Page 1

A M A RY L A N D S A M P L E R |

S AVO R I N G M I S S I S S I P P I

| A M E R I C A ’ S NAT I V E C U LT U R E S

GROUP THE

TRAVEL LEADER

Coasting THROUGH

SOUTH CAROLINA

APR

I

01 9 IL 2

S

S

U

E


Columbus group tours are designed to be as fun as they are intriguing.

Choose from a variety of guided tours, hands-on tours and the grand opening

this year of the new National Veteran’s Memorial and Museum. For your group’s next memorable getaway, visit experiencecolumbus.com.


GROUPS OFTEN HAVE THE SAME RESPONSE TO CLEVELAND. They come back.

#1

U.S. DESTINATION

Join in at This isCLEveland.com | #This isCLE Contact Cleveland’s Group Tour Team:

Jane Tougouma | Tel: 216.875.6607 | Email: jtougouma@destinationcle.org + Denise Krauss | Tel: 216.875.6648 | Email: dkrauss@destinationcle.org


GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LEADER T H E

E V O L U T I O N

O F

G R O U P

THE

C H A R T I N G

DEPARTMENTS

T R AV E L

table ofCONTENTS VOL 29 | ISSUE 4

MISSISSIPPI

COLUMNS

T R AV E L G U I D E

6 EDITOR’S MARKS

H I S T O R I C D E S T I N AT I O N S

NEWS

CULINARY EXPERIENCES

30 34

8 FA M I LY M AT T E R S 10 I N D U S T R Y N E W S 12 C O N F E R E N C E S C E N E

O N TH E C OV E R

FEATURES

A LOW

Stars illuminate the night sky over Folly Beach, South Carolina. Photo by Josh Owen.

COUNTRY Getaway

Savor the flavors and culture of coastal South Carolina

24

STUDENT TRAVEL

14

MARYLAND SPOTLIGHT

18

NATIVE AMERICAN TRAVEL

38

.

MAC T. LACY CHARLES A. PRESLEY BRIAN JEWELL HERBERT SPARROW DONIA SIMMONS

Founder and Publisher Partner Executive Editor Senior Writer Creative Director

K E L LY T Y N E R 4

CHRISTINE CLOUGH KELLY TYNER KYLE ANDERSON DANIEL JEAN-LEWIS ASHLEY RICKS

Copy Editor Director of Sales & Marketing Account Manager Account Manager Graphic Design & Circulation

888.253.0455

KELLY@GROUPTR AVELLEADER.COM

The GROUP TRAVEL LEADER is published ten times a year by THE GROUP TRAVEL LEADER, Inc., 301 East High St., Lexington, Kentucky 40507, and is distributed free of charge to qualified group leaders who plan travel for groups of all ages and sizes. THE GROUP TRAVEL LEADER serves as the official magazine of GROUP TRAVEL FAMILY, the organization for traveling groups. All other travel suppliers, including tour operators, destinations, attractions, transportation companies, hotels, restaurants and other travelrelated companies may subscribe to THE GROUP TRAVEL LEADER by sending a check for $59 for one year to: THE GROUP TRAVEL LEADER, Circulation Department, 301 East High St., Lexington, KY 40507. Phone (859) 253-0455 or (859) 253-0503. Copyright THE GROUP TRAVEL LEADER, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of editorial or graphic content in any manner without the written consent of the publisher is prohibited.


S

Shine Light on the Power of Courage.

Explore the movement that changed the nation — and the people behind it. Stand with Mississippians like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer and many others through interactive experiences that bring their stories to life.

222 North Street, Jackson mscivilrightsmuseum.com


marks

EDITOR’S T HE

T

he most difficult part of any project is the blank page. No matter what type of work you do in the tourism industry, chances are some of your responsibilities require you to create pieces of communication to share with others. This could include writing an itinerary, formulating a marketing plan, compiling an e-newsletter, composing blog posts or sending important information to trip participants. If these tasks are the most difficult part of your job, you’re not alone. Crafting communications can be difficult for anybody. And often, getting started is the hardest part. My role in this industry is all about communication. And over the years, I have found some techniques that help me get around the intimidation of staring down a blank page. Maybe some of these ideas will help you on your next big project.

1) MAKE AN OUTLINE. In grade school, my teachers insisted I begin writing projects by creating a full outline of the paper’s content. At the time, it felt like busywork; now it’s an indispensable tool. Making an outline allows you to organize the key points and concepts you want to cover without worrying about the words you’ll use to communicate them. This technique works well for people who are organized, linear thinkers. 2) DO A DATA DUMP. If you’re working on a project that has a lot of facts and figures — say, an itinerary with flight data and

6

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

BY B R I A N J E W E L L

V

hotel addresses or a budget proposal with lots of numbers — try putting that essential data on the blank page as your first step. Many people struggle to get going on projects because they don’t know exactly how to communicate these important details. But I have found that once I get the key data on the page, the story I want to tell naturally coalesces around it. 3) START IN THE MIDDLE. Few of us can effectively create a communication straight through from beginning to end. Most good ideas don’t start with an introduction and end with a conclusion. Instead, they are conceived as single thoughts that must be developed into maturity. If you have a core concept, start writing in the middle, where the idea is most developed. As your creative juices get flowing, you’ll figure out the intro, supporting points and conclusion. 4) RUN SPRINTS. On large or complex projects, the sheer size of the work in front of you can leave you paralyzed with fear. And your brain isn’t wired for you to sit still and work nonstop for hours until the project is done. To solve these problems, try “running sprints.” Set aside a short amount of time — say, 10 to 15 minutes — and work as fast as you can on one small part of the project. When time is up, stop working and take a break. Alternating intense work with plenty of breaks can help stimulate your creativity and counteract the intimidation factor of a big project. 5) GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO FAIL. Perfection is the enemy of productivity. We often struggle to start projects because we’re afraid the finished products won’t be very good. So embrace that fear and make it part of the creative process. Accept that your first draft of the project won’t be your best work. Then start hammering it out without worrying about the small details. You can (and should) come back and revise the project several times before you send it out. But removing the pressure of perfectionism will make it much easier to get started.

APRIL 2019


TOGETHER

REACH WE

ON T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R FAITH-BASED TRAVEL PLANNERS VOL. 21 - NO. 4

FALL 2018

IRELAND ALWAYS MAJESTIC SEASIDE IN

SARASOTA

H I S TO R I C WISCONSIN GOING ON FAITH

CONFERENCE COVERAGE

GOF Fall 2018.indd 1

PRINT

ADVERTISING

+

DIGITAL

9/7/18 1:43 PM

ADVERTISING

READERSHIP EVENTS + ONSITE DESTINATION FAMS CUSTOM PUBLISHING + CUSTOM CONTENT + EBOOKS

TOGETHER GTL-ADVERTISING.COM

D A N I E L @ G R O U P T R AV E L L E A D E R . C O M

888.253.0455

K E L LY @ G R O U P T R AV E L L E A D E R . C O M


FAMILY MATTERS

PL ANNING A GRE AT ‘GR ANDCATION’ SALEM, Ohio — Whether you call it gramping, a skip-gen getaway, a grandcation or grandtravel, grandparents are increasingly traveling with one or more grandchildren, without their parents. In December 2018, AARP reported that 15 percent of baby boomers were already planning a grandcation for 2019. Connecting with grandchildren and creating lasting memories is key to a vacation everyone enjoys. A few planning pointers to share with first-time grandcationers: • Get buy-in and information from the parents, such as what type of trip feels right for each child and trip timing that works best for the family. Scope out favorite activities and get agreement on rules of the road for bedtimes, spending money, screen time, meals and treats, and phone calls home. • Consider carrying a letter authorizing your travel with the child, particularly if the parents are divorced and there are any custody considerations. • Along with medications, bring a copy of the child’s insurance card; complete medical information, including allergies, immunizations and pediatrician contact information; and a medical consent form. • Test out a short trip with one child before planning a longer trip. Many grandparents take grandcations with one child at a time to build closer relationships and tailor each trip to shared interests. • Try to arrange adjoining rooms or a suite with a sofa bed to balance privacy/personal space with oversight. • Involve kids in the planning by sharing

8

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

INTERGENERATIONAL TRIPS ARE GROWING IN POPULARITY AMONG BABY BOOMER GRANDPARENTS.

travel books and information on the destination and researching activities and restaurants together online. • Build in downtime each day for rest and to take advantage of unplanned attractions or activities. A bus tour is a terrific way for families to explore scenic areas and travel to off-the-beatenpath destinations. Along with fun attractions and well-timed stops, make bus safety a key focus of your travel planning: • Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Look Before You Book website (www.fmcsa.dot.gov/lookbefo-

reyoubook), which contains important resources and tips to learn about bus safety. • Before chartering a bus for a larger group trip, take a few minutes to research the bus company’s safety records online. The Look Before You Book site lets you search for a specific bus company, with tips on interpreting their safety records, to help inform your booking decision. • Remind travelers to stay buckled whenever the bus is moving. Most newer buses have passenger safety belts, and all buses built after November 2016 are required by law to have them. • For more pointers on onboard safety, check out the Learn Before You Board Fact Sheet, available under the Travel Planners section of the Look Before You Book website.

APRIL 2019


CONFERENCES HELP GROUP LEADERS SUCCEED SALEM, Ohio — As a subscriber to this magazine, you have likely succeeded in getting people to trust you with their travel plans and to recognize your tours and trips as safe, valuable and fun. In other words, you are an organizer, planner or leader of group trips and have a following of travelers in your community. Congratulations! Many people attempt to lead group trips for their friends or family, but only a few succeed. You have developed a following of travelers, but your job has just begun. You now have the responsibility of selecting destinations and choosing tour operators, hotels and other tour suppliers that best fit your group’s needs. And you have to take care of your travelers 24/7 while on tour. “A travel leader is a special person who has earned the trust of their friends and enjoys the service they provide their community,” said Charlie Presley of The Group Travel Family. Most travel planners are volunteers. They’re the pied pipers of tourism who have developed travel groups as a hobby or a side hustle. That’s right: You are the original gig economy that is so popular today. How do you keep getting better at your travel gig? Start by reading this magazine every month for destination insights and advice on serving your travelers. Thousands of you also keep your skills sharp by attending conferences designed with you in mind. The Group Travel Family is an organization just for you, operating conferences that bring together travel planners and group leaders to network, discover new tours and keep up to speed on new technology. As a group travel planner, you simply have to choose the meeting best suited for your group and let the magic begin. The conferences feature registration fees as low as $95. All include lodging, meals, sightseeing, networking and entertainment. Stay on top of your travel gig by attending the Select Traveler Conference, the Going On Faith Conference, the African-American Travel Conference, Boomers in Groups or the Small Market Meetings Conference. To start your travel conference experience, call Kacie at 800-628-0993 or visit the conference website www.grouptravelfamily.com.

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

9


INDUSTRY NEWS SAZERAC HOUSE TO EXPLORE NEW ORLEANS’ COCKTAIL CULTURE NEW ORLEANS — Sazerac House, scheduled to open in October in a restored historic five-story building on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans, will explore the history of city’s cocktail culture and the famous Sazerac cocktail that was created in the city 171 years ago. The Sazerac, a cocktail of whiskey, bitters, sugar and absinthe, was created by New Orleans apothecary owner Antoine Peychaud and is considered the first “branded” cocktail. The first three floors will feature interactive exhibits that include creating virtual cocktails and bartenders providing information about other popular drinks found in the city throughout the years. Visitors will be greeted by a threestory, glass-encased display wall showing various Sazerac bottles. There will also be space for the production of Sazerac rye and Peychaud’s Bitters, rum aging, tasting rooms and a retail shop. There will be

GREG TAKEHARA TO TAKE REINS OF TOURISM CARES

THE NEW SAZERAC HOUSE WILL TELL THE STORY OF NEW ORLEANS’ SIGNATURE COCKTAIL.

Courtesy Sazerac House

special event space on the fourth floor and the offices of the New Orleans-based spirits company, Sazerac, on the fifth floor. The Italianate-style building, which dates from the 1860s, housed several businesses over the years, from hat and glove makers to an appliance store before sitting empty for more than three decades. Much of the original architectural details were retained in the restoration. W W W.S AZ ER AC .COM

GREG TAKEHARA Courtesy Tourism Cares

NORWOOD, Massachusetts — Tourism Cares chairman Greg Takehara will assume the role of CEO of the tourism industry’s philanthropic arm on May 1. Current CEO Paula Vlamings is becoming chief impact officer. Takehara moves to his new position from Trip Mate, Inc., where he had been president since Jan. 1, 2018. Before joining Trip Mate in November 2014, he had worked for 19 years in senior management at Aon Affinity/Berkely, where he was responsible for all claims-related operations and risk management education for its Travel Agents Professional Liability program. Prior to joining Aon/Berkely, he had served as general counsel for the Mark Travel Corporation. Carolyn Cauceglia of Amadeus will move from vice chair to chair. Tourism Cares focuses on giving back to travel through volunteer projects involving members of the tourism industry. The next project is scheduled May 8-10 in Puerto Rico. W W W.TOURISMCARES.ORG

10

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

APRIL 2019


Tour

SOUTHEAST INDIANA

NORTHERN AL ABAMA’S COOK MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE TO OPEN NEW FACILIT Y IN JUNE DECATUR, Alabama — The Cook Museum of Natural Science is set to open a new $17 million state-of-the-art facility in downtown Decatur June 7 after being closed for more than three years. The museum will have 11 interactive exhibit galleries over four floors dealing with wildlife, insects, rocks and minerals, space, forests, the arctic, deserts, rivers and more. The exhibits will include a life-like, walkin cave, a kinetic sand table, a digital seashell generation, a tree visitors can climb inside of, a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, a 600-gallon freshwater aquarium and a meteorite from outer space. Live animals will include baby alligators, turtles, snakes, a snowy owl and jellyfish in a special 440-gallon aquarium. The museum will also have classrooms, a traveling exhibition gallery, a special event space, a retail store and a restaurant. The museum originated 50 years ago when the owner of a local pest-control company, John Cook Sr., invited the public to see the bug collection used to train employees. An exhibit will show the history of the original Cook Museum including its Tennessee Valley diorama. The Cook family still is involved in the operation of the museum. W W W.COOK MUSEU M.ORG

THE NEW $17 MILLION COOK MUSEUM IN DECATUR WILL FEATURE 11 INTERACTIVE EXHIBITS AND A 440-GALLON AQUARIUM.

GIRLFRIEND

Getaways

Courtesy Cook Museum

NEW AUTHORIZATION TO BE REQUIRED FOR EUROPEAN TRAVEL BEGINNING IN 2021 Beginning in 2021, Americans traveling to 26 European countries that are visa-free will have to get a prior authorization called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). The European Union (EU) approved the authorization last year as part of a new security system. The ETIAS can be obtained online for a fee of seven euros, or about $8, and will be good for three years for unlimited visits. The EU said the vast majority of applications should be approved in a few minutes.

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

The EU stressed in a release that the authorization is not a visa, which would require more information, take longer and not be for as long. The countries, which are part of the Schengen Zone, do not include the United Kingdom. Countries affected are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Aurora and Lawrenceburg OHIO Indianapolis

INDIANA

1

Cincinnati

KENTUCKY Lexington

Louisville

South of I-74 & west of I-275, 20 minutes west of Cincinnati

www.TOURSoutheastIndiana.com 800-322-8198

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

11


CONFERENCE SCENE

AMERICA’S UPSCALE TRAVEL PROGRAMS GATHER IN FRENCH LICK B Y M AC L AC Y RECEPTION AT WEST BADEN SPRING HOTEL

B Y M AC L AC Y

FRENCH LICK, Indiana — The French Lick Resort and Visit French Lick/West Baden hosted the 2019 Select Traveler Conference February 10-12, drawing more than 300 upscale travel planners and travel industry delegates to the destination’s historic southern Indiana locale. In addition to planners for banks, chambers of commerce, universities and other high-end organizations, more than two dozen international tour and cruise companies participated in the three-day event. “Joe Vezzoso, Kristal Painter and all their associates made certain our delegates felt the hospitality that has so long characterized this Indiana resort area,” said conference CEO Joe Cappuzzello. “From our opening evening at the magnificent West Baden Spring Hotel through our closing luncheon at the resort, our hosts were gracious and generous to our delegation. Everyone was impressed.” More than 4,000 business appointments between travel planners and destinations were held during the conference’s three marketplace sessions, and sponsored meals and speakers highlighted time away from the marketplace floor. Other meal sponsors at the conference included U.S. Tours and Trips, which sponsored breakfasts, Collette and Globus Family of Brands, which hosted luncheons, and Visit Cheyenne, host to the 2020 Select Traveler Conference next March 22-24. Seminar sessions at the event included a super session delivered by Amber Selking, titled “Think Like a Champion” and a keynote address by Bob Pacanovsky titled “The Value of Loyalty”. Greg Nahmens of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, also brought delegates up to date on the latest safety measures for motor-

12

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

AMBER SELKING

CHEERS!

coach charter companies being overseen by his department. “We heard a lot of excitement about going out West next year,” said Cappuzzello. “Wyoming is such an authentic state, and Jim Walters hosted such a successful Western-themed dinner that I think everyone wants to be with us next March in Cheyenne.” For information on the 2020 Select Traveler Conference, visit www.selecttravelerconf.com.

HOSTS JOE VEZZOSO AND KRISTAL PAINTER

APRIL 2019


TRAVEL SOUTH ANNOUNCES HAND-OFF OF DOMESTIC SHOWCASE TO SOUTHEAST TOURISM SOCIETY BY B R I A N J E W E L L

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina — At a luncheon during its annual Domestic Showcase event, Travel South USA announced an agreement with the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) under which STS will take over Domestic Showcase beginning in 2021. “We see the industry evolving,” said Liz Bittner, Travel South’s president and CEO. “With so many young people, we needed a platform that allowed for year-round networking and an educational component. Education is STS’s strength.” The two organizations began discussions on potential cooperative initiatives last October. As a result of these discussions, they agreed on a proposal to transfer production rights and assets of Domestic Showcase. The agreement was unanimously approved by the Travel South USA board of directors and the Southeast Tourism Society board in February. The 2019 conference, which took place February 24-27 in Myrtle Beach, was the 37th edition of the event. Travel South will produce the 2020 conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as planned, before handing it off to STS in 2021. “Over the course of the next year, the STS staff will shadow us through the entire planning process,” Bittner said. “We want to make it as seamless as possible.” After the 2020 conference in Baton Rouge, STS will take over all responsibility for Domestic Showcase, including selecting a site for 2021 and potentially adding educational programming to the event schedule. “Domestic Showcase will continue in the first quarter,” Bittner said. “They may add supplier workshops or panel discussions.” “We are excited for the opportunity to enhance Domestic Showcase offerings in 2021 and provide additional education components for its participants,” said Monica Smith, president and CEO of STS. “Providing industry-specific, Southernbased, affordable networking and educational opportunities is vital to professional development in our industry, especially for the many new pro-

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

DARIUS RUCKER PERFORMS FOR TRAVEL SOUTH DOMESTIC SHOWCASE ATTENDEES AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES IN MYRTLE BEACH.

fessionals joining the sales and marketing teams in our CVBs and attractions. We believe adding this event to our roster will create new synergies to complement our other programs.” The two organizations, which have long collaborated and once shared office space in Atlanta, have ironed out details related to differences in their operating models. Unlike Travel South, which is owned by the 12 Southern state travel offices it represents, STS is a membership organization. Membership will not be required for attending Domestic Showcase, however; destination marketing organizations, attractions, hotels and tour companies from all Southern states will be able to attend, regardless of their membership. The two organizations also have slightly different geographical representations of the South. While both include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, Travel South also includes Missouri. STS does not include Missouri but does include Florida. Bittner said tourism entities from both Florida and Missouri will be welcome to attend STS’s Domestic Showcase. The 2019 Domestic Showcase in Myrtle Beach was among the most successful in Travel South’s history, Bittner said. It drew 715 attendees, including 180 tour operators and nearly 40 travel journalists. In addition to the 20,000 scheduled business appointments, the conference

STS PRESIDENT MONICA SMITH

A BUSINESS APPOINTMENT AT DOMESTIC SHOWCASE LEFT TO RIGHT: KAREN RIORDAN OF THE MYRTLE BEACH AREA CVB; TRAVEL SOUTH’S LIZ BITTNER, DUANE PARRISH OF SOUTH CAROLINA PARKS, RECREATION AND TOURISM All photos courtesy Travel South USA

included numerous sightseeing opportunities in Myrtle Beach and a memorable opening night concert by Darius Rucker — former front man of Hootie and the Blowfish and now an awardwinning country singer — at the House of Blues “Myrtle Beach and South Carolina have knocked it out of the park,” Bittner said. “The destination is evolving, and they rolled out the red carpet. You can’t get any better than Darius Rucker at the opening event. He’s a native South Carolinian.”

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

13


work

‘ AWAY F RO M H O M E ’ BY L I SA H O R N U N G

Courtesy Visit Orlando

APR

I

01 9 IL 2

S

S

U

E

S

tudents go on trips together to learn, be inspired and have fun. So a great trip will have it all: fun for the kids and education to make their parents and teachers happy.

Here are some great places to take student groups in 2019 for a trip they will remember forever. TOP: STUDENTS LOVE VISITING THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO. BOTTOM: THE LAST BOOKSTORE IS A POPULAR STOP FOR STUDENTS IN LOS ANGELES.

Courtesy Discover Los Angeles


H E R E A R E S O M E G R E AT S T U D E N T T R I P D E S T I N AT I O N S VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA There’s more than just sand in Virginia Beach. At the Adventure Park at Virginia Beach Aquarium, guests can swing through the trees after exploring the aquarium. The Ocean Breeze Waterpark brings splashing fun, and kids can try skydiving at iFly. Guests can take guided kayak tours that go out into the ocean to see dolphins. After all this fun, students will be happy for a relaxing day on the beach. W W W.V ISI T V I RGI N I A BE ACH.COM

ST. LOUIS Tourists can’t visit St. Louis without seeing the 630-foot-tall Gateway Arch, which is known as the gateway to the West. Students can go to the top of the tallest man-made monument in the United States. The national park experience was transformed by a recent renovation. Nearby, City Museum is a playground for all ages, with a rooftop made completely of repurposed items. Grant’s Farm, the 281acre ancestral home of the Busch family named after former President Ulysses S. Grant, now has more than 100 species of animals that guests can visit and learn about. They can take paddleboat ride at Forest Park, which is also home to the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum and the Muny Outdoor Theatre. E X PLOR EST LOU IS .COM

INDOOR SKYDIVING AT VIRGINIA BEACH’S IFLY

PHILADELPHIA All students should learn about American history with a visit to Philadelphia. There’s the U.S. Constitution Center, the new Museum of the American Revolution, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and more. But students will also enjoy the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, which is loaded with medical artifacts. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology houses artifacts from ancient Egypt and the Middle East and has special tours and interactive workshops for all ages. Kids will love going to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the site of the iconic stair-running scene in “Rocky.” Lunch at Reading Terminal Market offers a wide variety of options. Guests can choose to down a cheesesteak or buy a Pennsylvania Dutch pretzel or homemade cookie. W W W.DISCOV ER PHL .COM

ORLANDO, FLORIDA Though everyone knows Disney World is the main Orlando attraction, several of Orlando’s parks have seen explosive growth, offering new options for older students. The hard part is narrowing it down. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which includes attractions such as “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run” and “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.” Legoland now has the Lego Movie Land, which debuts this spring, with three new attractions based on the movie. Disney Springs just opened the NBA Experience, a state-of-the-art restaurant with interactive games. Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure offer the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and SeaWorld’s Aquatica has a new family thrill ride, the KareKare Curl. Another option is Dezerland Action Park, an 800,000-square-foot indoor entertainments, events and museum complex.

Courtesy Lafayette Travel

W W W.V ISI T OR L A N DO.COM

INDIANAPOLIS Indianapolis is teeming with fun opportunities for students. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum and features the new 7.5-acre Sports Legends Experience. Another cool attraction is Newfields, home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Also at Newfields is the Virginia Courtesy iFly

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

15


B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, where visitors can find “Funky Bones,” a sculpture highlighted in “The Fault in Our Stars.” White River State Park is home to seven family-friendly museums, including the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indianapolis Zoo and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians. Visitors can enjoy a ride on a gondola or a paddleboat on the Central Canal.

INDIANAPOLIS ZOO Courtesy Visit Indy

W W W.V ISI T I N DY.COM

CLEVELAND Formerly a rugged Rust Belt city, Cleveland is now a gem on Lake Erie and has many opportunities for students to enjoy. The Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame is full of great music artifacts and history and has special classes for different age groups. Packages with the Cleveland Orchestra provide a unique musical experience. The Great Lakes Science Center allows students to travel through space with John Glenn or go aboard the William G. Mather steamship. They can learn about life underwater at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium and cruise along the waterfront in the Nautica Queen. Just an hour down the road is the ever-popular Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, which has 71 rides, including 17 roller coasters.

LOS ANGELES As one of the country’s largest cities, Los Angeles has opportunities galore. Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain promise lots of fun. But at the OUE Skyspace LA, guests can see 360-degree views of Los Angeles 1,000 feet above the ground and take a trip down the 45-foot slide above the city. The Space Shuttle Endeavor is on display at the California Science Center. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum offers likenesses of Hollywood greats, and at the Aquarium of the Pacific guests can take a behind-the-scenes tour or even dive with the fish. The aquarium will open a new wing in May. W W W.DISCOV ER LOS A NGEL ES .COM

W W W.TH ISISCL EV EL A N D.COM

VISITING THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL

#

Official NASA Visitor Center

1

N

IO ATTRACT •

A

ALABAM

Courtesy Destination D.C.

See the world’s largest collection of space artifacts and explore the fascinating future of space travel! Celebrate the 2019 50th anniversary of the moon landing in Huntsville, Alabama - where it all started with Dr. Wernher von Braun and his rocket team!

16

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

A PORTLAND ROSE GARDEN

Huntsville, Alabama • (800) 637-7223 www.rocketcenter.com

By James Francis, courtesy Travel Portland APRIL 2019


THE NEWLY RENOVATED ST. LOUIS ARCH

PORTLAND, OREGON Portland, Oregon, is known for its weirdness, so teens will fit right in. For multicultural experiences, options include the Lan Su Chinese Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. A great educational spot is the Oregon Zoo, where visitors can travel the world in an afternoon through animals. The zoo is also known for its elephant breeding program. The Portland Art Museum has six stories of modern art and an outdoor sculpture court. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is chock full of learning opportunities: It includes the USS Blueback Submarine, the one featured in “The Hunt for Red October.” Visitors should definitely try a confection at Voodoo Doughnut, open 24 hours, and shop at Powell’s City of Books, a store with more than a million books. W W W.T R AV EL PORT L A N D.COM

SAN ANTONIO Guests will get heaping dose of the Southwest in San Antonio. The River Walk provides beautiful scenery, and visitors can take a sightseeing cruise down the canal. Students should not miss the Alamo, where they can learn about the epic battle fought there between Mexico and Texas. Natural Bridge Caverns gives stu-

dents a chance to see the world underground while beating the heat. It also has above-ground zip lines and an outdoor maze. The Tejas Rodeo Company has a rodeo every Saturday night, and visitors can learn about Texas history at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures. Underwater learning and thrill rides abound at Sea World San Antonio, and the all-new Andretti Karting and Games brings more adventure. W W W.V ISI T S A NA N T ON IO.COM

WASHINGTON Throughout 2019, America’s capital celebrates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees women’s right to vote. To celebrate women, students can visit the National Portrait Gallery, which has a special exhibit, and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. The National Museum of Women in the Arts is another great option. As always, the Smithsonian can keep visitors busy for days, but the new National Museum of African American History and Culture should not be missed. Kids will love the International Spy Museum, which has special educational workshops. And they can learn about the history of journalism at the Newseum before it closes this fall. WASH I NGT ON.ORG

By McElroy Fine Art Photography

Horses fly IN LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS

Wandering Tree Estate

Chicago Botanic Garden

Ravinia Music Festival

Plan for an unforgettable group getaway! Contact our group tour specialist, Jayne Nordstrom at Jayne@LakeCounty.org or call 800-525-3669. Find helpful planning resources at VisitLakeCounty.org. Photo of Tempel Lipizzans © John Borys Photography

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

17


MARYL AND

STATE SPOTLIGHT

3 CUMBERL AND

B A LT I M O R E

4

A N T I E TA M

1 5

ANNAPOLIS

2

S T. M I C H A E L S

APR

I

18

01 9 IL 2

S

S

U

E

APRIL 2019


BY B R I A N J E W E L L

F

or most kids, trying to

cook without an electric stove or even a microwave seems impossible. But the William Paca

House in Annapolis, Maryland, invites stu-

dents to contemplate daily cooking in such an environment with its interactive 18th-century kitchen program.

The imaginative experience takes students

beyond the exhibits to place themselves in the period. Maryland offers a wealth of similar experiential group activities fit for students of all ages.

With its proximity to Washington, D.C.,

All photos courtesy MD Office of Tourism

the beach and several amusement parks, the Old

1

year. These groups often incorporate learning-

NATIONAL AQUARIUM Students can almost feel the steely gaze of giant sharks during the night during the Shark Ocean Predator Overnight experience at Baltimore’s National Aquarium. Students bring sleeping bags and try to doze while sharks swim silently nearby. The after-hours experience starts with interactive activities about sharks, then includes dinner and a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium’s sharks and most popular residents. Those that dare can cross the Shark Catwalk suspended inches above these impressive predators. In Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the aquarium is the largest tourism attraction in Maryland with 1.5 million annual visitors. More than 2 million gallons of water hold over 17,000 specimens and 75 species. Youth groups visiting the aquarium can choose from various added experiences, including education programs at the Animal Care and Rescue Center for grades six through 12. At one program, students follow Amelia, the American eel, as she encounters marine debris. Another program lets participants test water quality and devise treatment plans. Even without a specialty program, the aquarium contains several blockbuster exhibits, such as the Animal Planet Australia, Blacktip Reef, Shark Alley and the 4D Immersion Theater.

Line State attracts throngs of student groups each based attractions with a strong sense of fun.

Students can picture themselves as a Civil

War scout in Antietam one day, then as a mod-

ern animal rescue worker the next. They can also seize a chance for adventure as a seafaring

fisherman at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum or a well-to-do 1920s traveler on a

historic train route at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Whatever the day’s creative endeavor, stu-

dents will hardly realize they are learning at these Maryland attractions.

W W W. AQ UA .O RG

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

19


2 CHESAPEAKE BAY MARITIME MUSEUM Students can follow a blue crab from the brackish Chesapeake Bay to their picnic table on the Chesapeake’s Best Crab Cakes Immersive Tour. One of several interactive experiences with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, the program allows students to work in a trotline, pick stuffed crabs at a packing house and cull their dredge catch. The experience not only provides interesting memories but also leaves participants with a new appreciation for sea creatures and those who depend on the bay for their livelihood. Groups can delve into the bay’s environmental surroundings with the 1.5-hour Ecology Cruise Immersion Program aboard the 1920 boat Winnie Estelle. Participants test water quality and examine many organisms living in an oyster reef home. For a shorter experience, the Scenic Cruise aboard the Winnie Estelle gives passengers 45 minutes to observe the bay’s natural surroundings. Other programs focus on human interactions with the Chesapeake Bay, including the Bay Bounty Guided Tour and the Tides of Technology Immersive Tour. The 1965 museum not only offers indoor, interactive exhibits on the Chesapeake Bay but also serves as a working boatyard with a working fleet of historic boats. The 18-acre museum campus holds 35 buildings, 100 boats and the Hooper Strait Lighthouse. W W W.C B M M.O RG

GROUPS C AN DELVE INTO THE BAY ’S EN V IRONMENTAL SUR ROUNDINGS W ITH THE 1.5-HOUR ECOLOGY CRUISE IMMERSION PROGR AM ABOAR D THE 1920 BOAT W INNIE ESTELLE. PARTICIPANTS TEST WATER QUALIT Y AND E X AMINE M AN Y ORGANISMS LIV ING IN AN OYSTER R EEF HOME.

20

APRIL 2019


Next Door to Washington, DC Montgomery County, Maryland puts exciting culinary experiences, rich history and outdoor adventures right at your fingertips. Your next group tour is a quick 6 Metro ride from the nation’s capital. There’s something 5 6 4 for everyone - with classic Maryland flavor.

3 WESTERN MARYLAND SCENIC RAILROAD The journey from downtown Cumberland to downtown Frostburg aboard the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad will keep students glued to the views rather than their phones. Groups can enjoy sweeping views of the Allegheny Mountains and railroad history 6 as they travel. 5 The route climbs 1,291 vertical feet, with a maximum gradient of 3 percent. Narrators deliver background information on the scenery, history and culture of the area during the ride. The trip re-creates an early-1900s train experience with a restored coach on a route that was dubbed America’s first gateway to the West.1 The heritage railroad operates these excursion trains out of a station built in 1913. School groups can book a caboose in2 which 1 4 they can travel together or choose first-class service for addi1 2 tional perks. Younger groups might also appreciate the North Pole Experience, which treats guests to Christmas music, a story, hot chocolate, cookies and a meeting with Santa Claus. The 32-mile round trip passes by a few notable sights, such as the Double Truss Bridge and Helmstetter’s Curve. The latter has become a favorite photo spot for train buffs because of its half-mile arc that sweeps across the Cash Valley. W W W.W M S R.C O M

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

5

6 5

2 1

2

1 1

4 13

2

2 4 DC

3 3 1

1

2

DC4

3

6

5

4

3

6

4 3

2

46

3

2

5

5

4

46

3

2 1

1

DC

3 Chevy Chase 1 DC 3 4 6 Bethesda 5 6 Silver Spring 3 6 Rockville 5 Gaithersburg 5 Germantown DC22

34

DC

6

5

6

5

5

4

3

2 1

1

2

4

3

Contact Lee Callicutt at lcallicutt@visitmontgomery.com for a customized itinerary.

VisitMontgomery.com

DC

5

6

21


ANTIETAM NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD Whether they choose to re-enact childhood games from the 1860s or wartime scouting techniques, students will use their imaginations and senses to re-create daily scenes from the Civil War at the Antietam National Battlefield. Younger groups can participate in farm chores, play 1800s games and re-create a one-room school environment for A Kid’s Life in the 1860s. Park staff designed Become a Civil War Scout for students in grades eight and up to complete activities that illustrate espionage and intelligence techniques. Afterward, participants can compare their findings to the battle reports given to General George B. McClellan. Other role-playing and interactive battlefield experiences include a dramatized field hospital, a Civil War artillery drill and an exploration of the Antietam National Cemetery. All these programs highlight realities of the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. Groups can tour the battlefield on their own, with an audio tour or with a professional guide. Tours of the pristine Civil War battlefield reveal how 12 hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862, resulted in 23,000 soldiers dead, wounded or missing. Tours usually stop at two of the deadliest places on the battlefield: Bloody Lane and Burnside Bridge. A 26-minute film and other exhibits reveal background information on the battle at the Antietam National Battlefield Visitors Center. The Pry House Field Hospital focuses on period medical care of the wounded.

4

W W W.N P S.G OV / A N TI

YOUNGER GROUPS C AN PARTICIPATE IN FAR M CHOR ES, PL AY 1800S GAMES AND R E-CR E ATE A ONE-ROOM SCHOOL EN V IRONMENT FOR A K ID’S LIFE IN THE 1860S.

MARYLAND/DELAWARE STATE LINE

528

Toronto Buffalo New York

Cleveland Pittsburgh Columbus

Philadelphia Baltimore

Washington, DC Richmond

Dover

OCEAN CITY

Northside Park

800.626.2326

127th Street

OCOCEAN.COM/GROUPTRAVEL

OCO-2018-24105 Group_Tour_Creative_Refresh_5x4.5.indd 1

9/6/18 3:43 PM

22

APRIL 2019 94th Street

ASSAWOMAN


WILLIAM PACA HOUSE AND GARDENS Behind the scenes, slaves and servants at the home of William Paca baked away all day in the kitchen. Students can learn their extensive duties, learn the house’s secrets and smell 18th-century aromas in the William Paca House and Gardens’ kitchen experience. In Annapolis, the Georgian mansion showcases life in the 18th century with guided tours, period furnishings and youth-friendly programs. William Paca, the state’s third governor and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, built the house in the 1760s. Historic Annapolis saved the home from demolition in 1965 before organizing a decade-long restoration using information from archival research, archaeology, paint analysis and X-ray photography. Students can take custom field trips with the home’s staff. Popular experiences include a guided tour of the home that emphasizes an insider’s look at 18th-century Maryland. Groups can also tour Paca’s garden to discover how the two-acre garden relates to the etiquette and customs of the time. W W W. A N N A P O LI S.O RG

5

GIVE BETTER Join forces with 160+ member companies and 13,000+ travel professionals to amplify your giving and marketing, and inspire your employees.

Find out more at TourismCares.org

Ad space generously donated.

a f a m i ly o f br a n d s

In just one day, more than 300 volunteers from 80 companies donated nearly $50,000 in volunteer labor hours to national and state parks in New York and New Jersey.

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

23


ATlongings ANTIC

Courtesy Visit Beaufort GROUPS TRAVELING ALONG SOUTH CAROLINA’S LOW COUNTRY COAST CAN ENJOY PLENTY OF BLUE CRAB AND OTHER SEAFOOD DELICACIES.

24

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

APRIL 2019


GROUPS DESERVE A LITTLE

SOUTH CA R O LI NA CO A ST TIM E BY J I L L G L E E S O N

F

SAINT GERMAIN IS ONE OF MANY NORFOLK RESTAURANTS OFFERING FRESH TAKES ON AMERICAN FOOD. Courtesy Visit Beaufort

or a few precious years of my childhood, I spent a week or so each summer in South Carolina. I can remember the long car rides from my family’s central Pennsylvania home as we followed I-95 south toward palmettos and perfect shorelines, rolling past campy roadside attractions and on to Hilton Head Island. My parents so cherished the memories we made on those family-friendly spots of land in the big, blue Atlantic that we never got around to exploring mainland South Carolina. It’s a glaring oversight I’m glad I was finally able to remedy recently with a trip through a bigger chunk of the state’s legendary low country. Although Hilton Head and Kiawah are generally acknowledged to be part of the low country, the exact geographical boundaries of it can be as hazy as a wet winter day in Charleston. Originally meant to include all of South Carolina below the midlands’ Sandhill region, formed where an ancient sea once kissed the continent, the term now applies to the counties Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper, according to the Lowcountry and Resort Islands Tourism Commission. However, Duane Parrish, director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, defines the area more widely as “the coastal and near inland area that stretches from Georgetown and Charleston to Hilton Head Island and Beaufort,” he said. “But the low country is more than that. It’s a state of mind.” It may be tricky to delineate exactly where the low country is, but it’s much simpler to describe what it is. This culturally distinctive swath of the state is distinguished by its flat, lyrical landscape, soaked in marshes, rivers and estuaries, draped with ever-present Spanish moss that hangs, tinsellike, from the region’s famed live oaks. This is the real-deal South, dotted with historic plantations and gracious architecture designed to beat the subtropical heat — like those massive pillared front porches that seem to go on forever — proudly

BEAUFORT’S HUNTING ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

25


dishing out just-caught seafood cooked in the celebrated “boil” style. Whether by motorcoach or family-filled automobile, South Carolina’s low country is an achingly beautiful, utterly fascinating place in which to wander.

AVIAN CONSERVATION CENTER

Courtesy Avian Conservation Center A TRADITIONAL MEAL AT LOWCOUNTRY PRODUCE IN BEAUFORT

DARRAH HALL AT THE PENN CENTER Courtesy Visit Beaufort

Courtesy Visit Beaufort

A MEAL AT THE SHRIMP SHACK IN BEAUFORT

BEAUFORT IMMORTALIZED I’d advise beginning like I did, in Beaufort, perhaps the low country’s quintessential city, although with a population of less than 14,000, to call Beaufort a city might be stretching it a bit. This was the hometown of legendary novelist Pat Conroy, who wrote with such a breathtaking sense of place in books like “The Prince of Tides” and “The Great Santini.” Both works were turned into critically acclaimed films; you can take a gander where they were shot with Pat Conroy’s Beaufort, a 90-minute tour offered by Beaufort Tours in partnership with the Pat Conroy Literary Center. Or, get a more general view of this genteel locale with a Spirit of Old Beaufort tour. I recommend the easy 90-minute ramble through the stunning Historic District, declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973. It’s a great way to stretch your legs after a long drive. Afterward, head seven miles southeast to St. Helena Island and the Penn Center, site of the former Penn School and a National Historic Landmark District. If you’re lucky, you might get to meet Robert Middleton, an elderly, soft-spoken man who volunteers at the center. He was a student at the school, which he explained to me was one of the first in the country for formerly enslaved people. “The school was founded in 1862 by two missionaries from the North, who heeded the call to come down south and help meet the needs of freed West Africans,” he said. “It stopped being a private school in 1948 because blacks could now attend public school.” The 50-acre grounds of the Penn Center would eventually serve as a retreat for Martin Luther King Jr., also hosting the likes of Jesse Jackson and Joan Baez, who famously played her guitar to quell arguments among the impassioned social justice activists. Its very landscape is hallowed, but no more stunning than the cobblestone streets, flickering gas-lit lamps and pastel-colored buildings of Charleston. A CHARLESTON SAMPLER One of the country’s most popular destinations, Charleston is less than a two-hour drive from the Penn Center. When planning your visit, keep in mind that the city requires buses to be permitted and to park at the Charleston Visitors Bureau Bus Shed. Should you want a guide through charming Charleston, reach out to Mary Lindsey of Bulldog Tours. She led me on a fantastic two-hour tour filled with com-

Courtesy Visit Beaufort

26

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

APRIL 2019


A SWEET TEA FLOAT AT SCOUT IN BEAUFORT

pelling info both historical (“four signers of the Declaration of Independence and four signers of the Constitution were from Charleston”), and contemporary (“we have a 240-day growing season, so most of the produce served in the 345 restaurants on the peninsula is grown locally and brought in to be served that day”). Speaking of restaurants, Charleston’s are among the most lauded in the South. Home Team BBQ , which includes a downtown location with indoor and outdoor seating, serves some of the best low- and slow-cooked pork I’ve had in my life. Be sure to sample the six different homemade bottled sauces sitting on the table — if you like spicy, pile on the Hot Red. For a fine-dining experience that welcomes groups, head to the Establishment on Broad Street. The seafood, a can’t-miss dish in this city on the ocean, is prepared with exquisite simplicity to highlight its freshness. A SOARING AT TRACTION It wasn’t easy to bid goodbye to Charleston, but just 45 minutes away awaited what just might be my favorite low country experience: the Center for Birds of Prey. Though most of the 150-acres of this medical, conservation, research and educational center dedicated to our fine feathered friends is off-limits to the public, groups are welcome to take a guided tour that includes a walk through the twoacre Owl Wood, where some 14 different species are on display. Even more impressive was the flight demonstration. Watching hawks, owls, falcons and more soar overhead and alight on my guide’s arm, or catch food she tossed in the air was absolutely thrilling. So was my chance encounter with Jim Elliot, the center’s delightful founder and executive director, who started the nonprofit 28 years ago in his kitchen. Since then, he said, the center has treated some 10,000 injured, orphaned and sick raptors, growing into one of the leading avian centers in the country. Tears came to my eyes when the endearing Elliot, known to give mouth-to-mouth to injured eagles when necessary, gently told me, “Birds are as pure and honest and noble as can be. They have no agenda.” Courtesy Visit Beaufort GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

Artwork by David Brown

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

27


THE SKYWHEEL OVERLOOKING MYRTLE BEACH’S BOARDWALK

EXPLORING GEORGETOWN

Courtesy Myrtle Beach Area CVB

Award Winning

170 ITEM SEAFOOD BUFFET

Steaks Cooked to Order 9597 N. Kings Hwy. Restaurant Row • Myrtle Beach

Pasta Station Hibachi Grill & Full Bar

Only 3 miles from Alabama Theater & 7 miles from Broadway At The Beach

843.839.2292

www.GiantCrab.com

Courtesy Virginia Beach CVB

28

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

Courtesy City of Georgetown

HISTORIC GEORGETOW N From the Center for Birds of Prey, I headed 45 minutes up the road to Georgetown. Even smaller than Beaufort, with fewer than 9,000 residents, the city boasts a National Historic District and a bustling main drag filled with independent shops. There are some good museums to visit downtown, including the Kaminski House, set within a Georgian manor built in 1769 and featuring antiques dating from the 18th century. At the other end of Front Street is the South Carolina Maritime Museum, housing the old North Island lighthouse Fresnel lens and other artifacts. If the weather is good, be sure to take a stroll down the town’s lovely Harborwalk, which winds along the Sampit River. However you while away the hours, consider a meal at Big Tuna, a Georgetown staple. I had the oyster cocktail: six mollusks heaped on top of one another in a cup, so fresh they tasted like they’d been just scooped from the sea. MULTISENSORY M Y RTLE BEACH If you love seafood like I do, you should probably do exactly what I did: continue north from Georgetown, up to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s playground by the ocean. It offers pretty much every diversion you could want, including theaters that boast Broadwayquality live performances, a beachfront boardwalk with arcades, a sweet old-timey amusement park and one of APRIL 2019


AN ELEGANT PLATE AT WICKED TUNA IN MYRTLE BEACH

MYRTLE BEACH OCEANFRONT

Top Ranked by TRipadvisoR.com Featuring 6 oceanfront pools (with hot tubs and heated pools), fitness center, golf and more. Spacious accommodations include 2-bedroom family suites with kitchenette, oceanfront master bedroom, and separate kids’ bedroom with bunk beds and a queen-size bed.

Courtesy MBACVB

the country’s tallest Ferris wheels. And, of course, there’s the seafood. Myrtle Beach is to seafood what Texas is to steaks. The city’s finest restaurant might be Hook and Barrel, owned by 2018 South Carolina chef ambassador Heidi Vukov, also the proprietor of Croissants Bistro and Bakery. Hook and Barrel is beloved by locals for cooking beautifully prepared Southern favorites including shrimp and grits alongside dishes inspired by other shores, like paella. If you can tear yourself away from the seafood, the peach pork tenderloin is juicy and tender as can be. On Murrells Inlet, Wicked Tuna offers one of the area’s most impressive seafood destinations. Wicked Tuna boasts its own fishing boats, which head out weekly to snag catches off the South Carolina coast, like mahi-mahi, sea bass, snapper and grouper. The fish are then processed in Wicked Tuna’s own Fish House right on the docks before they’re sent upstairs to be tended to by the restaurant’s superb chefs. Groups can tour the back operations at the restaurant, watching fishermen haul in their catches at the docks and seeing the room where workers sort and process it for the restaurant. And sitting in Wicked Tuna’s expansive dining room overlooking the gorgeous inlet is the fantastic way to wrap up a low country vacation.

1801 South Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 www.HamptonInnOceanfront.com or call 1-800-HAMPTON

SOUTH CAROLINA D E PA R T M E N T O F PA R K S , R E C R E AT I O N A N D T O U R I S M — DISCOV ER SOU THC A ROL I NA.COM —

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

60393-Hampton Group Travel Leader April 2019.indd 1

GROUP T HE

29

3/12/19 2:16 PM

TRAVEL LE ADER


MELODIES & MONUMENTS M I S S I S S I P P I

H I S T O R I C

S I T E S

T E L L

F A S C I N A T I N G

T A L E S

VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK FEATURES MORE THAN 1,400 MONUMENTS AND MEMORIALS.

B Y PAU L A AV E N G L A D YC H Courtesy NPS

From Civil War battles and Native American history to the development of the musical genre known as the Delta blues, Mississippi has a storied past. Groups traveling through the state can explore its history at a number of significant parks, historic homes and other attractions. Here are a few must-visit sites that represent just a taste of Mississippi’s history. V ICKSBURG NATIONA L MIL I TA RY PA R K V ICKSBURG

Vicksburg National Military Park tells the story of the campaign to capture Vicksburg during the American Civil War.

30

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

APRIL 2019


VICKSBURG NATIONAL CEMETERY Photos courtesy NPS

NATCHEZ NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

Courtesy Natchez National Historical Park

Both the Confederate and Union armies wanted the city because of its prime location along the Mississippi River. “It was like the interstate highway system we have today,” said Scott Babinowich, chief of interpretation and education at the site. “It was pivotal to commerce and trade and the economy and troop movements.” When the war broke out, the Union army’s plan was to blockade the waterways and control the Mississippi River so that the Confederacy would be forced to surrender. The plan succeeded, and today visitors can see the earthworks and heavy fortifications built by both sides as the city went under siege for 40 days. “On the Union side, the defenses weren’t as dramatic as the

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

THE ILLINOIS MEMORIAL AT VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK

Confederate side because they had a year and a half to build,” Babinowich said. There are earthen forts still standing on the Confederate side of the engagement, but the area gives visitors a “sense for how the Confederacy monopolized the high ground with trenches between them,” he said. There are more than 1,400 monuments and memorials in the military park, from small stone markers to historic buildings. The tour road in the park is 16 miles long, and visitors can take their time visiting all of them. Many of the stone markers were sculpted by prominent artists at the time, and Babinowich likens Vicksburg to the gardens at Versailles, France, full of amazing works of art. W W W. N PS .GOV/ V ICK

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

31


USS CAIRO AT VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK Courtesy NPS

USS CAIRO GUNBOAT AND MUSEUM V ICKSBURG

The USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum is part of the Vicksburg National Military Park and focuses on the role played by the U.S. Navy in the battle for Vicksburg. The USS Cairo was one of the large iron-clad gunboats that were part of the Union’s “Brown Water” navy. It was built specifically for the Navy to navigate the Western waterways. The 175-foot boat, with a crew of 251 men, was struck by a torpedo in December 1862 during the campaign for Vicksburg. It sank in 12 minutes. All of its crew survived, but the boat sank into the mud at the bottom of the Yazoo River, where it was perfectly preserved in silt and mud until it was raised in 1964. The gunboat was discovered about 10 miles north of where the military park is now, according to Babinowich. Because the gunboat sank so quickly, the men on board did not have time to take any belongings with them. So the museum displays hundreds of artifacts from the Cairo, including artillery,

A MUDDY WATERS EXHIBIT AT THE DELTA BLUES MUSEUM Courtesy Delta Blues Museum

china, shoes and toothbrushes and offers an “amazing window into life on the western waterways on those boats,” Babinowich said. The gunboat has been restored, and visitors have a rare opportunity to walk on the deck of a Civil War ship. They can also view the big hole left by the torpedo blast. W W W. N PS .GOV/ V ICK

DELTA BLUES MUSEUM CL ARKSDALE

You can’t talk about Mississippi without mentioning the musical genre that put it on the world map. The blues started with slaves from Africa. Since the different tribes spoke different languages, the only way they could communicate was through music, said Shelley Ritter, executive director of the Delta Blues Museum. “Music was a way of communicating and was the only part of their culture they owned and they brought with them,” she said. “When they got to America, they used what they could find to create music, and a lot of times, it could be drumming, singing or making string instruments.” Clarksdale is the home of the Delta blues and where the museum is located in a historic renovated freight depot. The museum tells the stories of the greats of Delta blues music: Muddy Waters; W.C. Handy, the self-proclaimed father of the blues; Howlin’ Wolf; Pinetop Perkins; David “Honeyboy” Edwards; and Sonny Boy Williamson. It wasn’t until Mamie Smith released her “Crazy Blues” recording in 1920 that the recording industry took notice of the blues. Until that time, the blues was considered race music, said Ritter. The song “Crazy Blues” sold 10,000 copies in its first week and 100,000 copies total. “That woke up the record companies to the fact that this was actually worth something, not just something sold to black people,” she said. The museum houses the cabin where Muddy Waters lived in the area, as well as a huge collection of guitars and stagewear from some of the greats of the Delta blues. The museum also hosts live music seven nights a week and 17 festivals a year. W W W.DELTA BLU ESMUSEU M.ORG

32

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

APRIL 2019


AMERICAN HISTORY WINTERVILLE MOUNDS

Courtesy Winterville Mounds

NATCHE Z NAT IONA L HISTOR IC A L PA R K NATCHEZ

Created in 1988, the Natchez National Historical Park tells the story of all the peoples of Natchez from the earliest times to the modern era. “It is amazing how this little Southern town is an entry point into this vast picture of American history,” said Kathleen Bond, park superintendent. The area was home to the indigenous Natchez Indians, the French, the British and the Spanish. Visitors tour the remnants of Fort Rosalee, a French fort built in 1716 to help maintain control over the Mississippi River. The site also tells the story of the British settlers who made the area their home and the Spanish, who took over the area after the American Revolution. The Spanish influence is seen today in the design of Natchez itself. “There always had been houses and farms, but the Spanish built the city,” Bond said. Within 10 years, the invention of the cotton gin and the steamboat helped place Natchez in the center of the Deep South cotton world. Natchez National Historical Park highlights Melrose, an original mansion with outbuildings on the property. Although Melrose was not a working plantation, visitors learn how the wealthiest people in Natchez lived and hear stories of the enslaved people who lived and worked on the property. The William Johnson House tells the tale of a freed slave who became a prominent barber in town. He kept a diary for 14 years, and through that, visitors get a firsthand account of antebellum Southern history.

MISSISSIPPI MUSIC

SOUTHERN CHARM

W W W. N PS .GOV/ NAT C

W INTERV ILLE MOUNDS GREENVILLE

The Mississippi Delta is home to some of the best representations of preColumbian Native American mound sites in North America. Twelve of these mounds are in Greenville on a 42-acre preserve. There are 23 known mounds in the area, and another 11 lie outside the park’s boundaries. The largest mound is 55 feet tall and is one of the biggest mounds in the country. Archaeologists believe that Native Americans built their most important structures on top of these mounds, like the chief ’s home, a place of worship or a place where the bones of ancestors may have been kept. “One of the mysteries at Winterville is it has not turned up the number of artifacts one would expect from a site this big because it literally is probably the fourth- or fifth-largest Mississippian site known,” said Mark Howell, director of Winterville Mounds. He said there is a lot left to explore at Winterville. Only about 2 percent of the site has been uncovered. Visitors to the site can explore the large mounds and tour the visitors center that highlights artifacts found in the area. They can also learn about some of the plants in the area, such as river cane, which the Native Americans used to weave baskets, and Bodark trees, which the natives used to make bows. WWW.MDAH.MS.GOV/NEW/VISIT/WINTERVILLE-MOUNDS

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

For planning assistance contact,

Ashley Gatian, Sales Manager

800-221-3536 • ashley@visitvicksburg.com

W E A R E S O C I A L \VisitVicksburg

Scan this QR code to visit our mobile site. 33

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER


FO ODI E - F R I E N DLY M I S S I S S I P P I

C U I S I N E

C A N

M A K E

Y O U R

T R I P

HANDS-ON EXPERIENCES AT FARMER’S TABLE COOKING SCHOOL IN LIVINGSTON INCLUDE A THREE-COURSE MEAL AND DESSERT.

B Y PAU L A AV E N G L A D YC H Courtesy Farmer’s Table Cooking School

To get to know a place, you should try the food. Even in a state as big as Mississippi, the cuisine in each area reflects the gastronomy of different cultures and traditions, from seafood and Cajun to local takes on more worldly dishes. Here are some unusual culinary experiences to help your groups sample the best of what Mississippi has to offer. OXFORD FOOD TOURS OXFORD

Oxford is known as the Little Easy, a sibling to New Orleans because of its similar architecture and focus on Cajun cooking. Visitors to Oxford can get a sample of the city’s cuisine through Oxford Food Tours’ Taste of the Historic Oxford Square, or Booze and Bites Cocktail tours. The company, founded in 2018, takes 34

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

APRIL 2019


MAKING PASTA AT FARMER’S TABLE

OXFORD FOOD TOURS

Courtesy Farmer’s Table Cooking School

Courtesy Oxford Food Tours

EATING IN OXFORD

SHRIMP AND GRITS IN OXFORD Courtesy Oxford Food Tours

guests to five to seven eateries and bars throughout the square while guides entertain them with stories of the town’s past. At each stop, restaurant owners and chefs address the groups, telling them about the history of the restaurant, their vision for creating the eatery and the types of ingredients they use to prepare their culinary specialties. “Oxford has a great food scene,” said Jonathan Smith, coowner of Oxford Food Tours with his friend, Darryl Parker. “It is a cool town, funky and smaller, with only 50,000 people, counting students [at the University of Mississippi]. It’s unique in the sense that you don’t have many towns of this size that people travel to for food.” At the different bars, bartenders will come out and talk about

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

Courtesy Oxford Food Tours

how they create their specialty cocktails and give some samples. The walking tours include two complimentary drinks. To get restaurants to participate, Oxford Food Tours asks them to “give our customers the best representation of your restaurant, a bite-size portion that will entice them to come eat here,” Smith said. “You have a chance to wow people who are coming into your restaurant who may not normally come there.” He said it is fun for the restaurants to do, and “we want to make sure we are giving our customers the best experience and want the restaurants and bartenders to know we value their time.” The company plans to add a literary booze or food tour of Oxford, the home of William Faulkner, and a tour of hole-inthe-wall restaurants that are excellent but often overlooked. W W W.O X F OR DF OODT OU R S .COM

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

35


FARMER’S TABLE COOKING SCHOOL Courtesy Farmer’s Table Cooking School

FA R MER’S TA BL E COOK ING SCHOOL LIVINGSTON

Livingston has a history dating back to the early 1800s. The once-thriving town had a courthouse and jail, a Masonic Lodge, a post office and a Methodist church. Once the railroad bypassed the town, however, people moved away, and the town was nearly empty by the time the Civil War took place. Fast-forward to 2006, when the Livingston town property was purchased by a developer who wanted to rebuild the historic area. He built a mercantile store, a gas station and a restaurant. He also asked Bridget Engle, owner of Farmer’s Table Cooking School, to open a cooking school on the newly refurbished town square. A farmers market was started to bring people to the area, and over the past five years, Livingston has built its reputation as a food, art, literature and music destination. Farmer’s Table offers hands-on cooking classes with a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef. Participants get a glass of wine and an appetizer before they put on their aprons and prepare a three-

MARITIME AND SEAFOOD INDUSTRY MUSEUM Courtesy Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum

course meal with dessert, said Engle. One of the school’s most popular classes focuses on Delta soul food like fried chicken, red beans and rice, and gumbo. The school hosts group events for up to 30 people. FA R MER STA BL EI N L I V I NGST ON.COM

CHEF DA NIE COOKS BILOXI

Danie Rodriguez has been a chef for 30 years and is something of a Biloxi celebrity, hosting her own weekly cooking show on a local television station. A former Italian restaurateur, Rodriguez has spent the past five years teaching gourmet culinary classes on everything from pasta, tortellini and lasagna to local Gulf Coast cuisine and Thai delicacies. “Mississippi has a unique food culture,” Rodriguez said. “Flounder, shrimp or blue crab — those are some of the local things we’re known for here.” Many groups come specifically to learn about Southern cooking. “We get a lot of people from out of town,” she said. “Foodies like to go to classes to learn about food. A lot of interesting people have come through and learned about the local food here.” Rodriguez’s classroom has portable cook tops on every table so groups and couples can cook their meals together. People love them because “they are learning to do something together, working together to create your meal,” she said. Her approach is hands-on. While she is not averse to giving cooking demonstrations, she believes people learn better by doing. “I get them with their hands in the dough, mixing and cooking, and then they get to sit down and enjoy the meal they just created,” she said. W W W.CHEF DA N I ECOOK S .COM

THE ELMS NATCHEZ 325C Howard St reet • Greenwood, Mississippi 662.451.6750 • thealluvian.com

36

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

The Elms has been in Esther Carpenter’s family since 1878. The beautiful mansion, built in 1804, is now a bed-and-breakfast that also hosts wedAPRIL 2019


GETAWAY

A CHEF DANIE COOKS DEMONSTRATION Courtesy Chef Danie Cooks

dings, dinner parties and other special events. Carpenter has been a chef for 40 years. She trained at the Culinary Institute in New York and also studied cooking in France. After her mother passed away in 2005, Carpenter moved back to her family home. She renovated the house and turned it into a bed-and-breakfast. One of the Elms’ signature events, the Grand Soiree Dinner, is a joint evening hosted with her concert pianist neighbor across the street. Guests first visit Joseph Stone’s home for a classical piano concerto and a tour of the Stone House. Then they walk across the street to the Elms for a four-course meal on the home’s wrap-around porch under the old oak trees. A sample menu could include an appetizer of shrimp cakes with a jalapeno tartar sauce and a small salad; a rack of lamb or rare breast of duck; and homemade dessert. Carpenter makes her own bread and ice cream. WWW.THEELMSNATCHEZ.COM

M A RITIME A ND SE A FOOD INDUSTRY MUSEUM BILOXI

Though it isn’t a place where folks can sample the local cuisine, the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum is a great place for foodies to visit to learn about the history and legacy of the seafood and maritime industry on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Seafood was king in the area as early as the 1800s. By the early 1900s, the Gulf Coast of Mississippi was the No. 1 producer of seafood in the world. “We’re not the largest in the world now, but the industry is still significant,” said Corey Christy, outreach program coordinator for the museum. “We still have processing factories and lots of fishermen. You can still go to the harbor and get shrimp off the boat.” There are also seafood markets on every other corner in Biloxi, selling fresh-caught Gulf seafood. Visitors learn how the industry worked back then, with fishermen doing oystering, crabbing and fishing and bringing back their catches for processing at the seafood factories, said Christy. Visitors can examine the boats and tools used in the seafood industry, including one of the first shrimppeeling machines, invented in 1941.

Ridgeland offers your group a getaway complete with beautiful shopping, the Bill Waller Craft Center, over 1600 hotel rooms and 140 restaurants and fun in the sun. To assist you, we offer: - Group Rebate Programs - Itinerary Planning - Spouse Programs - Welcome Bags and Name Badges In Ridgeland, the more the merrier...Inside + Out.

Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival April 6-7, 2019 as part of Art, Wine, and Wheels Weekend

M A R I T I ME MUSEU M.ORG

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

37


NATIVE NOW BY E L I ZA M Y E R S

THE CHICKASAW NATION’S ARTESIAN ARTS FESTIVAL DRAWS THOUSANDS OF VISITORS EACH YEAR TO SULPHUR, OKLAHOMA Courtesy Chickasaw Nation

TRIBAL DESTINATIONS ARE TRENDING 38

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

O

n tribal lands around the country, Native American groups are telling their own stories. Although casinos still serve as popular entertainment attractions for many tribes, in the past 15 years, a renaissance of cultural attractions has popped up in tribal reservations across the country. Tribes have learned to take control of their public perceptions, resulting in cultural tourism investments by several tribes that coincide with a broader tourism demand for more authentic travel experiences. Between 2007 and 2015, the number of visitors to reservations increased from 693,000 to more than 1.9 million, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. More growth is expected as Native American-owned museums, ecotours, guided tours and hands-on heritage workshops continue to grow and gain recognition. Today, groups can make their own moccasins, explore the Everglades and see dance demonstrations on Native American reservations. These thriving Native American tribes and organizations offer many ways for groups to experience rich heritages that predate the nation. CHEROKEE NATION OF OKLAHOMA OKLAHOMA Though the brutal Trail of Tears may have seemed like the end of the Cherokee Nation, the tribe proved its resilience by becoming one of the largest tribes in the United States. “Cherokee Nation started investing in tourism more than 10 years ago as a way to tell our story,” said Travis Owens, director of cultural tourism and community relations at Cherokee Nation. “Previously, our story had been told by others. We’ve seen a tremendous growth in the desire of folks to experience authentic places. Now we have a collection of historic buildings that each tell a piece of our history.” Groups can tour several of these buildings in Cherokee Nation’s capital city, Tahlequah, Oklahoma. At the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, the newly relocated tribe established its government in 1844. The nearby Cherokee Heritage Center offers exhibits, cultural workshops and events throughout the year. Six years ago, the tribe added interpretive programs, such as classes to make traditional moccasins. Groups can customize their experience by booking a local guide to take them around and give them insider information on the Cherokee culture. This summer, the tribe plans to open another museum inside the Cherokee National Capital building. “It will be a one-stop shop for Cherokee national history,” said Owens. “Most of our museums are set up thematically. This museum will act as the hub, where Courtesy Eiteljorg Museum you can view the full story.” W W W.V ISI T CHEROK EE NAT ION.COM

SE M I NOL E T R I BE OF F L OR I DA FLORIDA The entire Seminole Tribe of Florida may have ended up in Oklahoma if it hadn’t retreated deep into the undesirable Everglades swamps in the 1800s. During this time, the United States forcibly removed many Seminoles and other tribes from the state. Because the tribe never signed a peace treaty with the government, it claims to be the only unconquered tribe in America. Groups can learn the tribe’s fascinating story with a visit to the Big Cypress Reservation, one of the tribe’s six reservations. One hour and 20 minutes west of

APRIL 2019


Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Everglades destination houses the Smithsonian-affiliated Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum and the Billie Swamp Safari for ecotours and nature shows. The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum offers a film on the tribe’s history as well as interactive exhibits. Guests can walk on a boardwalk through a cypress swamp, explore an art gallery and view a reconstructed village. “We are in the process of revamping the whole museum,” said Seminole spokesmand Gilbert Fevry. “We are also bringing more activities like zip lines to the safari experience.” Billie Swamp Safari invites travelers to delve deep into the primeval landscape of the Everglades with airboat tours and swamp buggies. Live alligator shows, snake shows and other animal-related shows add up-close entertainment elements.

A M E R IC A N I N DI A N A L A SK A N AT I V E T O U R I S M A S S O C I AT I O N NEW ME XICO For many Native American tribes, marketing their reservation’s tourism attractions proved difficult because of lack of funding. The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, introduced a website filled with Instagram-worthy photos and easy-to-use travel tools to help remedy the situation in 2015. Now groups can easily plan longer trips through Native American reservations with www.nativeamerica.travel. The website’s interactive map divides the country into regions

and promotes the authentic Native American offerings in each area. Tribes whose own websites do not provide travel information can now inform interested visitors on upcoming events and attractions. The nonprofit AIANTA developed the site on behalf of all 573 federally recognized tribes to promote tourism and provide resources for tribes. Now groups can organize a tour at the Seneca Art and Culture Center in Victor, New York; an overnight at a Navajo hogan in Utah; and a basket-weaving lesson from Hopi artists in Arizona; all in one place. The sophisticated site also contains group itineraries, such as American Indians and Route 66. W W W. NAT I V E A MER IC A.T R AV EL

W W W.SE M T R I BE .COM

C H I C K A S AW N AT I O N OKLAHOMA In 2010, the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulfur, Oklahoma, opened as a symbolic home for the Chickasaw Nation and an invitation to the world to meet the tribe’s people. “The Chickasaw Nation has been welcoming people from the very beginning,” said Lona Barrick, executive officer of cultural tourism at the Chickasaw Nation. “From the beginning, they were good businesspeople and tradespeople. Our hospitality continues today. In every attraction we build, we want to stay true to who we are. We want to show our strength and our perseverance.” The Chickasaw Cultural Center is one of many attractions in Chickasaw Nation, which spans 13 counties. Most of these attractions lie in easy proximity to Interstate 35, which runs through the reservation. Today, the museum offers interactive exhibits, botanical displays and traditional dwellings on the 100-acre lot. The Aaimpa’ Cafe serves traditional tribal cuisine, such as grape dumplings and a corn soup. Sulfur is also known as the gateway to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, which preserves mineral waters, streams and stunning landscapes. Other top Chickasaw attractions include demonstrations at Bedre Fine Chocolates, familytype shows at the 1920s McSwain Theatre and historic tours at the Chickasaw National Capital Building in Tishomingo. W W W.CH ICK AS AW. N E T

GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

THE CHICKASAW NATION’S “THREE SISTERS” Courtesy Chickasaw Nation

A SEMINOLE STATUE

SEQUOYAH’S CABIN MUSEUM Courtesy Cherokee Nation

Courtesy Seminole Tribe of Florida

MAKE YOUR PLAY

TO GETAWAY GET THE MOST FOR YOUR GROUP

For more information on incentives for you and your group or to book your group, call toll free 1-877-778-8138 email: CheMotorcoachTm@caesars.com

CHEROKEE, NC

MURPHY, NC

Must be 21 or older to enter casino floor and to gamble, and must present a valid state or federal photo ID upon request. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-522-4700. An Enterprise of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. ©2019, Caesars License Company, LLC.

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

39


40

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

APRIL 2019


CUSTO M CO NTE NT

DISCOVER THE UNEXPECTED WITH CHICKASAW COUNTRY

F

or more than 100 years, wanderers have traveled to Oklahoma to experience the authentic culture of American Indian tribes. Among the state’s ancient mountain ranges and prairies, the history and heritage of the Chickasaw people thrives. Dating back half a century prior to statehood, Tishomingo, Oklahoma has served as the cultural epicenter of the Chickasaw Nation since 1856. A visit to this quaint town located at the merger of Pennington Creek and the historic Washita River is full of surprise. Pique your curiosity with a visit to the Chickasaw National Capitol to explore the story of the Chickasaw people. Discover the rich history of early Chickasaw tribal government and study the beautiful Victorian Gothic architecture constructed from locally-mined, cut and polished red granite blocks. Stop at the Chickasaw Nation Information Center to explore a selection

42

GROUP T HE

TRAVEL LE ADER

of unique Native American artwork, books and publications, jewelry and novelty items for sale. Browse an extensive list of brochures to discover all there is to do in – and around – Tishomingo. Enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee and take a break under the covered patio while you plan your next quest in Chickasaw Country. For a modern take on traditional Oklahoma cuisine, stop by Blake Shelton’s Ole Red. Sink your teeth into a mouth-watering center-cut ribeye and wash it down with Blake’s famous B.S. Tea. Enjoy live music in a rustic and genuine setting, right on Main Street. Along the way, enjoy local boutiques, shops and landmarks that mark Chickasaw Country’s landscape. From the crystal-clear waters of the Blue River to the native bluestem grass weaving through the Oklahoma Cross Timbers, there’s never a shortage of beauty, wonder and excitement in this ageless land. Chickasaw Country is comprised of 13 counties in south-central Oklahoma, covering 7,648 square miles of ancient hills, gorgeous bodies of water and unparalleled Native American culture. Discover this unique, preplanned tour and many more with Be Native Tours, the premier tour operator for native travel in the south-central United States. With our experience in transportation and activities logistics, planning for your next group trip will be seamless. Visit benativetours.com to plan your next trip and learn more about what makes Chickasaw Country a truly one-of-a-kind destination. W W W.CHICK ASAWCOUNTRY.COM

APRIL 2019


Select Traveler Bank Travel Clubs Select Traveler February 4-6, 2018 Bank Travel Clubs Louisville, Kentucky February 10-12, 2019 800-628-0993 French Lick, Indiana selecttravelerconf.com 800-628-0993 A Proud Sponsor: selecttravelerconf.com

AATConference

April 30 - May 2, 2018 AATConference St. Charles, Illinois Diversity Travel 800-628-0993 April 16-18, 2019 aatconline.com French Lick, Indiana 800-628-0993 A Proud Sponsor: aatconline.com

Going On Faith

Church Travel Groups September 4-6, 2019 Grand Rapids, Michigan 800-628-0993 gofconference.com

Small Market Meetings Meeting Planners

Small Market September 23 Meetings - 25, 2018 Meeting Ontario, Planners California September 24 - 26, 2019 800-628-0993 Green Bay, Wisconsin smmconf.com 800-628-0993 A Proud Sponsor: smmconf.com

Boomer in Groups

Boomer Planners BoomerTravel in Groups October 26 - 28, 2018 Boomer Travel Planners French Lick, Indiana October 25 - 27, 2019 800-628-0993 Franklin, Tennessee boomersingroups.com 800-628-0993 A Proud Sponsor: boomersingroups.com


REWARD THEM FOR ALL THAT PRACTICE

BRING YOUR GROUP TOUR TO LIFE. Hands-on experiences and uncommon access offered exclusively for groups. Plan your group’s Live the Life Adventure at VisitVirginiaBeach.com/GroupTour.

Profile for The Group Travel Leader, Inc.

The Group Travel Leader April 2019  

FInd group travel ideas for South Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, student travel and Native American experiences in the April 2019 issue of...

The Group Travel Leader April 2019  

FInd group travel ideas for South Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, student travel and Native American experiences in the April 2019 issue of...