Featuring North America!s Leading Travel Destinations
Along the Mississippi River in Iowa & Illinois Iowa!s Expanding Travel Options George Vanderbilt!s North Carolina Legacy The Chips Fall on Rt. 11
Taste & Explor The Yellow Barn
Thrilling visitors from around the world, Shenandoah Caverns is the only cavern in Virginia with elevator service! Explorers of every age and ability will discover an underground world of wonder. With level walkways and no stairs to climb, only the sights are breathtaking. The Family of Attractions includes amazing parade floats and presidential inaugural props at American Celebration on Parade. Delightful antique animated department store window displays on Main Street of Yesteryear. Experience the live indoor beehive and model trains in motion at the Yellow Barn. Four attractions at one low price! Open every day except Dec. 25th. www.shenandoahcaverns.com 2 â€˘ Byways
re Shenandoah doah Caverns The Grottos at Shenan e wineries Visit the fiv nandoah of the She e Trail. County Win
Interior view of the Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns and American Celebration on Parade.
Wine Tasting, Caverns, Attractions, and Civil War Battlefields in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 90 minutes from the Washington Beltway Shenandoah County Tourism 888-367-3965 â€˘ www.shenandoahtravel.org Byways â€˘ 3
PREVIEW By Steve Kirchner, Editor & Publisher
elcome to the latest issue of Byways, featuring the Mississippi River in Iowa and
Illinois. This year 15 organizations in the two states have banded together to promote this majestic river that captivated Mark Twain. We worked closely with the new Travel Mississippi Partnership, and especially want to thank Jessica Waytenick from the Quad Cities for all of her efforts developing this story. There’s alot to learn about the towns on both sides of this mighty river, which just happens to be the second most visited natural attraction in the United States. (The Grand Canyon is number one.) There are many reasons to spend more time in Iowa, and now visitors have new options this year for fun and interesting travels. These include the expansion of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque, Mason City’s new Architectural Interpretive Center and the new Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum. Western Iowa is where the beautiful Loess Hills are found. Located along the Missouri River, the rugged range rises abruptly from the flatlands on the west and melts into the rolling plains on the east, extending more than 200 miles, and creating an amazing area to visit. Back in the 1970s, I had the pleasure of working with a number of tourism executives from around the country at an organization known then as Discover America, in Washington, DC. One of those gentlemen was a man named Bill Cecil. Bill was from North Carolina, and represented a place called Biltmore House in Asheville. He had a passion for Biltmore House, and it was his goal to turn this attraction into a national treasure. It was then I learned that not only was Bill Cecil an original descendant of the Vanderbilts, he was the owner of Biltmore House. Fast forward 30 years, and what Bill Cecil and his family has accomplished at Biltmore is truly amazing. It is today the national treasure he envisioned. It is one of the most visited attractions in North America. And its winery, which was just a gleam in Bill’s eye when we first met, is now the most visited winery in the United States. Chips falling on Rt. 11? Yes, that is cor4 • Byways
The Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa rect. Join us for a visit to a real Potato Chip factory where they turn out some of the best chips in the country in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. In What’s Happening, meet Sarah Cohen of Rt. 11 Potato Chips, which has become one of America’s premier specialty chip producers. Rt. 11 Chips can be found at Cracker Barrel restaurants and Cost Plus stores. But it’s really the small Ma and Pa groceries that have made Rt. 11 chips into the success they are today. And you’re invited to visit and taste at the company’s brand new home in the Shenandoah Valley. Finally, did you know that there’s going to be snow at the Titanic in Pigeon Forge, and that America’s first Thanksgiving was really in Virginia? Hope you enjoy reading all about it in Byways.
Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina
Volume 27, Issue No. 4, 2010 The Mighty Mississippi River at the Quad Cities is shown on the cover. Davenport, Iowa is on the right, with Rock Island, Illinois, on the left. The Centennial Bridge is in the foreground. The Crescent Railroad bridge and the I-80 bridge is in the background. For more coverage, see page 8.
Features Along the Mississippi River in Iowa & Illinois . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Iowa!s Expanding Travel Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Beautiful Loess Hills of Western Iowa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 George Vanderbilt!s North Carolina Legacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Biltmore Winery!s 25th Anniversary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Byways Preview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Advertisers Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Free Byways Subscription . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
What!s Happening Where the Chips Fall on Rt. 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Holidays Bring Snow to Titanic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 America!s First Thanksgiving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Coming in future issues of Bywaysâ€Ś Upcoming coverage includes North American Rail Tours & Packages, Rt. 66 and the Old West, The Leading Group Tour Destinations in North America, Wine Tours for Groups, and Non-Traditional Cruise Port options.
Non-traditional cruise port options. The Rail Tours and Packages Carnival Pride at the Port of Baltimore. Byways â€˘ 5
motorcoach.com Ozarks’ Kirkwood Tour & Travel Sweet Magnolia Tours Trieloff Tours
The National Reservation Center Charter a motorcoach anywhere in North America 888-733-5287 • firstname.lastname@example.org 6 • Byways
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A Mississippi River overlook along the Great River Road near Lansing, Iowa.
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Along the Mississippi River in Iowa & Illinois Byways â€˘ 9
Mississippi River view of downtown Davenport, Iowa
s the third largest river in the world and the second most-visited U.S. natural resource (after the Grand Canyon), the Mississippi is truly a sight to behold. Experience the power and mystique of the river that captivated Mark Twain. See the mighty Mississippi River while traveling the rolling hills and majestic countryside of the Great River Road in Iowa and Illinois in order to see what each town has to offer. This year 15 organizations in Iowa and Illinois have come together to jointly promote the middle Mississippi River Valley region. The new Travel Mississippi River partnership is comprised of Convention & Visitors Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce along the Mississippi River in Iowa and Illinois from Dubuque, Iowa, south to Quincy, Illinois. This new marketing and promotional effort provides a strong, local voice for these bi-state communities along the Mississippi River and will generate strong partnerships among the communities through joint marketing, public relations, and advertising efforts designed to increase national attention and travel to this region of the Mississippi River and the Great River Road. The tree leaves are starting to turn bril10 • Byways
liant hues of red, orange and yellow, a great time to spend a scenic weekend enjoying the beautiful colors and fall activities along the Mississippi River in these unique riverfront communities. Since the communities are fairly close to each other, it’s easy to plan a trip length for what you’re looking for by going north to south, south to north, or jumping in at the middle! With the overhaul of Iowa’s oldest city from one of mining, industry and water transport to a gleaming new vision of modernity and innovation, Dubuque extends an open invitation to even the most discerning tourist.
The Riverwalk, Dubuque, Iowa
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America!s River Festival, Dubuque, Iowa
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Windmill Cultural Center, Fulton, Illinois
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John Deere Pavilion, Moline, Illinois
Spend a fun week with the family enjoying all the Dubuque area has to offer. From the bustling $400 million Port of Dubuque riverfront, to Iowa’s number one attraction, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, to the shortest steepest railroad tracks in the world, the Fenelon Place Elevator, as well as sophisticated dining, quaint bed and breakfasts, and national chain hotels, Dubuque is overflowing with things to do and see. www.dubuquechamber.com Along the banks of the Mississippi River, in a landscape of rugged limestone bluffs, lies the City of Savanna, Illinois. Savanna is known for the natural beauty of its surroundings and for the wide variety of outdoor activities that the area offers for boaters, canoeists and anglers. Hikers can enjoy challenging trails, groomed paths, or even a stroll along the banks of the Mississippi. Located on the Mississippi flyway, Savanna has second-to-none bird watching. www.savannail.com The City of Fulton, Illinois is a quaint community, rich in heritage and charm, located along the banks of the Mississippi River. The city has many things to offer, such as an authentic Dutch windmill, Windmill Cultural Center, historic downtown area, Heritage Canyon, Lock and Dam 13, two National Scenic Byways, Great River Bike Trail, and the Mississippi River. www.cityoffulton.us
Clinton, Iowa, offers you many things to do with a river view. Clinton has one of the most beautiful riverfronts on the entire Mississippi River. Within a 65-acre parklike setting, you can play in the aquatic center, attend a Class 1A baseball game, enjoy a game of tennis, listen to a live performance in the band shell, attend a professional theater production aboard a renovated paddle wheeler, camp in the R/V park, take a walk or run along the Discovery Recreational Trail, have a picnic and visit the historical museum. Clinton sits on the eastern most section of Iowa along the banks of the majestic Mississippi River. www.clintoniowatourism.com The Quad Cities area consists of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. With a combined population of 400,000, the Quad Cities is the largest metropolitan area on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Louis. Award-winning museums and cultural centers, internationally-recognized festivals, beautiful riverfront, scrumptious dining and vibrant nightlife bring you all the excitement of a big city with all the hospitality of a small town. The Quad Cities has lots to do, whether you’re looking for family activities, theatre, museums, picturesque riverfront trails, nightlife, and much more. With thousands of hotel rooms spanning every class of price and amenities, the QC area makes for a fantastic Byways • 15
The Celebration Belle on the Mississippi River starting point when planning your tour of the Upper Mississippi Valley region. www.visitquadcities.com Muscatine, Iowa, is situated on the banks of the Mississippi River in East Central Iowa. Visitors first notice Muscatine’s spectacular river views, but then find there is so much more to see and do. Enjoy time spent visiting local attractions like the Muscatine History and Industry Center, the Muscatine Art Center, the Environmental Learning Center and the Pine Creek Grist Mill. If you have the time, play a round of golf at Muscatine’s Municipal Golf Course or walk along the Running River Trail along the bank of the Mississippi. www.meetmuscatine.com From ice skating in beautiful Crapo Park to a spring evening at Community Field watching minor league baseball, to a summer day at the waterpark, there is something for everyone in Burlington, Iowa. Three 18hole golf courses, each utilizing a beautiful setting, are available for enjoyment and challenge. Civic Music on the river provides a full array of programs throughout the year from Broadway shows to string quartets. Take time to experience great shopping or taste the many flavors of 16 • Byways
Nauvoo Women in traditional dress
the unique restaurants the community has to offer. Test your luck at the casino or spend a relaxing day at the spa. www.growburlington.com History lives on at Fort Madison, Iowa. Established in 1808 to protect a trading post, it was the first fort built on the upper Mississippi. Fort Madison has one of the most beautiful riverfronts along the Mississippi, and is one of the few places where the river runs east and west. Fort Madison is also home to beautiful Victorian architecture, quaint downtown shops, award-winning restaurants and so much more. www.visitfortmadison.com
Fenelon Place Elevator, Dubuque, Iowa
Nauvoo, a National Historic Landmark, was one of the largest cosmopolitan cities in Illinois in the 1840s. Today, Nauvoo is home to more than 60 restored historic sites, 4 visitors centers, and museums which all come together to tell the story of Joseph Smith and his followers. Nauvoo offers world-class entertainment, live shows, wagon tours, beautiful gardens, Illinois’ oldest winery, birding trails, fishing, cycling, geocaching, great food, fine wine and unique top notch accommodations. www.beautifulnauvoo.com Enjoy visiting the Mississippi River town of Keokuk in Iowa’s southeastern corner. Discover how Keokuk’s and the
Mystique Slots, gaming on the Mississippi is a popular pastime. history of the United States intertwine. Witness the awesome water power flowing through Lock and Dam Number 19 at the Keokuk Power Plant. If your interests include American Indians, the Civil War, industrial development, literature, natural wonders, Samuel “Mark Twain” Clemens, or Victorian architecture, add Keokuk to your travel plans. Keokuk also has a designated Cultural and Entertainment District. www.keokukiowatourism.org The city of Quincy, Illinois is a national treasure with over 2,000 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Situated on an Illinois bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, with the state’s largest collection of significant architecture outside of Chicago, Quincy is known as the Gem City. Visitors may utilize the complimentary Upass to experience all nine of the city’s museums. www.seequincy.com. For more information about the new Travel Mississippi River partnership and to start planning a riverfront getaway, visit www.TravelMississippiRiver.org
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Iowa!s Expanding Travel Options
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque
owa is a land overflowing with genuine hospitality, historic sites, sophisticated cities, beautiful rolling countryside, and four seasons of travel at its very best. This year, Iowa expanded its tourism offerings with several great attractions. The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque completed a $40 million expansion dedicated to the story of the Mississippi River and its watershed and the other rivers of America. An interactive area for kids includes a 32-foot long flowing river and a bicycle-powered water cycle exhibit. Three-dimensional films with 4D special effects reveal the wonder of biological diversity. Mason Cityâ€™s new Architectural Interpretive Center helps visitors experience and understand the significance of architecture in Mason City, which boasts properties designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, William Drummond and Francis Barry Byrne. The Historic Park Inn Hotel, the last remaining hotel designed by Wright, is undergoing renovations and will be open in 2011. 18 â€˘ Byways
The new Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum in Clarinda celebrates native son Glenn Miller’s legacy. The facility features a theatre, research area and 3000-square-foot display area that tells the remarkable story of Glenn Miller, one of Iowa’s and America’s favorite musical patriots. Scheduled to open this Fall, the Lincoln Highway/Loess Hills Interpretive Center includes media presentations on both the Lincoln Highway and Loess Hills and a 30-seat indoor auditorium. Additional features will be an outdoor Lincoln Highway surface demonstration area with interpretation, a one-mile walking trail with interpretation through 14 acres of re-established Loess Hills prairie and an outdoor children’s transportation play space. Iowa boasts two national scenic byways. The Great River Road National Scenic Byway, one of the most famous and longest scenic and historic drives in the U.S., is a federally-designated route covering 3,000 miles of federal, state and county roads that generally follow the Mighty Mississippi from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Loess Hill National Scenic Byway allows travelers to explore the rare and spectacular natural landscaping of the Loess Hills region of western Iowa, a fragile place of unique prairie flora and wildlife, farms and villages, nestled together among the catstep hills. (See full story on page 20.) The state is also home to 24 National Historic Landmarks, including the Sergeant
The Sergeant Floyd Monument is the first registered national historic landmark in the U.S.
Floyd Monument, the first registered national historic landmark in the U.S. and a tribute to a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Most are open to the public and easily accessible via major state and interstate highways. The Iowa Tourism Office’s Web site is available at www.traveliowa.com. It offers links to more information on attractions, events, history and more to help travelers plan their visit. Byways • 19
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The Beautiful Loess Hills of Western Iowa
Loess Hills is a rugged landscape of windblown silt deposits along the Missouri River Valley.
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ome of the most dramatic scenery in Iowa is found in the west, home of the unique Loess Hills (pronounced “luss”). Here Bluestem and scarlet sumac ripen under the big skies atop this rich yellow-brown loess – ancient soil gathered by winds of a receding age of ice into a high wall that follows the vast Missouri River Valley. The rugged range rises abruptly from the flatlands on the west and melts into the rolling plains on the east, extending 200 miles. Located along the shores of the Missouri River you’ll discover historical natural wonders in this unique and beautiful area. The Loess Hills are truly a unique, world-class landform. The Indians often used the word “sacred” when describing the Loess Hills. To the Indians, sacred meant that an area was so special that no tribe or group of people could control it. There are only two formations of loess with these remarkable extreme depths of the drift layer in the world: in western Iowa and in China. Touring the Loess Hills is an educational blend of the past and present. See the “catsteps” formed over 18,000 years ago by windblown soil called loess. You will learn the geology and conservation practices used to preserve the hills. This unique landscape contains a rich collection of fossils and archeological artifacts. Extensive areas of the Loess Hills have remained in prairie and woodlands which contain a rich and rare mixture of native species. Follow the paths of Lewis and Clark as they made actual keelboat used by Lewis and Clark. Winding through the hills, you will discover the their way up the Missouri River in 1804. On the shore of Danish Ingemann Lutheran Church built in 1884. As Blue Lake rests the Discovery, a full size replica of the
Hiking in the Loess Hills 22 • Byways
Loess Hills east of Mondamin you step inside the church building you will find it still in its original state. Come see the brilliant red sumac during Fall Foliage, rustic burr oak and golden maples as you go on a breathtaking ride through the unique Loess Hills. It is a real treat to visit the Apple Orchards in the fall. Be prepared to sample a warm apple pie at the Pie Parlor. Browse the sales barn filled with the aroma of fresh produce of many colors. When you visit the Loess Hills, one of the first stops should be at the Loess Hills Visitors Center and Gift Shop in Moorhead. There you will find maps and brochures that tell about the many places of interest, such as the new Loess Hills Scenic Overlook and country churches. The visitor center is also full of information on places to eat and overnight accommodations if you want to spend a night or two in the hills. For more information, contact: The Loess Hills Hospitality Association PO Box 51, Moorhead, IA 51558 712 886-5441 email@example.com www.loesshillstours.com Byways â€˘ 23
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George Vanderbilt!s North Carolina Legacy
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The Banquet Hall at Biltmore House
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eorge Vanderbilt envisioned Biltmore in 1888, while on a short vacation to Asheville. His imagination was sparked by the area’s beauty. He felt inspired to create a relaxed country estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains that would welcome family and friends for weeks, even months. Through Biltmore, Mr. Vanderbilt’s vision and inspiration lives to this day. More than one million guests visit every year at the 8,000-acre estate, with more than 1,700 employees ready to make each guest visit special. Other offerings include Biltmore Wine; a line of Biltmore-inspired home furnishings, home building products, and outdoor living and garden items; and the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate.
its own brick factory, woodworking shop, and a threemile railway spur for transporting materials to the site. A New World Château The celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt modeled the house on three châteaux built in 16th-century France. It would feature 4 acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The basement alone would house a swimming pool, gymnasium and changing rooms, bowling alley, servants’ quarters, kitchens, and more.
Elaborate Grounds and Gardens The grounds of the then 125,000-acre estate were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of New Self-Sufficient Estate York’s Central Park and the father of American landA family-owned company, the mission is the preserva- scape architecture. tion of Biltmore as a privately-owned, profitable, workHe not only developed acres of gardens and parkland, ing estate. Biltmore does not receive any governmental but in his efforts to protect the environment and reclaim funding or grants, making it one of the United States’ over-farmed land, Olmsted established America’s first most significant National Historic Landmarks that is managed forest. preserved solely through private funding. Building Biltmore was, at the time, one of the largest The Home Opens undertakings in the history of American residential George Vanderbilt officially opened the home to architecture and the results were astounding. Over a six- friends and family on Christmas Eve in 1895. He had year period, an entire community of craftsmen worked created a country retreat where he could pursue his pasto build the country’s premier home. The estate boasted sion for art, literature, and horticulture. After marrying The Conservatory and Rose Garden
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Mrs. Vanderbilt!s Room 28 â€˘ Byways
the American Edith Stuyvesant Dresser (1873–1958) in Paris during the summer of 1898, George and his new bride came to live at the estate. Their only child, Cornelia (1900–1976), was born and grew up at Biltmore. Biltmore Today A team of curators, conservators and craftsmen work year-round to preserve the dream of George Vanderbilt and the visionaries who helped him create Biltmore. Guests can experience two of the recent projects -- the exquisite restoration of a suite of Biltmore House’s grandest guest bedrooms, and the preservation of a rare 1913 Stevens-Duryea automobile displayed in the new Antler Hill Village. Restored to its original splendor, this suite offers visitors the first opportunity to fully see the house as a family home and the Vanderbilts as parents. The Louis XV Room itself is perhaps the true heart of Biltmore. It served as birthplace of George and Edith Vanderbilt’s only daughter, Cornelia, in 1900. Years later, it was where Cornelia delivered her own two sons, George Henry Vanderbilt Cecil and William (Bill) Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil in 1925 and 1928, respectively.
“What began in 1895 as my grandfather’s estate continues to be an amazing experience for today’s visitors,” William (Bill) A. V. Cecil says. The past President and CEO of The Biltmore Company, Bill Cecil says, “At its core, Biltmore will always have the natural beauty of the mountains as well as the majestic house and gardens to inspire us and allow us to escape from the every day.” Biltmore is still family-owned, and is passionate about its mission of preservation through self-sufficiency -- a philosophy embraced before the first stone was ever put in place. Biltmore remains self-sustaining through innovation, creative thinking, and listening to its guests who continue to say they want more ways to connect with Biltmore. “Wine was our first foray into offering a taste of Biltmore. Now, you can experience life as a Vanderbilt guest at our Inn on Biltmore Estate. You can also inspire your own surroundings with a line of home furnishings, decorative accessories, home building products, and live plants,” Cecil says. Today, Bill Cecil recognizes Biltmore has come full circle. “We’re all about home -- welcoming and celebrating family and friends -- and extending the spirit of Biltmore beyond our 8,000 acres.”
The Louis XV Room itself is perhaps the true heart of Biltmore. Byways • 29
Biltmore Winery!s 25th Anniversary
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his year marks Biltmore Winery’s 25th year, and the historic estate is celebrating the anniversary with special activities and events, including the debut of an updated visitor experience and expanded tasting areas. William A. V. Cecil, the grandson of Biltmore’s founder George W. Vanderbilt, started the winemaking program as part of his vision for the estate to remain self-sustaining. It all began in 1971 when the first grapes were planted on the property as an experimental project located in an area below Biltmore House. The estate’s original dairy barn, designed by the firm of Richard Morris Hunt, the architect for Biltmore House, was converted into today’s modern facility in 1985 and is now America’s most visited winery. The vineyards moved to the property’s West Side, and through the years, Biltmore has cultivated partnerships with other growers across the country to enhance its portfolio and ensure consistent availability. In 1985, Biltmore Winery produced 10 different wines totaling approxiThe Winery Tour
The Biltmore Winery
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The bottling process
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The Vineyards at Biltmore mately 350,000 bottles. Today, Biltmore offers more than 50 different wines and produces 2 million bottles each year. The 25th anniversary celebration of the winery coincides with the grand opening of Antler Hill Village. This new pedestrian-friendly venue is open to guests as part of daily admission to Biltmore and expands current offerings to include a new exhibition space, village green with live entertainment, dining, shopping and a new outdoor adventure center. The existing Biltmore Winery and farm are also incorporated in the village area. Celebratory activities at the winery include demonstrations and tips from Biltmore experts, a meet and greet and bottle signing with winemakers as well as other festive and family-friendly experiences. A rare 1913 Stevens-Duryea Model “C-Six” seven-passenger touring car that once belonged to Mr. Vanderbilt and his wife Edith, will also go on permanent display in the winery. This particular Stevens-Duryea model is believed to be one of only 10 existing in the world today. Biltmore’s museum services team has spent several months conserving the car for its premiere at the village. Since Bill Cecil, Jr., great-grandson of estate owner George W. Vanderbilt, took over as President and CEO of The Biltmore Company in 1995, demand for Biltmore wines has risen dramatically. “Biltmore is still family-owned, and we are passionate about our mission of preservation through self-sufficiency, a philosophy embraced before the first stone was ever put in place,” said Cecil. “Our wines are a great opportunity to offer our guests a tangible connection with Biltmore and we are proud of our continued success and the strength of our brand in this competitive field.”
600,000 visitors stop by to sample award-winning wines each year. Guests have the opportunity to taste Biltmore’s own wines, most of which are produced and bottled on the property in a 90,000 square foot, state-ofthe-art facility. The operation, including 94 acres of vineyards, is a natural extension of the estate’s ongoing
Most visited winery The most visited winery in the United States isn’t located in Napa Valley. It’s Biltmore Winery in the mountains of North Carolina, where approximately Byways • 33
agricultural program including cattle, sheep and an extensive field-to-table production garden supplying the property’s six restaurants. With approximately one million guests visiting the estate from around the world each year, Biltmore Winery strives to accommodate those who are new to the world of wine as well as the connoisseur in search of a distinctive varietal. Visitors are given the opportunity to stroll through the historic cellars, learn more about the art and science of winemaking, experience special food and wine pairings and, of course, taste the finished product.
Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia, and can be shipped direct to consumers’ homes in 26 states. The future for the company includes plans to expand availability nationwide. In the beginning The genesis for a winery at Biltmore actually began more than 75 years prior to the estate’s first vineyard plantings in 1971, with the property’s creator, George
The Biltmore Vineyards Biltmore ranks in the top 1% of the U.S. wine business and produces 170,000 cases of wine annually using estate grown fruit as well as grapes from partners in other premium winegrowing regions. The wines are currently available at stores and restaurants in Alabama, 34 • Byways
W. Vanderbilt (1862-1914). An avid world traveler, George was also a thoughtful collector of books, museum-quality art, antiques and fine wines. During his forays abroad, Mr. Vanderbilt would often purchase cases of fine wine, bringing them back to his 250-room chateau
Winemakers Sharon Fenchak and Bernard Delille to share with guests in his own home. His wine purveyor, Alexander Morten, was also known for his excellent palate and was a worthy advisor and provisioner for the Vanderbilt lifestyle. Knowing that George Vanderbilt collected and enjoyed fine wines in his stately home, and served them to his family, friends and guests, was the underlying inspiration decades later for the planting of vineyards and the creation of Biltmore Winery. When William A.V. Cecil, George’s grandson, first claimed his heritage, he already had an estate winery in his sights. A winery, he felt, was a natural extension of Biltmore’s agricultural legacy and mission of self sustainability. It was also a fitting homage to his grandfather’s love of wine, and his legacy for gracious hospitality. French-American hybrids were planted initially, with vinifera plantings following a few years later and when vineyard experiments indicated a wine operation was feasible, Cecil did just as his grandfather would have done -- he sought the best possible help available. He traveled to France and hired a veteran winemaker as a consultant to help get his new enterprise going.
respected teacher of viticulture and oenology, having taught at the Lycee Agricole in Carcassonne. In 1979, two years after Jourdain began working with the estate, Biltmore sold its first bottle of wine. Pleased with the results, Cecil convinced Jourdain to become the estate’s first official winemaker. Under Jourdain’s guidance, Biltmore began the serious cultivation of vinifera grapes, the finer quality European varietals, and began phasing out the French-American hybrids it previously depended upon. Making the switch was not without its challenges, however, and it took the combined talents of Jourdain, Winemaker Bernard Delille and vineyard staff to cultivate the sensitive vinifera in the unique climate and soils of Western North Carolina.
Biltmore!s wine today Demand for Biltmore Wine continues to rise. “We’re excited about the growth of our winery and the attention it's been receiving,” said Bill Cecil, Jr. “North Carolina is gaining a reputation for producing quality wines and we hope to continue to lead the charge in educating wine enthusiasts and novices alike about what Biltmore!s first winemaker our state has to offer.” Selected for the job was Philippe Jourdain of For more information please call 877-BILTMORE or Provence, a winemaker of the European school who, as visit www.biltmorewine.com. a sixth generation winemaster, had been involved in the winemaking business all of his life. Not only had Jourdain operated a family vineyard, he was also a Byways • 35
g n i n e p p a H s ’ t a h W
The main chip line at Rt. 11 Potato Chips 36 • Byways
Where the Chips Fall on Rt. 11
arah Cohen was really a pretzel person at heart, so when she opened a potato chip business in a small building in rural Middlletown, Virginia in 1992, it was really just an experiment. “We started on the lowest rung in the snack food ladder, and we did it for 5 years before we realized we were making a really good product,” Sarah says. Little did she realize then that Route 11 Chips would become one of America’s premier specialty chip producers. Today Sarah and and business partner Mike Connelly operate Route 11 Potato Chips, one of the most wellknown brands in the MidAtlantic states and Washington, DC markets, and can be found in Cracker Barrel restaurants and Cost Plus stores. Route 11’s new state-ofthe-art plant in Mount Jackson, Virginia, invites food consumers and all chip lovers to visit, taste the product, and learn Sarah Cohen how potato chips are made. “We like to show people how chips are made. It’s rare to see how something is made today,” she says. Route 11 offers a Fry-Viewing experience. It’s not a tour of the building. Rather, through large glass windows visitors can experience the chip making process.
Please make sure you call ahead (800294-SPUD) to ensure it’s a chip-producing day. This is especially important for tour groups traveling through the Shenandoah Valley. The viewing is free, and there is free chip-tasting as well. (Note for motorcoach planners. The Rt. 11 facility is less than 1/4 mile from Shenandoah Caverns and American Celebration on Parade, a frequent motorcoach group tour stop when traveling through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.) What makes Route 11 Chips special? “Every chipper has their own recipe,” Sarah says. “Most chips are produced in volume by large producers.
Potatoes are off-loaded from tractor-trailers.
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The potato frying process They often use the least expensive methods of production.” She says because she loves food, the Route 11 goal is to make a real good product. “We use the highest quality oils, and that is what gives the chips their unique character.” Route 11’s success almost forced the company out of the business. “We had been in the Middletown location for 15 years, growing slowly each year. Demand was exceeding supply, and there was no place to expand,” Sarah says. The new Mount Jackson facility was a leap of faith. A family member guaranteed the loan, 38 • Byways
Chips are bagged and boxed for delivery.
and the new building was completed in 2008. Despite the beautiful new facility, Sarah says, “We are making the same exact chip we started the Southern Kitchen business with in our little cookHome Cooking Since 1955 er, just doing it Close to Bryce Resort, Shenandoah Caverns more efficient& New Market Battlefield New Market, Virginia I-81 Exit ly, safely and consistently.” Steaks • Seafood • Chicken • Breakfast Today Route 11 Chips consumes up to two tractor trailer loads a week 540-740-3514 of potatoes, about 100,000 pounds a week. These result in some 25,000 9576 S. Congress Street pounds of Rt. 11 Chips produced each week, consisting of 8 different flaOpen 7 Days a Week vors, including Lightly Salted, Barbecue, Dill Pickle, Salt & Vinegar, 7 am - 9 pm Come by and meet your hosts, Chesapeake Crab, Sour Cream & Chive, Mama Zuma's Revenge, Sweet Randy & Rebecca Newland Potato and Tabard Farm Yukon Gold. Despite the success of being in national restaurant chains and selected grocery stores, it is the small mom and pop stores that Cohen says is the backbone of Route 11 sales. “Because we are small, our chips can have character. Our chips are closer to what potato chips were before they were produced in large volume,” she says. If you can’t get to the plant, you still can find Rt. 11 Chips in your state. All those locations are listed on the Route 11 Potato Chips website. Click on Grab-A-Bag to locate the nearest reseller to you. www.rt11.com. You won’t be disappointed!
Chips are flavored at a flavoring station. Byways • 39
A look inside an elegant first-class suite on the Titanic
Holidays Bring Snow to Titanic
t will snow this holiday season in Pigeon Forge: Titanic Museum Attraction guarantees it. Starting mid-November, it will snow – yes, REAL snow – at the Titanic every Friday and Saturday evening at 7pm through January 1, 2011. The snow is part of the museum’s “Christmas in a Winter Wonderland,” which is dedicated to honoring and celebrating the lives of the 2,208 passengers and crew of the Titanic. Titanic Museum Attraction co-owner Mary Kellogg-Joslyn is pulling out all the stops this Christmas and has invested $150,000 in snow equipment (the same equipment used to make it snow at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom every Christmas) that will produce real, falling snow every weekend at the museum. An additional $100,000 will be spent on Christmas trees, carolers and musical events, holiday lights, and ornamentation that will decorate the interior and exterior of the Titanic Museum Attraction. Since opening in April, the Titanic Museum Attraction has quickly become one of the region’s premier destinations and was voted one of East Tennessee’s “Top Five Attractions” after being open less than three months. Once visitors see the ship adorned bow-to-stern in Edwardian period holiday decorations, they will understand why approximately 100,000 people per month are flocking from all parts of the country to experience this one-of-a-kind attraction. Everything at Titanic Museum Attraction is done on a large scale – from the amazing fireworks display and free concerts that kicked off the museum’s April Grand Opening (hosted by 40 • Byways
Holidays on the Grand Staircase
Regis Philbin) to the perfect re-creation of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase and the collection of more than 400 authentic Titanic artifacts on display in the museum’s 20 galleries. The Titanic Museum Attraction gives its guests – young and old – an experience they will never forget, and its Christmas in a Winter Wonderland Celebration will be no exception. “What is the Titanic Museum Attraction? It is a celebration of the ship and her passengers and crew,” said John Joslyn, co-owner of the Titanic Museum Attraction. “Every day the Titanic honors each and every one of them by telling their stories and bringing them to life for our guests. Our visitors truly experience what it was like onboard the Titanic and, during the holidays, they will experience what Christmas would have been like on the world’s most luxurious ocean liner.” “Everything about our Christmas in a Winter Wonderland Celebration is aimed at giving our visitors and their families a unique and memorable holiday experience. A memory that will last forever – and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?” Titanic Museum Attraction is a half-scale, permanent, three-deck re-creation of the Titanic. All of the priceless Titanic artifacts displayed in the museum were either carried from the ship and into lifeboats by passengers and crew, or were found afloat soon after the sinking and quickly salvaged by rescue boats. Inside the Titanic Museum Attraction, visitors find full-size re-creations (built from actual Titanic blueprints) of Third-Class quarters, a First-Class suite, dining rooms and – the museum’s centerpiece -- a $1 million exact reproduction of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase. The First-Class suite in the Titanic Museum Attraction, which is dedicated to Isidor and Ida Straus who co-owned Macy’s Department Stores, was also the cabin used in James Cameron’s blockbuster movie Titanic as Rose’s suite. In addition to being a world class museum in the truest sense of the word, Titanic Museum Attraction is also highly interactive and offers a hands-on experience for children, teenagers and adults. The ship is anchored in water to create the illusion of Titanic at sea, and a two-hour self-guided tour gives guests the sensation of sailing on the original ship’s 1912 maiden voyage. Upon entry, each guest receives a boarding pass bearing the name of an actual Titanic passenger or crew member whose fate is revealed on the Memorial Wall at tour end. Along the way, powerful emotions surface as guests: • Walk Titanic’s Grand Staircase • Touch the frozen surface of an “iceberg” • Feel the chill of that fateful “Starry Night” • Study some of the largest, most detailed Titanic models ever built • Grip the ship’s wheel and follow the Captain’s commands
• Tour world-class galleries and the rare historical artifacts they hold • Sit in a Titanic lifeboat and listen to actual survivors tell their stories • Send an SOS from the Marconi Wireless Room • Test their balance while standing on mini-decks built to show the ever-steeper slope of Titanic as she sank • Watch children eight years and younger explore the special interactive Tot-Titanic Play-and-Learn Room • Dive to Titanic’s wreck site via spectacular underwater camera footage The Titanic Museum Attraction, which is located close to all areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, is open every day from 9am until 9pm ET. Visitors are strongly urged to purchase tickets in advance. Tickets are available online at www.TitanicPigeonForge.com or make reservations by calling 1-800-381-7670. Cedar Bay Entertainment, which owns and operates Titanic Museum Attraction, is a privately owned entertainment and development company headquartered in Branson, Missouri, the site of Cedar Bay’s first Titanic Museum Attraction. Since its April 2006 grand opening, it has welcomed more than 2,700,000 guests.
Titanic!s First Class Cabin Byways • 41
Native Americans join the celebration.
America!s First Thanksgiving
s hot as the summer has been, most people are not yet thinking about Thanksgiving! It may surprise you to know that there are people who think about Thanksgiving all year long. But they don’t think about Pilgrims or even turkey and cranberry stuffing. Their thoughts are with 38 men who settled on the banks of the James River, on the site of what is now Berkeley Plantation in Virginia. Let’s start from the beginning. In September of 1619, Captain John Woodlief and his band of 37 men sailed from Bristol, England, to settle The New World in a place called “Berkeley Hundred”. The London Company stated that, when they landed, they read a proclamation. It states: “Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” Upon landing in November 1619, they did exactly that. They fell to their knees and thanked God for their safe passage. This first Thanksgiving was not in Plymouth, Massachusetts, but took place on what is now the site of Berkeley Plantation, in Charles City, Virginia. This giving of thanks, on December 4, 1619, was one year and 17 days before the Pilgrims landed in New England.
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Because Captain Woodlief and his men probably did not make their actual meal the focus of that day’s festivities, this celebration doesn’t center on the food either, although there will be food and drink provided when America’s First Thanksgiving is recreated November 7, 2010. The re-enactment and a formal program are the centerpiece of The Virginia Thanksgiving Festival. However, that’s not all there is to it. Each year, on the
Captain John Woodlief first Sunday in November, the gathering at Berkeley Plantation celebrates this historic, first Thanksgiving. There are re-enactors, who stroll the grounds, re-create the landing and read the proclamation. Thereby, keeping the request of the London Company alive. There is also music, activities for families and children, informative speeches and The Chickahominy Indian Tribal Dancers perform and explain their history. So, please join the celebration on November 7, 2010. Because, this is your history, too. And, now you know why some people think about Thanksgiving all year long! To learn more about America’s first Thankgiving, visit http://virginiathanksgivingfestival.wordpress.com/
Byways is published bi-monthly by Byways, Inc. and distributed electronically throughout North America. Byways is emailed to more 9000 tour operators, 21,000 travel agencies and 100,000 frequent travelers through the internet. Subscriptions are complimentary. Byways’ distribution also includes 4000+ motorcoach companies, tour operators, travel agents, bank travel managers, school band and athletic planners, and meeting planners. For advertising rates, editorial deadlines, or to place advertising insertions, contact: Byways Magazine, P.O. 1088, Mount Jackson, VA 22842. Telephone 540-4773202. Fax 540-477-3858. ©Copyright 2010 by Byways, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be duplicated in any form without express written permission of the publisher. Editor and Publisher Stephen M. Kirchner
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