: Veteran-Friendly Veteran-Fr iendly Venues Venues Each September, Clarksville hosts a Wel-

Learn more about this historic city on the

come Home Vietnam Veterans Parade. Orig-

Cumberland, or see samples of group tour

inally created to honor Vietnam veterans, itineraries at v

SAC Museum C-54 Restoration

the parade is now a tribute by Vietnam veterans to all veterans and active duty military

Strategic Air Command

– a special day for families, friends and all

& Aerospace Mus seum

citizens to salute the service and sacrifices

Ashland, Nebraska

m a d e b y A m e r i c a ’s m i l i t a r y. T h e p a r a d e

The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace

includes color guard, d ignitaries, marching

Museum is home to more than 40 artifacts

bands, various veterans units, armored vehi-

that span 70 years of history. With more than

Offutt Air Force Base, where the Enola Gay

cles and even local Boy Scout troops. Veter-

330,000 square feet of display area, bus pas-

and Bockscar were manufactured.

a n s f r o m W W I I , Ko r e a , t h e P e r s i a n G u l f ,

sengers see displays and learn about WWII,

In addition, the museum is one of only three

Afghanistan and other conflicts, as well as

the Cold War and the role that both Strategic

in the U.S. that offer on-site restoration where

men and women who served during peace-

A i r C o m m a n d a n d O f f u t t A i r F o r c e B a s e,

guests can witness the process from the

time, are included.

l o c a t e d i n O m a h a , p l a y e d i n o u r n a t i o n ’s

restoration observation gallery.

For group tours, the parade is the pinnacle


The museum is also a regional science

of the Heroes, Hometowns & Le egends itin-

Among the aircraft and military equip-

center, with an interactive Children’s Learn-

erary that combines local history outings like

ment on display: heavy bomber B29TB

ing Center, and serves thousands of youth

a tobacco farm and an 1860s settlement with

Superfortress; troop carrier and rescue heli-

annually with educational programming that

special remembrance and recognition

copter CH-B21 Workhorse; medium super-

includes field trips, workshops, camps, out-

events. The itinerary culminates with a spec-

sonic nuclear bomber b-58A Hustler; and the

reach and overnights.

tacular musical concert by a well-known

utility transport and air/sea rescue amphib-

Strategic Air Command & Aerospace

recording artist.

ian HU-16B Albatross. Exhibits include a

Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, located

model of the Martin Bomber Plant, now the

midway between Omaha and Lincoln just off Imterstate 80, is open daily, except for Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Public tours are given daily, and events and exhibits are a regular part of the guest experience. Discounted rates are offered for groups of 20 or more, and guided group tours are available for an extra fee. Also for an extra fee, flight simulators, with state-of-the-art motion control and high-performance HD-3D visuals and sounds, are available for groups. For more information, visit online at nformation.

Fargo Air Museum m Fargo, North Dakota Located just off Interstate 29 interstate, Fargo Air Museum is an easily accessed, petfriendly, must-stop location. North Dakota’s premier aviation destination, the Fargo Air Museum’s dual hangars house aircraft of all eras – from a modern drone to the “most accurate recreation of a Wright Brothers’ fl fly yer the Smithsonian Institute has ever seen.” Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 2 13 7

Feature: F eature: Veteran-Friendly Veteran-Fr iendly Venues Venues event hostings, which could be held in con-

in 1987, Angel Fire was recognized by Congress

junction with tour stops; please inquire for

as a memorial of national significance.


The Vietnam Veterans Memorial State

F a r g o A i r M u s e u m i s o p e n Tu e s d a y

Park sits on 30 acres of land, surrounded by

through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is

the beautiful Moreno Valley landscape. The

closed from December 24 through January

site, which is ADA accessible, became New

4. For booking, please phone (701) 293-

Mexico’s 33rd state park in 2005. The Visitor

8043 or visit to learn

Center, which includes photography exhibits,


a museum and gift shop, underwent exten-

The Fargo Air Museum welcomes bus

sive renovations in 2010, and now includes

t o u r s w i t h o n e w e e k ’s p r i o r n o t i c e f o r a

Vietnam Veterans

a media room and a research library with

guided tour; large groups may be divided

Memorial State Park

donated photos of military personnel killed

into smaller groups to provide an even better experience. Plan at least 60 minutes for

Angel Fire, New Mexico The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was estab-

or missing in action. In addition to the primary structures of

a guided tour and additional time if guests

lished in 1968 by Victor and Jeanne Westphall,

t h e C h a p e l a n d t h e Vi s i t o r C e n t e r , a l s o

w o u l d l i k e t o e x p l o r e f u r t h e r. B u s t o u r

to honor their son, Lt. David Westphall, who

included on the state park grounds are:

guest admission is discounted to $5 per

was killed in Vietnam in May 1968. The griev-

person, payable by tour planner/group

ing parents used their son’s life insurance

leader in a one-time, lump-sum transaction

money to begin construction of the Peace and

t h e d a y o f t h e t o u r. O n e f r e e b u s d r i v e r

Brotherhood Chapel, an unpopular project at

admission is included, and docent fees will

the time, given public opposition to the war.

be waived.

Designed by Santa Fe architect Ted Lu una, the

Fargo Air Museum’s gift shop offers a 10-

sail-like structure, nestled into a knoll over-

percent discount to tour guests. Cash and

looking Moreno Valley, resembles a sculpture

credit cards are accepted. Buses may unload

more than a building. When it was dedicated

passengers at the front door, and free desig-

in 1971, on the third anniversary of David’s

n a t e d p a r k i n g i s p r ov i d e d i n t h e s o u t h e a s t

death, it was one of the first memorials in the

corner of the parking lot.

United States dedicated to Vietnam veterans.

▪ a Bell Uroquois UH-1 (Huey) that saw action in Vietnam ▪ the Veterans Memorial Walkway

▪  a l i f e - s i z e b r o n z e s c u l p t u r e b y D o u g Scott ▪ the “Hill of Angels” marker ▪ the Flag Triad ▪ the gardens

▪ an amphitheater

▪the gravesites of Dr. Victor Westphall and Mrs. Jeanne Westphall

There is no on-site dining, though sack

The nationwide attention it attracted helped

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park is

lunches are welcome and a dining area will

to inspire the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in

located along the Enchanted Circle Scenic

be provided if requested in advance. There

Washington, D.C.

B y w a y, a n 8 5 - m i l e d r i v e t h r o u g h v a l l e y s ,

are also many close dining and fast food

Funding for the Angel Fire site was scarce,

mesas, mountains and national forest – land-

options in the area, as well as several within

but key members of the Disabled American

scape unique to north central New Mexico.

walking distance. Fargo Air Museum also

Veterans (DAV) attended the dedication and

From Angel Fire, head west about 25 miles

has become an area favorite for weddings

helped to secure financial support from the DAV.

to the historic town of Taos, known for its

and private or corporate medium to large

The Visitor Center was completed in 1985, and

ancient adobe structures and historic buildings and sites – more than 20 on the National Register of Historic Places. As a longtime artists colony, Taos also boasts many galleries featuring regional artwork. A short detour west will take your bus group to the Taos Gorge Bridge, one of the highest spans in North America. Continue north along the Enchanted Circle and pass through the scenic towns of Q u e s t a , R e d R i v e r a n d E a g l e ’s N e s t , a n d finally return to your starting point at Angel Fire.

24 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

Feature: F eature: Veteran-Friendly Veteran-Fr iendly

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park, 34 Country Club Road, Angel Fire, New Mexico, is open daily April through October; T h u r s d a y t h r o u g h M o n d a y, N o v e m b e r through March; and closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days. The Chapel is open 24 hours. For information on visiting the memorial, phone (575) 377-2293. For information on visiting Angel Fire, phone the Angel Fire Convention & Visitors Bureau at (575) 377-6555, or visit online at pages/view/19/motor-coach-tours.


BBuussTToouurrssM Maaggaazziinnee//JJaannuuaarryy,,22001177 â&#x20AC;˘ 2 15 7


ost of our BUS TOURS MAGAZINE r e a d e r s a r e p r o b a b l y aw a r e o f

We Support Gatlinburg

the devastating fires that

r e c e n t l y b u r n e d t h r o u g h p a r t s o f Te n n e s s e e, l e a v i n g t h o u s a n d s h o m e l e s s a n d either destroying or damaging numerous popular bus tour stops. The best thing we h e r e a t B U S T O U R S M AG A Z I N E c a n d o i s t o m a k e y o u aw a r e t h a t m u c h o f t h e a r e a i s back in business. The best thing that you can do is to support Gatlinburg and surrounding areas by bringing your groups for a visit. That will help these fine people get back on their feet again. For those who do not know, this area is in the foothills of the famous Smoky Mountains. A typical bus tour route into the area would follow Interstate 40 to a point west o f K n o x v i l l e, Te n n e s s e e, a n d t h e n f o l l o w

Gatlinburg at Twilight

l o c a l r o a d s s o u t h t o S e v i e r v i l l e, P i g e o n Forge and Gatlinburg to the foothills of the

Based on reports from observers, the

Smokies. In addition to being a very beau-

heavily forested areas were hit the hardest

hand up to those families who have lost

tiful wooded area, this is easily one of the

because the trees as well as dry leaves and

more popular bus tour locations in that part

brush on the ground fed the flames. Hence,

raise more than $1 million for this cause. “I’ve

of the United States.

the greatest loss was to subdivisions, rural

always believed charity begins at home, and

everything in the flames,” Parton said. In less than 36 hours, Parton was able to

It all started on Monday, November 28,

homes and outlying hotels and attractions.

my home is some place special,” Parton said.

with a wildfire on Chimney Tops Trails in

The city centers tended to have less damage.

The Dolly yw wood theme park was not damaged

Great Smoky Mountain National Park, up

Local firefighters and first responders were

and reopened on December 2.

the hill south of Gatlinburg. The fire was

aided by volunteers who did a marvelous

Pigeon Forge sustained less damage than

fueled by exceedingly dry conditions and

job in evacuating both local residents and

Gatlinburg if only because it is located farther

high winds on Monday night of up to 90

visitors while trying their best to fight the

north from the high country and Great Smoky

m i l e s p e r h o u r, w h i c h b l e w e m b e r s d o w n

walls of flame.

Mountain National Park. However, there still

the hillside and into the Gatlinburg and

The Gatlinburg area was hit harder and

Pigeon Forge areas. One observer said that

lost a substantial number of homes and

Forge area. Most of the Pigeon Forge area

in less than 15 minutes, several areas were

buildings. Various agencies stepped in to help

was back in business by the first weekend in

survivors and centers were established to


ablaze. United States Forest Service offices

donate food and supplies.

were more than 500 evacuees in the Pigeon

The Gatlinburg area was hit harder and

reported that as many as 19 wildfires were

A local official suggested that it was for-

lost a substantial number of homes and

burning in the Southeastern states. How-

tunate that the inferno did not come over the

buildings. Business is returning to normal

e v e r, t h e o n e i n t h e G a t l i n b u r g a r e a h a s

Thanksgiving weekend, when the number

and Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner asked

been the most destructive. Fighting the

o f v i s i t o r s w a s s u b s t a n t i a l l y h i g h e r. O n e

the tourism industry to visit the area as a

fires in the Gatlinburg area proved to be an

b r i g h t s p o t i n t h i s t r a g e d y c a m e f r o m D o ll y

show of support. “If you really want to do

ongoing battle as new fires erupted from

Parton, who values the region where she was

something for Gatlinburg, come back and

hot spots and blowing embers. Both debris

brought up. Parton announced the creation

v i s i t u s , ” h e s a i d i n a N ov e m b e r 3 0 p r e s s

and downed power lines hampered the

of a fund to assist those involved, including


efforts of the responders to evacuate

many who can least afford this kind of

Residents and business owners were

survivors, look for the missing and fight

tragedy. The My People Fund plans to give

allowed back into Gatlinburg on December

the fires.

$1,000 a month to each of the affected fam-

7, and the city reopened to the general public

i l i e s f o r t h e n e x t s i x m o n t h s “ t o p r ov i d e a

on December 9.

26 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

Special: S pecial: Gatlinburg Gatlinburg Following is a list of Gatlinburg locations destroyed, damaged and/or still in business. Sources:; Knoxville News Sentinel; web and Facebook pages of individual businesses No businesses in Pigeon Forge were damaged by the fires and are open for business. Alamo Steakhouse: Destroyed; Pigeon Forge location intact; Gatlinburg employees will receive full salaries for one year. A p p l e wo o d F a r m h o u s e : I n t a c t , a n d served meals to first responders Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts: All buildings except Hughes Hall and Wild Wing survived with little damage. The 100-year-old Arrowmont is open to the public and has five galleries of artwork by local, national and international artists, changing exhibits, evening per-

Mountain Mall: Intact, open

formances and tours of artists’ workshops.

Mysterious Mansion: Intact; reopened

T h e L o d g e a t B u ck b e r r y : D e s t r o y e d .

December 8

Ripley's Aquarium: Intact. Biologists at the aquarium confirm the animals are Okay. Rocky Waters Motor Inn: Intact

Land has been in the McLean family for 60

Ober Gatlinburg: Intact

S u g a r l a n d Vi s i t o r s C e n t e r : G S M N P

years. Owners plan to rebuild and hope to

Park Vista Hotel: Intact

officials confirmed to WBIR no park struc-

reopen in two years.

Parrot Mountain: Intact

tures have been damaged by the fires in

CLIMB Works: Intact; zipline canopy tour (Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge) Crawdaddy’s Restaurant: Intact, open D ay s I n n o n t h e R i ve r : O w n e r c o n firmed to WBIR they believe the building is still standing, though they think the Quality Inn behind it will likely be damaged. Deer Ridge Mountain Resort: Intact Dollywood: Several cabins damaged or

the Elkmont or Park Headquarters area. They did have minor damage from downed trees. Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre: Intact, although the owner lost his home. The Island: Completely untouched by fire T h e M o u n t a i n L o d g e ( R e s t a u ra n t ) : Destroyed

destroyed. DreamMore resort not damaged.

Westgate Resort: Many cabins damaged,

Dollywood theme park has some wind dam-

but planning to reopen remaining cabins as

age but no damage from fire. Park will reopen

soon as possible and to rebuild the others ❑

on December 9. Downtown Gatlinburg: Intact Elkmont: Intact (in Great Smoky Mountains National Park) Fudge Shoppe of the Smokies: Intact and will reopen as soon as allowed G a t l i n b u rg B ay m o n t o n t h e R i ve r : Intact Gatlinburg Space Needle: Intact Historic Gatlinburg Inn: Intact; 70 rooms L o g C a b i n P a n c a ke H o u s e ( P i g e o n Forge and Gatlinburg rg): Intact Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 2 17

Escape E Es cape to The cap Th T he Northeast Northeast h Cabell-Huntington Region

Cabell Festival of Glass

West Virginia C a b e l l C o u n t y, We s t Vi r g i n i a , i s h o m e t o many one-of-a-kind attractions that motorcoach groups cannot find any yw where else. From unique tours such as the We A Arre Marshall movie tour and a Hatfields & McCoys feud experience, to attractions that include museums, an amusement park, scenic by yw ways and more, the CabellHuntington area is perfect for a short stop, day trip or overnight stay. Downtown Huntington, on the historic Ohio River where West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky meet, boasts award-winning restaurants, local boutique shopping and historical architecture that cannot be beat. The Cabell-Huntington Convention & Visitors Bureau can assist tour planners with itineraries, dining options and accommodations. Here are just a few suggestions for giving tour passengers a first-rate experience in Cabell County. Herriitage Farrm m Museum & Village, 3300 Harvey Road, Huntington, is West Virginia’s first Smithsonian affiliate. Bus tour groups can take a step back in time with more than 25,000 square feet of award-winning

ers of this eccentric restaurant, are celebrating 17 years of love and

exhibits. Explore life as it was in Appalachia from the 1800s through the

weenies. Their food, including a 15-inch hotdog called The Home-

1900s, while strolling among the artisans and reenactors who make

wrecker and a 15-pound burger called The Doublewide, has been fea-

the past come alive. Heritage Farrm m can accommodate groups of all sizes

tured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” and “The Tonight

with discounted group rates, free bus parking across the street and food

Show with Jimmy Fallon,” and in 2010 was named No. 15 among Travel

options on site. Reserrv vations are required with at least 15 people during

Channel’s 101 Tastiest Places to Chow Down. They welcome tour

operating hours, 25 after hours. Suggested stay: two hours

groups with open arms, and can accommodate groups of all sizes.

Huntington Museum of Art, 2033 McCoy Road, Huntington, set

They serve gourmet hot dogs, burgers, salads and more with quirky,

on 52 acres with a tropical plant conservatory and nature trails, has

down-home charm. Free bus parking is located across the street.

one of the newest and most exciting options for groups – the “Taste

Reservations are required. Suggested stay: 60 to 90 minutes

of the Conservatory Tour.” Bus passengers can also enjoy the beauty

Blenko Glass Company, 9 Bill Blenko Dr., Milton, has been a

of glass, particularly that of the Ohio Valley; the functional artistry of

family-owned and -operated company since 1893. Exquisite color,

American firearms; and the intricacy of Islamic prayer rugs. They can

skilled craftsmen and imaginative designs have made Blenko famous

ponder the exotic mysteries of Middle Eastern arts; the exquisite acro-

in the time-honored craft of handblown glass. In a world of ever-

batics of sculptures; and the marvels of nature’s own canvas within

increasing automation, the artisans at Blenko pride themselves in

the trail system. Book ahead to guarantee discounted group rates

paying particular attention to the forms and designs of their hand-

and a knowledgeable tour guide. Admission is free on Tuesdays thanks

crafted products. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how these pieces

to a partnership with Macy’s. Free bus parking is available in the lot

are made on the factory floor. There is also a gift shop so tour pas-

on site. Suggested stay: 60 to 90 minutes

sengers can take a piece of West Virginia home. Reservations are

Hillbilly Hot Dogs, 12 miles northeast of Huntington, at 6921 Ohio

required, but the tour is free. Blenko recommends close-toed shoes.

River Road, Lesage, is a group favorite. Sonny and Sharie Knight, own-

Depending on the number of people, they may be split into two groups.

28 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

So much, so close! No matter your interests, Huntington has something for everyone!




Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 â&#x20AC;¢ 17


Escape Es cape a to T Th The he N Northeast ortheast h Free bus parking is available on site. Sug-

t l e, s e v e r a l a d d i t i o n s a n d c h a n g e s h a v e

and blends that offer something for every

gested stay: 90 minutes

been made in order to give visitors an array

palate: Dry Rosé, Semi-Dry Riesling,

For more information about bringing your

of options when visiting.

Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Franc,

motorcoach tour to the Cabell-Huntington

Each of Belhurst Castle’s 47 beautifully

Merlot, Natural Sparkling, Isabella Sparkling,

region of West Virginia, contact the Cabell-

appointed rooms offers a view of Seneca

Tower Port, Red, Carrie, Golden Pheasant,

Huntington CVB at (800) 635-6329 or via

L a k e a s w e l l a s f r e e Wi - F i , c a b l e T V a n d a

Neptune and many more.

e-mail online at

coffee machine. The winery at Belhurst Castle

Belhurst Castle offers two remarkable

features award-winning wines that are

restaurants. Edgar’s Fine Dining Restaurant

Belhurst Castle

inspired by the history of the castle itself. The

offers dining selections ranging from scrump-

Geneva, New York

brilliant bouquet of wines includes varietals

tious breakfast to romantic candlelit dinners.

The Finger Lakes Region of New York is full of history, breathtaking views, exceptional wines and world-class cuisine. Belhurst Castle, located in Geneva, New York, on the northern end of Seneca Lake, is the perfect place to capture all of these amazing aspects in one location. Motorcoach passengers can tour the site or enjoy the comforts of an overnight stay. Built in the late 1800s by Carrie Collins, this stone castle features incredible views of Seneca Lake and has long been considered an iconic piece in the Finger Lakes R e g i o n o f N e w Yo r k S t a t e . A f t e r C o l l i n s ’ d e a t h i n 1 92 6 , B e l hu r st w a s e v e nt u a l l y s o ld to Cornelius J. “Red” Dwyer, a colorful and engaging man with a wide circle of friends throughout the country. Dwyer was known to be “a red-necked, freckle-faced, redheaded Irisher from the wrong side of the tracks.” Under Dwyer’s direction, Belhurst became an outstanding showcase restaurant and illegal gambling casino. In 1952, the Kefauver C o m m i s s i o n s u c c e e d e d i n c o nv i n c i n g R e d to “stop or be stopped,” and the gambling days at Belhurst Castle were over. Dwyer continued to operate Belhurst as a restaurant until 1975, when the property was purchased by Robert and Nancy Golden. The Goldens continued to run Belhurst as a restaurant while residing u p s t a i r s . E v e n t u a l l y, t h e y c o n v e r t e d t h e second and third floors and one out-building into 12 guest rooms and opened as a hotel. In 1992, Duane Reeder and family became the present proprietors of Belhurst Castle. Since the Reeders acquired the cas30 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

Escape to T Th The he N Northeast orth heast Edgar’s incomparable atmosphere is set to

grounds overlook Seneca Lake, the largest

perfection in the 1880s Belhurst Castle.

of the Finger La akes. This sparkling blue glac-

G u e s t s c a n c h o o s e f r o m c h o p s , g a m e,

ier-carved lake and the castle grounds offer

seafood, pasta and vegetarian dishes as well

some awe-inspiring panoramas.

as decadent desserts.

Motorcoach tour passengers can enjoy

In Stonecutters Casual Dining Restaurant,

award-winning wines, world-class cuisine

you will find cool spirits and warm fires any-

or just curl up in front of a fireplace and

time of the year. Stonecutters is known for

take in the surrounding beauty and history.

superb drinks, scrumptious tavern fare and

Buses can drop off and pick up guests in

an unmatched view of Seneca La ake – one of

front of the castle, with luggage assistance

the five Finger Lakes. Stonecutters is the per-

and free dedicated bus parking on site.

fect place to sit back, relax and entertain friends.

Overnight guests receive 10 percent off spa services and 10 percent off wine pur-

Perhaps the most impressive feature of

chases in the winery, along with a compli-

Belhurst Castle is the location. The sprawling

mentary wine tasting. Belhurst Castle has all the amenities to provide your tour group with an unforgettable experience. Book y o u r t o u r g r o u p i n t o B e l h u r s t C a s t l e, 4 0 6 9 W. Lake Road, Geneva, New York, and disc ov e r w h y i t w a s v o t e d “ O n e o f t h e M o s t Romantic Places in New York State.” Visit to learn more.

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 3 11 7


tasty meal and a comfortable bed

can go a long way to ensuring a successful tour. Another plus is the

chance to grab a quick snack, a one-of-akind souvenir and enjoy the local atmosphere during the stop. These places offer all of that for motorcoach travelers, and more.

Gaylord Oprry yland Resort Nashville, Tennessee It is a destination unto itself. Once motorcoach tour passengers check into Nashville’s iconic Gaylord Opryland Resort, they may never want to leave. Covering 47 acres and boasting 2,888 rooms, the resort feels like a

Opryland Atrium

city beneath soaring glass roofs. Inside its series of climate-controlled atriums are nine acres of indoor gardens filled with stunning waterfalls, sparkling pools

Dining D ining and and Lodging Lodging

filled with koi and more than 50,000 tropical plants, rare blooms and romantic Southern species. The magnificent indoor gardens and

Just steps from the resort, bus tour pas-

exterior grounds require a team of nearly 40

sengers can explore the world-renowned

horticulturists to care for them.

Grand Ole Opry – home to country music’s

Arrbors at Island Landing A Hotel & Suites Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Tucked inside this horticultural wonder-

most famous show. Every year, hundreds of

land is an extraordinary selection of dining,

thousands of people make pilgrimages to the

ers of Arbors at Island L La anding Hotel & Suites

shopping, entertainment and recreation

Grand Ole Opry to see the show live. There

in Pigeon Forge, where their family-style hos-

options that create the perfect setting for a

is nothing like a backstage tour of the Grand

pitality welcomes bus tours. They are sup-

motorcoach tour stop.

Ole Opry House; it is a must-see for everyone

ported by a team that cares. The 94-room

in Music City.

facility features a heated outdoor pool, free

Passengers can dine at any of 16 award-

Lu and Jerry Calhoun are hosts and own-

winning restaurants, get a massage at

The General Jackson Showboat, one of

pancake breakfast and rooms with free

t h e R e l â c h e S p a , e n j oy t h e n i g h t l y f o u n t a i n

the largest showboats in the U.S., is located

W i - F i . E v e r y r o o m h a s c a b l e T V, a s m a l l

shows and take a boat ride down the quar-

just minutes from Gaylord Opryland. This

refrigerator and microwave, colorful bedding

ter-mile indoor river. The resort offers three

300-foot paddlewheel riverboat is an ele-

and wood furnishings. Guests can enjoy

heated pools, a 24/7 fitness center and an

gant tribute to the grace and grandeur that

roasting marshmallows by the firepit, playing

award-winning golf course.

has made river cruising a cherished Amer-

games and assembling puzzles by the lobby

To u r p a s s e n g e r s c a n s h o p t o t h e i r

ican experience. Its cruise experience

fireplace, and fishing at the Arbors at Island

hearts’ content at more than a dozen shops

delight with toe-tapping, live musical

Landing Hotel. Sports balls, horseshoes and

and boutiques inside the resort. Or they

entertainment, while “rollin’ down the

Frisbees can be signed out at the front desk.

c a n h e a d n e x t d o o r t o O p r y M i l l s – Te n -

river” between the Opryland area and

All of this has evolved in the short 24

n e s s e e ’s l a r g e s t o u t l e t a n d v a l u e - r e t a i l

downtown Nashville.

m o n t h s s i n c e t h e C a l h o u n s fi r s t t o o k t h e

shopping destination – where hotel guests

For more Music City excitement, head

plunge into the crazy pool of the hospitality

receive a free coupon book worth hundreds

downtown to the resort’s world-famous Wild-

i n d u s t r y. T h e y h a d b e e n l i v i n g i n P i g e o n

of dollars in savings.

horse Saloon or the beautiful Ryman Audi-

F o r g e f o r t w o y e a r s , b a c k f r o m ov e r s e a s ,

torium, known as the “Mother Church of

where Jerry had been helping to rebuild vil-

Country Music.”

lages in Iraq and Afghanistan. They bought

The best of Music City’s legendary attractions are easy to access from Gaylord Opryland. In fact, WSM-AM – the most famed country music radio station in the world – broadcasts live from the resort. 32 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Learn more at or phone (888) 677-9872.

into a five-bedroom cabin on the very top of a knob overlooking those Smokies and began receiving guests, who in turn brought more Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

The The Magic of Christmas Comes Comes to to Life Liffe No November vember 10 – Dec December ember 26, 2017

Give your groupp the gifft of wonder this season. Make it a Christmas to remember at Gaylord Opryland Resort, where more than two-million lights along with acres and acres of stunning décor create a holiday atmosphere like no other. Delight in fine dining, eclectic shopping and spectacular holiday shows. There’s no place like Gaylord Opryland Resort for the holidays!

For o grro oup packkage a e & evveent information

C Call: all: 1-888-976-6779 | Fax: Fax: a 615-458-2861 G aylordHottels e .com/trav velguide e Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17 Events, entertainment and schedules subject to change. Event packages are only valid with room accommodations. Other restrictions apply.

Guide: G uide: Dining Dining and and Lodging Lodging guests, who then brought more guests, and

own supplies for the classroom; Wounded

so on.

Warriors; and, of course, bus tours of guests

Soon, the couple had put together a team that could tackle the rebuilding of a fore-

who are looking forward to a special Smoky Mountain experience.

closed motel, repair busted water pipes,

Lu, Jerry, and the team at the hotel look

refurbish 1980s motel furniture and bring the

at life as a partnership – one in which we can

place back to life. In just one year, this for-

all excel.

gotten motel had been transformed into Arbors at Island Landing Hotel & Suites.

John’s Pass Village  &   Boardwalk

For information about bringing your tour group to stay at Arbors Island Landing Hotel

not only great views of the water but plenty

The free pancake breakfast includes coffee

& Suites, 2809 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, phone

of access. The beach, individual and group

and is served across the street at Regan’s House

(865) 428-4545, email

cruises, personal watercraft and more are

of Pancakes. A full breakfast buffet is offered or visit online at a

available just steps away.

for an additional fee. Doughnuts, coffee, tea and hot cider are available every day in the lobby. The hotel is just 1.9 miles from the Dixie

John’s Pass Village has more to eat, drink,

John n’s Pass Village & Boardwalk Madeira Beach, Florida

see and do than anywhere on the Gulf Beaches. When bus passengers are ready to

Stampede Dinner Show, 2.5 miles from Dolly-

I n 1 8 4 8 , a p i r a t e n a m e d J o h n L e Ve q u e

take a break from the beach, they can dine

wo od , t wo mi nut es ’ w al k f r om th e C om edy

retired from pirating and was headed to his

dockside, shop for souvenirs, people-watch,

Barn Theater, one block from The Island; the

hideout on what is now Madeira Beach when

bird-watch, even dolphin watch. Grab a cock-

Fast Tracks Amusement Park is 1,050 feet away.

he ran into a hurricane. The next morning, he

tail and watch the sunset from a 70-foot long

Lu, Jerry and the team will assist tour groups

realized his island had been cut in two by the

b a r. Wi t h s o m u c h t o d o , b e c a r e f u l – y o u r

with tickets and other arrangements for visiting

storm and hiss buried treasure was gone forever.

group’s visit could turn into a full day of fun.

the many attractions in Pigeon Forge and

However there was a new pass between The

John’s Pass shops specialize in all things

nearby Gatlinburg. Lu and Jerry have a goal for

Gulf of Mexico and the intracoastal waterway.

Florida. Bus passengers will find island apparel,

their new livelihood – to give back. They have

John LeVique was the first person to ever sail

surf shops, coastal art, homemade ice cream,

worked to make their motel affordable enough

through what is now known as John’s Pass.

craft beer, local wine, even mini donuts.

to welcome the hard-working folks who have

Today, hundreds of boats use John’s Pass

Every conceivable type of beach and

such fine times in Pigeon Forge: veterans;

to access the Gulf of Mexico every day. Thou-

water activity is available at John’s Pass Vil-

young police women and men, firefighters and

sands of tourists visit John’s Pass Village and

lage. Tour passengers can rent a jet ski, go

their children; teachers who are buying their

Boardwalk. John’s Pass Village is a piece of

parasailing, take a cruise to see dolphins and

Old Florida updated for the 21st century.

the sunset, charter a sailboat or fishing boat,

Motorcoach tour passengers who stroll

ride a high-powered racing boat or a take a

the 1,100-foot boardwalk along the intra-

cruise on a pirate ship. It is all right across

coastal waterway will find plenty to do. More

the street from the famous white sand beach.

than 100 merchants populate the village, with

The annual John’s Pass Seafood & Music Fes-

unique retail shopping and a wide variety of

tival is a one-of-a-kind experience. It is the

r e s t a u r a n t s . T h e b o a r d w a l k a l s o p r ov i d e s

largest festival in Florida, featuring non-stop music, amazing seafood and now a familyfriendly Kid Zone on the beach. For 35 years in a row, it has been free. For more information, visit online at Tour buses can drop off at the corner of 129th Street and Pelican La ane; the closest bus p a r k i n g i s a l i t t l e ov e r m i l e aw a y a t 1 5 2 0 0 Municipal Drive. Drivers can be shuttled back w it h F re eBe ac hR ide .c o m. Op en se ven da ys week, John’s Pass Village is the No. 1 tourist a t t r a c t i o n i n P i n e l l a s C o u n t y. Vi s i t a t for more information. ❑

34 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17


More to Eat, Drink, See & Do0



rode a jet ski.

!"#$%&'()&&'*+,,)-.'+&')'/+0'"1'2,3'4,"5+3)'6+0#')' 7"3.5$'06+&08'9":';)$'#)$-'":0'6+0#'<":5'15+.$3&' )0')'/)5=',+&0.$'0"'&"7.'7:&+;=')$3'>:&0';#+,,'":08' 25'7)</.'<":'6)$0'0"'-.0'"$'0#.'6)0.5='5.$0'&"7.' 6)?.'5:$$.5&='-"'1+&#+$-='/")0+$-='3",@#+$'6)0;#=' "5'0)A.')'&05",,'"$'":5'/")536),A8 9":'#:$-5<B'C""3D'!"#$%&'()&&'#)&'3"E.$&'"1' -5.)0'@,);.&'0"'.)08 Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 â&#x20AC;˘ 17

Different and Different Improved and ew, Improved New, N Sioux Falls, South Dakota South Dakota’s largest city is centrally located at the junction of interstates 29 and 90, in the heart of America, offering drive-in convenience to exploring distinctive attractions, dynamic arts and culture, a flavorful culinary scene and much more. Sioux Falls has recently debuted new state-of-the-art entertainment facilities and hundreds of new hotel rooms. The new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center seats 12,000 and has hosted major country acts, rock stars like Paul McCartney, and nationally known dance and comedic performers. Bus tour passengers can continue to rock out next door at Badlands Pawn, Gold and Jewelry. With more than 70,000 s q u a r e f e e t o f a t t r a c t i o n s , i t i s n o t j u s t a n y p aw n s h o p . T h e v e n u e offers live concerts, a state-of-the-art firing range, an in-house radio station and TV network, pawn shop, tattoo parlor, deli and more. It

made out of straw bales. Strawbale Winery hosts wine tastings with

is the perfect place for a group to eat lunch or dinner, where the Bad-

more than two dozen grape and fruit wines available. The winery

lands House Band can provide entertainment for your passengers.

holds musical events such as Sangria Sundays, Summer Porch Series

Next, take your tour group downtown to Falls Park to explore one

and Folk Off. Enjoy a relaxing country setting only minutes from the

of the must-see attractions in Sioux Falls and the city’s namesake.

heart of Sioux Falls. Next, venture to Prairie Berry East Bank, where

The 123-acre park features the Visitor Information Center with a 50-

a well-known South Dakota family produces award-winning locally

foot observation tower, a triple waterfall, Overlook Café and pink

produced wine. They also feature homegrown Miner Brewing Co.

quartzite ruins of historic mills, all located on the banks of the Big

beer, and offer tastings, sample flights, kitchen and Epicurean Bar.

Sioux River. It is visited by people from around the world. Hike the bike trail or walk through Downtown Sioux Falls to the

Continue festivities touring the local breweries. Two local brew masters and a business partner recently opened Fernson Brewery

Washington Pavilion, where your group will enjoy a wide variety of

and Fernson on 8th. Once funding was in place and a 12,000 square-

exhibits in a historical setting for all ages. It was the city’s first high

foot warehouse was secured, they went to work on designing the

school and is now one of the only facilities in the world to bring per-

brewery. Fernson Brewing Company is well on its way to becoming

forming arts, visual arts, interactive science and educational oppor-

a regional brewery known for bringing people together over unique

tunities, all under one roof – and the first in America to do so. It houses

handcrafted beers. The brewery uses the fresh Sioux Falls water, 30-

a three-story Kirby Science Center, Wells Fargo CineDome and six

barrel system, mill from a local nearby town, hops from the Pacific

art galleries in the Visual Arts Center. The Mary W. Sommervold Hall

Northwest, barley from Minnesota and Wisconsin, and native South

in the Washington Pavilion is known for attracting well-known Broad-

Dakota yeast. Current production capacity is 4,500 barrels annually.

way shows and musical talent filling a year-round schedule and is

It also opened a tap room in Downtown Sioux Falls to be located on

home to the South Dakota Symphony.

what is becoming Brewer’s Row.

Take a journey through SculptureWalk, an exciting exhibit of 55

From Fernson on 8th visitors can walk to Monks House of Ale

sculptures created by artists from around the world. This outdoor art

Repute and Woodgrain Brewing Co. Monks is home to Gandy Dancer

exhibit is displayed year-round between the Washington Pavilion and

Brew Works inspired by home brewed craft beers and local guest

Falls Park. The sculptures are owned by the artists and loaned to the

brewers to create an unforgettable experience. Monks House of Ale

exhibit for one year. From May through September, the public votes

Repute has become famous for its wide selection of beer and its relax-

for its favorite sculpture, which is deemed the “People’s Choice Award.”

ing ambiance. Over 150 local, regional and national American craft

That sculpture is purchased at the end of the exhibit year for the city’s

beers and imports rotate on a regular basis. Just a few steps away is

permanent collection. Each year the exhibit displays new sculptures

Woodgrain Brewing Co. This local microbrewery specializes in quality

and all of the sculptures are for sale to the public.

handmade beers made from locally sourced hops and barley and

Local wines can be explored at two unique locations in Sioux Falls. Take a trip to the edge of Sioux Falls for wine tasting in a building 36 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

unique strains of yeast developed and propagated through a local microbiology company. Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

New, N ew, Improved Improved a and nd D Different ifferent Across town, which is a mere 10-minute c o m m u t e , i s H y d r a B e e r C o m p a n y, t h e

Sechler’s Fine Pickles

includes pickle

Saint Joe, Indiana

pepper compe-

brainchild of two metal rockers. Their

This family-run company has been in

unique beer offerings feature modern cul-

business for more than 90 years, manufac-

titions, food

ture to deliver a unique metal influenced

turing a full line of gourmet pickles and pep-


e x p e r i e n c e . D o n o t m i s s t h e f a v o r i t e, P a l e

pers, along with relish varieties – more than

fireworks, live

Horse brew.

54 in all. The Sechler family has been per-


Wi t h w i n e a n d b e e r c o m e s f o o d , a n d

fecting the art and science of making pickles

and more. For

Sioux Falls is brimming with local culinary

for almost a century and produces unique



a and

stars offering a number of diverse favorites.

varieties of gourmet pickles the old-fashioned

visit online at

There are more than 650 restaurants

way, using granulated sugar and no artificial


throughout the city that feature everything

colors in its products.

from ethnic, farm-to-table, patisserie treats,

During a visit to the facility, motorcoach

Sechler ’s group tours are offered April

favorite Midwestern staples and much more.

tour passengers will discover that for all of

through October, and can be scheduled Mon-

There are also hundreds of events that take

the technical advances in food processing in

day through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

place year-round in Sioux Falls and a variety

recent years, many of Sechler ’s processes

While the tour is free, group reservations are

of shopping opportunities to fill in any free

have changed little or not at all. The company

required at least one week prior to arrival.


avoids any shortcuts that might detract from

Groups will observe pickle production

t h e q u a l i t y o f i t s p i c k l e s . Au t o m a t e d

processes both inside and outside of the fac-

Heading out of Sioux Falls to your next destination, do not forget to plan a stop at

machines speed up some steps, but the basic

t o r y. B e c a u s e t h e t o u r i n c l u d e s u p - c l o s e

S o u t h D a k o t a ’s n e w e s t s t a t e p a r k , G o o d

formula has remained the same for decades.

observation of heavy machinery, tour pas-

Earth at Blood Run. It is a national historic

Groups that take the free tour of Sechler’s

sengers should wear closed-toed shoes and

landmark and has recently made big strides

Fine Pickles, 5686 State Rt. 1 in rural St. Joe,

to completing the interactive visitor center.

will experience the same fine art of pickle

Buses can drop off and pick up passengers

avoid loose clothing or dangling jewelry.

T h e r i v e r, a b u n d a n t w i l d l i f e a n d f e r t i l e

production that began in 1921, when Ralph

at the showroom entrance. Tours are divided

flood plains made the area a crossroads of

Sechler founded his pickle company in the

into smaller groups of 15-20 people and sent

Native American civilization from 1300-

homestead that still stands next to the factory.

off at 5-10 minute intervals, led by experi-

1 7 0 0 A D a n d p o s s i b l y e v e n l o n g e r.

The factory includes an on-site showroom

enced and knowledgeable guides. Bus park-

T h e S i o u x F a l l s C o nv e n t i o n & Vi s i t o r s

and store that offers the complete line of

ing is available in the adjacent truck parking

Bureau is ready to assist groups with com-

Sechler’s 54 varieties of pickles and relishes.

lot. Bus drivers receive a three-jar gift pack


If the timing is right, motorcoach tours

and escorts get one 16-ounce jar of pickles.

including customized itineraries to ensure

can combine a stop at Sechler’s pickle factory

Sechler’s welcomes school and student

guests have a memorable experience. For

wit h th e ann ua l St. J oe P ick le Fe st iva l, h eld

groups from grade four and up. For more infor-

information, visit online at v

Thursday through Saturday on the fourth

mation on group tours, phone (800) 332-5461




or phone (605) 275-6060.

weekend in July. Named by Food Network as

or e -m ai l s ho wr oo m @ s e chl e r sp ic k l e s .c om .

one of its All American Festivals, the event

To learn more about Sechler’s Fine Pickles, visit online at

DeBrand Fine Chocolates Fort Wayne, Indiana Growing up in a family deeply involved in the confectionary arts, Cathy Brand-Beere began working with chocolate at the age of eight. She always loved the creative process of making fine chocolates, and in 1987, her passion inspired her to open the first DeBrand chocolate shop in her hometown of Fort Wa y n e, I n d i a n a . D e B r a n d m a k e s a v a s t B Bu uss TToou urrss M Maaggaazziin nee // JJaan nu uaarryy,, 22001177 •• 3 17 7

New, N ew, Improved Improved a and nd D Different ifferent variety of chocolates, such as various bars and snack items, as well as three very distinctive gift collections: The Classic Collection, The

Bus groups may tour the


beautiful corporate headquar-

Truffle Collection and The Connoisseur Collection. The Classic Col-

t e r s a t 1 0 1 0 5 Au b u r n P a r k

lection, containing man ny y popular American and European preferences,

D r i v e, F o r t Wa y n e, t o s e e

was created for those who prefer classic favorites made to the highest

chocolatiers in action. Pas-

of quality. The Truffle Collection, composed of indulgent oversized

sengers will enjoy a short

pieces made with the same top quality standards, was designed for

v i d e o c ov e r i n g t h e h i s t o r y o f

those who simply love chocolate (inside and out). The Connoisseur

DeBrand, the chocolate man-

Collection, a world-class eclectic collection made of unusual taste

ufacturing process (cocoa bean to finished product) and the origin

combinations, was developed for those who seek adventure and per-

of chocolate. They will also tour the DeBrand chocolate-making

fection in delicately made, truly unique chocolates. There is a special

kitchens to witness the artisan process involved in making its cov-

gift box for every chocolate lover at DeBrand – it is the one gift you

eted chocolates. Tour passengers can sample many treats along

know they will love. The DeBrand name was derived by adding the French prefix “De” (meaning “from”) to Cathy’s last name, Brand. It reflects the European

the way and see if they can determine their favorite. DeBrand tours are a great way for bus tour groups of all ages and interests to add a little fun and chocolate to their trip.

influences for chocolate excellence that have shaped the company

• Each tour typically lasts 30-45 minutes

since its beginning. Today, DeBrand employs nearly 100 people, with

• Tours are wheelchair accessible

four retail shops in Fort Wayne and a mail order department that ships all over the world. In 2010, DeBrand officially launched its Wholesale

• Cost is $5 per person, with each person receiving a rebate of $5 off a purchase of $10 or more.

Division, which now supplies products to retailers in all 50 states and beyond. Although DeBrand has grown significantly, Cathy’s intense

For more information on DeBrand and its tours, phone (260)

commitment to produce fine chocolates that are second to none in

969-8335, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., contact Group

taste, beauty and presentation always remains the basis for everything

Sales at or visit online at

they do. Chocolate does not get any better than this.

38 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

Soc Social cia ia ial a Marketing Mar Mark rk ke k etiing To our rism m for Tourism by Ca Catherine at a therine Heeg Big Blog Mistake to Avoid Did you know: Marketing pros who write a blog are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI. Source: ) Yet, when you think about writing your next blog, does writer ’s block hold you in its icy grip? Are you frozen at your keyboard, wondering how people can actually write a blog? Let us explore some of the advantages and strategies to ensure your writing time is rewarding. Why Blog? 1. SEO. If you would love to be found more easily and raise your SEO, blogging is essential. Research has shown that Web sites with an active blog rank more highly in searches. This is because the more often you make changes to your Web site, the more new content is crawled by search engines, thus raising your “findability.” Two more SEO friendly blog tips here: 2. Credibility. When you showcase your expertise and knowledge, you will develop relationships with your readers. You will help them understand more about travel and tourism as well as about your own professional style and voice. Credibility, coupled with a personal relationship, make for strong loyalty. 3 . O u t T h e re . T h e m o r e y o u b l o g , t h e m o r e y o u i n c r e a s e y o u r findability and the more likely it is that the media will find you. Content is king. Newspapers, magazines and online publications a r e c o n t i n u a l l y l o o k i n g f o r e x p e r t s t o q u o t e . Yo u r a c t i v e b l o g i s exactly what they look for. What could be better than being quoted or sourced as an expert?

WhatDo I Write About? If you start to draw a blank just thinking about writing, here are five quick content ideas you can use immediately that will have you writing in no time. Most of these ideas are right at your fingertips. Bonus Content Ideas 1 Top Tips. As a travel and tourism professional we all have top tips we mention to clients and live by. Here is your chance to put these into writing and reap the reward of providing a service to your clients and helping media find great content. Twenty-two other things to write about here: Try this: Listen to yourself as you provide advice to your clients. What tips do you offer every day? What tips do your BDM’s mention in webinars and sales calls? What feedback do you get from your own clients? Turn each of these tips into a blog post. 2. Hate to write? Try these five tips: 3 Add pizzazz. Do not make this mistake Many bloggers find themselves with so much to say that their posts become full-blown tomes. A guideline is to keep your posts 2 0 0 - 5 0 0 w o r d s . O n t h a t n o t e, I w i l l s i g n o f f . Did you know? Nineteen percent of travelers visit a blog site when planning their trip. In my estimation, when nearly 20 percent of travelers do the same thing, this is a reason to take action. Take action and write your next blog post today. What content will you include in ❑ your next blog?

Catherine Heeg, international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. Join the conversation and connect with her at and socially.

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 3 19 7

20 Tips T For r Bus Tour Planners Pla la l an by: b y: D Dr. r. C Charleen harleen JJaeb aeb 20 Tips on Holiday Trips

1. Make reservations early. To be guar-

for trips early in the year get a five-percent dis-

Why publish tips on holiday trips when

anteed the best seats for concerts, plays, shows,

count for trips after July. Most bus and tour

there are more than 300 shopping days till

big name entertainers, cruises and popular hol-

companies charge group leaders based on

Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah? It is

iday destinations, J anuary is not too early to

their passenger count.

because many bus tou r planners make N ew

start making reservations and collecting

5. Plan holiday trips, even if you do not

Year’s resolutions to get healthier, more orga-

deposits. If you miss out this year, mark on your

have enough h passengers to fill a bus. First,

nized, more charitable and to spend more time

calendar for next year. If you are closed out,

call your group tour rep to discuss salvaging

with the friends and family they recently have

ask to be notified of group cancelations.

your originally anticipated tour. At Great Day!

heard from and been with. An action they

2. Make reservations late. Sometimes a

Tours, they can sign up and pay for their group

could take is to set up monthly holiday trips

show becomes a hit later in the year. Sometimes

members and themselves on a public tour. For

for 2017 and invite their friends.

hotels and theaters holding blocks of tickets

every 19 paying passengers, the group leader

Hopefully, this column will persuade bus

held for groups early in the year have cancel-

receives a free trip. With a minimum of 10 pas-

tour planners to plan, book and market their

lations. Sometimes you are made aware of the

sengers, their trip is half off. Large bus compa-

2017 trips successfully now. Included are some

event or holiday show late in the year. Dates for

nies often have mini buses that hold 30 pas-

of my favorite trips – from my bucket list, the

elementary school trips, where busses are

sengers, used frequently Monday through

Internet, newspapers, television, travel pub-

needed to transport students to holiday shows,

Friday for students, but chartered for less on

l i c a t i o n s l i k e B U S T O U R S M AG A Z I N E a n d b u s

are usually made after the school year starts.

weekends. Several times I have suggested to

and travel company catalogs. Your theme this

3 . P u t o u t a m i d - ye a r b u l l e t i n , c a t -

friends who wanted to go on the same bus tour

alog or mailing before the end of July.

to sign up for the public tour the same day and

The following are 2017 national holidays in

Included would be your new holiday trips,

ask that they be seated together. Seniors might

year could be “Celebrating Our Holidays.” the United States, which often include employ-

fall and winter trips as well as early spring

qualify for price breaks, depending on the bus

ees being given a day off with pay and which

trips. Send the bulletin to your customers,

tour company’s policy.

sometimes result in a long weekend: Jan. 1 –

as well, and publicize it via ads, press

6. Create a holiday theme on the bus.

New Year’s Day; Jan. 16 – Martin Luther King Jr.

releases and on site. One large bus company

Dress festively. (Think red Santa hats, Valen-

Day; Feb. 20 – President’s Day; May 29 – Memo-

is publishing its 2017 catalog only online.

tine scarves, red, white and blue ties for July

rial Day, July 4 – Independence Day; Sept. 4 –

Is this a trend?

4 and green tams for St. Patrick’s Day.) Make

Labor Day; Oct. 9 – Columbus Day; Nov. 11 –

4. Save money. Book early. Take advan-

nametags that reflect the season. Play holiday

Veteran’s Day; Nov. 23 – Thanksgiving Day; and

tage of discounts offered by bus companies

v i d e o s , m u s i c a n d g a m e s . P r ov i d e h o l i d a y

December 25 – Christmas Day. Just as there are

and destinations. Some destinations have free

snacks, prizes and surprises on board. Some

dozens of religions, there are dozens of religious

days of the week or special days to enter. Oth-

bus companies furnish DVDs where language

and ethnic holidays. Pick the ones you and your

ers have less expensive rates on weekdays or

is sanitized and copyrights are free.

group would enjoy. Tips for planning fun holiday

for children. Senior bus travelers traveling on

7. Plan holiday casino trips. Many casi-

tours are mentioned below, including beloved

public tours get a break at Cleveland’s Great

nos offer bargain rates in winter and have

holidays not mentioned above.

Day! Tours and Cruises by booking and paying

breathtaking decorations and holiday shows

40 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

20 20 T Tips ips with well-known entertainers. My fa vorite multiday ho liday casino trip is the one my group took the first week of December. We drove to an Atlantic City casino on the boardwalk which gave us a generous casino bonus. The second day, our motorcoach took us to New York City, where we saw and met the Rockettes, shopped, took an escorted tour of the city and enjoyed lunch and dinner. We shopped outlet stores near the casino and took a tour of neighboring Cape May. 8 . C o n s i d e r a h o l i d ay t o u r fo r p e o p l e w h o m i g h t b e lonely without family or good friends near. It should include a n i c e d i n n e r, a n i n t e r e s t i n g a c t i v i t y w h e r e t h e y g e t t o k n o w e a c h other, and based on their interests, it could be customized by age, marital status, profession, school they graduated from, religion, abilities or where they live.

Charleen S. Jaeb and family celebrating Thanksgiving

9. O n c e y o u r h o l i d a y t r i p i s p l a n n e d , c a p i t a l i z e o n t h e related, often free, attractions nearby. For example, if you saw

14. Hot weather vacations appeal to people in cold weather

The Nutcracker ballet, your driver could drive by an outdoor lighting

states. Branson has great holiday shows which often travel north in

display, visit an impressive cathedral, museum, greenhouse, festive

summer months. Florida has Disney World, boat parades and, like

downtown indoor mall or an indoor display of Christmas trees dec-

other states on the Gulf, beaches, flora and fauna unlike others up

orated by local groups.

north. A holiday happening unique to New Orleans is Mardi Gras on

10. Promote holiday shopping trips. They can be in conjunction with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day or Christmas.

February 28; however, festivities leading up to it officially begin in January and the mood prevails throughout the year.

A recent stop and shop shopping trip to boutique shops, vintage cloth-

15. Cold weather vacations appeal, too. Popular cold-weather

ing stores and consignment shops was popular with my girlfriends.

destinations include ski resorts and historic places like Williamsburg

When holidays are near, people often think of giving gift certificates

at Christmastime, where visitors can immerse themselves in Colonial

for bus trips to their parents, grandparents and children. When I

life, eat and drink by candlelight in taverns, be entertained by costumed

planned a bus trip to a new upscale shopping center, it filled because

musicians, and take an escorted walking tour through streets festively

huge number of merchants agreed to furnish a prize to the passenger

decorated for the holiday.

presenting the matching card to his donation. Passengers were given names of participating merchants and a card from a deck of cards.

16. Major sporting events are treated as holidays in the United States. The Super Bowl, college bowls, the World Series,

11. Parades can be an awesome part of holiday trips. Ideally,

golf tournaments and national basketball championships are examples

reserve seats with the sun behind you, or bring seats with you. Allow

of sporting events that people of all ages look forward to. With group

extra time to get there due to extra traffic. My favorite bucket-list trip

bus tours, you have guaranteed seats with like-minded fans, parking

was to see the Rose Bowl Parade from excellent shaded seats. It also

and, in some cases, tailgating parties. Major companies award bus

included seeing how the floats were made, a day at Disneyland, a day

trips and tickets to games for their top sales representatives.

at Universal Studio, time in desert-like Palm Springs and a drive-by tour of movie stars’ homes.

17. Plan a trip honoring veterans. National veterans’ holidays include Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Many cities have services at

12. Work with school groups, scout troops or high schools

cemeteries and city halls and hold parades. Trips to Washington, D.C.,

to set up holiday trips. My grandchildren love trips where they interact

especially when veterans are on the bus and recognized, are appreciated

with animals or computers or participate in physical activities at a pool,

by those honored. A bus trip to Paris, which stopped a full day at Nor-

gym or bowling lane. In November, we visited Castle Noel, “America’s

mandy, is memorable to me. I was awed by the number of American

Largest Year-Round Indoor Christmas Entertainment Attraction,” located

graves and that the French people living there truly loved Americans.

in Medina, Ohio’s Historic Square District. To discover their awesome

18. Plan trips in June, July and August. Students and teachers

activities for the young and young at heart visit online at

are on a summer holiday, so many take longer trips then. Some take

13. I n d o o r a n d o u t d o o r a m u s e m e n t p a r k s a n d wa t e r

overseas tours and visit national parks. Many parents of high school

parks are growing in popularity. Whatever the season or hol-

students make college visits in August. The Fourth of July offers fire-

iday, individuals, families and busses flock to them. They are in

works and parades. Christmas in July celebrations are popular on the

e v e r y s t a t e, e v e n H aw a i i a n d F l o r i d a . H o w e v e r, I w a s a g r o u p

La ake Erie Islands and other states where December is cold and snow-

leader for five years before my first bus trip to one.

birds have flown South. My Ohio neighbors often go to Cedar Point Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 4 11 7

2 20 0T Tips ips Amusement Park on the Fourth of July

many themes. Among my favorite day Christ-

because most local people think it will be too

mas trips: Severance Hall to hear the Cleve-

crowded and it is not.

land Orchestra’s annual Christmas Concert,

19. September and October are peak

Cleveland Playhouse for lunch, and seeing

Advertiser’s Index Angel Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Arbors at Island Landing Hotel . . . . . .34 Be Native Tours LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Boys Town USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

months for grroup travel. After La abor Day,

decorated trees in Cleveland; and Phipps

the kids are in school and prices to popular

Conservatory and Botanical Garden’s Winter

summer vacation spots, even at luxury hotels

Flower Show, Hartwood Acres’ Celebration

and resorts, are roughly 40 percent lower.

of Lights and the international Santa exhibit

City of Aztec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

at PPG Place in Pittsburgh.

City of Fort Madison . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Halloween occurs October 31; however, dec-

Cabell Huntington CVB . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Castle Farms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

orations in neighborhood places to visit are

Thank you for your comments and sug-

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center . .38

available all month. Examples for local day

gestions for future articles. My March column

Conway CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

trips include Boo at the Zoo, Halloween

will be “20 Tips for North of the Border Trips.”

Country Music Hall of Fame

weekends at amusement parks, haunted

Others I’m considering are “Candyland Trips,”

& Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

houses and ghost tours.

“Botanical Trips” or “Make-and-Take Trips.”

Crazy Horse Memorial . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

20. Plan November and December

If you would like a list of all past topics or to

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad . . .17

trips. Thanksgiving and religious holidays

send ideas for new ones, my email address

DeBrand Fine Chocolate . . . . . . . . . . .38

such as Christmas and Hanukah dominate


Detroit Metro CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

With degrees from four universities, Dr. Charleen Jaeb was a business professor at Cuyahoga Community College. After her retirement in 2000, she became a trip planner for the CCC retirees and Middleburg Heights Women’s Club, fi fillling as many as 15 buses each year. Jaeb

Fargo Air Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Gaylord Opryland Resort & Conference Center . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

and her husband escorted trips for Lakefront Lines in Cleveland, Ohio. She says, “It was won-

Geary County CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

derful and somewhat unbelievable in retirement to be able to do what you love to do and get

Jacksonville Area CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

paid for doing it.”

John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk . . . .35 LeMay – America’s Car Museum . . . . . .8 Miromar Outlets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Mt. Washington Cog Railway . . . . . . . .6 National Tour Association . . . . . . . . .13 Old Sturbridge Inn & Reader Family . .31 Outlets of Mississippi, The . . . . . . . . .19 Presque Isle Downs & Casino . . . . . . . .2 River Lady . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers . . . . .7 Sechler’s Fine Pickles . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Sioux Falls CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Starved Rock Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Village of Angel Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Visit Brenham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Visit Clarksville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 U.S. Naval Academy . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Warren County Historical Society . . . . .7 Washington on the Brazos . . . . . . . . .18 Wings Over the Rockies . . . . . . . . . . .21 Wolf Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

42 • Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017

Bus Tours Magazine / January, 2017 • 17

Bus Tours Magazine January/February 2017  
Bus Tours Magazine January/February 2017