T R I P P I N G T H RO U G H T E X A S |
S C E N I C S I O U X FA L L S
| M U S E U M S H I T PA R A D E
music BRIGHTENS YOUR YEAR
When your group is inspired by a legacy of strength, courage and nonviolence.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site | Atlanta, GA
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Get your copy of the 2018 Group Tour Planner at ExploreGeorgia.org/ROAM
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Make your next group tour in Georgia an inspiring one. Learn something new, expand your horizons and see how the mission of nonviolent social change at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is marching on, and that is Pretty. Sweet. Plan a truly enlightening group tour today at ExploreGeorgia.org/travel-professionals.
FEEDING GIRAFFES AT THE ZOO WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF OUR TOUR ‘TIL WE HIT THE DESSERT TRAY AT SCHMIDT’S
Great tours are Made in Cbus. Pair a visit to the zoo Jack Hanna calls home with a cream puff at iconic Schmidt’s in historic German Village. As a leader in experiential tours, Columbus is a perfect fit for a group of any size (or taste)!
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table ofCONTENTS VOL 28 | ISSUE 2
6 EDITOR’S MARKS 14 C H A N G I N G H O R I Z O N S
8 FA M I LY M AT T E R S
FILM AND TV EXHIBITS
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 I
FEBRUARY 2018 O N THE COVE R
Colorful guitars for sale in San Antonio celebrate Texas’ music heritage. Photo by Susanne Kremer
Turn It Up!
THESE MUSIC FESTIVALS WILL GET YOUR GROUP DANCING.
Giants Discover this state’s architectural gems
MAC T. LACY CHARLES A. PRESLEY BRIAN JEWELL HERBERT SPARROW DONIA SIMMONS DAVID BROWN
Founder and Publisher Partner Executive Editor Senior Writer Creative Director Art Director
K E L LY T Y N E R 4
ELIZA MYERS CHRISTINE CLOUGH SAVANNAH OSBOURN KELLY TYNER STACEY BOWMAN ASHLEY RICKS
Online Editor Copy Editor Staff Writer Director of Sales & Marketing Advertising Sales Director Marketing & Circulation Manager
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.
Build an Exciting
GREEN BAY Tour! Custom Tours
SPORTS MECCA Green Bay is known around the world as the home of the Green Bay Packers. Visiting historic Lambeau Field is on the bucket list of many sports fans. This is the only professional sports franchise that is owned by the community. Explore and relax at the brand new Titletown Plaza next to the stadium.
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help was declared a holy place February 2011 by the Vatican, just three months after it was named a Marian Shrine by the bishop in December 2010. Located in Champion, 17 miles west of Green Bay, pilgrims from all over the world have visited this modest country church.
Visit us online at
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT Riding the Zippin Pippin wooden rollercoaster at the 125-year-old Bay Beach Amusement Park is a highlight for kids of all ages. Bay Beach has long been a tradition of Northeastern Wisconsin families and our visitors. Now, Elvis’ favorite rollercoaster design was re-incarnated in Green Bay. It, along with 19 other rides, reside in this city park. Parking is free and ride tickets are 25 cents.
WATERFRONT ACTIVITIES Along the shore of the Fox River in downtown Green Bay, you’ll find a la carte dining Wednesdays at Dine on the Deck, free concert Fridays, a splash pad for the kids and dining options that make visiting the riverfront an enjoyable time. See the freighters cross under the bridges, leisure boats cruising, kayaks paddling and the River Tyme river boat touring groups of guests.
Our destination offers field to fork dining experiences, the famous Wisconsin cheese you always hear about, some of the best chocolate you’ll ever taste, craft brewing operations that each have a unique twist and wineries producing a cold-weather grape flavor only found in Northeastern Wisconsin.
TRIP PLANNING ASSISTANCE Julie Gerczak 888-867-3342 or Julie@greenbay.com.
HISTORY REVISITED Heritage Hill State Historical Park, Neville Public Museum, the National Railroad Museum and The Automobile Gallery are just a few options for the history lover. Programming like the “If Tombstones Could Talk” cemetery walk, the popular Civil War re-enactments and the Packers Heritage Trail trolley tours are all guided experiences that visitors love.
NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURE Find us on
Visit the Oneida Nation Museum, picnic at the buffalo overlook or pick apples in fall at the tribe’s orchard. Even some of the early Green Bay Packers players were native. Walk the Oneida Nation Walk of Legends monuments near Lambeau to learn their stories. Every Independence Day weekend, you can watch native dance at the Oneida Pow-Wow and sample cultural cuisine.
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re you wasting people’s time? Lost time is a fundamental part of travel, and many of us are accustomed to delays resulting from weather, mechanical failures, flight issues and other misfortunes on the road. And although they’re frustrating, delays aren’t often anyone’s fault. What is much more frustrating is when someone demands your time and attention and then fails to give you anything useful in return. We have all been in this situation, probably more times than we realize. We wade through a torrent of irrelevant emails every day just to get to the handful of messages we need to see. We suffer through cold calls from salespeople pitching us products or services we have no interest in. We wait patiently during presentations as lackluster speakers drone on with facts we don’t need on topics we don’t care about. No matter what role you play in tourism, communicating effectively — in email, on the phone, in person or from a stage — is an important part of your job. Communicate well, and you can elevate your business. Communicate poorly, and you’re just wasting people’s time. With that in mind, here are five tips for making your communications more valuable to your audience. 1) TARGET YOUR AUDIENCE. We all like the idea of our communications reaching the largest possible audience, but truth is, only a fraction of that audience is going to care about what you have to say. Instead of blasting general messages
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to the universe, try strategically targeting the people who are interested in your message.
2) TIME YOUR COMMUNICATIONS. When communicating effectively, timing is everything. Don’t send important emails at the end of the day, when people are less likely to read them, or at the beginning of the day, when people are clearing out their spam. And if you’re speaking at a function that includes food, wait to start your remarks until after people have begun eating. 3) MAKE IT MEANINGFUL. People’s attention spans are limited, as is their tolerance for useless chatter. Whether you are emailing, calling or speaking live, always make sure the content of your communication is meaningful and helpful to your audience. Even if your objective is to sell or promote something, include enough smart, meaningful content in your communication that even a noncustomer will find it interesting. 4) KEEP IT SHORT. Nobody likes a long email or a rambling presentation. You may think every word of your message is important, but your audience will likely disagree. It’s notoriously difficult to edit your own ideas, but a good start is to write out your thoughts, then force yourself to cut the length of the script or message in half. Remember, less is almost always more. 5) ALWAYS BE ENTERTAINING. No matter whether you’re communicating in a personal or a professional context, everybody likes to laugh and have fun. You can ignore all these other suggestions and your audience will forgive you if your message is entertaining. Tell a joke, show a funny picture, or share a riveting story. If you’re having fun, your audience will, too.
DOWNLOAD OUR NE W GROUP TR AVEL HOW-T O GUIDE
lanning group travel for your customers, friends or community members can be fun and rewarding, but it’s also hard work that comes with its share of challenges. The latest e-book from The Group Travel Leader will help you navigate some of the biggest challenges in planning travel and growing your organization’s travel membership. “The Group Travel How-To Guide” answers some of the questions travel planners raise most frequently and gives recommendations and insight based on interviews with hundreds of successful tourism professionals. Written by Brian Jewell, executive editor of The Group Travel Leader, the e-book features two chapters on practical trip planning and two chapters with advice on how to build growing, thriving travel groups for the future. “I meet travel planners at events all around the country, and they consistently ask questions about
trip planning basics and about how to increase their allow travel organizers to make their trips business,” Jewell said. “So I have taken insights I accessible to more travelers. Other chapters are have gathered from hundreds of interviews over “Growing Your Group,” with advice on reaching nearly 15 years in tourism and more potential travelers, and organized them in an easy-to“Engaging Your Group,” with read, practical guide that will tips on marketing trips and KNOW give group travel planners the driving enthusiasm. tools they need to do business “I’m a strong believer that HOW more effectively and to take educating travel planners their group dynamics to the makes trips better for everyone next level.” involved,” Jewell said. “This Each chapter of the e-book e-book will help group leaders focuses on a topic that will and tour operators make sure be helpful to travel planners. their businesses are growing One section is dedicated to and that they’re planning the the logistics of booking a best trips possible.” motorcoach, which can be an The e-book is available as a overwhelming task for many free download for a limited time. planners. Another gives tips Get your copy today at: on how to plan trips on a budget, which will W W W.GROU P T R AV EL L E A DER .COM / EBOOK P U B L I S H E D B Y T H E G R O U P T R AV E L L E A D E R I N C .
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GTF MEMBERSHIPS AVAIL ABLE FOR 2018
THE GROUP TRAVEL FAMILY USES STEPANDREPEATLA BACKDROPS TO FILM INTERVIEWS AT INDUSTRY CONFERENCES.
STEP AND REPEAT BACKDROPS ARE IDEAL TOOLS FOR TRAVEL PROMOTION SALEM, Ohio — The old saying “a photo is worth 1,000 words” has never been so true as it is in today’s digital world, and this provides you with a great opportunity to promote your destination, hotel, museum, venue and even your group organization. That opportunity is the overlooked but simple and affordable photo/video backdrop. People are taking more video and photos on tour than ever before, and they are always looking for the perfect background. “It’s kind of the new saying, ‘If you give them a backdrop, they will promote it,’” said Charlie Presley of The Group Travel Family. The Group Travel Family operates seven travel conferences and over 30 one-day events across the country and has seen a tenfold increase in the number of photos and videos taken by its delegates. “This made us aware of the interest that people have in communicating via social media and the value that it presented to our conferences” Presley said.
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While those images were being distributed, they rarely communicated where the image came from, resulting in a lost opportunity to send a marketing message. It didn’t take long to solve the problem. In stepped StepandRepeatLA, the leading backdrop provider for Hollywood. “StepandRepeatLA solved our problem by providing an easy to assemble, lightweight, affordable and professional backdrop that we can use anywhere,” Presley said. “Now when our delegates snap a photo for social media, our logo is included.” The backdrop also encourages people to take more photos because it gives the image of professionalism and allows people to re-create the same red-carpet-style photos they see coming from Hollywood events.. So, if you are reading this publication, you are in the travel industry and need a StepandRepeatLA backdrop. Just set it up in your lobby and watch the people flock to it and help spread the good word about you. Contact StepandrepeatLA at 818-434-7591 or go to www.stepandrepeatla.com.
SALEM, Ohio — Membership in The Group Travel Family can build beneficial relationships with the more than 25,000 leaders and organizers of group travel that look to the organization for networking. Group travel planners seek qualified destinations, hotels, restaurants, attractions and operators to give their members the best value and experience in their tour packages. Often, groups seek this level of confidence through members of the travel industry they meet at travel conferences and through membership in The Group Travel Family. If you are looking to enter the group travel industry or build your visibility, you should first look to membership in The Group Travel Family. The Group Travel Family is an organization that represents the travel planners of baby boomer, church, African-American, mature and bank groups. Membership is open to those in the travel industry, including DMOs, lodging, attractions, restaurants and museums interested in reaching the group travel market. “Membership is a great way to reach out to group travel planners who control the majority of the group market,” said Joe Cappuzzello, president of The Group Travel Family. “It is the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for travel groups.” The new membership categories for the travel industry allow a company to target a specific group market, such as bank travel clubs, or include as many as seven target group markets including faith-based, African-American and baby boomers. Pricing is structured to fit a variety of marketing budgets, with single membership starting at $395 annually. For additional information in membership categories at The Group Travel Family, contact Valerie Dennison at 800-628-0993.
SPACEPORT AMERICA REOPENS WITH NEW TOURS TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. — Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, has announced the resumption of tours of its southern New Mexico facility in partnership with Las Cruces-based Final Frontier Tours. Visitors begin their journey at the Spaceport America Visitor Center, a historic adobe building in Truth or Consequences that has educational and interactive space exhibits. After arriving at the secure Spaceport America site on multi-media theater shuttles, visitors enter the Gateway Gallery with its numerous interactive exhibits and kiosks. Some visitors can choose to experience the G-Shock simulator, which subjects the would-be astronaut to rapid acceleration comparable to what an actual astronaut might feel in flight. Later, visitors venture into the Spaceport Operations Center and interact with Spaceport America crewmembers and the state-of-the-art fire station before stopping in front of the iconic Gateway to Space terminal/hangar for a photo opportunity. Spaceport America sits on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range. W W W.SPACEPORTAMERICA.COM
NEW DINOSAUR ATTRACTION OPENS AT ODYSEA IN THE DESERT SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs opened in December as part of the $200 million OdySea in the Desert complex in the Talking Stick Entertainment District of Scottsdale. The new $3 million attraction offers more than 50 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs that roam through the facility and realistic re-creations of prehistoric habitats, along with interactive activities such as fossil excavations and sluicing for dinosaur fossils. OdySea in the Desert is a 35-acre entertainment destination that features three live animal attractions — OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland and Dolphinaris — along with 18 dining, shopping, and amusement venues. W W W.PANGAEAL ANDOF THEDINOSAURS.COM
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INDUSTRY NEWS DENVER’S KIRKLAND MUSEUM READY FOR NEW BUILDING IN MUSEUM DISTRICT DENVER — Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art will open in its new and expanded facility in the heart of Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District March 10 after being closed for nearly two years. Kirkland Museum, which opened in 2003, had outgrown its original location in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The new facility eight blocks away will provide approximately 65 percent more display space for the Kirkland Museum’s three collections — international decorative art, Colorado and regional art, and works by Colorado painter Vance Kirkland. The museum includes Kirkland’s studio and art school, built in 1910-11, which was moved from its original building. The new building, which is made of wood, stone, terrazzo and painted gypsum wall board Terra cotta bars, glass panels, brick and Swiss pearl, also includes an expanded museum store and enlarged art storage facilities. It is within walking distance to multiple cultural and civic institutions, including the Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum, Central
Denver Public Library, History Colorado Center and Civic Center Park. W W W.K I R K L A N DMUSEU M.ORG
THE KIRKLAND MUSEUM OF FINE AND DECORATIVE ART’S NEW BUILDING WILL FEATURE EXPANDED GALLERY SPACE AND AN ARTS WORKSHOP.
Photos courtesy Kirkland Museum
LIBERT Y SCIENCE CENTER OPENS MASSIVE NEW PLANETARIUM JERSEY CITY, New Jersey — The Liberty Science Center debuted its new planetarium in early December, which it proclaims as the largest and most technologically advanced in the Western Hemisphere. “You can fit any other planetarium in the Western Hemisphere inside the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium,” said Liberty Science Center president and CEO Paul Hoffman, who noted its diameter is almost twice as long as a bowling alley lane and its screen is taller than four giraffes. A $5 million gift from New Jersey philanthropist Jennifer Chalsty provided for the conversion of the center’s IMAX Dome Theater from film to digital, the addition of software and hardware necessary for the theater to also function as a planetarium, the replacement of the screen and the refurbishing of the entire theater. 10
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Courtesy Liberty Science Center THE NEW PLANETARIUM AT LIBERTY SCIENCE CENTER IS THE LARGEST IN THE COUNTRY.
The planetarium’s dome is 89 feet in diameter and 60 feet tall at its top, with a surface area of 12,345 square feet — the size of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house according to science center officials. The 10-projector system features an 8K resolution of 88 million pixels, while a lighting system can produce more than 281 trillion individual colors, and the sophisticated software allows for downloads of the latest animations and images from NASA. Liberty Science Center is in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson River near the Statue of Liberty. It has 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, aquariums, a 3D theater and a tornado-force wind simulator. W W W.LSC.ORG
FIRST TRIBAL CASINO OPENS IN INDIANA SOUTH BEND, Indiana — Tribal members performed drum songs as part of the grand opening celebration January 16 for Four Winds Casino South Bend, Indiana’s first tribal casino. Run by the Pokagon band of Potawatomi Native Americans, the 175,000-square-foot casino, located on 166 acres of tribal trust land in northern Indiana, has 1,800 slot machines; four restaurants — Copper Rock Steakhouse, The Buffet, Kankakee Grille and Timbers — three bars; a coffee shop; and a merchandise shop. As a Class II gaming facility, it does not offer table games. The Pokagon Band also runs three Four Winds casinos in Michigan at New Buffalo, Hartford and Dowagiac.
TRIBAL LEADERS CUT A CEREMONIAL RIBBON TO OPEN FOUR WINDS CASINO IN SOUTH BEND.
W W W.FOURWINDSCASINO.COM
Courtesy Four Winds Casino
Take whatever you expect from Columbia, and unexpect it. Then take a day, a weekend, a road trip, to see how a midsized Midwest town likes to have a good time. Just don’t feel like you need to take out a small loan or a lot of vacation days to get here. visitcolumbiamo.com
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NTA BECOMES A FOURTH-QUARTER TEAM BY B R I A N J E W E L L
Courtesy NTA NTA’S TRAVEL EXCHANGE INCLUDED NUMEROUS LIVE MUSICAL PERFORMANCES (TOP), EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS (MIDDLE) AND EVENING EVENTS THAT SHOWCASED SAN ANTONIO ATTRACTIONS (BOTTOM).
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SAN ANTONIO — Some 1,000 travel professionals attended NTA’s second Travel Exchange of 2017, December 14-18, in San Antonio. Though the convention usually takes place annually, the second installment for 2017 was necessary to change the event date from winter to late fall, a season that has been traditionally successful for NTA meetings. NTA president Pam Inman said the move was requested by many longtime members of the association, which promised to continue to hold Travel Exchange in the late fall in coming years. “As long as I am here, Travel Exchange will stay in the fourth quarter,” she told attendees at an all-delegate lunch. The transition to the fourth quarter is just one of several moves the association is making to improve the Travel Exchange event and increase member engagement. Inman announced that NTA has retained the services of a consulting company called Minding Your Business (MYB) to evaluate and suggest changes to the convention. “In the 1960s, NTA was the first travel association to have appointments,” she said. “Now it’s 40 years later, and tour operators do business differently.” Chris Babb, president of The Group Tour Company and incoming NTA chair, said the initiative reflects members’ changing needs. “We’re seeing a critical mass of people who are hungry to do business differently than it was done 40 years ago,” he said. “So we wanted somebody from the outside to come in and give us some opinions.” Inman said the association has four goals for its work with MYB: aligning the Travel Exchange event with the organization’s broader strategy, growing event participation, refining education delivered at events and improving the event experience for attendees. Representatives of MYB were on-site at Travel Exchange to meet delegates, gather their feedback and evaluate the event. Inman expects an initial report of the
firm’s findings in March, with recommendations for specific changes to follow in April. Babb said any significant changes MYB recommends will first be considered by the NTA board and then be voted on by the membership before being implemented. The December installment of Travel Exchange also saw the launch of two new initiatives — the DMO Network and the Supplier Network — intended to create increased engagement and benefits for travel industry members. The new groups are based on the concept of the Owners Network, a small group of NTA tour company proprietors who meet twice a year for executive-level discussions about business issues. “I’ve belonged to NTA for a quarter century, and the opportunity to sit down with 15 to 20 other owners and discuss things is incredibly valuable,” said Mark Hoffman, owner of Sports Leisure Vacations and chairman of the Owners Network. “It’s like having your own set of consultants available. It allows you to talk about things you normally wouldn’t talk about.” Using a similar model, the DMO Network will allow destination marketing organization representatives to share insights and solutions with each other. The network is being headed by Lisa Itel, manager of global sales for Travel Oregon. “We get to come to convention once a year, but we’re really focusing on our own business when we’re here,” Itel said. “The DMO Network will create another platform for us to start communicating.” The network will meet in person annually. The first meeting took place at Travel Exchange, and the 2018 gathering is scheduled for NTA’s Contact event in Charleston, South Carolina, in April. NTA’s new Supplier Network, also launched at the December Travel Exchange, will follow a similar model, providing a discussion platform for attractions, hotels and other tourism suppliers. It will be led by Sally Berry, tourism sales and marketing manager at the Corning Museum of Glass.
INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE BRINGS THE WORLD TO CHARLESTON
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The iconic city of Charleston, South Carolina, drew nearly 400 delegates to Travel South International Showcase, November 27-29, including 110 international travel buyers from around the world. “Our international inbound program is surging,” said Liz Bittner, the organization’s president and CEO, during a marketplace session. “We now have six in-country project managers representing key markets like Australia, China, Brazil and most of Europe. In the last six months, we have participated in 26 sales events outside the United States, and in June, we took 24 sales professionals to Australia.” Travel South USA has become a close partner with Brand USA and has redirected its international web presence to that organization’s website. “We now have 23 different suggested road trips on that site in eight different languages,” said Bittner. “Travelers worldwide are using www.visittheusa.com.” Tristan Freedman, director of business development for Gate 7 in Australia, is an in-country rep for Travel South USA, and said that the South is Australian tour operators’ fastest-growing destination. “The average Australian will spend three weeks on a trip to the United States,” he said. “Traditionally, those trips have been to markets like California, New York and Las Vegas. But air service drives this market, and today, Qantas is offering service between Dallas and Sydney, United is offering service between Houston and Sydney, and Air New Zealand is flying to Houston five times a week.” “The idea of a Southern road trip is very appealing to Australians,” he said. Daniel Shen of East West Marketing Corp., based in Shanghai, said that traditional travel patterns for the immense Chinese market are evolving. “Many years ago, had someone asked us if we could bring Chinese to the South, we would have said no,” said Shen. “Today, that answer is very different. “The biggest drivers of the market from China are travel agents and social media. There are 20,000 travel agencies in China, and each may have 300 to
Photos by © Tricia Coyne 2017 LEFT TO RIGHT: WIT TUTTELL, CHAIRMAN; TRAVEL SOUTH USA’S TASTE OF THE LOWCOUNTRY; BUYERS HUDDLED IN MARKETPLACE
1,000 customers. They are all using the Chinese social media platforms Weibo and WeChat. There is a huge travel community that shares its experiences instantly.” Shen said the United States remains the top bucket-list destination for Chinese travelers. Five percent of the country’s 1.3 billion citizens now have passports, and 2.8 million came to the
United States in 2016. “Delta will begin direct daily flights between Shanghai and Atlanta on July 31,” he said. “That will begin to change the travel dynamic into the South. We’re promoting 30 different itineraries with Travel South USA, so the prospects for growth from China are very strong.” WWW.TRAVELSOUTHUSA.COM
d r o f r e h t u R r e v o Disc STONES RIVER NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD ANTEBELLUM HOME TOURS VIBRANT DOWNTOWN DISTRICT CULTURAL ARTS VENUES AGRITOURISM EXPERIENCES MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVALS NISSAN PLANT TOURS MORE THAN 4,200 HOTEL ROOMS OVER 300 RESTAURANTS FREE COUNTY-WIDE PARKING
All photos by Matthew Minucci, courtesy USTOA
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BY B O B H O E L S C H E R
espite having been a tour operator for over 40 years, tours are a subject I write about only infrequently now. But I believe our readers will enjoy learning about what is possible with a bit of luck and advance research. For years I wanted to visit mainland China, but I never made it any closer than Hong Kong. Consequently, I was perusing the numerous emails offering travel specials that I receive regularly hoping to find a bargain when, last spring, exactly what I was looking for surfaced. This was a 15-day, end-of-season, fully-escorted program operated by the Sinorama Group, a ChineseCanadian company based in Montreal. To be included were nine nights’ lodging at five-star hotels, a four-night cruise on the Yangtze River, motorcoach transportation, “step-on” city guides, all but a handful of meals, all admissions for a comprehensive sightseeing program, all tips for guides and drivers, airport transfers, a full-day high-speed train trip between Shanghai and Jingzhou, scheduled flights from Chongqing to Xi’an and Xi’an to Beijing, and round-trip air transportation from Seattle. Now I’m going to tell you how this all turned out. First, there is absolutely no risk in booking with licensed Canadian tour companies, whose customers are covered by that country’s well-designed consumer protection program. The hotels were all excellent, and one, the brand-new Shanghai Baoshan Delta Hotel, was spectacular, even extending to the bathrooms’ heated toilet seats. Our guides were quite good throughout, although occasionally spoken “Chinglish” was a bit difficult to comprehend, and our “national” guide, Mi Nan, was very attentive to detail. Sightseeing was outstanding, although, not unexpectedly, we were taken to about half a dozen erstwhile “factories” designed to encourage purchases by visitors. Food was plentiful and generally tasty, so everyone was well fed. Our Yangtze ship, Sinorama Gold 3, was attractive, and cabins — all with balconies — were spacious and most comfortable. The round-trip air turned out to be nonstop on Delta 767s, not on some off-brand carrier. And our English-speaking group numbered only 18 agreeable souls. The entire trip was well organized, and the late November/early December weather was
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mostly good. There was a fair amount of haze or fog, which sometimes limited visibility in southern China and on the Yangtze River, but there was no pollution in the Beijing area, the trade-offs for clear skies and sunshine being chilly temperatures and fresh breezes. The only cold and windy place was at the Great Wall, although the day itself was sunny and bright. Other memorable sightseeing included city tours and attractions in all the cities noted above, plus the Yangtze’s magnificent Three Gorges, the massive Three Gorges Dam project, the pandas and other critters in the Chongqing Zoo, the Terra Cotta Warriors, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. Surprises included hundreds if not thousands of high-rise apartment buildings of 40 stories and more everywhere, sprawling cities with many millions of inhabitants, monumental traffic jams, and countless luxury stores and shopping facilities. Here’s the biggest surprise, though: The total price of this package, round trip from Seattle, was $1,399. I spent about $90 additional for incidentals like soft drinks, bottled water, snacks, the meals not included, and gratuities, and, of course, I had to get a Chinese visa. So keep your eyes open: Deals like this one are out there to be claimed by the diligent. STREET FOOD IN CHONGQING
A PANDA AT THE CHONGQING ZOO
YANGTZE RIVER BRIDGE AT NIGHT
BEIJING’S FORBIDDEN CITY
Photos by Bob Hoelscher FEBRUARY 2018
SANDY HAINES MYRTLE BEACH AREA CVB BY B R I A N J E W E L L
lot of people working in tourism are responsible for bringing visitors to their hometowns. But few have the pleasure of a hometown as dynamic and appealing as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Sandy Haines has spent most of her life in Myrtle Beach, save for a short stint in Turkey when her father was stationed at a military base there, and considers it her hometown. So when an opportunity to work at the local chamber of commerce opened up in 1991, she jumped at the chance and began a career that would take her through almost every aspect of the area’s tourism business. “I’ve been here for 26 years,” she said. “Our convention and visitors bureau is a division of our chamber of commerce. So I actually started as an admin in the membership division, and I worked there for eight years. Then I went to work in our publications division, where I sold ads and worked on our marketing pieces, printing and proofing them. Then I opened up our airport welcome center and oversaw all the ethics in the area. Any complaints that came in about Myrtle Beach, I was the one who handled those.” After a few years of fielding complaints, she got a chance to move to the bright side of the business when the group tour sales manager position opened up 12 years ago. “Group sales is absolutely the most fun of the jobs I have had so far,” she said. “I love the relationships I have with our tour operators, as well as the relationships we have in our area. This market is all about relationships.” Haines told the story of taking a colleague from the CVB’s convention sales department to the American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace and watching his reaction to the friendliness of the tour and travel community there. “He couldn’t believe that we were a family and that everyone was hugging each other,” she said. “In the corporate market, it’s all about shaking hands and getting down to business. But we find out about each other’s grandkids and husbands first, and then get down to business.” Much of Haines’ sales work happens at ABA and other tourism events. Her organization sponsors or attends 15 industry conferences each year, including the Ontario Motor Coach Association and the Travel South Showcase, which it will host in 2019. She spends a lot of her time preparing for and following up after these conferences. “I do a lot of planning for our trade shows: arranging sponsorships, GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM
SALES TIP FROM SANDY “ I f you’re hav i ng a ha rd t i me f i l li ng t he coac h up, f i nd a pa r t ner or a not her tou r operator you ca n work w it h. It cou ld b e t hat you have a couple p e ople f rom one op er ator a nd a couple f rom a not her.” working with our suppliers, producing videos and making sales calls,” she said. “I also have a sales goal of room nights that we have to reach every year. This year it was just over 40,000 rooms, just in the motorcoach market.” When she has free time, Haines spends it with family, often traveling to Jacksonville, Florida, to see her new grandchild. But when she’s home in Myrtle Beach, she can often be found introducing her hometown to visiting tour operators and group leaders. “A lot of my free time goes into hosting FAMs, going to shows, dinners and showing off the town,” she said. “It’s great because a lot of people forget to see what’s in their own backyards.” All that hard work has contributed to a tourism boom in Myrtle Beach. When she started at the chamber of commerce, Haines said, the city saw around 3 million visitors a year. Now they’re up to 18 million annual visitors, and CVB leaders have set a goal of reaching 20 million visitors in 2020. When that happens, you can be sure Haines will have a part in that success. And she’ll probably be having more fun than anybody else.
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EASY by BRIAN JEWELL
By Brian Anderson, courtesy Memphis in May
THOUSANDS OF FANS GATHER DOWNTOWN IN MEMPHIS FOR THE BEALE STREET MUSIC FESTIVAL.
LOCAL BARBECUE AT THE BEALE STREET MUSIC FESTIVAL
By Mike Kerr, courtesy Memphis in May
MUSIC FANS IN MEMPHIS
By Briana Wade, courtesy Memphis in May
hat could be better than attending a concert by your favorite musician? Seeing all your favorites in one place. Music festivals are a concert loverâ€™s dream, offering the opportunity to hear performances by dozens or hundreds of musicians at the top of their art form. In destinations across the country, festivals dedicated to jazz, folk, rock, country and bluegrass music draw thousands of visitors, who come both for the headlining acts and the opportunity to enjoy the host city or region. Here are 10 iconic music festivals that combine award-winning lineups with distinctive destination appeal. If you have music lovers in your group, consider planning a trip to one of these events.
C A T C H Y O U R F AV O R I T E S A T O N E O F T H E S E M U S I C F E S T I V A L S
BRISTOL RHY THM AND RO OTS REUNION Bristol, Virginia Straddling the Tennessee/Virginia state line, the city of Bristol is recognized as the official birthplace of country music. Visitors can learn about that music heritage any time, but it comes to life for three days each September during the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion. Founded in 2001, this festival now draws up to 50,000 attendees who come to hear the likes of Robert Randolph, John Oates and other Americana music stars. The festival features 165 artists and over 2,200 sets of music. W W W. BR IST OL R H Y TH M.COM
Courtesy Lafayette Travel
BEALE STREET MUSIC FESTIVA L Memphis, Tennessee Memphis enjoys legendary status in the history of rock, blues and soul music, and Beale Street downtown is one of the countryâ€™s foremost destinations for live music any time of year. During the Beale Street Music Festival, which takes place each May, artists from numerous genres converge to celebrate
Memphisâ€™ musical roots. More than 60 acts perform throughout the course of the three-day festival on four stages spread around a park where Beale Street meets the Mississippi River. Recent lineups have included names such as Jill Scott, Kings of Leon, Tori Kelly and Ziggy Marley. W W W. ME MPH ISI N M A Y.ORG
NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVA L Newport, Rhode Island Since 1959, the Newport Folk Festival has been a focal point of the American folk music community. Held in a peninsula park surrounded by the bay in Newport, Rhode Island, this event is known for its stunning location and its history of seminal folk music performances. Past artists have included Bob Dylan; Pete Seeger; Peter, Paul and Mary; and other leaders of the folk music movement. The three-day July festival is incredibly popular, often selling out more than six months in advance, so groups should plan their visits with plenty of time to spare. W W W. N EW PORTF OL K .ORG
BRISTOL RHYTHM AND ROOTS REUNION
By Bill Foster
Artwork by David Brown GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM
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MONTEREY JA ZZ FESTIVA L Monterey, California The world’s best jazz musicians make their way to beautiful Monterey, California, each September for the Monterey Jazz Festival. Marking its 61st edition this year, the three-day festival takes place at the fairgrounds in this seaside city and features more than 500 artists performing on eight stages spread over 20 acres. Shoppers will enjoy browsing the international bazaar that takes place during the festival. And jazz superfans may also want to attend the Jazz Legends Gala, a swanky event that has honored such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, Quincy Jones and Chick Corea. W W W. MON T ER E YJAZZFEST I VA L .ORG
SUMMERFEST Milwaukee The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and just about every other great artist of the past five decades have performed at Milwaukee’s iconic Summerfest. This massive event spans 11 days in late June and early July and is billed as the largest music festival in the world. More than 800 artists give more than 1,000 performances on 11 permanent stages spread throughout a 75-acre festival park on Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shore. More than 800,000 visitors attend each year to hear concerts by the top artists in rock ’n’ roll, country, hip-hop and other genres. W W W.SU M MER FEST.COM
MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL
CAROLINA COUNTRY MUSIC FEST
CAROLINA C OUNTRY MUSIC FEST Myrtle Beach, South Carolina As country music has continued to grow in popularity, fans have demanded more opportunities to see their favorite artists perform. One result of this movement was the creation of the Carolina Country Music Fest, which debuted with 20,000 attendees in 2015. The three-day June festival has grown quickly — last year 30,000 people attended — adding a third stage and attracting performers such as Luke Bryan and Toby Keith. The event takes place in an 18-acre area of Myrtle Beach between the Boardwalk and Ocean Boulevard and features a zip line, VIP areas and other amenities. W W W.C A ROL I NACOU N T RY MUSICFEST.COM
MONTANA FOLK FESTIVA L Butte, Montana Beautiful, rugged Butte, Montana, makes the perfect backdrop for the Montana Folk Festival, a free, three-day event in mid-July that celebrates American folk culture. The festival takes place in Butte’s historic downtown, with mountains in the background, and features performances and demonstrations on six stages by more than 200 folk musicians, dancers and craftspeople. Visitors often enjoy participatory dancing at the festival, as well as folklife demonstrations and artisan marketplaces that highlight the work of 50 traditional artists and crafts vendors. There’s also a market dedicated to showcasing Native American art. W W W. MON TA NA F OL K FEST I VA L .COM
BOOKER T. JONES AT THE MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL
GROUP By Jim Stone, courtesy Monterey Jazz Festival T HE
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By Jim Stone, courtesy Monterey Jazz Festival FEBRUARY 2018
TELLURIDE BLUEGRASS FESTIVA L Telluride, Colorado Bluegrass music may have gotten its start in the Appalachian Mountains, but its biggest celebration takes place in the Rockies. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival is four days of live music in a Colorado box canyon 8,750 feet above sea level. Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, the festival features bluegrass luminaries such as Bela Fleck, Chris Thile and Sam Bush along with hundreds of others who are known to take risks and give special performances for the 14,000 fans in attendance. The festival always takes place over the weekend closest to the summer solstice in June. W W W. BLU EGR ASS .COM / T EL LU R I DE
ESSENCE FESTIVAL New Orleans In a city known for big parties, the Essence Festival stands apart as one of the most soulful and impactive. Now in its 24th year, the festival is a production of Essence Magazine and draws nearly 500,000 attendees who gather in the New Orleans Superdome for three days of music, culture and empowerment each year in July. The lineup of performers reads like a who’s who of the rhythm-and-blues and hip-hop worlds; it includes Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. Speakers and authors such as Steve Harvey, Al Sharpton and Magic Johnson also make appearances. W W W. ESSE NCE .COM / FEST I VA L
FANS AT ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL IN NEW ORLEANS
EMMYLOU HARRIS AT THE TELLURIDE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
By Benko Photos, courtesy Telluride Bluegrass Festival
A GIANT PAELLA AT THE MONTANA FOLK FESTIVAL
By Zach Smith
BAYFRONT BLUES FESTIVA L Duluth, Minnesota There’s no better time to visit the Upper Midwest than late summer, which is why the Bayfront Blues Festival attracts more than 20,000 fans each August. The festival takes place on the banks of shimmering Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota’s Bayfront Park and is one of the largest events in the region. In the 25 years since the festival began, notable blues and rock artists such as Buddy Guy, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett and Blues Traveler have performed there. Groups can get one-day tickets, three-day passes and special VIP packages. W W W. B A YFRON T BLU ES .COM
By John Zumpano, courtesy Montana Folk Festival GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM
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TE X AS
L U C K E N B AC H
1 AU S T I N
5 CORPUS CHRIS TI
BY B R I A N J E W E L L
n Texas, boots are made for dancing.
Live music is as impor-
tant a part of Texas heritage
as cattle ranches and oil rigs.
The state has a legendary place in country
and Western music, but there’s more to
Texas tunes than twangy guitars. Groups that visit the state today will find abun-
dant live music of all types, including jazz, rock ’n’ roll and Tejano, in addition to country favorites.
Austin is one of America’s foremost
live-music cities, with more than 100
music venues. Not far away, the tiny
town of Luckenbach is a country music legend, drawing travelers to enjoy dance
parties hidden in the Texas Hill Country. And in the Texas Metroplex, the suburb of
Denton hosts an annual jazz festival that is the toast of Dallas and beyond.
Texas claims a number of music stars,
such as Buddy Holly, who was born in
Lubbock, and Selena, a native of Corpus Christi. Both cities have museums and live music in honor of these local heroes.
Courtesy Austin CVB
LIVE MUSIC MECCA You can’t talk about music in Texas without talking about Austin. With an eclectic culture and a love of all things musical, Austin has one of the best live-music scenes in the United States. Austin bills itself as the Live Music Capital of the World because on any given night there are more than 100 venues around town featuring musical performances. Groups can experience the best of traditional country and Western music at iconic honky-tonks such as the Whitehorse and the Broken Spoke, and sample a wide variety of musical styles in the clubs in the South Congress neighborhood. Another great option for groups is the Gospel Brunch at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q. Many people know the city’s popular “Austin City Limits” television program, which features live musical performances. Groups can make plans to attend tapings of the show at the Moody Theatre. And for the adventurous, Austin’s South by Southwest has become one of the most famous music festivals in the country. W W W.V I S ITAUS TI N.O RG
Courtesy Visit Lubbock
BUDDY AND BEYOND Lubbock is a hub of culture that reflects the arid, wide-open spaces of western Texas. As the birthplace of Buddy Holly, the city holds a special spot in American music history, and visitors can enjoy the legacy of Holly and other artists with live music around town. Holly was an up-and-comer in the rock ’n’ roll movement of the 1950s when he died in a tragic plane crash. The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock is dedicated to Holly’s memory, with exhibits on his life and influence in music as well as a live musical performance series that highlights his legacy. The city also has several other spots for groups to hear live music. One of the most popular is the Cactus Theater, a restored 1930s movie theater that hosts concerts by local and regional artists, as well as tribute concerts that pay homage to Holly and other greats of rock ’n’ roll. W W W.V I S IT LU B B O C K .O RG
Courtesy Discover Denton
METROPLEX JAZZ About 30 miles north of Dallas and Fort Worth, Denton is one of many smaller communities that make up the Metroplex area surrounding the two large cities. For three days every year in late April, though, music fans from around the state and beyond flock to town for the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. Celebrating its 38th anniversary this year, the Denton Arts and Jazz festival is a free event that attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year and offers numerous activity options for groups. The festival takes place in a 20-acre park in downtown Denton and features live music on seven stages where more than 2,700 musicians and other artists perform over the course of the weekend. The event also features the work of hundreds of artisans from around the country. The Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau can help groups with the logistics of a visit to the festival and often also facilitates tours of nearby attractions, such as the North Texas Horse Country. W W W.D E N TO N JA Z Z F E S T.C O M
Courtesy Fredericksburg CVB
LITTLE LUCKENBACH “Let’s go to Luckenbach, Texas,” sang Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson in the 1977 country song “Luckenbach, Texas,” making this tiny Texas town famous. But Luckenbach has been a destination for music lovers since long before that song reached the airwaves. Just outside of Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country, Luckenbach was established as a trading post in 1849. That trading post became a general store and then expanded to include a dance hall. For decades, the dance hall has featured live country music every weekend, drawing visitors to the small community where “everybody is somebody.” Groups can enjoy these festive weekend dances or catch performances from regional and national artists who make Luckenbach a stop on their tours. There are also daytime shows on Sundays and Picker’s Circles jam sessions on some weeknights. The Luckenbach General Store offers live music daily alongside lunch; it features a variety of Luckenbach merchandise.
Courtesy Corpus Christi CVB
SELENA AND MORE Many travelers think of Corpus Christi as a Gulf-front beach destination, and it is certainly popular with the sand-and-surf crowd. But the city is also famous in the world of Tejano music, Spanishlanguage music popular in the southwestern United States, as the home of one of its biggest stars. In the 1980s and 1990s, a Corpus Christi artist named Selena shot to the top of the Tejano music industry, shattering records and winning the hearts of millions of fans. She died tragically at 23 years old in 1995, but her memory lives on at Corpus Christi’s Selena Museum, where visitors can learn about her life, her music and the impact her hometown had in shaping her art. Music lovers can get a taste of the Tejano music that Selena influenced at the Fiesta de la Flor, a two-day music festival celebrating Selena’s memory that takes place each year in mid-April. The Texas Jazz festival, which takes place over three days in October, showcases other forms of music. W W W.V I S IT C O RP US C H RI S TIT X .O RG
W W W.LU C K E N BAC H T E X AS.C O M
ORIGINAL FURNITURE AT TALIESEN
HOUSE ON THE ROCK Courtesy Taliesen Preservation
By Herb Sparrow
Courtesy Wisconsin Dells VCB
R O A D S to RICHES TALIESEN PRESERVES THE HOME AND STUDIO OF LEGENDARY ARCHITECT FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT. Courtesy Taliesen Preservation
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S O U THERN W I S C ON SIN
ALWAYS DELIVERS B Y H E R B S PA R ROW
very time I come back here, it is with the feeling there is nothing anywhere better than this is.” Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was speaking of Taliesin, the home, studio and school he built on 800 acres of southwest Wisconsin farmland his Welsh grandparents had homesteaded. The rolling green countryside helped inspire Wright as he developed an organic style inspired by nature that transformed American architecture in the first half of the 20th century. On a summer jaunt through southern Wisconsin, my wife, Marcheta, and I not only sampled the beautiful rolling green countryside that inspired Wright, but also discovered a fascinating array of attractions and sites that had their own architectural flair in keeping with the Wright tradition. GROUP TRAVEL TRADITION Our trip started at an attraction that has perfected the art of hosting motorcoach groups. Owned and operated by the third generation of the Klopcic family, the Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson deservedly claims the title of Wisconsin’s top motorcoach stop. Groups are greeted at the door, often by a member of the Klopcic family, escorted to their seats for a delicious dinner and then shown into the 652-seat theater in the round for an entertaining show by professional performers. Dick and Betty Klopcic opened the pyramidshaped restaurant in 1964 around its namesake fireplace and quickly expanded. We were treated to a repeat of “South Pacific,” the first show presented at the Fireside in 1978 when they added the theater component.
The 2018 season features “Kopit and Yeston’s Phantom,” “Disney’s Newsies,” “42nd Street,” “A Second Helping,” “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” “Grease” and “Elf the Musical.” WRIGHT ’ S RETREAT There was no music at the Wright-designed visitors center at Taliesen near Spring Green, but we enjoyed lunch there before going across the road to the fascinating house that was a constant work in progress and experimental lab for Wright, who began construction in 1911 and made more than 200 changes over the next 40-plus years. “He was always experimenting,” said Aron Meudt-Thering, communications coordinator for the Taliesin. “This was his sketchbook. He would try out designs for his clients.” In addition to living quarters and a living room with sweeping views of the countryside, the main house also has Wright’s studio, where he resurrected his sagging career in the mid-1930s by designing the iconic Johnson Was building in Racine, Wisconsin, and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. “This room has a lot of exciting history,” said a guide. “It is where he turned his career around. Those two designs picked him back up to the top. They were designed right here in this room.” The Taliesin complex also includes the separate multilevel Hillside structure that houses the architecture school Wright founded, still in operation. “It is still a working community; there are still students on-site,” said Meudt-Thering. Groups can ride motorcoaches to Hillside, but they must break into smaller groups to ride vans to the main house. Groups have the option of doing both or selecting one. WISC ONSIN ORIGINA LS Just five miles down the road, the House on the Rock defies architectural comparisons as it continues to change and expand more than 70
years after the late Alex Johnson started what was intended to be a weekend retreat on top of a craggy 60-foot sandstone rock. The original 14-room house, inventively built in and around the rock’s natural curves and crevices and filled with just some of Johnson’s eclectic collection of items, has been joined by two other large buildings to handle the exotic and whimsical exhibits and displays. “Colorful” and “exotic” can also be used to describe a visit to Circus World in Baraboo, where the history, thrill and excitement of the circus is lovingly preserved at the former site of the winter quarters for the Ringling Brothers Circus. The highlight of the large collection of circus memorabilia is the more than 200 brightly colored, restored circus wagons, and visitors can watch wagons being restored. Next door is a fascinating, detailed miniature circus that was handcrafted over a 40-year period by a husband-and-wife team. This attraction, though, is more than artifacts. Circus World keeps the circus alive with twicedaily seasonal shows under a large red-and-white big-top tent that feature an equestrian, an aerialist, clowns, jugglers and two elephants. VACATION HOT SPOT In nearby Wisconsin Dells, Paul Bunyan’s Lumberjack Show features talented young men who compete in lumberjack skills such as logrolling, speed climbing, axe throwing and chopping, and log sawing with axes, handsaws and powerful chain saws. Wisconsin Dells bills itself as the “water park capital of the world.” “We have the big six water parks; all but one are both indoor and outdoor,” said Natalja Deduna, sales manager for the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau. However, Wisconsin Dells was a major tourist destination before the advent of the water parks,
Artwork by Donia Simmons GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM
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THAI PAVILION AT OLBRICH GARDENS
Courtesy Olbrich Gardens
the state’s military history through innovative displays of artifacts, including a UH-1 Huey helicopter that flew in Vietnam and now hangs suspended from the ceiling, and a large collection of oral histories of veterans accessible in several computer kiosks. “Every veteran is a story. We try to preserve and protect them,” said Karen Burch, marketing specialist for the museum. “We can have all these [artifacts], but they don’t mean anything without the story. That is our mission, to tell the stories,” said Jennifer Van Haaften, assistant director.
MADISON NEWC OMERS Nearby, two recent distinctive additions to the Madison skyline — the Overture Center for the Arts and the adjoining Madison Museum of Contemporary Art — tell stories of a different kind. The 14-year-old Overture Center, designed by Cesar THAI GARDEN REFLECTING POOL Pelli, features a main 2,255-seat performance hall designed to accommodate large touring productions and has broadA THEATER AT OVERTURE CENTER ened Madison’s appeal as an entertainment center. FOR THE ARTS “Producers now see Madison as a viable market,” said Courtesy Olbrich Gardens Overture CEO Ted Dedee. “We are getting shows sooner By Eric Oxendorf, courtesy Overture Center for the Arts than expected. Madison has become the No. 1 entertainment destination in the state; we are outpacing Milwaukee.” “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST” AT MADISON MUSEUM OF Four visual art galleries include three around its large THE FIRESIDE DINNER THEATRE. CONTEMPORARY ART rotunda lobby and a gallery on the third floor for larger exhibits. The restored 1928 Capitol Theater is part of the center and shows silent movies five times a year accompanied by its original organ. The 11-year-old Madison Museum of Contemporary Art stresses its ties to the community and attempts to get OVERTURE CENTER people involved in its rotating exhibits. FOR THE ARTS “We select art that we think will be compelling and get By John Frauschy, courtesy people involved,” said Erika Monroe-Kane, the museum’s By Christine Krieg, San Francisco CVB Overture Center for the Arts Courtesy the Fireside By Jim Brozek, courtesy MMoCA director of communications. The museum’s distinctive design, with a three-story with boat tours on the Wisconsin River through unusual glacier-carved limeglass-enclosed stairwell extending into State Street, is also a draw. stone formations. The Tommy Bartlett Show with its acrobatic water skiers “We have become an icon for Madison,” said Monroe-Kane. has been a Wisconsin Dells fixture for more than 60 years. THAILAND IN WISC ONSIN CENTURY OF GRANITE A short distance from downtown, another distinctive architectural element In Madison, the large granite state Capitol has dominated the downtown is becoming a Madison icon. The red-and-gold Thai pavilion at Olbrich skyline for 100 years; it marked its centennial last year. Its ornate interior, Gardens, a gift to the University of Wisconsin from the Thai government, is with more than 43 varieties of stone from around the world, shines after an one of only four of its kind outside Thailand. extensive 14-year restoration and renovation completed in 2002. The ornate 40-foot-long, 30-foot-high building features gold-leaf etchings, Visitors can go up in the dome, the only granite dome in the United a lacquer finish and intricate decorations. States, stand inside a small Plexiglas inset and look down into the rotunda; The 16-acre Olbrich Gardens has a diverse collection of plants and grasses they can also walk outside around the exterior of the dome for a 360-degree displayed in 13 gardens, including a traditional English-style garden enclosed view of Madison, which sits on a narrow isthmus between Lake Mendota by a shrub hedge, a rose garden with a limestone two-story observation tower and Lake Monona. and a sunken garden with an 80-foot-long reflecting pool that leads the eye Across the street from the Capitol, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum traces toward Lake Monona. 26
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N N O RW E G I A ER T N E C E G A T HERI
undreds of thousands of Norwegians emigrated to the United States between 1825 and 1910, with many settling in southern Wisconsin. Twenty miles southeast of Madison in Stoughton, the twoyear-old Norwegian Heritage Center, known as Livsreise — Norwegian for “life’s journey” — recounts the immigrants’ experiences. “We are telling the story of Norwegian immigrants from the slant of the people who came through this area,” said center manager Marg Listug. There are traditional artifacts, but the technology is the star. Turn the pages of digital storybooks to see photos and stories of families from Stoughton and learn about Norwegian culture
Courtesy Norwegian Heritage Center
and heritage at five interactive kiosks. At Map Your Journey, you choose a vocation, pack your trunk and buy a ticket from transportation options on an interactive table. Then a large multiunit map on the wall traces your journey from Norway on Google Maps. WWW.LIVSREISE.ORG
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Swing away at the Great River Landing, located off the Great River Road in Onalaska, WI
For year-round natural beauty, it doesnâ€™t get much better than La Crosse County.
Great River Landing
Van Loon State Wildlife Area
There are so many places to go and things to do in this area that take advantage of the stunning vistas of the bluffs, marshes, or the majestic river valley. Make sure to check our ten favorites!
La Crosse Queen in Riverside Park
Great River Road
Wisconsin State Bike Trails
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge
Apple Blossom Scenic Drive
URBA N Currents BY E L I ZA M Y E R S
SIOUX FALLS EMBRACES ITS RIVERFRONT ORIGINS
100-foot-tall triple waterfall, a balmy butterfly paradise and a winery constructed with straw bales might seem a strange mix of stops on a tour. But in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a cultural hub of the Great Plains, surprises await around every corner. “The term I would use for Sioux Falls is that it is a refreshing destination,” said Jackie Wentworth, sales manager for the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s something a bit unexpected. I think sometimes when people travel to the Midwest, they think of farmland and flat country. In Sioux Falls, there is a thriving urban center.” In the past, the city flourished by connecting five railroads. Today, the junction of interstates 29 and 90 keeps Sioux Falls bustling with activity and compelling attractions to explore. Touring groups can choose from numerous historic sites, a multipurpose entertainment complex and samples from the city’s emerging brewery and winery scene. 32
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By Rich Murphy, courtesy Sioux Falls CVB BEAUTIFUL FALLS PARK IS THE CENTERPIECE OF SIOUX FALLS.
SCENIC STOP: FA L L S PA R K Some 7,400 gallons of water spilling down a triple waterfall every second will grab visitors’ attention fast. It also captivated the Sioux Tribe of the American Indians and early European explorers, who named the city of Sioux Falls for the natural wonder. Today, the stunning waterfall stands in 123acre Falls Park in historic downtown. Groups love to explore the paved trails along the Big Sioux River, which flows through town. “It’s like the Riverwalk in San Antonio, but it is much larger,” said Wentworth. “We have the Falls Overlook Cafe, where in the summer months, you can grab lunch, dinner or some of the best ice cream around.” Guests can explore permanent sculptures
throughout the park as well as markers from the city’s history. The remains of Queen Bee Mill and the millrace that once powered it are still there for curious onlookers. One new attraction sits in a renovated late1800s barn that once housed horses that worked in local stone quarries. The Stockyards Ag Experience tells the story of agriculture’s impact on this region. Interactive displays highlight the history of the Sioux Falls Stockyards, which shaped the city from their opening in 1917 until they closed in 2009. Another section of the museum reveals how food grown around the region makes its way to Sioux Falls, with one exhibit featuring a look inside livestock barns with 360-degree videos. FEBRUARY 2018
N AT U R A L S T O P : B U T T E R F LY H O U S E A N D A Q UA R I U M
C U LT U R E S T O P : WA S H I N G T O N PAV I L I O N OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Imagine walking into a tropical garden where hundreds of colorful butterflies flit and float all around you. It sounds like a dream, but it’s every day at the Butterfly House and Aquarium. “It is so peaceful,” said Wentworth. “The staff does such a great job educating visitors about the life of butterflies. The experience gives the visitor an opportunity to get up close and personal to butterflies.” More than 800 butterflies from around the globe live in the 3,600-square-foot indoor tropical garden. The conservancy stays a balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round for the benefit of the butterflies and accompanying tropical flowers. Tours teach guests about the species of butterflies from Central and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Through the Emergence Window, visitors can also watch butterflies break out of their cocoons and into the garden. Many groups split up so half can wander first through the Butterfly House while the rest check out the more than 10,000 gallons of exhibits in the accompanying aquarium. They can touch slimy bamboo sharks in the Shark and Stingray Touch Pool and see sea cucumbers, hairy triton snails and sea urchins at the Pacific Tide Pool. The Cove offers a large-scale view of ocean creatures with hundreds of fish, coral reefs, anemones and other saltwater exhibits.
When a high school moved to a different part of Sioux Falls, the Neoclassical building it left behind seemed too interesting to part with. City officials repurposed the Sioux quartzite building into the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences in 1999. The multipurpose entertainment venue houses the Kirby Science Discovery Center, the Visual Arts Center, the Husby Performing Arts Center and the Wells Fargo CineDome Theater. “The Kirby Science Discovery Center has more than 100 interactive exhibits,” said Wentworth. “It is fun for all ages. It has everything from exploring space to tornadoes to rock climbing to making movies.” Visitors learn with their hands at the center by interacting with a live science demonstration, touching a simulated tornado and operating a robotic arm. The Pavilion also offers other hands-on classes and workshops for both students and adults, such as the Wine on the Wheel pottery workshop. At the Visual Arts Center, guests walk through one permanent and six rotating galleries exhibiting work by regional and national artists. Groups could also catch a touring Broadway production or a performance by the Sioux Falls Symphony at the Husby Performing Arts Center’s 1,800-seat great hall. With so many options, staff at the Washington Pavilion can easily customize a group’s experience.
BUTTERFLY HOUSE AND AQUARIUM
Courtesy Sioux Falls CVB GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM
STRAWBALE WINERY Courtesy Sioux Falls CVB
SPIRITS STOP: S T R AW B A L E W I N E R Y With a glass of wine in hand, groups can hear the unusual story of how Don and Susie South constructed a winery with straw bales. The couple used straw bales to insulate the winery building and reduce energy needs, as well as create a controlled environment to aid in the maturation of the wine, thus the name Strawbale Winery. Groups can tour the winery to learn about the construction process, which involved repurposed wood and environmental sustainability. The Souths can also share how they first planted grapes for fun in 2000. After some encouragement from friends, they eventually built Strawbale Winery in 2005. The 2006 tasting room and gift shop also use straw bales for insulation. After a tour, groups can sit back and sample some of the winery’s 20 wines produced from grapes and a variety of other fruits, such as black currants and strawberries. The sweeping view of the countryside elevates the experience. “Your stress level diminishes as you enter the premises,” said Wentworth. “The setting is what sells Strawbale Winery. They produce delicious South Dakota wine. It is the most delightful afternoon activity.” The winery hosts numerous events from May to October. The Strawbale Summer Porch runs on Thursdays all summer long and features concerts and work by local and regional artists. The popular Folk Off and Rib Challenge is held each July, with up to 12 musical acts and six barbecue vendors.
WASHINGTON PAVILION OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Courtesy Washington Pavilion
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H I S TO RY S TO P : PETTIGREW HOME AND MUSEUM After Richard Pettigrew first came to Sioux Falls in 1869, he soon made it his life’s mission to build and promote the city. He helped bring five early railroads, developed many businesses and served as the state’s first full-term senator. Visitors can tour Pettigrew’s 1889 Queen Anne home to learn more about this interesting figure. Tours explain how he championed the rights of women and farmers during his time in Congress. They also point out the home’s detailed woodwork, silk damask wall coverings and jeweled windows. The restored home retains many of the furnishings and arrangements from Pettigrew’s time there, since he donated it to the city upon his death in 1926. Pettigrew developed a passion for collecting, building his own museum filled with natural and cultural curiosities from his extensive travels. Stone tools, Native American clothing and rare natural specimens make the attached Courtesy
PETTIGREW HOME AND MUSEUM
museum an intriguing stop. Siouxland Heritage Museums runs the Pettigrew Home and Museum as well as the nearby Old Courthouse Museum. “The Pettigrew Home and Museum can be paired with a visit to the Old Courthouse Museum,” said Wentworth. “Part of the group can visit the Old Courthouse Museum while the other can visit the Pettigrew Home. Admission to both is free.” The Courthouse Museum operated as Sioux Falls’ courthouse from 1889 until 1962. Three floors of public exhibit space showcase a colorful glimpse into the region’s history.
By Rich Murphy, courtesy Sioux Falls CVB
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DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE PLAN FOUR DAYS OF FUN IN PENNSYLVANIA
VIEW FROM ONE LIBERTY OBSERVATION DECK IN PHILADELPHIA All photos by Savannah Osbourn
B Y S AVA N NA H O S B O U R N THROUGH NEARLY FOUR CENTURIES, PENNSYLVANIA HAS ENJOYED A VIBRANT RANGE OF HISTORY, CULTURE AND ART. THE KEYSTONE STATE TOOK CENTER STAGE FOR MANY FORMATIVE EVENTS IN EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY, FROM THE SIGNING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE IN PHILADELPHIA TO THE CONTINENTAL ARMY’S GRUELING WINTER AT VALLEY FORGE. LESS THAN A CENTURY LATER, THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG MARKED THE TURNING POINT OF THE CIVIL WAR. IN ADDITION TO SEEING THESE MOMENTOUS LANDMARKS, VISITORS CAN EXPLORE WORLD-CLASS MUSEUMS, FORMAL GARDENS, ECLECTIC EATERIES AND SO MUCH MORE. TO HELP TRAVEL GROUPS NARROW DOWN THEIR CHOICE OF ATTRACTIONS, WE OUTLINED A SAMPLE FOUR-DAY ITINERARY
Characterized by cobblestone alleys and beautiful city squares, Philadelphia exudes an energetic, chic atmosphere with Old World charm. Visitors can start their days with breakfast at the historic Reading Terminal Market, which is below a former train terminal. The indoor market is the oldest continuously operated farmers market in the country, with a wide selection of Cajun, Middle Eastern, Asian and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. Some choice breakfast options include Beiler’s Donuts, the Dutch Eating Place, the Down Home Diner and Old City Coffee. After visiting prestigious historic sites such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Thomas Jefferson’s house, groups can delve deeper into Colonial history at the new Museum of the American Revolution, which opened in 2017. The state-of-the-art museum
OF FOUR KEY REGIONS IN THE STATE.
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brings history to life through interactive displays and short film experiences; also featured are powerful artifacts such as George Washington’s war tent and the first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence. Just a few minutes from the Museum of the American Revolution, City Tavern is an appropriate lunch venue to complement your group’s historical sightseeing. The three-story Colonial tavern is a detailed reconstruction of the original City Tavern that George Washington, Jefferson and other notable figures once frequented. Guests are greeted by servers clad in period attire and led to candlelit tables, where they can feast on authentic 1800s cuisine such as lobster pie, mallard duck sausage and Martha Washington’s chocolate mousse cake. The Barnes Foundation is another of the city’s must-see attractions. Founded in 1922 by Albert C. Barnes, the museum houses some of the most distinguished impressionist art in the world, featuring the work of renowned artists like Renoir, Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse and Rousseau. As the day winds to a close, groups should be sure to stop by the One Liberty Observation Deck, also known as Philly From the Top, for an unparalleled view of the glittering cityscape. After a 75-second elevator ride, visitors step out into a 360-degree, glass-enclosed space more than 850 feet above downtown Philadelphia.
READING TERMINAL MARKET
THE BARNES FOUNDATION
MARTIN GUITAR MUSEUM AND VISITORS CENTER
After exploring everything Philadelphia has to offer, groups can head north of the city to the picturesque region of Lehigh Valley, where arts and innovation culminate in several distinct attractions. Based in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, C.F. Martin & Company has made its mark as an esteemed American brand for more than 180 years building guitars and other products for legendary musicians like Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney. At the Visitors Center, the Martin Guitar Museum and the Martin Guitar Factory, visitors can take a free, one-hour guided tour of the facility to watch these world-famous instruments take shape in the hands of hundreds of skilled craftspeople. Afterward, guests can stop by the music store to pick up a T-shirt or a fresh set of Martin’s trademark acoustic guitar strings. The nearby town of Bethlehem has also played a vital role in American manufacturing, most notably as the home of the former Bethlehem Steel Company. At one point, the company was the largest producer of steel in the United States, supplying steel for the construction of landmark structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Chrysler Building and the Lincoln Tunnel. Though the plant closed in 2003, the local community fought to preserve the historic mill, leading many of the original buildings to be refurbished and reopened as public attractions.
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Today, the Bethlehem Steel Campus has evolved into a thriving arts and entertainment district, with the towering blast furnaces of the old steel mill looming in the background. The Hoover Mason Trestle allows groups to climb a series of stairs and follow a walkway along the rusted furnaces, 100-ton flywheels and giant ore cars, providing a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a steel mill. Housed inside the Bethlehem Steel Company’s former electrical repair shop, the National Museum of Industrial History details the rich history of industrial machines and innovative technologies. Next door, the ArtsQuest Center hosts more than 1,000 concerts each year as well as eight annual festivals, including nationally recognized events such as Christkindlmarket and Musikfest, the largest free music festival in the country. Just a few minutes from the main campus, the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem provides lodging, entertainment and shopping in one premier location that features 3,000 slot machines, 180 table games and world-class cuisine from celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse.
A HISTORIC LOOM AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF INDUSTRIAL HISTORY
THE RAILROAD MUSEUM OF PENNSYLVANIA
PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH COUNTRY
After a scenic hour-and-a-half drive through rolling green farmland, groups will arrive in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, home to the largest and oldest Amish community in the United States. The name “Pennsylvania Dutch” derives from the Amish, Mennonite and other German-speaking groups that settled the area during the 18th century after fleeing religious persecution in Europe. Over the past two decades, the local Amish population has nearly doubled in size, now numbering about 30,000, and visitors can experience everything this unique culture has to offer in the county seat of Lancaster. To find the perfect Amish Country souvenir, visitors can stop by Lancaster’s Kitchen Kettle Village, a quaint little shopping district with over 40 artisan shops. These locally owned stores offer everything from heirloom
THE JAM AND RELISH SHOP IN KITCHEN KETTLE VILLAGE
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quilts to fine pottery and fresh fudge. One of the most popular venues is the Jam and Relish Shop, where guests can sample dozens of homemade dips and sauces on complimentary crackers. Just across town, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania explores the rich history of Pennsylvania’s railroad systems, which once served as a major crossroads for train lines across the nation. Inside, the museum displays more than 100 vintage locomotives and railroad cars in a reconstructed train station complete with yard tracks and a 100-foot turntable. Set against a bucolic backdrop of Amish farmland, the Amish Experience enables newcomers to learn more about the fascinating history and culture of the Amish community. The attraction offers guided Amish Country excursions, a tour through a replica Amish home and one-room schoolhouse, and a multimedia theater production titled “Jacob’s Choice.” For dinner, many groups take advantage of the all-you-can-eat buffet at Miller’s Smorgasbord, a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant that offers heritage Amish cuisine and other specialty dishes. The largest Christian theater in the country, Sight and Sight Theatre is undoubtedly one of the biggest draws to the area. The palatial theater contains a 2,000-seat auditorium and a 300-foot stage that encircles the audience on three sides. This immersive quality enables the theater to bring biblical stories to life with state-of-the-art technology and props. Following the immense success of last year’s production of “Jonah,” Sight and Sound will present the show “Jesus” throughout 2018.
Southeast of Lancaster is the scenic and wooded region of Brandywine Valley, where travelers will discover a colorful variety of local eateries, historic estates and charming downtown areas. The small town of Kennett Square claims the title of Mushroom Capital of the World, making it a great spot to grab a bite to eat or pick up a fresh mushroom-based sauce or soup for the road. The surrounding farmland produces more than a million pounds of mushrooms per week, nearly half of all the mushrooms grown in the United States. In September each year, thousands of visitors flock into town for the two-day Kennett Square Mushroom Festival. Nestled along the banks of the Brandywine River in a former gristmill, the Brandywine River Museum promotes the work of regional artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. Included in the collection are more than 250 works of art by eight members of the Wyeth family, who spent many years in the region and made vast contributions to different artistic mediums. Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World” is considered by some to be one of the most important American paintings of the 20th century. One of the most beloved attractions in the region is Longwood Gardens, a stunning 1,077-acre property that showcases Italian water gardens, sweeping flowerbeds, wooded trails and ornate, full-scale treehouses. The colossal Conservatory offers a welcome respite from the elements during the colder months where visitors can enjoy an arresting array of orchids, palms and winter camellias. From January to March, Longwood Gardens displays over 4,500 vibrant orchids as part of its annual Orchid Extravaganza.
A LONGWOOD GARDENS GREENHOUSE
A TULIP DISPLAY AT LONGWOOD GARDENS
AN ENTRANCE PATH INTO LONGWOOD GARDENS
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WHATEVER MOVES YOU
T H E R E IS A M USIC M USE U M FOR E V E RYON E
B Y R AC H E L C A RT E R
ONE COULD MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT MUSIC, MORE THAN ANY OTHER ART FORM, SHAPES CULTURE. WHETHER IT’S FOLK, COUNTRY OR BLUES, ROCK, POP OR GRUNGE, MUSIC IS NOT ONLY A REFLECTION OF MODERN CULTURE BUT ALSO A FORCE THAT MOLDS IT. THESE MUSIC MUSEUMS EXPLORE VARIOUS MUSICAL GENRES, AS WELL AS THE ROLE MUSIC PL AYS IN OUR LIVES
M USE U M OF POP C U LT U R E SEATTLE
A DAVID BOWIE EXHIBIT AT THE MUSEUM OF POP CULTURE IN SEATTLE By Mick Rock, courtesy Museum of Pop Culture
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen founded the Experience Music Project, or EMP Museum, in 2000, and while the museum has always been rooted in rock ’n’ roll, it has also always celebrated science fantasy and fiction. In November 2016, EMP rebranded as the Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, to include sci-fi, fantasy, horror, fashion, sports and video games and, above all, support “the creative works that shape and inspire our lives.” Interactive galleries give hands-on access to instruments and recording studios, and allow visitors to perform before a virtual audience. A towering sculpture with more than 500 musical instruments and 30 computers greets guests. The museum’s collection includes handwritten lyrics, personal instruments, original photographs, clothing and props of musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and the legendary Seattle band Nirvana. W W W . M O P O P. O R G
A ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE EXHIBIT AT THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME
By Robert Muller, courtesy RRHOF
ROCK A N D ROL L H A L L OF FA M E CLEVELAND Just as rock ’n’ roll is ever changing, so are the exhibits and displays in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. But staples found behind the glass pyramid facade include an Elvis exhibit with exclusive 14-minute film about the King, and the “Legends of Rock and Roll” exhibit that showcases artifacts from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and more. The Guitar Gallery features instruments owned by Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Tom Petty, Jerry Garcia and others. The Hall of Fame offers a variety of group packages that, along with discounted admission, can include a scavenger hunt, meal vouchers for the All Access Café and a special museum discount card. Groups can also add special experiences, such as an excursion cruise or a live performance by the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall. W W W. RO CKHA LL .CO M
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GR A M M Y M USE U M LOS
The word “Grammy” is synonymous with music, and the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles is a temple to modern musicians. Current exhibits explore the music of saxophone legend John Coltrane and Colombian singer/songwriter Carlos Vives, as well as 40 years of punk rock in Los Angeles. “On the Red Carpet” features some of the Grammy Awards’ most memorable outfits, and “In the Studio” is a series of interactive pods that take guests inside the recording process. The “Roland LIVE” gallery allows visitors to play electronic musical instruments, and “Revolutions of Recorded Sound” leads guests through the history of recorded music, from wax cylinders to surround sound. Among its current exhibits is a tribute to Michael Jackson from his early career with the Jackson 5 to his galactic solo years. Visitors can see the red letterman jacket Jackson wore in the “Thriller” video and a sequined glove from his 1984 Victory tour.
LISTENING STATIONS AT GRAMMY MUSEUM By Susan Capra, courtesy Grammy Museum
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C OU N T RY M USIC H A L L OF FA M E A N D M USE U M NASHVILLE,
By Susan Capra, courtesy Grammy Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, is a must-see and must-hear site in Music City. “Sing Me Back Home,” the museum’s permanent, core exhibit, takes visitors from country’s roots in folk, blues and church hymnals to its inclusion in mainstream American culture in the 1950s and 1960s. The two-story exhibit includes historic artifacts and original recordings, archival video and newly produced films, original photographs and interactive touch screens. Exhibits then lead guests through country music of the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and today with costumes, concert posters and instruments from musicians such as Dolly Parton, Dwight Yoakam and Garth Brooks. Temporary exhibits explore the work of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn. Others explore the contributions of more contemporary artists, including Shania Twain and the husband-wife team of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. W W W. C O U N T R Y M U S I C H A L L O F FA M E . O R G
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
THE SIGNATURE EXTERIOR OF THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME Courtesy High Museum of Art
By Dove Wedding Photography, courtesy CMHOF
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N AT ION A L BLU E S M USE U M ST.
NATIONAL BLUES MUSEUM
Courtesy National Blues Museum
The National Blues Museum opened in April 2016 in downtown St. Louis. Museum officials chose St. Louis for its location in the heart of the Blues Belt and for its important role in the history of the genre. The museum’s 23,000-square-foot exhibit floor leads guests on a chronological exploration of the blues, from its roots in the America South in the 1800s, north to St. Louis and Chicago, and then nationwide, as an essential piece of the American musical landscape in the 21st century. Hands-on experiences and one-of-a-kind artifacts drive the interactive exhibits. As visitors progress through the galleries, they can create their own blues persona, music and album artwork. Each stop is a step toward completing their own blues song that they can take home as a souvenir. Groups can also time their visits with public events such as weekly blues concerts and other music performances, as well as lectures and films. W W W. N AT I O N A L B L U E S M U S E U M . O R G
TUNE IN 2018 EXHIBITION LINEUP OPENS M MARCH
AMERICAN CURRENTS: THE MUSIC OF 2017
OPENS JUNE LITTLE BIG TOWN
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OPENS JULY RALPH STANLEY
OPENS OCTOBER RALPH STANLEY
BOOK YOUR GROUP’S TOUR TODAY 800.852.6437 #PressPlayRecord
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ARE WE THERE YET?
M U SE U M- G OE R S L O V E T H E SE GI F T SHOP S
B Y R AC H E L C A RT E R
SINCE MUSEUMS TEND TO CUR ATE WHAT’S IN THEIR SHOPS AS CAREFULLY AS WHAT’S IN THEIR GALLERIES, MUSEUM STORES OFFER SOME OF THE BEST SHOPPING AROUND. THE STORE OFTEN SERVES AS AN EXTENSION OF THE MUSEUM, ALLOWING GUESTS TO TAKE HOME ONE-OF-A-KIND ARTWORK AND HANDMADE ITEMS, TONGUE-IN-CHEEK PIECES AND QUIRKY SOU VENIRS. HERE ARE FIVE NOTABLE MUSEUMS WHERE SHOPPERS WILL FIND DISTINCTIVE ITEMS.
V ICTORI A A ND A LBERT MUSEUM LONDON The Victoria and Albert Museum, or simply V&A, began as the Museum of Manufactures in 1852, and its first director wanted it to help educate British designers, manufacturers and consumers in art and science. Today, 166 years later, the museum has more than 2.3 million objects spanning 5,000 years in its permanent collection. Items in the V&A shop are inspired by the museum’s permanent collection and temporary exhibits, such as stationery, posters and tote bags that complement the recent Winnie-the-Pooh exhibit, and scarves, headbands and fashion illustrations that correspond with the Balenciaga exhibition. Visitors can take home floral-printed gardening tools, a Pink Floyd pig T-shirt or a Japanese woodblock print puzzle. Higher-end items include one-of-a-kind pieces and limited-edition prints, such as a circa-1973 print of David Bowie and Twiggy signed by the photographer, Justin de Villeneuve.
SATURDAYS OFF THE 405 AT THE GETTY IN LOS ANGELES
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HANDMADE LACE AND SILK ITEMS AVAILABLE AT LONDON’S VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM By Nick Veasey, courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum
BEAUTIFUL GLASSWORK FOR SALE AT THE STORE AT MAD IN NEW YORK
By Wai Lee, courtesy the store at MAD
ST OR E AT M A D NEW
The Museum of Arts and Design first opened its doors in 1956 as the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, so it’s not surprising the museum still celebrates materials, craftsmanship and the process of design. Exhibits highlight contemporary makers and crafters across all creative fields and media. As part of the recent “Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space With Sound” exhibition, the “Audiowear” project featured a porcelain pan-flute collar and xylophone bangles. The “Surface/Depth” exhibit opening in March will display Miriam Schapiro’s hybrid painting-collage works inspired by women’s domestic arts and crafts. The Store at MAD curates and sells products that preserve the museum’s “handmade” ethos; however, artists also use some of the newest design technology and fabrication techniques. Visitors will find colored glass-tube vases, laser-cut wood bowls and accordion-style bookends, along with ceramics, glassware and a wide assortment of jewelry. W W W. M A D M US E U M .O R G
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A NECKLACE AT THE MCA CHICAGO STORE Courtesy MCA Chicago
A NCHOR AGE M USE U M A HANDMADE BASKET IN THE STORE AT THE ANCHORAGE MUSEUM
By Chris Arrend, courtesy Anchorage Museum
The Anchorage Museum is, at its core, about place. As the museum says, it brings the best of Alaska to the world and the best of the world to Alaska. The museum doesn’t focus on one discipline; it highlights Alaska’s place in art and culture, science and history. The main exhibition in the new Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center features more than 600 objects on loan from the Smithsonian Institution’s collections, such as an 1893 Tlingit war helmet and a 1935 Iñupiaq feast bowl from Wales. The Anchorage Museum store allows visitors to take home a piece of Alaskan culture and Northern design. Guests can browse artwork and crafts by indigenous people as well as books about various Northern cultures. Clothing, jewelry, decor: All the merchandise highlights the art, design, culture, science and history of the North. Alaska Native artwork includes woven grass baskets and wood carvings, as well as figurines and jewelry that often feature whale baleen, walrus ivory and bone. W W W. A N C H O R AG E M US E U M .O R G
GroupTravelLeader.qxp_Courier 7/04 1/4/17 4:24 PM P
Jack Thornell/The Associated Press
Discover The Huntington
Now Open From the assassinations of civil rights leaders to a protest for human rights at the Olympics, explore the events that marked 1968 as a year of anguish for the civil rights movement.
NEWSEUM.ORG 555 PENNSYLVANIA AVE., N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C.
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Group Tours Available Pasadena Adjacent huntington.org
MC A CH IC AG O ST OR E CHICAGO The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago first opened in 1967 and has spent the past 50 years taking chances on and providing opportunity to artists — like the time Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped the exterior and interior of the original museum building using more than 12,000 square feet of canvas as part of their “Wrap In Wrap Out” installation. That sense of risk and feeling of reward can be found at the MCA Chicago Store. Each item is arguably a piece of contemporary art, such as a necklace made of Lucite bubbles, Marie Antoinette salt-and-pepper shakers and wooden Japanese kokeshi-style dolls of artists and pop icons. The online store also features a selection of items that complement Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami’s recent MCA exhibit “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg.” Merchandise includes Murakami prints, apparel, books, plush dolls and puppets. W W W. M CAC H I CAG OSTO R E .O R G
MÜTTER MUSEUM OF THE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS OF PHILADELPHIA PHILADELPHIA At the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, gleaming wood-and-glass cabinets hold a dizzying array of medical collections, such as 1,300 “wet specimens” — body parts preserved in fluid-filled jars — and more than 3,000 skeletal specimens, as well as wax anatomical models and historical medical instruments. The museum’s store is an extension of its exhibits, with fun, quirky and sometimes-bizarre items. The book selection covers topics such as dangerous medicinal plants, the “life” of cadavers and collections of medicinal art through the ages. The Mütter store’s most popular piece of apparel is a custom-designed hoodie that highlights some of the museum’s famous specimens, such as Mega Colon and the bust of conjoined twins, Chang and Eng. Visitors can even take home a custom plush Mega Colon, which doubles as a neck pillow. W W W. M UT TE R M US E U M .O R G
PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM
One of California’s most beautiful and unique destinations! Ask about our docent-led group tours - Two restaurants available with tour group options Coming Soon - GENGHIS KHAN and POMPEII Exhibits - ReaganLibrary.com
Tour Through Air Force One 27000
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View a Full Scale Replica of the Oval Office
Touch an Authentic Piece of the Berlin Wall
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40 Presidential Drive • Simi Valley, CA 93065 • 805.577.2704 • ReaganLibrary.com
BRING YOUR POPCORN
T HESE CI N E M AT IC E X HIBI TS A R E BIG W I T H FA NS
B Y R AC H E L C A RT E R
M ARTIN SCORSESE HAS DIRECTED NEARLY 60 FILMS OVER HIS 50-PLUS-YEAR CAREER. WITH THE OPENING OF “STAR WARS: THE L AST JEDI” IN DECEMBER, THE STAR WARS FR ANCHISE SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SLOWING, AND DREAMWORKS CONTINUES TO M AKE HUGELY POPUL AR ANIM ATED FILMS FOR AUDIENCES OF ALL AGES. MUSEUMGOERS CAN LEARN ABOUT THESE AND OTHER SILVER-SCREEN POWERHOUSES AT THESE FILM AND CINEMA EXHIBITS.
DOW N T ON A BBE Y: T H E E X H I BI T ION NEW DOWNTON ABBEY: THE EXHIBITION
Whether their favorite characters lived upstairs or downstairs in Crawley manor, “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” allows visitors to get a firsthand look into the PBS Masterpiece smash hit, which wrapped up its final season in 2016. The exhibition, which opened in Singapore last summer, made its North American debut in November in New York City. NBCUniversal International Studios extended the run through April 2 due to popular demand. Organizers expect it will travel, but locations have not yet been announced. The period costumes are front and center in the exhibits. Visitors will also see sets, such as the dining room, the kitchen and Lady Mary Crawley’s boudoir, and learn about post-Edwardian English culture and social history. W W W. DOW NTO N E XH I B ITI O N .CO M
Courtesy Downton Abbey: The Exhibition
MARTIN SCORSESE COLLECTION
Courtesy Martin Scorsese Collection
M A RT I N SC OR SE SE: T H E E X H I BI T ION MONTERREY,
Scorsese opened his personal archive for “Martin Scorsese: The Exhibition,” the first international exhibition devoted to his work, which debuted in 2013 at Deutsche Kinemathek — Museum für Film und Fernsehen in Berlin. It will open March 22 at MARCO (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey) in Monterrey, Mexico, where it will run through July 15. The exhibition explores the central setting of most of his films: New York City, particularly the Little Italy neighborhood where Scorsese grew up. Exhibits also explore his work as a film connoisseur and preservationist and his directorial aesthetics and techniques. Visitors will see storyboard sketches, props from films such as “Raging Bull,” costumes worn by Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, and historic film posters from Scorsese’s private collection. W W W. D E U T S C H E- K I N E M AT H E K . D E / E N
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ST A N L E Y K U BR ICK E X H I BI T ION FRANKFURT,
STANLEY KUBRICK EXHIBITION
It’s difficult to say which of Stanley Kubrick’s films is most famous. Maybe it’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” or perhaps his 1980 film “The Shining,” starring Jack Nicholson. But visitors can learn about all his works — famous, infamous and otherwise — during a retrospective developed in collaboration with Kubrick’s estate and the German Film Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. The exhibition will return to Frankfurt for the museum’s special exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of “2001: A Space Odyssey” that will run March 21 through September. In October, the complete Kubrick exhibition will travel to a venue in Spain, where it will be on display until March 2019. Visitors can wander through a replica of the Korova Milk Bar from “A Clockwork Orange” and see Jack’s infamous typewriter from “The Shining,” as well as the baby-blue dresses worn by the movie’s haunting sisters.
Courtesy Stanley Kubrick Exhibition CONCEPT ART FOR “TROLLS” ON DISPLAY IN THE DREAMWORKS ANIMATION EXHIBITION
W W W. S TA N L E Y K U B R I C K . D E
DR E A M WOR K S A N I M AT ION: T HE E X HIBI T ION GATINEAU,
“DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition” celebrates 20 years of animated magic from DreamWorks’ first animated feature, “Antz,” in 1998 to 2016’s “Trolls,” which won a Grammy for its feature song. The exhibition opened December 8, 2017, at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, and will be on display until April 8. It will open at the Montreal Science Center in May. dates after that are yet to be announced, but the exhibition will continue to tour through mid-2020 with stops likely in Europe, Australia and South America. Visitors can discover the secrets of digital animation from the people behind “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda.” Exhibits feature more than 400 objects, including a model of Toothless, the Night Fury dragon from “How to Train Your Dragon,” as well as photographs, posters, props, concept drawings, storyboards and original artwork from the DreamWorks archive. W W W. H ISTO RY M US E U M .CA / DREAMWORKS GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM
By Timothy Lamb, courtesy Canadian Museum of History
NASA Visitor Center
See the world’s largest collection of space artifacts and explore the fascinating future of space travel! Looking to stay a bit longer? Sign up for an inspiring experience at Space Camp! Two- to six-day Camps are available for all ages: children, families, adults and corporate groups.
Huntsville, Alabama • (800) 637-7223 www.rocketcenter.com
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R E BE L , J E DI, PR I NC E SS, QU E E N: ST A R WA R S A N D T H E POW E R OF C OST U M E S T. P E T E R S B U R G , F L O R I D A , A N D D E T R O I T STAR WARS AND THE POWER OF COSTUME
By Rachel Carter
The Smithsonian Institution’s “Star Wars and the Power of Costume” exhibit showcases more than 60 original costumes from the first 1977 film through the 2015 “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The exhibit will be at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida, through mid-April before moving to the Detroit Institute of Arts in May, where it will run through September. Exhibits focus on costume-making, from nightmarish concept sketches of Darth Maul to the construction of the elaborate Padmé Amidala’s dresses. Visitors can see Chewbacca’s yak hair costume, Boba Fett’s bounty-hunting outfit and Luke Skywalker’s cloak and kimono from “Return of the Jedi.” Visitors will learn how actor Anthony Daniels, who played the fussy, brassy C-3PO droid in all seven films, couldn’t sit down while wearing the intricate getup and find out why the late Carrie Fisher hated Princess Leia’s infamous bronze bikini from 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.” W W W. P OW E RO FCOST U M E . S I . E D U
CELEBRATING THE 125th anniversary of
LARGEST LANDRUN IN
STAR IN YOUR OWN WESTERN MOVIE ONLY IN ENID, OKLA! • • • • •
Scripts provided in advance Movie is 20-30 minutes long Professional Cinematographer Minimum group size: 35 Cost $30 per person, includes lunch • Call 580.616.7368 to book
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Find information on Enid events at:
Humphrey Heritage Village Rotating Special Events Christmas in the Village 580-237-1907 CSRHC.org
G U I D E
2018 MUSEUMS & EXHIBITS GUIDE
U.S. Space & Rocket Center
1 Tranquility Base Huntsville, AL 35805 800-637-7223 Group Sales Contact: Tom White email@example.com www.rocketcenter.com The U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) is the largest spaceflight museum in the world, showcasing the past, present and future of human spaceflight. The Rocket Center serves as the Official NASA Visitor Center for Marshall Space Flight Center and Tennessee Valley Authority and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road San Marino, CA 91108 626-405-2100 Jane Sandmeier firstname.lastname@example.org www.huntington.org The Huntington: World renowned center of art & culture, covering 120 acres of breathtaking gardens. Featuring British, French & American art, and Library treasures. Highlights: Gainsborough’ Blue Boy, a Gutenberg Bible, 16 magnificent gardens including California Drought Tolerant, Japanese, Chinese, Rose, Camellia, Desert & Children’s Gardens. Group Tours our specialty
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
40 Presidential Drive Simi Valley, CA 93065 800-410-8354 Group Sales Contact: Melanie Salvesen email@example.com www.reaganlibrary.com The Reagan Library is one of California’s most beautiful and unique destinations. Tour through the actual Air Force One that flew seven U.S. presidents. View a full scale replica of the Oval Office. Touch an authentic piece of the Berlin Wall. Also home to President and Mrs. Reagan’s memorial site.
The National WWII Museum
945 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70130 504-528-1944 • 877-813-3329 x222 Ruth Katz firstname.lastname@example.org www.nationalww2museum.org Ranked the #1 attraction in New Orleans and the #4 museum in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, The National WWII Museum is a remarkable must-see attraction that illuminates the American experience in WWII. Group rates, specialty tours, field trips, team-building, live shows in BB’s Stage Door Canteen and more!
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive Charlotte, NC 28217 704 401-3200 The Billy Graham Library—like the Crusades that went before it—has kept the Gospel as its singular message since opening 11 years ago. Come to the Library and retrace Billy Graham’s dynamic journey from humble farm boy to international ambassador of the Good News of Jesus Christ through state-of-the-art-exhibits, multimedia presentations, and fascinating memorabilia.
Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center
507 S. 4th Street Enid, OK 73701 580-237-1907 Contact Name: Robbin Davis email@example.com www.csrhc.org Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center tells the story of the largest land run in American history. This magnificent story is brought to life through Smithsonian-quality exhibits and the Humphrey Heritage Village, a collection of four historical buildings, including the only remaining U.S. Land Office. Special exhibits & programs. Museum store.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
222 Fifth Ave South Nashville, TN 37203 615-416-2001 Brad Henton BHenton@countrymusichalloffame.org CountryMusicHallofFame.org For half a century the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum has been home to a growing collection which stands now at over 2.5 million artifacts, including one-of-a-kind recordings, films, instruments, stage wear, and more. Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print are historic properties of the Museum.
555 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 202-292-6690 Group Sales Contact: Roxana Rivera firstname.lastname@example.org www.newseum.org The mission of the Newseum is to increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment. Visitors experience the role of a free press in history, and how the core freedoms of the First Amendment — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — apply to their lives.
Milwaukee Public Museum
800 W. Wells Street Milwaukee, WI 53223 414-278-2728 Group Sales Contact: Tim Malenock Tim.Malenock@mpm.edu www.mpm.edu The Milwaukee Public Museum is Wisconsin’s Natural History Museum, where every visit is a new adventure through the world of natural science and human history! Whether you take a docent-led tour or wander the museum on your own, MPM’s three floors of exhibits is a one-of-a-kind immersive experience.
IF YOU COULD AT TEND A CONCERT BY ANY MUSICIAN, PAST OR PRESENT, WH AT SH OW WOULD YOU CH OOSE?
Past: Prince. Present: Adele
— Kelly Tyner, DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING
— Stacey Bowman, DIRECTOR, ADVERTISING SALES
I would love to see U2 in concert. I came so close last summer when they played in Louisville, Kentucky, on their Joshua Tree tour: A friend called offering me a ticket just a couple hours before the show began. But I was fresh back from a long trip and needed to spend some time with the family. It was the right decision, but every now and then I wonder if I’ll ever get another chance.
I’m not much of a music buff, but I would have loved to see some of the great composers perform on stage, such as Bach, Beethoven or Mozart. I would be especially interested to observe the audience atmosphere and see how people perceived these legends in their own day.
— Brian Jewell, EXECUTIVE EDITOR
An actual Mozart or Bach concert. I think that would be simply fascinating! — Donia Simmons, CREATIVE DIRECTOR
— Savannah Osbourn, STAFF WRITER
I would love to see Led Zeppelin with John Bonham on the drums. My favorite song of all time is “Kashmir,” and having those sounds caress my ear would be an experience like nothing else. — Ashley Ricks, CIRCULATION MANAGER
I know the correct answer here — it’s Tom Petty for all the right reasons. But I’m going to go with Nick Drake (1948 – 1974). Nick Drake was a British musician whose songs were ethereal. He was reticent to play in public and did most of his work in very close quarters. Many learned of him years after his death when Volkswagen used “Pink Moon” for a timeless television commercial in 1999. Seeing him somewhere, anywhere, would work just fine. — Mac Lacy, PUBLISHER
EDITOR’S NOTE Welcome to Staff Sound-Off, the monthly column where our staff members answer questions about their travel practices and preferences. We hope you enjoy these tips. If you have a question you’d like to see us answer, send it to me and it may appear in a future issue. BRIANJ@GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM 50
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The Group Travel Leader February 2018 issue features trip ideas for group-friendly music festivals, museums, Texas, Pennsylvania Wisconsin a...
Published on Jan 31, 2018
The Group Travel Leader February 2018 issue features trip ideas for group-friendly music festivals, museums, Texas, Pennsylvania Wisconsin a...