Page 1

Volume XXXVI, Number 2 • November/December, 2015

Rail and Sail page 4

The Midwest page 20

Gaming page 28




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Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 3

       ourneys by train and boat always add a

Take a journey into the past, smell the smells,

green aspen leaves color the mountains.

wonderful dimension to a group tour. Not

enjoy the scenery of yesteryear and become

July often has fresh rain showers for part

only do they offer great scenery and good

a part of the living history.

of the day and beautiful rainbow displays.


company, they are a nostalgic, historic and

The trip starts from both the Antonito,

The rain brings a colorful blanket of wild-

relaxing way to spend a few hours. Train aďŹ -

Colorado and the Chama, New Mexico

flowers to August and the first part of Sep-

cionados also love trips to historic railroad

depots daily at 10 a.m. The staff are wel-

tember. The fall aspen colors start mid-

museums and miniature train displays. Best

coming and enjoy chatting about the railroad

September and finish in October. Among

of all, most railroad and cruise attractions

and steam locomotives with guests. You can

the beauty is often wildlife, deer, elk, ante-

are happy to welcome groups, offering great

tell that they love working for the Cumbres

lope and bear. Hawks, osprey and eagles

perks and memorable experiences.

& Toltec by their enthusiasm when talking

can also be seen soaring on thermals

about the railroad or their willingness to help

above the train.

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Antonito, Colorado

in any manner.

At the mid-point of the trip, the trains will

Once boarded, the train will signal its

meet up in Osier, Colorado for lunch. The

departure from the depot with the steam

dining buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s windows give an excellent

Experience the authentic West. The Cum-

whistle. Once the wheels start rolling, the

view over the canyon and hills, while guests

bres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR),

passengers are on their way for a 64-mile

feast on homemade food. The entrĂŠes are a

located in northern New Mexico and south-

journey through the high plain desert,

scrumptious turkey dinner with all the ďŹ x-

ern Colorado, is a trip into the past. The coal-

forests, valleys, along canyon rims, over

ings, or a meatloaf dinner with mashed pota-

ďŹ red, steam locomotives that worked the

trestles and through tunnels. The ever-

toes, veggies and a roll and lastly a soup,

original Rio Grande Western Route that the

changing scenery is spectacular no matter

salad and more bar. There is also an unlim-

C&TSRR is apart of, still pull the trains today.

what time of year. In May and June, bright

ited dessert bar.

and Chama, New Mexico

4 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

      Trips run from Memorial Day Weekend to mid-October. For reservations and information phone (877) 890-2737 or

vintage coal-ďŹ red steam and modern biodiesel trains arrive and depart from the platforms. The Mount Washington Cog Railway provides a sense of adventure and history on the three-hour round trip as it makes the spec-

Mount Washington Cog Railway

tacular climb up to the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington.

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Along the way passengers are treated to an educational guided tour

Considered a must-do for all visitors to New England, the ďŹ rst mountain-climbing cog railway in the world has been bringing passengers to the top of Mount Washington since 1869. Mount Wash-

by the brakeman about the mountain surroundings and the history of the railway. Once at the summit, visitors have about an hour to explore and

ington is located in the picturesque White Mountain region of New

take in the spectacular panoramic view, spanning the mountains and

Hampshire, just three hours north of Boston.

valleys of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, north into Canada

While waiting for their train to depart for the summit, visitors enjoy time at the railwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s train


and east to the Atlantic Ocean from the observation deck of the Sherman Adams Summit Building.

depot, MarshďŹ eld Station.

Included in the purchase of a Cog ticket is the summitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s winter

There is plenty to see and do

weather exhibit, Extreme Mount Washington. Here guests can expe-

before and after the ride. Vis-

rience winter on Mount Washington from the comfort of a state-of-

itors can spend time in the

the-art indoor exhibit. Visitors to the summit can also visit the 1853

open admission Cog Railway

Tip Top House Museum.

museum, where they can get

Open May through November, The Mount Washington Cog Rail-

a sneak peek of the Railwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

way offers competitive group rates and add-on options. The Cog is

new documentary, Climbing To The Clouds. There is a restaurant, a

located on Base Station Road, MarshďŹ eld Station, New Hampshire,

gift shop and outdoor seating where train enthusiasts can watch the

just six miles from Route 302 and historic Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. For more information, visit or contact Susan Presby,

Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 5

      director of group sales, at (603) 278-5550,

retary of State under Abraham Lincoln, is

dinner cruise with a variety of meal options or (800) 922-8825.

said to have described Skaneateles Lake in

from a sit-down lunch or dinner, to a buf-

1870. When you visit the charming lake-side

fet featuring entrees from regional favorite,

Mid-Lakes Navigation

village of Skaneateles today, you can see for

Dinosaur BBQ. They can even package a


sightseeing cruise with lunch at the historic

Skaneateles, New York Mid-Lakes Navigation, family-owned and

Mid-Lakes offers a relaxing view of

operated since 1968, welcomes you aboard

Seward's landscape from the deck of their

In Seward's time, steamboats delivered

for beauty, history and more in the scenic

ďŹ&#x201A;agship, the Judge Ben Wiles on the

passengers, produce and mail to communi-

Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

sparkling waters of the pristine lake.

ties along the shoreline. You can tour this

Sherwood Inn overlooking the lake.

"The most beautiful body of water in the

Choose a two-hour lunch cruise, a 50-

same shoreline on one of the few remaining

world." That is how William Seward, Sec-

minute sightseeing cruise or an evening

U.S. Mailboats in the country. Enrich your




6 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015


1-800-368-3097 |

Let us entertain you. Whatever the age or interest of your group–dining, history. “I t h i s rte a l l y e n j o plan t rip–and yed o retu I rn!”

architecture, festivals or simply enjoying the beauty of the parks– Kankakee County has it all and more. Let us help plan a tour for your group. 815.935.7390

“I h a tim d a gr C o u e i n Ka e a t nty nka !” k




Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 • 7

      experience with a visit to the Seward House

Historic Museum, the Harriet Tubman Home

Steam locomotives are complex pieces of machinery. Their sounds and smells fasci-

or one of the other excellent attractions

nate us, and because their moving parts are

within minutes of the village.

visible for all to see, we marvel at how they

There is more. The legendary Erie Canal

work. They represent an era of ďŹ ne technol-

also awaits the present day traveler look-

ogy, and keeping such old machines operat-

ing for a relaxing cruise, a good meal, a

ing in the 21st century takes hard work,

touch of history, nature and beauty. Mid-

patience and skill.

Lakes Navigation operates cruises from 50

Just as an automobile requires inspec-

minutes to seven hours with many options

tions at certain mileage intervals, so do steam

for dining on board. The boat rides depart

locomotives, except their inspections are

from their private dock located about 10

fireworks, miniature amusement park,

based on service days, not mileage. The most

minutes from DestinyUSA and 15 minutes

drive-in movie theater and a confused

comprehensive inspection of all is the one

from downtown Syracuse. Most itineraries

locomotive running upside down from the

performed after 1,472 service days or 15

include the iconic experience of passage

ceiling. In addition to the layout, they fea-

years, whichever comes ďŹ rst (commonly

through an Erie Canal lock.

ture a unique gift shop.

referred to as "the 1472"). This inspection

Every Mid-Lakes cruise is narrated by the

They offer visitors the opportunity to step

requires an almost complete disassembly of

knowledgeable captain who shares stories,

back in time and relive their childhood as

the locomotive so that every nut and bolt (lit-

history and local insights. They have been

well as creating memories for the younger

erally) can be checked. Fortunately, they will

hosting groups for nearly 50 years and are

visitors. Be sure to ask for the â&#x20AC;&#x153;I Spy listâ&#x20AC;? for

not be without a steam engine while 734 is

happy to help you with local knowledge to

ďŹ nding details hidden in the layout. How

out of service.

make your entire trip successful. Cruises run

many blimps or motorcycles can you ďŹ nd?

from early May through September and can

Be sure to bring your camera.

In May 2014, they acquired Chesapeake & Ohio 1309 from the Baltimore & Ohio

accommodate up to 100 passengers. Their

Train-O-Rama has been featured on

Railroad Museum. C&O 1309 was the last

group sales expert is Gail Steigerwald. Con-

PBSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Scenic Stops ďŹ lmed by the crew from

steam locomotive built by Baldwin Loco-

tact her (315) 685-8500 or gail@mid-

WBGU in Bowling Green, Ohio. They have

motive Works for a domestic railroad. Once

had visitors from all around the world,

restored, it will be the largest articulated

including all 50 states and more than 80

steam locomotive in regular operation in

foreign countries. You can add your star to

the United States.

Download details at

Train-O-Rama Lakeside Marblehead, Ohio

the â&#x20AC;&#x153;State Board,â&#x20AC;? too.

This steam engine is so large (a 2-6-6-

There is plenty of parking for buses and

2, for our fellow train aďŹ cionados), that it

they are handicap accessible. For more infor-

was designed to be able to handle tight

electric train exhibits featuring many

mation and to view videos, visit traino-

curves and mountainous terrain, thus mak-

unique trains running through scenes of To schedule a tour, phone (419)

ing it a perfect ďŹ t for Western Maryland

all four seasons. Included are a lake with

734-5856 or e-mail them at mail@traino-

Scenic Railroad. This â&#x20AC;&#x153;iron horseâ&#x20AC;? will man-

real running water, an airport, fiber-optic Train-O-Rama is open all year.

age the famous Helmstetterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Curve and

Train-O-Rama is one of Ohioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest

Woodcock Hollow hairpin turn with ease

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Cumberland, Maryland

as it climbs 1,300 feet in elevation from Cumberland to Frostburg.

For more than 25 years, groups have been

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad invites

visiting Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

you to join them for the inaugural season as


to enjoy the scenic ridges and valleys of beau-

they welcome C&O 1309 to the helm. Spe-


$  ! ! "!"    #  ! ! "

tiful Allegany County. What makes these

cial rates are available for groups of 25 or

excursions so unique? Guests have the

more. Contact Jodi Burnsworth, group sales

opportunity to experience a journey back in

manager, at (800) 872-4650, Ext. 105 or

!      ###"! ! 

time behind a coal-ďŹ red steam locomotive. to learn how you can

8 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

Mountain Thunder, #734, has been the matriarch of the WMSR family since 1992.

be a part of history.







WWW.BUSES.ORG #abalouisville

ABA’s Marketplace is the premier event for the tour and travel industry. Nearly 3,500 motorcoach/tour operators, destinations, hoteliers, attractions and service/hardware exhibitors come together to kick off a new year of business opportunity and growth.

      Eagle Cap Train Rides

seen from an automobile. High, timbered ridges tower above while

Elgin, Oregon

rugged basalt cliffs hug the track.

During the heyday of the great Western migration along the Ore-

The train crosses the Rondowa Bridge, where the two rivers con-

gon Trail, Oregon's northeastern corner was known for its tall moun-

verge. Wildlife often seen by passengers includes elk, mule deer, bald

tains that presented one of the biggest obstacles to pioneers making

eagles, osprey and various waterfowl, with an occasional spotting

their way west to the Willamette Valley. Today, travelers who take

of black bear or moose. Train rides are generally four hours and

the time to explore beyond the

include a meal and entertainment (mounted bandits hit the train dur-

interstate quickly encounter

ing some trips.)


many hidden treasures worth seeking.

ample restrooms. Go to for schedule infor-

People with a passion for trains

The Elgin Depot has bus parking, a gift shop, history displays and




mation and contact Andre’a, group sales contact, or (800) 323-7330.

delighted to discover two very

On the Sumpter Valley Railroad, take a steam-powered trip back in

different excursion trains, oper-

time on Oregon’s only surviving narrow gauge railroad. Located a half-

ating within 100 miles of each

hour from Baker City, it is a fun journey back to the days of gold min-

other. Putting the two together

ing and the Wild West. Excursions run from McEwen to the historic

forms the basis for a fun and

gold mining town of Sumpter, where you can also explore the famous

exciting journey through north-

Gold Dredge. For more information on the Sumpter Valley Railroad,

east Oregon.

go to, or phone (541) 894-2268 or contact

Departing from Elgin, 20 miles north of La Grande, the Eagle Cap

Alegre Travel at (800) 323-7330, e-mail

Excursion Train is a 1940s vintage diesel train that follows the shores

Eagle Cap Train Rides can help you plan an itinerary around a ride

of the Grande Ronde and Wallowa rivers, both known for their rugged

on these two railroads, incorporating nearby attractions, such as the

beauty and quality rafting and fishing. The route of the railroad is a

Wallowa Lake Tramway, the Joseph Art Walk, the Oregon Trail Inter-

mostly roadless area, offering views of a landscape that cannot be

pretive Center and a jet boat ride on the Snake River, deep into the heart of Hells Canyon. Contact them for sample itinerary at Alegre Travel at (800) 323-7330, e-mail The Web site is

Skunk Train Fort Bragg, California Located in northern California’s Mendocino County, there is a skunk running through the redwood forest, but this is not any skunk, it is the world famous Skunk Train. The California Redwoods, pris-

tine coastline and award-winning vineyards are all a part of the landscape of what makes Mendocino County such an amazing place and home to this 130-year-old train. Regardless of your departure point, it is the occasional whistles

Sumpter Valley Railroad

as your train chugs through tunnels, over bridges (30 to be exact) and past open meadows. The train follows the coastal "Redwood Route" as it has since 1885. It is the towering trees, a glimpse of a deer drinking from the Noyo River, an isolated fisherman's cabin peeking from the forest and the notion that you have left the rest of the world behind that draw people to the Skunk Train. Departing from Fort Bragg the first few miles are along the Pudding Creek estuary where common sightings include blue heron, egrets, osprey, ducks and the occasional

visit  ŽŶƚĂĐƚƵƐƚŽĚĂLJĨŽƌĂƐƚĞƌŶKƌĞŐŽŶŝƟŶĞƌĂƌŝĞƐĂŶĚ ŽŶƚĂĐƚƵƐƚŽĚĂLJĨŽƌĂƐƚĞƌŶKƌĞŐŽŶŝƟŶĞƌĂƌŝĞƐĂŶĚ planning assistance. assistance. or 541.786.8006 10 • Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

lounging turtle. After passing through a dark 1,122-foot tunnel, the Skunk Train snakes its way along Noyo River and zigzags through the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon. If you choose to depart from

      Willits and travel to Northspur, your train will

motorcars were like skunks, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You could smell

climb the eastern slope of the Coastal Moun-

them before you could see them.â&#x20AC;?

tain Range and cut through it at Tunnel #2

Groups of 20 or more receive a 10 percent

(the Summit) before descending into the red-

discount off regular prices. Larger discounts

wood-thick Noyo River Canyon. This is the

are offered for multiple contracted trips. They

mountain part of the railroad where 8.5 miles

can also offer groups reduced-priced lodg-

of track were laid in to cover a straight line

ing. More information on group tours with

distance of less than one mile.


Built as a logging railroad in 1885 by Charles R. Johnson, the Skunk line was a log-






at You can phone them at (707) 964-6371.

ical vehicle for moving massive redwood logs to the Mendocino Coast sawmills from the rugged back country â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not to mention the train played a vital role in transporting families and workers who set up the various logging camps along the route. The nickname Skunk originated in 1925 when motorcars were introduced. These single unit self-propelled motorcars had gasoline-powered engines for power and a potbellied stove (burning crude oil to keep the







passengers warm). The combination of the fumes created a very pungent odor, and the old timers living along the line said these

12 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015


Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 13

illustrate these challenges in the Science on a Sphere theater. There are dozens of additional programs to choose from. The Maritime Heritage Center is often the site of national and international underwater robotics competitions. Looking for a “hands on” experience for your group? Guests can construct their own ROV -Remotely Operated (underwater) Vehicle in the optional “ROV in a Bag” event for a very nominal fee. The award-winning “Pure Michigan” national ad campaign will help create interest in your new itineraries. Elk Viewing at Thunder Bay Resort is a magical experience – like stepping back in time to the 1800s. It is literally “over the river and through the woods” on carriages pulled by mas-

Be Part of the Adventure Experiential Tours

sive teams of draft horses or sleighs for the winter version, and into the heavily wooded 160acre Anchor Creek Elk Preserve to view the majestic Rocky Mountain elk. Guests will marvel at the size and grace of the bulls with their

large glass bottom viewing areas of The

massive antlers and cows with their fast grow-

looking for something that offers

Lady Michigan allow you to dive to several

ing spotted calves. Guides on the carriages

them a way to get active and

of the 200 wrecks without getting wet.

answer questions and provide insights into the

experience a destination or attraction. More

Learn the exciting tales of many famous

habits and history of these amazing animals

than just watching and listening, experien-

shipwrecks and the history, legends and

and provide a few laughs along the way. Every

tial tours offer ways for guests to experience,

lore of Lake Huron.

season has unique appeals – fast growing new


ore and more, tour guests are

feel and become part of the journey instead of merely being along for the ride.

The sanctuary’s high-tech interpretive

antlers in spring, newborn calves cavorting

center – The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage

with their attentive moms in summer and the

Center is superb. Since it is our tax dollars at

fall mating season behaviors of dominant bulls

Thunder Bay Resort

work, there is no charge – which adds value

– bugling, fighting and coating themselves in

and Michigan’s Sunrise Side

to your tour. An outstanding facility, it offers

mud, against a backdrop of fall colors. The win-

multiple opportunities for your group.

ter version on sleighs is magical. Make sure

Looking for a great new destination?

A full-sized sailing schooner has been

your guests bring their cameras as there will

Looking for exciting options not offered by

reconstructed within the heritage center. It

be stops along the way for guests to capture

your competitors? Discover two of Ameri-

is caught in a storm with lightning and thun-

unique moments with the elk.

ca’s best attractions on Michigan’s Sunrise

der and will soon perish. The display con-

Then it is on to the Elk Antler Log Cabin,

Side. Many of these attractions are hands-

cludes with its remains resting on the bot-

where friendly staff welcomes guests into

on and interactive experiences. Visit Thun-

tom of the lake.

the dining venue filled with antiques and tro-

der Bay Resort and experience their nation-

Unique to the Maritime Heritage Center

phy mounts as well as a massive fieldstone

ally acclaimed “Elk Viewing, Carriage Ride,

is “Science on a Sphere.” This global display

fireplace and two antique wood cook stoves.

Gourmet Dinner and Wine Tasting.” Stay

system uses computers and video projectors

Even the restrooms are camera worthy – on

two nights at the resort and explore the

to display planetary data onto the sphere,

occasion the ladies’ room has been mistaken

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

analogous to a giant animated globe. Expe-

for the gift shop. An earlier version of the

Experience the matchless wonder of a Glass

rience “Climate Change on the Sphere.” Cli-

cabin was without access to power and typ-

Bottom Shipwreck Boat Tour through our

mate change is a global phenomenon and

ical of the 1800s featured gas lights, a hand

nation’s only fresh water national marine

its challenges are already affecting the Great

pump for water, a fireplace for heat, out-

sanctuary. The crystal clear waters and

Lakes Region. Join the Sanctuary staff as they

houses and a wood cook stove. To celebrate

14 • Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

        the joys of indoor facilities, owner Jan Matthias went all out on the

guestsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; rooms. Shortly thereafter, the carriages will arrive. Ample

dĂŠcor and created a charming atmosphere.

parking is available for the coach right at lodging.

Guests will be seated ďŹ reside, where Janâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s son, Spencer, another self-

One- and two-night Elk Viewing packages are available; the event

taught culinary artist, has taken over as chef and prepares a ďŹ ve-course

is also a perfect four-hour midday stopover for groups on the go.

gourmet dinner on two antique wood cook stoves in full view of all the

Many guests prefer the two-night stay. Live entertainment and a

guests. The menu â&#x20AC;&#x201C; homemade

campďŹ re can be incorporated during one of your evenings at Thun-

pear and apple crepes with

der Bay Resort. Mike Ridley, a fabulous comedian, guitarist, vocalist

cocktail shrimp, Spencerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

and song writer, is often featured.


homemade chicken noodle

Who says elk viewing at Thunder Bay Resort is â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the Americas

soup, a wonderful sweet Napa

Best Attraction?â&#x20AC;? USA Today named the ride and dinner high on their list

salad with a hot butter crois-

of â&#x20AC;&#x153;10 Best.â&#x20AC;? Ditto for Fox News on their â&#x20AC;&#x153;Top 10 Sleigh Rides in North

sant, and a melt-in-your-mouth

America.â&#x20AC;? How about guests? While the resort scores over 4 out of 5 on

crown roast of pork with pan

Trip Advisor â&#x20AC;&#x201C; review just the elk viewing scores for the past several years

roasted red skin potatoes and

and they average 4.9 out of 5. They love the elk, the gourmet dining, the

pan gravy. Dessert is special â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

Belgian draft horses and the carriage/sleigh ride, the friendly service,

white chocolate mousse-cov-

the Elk Antler Log Cabin and the spacious lodging. Lots of rave reviews

ered pizzelles with a mixed

-â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best meal ever,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Highlight of our trip,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best thing we have ever doneâ&#x20AC;?

berry sauce and chocolate

are common. Those comments come from tour operators, escorts and

shavings. During dinner the guides provide a fun, casual wine tasting

drivers as well as guests. Ask anyone who has done the event.

with ďŹ ve to seven locally-produced wines from nearby Stoney Acres Winery in Alpena. Guides also pass massive shed antlers from guest to guest while describing how they are regrown every spring and have been

Hub and Spoke On a two-night stay Thunder Bay Resort, which is located in Hill-

considered one of the most highly prized medicines in traditional ori-

man, Michigan, becomes your base for nearby attractions like the

ental medicine for more than 2,000 years.

Shipwreck Boat Tour and the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.

After dessert, guests reboard the carriages for a short ride to return to lodging for the evening and to conclude the four-hour event. Lodging at the resort consists of large suites, two-bedroom villas and three-

Combined with a tour of the Interpretive Center, this is truly a worldclass attraction, and is a short 25-minute drive away in Alpena. The Besser Museum and Planetarium is also in Alpena and fea-

bedroom chalets. The 400-acre resort also features a challenging 18-

tures a new state-of-the-art digital planetarium display, a variety of

hole golf course carved from the mature forest with rolling terrain

well-done exhibits and a very unique outdoor limestone quarry exhibit.

and numerous ponds and marshes. On two-night stays, guests who

Guests can search for 350,000,000-year-old fossils and take home

would like to play golf can usually ďŹ nd the time to do so, as rental

what they ďŹ nd.

clubs are available. All units have living room, dining and kitchen

The nearby LaFarge cement plant and quarry on the shoreline of

facilities with decks overlooking the golf course. All lodging was

the lake are the largest in the free world and can be incorporated as

designed originally for golfers who typically travel in groups of four,

a plant tour or most often as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;drive by.â&#x20AC;? Cement is shipped by freighter

so your guests will be surprised at the spaciousness of their accom-

throughout the Great Lakes Region.

modations. If it is an afďŹ nity group, three or four guests can easily

Michiganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lighthouses are a national treasure and there are more

share a unit and use the living room to socialize. Singles can be accom-

here than any other state. A number of Michiganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 129 lighthouses

modated in a one bedroom â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one bath â&#x20AC;&#x201C; â&#x20AC;&#x153;lock-offâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; equivalent to a

are nearby and open to the public. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oldâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Newâ&#x20AC;? Presque Isle

hotel room.

lighthouses are just north of Alpena and can easily be incorporated

In the morning, guests will be treated to a full hot breakfast in the Clubhouse Grill before heading out for the dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s activities or the next destination.

on a tour. A number of other lights can be stopping points on your way in and out of the region. Wineries and breweries on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sunrise Side Wine and Hops Trailâ&#x20AC;?

This family-owned and operated resort caters to numerous motor-

can be part of your itinerary as well. Stoney Acres Winery has a won-

coaches with a friendly, attentive professional staff. Upon arrival, a

derful â&#x20AC;&#x153;tasting room,â&#x20AC;? and can provide lunch for your group. They spe-

staff member will hop on board and guide the group to lodging. Once

cialize in fruit wines, do wonderful hand-dipped chocolates, the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

at lodging, guests will be given their room keys and information about

best Carmel corn drizzled with white and dark chocolate, and a variety

the resort, while housekeeping staff is busy delivering luggage to

of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Shipwreck Sodasâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; named after famous wrecks in the sanctuary.

16 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

        Another luncheon option is Thunder Bay Winery in downtown

the Snowbelt who can view it as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Winter Adventure.â&#x20AC;? Elk Viewing

Alpena. Your wine tasting can be combined with the adjacent Fresh

sleigh rides at Thunder Bay Resort can be combined with Niagara

Palette restaurant â&#x20AC;&#x201C; healthy food that actually tastes good. It is a nice

Falls and the Agawa Canyon Snow Train into Northern Ontario for a


unique winter itinerary.

Mackinac Island is a major Michigan attraction drawing more than 700,000 visitors a year. With a history dating back to the 1600s with early Catholic missionaries and a strategic location between Lake Michi-

Marketing Assistance Group Leader FAM Tours -Larger operators may wish to consider

gan and Lake Huron, the 3.8-square mile island has changed hands sev-

letting Thunder Bay Resort help put together a Group Leader FAM for

eral times in wars with France and England. As a center for the fur trade,

the full range of Sunrise Side attractions. There is a nominal charge.

it produced one of Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ďŹ rst millionaires, John Jacob Astor. With a

Event Coordinator Carrie Kuzewski, at Thunder Bay Resort, can

ban on motor vehicles, transportation relies mainly on horses and bicy-

provide information including brochures, videos, sample itineraries

cles. Historic districts help preserve the heritage structures. Much of the

and open dates. Kuzewski can recommend and assist in booking

island including the fort is a state park. The island can easily be a por-

local attractions. Contact her at (800) 729-9375 or by e-mail at car-

tion of your itinerary as an extra night or even a day trip from Thunder

Bay Resort. They package with the historic Lake View Hotel and the

Tour-Friendly Properties is offered by the Resort as compli-

new Bicycle Street Inn, both on Main Street. The iconic Grand Hotel is

mentary receptive services for any group staying at the Resort.

the best known lodging on the Island for those with an open budget.

Susan Hatcher has planned tours for more than 40 years and can

Other popular attractions on the way to or from the Sunrise Side

assist you with ideas and contacts or plan and book your custom

region include The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan,

itinerary at no additional cost to you. Contact her at (248) 672-3813

Frankenmuth, the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and The


Fredrik Meijer Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trip planning assistance is available. is the resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Web site intended just for tour operators. Check it out for Tour Operator comments and contacts, videos, photos, information about surrounding attractions and

What is New for 2016

links, sample itineraries, maps and much more and help with social media campaigns.

A new â&#x20AC;&#x153;Circle Tour of Lake Huronâ&#x20AC;? itinerary combines Sunrise Side

Thunder Bay Resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mackinac Island connection is daughter,

attractions with a stop to tour the Soo Locks on the Saint Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s River

Melanie Libby, at the Bicycle Street Inn. E-mail works the best for reach-

connecting Lake Superior with Lake Huron. Then it is on into Ontario

ing Libby at or phone (989) 657-6911.

for a tour of the Manitoulin Island attractions. Manitoulin is the largest fresh water island in the world. Phone for details. A new Student Travel itinerary combines the Shipwreck Boat Tour and the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s many educational

World Championship Old-time Piano Playing Contest and Festival Oxford, Mississippi

exhibits with Elk Viewing and Lodging at Thunder Bay Resort. This

America's longest-running old-time music contest and festival is

student travel itinerary is available from late April through early June.

moving south to Oxford, Mississippi in 2016 to continue its musical

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Beat the Heat Toursâ&#x20AC;? - Thunder Bay Resort owner, Jack Matthias,

tradition over Memorial Day weekend, May 26 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 30, 2016. Since it

reports that there is increasing interest by tour operators in the deep

began in 1975, more than 800 piano players from across the country

South. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Northern Michigan has long been known for its warm days

and around the world have competed for thousands of dollars in cash

and cool nights during the peak summer months. The endless string of summer days with temperatures approaching or over 100 degrees

!  % ! !   !#

with little relief at night, seem to be spreading across much of the country. These extreme heat waves are likely to be a manifestation of â&#x20AC;&#x153;climate change.â&#x20AC;? Fortunately we have escaped that by being further north in Michigan and surrounded by the Great Lakes, which help moderate temperature extremes,â&#x20AC;? according to Matthias. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are reaching out to our Southern neighbors to let them know â&#x20AC;&#x201C; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Relief is just a coach ride away.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Winter Adventureâ&#x20AC;? - the winter sleigh version of the Elk Viewing Dinner Rides is magical and especially appeals to those from outside Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 17

        prizes. With ďŹ ve days of activities, the event

and 10 adult competitors move on to compete

Clarksdale and 90 minutes from Elvis Pres-

continues to be America's premiere old-time

for the championship on Sunday afternoon.

ley's home in Memphis. Often cited as one

music event.

Crammed into the weekend are two

of the country's top retirement communities,

Pianists from 39 states and six foreign

music workshops, a silent movie luncheon,

Oxford's southern charm will captivate you.

countries have delighted both young and old

dinner with 2015 Champion Adam Swan-

with their renditions of ragtime, stride,

son, a double-decker bus tour of Oxford and

Go to for

honky- tonk, traditional jazz and popular

Faulkner's home, a sing-along variety show

schedule updates and detailed information.

tunes from the 1890s through the 1930s.

and guest artist concert Sunday evening.

You may purchase a weekend pass or pick

Competitors begin â&#x20AC;&#x153;tuning upâ&#x20AC;? for the con-

There is even entertainment on Monday

and choose events you wish to attend. A

test Thursday evening at one of the many

morning as they send folks home following

trailer for the award-winning documentary

ďŹ ne restaurants on the historic Oxford

a musical breakfast salute to our service

about this event is available online at

Square. Their Ring of Ragtime will expand


to several locations on the Square for Friday

Set amongst the rolling hills of north Mis-

Contact Ian Hominick at (662) 915-1282 or

and Saturday nights with past ragtime cham-

sissippi, Oxford boasts a wide range of South- with any questions. The

pions rotating among the venues each hour.

ern arts and culinary experiences. The home

ofďŹ cial hotel for this event is the Holiday Inn

On Friday, aspiring composers have a

of Nobel Prize-winning author William

Express. A driver and guide for each bus are

chance to compete in the New Rag Contest

Faulkner, writers such as Barry Hannah, John

included as complimentary guests. Discounted

while others put aside rivalries and team up for

Grisham and Ace Atkins have also called

group rates will apply for the competitions and

the Duet Contest. Things really get cooking on

Oxford home. You might ďŹ nd yourself dining

activities. Facilities are all ADA-compatible

Saturday when the Junior and Regular com-

in one of the Square's ďŹ ne restaurants next

and the staff exudes in southern charm.

petitions begin at 9 a.m. You may hear con-

to Morgan Freeman or Archie Manning.

Come on down for a fun musical experi-

testants as young as eight or as old as 80. The

Oxford is on the Mississippi Blues Trail, only

ence where you will make new friends and

Junior Champ is crowned Saturday afternoon

45 minutes from the Delta Blues Museum in

never want to leave.


,! +, ( * ,"& ,*","('% #11 3!('$0,('$

&(*"% 0 $'  0    (& ,( !"+,(*" /(* "++"++"))" *!' .*#$' $"%))$#(

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         "+", %,"&)"'((',+,(* (* (&)%, +!-% ' .', "'(*&,"(' (',, ' (&"'"$ *, "* 2      2 "!(&"'"(%&"++18 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015


• On-site business tripled at Travel Exchange ’15 compared to 2014. • NTA tour operators = $9.6 billion in annual sales. • Tour operators made 64 new contacts on average at TREX15.

Connect with the industry’s top buyers, visit the Faith Travel Association Pavilion or shop for product in Atlanta.


TREX EX at attte en nd de ee ess hav ve e booked a thrre ee e--y ye ea arr tto otta all of $39 93 3 million in business.



NTA has Georgia on its mind. Entertainer Snoop Dogg recently visited Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame & Chick-fil-A Fan Experience, site of the Icebreaker at Travel Exchange ’16.

“My appointments were productive and actually really fun. I’m buried with work now, which is a good thing, and I’m looking forward to riding this energy to Atlanta for Travel Exchange ’16!” —Michele Cota, New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development

ATLANTA JAN. 31–FEB. 4, 2016 To register and see who’s coming, visit #TREX16



Dyersville, Iowa

miniature to grandeur, the Basilica of St.

about and see the innovation and future of

Journey to the real place mistaken for

Francis Xavier will leave you in awe of the

gardening and farming. Of course, you can-

heaven â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Dyersville. Located on highways

beauty of the late 1880s Gothic architec-

not visit Dyersville without stopping at their

20 and 136, Dyersville is Iowa and the Mid-

ture church. Continue your trip through

number one attraction â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The magical Field

west at its finest. Founded in 1848 by Eng-

history and tour the home of James Dyer,

of Dreams. Ghosts still appear out of the corn

lishman James J. Dyer, Dyersville is a

the Dyer-Botsford Historical House and be

at the site where a baseball ďŹ eld was carved

rapidly growing city of 4,000 that combines

sure to reminisce at the Doll Museum,

out of a cornďŹ eld in the iconic movie Field of

history, tradition, innovation and breath-

home to more than 2,000 dolls and recently


taking scenery.

named one of the Top 5 Most Unusual

You will see why Dyersville is known as

Museums in the Midwest.

Come to Dyersville and see what it is like to be â&#x20AC;&#x153;Living the Dream.â&#x20AC;? Contact the

the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Farm Toy Capital of the Worldâ&#x20AC;? when

Next, you can start planning and dream-

Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce to set

you retrace and retread tractor history at

ing while visiting the FarmTek Hydroponics

up your itinerary and see what Midwest liv-

the National Farm Toy Museum. From

and Aquaponics Greenhouse Campus. Learn

ing is all about. Their Web site is

20 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 You can contact them by phone at (563) 875-2311 or

farm equipment available in the Sears catalog. Now fully restored to


its original grandeur, Castle Farms is open year-round to visitors. Numerous museum-quality collections are showcased through-

Castle Farms

out the Castle, including antique toys, castles and royalty memora-

Charlevoix, Michigan

bilia from around the world. Visitors love the 1918 Museum, with arti-

Where in Michigan can you visit and tour a castle? Built in 1918

facts from World War I. The castleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s outdoor model railroad is the

by Albert Loeb, president of Sears Roebuck Company, Castle Farms

largest in the state of Michigan, featuring more than 2,000 feet of

was originally designed as a working model dairy farm to showcase

track and nearly 70 G-scale trains. It is open from May through October, weather permitting.


Planning a bus tour with an itinerary that includes a visit to Mackinaw? Castle Farms is an easy add-on, conveniently located 50 miles south of Mackinaw and 50 miles north of Traverse City. Professional tour guides will delight your guests with stories of Castle lore while leading your group at a pace speciďŹ cally tailored to suit your needs. The castle is handicapped-accessible; elevators and wheelchairs are available for visitors with special needs or disabilities. Advance arrangements can be made for dining for groups of 20 or more in one of their elegant banquet halls. Honored by AARP in January 2013 as one of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;10 Must-See American Castles,â&#x20AC;? Castle Farms is also listed on the National as well as State of Michigan Historic Registries. History comes alive at Castle Farms. For more information visit or phone (231) 237-0884

Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 21


ney Museum and Learning Center or delighting in arts and culture at the Dahl Arts Center. Discover unique attractions, a spirited art scene, museums and galleries, Native American history and much more. Let Rapid City introduce you to a home base that will leave your group both inspired and satisďŹ ed. The premier location for your Black Hills tour, Rapid City offers a vibrant main street America experience with unique attractions and urban pleasures including a variety of accommodations, local restaurants and boutique shopping. Whether roaming the Black Hills or enjoying all that Rapid City has to offer, touring here is a monumental experience you are sure to love. Contact the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local experts to assist with your groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s big plans. The Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau will make

Rapid City, South Dakota

your tour a total success by offering tour planning assistance includ-

Do big things. Centrally located to bucket list-worthy experiences,

ing hotel quote assistance, itinerary suggestions including ďŹ rst-

like witnessing the remarkable human achievements of Mount Rush-

rate attractions and one-of-a-kind activities, local step-on guide

more National Memorial and the on-going mountain carving at Crazy

referrals, brochures and maps, welcome gifts and more. Tour Rapid

Horse Memorial, Rapid City, South Dakota is the ideal touring desti-

City and the beautiful Black Hills to make your groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next jour-

nation where every day has big potential.

ney unforgettable.

Where a U.S. President awaits on every corner and Lakota Sioux customs keep a treasured culture alive, every day brings a chance

Contact Lindsey Beasley, manager of tourism sales at (605) 7188482 or e-mail

to do big things in Rapid City. Reignite the spirit of discovery whether your group is exploring history and heritage at The Jour-

spec¡ta¡cle a. something that can be seen or viewed, especially something of a remarkable or impressive nature b. Naper Settlement â&#x20AC;˘ A spectacular 12-acre history museum near the Riverwalk in the heart of downtown Naperville with lots of shopping and restaurants. â&#x20AC;˘ Featuring a Victorian Mansion, blacksmith and print shops, one-room schoolhouse, chapel, special events and more.

'16 ,$


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

â&#x20AC;˘ Group rates available.

Webster St., Naperville, IL 523 S. Webster 630.420.6010 â&#x20AC;˘ 22 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

2)1,+ ,2/'0*

 1& 1/##1 2)1,+        444!'16,$$2)1,+20



Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;¢ 23

Student Tours A Yearning for Learning


nyone who works with students’

Turkey Hill, where history, innovation and

and free parking. Familiarization tours are

bus tours, knows this segment of

fun combine for an experience you will tell

available on request. Turkey Hill Experi-

the population is full of enthusi-

your friends about.

ence welcomes your student groups for

asm. They want to see and try new things,

Guests can create their own virtual ice

show a love of learning and possess an

cream flavor, design packaging and star in

Fore more information contact Kelly Dolly

unending supply of energy. History, food

a “Tea-V” commercial. The Taste Lab is a

at (844) 847-4884, Ext 108, e-mail group-

tours, hands-on activities and active adven-

hands-on educational experience allow- You can also learn

tures are just some of what students love to

ing you to develop and taste the flavor you

more about group tours at Turkey Hill Expe-

experience. Student tours are not only fun,

created. Turkey Hill Experience features

rience by logging on to turkeyhillexperi-

they nurture growing minds and create life-

free samples of ice cream and tea,

long memories.

“Fun in the Making.”

extended hours for groups and a convenient location near all Lancaster,

Wisconsin State Capitol Building

Turkey Hill Experience

York, Hershey and Gettysburg area attrac-

Columbia, Pennsylvania

tions. Their signature tour packages are

Welcome to Madison, Wisconsin. This

packed with creative ideas for a fresh look

capital city truly offers something for stu-

at the region.

dents of all ages and interests. One of the

Turkey Hill Experience is a premier attraction for group travel, which offers insight into a family-owned and operated ice cream suc-

Madison, Wisconsin

The Loyalty Rewards Program offers

city’s most popular attractions is the Capitol

cess story. Guests learn about the history of

tour operators every seventh tour for free

building. Do not miss the Capitol Square,

the area and family and understand the

and a complimentary Columbia tour if

where the Wisconsin State Capitol building

process of ice cream production through

arriving between September to March.

accents the Madison skyline at the epicen-

interactive exhibits. Step into the world of

They offer special group/operator rates

ter of Madison’s downtown.

24 • Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

WI Y\V79 Ă <        

The city of Madison offers a pdf down-

load of tour bus parking locations located

at 351 Farmington Avenue and open daily for tours 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 pm.

downtown. You can find it by doing a

To ensure guests receive the best possi-

Google search of â&#x20AC;&#x153;bus parking Madisonâ&#x20AC;?

ble experience, The Mark Twain House is

or check out the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Web site at cityof-

shown by guided tour, with each lasting

approximately 45-60 minutes. Groups must be divided into smaller groups of no more

Mark Twain House and Museum

than 14 for the house tour. Each tour is led

Hartford, Connecticut

by trained historic interpreters, and encom-

The Mark Twain House and

passes all three ďŹ&#x201A;oors of the

Museum has restored

house. The museum

the author's Hart-

is self-guided

ford, Connecticut


Twain wrote his


important works during the years he Completed in 1917, the state Capitol fea-


and will take

approximately 11â &#x201E;2

hours to

view the


tion exhibit,



tures the only granite dome in the United

National Geographic

States and the only capitol to be built on

recently named The Mark

an isthmus. During the daily hour-long

Twain House â&#x20AC;&#x153;one of the 10 best historic

tours, visitors can see the building's hand-

homes in the world.â&#x20AC;? The house is located

carved furniture, exquisite glass mosaics, decorative murals and 43 varieties of stone from around the world. The sixth floor museum and observation deck are open during the warm weather. The State Capitol building [4 E. Capitol Square, (608) 2660382] is open for tours daily. Weekday tours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekend and holidays tours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free tours are offered daily, year-round expect on holidays. The best way to experience the beauty and grandeur of Wisconsinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Capitol building is to see it for yourself. If time allows, take advantage of their very popular and informative tour. To learn more about this and many other student-friendly Madison/Dane County attractions check out Sample group tour itineraries, contacts for local step-on guides and drivers and a listing of bus group-friendly lodging properties visit You can also phone (800) 373-6376 or e-mail

video and special

exhibits. A visit to the Mark

Twain Store completes your visit.

Create your own virtual ice cream        


Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 25

        Groups of 10 or more qualify for a group rate discount. True to Victorian-era manners and style, your reservations must be made at least two weeks prior to date of visit by phoning the ticket line at (860) 280-3130 or contacting Grace Belanger in Admissions at Group tours are subject to a $50 non-refundable deposit to be paid in advance of the visit. The deposit is applied to the overall balance and the remaining balance can be paid upon arrival, in one payment for the entire group. Cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted. There is ample free parking for buses in the Farmington Avenue lot and in an additional smaller lot off Forest Street. The ďŹ rst ďŹ&#x201A;oor of The Mark Twain House is wheelchair accessible, but guests must be able to negotiate three ďŹ&#x201A;ights of stairs for the complete tour. The museum is fully handicapped accessible. To arrange tours for visitors with special needs, phone (860) 247-0998, Ext. 130. Visit for more information.

 %+ %, -+ $'(/ , %+,  1+ #' .' ,( '+-* ,", 1(-* '0, #++- (      *"+ 1(-* '/ *++ (+,*+ /#," "'! ( *++ (*&+ * .#%% , 1(-* %(% )(+, ( 2

VISIT PHOENIXâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S #1 ATTRACTION The Worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Only Global Musical Instrument Museum


The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is an entertaining, one-of-a-kind experience for visitors of all ages. With more than 6000 instruments and objects from every country in the world, state-of-the art audio/visual technology, a world-class theater, cafe, and Museum Store, MIM provides hours of enjoyment. For group tour information and rates, e-mail MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM | 480.478.6000 | Open Daily 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85050 (Corner of Tatum & Mayo Blvds., just south of Loop 101)

26 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

Winnipesaukee is a Beautiful Lake

UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY Undergraduate College of the U.S. Navy.

Guided walking tours include the Naval Academy Chapel, Crypt of John Paul Jones, Statue of Tecumseh and the history and traditions of the Naval Academy.

2nd St.

712 W Davenport, IA JDKFRUJÂ&#x2021;

Scenic Cruises & Fall Foliage Cruises From Weirs Beach and other ports.

Sunday Brunch & Foliage Dinner Cruises Enjoy a cruise with buffet aboard the historic M/S Mount Washington. From Weirs Beach daily, mid May through late October. Excellent Tour Operator Rates. Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm & Sundays: 12pm - 4pm

Complete schedule on line:

HISTORICAL, EDUCATIONAL, JEWISH CHAPEL, CORPORATE LEADERSHIP and MILITARY REUNION TOURS Naval Academy Gift Shop Restrooms, Exhibits, Film Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center (410) 293-8687 - (410) 293-3365 (fax) Visitor Center Hours: January-February: 9am-4pm March-December: 9am-5pm Photo ID required, ages 22 and over

603-366-5531 â&#x20AC;˘ 1-888-843-6686

A Once-In-A-Lifet Once-In-A-Lifetime O nce--In-A A-Lifeetime t me Exp tim Experience perieence â&#x20AC;˘ Limited Li Limiteed En Engagemen Engagement ngageemen nt â&#x20AC;˘ Opens Open ns M March h 6, 2016 2

A Journey Journey Through Thrrouggh Th h Faith Faiiitth and an nd d Art Art

Photo Š Cittå del Vaticano

A 10,000 10 10,0 0,00 000 000 square squa squ squ ree foot ex exhibition xhibitio xxhi xhibition bitioon including nccludin cludingg an an extraordinary extrao extra extr ordinary rddinar dinary collection ccoollecti llection of of historical histor hist ical i al and an nd religious relligiou igiouus objects, oobbjects, jects, some som soome of whic hi h date d bac bback k to the th ďŹ r rst century rst ent y, y, and ndd w orks off artt by orks by Mic M Mi heelangelo, helangelo, nge Bernini, nii Guercino G rcii andd others. other ot rs. Objects Object Ob ts include ncll which ďŹ rst century, works Michelangelo, b e fragments fragmen agg nts of Sai n Peter nt Peter et too personal persona rs al items em off Saint in John John oh hn Paul Paul a II. III. This This hi exhibit exxh hibit it comprises com mprises se one on ne off the t largest la largest a ges bone Saint Vaatican ati ticcan an n collections ccollectio collecct on colle ns eever ns veer to ver to tour North No Norrtth h America. Am meri eric rica. ca. a. Many Man Many items items have h ve ha ve never ne nevver ver before before been been een ee n on n public public blic view. blic vie vi view. From From m culture cuulture ultture ure to t Vatican histooryy to art, art a , explore xplo plo l how h w the ho t Papacy th Papacy pacy acy has haas impacted-and impacte impact mpa ed-and mp andd been beeen impacted impac imp ctedd by-the im bbyy-the y e world y-th world orl throughout or th hroughou ough ug ut the he centuries. he centu c uries. ries es history

Tickets T ickets e s include et inclu incl includee admission admi adm mis issi ssion ion on to t the he Reagan he Reeaggan gan Library. Library Libr Lib Lib aarryy. Touch Touc To ouucch an authentic authentic au hentic henti piece ec ooff the he Berlin Be B rlin in nW Wall, al all, a l, and nd cli climb imb mbb aboard aboa ab a ard Air Air F Force orce rce ce On O One n & Marine ne Mar M rine nee One! One O e! TThe he exhibition he exhibit exh bittion tiion tio on iss organized organiz orga org n edd and circulated circul circula cir late ated edd in conjunction con ccoonju juunction nction cttion on with wit w th the tthhe Congregazione Congrega Congreeg zione Congr onnee per l'Evangelizzazione l'Eva l'Ev l Eva vaangelizzazione anggelizza angelizzazion gelizzazzi nee dei dei Popoli Pop Popoli of o the he Vatican Vatican aticcan C at City ity ty State. State. e Exhibitions Museum. TThe hee exhibition eexhibitio hibitionn is produced rooduced duced byy Evergreen EEvvergree ergreen Ex Exhibitions hibbitions itions in association assssociatio ociation with w thh the Ronald Ronal Rona Ro Ronalld Reagan Reagan Presidential Pr P esidential siddential entia Library Librar Lib Libr braarry and Muse M useeum. eum. eu m.

For F orr more m re information inform i nfo f mation ma ttii on visit i sit i t www w .R R EA E AGANLIBRAR GA GA AN NL N L IB LI B RA R AR A RY . co om or o r call call l 805-577-2 805-577-2704 805 8 577 27044 THE TH H E REAGAN REA R GAN G AN LIBRARY L IBRAR IBR RAR RY â&#x2C6;&#x2122; 40 RY 0 Presidential Presid Pree sid den dential entiall Drive, Driv ve, Simi Siimi Valley, Valle y, California Caaliforrnia 93065 9 306 3065 65 Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 27


     f you have a group that enjoys dancing

modations in a marvel of modern archi-

There is something for everyone at Pearl

with Lady Luck, then be sure to include

tecture. Silver Star features more than 500

River Resort. For more information on Pearl

an overnight, or even several-day stay,

beautifully appointed rooms. Guests are

River Resort, visit or

at a casino resort in your itinerary. Your

offered only the very best in accommoda-

phone (866) 447-3275. For information about

guests can enjoy some excellent accommo-

tions with all the expected amenities from

what is available to motorcoach tours visit-

dations, dining and recreation. In addition,

a world-class hotel.

ing Pearl River Resort, contact Helen Moore


stylish, modern, exhilarating on-site casinos

Pearl River Resort provides guests with

make these properties a delight for those who

the ultimate gaming experience. Silver Star

love gaming action.

offers more than 1,200 slot machines, 40 table games devoted to craps, blackjack,

Pearl River Resort Choctaw, Mississippi

at e-mail

Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort Deadwood, South Dakota

roulette, mini baccarat and 10 poker tables.

Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort is

Golden Moon features a revitalized 70,000-

Deadwoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier bus group property

The Southâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier entertainment and

square-foot gaming ďŹ&#x201A;oor with nearly 1,150

and they love bus groups. They book both

gaming destination, Pearl River Resort has

slot machines, 25 table games, an elevated

gaming and touring buses and love to cus-

all guests need in one place. Located in east

14-table poker room, a stunning one-of-a-

tomize packages. They aim to please for

central Mississippi, the newly renovated

kind video wall and a conveniently located

all your travel and gaming needs. They are

resort features Golden Moon Hotel and

center bar.

a two-time winner of South Dakotaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gov-

Casino and Silver Star Hotel and Casino, two

Guests can also enjoy a wide variety of

ernor's Great Star Service Award which is

exciting hotel/casinos with a variety of gam-

dining experiences. The latest addition is

given to one business per year, and are also

ing options, dining options, retail offerings,

The Bakery, a new bakery-cafĂŠ that offers

a winner of TripAdvisor's CertiďŹ cate of

conference facilities, live entertainment and

delicious sandwiches, salads, desserts and

Excellence for the last ďŹ ve years. Nestled

a full-service spa. The all-new Pearl River

made-to-order, fresh gourmet breads. The

in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota

Resort also offers a new gaming ďŹ&#x201A;oor with

Buffet has a new look and offers a warm

the Gulch features a 24-hour casino, award-

the latest ďŹ rst-in-state slot machines, ele-

and inviting atmosphere. Guests can enjoy

winning hotel and the Creekside Restau-

vated poker room, beautifully remodeled

more food offerings to the buffet station

rant. The property is surrounded by a bub-

hotel rooms, a stunning video wall, refreshed

including authentic Choctaw dishes like

bling brook on three sides and has access

buffet, updated promenade and more.

delicious Indian tacos. Other dining options

to the Mickelson Trail for year-round out-

With nearly 600 guest rooms including

include the award-winning restaurant,

door activities right outside the front door.

112 suites and 32 VIP suites, Golden Moon

Phillip Mâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, 24-hour restaurant, Bistro 24,

They are your one-stop-shop when plan-

offers timeless and comfortable accom-

and more.

ning a trip.

28 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015





OVER $50 MILLION IN RENOVATIONS The all-new TTropicana ropicana featuring $50 million in renovations including renovated Nor North th TTower o ower casino and hotel rooms, the all-new AtlantiCare LifeCenter Fitness, new retail shops in The oardwalk daily y. Quar ter and the spectacular free Multimedia Light and Sound Show on the boardwalk Quarter daily. Plus, the possibilities are endless with 24 restaurants, 25 shops,18 bars, IMAX Theatre plus bluemercur y makeup, skincare & spa all under one roof. bluemercury

night trip, call our For immediate assistance and to book your day or over overnight Depar Tour o Department Depa tment at 1-888-275-1212. Tour Call now to customize packages for your groups.

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receive a free room with free meal vouchers (with 20 paid rooms). Looking to explore the beautiful area? They also customize touring packages for your group. Some must-see places while you are here could include Days of â&#x20AC;&#x2122;76 Museum, Downtown Deadwood, Trial of Jack McCall, Adams House Museum and Saloon #10. You can also take a short day trip to Mt. Rush-

Bus groups feel welcome the second the

more, Crazy Horse, 1880 Train, Tantanka â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

bus stops at the front door. Upon arrival,

Story of the Bison and so many more. They

all bus groups receive expedited check-in

also have itineraries available so you do not

and a welcome reception. Hot breakfast

have to do any of the planning. Itineraries

served in the Creekside Restaurant comes

include a wine tour, Native American tour,

standard with all overnight stays. The hotel

Deadwood history tour, Black Hills and Bad-

has free Wi-Fi and free on-site parking. The

lands tour and many more.

hospitality does not stop there. Gaming

Check out and

buses can choose to receive free slot play,

click on the busing tab for great affordable

a poker walk, slot tournament and meal

itineraries. While there, check out all the

vouchers. Then, upon departure, they load

resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great amenities. Award-winning

free bottles of water and cookies onto the

property, award-winning staff, beautiful

bus. Tour group leaders are also treated

creek-side setting â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you are invited invite to

like VIPs. Drivers get to stay for free with

come enjoy Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort

full meal vouchers and leaders can also

for yourself. Phone (800) 695-1876.


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666.-44.+,).3/0*1/7666/.-44.+,)..3/0*1/ $! ""%# 30 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

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815.220.7386 www

Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 31

High Quality Coaches for Small Groups    roup motorcoach tours are a dynamic and ever-changing

to actually prefer the small group trip because they offered a more

segment of the tourism industry. One aspect of this type of

intimate setting, were easier to manage, and offered more time to


tour is the fact that smaller groups are becoming more com-

monplace. This often necessitates a change in not only tour planning, but also the transportation vehicles utilized.

enjoy the tourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s activities with less â&#x20AC;&#x153;waiting aroundâ&#x20AC;? than they experienced with larger groups. In addition, some tours are just better suited for smaller groups

The biggest challenge that bus operators and tour planners

due to the activities and destinations involved. Foodie tours offered

have encountered with smaller groups is a full-size coach is just

by specialty tour companies often limit group size due to the shear

too much. A smaller bus is a better and more economical choice.

logistics of planning and accommodating groups for dining adven-

The problem tour operators have been faced with until recently,

tures. Some places such as historic homes, small museums, agri-

is that mostly full-sized, 40- and 45-foot motorcoaches were all

tourism, specialty tours, active adventure-themed tours such as ski-

that was available in North America. For smaller groups, tour com-

ing or outdoor recreation and experiential tours are often better suited

panies would have to settle on inexpensive, small shuttle buses.

for the smaller group because properties or activities either cannot

While such buses usually work well for short trips, they do not

comfortably accommodate a group of 50 or more or because the qual-

provide the comfort and amenities that full-sized coaches offer

ity of the experience is better with a smaller group. Many companies

on longer multi-day tours.

have realized there is a demand for smaller group tours and have

Fortunately, smaller 30- and 35-foot coaches with all the comfort

added these to their catalogs to great success.

and amenities of the large coaches are now available in the marketplace from Temsa. These coaches allow guests to ride in comfort on

The Need for Small Coaches

long trips yet have a smaller size, which makes them easier to nav-

One of the problems of planning a smaller group tour is find-

igate, easier to park and they also save money on fuel expenses.

ing the appropriate motorcoach for them. Full-size, 45-foot motor-

Temsa has been building these shorter coaches for decades for the

coaches are sometimes all a company has in its fleet. When using

European market where narrower roads and more expensive fuel

these coaches for small group tours or partially sold tours, they

prices made these vehicles an appealing option to the long coaches.

run into some issues including the empty seats on a bus which

These short Temsa coaches have ďŹ nally made their way to the Amer-

make for a waste and compromise the camaraderie and closeness

ican market offering big coach features for smaller groups.

of the group. Also, using large full-size buses for a small group is not always cost effective due to the extra fuel and resources they

Why Small Tours? While many tour companies believe ďŹ lling every seat in a full-sized coach for a tour is the best achievement they could ask for in terms of making the most proďŹ t, it is important to take a look at the value of smaller group tours.

consume. Logistically speaking, full-size coaches are often more difficult to park and navigate in some regions and sometimes even off-limits in certain places. With a growing demand for small group travel, the Temsa company responded by offering smaller sized coaches that are ideal for

There are certainly tried and true trips and itineraries that will

groups of 25-40. They are manufacturing coaches that are smaller in

sell a full size bus easily; however, not all tours sell out for variety

size yet offer all the amenities and comfort of a full-size motorcoach

of reasons. Statistics showed that after the tourism decline fol-

including restrooms, comfortable seats and luggage storage. Recently,

lowing the events of September 11, 2001, smaller groups were the

there has been an increase in interest in these coaches from North

norm for many years. As a result, many bus tour passengers grew

American tour companies and many of the new smaller motorcoach

32 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015



   coaches have seen an increase in sales and popularity among both

to meet the needs of groups of various sizes. It might also be noted

customers and tour suppliers.

that this development is moving the United States and Canada

Temsa is leading the market in the offering of small and midsized coaches appropriate for long distance tours with small groups.

closer to what is done in Europe by offering more different coach lengths.

Temsa developed a short coach product speciďŹ cally for the Amer-

Temsa coaches can be purchased from CH Bus Sales, phone (877)

ican market. In addition to offering a 35-foot length, this new model

723-7911 or viewed on the Web site at Interested

offered American components. Stainless steel and integral con-

planners can phone to get the name of the nearest bus operators that

struction give it the durability of big coaches. This new model also

have Temsa short coaches available for tours.

offered air ride suspension, a restroom and the same features and passenger amenities as the big coaches. Designated as model TS 35, it became available in 2008 and ďŹ lled the need for an integral


high-quality coach.

1 Ramada Drive

What made the Temsa coach particularly attractive to opera-

East Hanover, NJ 07936

tors is that their past experience with smaller coaches allowed them to offer a higher quality product at a reasonable price. In

â&#x20AC;˘ Discounted Inclusive Tour Group Rates!

addition, economy of operation made the coach a very attractive

â&#x20AC;˘ Full Service Hotel with Full Breakfast/WiFi

option for moving smaller groups. These two features figure heav-

â&#x20AC;˘ Visit

ily into buying decision and in increasing fleet size of shorter

â&#x20AC;˘ Contact: Mello Culpepper, DOS


â&#x20AC;˘ Phone: (973) 386-5622 ext. 1631

That there was a need for a short integral coach with big coach

â&#x20AC;˘ Email:

features was obvious. Several bus operators came back for a second or even third order for the TS 35. Some operators reported that these coaches in their ďŹ&#x201A;eet (if you pardon the pun) opened the door to charter and tours for smaller groups. The TS 35 was so successful that Temsa introduced a companion


    901 Dual Highway Hagerstown, MD 21740

TS 30 model in 2012. It had a length of 30 feet but was similar to the TS 35 in offering integral construction, stainless steel and big coach

â&#x20AC;˘ Discounted Inclusive Tour Group Rates!

features and amenities. The TS 35 typically seats 40 passengers with

â&#x20AC;˘ Full Service Hotel with Full Breakfast/WiFi â&#x20AC;˘ Indoor/Outdoor Pool! â&#x20AC;˘ Visit â&#x20AC;˘ Contact: Ashok Bhatt, Manager â&#x20AC;˘ Phone: (415) 269-2907 â&#x20AC;˘ Email:

a restroom. The shorter TS 30 originally seated 30 passengers, but the latest model has seating for 34 passengers. Hence, the shorter integral stainless steel coaches have now returned to the market in the United States and Canada. Operators today can select from bus lengths ranging from 30 to 45 feet

Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 33

Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pick

you might see the train crew turn one of their complex switches which takes about seven separate movements. The Cog Railway is open from May through November and makes a marvelous addition to a bus tour itinerary. It is located only about three hours north of Boston and not far from Bretton Woods. For information you can phone the Cog at (800) 922-8825.

Salem Witch Museum by Larry Plachno

" !"  $%


his column is new for 2015. Over the years we have run three different bus operations from the same office as the magazines. I have driven buses in all 48 continental states as well as parts of Canada and have planned tours and escorted tours. Over the years I have regaled our magazine staff with stories and information on various attractions, cities and stops suitable for bus tour groups. More than a year ago they turned the tables on me and suggested that I should pick some favorite bus tour stops and mention them. Once put on the spot, I had to make some decisions. To get this column started this year, I elected to pick attractions that were somewhat unique and different while still being suited to bus groups. I made it easy for myself because I have driven a bus to all but two of them and hence was personally familiar with what they have to offer. I should stress the fact that there are many more attractions and tour stops that could be mentioned but time and space did not permit this year. I suspect that the staff will expect me to do this again next year so feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.

Mt. Washington Cog Railway Marshfield Station, New Hampshire In operation since 1869, the Cog Railway takes you up to the 6,288-foot summit of Mt. Washington where you can see three states and north into Canada on a clear day. There is both an exhibit and a museum at the top, which can be welcome at times since the weather at the top can be cooler and windy. At the base station, groups can look through the Cog Railway Museum that offers a documentary called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Climbing to the Clouds.â&#x20AC;? In addition, there is a restaurant, a gift shop and outdoor seating where your group can watch the trains arrive and depart. This railroad is very unique. It is the first mountain climbing cog railway and the second steepest in the world. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;cogâ&#x20AC;? name comes from the fact that the locomotives use a rack and pinion system to climb the side of the mountain. If you are lucky, 34 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

Salem, Massachusetts I admit that Salem is one of my favorite places to visit since so much is within walking distance. However, many visitors do not understand the real story behind the witch hysteria of 1692. The Salem Witch Museum is an excellent place to start a tour of Salem because it provides a history lesson and puts everything into perspective. While your group is in the center of a large building that was once a church, they are told the dramatic story through a combination of narration, lighting and life-size figures depicting some of the key events that led to the deaths of many people accused of witchcraft. The  " #!# museum also has an excellent gift shop with books, souvenirs and locally made items. The Salem Witch Mueum is located on Salem Common just a block down from the historic Hawthorne Hotel and only a few blocks from Pickering Wharf. Down the street and around the corner are the Essex and Peabody museums as well as other attractions. If you go north on Derby Street, you will find the Custom House of Nathanial Hawthorne and the popular House of the Seven Gables. Salem is located only 16 miles north of Boston. The Salem Witch Museum is open daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day. For information phone (978) 744-1692.

Elk Adventures / Thunder Bay Resort Hillman, Michigan Thunder Bay is more of an experience than an attraction. Many if not most tour planners are looking for â&#x20AC;&#x153;something different.â&#x20AC;? Thunder Bay is that â&#x20AC;&#x153;something different.â&#x20AC;? It is located a little more than four hours north of Detroit in a rural and somewhat forested area that seems to please tour passengers. Past tours have high compliments for their experience and for the Thunder Bay Resort staff. There are several different group programs but what is becoming the most popular is a two-night stay at Thunder Bay Resort with the day spent at attractions in nearby Alpena. The Thunder Bay Resort group program typically includes a horsedrawn carriage ride â&#x20AC;&#x153;over the river and through the woodsâ&#x20AC;? to the Elk Preserve where tour groups can view the elk in their own habitat while guides provide information and commentary. This is followed by a stop at the Elk Antler Cabin for a gourmet dinner that could include extras such as entertainment or a wine tasting. Nearby Alpena offers several attractions. The ones popular with groups include the Besser Museum, Stony Acres Winery and the Fletcher Street Brewing Company. However, the recently expanded Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary has become the major attraction in the area. Exhibits cover shipwrecks and


World Wildlife Museum and Gift Shop

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, it is borrowed from our children

St. George, Utah

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Start with...

Salem’s Most Visited Museum

We’ll teach you a lesson! 20 innocent victims lost their lives during the Witch Hunt of 1692. History made them famous... we make them real! Translations Available In:

On Historic Salem Common • Open Year Round 19 /2 Washington Square North • Salem, Massachusetts 01970 1

Visit us on

• Take the

or the Salem Ferry.

978.744.1692 • Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 • 35

   the marine sanctuary. A highlight is the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center with 9,000 square feet of exhibits that include a full-size replica of a wooden Great Lakes schooner and shipwreck, a dive operations center, gift shop # $ ! " and a theater showing films daily. Hillman is less than two hours from Mackinaw City, the boats to Mackinac Island and the bridge to the Upper Peninsula. The staff at Thunder Bay resort works with numerous local attractions and does a great job of helping plan group tours. You can reach them at (800) 729-9375.

cial group packages are available and there are special shows during the holiday season. Additional features include a petting zoo with animals ranging from skunks to chicks and goats. A rubber-tired train provides rides around the complex with a guided tour that shows some of the other animals on the property. The show itself is visually stunning and very appropriate for groups. Your editor once owned a bus company located near here and I can tell you that there are several other attractions in the area. Lake Geneva was once the summer home of millionaires and you can ride on a Gage Marine boat to view the historic homes or join the mailboat as it delivers mail around the lake. Yerkes Observatory is located in nearby Williams Bay. A few miles east is the East Troy Electric Railroad operating trolley and interurban cars. For more information on Dancing Horses, phone (262) 728-8200.

Crazy Horse Memorial World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest & Festival Oxford, Mississippi Founded in 1975, the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest and Festival recently moved to Oxford, Mississippi. While this event is not for everyone, it has been highly regarded by people who are interested in this type of music. Discounted group rates apply for the contest competition, activities and meals. A driver and guide for each bus are included as complimentary guests. The event takes place over the Memorial Day weekend from Thursday night to Monday morning. In addition to the actual competi- " ! tion with several classes, there is a wide range of activities including opportunities for meals, music workshops, a silent movie luncheon, dinner with the 2015 Champion and a bus tour of Oxford. Some of the activities will take place in Oxford Square downtown. Oxford is the home of William Faulkner as well as Barry Hannah, John Grisham and Ace Atkins. It is only 45 minutes from the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale and 90 minutes from the Elvis Presley home in Memphis. For information phone (662) 925-1282.

Dancing Horses Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Located on a 40-acre horse farm just outside of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is Dancing Horses. The state-of-the-art heated indoor arena features an elaborate show of Arabians, Andalusians, Lippizzans, national show horses plus their talented trainers and performers. Options include either the show itself or the dinner theater per   !! formances. Spe36 â&#x20AC;˘ Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

Crazy Horse, South Dakota If your group liked Mt. Rushmore, they will be delighted with Crazy Horse Memorial. Located just a short drive down the road from Mt. Rushmore is an impressively huge sculpture that is still in process. Because of the size of this sculpture, they use dynamite and huge tools rather than chisels and other hand tools. Chief Henry Standing Bear invited sculptor Korczak Ziolkoswki to create a monument to â&#x20AC;&#x153;let the white man know the red man has great heroes, also.â&#x20AC;? It is the largest mountain carving in progress and, when complete, the carving will be 563 feet tall and 641 feet wide. The face of Crazy Horse alone is 87 and a half feet tall. You can stand under his nose. Crazy Horse is a 501C3 non-profit that accepts no government funding. Visitors can enjoy several museums detailing Native American history and culture, past and present, from tribes across the nation. Other features include the sculptorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home and studio, the Mountain Carving room and the Native American Cultural and Educational Center. Other features including a laser night show, a weekly lecture series and special events throughout the season. Those who have run tours to Mt. Rushmore know that there are several other attractions in the area. The Black Hills Central Railroad operates from nearby Hill City. Rapid City has several attractions including Reptile Gardens. Not far away are the Black Hills attractions. For group tour information on Crazy Horse phone (605) 673-4681.

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Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 37

THE CURIOUS TOUR PLANNER Number 10 of a Series “The Curious Tour Planner” is a question and answer column that provides simple answers to simple questions involving bus and group tours. It is patterned after a very successful similar column in our sister publication, NATIONAL BUS TRADER, that has run for about 20 years with more than 200 installments. We will accept reasonably simple technical or operating historical questions on bus and group tours and their operations by letter, fax, e-mail or telephone. Unless otherwise indicated, the simpler questions will be answered by our editor, Larry Plachno, who has owned buses and planned tours for more than 50 years. If our staff is unable to answer them, we will call upon our panel of experts. Names and addresses should be submitted with your questions, but we will withhold names from publication on request. We reserve the right to modify questions to make them more useful to our readers. Q. With the mandate for three-point seat belts a year away, do we know whether they are working? –– Tour Planners A. The indications we have seen are that the seat belts have not done much good because passengers are not wearing them. A recent government document said that putting seat belts on older coaches was useless because only 10 percent of the passengers were using them. Based on observations and accidents, this figure is probably close to accurate. What this means is that seat belts on buses are of little value because their use is not mandated like on automobiles and airplanes. Some industry experts have already commented that safety would have been better served if we provided real compartmentalized seats since they are passive and will work regardless of whether someone buckles up or not. Meanwhile, it is always a good idea to advise your passengers to “buckle up.” Q. What is this bus backlash we are hearing about? –– Several Readers A. For many years, both individuals and organizations have worked to improve the 38 • Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

image of the bus industry. Unfortunately, some people in the industry are doing things that undermine that work and harm the image of bus operations. Several of our staff members are in regular contact with bus operators and bus tour suppliers. Recently, we have noticed an increased number of places that no longer want bus business or involvement with buses. Typically, we find two reasons for this. One is the lack of courtesy in notifying these places of bus arrivals. The second seems to be similar to blackmail or extortion. There are major attractions, shopping malls, casinos and even larger buffet restaurants that can absorb a bus group without prior notice. However, the average small attraction, fast food or small restaurant and retail store is simply not equipped to handle 55 people walking through the door at the same time. The story we hear is that if the tour planner would only phone a day or two in advance and give the approximate time of arrival, the management could have extra people on duty and change other plans to better accommodate them. Simply showing up with a busload of people without warning helps neither the bus passengers nor the establishment being visited. We also hear the opposite story. That the tour planner did phone to provide notice of the arrival of a busload of passengers. The manager then took the necessary steps to increase staff and make the necessary arrangements. Then the bus and passengers never showed up and no notice was give in advance of the change in plans. In both cases, it is simple courtesy and only takes a minute to pick up the phone and let the place know in advance that your bus will or will not be stopping. The second problem we hear about are tour escorts and bus drivers who demand a “cut” of the sales. Many times they show up with a group but without prior notice. This means that the store or other place does not even have enough staff to handle the crowd properly. Then the tour escort or bus driver comes up to the manager, making sure that the tour passengers are

not within hearing, and demands a percentage of the sales. In some cases, this goes beyond when they demand a huge discount on their own purchase. They also threaten to tell others to stay away if they do not get what they want. My first question is whether the tour planning company or bus company is aware of this? Do you allow buses to stop unannounced with a group without giving prior notice? Worse yet, do you allow or condone your employees to extort money from stops with tour or charter groups? If so, then you may be responsible for tarnishing the image of the bus industry. Some of these places are now trying to put together a list of tour planning companies and bus operators that allow their staff to do this. It will be interesting to see who is on that list. Q. Can readers submit material for publication in Bus Tours Magazine? –– Readers in Tennessee and Ohio A. Yes, there are several alternatives. Geographic material covering one convention and visitor bureau, attraction, hotel or restaurant can be submitted through your account executive. Tour planners reading Bus Tours Magazine are looking for ideas for their next tours and your account executive can help you take advantage of the print and digital options that are available. Our account executives can also guide you through questions on when different types of planning are taking place. We are always looking for news or nongeographic and technical articles. These can be submitted to our editor or assistant editor and can cover a wide range of topics. In addition to general news of value to bus and group tour planners, we are also looking for articles that share information or expertise on tour planning procedures and operations. Finally, we are currently looking for someone who might be interested in writing an ongoing column on some non-geographic topic that could provide information to our bus tour planner readers. Answers not credited to other individuals are provided by Larry Plachno, editor.

20 Tips For Bus Tour Planners by: Dr. Charleen Jaeb

20 Tips for Student Trips

If you have never set up a trip for students,

in the Bay Village district (where my daugh-

bers, athletic teams and academic teams char-

ter Kristine teaches), bus company personnel

ter commercial buses or mini buses or use their

and Larry Plachno, editor of BUS TOURS MAG-

district school buses. Most school bus planners

you might be missing some lucrative, grow-


and combined them with Internet find-

first contact companies that specialize in stu-

ing and untapped markets. Student bus trips

ings and my experience escorting student bus

dent trips who then contact the bus company

offer many young people the only opportu-

trips for Lakefront Lines.

or visa-versa. The choice depends on the length and type of trip, number of students, cost and

nity they ever have to experience this type of

I also spoke with Megan Ross of the Stu-

travel. Traditional students are from public

dent and Youth Travel Association (SYTA).

and private elementary schools, high schools

SYTA, a non-profit, professional trade orga-

Here are 20 tips to assist you when plan-

and colleges. Since some colleges and schools

nization, published the 2015 Top 10 Student

ning student bus trips, and additional new

past experience.

are doing away with their buses and drivers

Trips to United States, North American and

information on several new topics such as

because maintaining them is too expensive,

international destinations: Those in the United

eighth grade trips, one of the most popular

bus and tour companies are capitalizing on

States were: 1) New York City, 2) Orlando, 3)

inclusive student end-of the-year multi-day

this development. Your challenge is to find

Washington D.C., 4) Chicago, 5) Southern Cal-

bus trips.

and approach them.

ifornia, 6) Boston, 7) Nashville, 8) San AntoBefore the Trip:

Some of the fastest growing student pop-

nio, 9) New Orleans, 10) Philadelphia. Emerg-

ulations are non-traditional. They are from

ing student travel destinations in U.S. were

1. Teachers or school bus planners need

home schools, adult education classes, learn-

Hawaii, Dallas, St. Louis, Myrtle Beach,

to decide who to invite, where they want to

ing in retirement classes, history clubs, sci-

Charleston and Cleveland. I have been to all

go, what they want to see and do, when they

ence clubs, cooking institutes and on-line

but Philadelphia (which is on my bucket list)

want to go, how much they can afford and

schools. Some organizations specialize in set-

and can attest to their value.

whose approval is needed. They need to con-

ting up summer camping trips out west by bus.

Most primary grade students travel on

tact a bus company or travel company spe-

Others arrange bus trips around the U.S. for

school buses during the school day to locations

cializing in student tours 12 months in

foreign students. My first column on student

within an hour’s drive of the school set up by

advance of the trip to make sure buses are

bus trips in 2010 focused on trips for tradi-

teachers. My daughter has taken her first and

available. Two years in advance is not too

tional students. The second in 2014 focused

second grade students to the art museum, his-

early for multi-day trips with large numbers

on non-traditional students. This reader-

tory museum, plays and the zoo. Middle school

of students. Many eighth grade trips take place

requested column will update the first two and

students usually take one-day bus trips within

the week after school is out. Previous experi-

focus on the emerging adolescent learners.

a three hour’s drive from the school. Trips to

ence, recommendations of bus company plan-

historical Greenwich Village in Dearborn,

ners, desires of colleagues and students,

who sets up end of the year junior high trips

Amish country, Canton, Cleveland, Columbus

Google, articles in BUS TOURS MAGAZINE and

in the Berea, Ohio school district (where I live)

and both major and minor league baseball

Teach and Travel, the official publication of the

and teacher Anne Budzik, who sets up the

games are favorites here. Multi-day trips usu-

Student and Youth Travel Association, could

annual eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C.

ally start in junior high. High school band mem-

be deciding factors.

I spoke with math teacher Tom Andrews,

Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 • 39

  2. Suggest creative fundraising ideas. Pub-

cations in case of emergency, insurance infor-

the zoo at their own pace and making sure they

licize them through schools, local newspapers

mation, health history, allergies and in case

get back to the bus on time. A ratio of one chap-

and social media. Students can earn money

of emergency grant permission to transport

erone for 10 students is the norm for junior high

through sales of candy, wrapping paper, dis-

student to hospital and have licensed physi-

trips. Bus attractions often give one compli-

count coupon books, or by holding car washes

cian treat them. It should be signed and dated

mentary admission for every 10 students. Place

or dog washes. School band trips are often

by the parent/guardian.

chaperones throughout the bus and have them

made possible by Band Booster Clubs where

6. Student trip permission slips must be

walk up and down the aisles occasionally.

band parents work in concession stands, hold

turned in, signed and dated by the par-

garage sales and dinners to help their children

ent/guardian before the trip starts. The staff

afford trips to places where the bands perform.

should attach a full itinerary to this slip for

9. Make sure the microphone and VCR

Some states have rules on school fundraising

every trip. A good printable example from

work when boarding the bus. One teacher

which may limit individual sales.

the Olympia, Washington School District can

told me she had ones that did not and it was

On the Bus

3. Make rules clear and concise. Spell out

be found online. It states that their child has

disastrous. Play their kind of music on the

consequences for breaking them. They

their permission to travel and participate in

bus and have age-appropriate video(s). A bus

should cover safety rules, use of cell phones

a field trip to a stated destination on a stated

driver told me playing their kind of music was

and electronic devices, photography, pay-

date as well as the time the trip will depart

always a bargaining point in getting them to

ment deadlines, food and student behavior

and the approximate time of return. It should

behave. Most school outings are seen as fun

on and off the bus. No smoking, drugs or

state they have reviewed the itinerary and

affairs, so it is fine to choose videos for pure

alcoholic beverages is pretty much a uni-

rules concerning this trip or activity and give

enjoyment as well as learning.

versal policy. Attach them to a printed itin-

permission for their child to participate and

10. Go over the rules in Tip 3 and add

erary for parents or guardians and everyone

expressly recognizes that their child is

safety rules similar to what the airlines do

on the bus. Learn your state and school’s

responsible for his/her behavior and that all

prior to take off. On the bus children should

policies on student bus trips. For multi-day

school rules of conduct apply while partici-

talk quietly, be courteous to the driver and

trips meet with parents early in the school

pating. Further, it should indemnify and hold

escorts and follow their instructions. Stu-

year and shortly before the trip leaves.

the school district harmless from any claim

dents should stay seated during the entire

not resulting from the fault of the district.

bus ride and keep the aisles clear. Give safety

4. Prior to scheduling destinations, find out if there are different restrictions for dif-

7. Keep in mind who you are planning the

rules to follow in an emergency such as how

ferent ages. For example, on a trip my daugh-

trip for – students. Students are active and

to exit through push-out windows. No fight-

ter took with her second grade students to

like to walk. Students sometimes have more

ing, pushing or bad language. Keep the area

NASA, all adults accompanying the group

energy than adult chaperones, and often

around the seats clean. If absolutely neces-

had to have photo IDs. If college age students

have shorter attention spans. Students enjoy

sary to use the restroom, hold on to the seat

want to stop at a casino, in most states only

different modes of travel such as boats, trains,

backs when walking to it. Do not put any-

people 21 and older are admitted.

trams, horse- and tractor-drawn wagons,

thing out the window. Return to the bus at

and trolleys. They like animal encounters,

the time announced. Kids that misbehave

5. Collect medical information forms and medications students require on the trip. Berea

visiting historical homes and monuments,

have to sit in the front of the bus – or worse –

schools require both be brought to the school

museums, meeting famous people, live the-

as explained in their pre-trip information.

two weeks before the trip starts by

ater, interactive learning and laughter. On

parent/guardian and given to the school nurse

day trips in elementary schools, plan for the

mary grade class of 20 students a teacher

in person. Berea gives parents a quart clear

bus to return to the school in time for chil-

could make name tags with four different

plastic bag to place medications required in

dren to catch their rides home.

colors with their first names on it matching

11. Put name tags on students. In a pri-

their original containers into along with a

8. Choose appropriate chaperones. Today

with their chaperone's color. In junior high

photo ID, signed doctor’s orders and the med-

most school districts around me have only

multi-day trips each student receives a name

ical information form. One staff member on

teachers or staff on the upper grade trips. A

tag with their name, photo and the name of

each bus is trained by the nurse on handling,

good ratio for primary grade students is one

their school on the front of it with the group

administering and recording medications on

chaperone for every four or five students. A sec-

leader’s cell phone on the back. Let the

the bus. Medical information forms should

ond grade chaperone going with the class to

teacher decide on bus seating arrangements.

include student’s name, address, date of birth,

the zoo might be responsible for four children

12. The Eight Grade/Junior High Trip:

parent/guardian’s phone/cell phone, notifi-

(and their lunch bags); escorting them through

Teachers and school employees are often the

40 • Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015

  only chaperones today. Students must fur-

on them and decide ahead of time where they

taken 3,000 participants throughout the past

nish the medical and permission forms

will be kept and how they will be distributed.

30 years from their Catholic girls high school

described in tips 5 and 6. In the Berea school

16. Tips on handling overnight accom-

in Manhattan to international destinations

district typical eighth grade trips are open to

modations for junior high students: Put girls

on six continents. They use EF tours and go

students in the sixth, seventh and eighth

and boys on different floors with a security

during the summer or on spring break.

grades. The destinations rotate over three

guard or chaperone on each floor. Choose

Many bus companies and organizations

years including one year in Washington D.C.,

rooms facing inside the hotel. Have chaper-

who set up student tours hire retired teach-

one in New York City and one in such cities

ones visit each room at curfew time. Make

ers to work for them escorting trips. If you

like Chicago, Boston, Williamsburg or

sure everyone is there (and no more.) Ask if

are honest, dependable and treat people the

Orlando. Thus giving the student an oppor-

they need anything. Tell them not to leave

way you want to be treated, you will be

tunity to travel to three different cities. In Bay

unless an emergency occurs and that you

respected by the students and teachers and

Village schools the annual eighth grade trip,

will place masking tape on the door.

requested again.

which usually consists of four or five buses,

17. To attract student bus tours, set up a

Your comments and questions on this col-

goes to Washington D.C. Budzik also includes

Web site (or add it to the one you have)

umn and suggestions for future columns are

a dinner cruise and a Medieval Feast. How-

designed to make planning student field trips

appreciated. My January column will spot-

ever, places to visit in Washington may vary

easy and fast for teachers. An example is

light ways bus companies and bus tour plan-

the following year based on survey forms at

placing a form online where teachers can

ners give back to their community. I will

the end of the trip. Teachers who have access

pick the date/time, destination and itinerary

include examples sent in by readers. I am

to people in high places may arrange for their

for their trips and submit it to you. Within one

considering a future one on 20 free places to

bus to visit them on the job. Group leaders

business day return a comprehensive price

visit in Ohio. My e-mail address is

in Bay Village set up a Twitter account to keep

quote to the sender. Thank you.

parents informed of where students are and how things are going.

18. Choose food stops the students enjoy. Restaurants with an atmosphere like the Hard

13. Favorite stops for Berea Junior High

Rock Café, The Rainforest and restaurants

Trips include free time in the heart of a city

with a game room are popular if time allows.

and a dinner-dance on a Spirit river or har-

Stops at fast food chains or a picnic lunch at

bor cruise with entertainment and sightsee-

a park are fast, fun, inexpensive stops.

With degrees from four universities, Dr. Charleen Jaeb has been a business professor at Cuyahoga Community College. After her retirement in 2000, she became a trip planner for the CCC retirees and Mid-

ing are two activities Andrews usually

19. Get feedback from trips to plan future

dleburg Heights Women’s Club, filling as

includes in his end-of-the year trip. Three or

trips. Circulate a survey to passengers on the

many as 15 buses each year. Jaeb and her

four hours in Rockefeller Center in New York

way home listing the stops made with a rat-

husband escorted trips for Lakefront Lines

or the Smithsonian Museum area in Wash-

ing system for each with space to make com-

in Cleveland, Ohio. She says, “It was won-

ington D.C. for shopping and exploring is wel-

ments. It gives you an idea on which stops

comed. They stay close to their chaperone.

to add and which to remove.

Andrews recommends students not bring

20. Go the extra mile for teachers if you

more than $50 to $100 and tells parents if

have been asked to plan or escort a student

they give it to them not to expect change.

bus trip. For example, contact the destina-

14. Kids are always hungry. Having snacks

tion’s convention and tourist bureau and ask

on board can help. However, some bus com-

if they would put together a welcome pack-

panies do not allow milk products or bever-

age to be given out at one of their stops. Set

ages that are easy to spill. Good suggestions

up a meeting with a city official. Ask if there

are wrapped candy, cookies, pretzel sticks and

are specific areas at the destination the

bottled water. Some teachers require all food

teacher would like the driver to drive through.

to be consumed off the bus at rest stops. If trav-

Take a group picture. Keep in touch with

eling during warm months, a good idea is to

teachers after the trip. Send them a thank

keep an ice and water-filled cooler on the bus. 15. Schedule meals at appropriate times.

you note. Let teachers know services, prices or trips that are added.

A lunch that is two hours late is a disaster. If

Kudos to my friends Sister Martha Kunesh

lunch bags are packed, be sure names are

and Sister Christine Cosgrove who have

derful and somewhat unbelievable in retirement to be able to do what you love to do and get paid for doing it.”


70 OFF %

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Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015 • 41

Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation

Advertiser’s Index American Bus Association . . . . . . . . . .9 Atlantic City CVA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Castle Farms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Crazy Horse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad . . . .5 Dancing Horses Theatre, The . . . . . . .37 Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort . . . .30 Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Eagle Cap Excursion Train . . . . . . . . .10 Effingham CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Elk Adventures-Thunder Bay Resort Visitor Bureau . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Elk City CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Fair Oaks Farms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 FairBridge Inn – East Hannover . . . . .33 Fulton Tourism Center . . . . . . . . . . . .22 German American Heritage Center . .27 Little Falls CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Mark Twain House & Museum, The . .26 Mid-Lakes Navigation Co. . . . . . . . . . . .6 Miromar Outlets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Mt. Ranier Scenic Railroad & Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Mt. Washington Cog Railway . . . . . . . .6 Mt. Washington Cruises . . . . . . . . . . .27

Musical Instrument Museum . . . . . . .26 Naper Settlement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 National Tour Association . . . . . . . . .19 Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad . . . . . .12 Old Time Music Preservation Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Potawatami Hotel & Casino . . . . . . . .43 Presque Isle Downs & Casino . . . . . . . .2 Rocky Gap Casino/Resort . . . . . . . . . .31 Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum . . . . . . .35 Salem Witch Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Shoreline Trolley Museum, The . . . . .12 Skunk Train . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Starved Rock Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Teatro Martini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Three Rivers Rambler . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Train-O-Rama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Tropicana Casino & Resort . . . . . . . . .29 Turkey Hill Experience . . . . . . . . . . . .25 U.S. Naval Academy . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Visit Kankakee County . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Visit Norfolk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Western Maryland Scenic Railroad . . .13 Wild Horse Saloon/ General Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Wilmington & Western Railroad . . . . .12

Celebrate With Us!

Title of Publication: Bus Tours Magazine. Publication No. 01996096. Date of Filing: 9/21/15. Issue Frequency: Bi-monthly. No. of Issues Published Annually: 6. Annual Subscription Price: $15 U.S., $20 Canada & International. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication and Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher: 9698 W. Judson Road, Polo, Illinois 61064. Contact Person: Larry Plachno. Telephone: (815) 946-2341. Full Name and Complete Mailing Address of Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor: Larry J. Plachno, 9698 W. Judson Road, Polo, Illinois 61064. Owner: National Bus Trader, Inc., Larry J. Plachno, 9698 W. Judson Road, Polo, Illinois 61064. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities: None. Tax Status: Has not change during the preceding 12 months. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Total No. Copies: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 8,508; Actual Number Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 8,500. Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 1) Paid /Requested OutsideCounty: Average: 4,280; Actual: 4,252. 2) Paid/Requested In-County: Average: 7; Actual: 7. 3) Paid distribution outside the mails: Average: 108; Actual 125. 4) Paid distribution by other classes of mail: Average: 118; Actual 164. Total paid distribution: Average: 4,513; Actual 4,548. Non-requested distribution: 1) Outside County: Average: 3,908; Actual: 3,924. 2) In-county: Average: 0; Actual 0. 3) Mailed at other classes through the USPS: Average: 0; Actual: 0. 4) Outside the mail: Average: 42; Actual: 0. Total free or nominal rate distribution: Average 3,950; Actual: 3,924. Total distribution: Average: 8,463; Actual: 8,472. Copies not distributed: Average: 45; Actual: 28. Total: Average: 8,508; Actual: 8,500. Percent Paid: Average: 53.33%; Actual: 53.68%. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies: Average: 2,371; Actual: 2,697. Total Requested and Paid Print Copies + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies: Average: 6,884; Actual: 7,245. Total Requested Copy Distribution + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies: Average: 10,834; Actual: 11,169. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation: Average: 63.54%; Actual: 64.87%.

Holiday Cruises!


BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY BEFORE THE SPACE IS ALL GONE! Choose from a variety of private event areas or exclusive use of the entire venue. You can take advantage of existing entertainment and menus or allow our expert event planner to create a custom 1B1:@ @; E;A> ?<1/5ŋ/-@5;:?  ;:@-/@ Dena Tidwell at 42 • Bus Tours Magazine / November, 2015




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For day trips, contact Lisa Pederson at 414-847-7982 or LPEDERSON@PAYSBIG.COM. For overnight stays, contact Sales & Catering at 414-847-8600 or SALES@PAYSBIG.COM.


Bus Tours Magazine November/December 2015  
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