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COME to the

SOUTH

STORIES LIVE HERE


THE PERFECT STAGE FOR GROUPS TO

PLAY TOGETHER

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET

There’s a reason Branson has consistently been voted a top group travel destination; we take vacationing together seriously. To learn more about group travel packages or to request information on Branson’s 10th Annual Professional Travel Planner FAM April 17-20, 2018, contact Lenni Neimeyer | CTIS, CSTP at lneimeyer@bransoncvb.com.

ExploreBransonGroups.com 417-243-2105


LET YOUR TRUE

LIGHT SHINE

Mississippi is shining a light on its rich and complex story through new interactive museums, authentic culinary experiences and an unmistakably unique musical culture. Visit us here in the birthplace of America’s music and step into the true stories responsible for shaping a state and influencing the world.

www.mississippi.org/history

M I S S I S S I P P I C I V I L RIGHT S MUSE UM - JACKSO N, MISSISSIPPI


TRAVEL 2018

SOUTH

TOUR PLANNER

MUSI C STOR IE S

FA M O U S I N T H E S O U T H

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LEARN ABOUT SOUTHERN MUSIC CULTURE FROM THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE IT.

DISCOVER THE PLACES BEHIND THESE FAMOUS FACES.

R E S TAU R A N T I C O N S

A S OU TH E R N H A RV E ST

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THESE FAVORITE SOUTHERN EATERIES ARE FULL OF FAMILY STORIES.

LIFE

ON THE

GET TO KNOW THE FAMILIES BEHIND THESE HOSPITABLE SOUTHERN FARMS.

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NICHE TRAVEL PUBLISHERS 301 EAST HIGH STREET LEXINGTON, KY 40507 888-253-0455 WWW.GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM


JIM DAILEY TOURISM DIRECTOR

KEVIN LANGSTON DEPUTY COMMISSIONER TOURISM DIVISION

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM

GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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KRISTEN BRANSCUM COMMISSIONER

KYLE EDMISTON A S S I S TA N T S E C R E TA R Y

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DAN LENNON • DIRECTOR

WIT TUTTELL • DIRECTOR

LEE SENTELL • DIRECTOR ALABAMA TOURISM DEPARTMENT WW W . A LA BA M A . T R A V EL

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VISIT NORTH CAROLINA

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LOCAL southern

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KEVIN TRIPLETT COMMISSIONER TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TOURIST DEVELOPMENT WWW. TN VA C A TI O N .C O M

Greenbrier Bunker

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WEST VIRGINIA R I TA M C C L E N N Y P R E S I D E N T/ C E O

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BOARD of DIRECTORS

“The Greenbrier Resort has been a getaway for guests from around the world since 1778. During World War II, the U.S. Army converted the hotel into a 2,0 0 0-bed hospital. Guests can take a historic tour of the top-secret, supersized bunker, built under the resort for all 535 members of Congress during the Eisenhower era. The bunker was stocked for 30 years but never actually used as an emergency location. Its location was not public knowledge until 1992.” — EMILY AMOS West Virginia Division of Tourism W W W.GR E E N BR IE R .COM

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We help you create unique itineraries. You take all the credit. The best itineraries are filled with inspiration, entertainment and excitement from start to finish. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in North Carolina where our scenic tours, cultural attractions, award-winning restaurants and more await your group’s arrival. Plan your group adventure to North Carolina by contacting Amanda Baker at 919-447-7765 or amanda.baker@visitnc.com.

visitnc.com/groups


RESEARCH

RESONATES during

T U T T E L L’ S T E R M BY MAC LACY

W IT TUTTE L L

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it Tuttell is a research guy. Heading into the coming year as chairperson for Travel South USA, North Carolina’s state travel director has research efforts at the top of his personal queue for the 12-state travel organization. “We need better standardized research for the domestic group market and for our international inbound marketing efforts,” said Tuttell, director of Visit North Carolina. “By leveraging the resources of a dozen states, we can go a long way in standardizing the research we all tap into.” Travel South USA began working with Tourism Economics several years ago, and the effort is beginning to pay off. Tourism Economics produces standardized research and forecasts trends for more than 250 organizations across the globe. Travel South USA is a pilot project for its international tourism analytics research that examines visitation, market share and travel trends for participating countries, regions and states. Tuttell is a big believer in collective programming as well, and he cites the group’s ability to leverage dollars to everyone’s benefit as one of its biggest assets. “The Travel South Tour Planner your company publishes is a great example of that,” he said. “It’s successful because it spreads the investment across 12 states. Our Ultimate Ad 8

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Challenge is another. We’re getting into media programs now that are very measureable, which is great. As individual states, we couldn’t demand that much attention from some of these media companies. Another is Domestic Showcase. We draw the buyers we need to be successful because of the collective importance of our respective destinations.” Tuttell may be a big supporter of shared interests among his Travel South colleagues, but he also doesn’t mind heralding the new developments in his home state. “Hosting Travel South Showcase in Winston-Salem a couple of years ago is still paying benefits for us,” he said. “We are seeing new group business from tour operators who came, and we’re still generating exposure from journalists who participated. “Storytelling is a common theme for all of us in the South because that’s what today’s travelers respond to,” he said. “Why did the Wright brothers come to North Carolina to fly? Because we have islands 26 miles out in the ocean and the winds are what they needed. What is Ocracoke brogue? Why do they have their own language there? “In Jacksonville, North Carolina, at Mission Barbecue, everyone stands at noon each day to join in singing ‘The StarSpangled Banner.’ People come from everywhere just to be there for that. And we have a new craft brewery in Hendersonville that is our first opened by an African-American female brewer. L.A. McCrae has opened Black Star Line brewery there, and it’s a pretty cool story. “If you have groups that are into pirates, next year we’re celebrating the 300th anniversary of the death of Blackbeard, the famous pirate who sailed the Eastern Seaboard and ran aground near Beaufort,” said Tuttell. “There will be events at Beaufort Pirate Invasion in Beaufort, during Piratefest in Greenville and at Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree at Ocracoke.” T O U R

P L A N N E R


Next time someone asks what you did last weekend, have a better answer. In Kentucky, you can enjoy amazing food, music, entertainment, horse racing, distillery tours and much more. All delivered with true Southern hospitality and charm. To learn more and see sample itineraries, visit KentuckyTourism.com.

Come experience what we’re famous for.

#travelky


CENTRAL H IGH SCHOO L I N ARKANSAS IS AMONG TH E MOST SIG NI FICANT CIVI L RIGHTS SITES I N TH E SOUTH .

CIVIL RIGHTS and other stories

HEADLINE 2018

BY MAC LACY

L IZ B ITTN E R

W

hen it comes to assessing and publicizing the impact of America’s civil rights era on the South, Liz Bittner thinks there is no time like the present. On January 1, the country will celebrate the 155th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and on April 4, America will reflect on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis. “Just a few years ago, the National Park Service identified a number of significant sites related to architecture, schools, parks and other civil rights landmarks across the South,” said Bittner, Travel South USA’s president and CEO. “However, Lee Sentell, our Board member from Alabama, knew there were so many more sites to be noted for travelers interested in this chapter of our history. We need to tell that story and facilitate travel to those sites. This is a key element of our tourism region and we’re taking a leadership role in making that happen.” Travel South USA is spearheading the effort to create a United States Civil Rights Trail and is working to form a nonprofit marketing alliance that will help to promote as many as 140 local sites that are significant to the civil rights story across 14 states and Washington, D.C. “There are stories to be told from the civil rights era for domestic and international travelers,” said Bittner, “stories of tragedy and stories of bravery, stories that reflect the

strength of our nation’s young people and the resilience of their elders. It’s not a story of separate but equal; it’s a story of equality for all.” “Stories” is a word Bittner uses often. She believes that the South has the best storytellers in America. Many of them, she said, are just ordinary citizens. “It usually comes down to a person,” she said. “Travelers want to know or figure out who that person is and hear it from them. Many times, they encounter those persons within the context of an unremarkable event like a meal or chance meeting. That’s how the South resonates with its visitors.” Bittner is bullish on her 12-state region’s long-term prospects as an international travel destination, but said it, like others, has seen visitation fall off the past couple of years. “2016 was down, and 2017 will be, too,” she said. “Some of that is political, and some of it is the strength of the dollar across the world. Certainly, tragedies like the events in Las Vegas and New York affect us all. But Travel South USA is committed to protecting our recent growth in international visitation despite these obstacles.” Bittner relishes her organization’s role in leveraging the efforts of a dozen states and hundreds of convention and visitor bureaus to sell America’s most popular travel region. “We unite our states’ and cities’ efforts,” she said. “That’s our role. We’re the glue that holds it all together.” Travel South USA’s 2018 Domestic Showcase takes place March 18-21, 2018, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Bittner says buyer registration is up 35 percent over last year, reflecting a high interest level in the destination. “It was time for us to return to this iconic coastal area,” she said. “Interestingly enough, we seem to do it every 10 years. We were there in 1998 and 2008, and we’re looking forward to being there again in 2018.”

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State Capitol Montgomery

Helen Keller Birthplace Tuscumbia

Edmund Pettus Bridge Selma

Vulcan Park Birmingham

U.S. Space & Rocket Center Huntsville

Alabama is Celebrating 200 Years Join a three-year statewide celebration: 2017 places

2018 people

2019 stories

Alabama is continuing its multi-year Statehood Bicentennial celebration and your motorcoach groups are invited to enjoy the activities. Towns and cities are scheduling special events that are “group friendly.” Our numerous historic sites, many on the new U.S. Civil Rights Trail, are eager for you to visit. Our state is spotlighting the four previous Capital Cities in St. Stephens, Huntsville, Cahaba, Tuscaloosa plus the current Capital, Montgomery.

Visit www.alabama.travel to learn how you can play a part in commemorating beautiful Alabama.

FOR GROUP TOUR INQUIRIES CONTACT: Rosemary Judkins, Alabama Tourism Department 334-242-4493 • rosemary.judkins@tourism.alabama.gov


VISITORS CAN S EE TH E SPOT WH ER E DOZENS OF H ITS WER E R ECOR DED AT M USCLE S HOALS SOU N D STU DIOS

B

BY BRIAN J EWELL

ehind every great song is an even better story. The music of the South — from Louisiana zydeco to Nashville country, Mississippi blues and the mountain sounds of Kentucky and North Carolina — is full of heartfelt tales of life, labor and love. And the musicians, songwriters and others who work hard to make the music have stories of their own. Here are six personal stories from people whose lives are immersed in Southern music, as well as their tips on where your groups can have great music experiences when traveling South.

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Courtesy AL Tourism Dept..


HEAR it

HERE S O M E S O U T H E R N S T O R I E S M A K E G R E AT M U S I C

WWW. T R A V E L S O U T HU S A . CO M

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M USCLE S HOALS, ALABAMA

HEAR it

HERE

Courtesy AL Tourism Dept.

LOCAL

Judy Hood

southern

MUSCLE SHOALS, ALABAMA

SECRETS

When Judy Hood was a high school student in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, in the 1960s, she used to hear rumors about famous musicians being seen around town. She didn’t believe them. “People would come into homeroom and say, ‘Mick Jagger is down at the studio,’ and we would say ‘No, he’s not,’” Hood said. “We thought it was an urban myth.” But it wasn’t a myth. During the golden age of rock ’n’ roll, the small town of Muscle Shoals was at the center of the recording industry. The biggest names in music, from the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin, came to the small town to record with a quartet of studio musicians collectively known as the Swampers, who quietly shaped the soundscape of a generation. After she grew up, Judy married David Hood, the bass player for the Swampers, and had her own career in corporate America. She retired at 55, but eight months after she left her job, the documentary film “Muscle Shoals” debuted, bringing a tidal wave of interest to her town. “The universe had another plan for me,” she said. “It became incumbent on me to step up and coordinate all this. So I started doing Swampette Tours. I would take people to the studios and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. “On my tours, it’s not unusual for a grown man to break down and cry. Keith Richards referred to the original Muscle Shoals Sound Studio as rock ’n’ roll heaven. People go into that room and have an emotional experience. It’s a

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Delta Resort and Spa TILLAR, ARKANSAS

“Imagine world-class duck hunting, f u l lser vice spa treatments, delicious Southern cuisine and abundant meeting space, all in one location. Huddled in hardwoods spanning 2,0 0 0 acres in the southeast Arkansas Delt a reg ion, t he Delt a Resor t a nd Spa is a nat u ra l destination for a ret reat or rela xation.” — TAMORA WILLIAMS Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

W W W. DE LTACON F E R E NC EC E N T E R .COM

T O U R

P L A N N E R


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.


DAVI D HO LT

small studio, but it became one of the most influential recording studios in the world.” Today, the studio has been renovated and serves as both a recording space and a museum. More than 34,000 people have visited since it reopened in 2014.

David Holt

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA For more than 40 years, David Holt has studied the music of North Carolina and the surrounding mountain regions. But the four-time Grammy-winning recording artist and television personality was introduced to Southern mountain music in an unlikely place: California. “I heard Ralph Stanley play a concert when I was going to UC Santa Barbara,” Holt said. “I fell in love with the oldtimey style of banjo that he played, the old claw-hammer style he learned from his mother. I went to talk to him at the

end of the concert, and he told me to go to North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky or Tennessee to learn.” So in 1973, Holt moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and began learning traditional music from people in the area, working odd jobs to support himself. Eventually, he got connected to legendary musicians such as Grandpa Jones and Roy Acuff, and ended up touring with Doc Watson for 14 years before launching his own solo career. “The flavor of music throughout the mountains is a combination of English, Scotch-Irish and African-American,” he said. “It’s everything from bluegrass to blues. Each area from Kentucky to North Carolina and Virginia has a sound all its own because most of these places were isolated until the 1960s or ’70s.” When friends come to visit, Holt takes them to jam sessions in private homes around the Asheville area. For groups, he recommends attending the Shindig on the Green series, which takes place between July 4 and Labor Day at Pack Square Park.

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ZYDECO ARTIST CH U BBY CAR RI ER

“Every weekend, musicians come down,” he said. “Some play onstage, and some are just sitting around playing in little groups. You can stand next to them and talk about what they’re doing. It takes place on Saturdays, and they say it starts ‘long about sundown.’”

Chubby Carrier LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA

Growing up in Church Point, Louisiana, Chubby Carrier thought he was going to be a football player. But after a back injury ended his sports career, he turned to an art form that had run in his family for generations: zydeco music. “My grandfather played this music,” he said. “My daddy played this music. There were musicians in our house, and that was a blessing. So I chose music after the football thing didn’t work out.” Carrier took the family affinity for zydeco, recruited some

Courtesy Louisiana Office of Travel and Tourism

WWW. T R A V E L S O U T HU S A . CO M

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ROCK ‘ N ’ BOWL I N N EW OR LEANS

fellow musicians and hit the road as Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band in 1989. The group has toured every state in the country, much of Europe and even South Africa. In 2010, they won a Grammy for the year’s best zydeco album. Today the group has “slowed the pace down a bit,” he said, playing about 100 dates a year. Wherever they go, they introduce people to the unique zydeco, which is more upbeat than other Cajun music, and the culture that it comes from. “Zydeco music tells our stories,” he said. “People hear about the guys who were working in the bean fields and rice fields. They hear about the sharecropper culture. They hear about the sugarcane worker who works all day and plays music all night. The music touches the heart because you hear people singing about the hard times in their lives while still having a happy moment.” Carrier now lives near Lafayette, Louisiana, and recommends that people come to that area — as opposed to New Orleans — to hear authentic Cajun and zydeco music at restaurants and local clubs. “We have festivals in the spring and fall,” he said. “The spring festival is the Red Beans and Rice Festival, which has a gumbo cook-off. Every festival we have is pertaining to our food, but that’s also where you’ll hear our music.”

Courtesy Louisiana Office of Travel and Tourism

GAR LAN D ROG ERS Courtesy Mountain Arts Center

The Outer Banks

®

Garland Rogers

OF NORTH CAROLINA

PRESTONSBURG, KENTUCKY

Am ericasFirstBea ch.com

Local Outer Banks Cuisine

Music ran in Garland Rogers’ family; his grandfather played banjo and his grandmother played guitar and sang. So when he first stepped onto the stage at a high school talent show in his hometown of Prestonsburg, Kentucky, in 1990, he was a natural. “It was the first time I sang in front of anybody,” Rogers said. “There was a lady who came to the talent show who was putting together the Kentucky Opry, and she asked me to become a member of the Opry Junior Pro, a group of young local talent who can work their way into the big opry.”

Wright Brothers National Memorial

In 1953, Cape Hatteras was named our country’s first National Seashore. People have been drawn to our shores for hundreds of years. Explorers. Settlers. Pirates. And because it’s a National Seashore, that means it’s your beach. Contact us for your group’s next adventure. Lorrie Love; love@outerbanks.org, or call 877-629-4386.

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CHAR LI E WORS HAM

Courtesy CMHOF

Rogers graduated from junior player to full cast member of the Kentucky Opry, a music show at the Mountain Arts Center near Prestonsburg. He spent 14 years with the opry before leaving to pursue other interests, making a record in Nashville and touring with a friend for five years. He also began a bluegrass gospel band that played at his church and other places. Then he got a call from the director of the Mountain Arts Center. “Clayton Case called me and asked if I would be interested in coming back to the Mountain Arts Center and the Kentucky Opry, and that got me back into country music.” Today Rogers is one of the lead singers of the Opry, which highlights classical Kentucky mountain music as well as country, gospel and other music and comedy. Groups can enjoy the family-friendly show regularly at the Mountain Arts Center or find other local talent playing traditional and country music at restaurants throughout eastern Kentucky. “Somebody is playing somewhere about every night,” Rogers said.

Charlie Worsham

NAS HVI LLE ’S STATION I N N

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE Courtesy TN Dept. of Tourist Dev.

DON’T JUST LEARN A B O U T H I S TO R Y

HAVE A BLAST

From childhood, Charlie Worsham knew he wanted to be a musician. And it only made sense that he would play country music. “Nine of the first 10 concerts I went to were country concerts,” he said. “Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Patty Loveless. And a lot of my early days in music were in the world of bluegrass, which is part of the lineage of country music. So it always suited me, and I loved it.” After attending Berklee College of Music, the Mississippi native did what so many other young musicians do: moved to Nashville to chase a dream. He joined a band, wrote songs and played in the recording studio. Eventually, he got a solo record deal with Warner Brothers, where he has released two albums, and began touring with the likes of Kenny Rogers and Taylor Swift. “On a regular basis, I ask myself what my 12-year-old self would think about what I have done over the past week. The me from that time would be losing his mind. It’s a pretty wonderful opportunity day in and day out. It’s a challenging business, but I love what I do, and I’m grateful for it.” Worsham revels in Nashville’s music heritage. He has a long list of recommendations for visitors who want to immerse themselves in Music City. “If you’re coming to Nashville, you have to go to the Ryman Auditorium — they don’t call it the mother church for nothing,” he said. “Then there’s a tiny place called the Station Inn, which has been a bluegrass club for 40 years. It is to bluegrass what the Ryman is to country. “You also have to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame. In my opinion, it’s about the best museum for music that ever was. It tells the story of country music in a very compelling way. And they have really cool things you can attend, like songwriter workshops or an instrument petting zoo.”

Plan your trip to Virginia now at

HISTORYISFUN.ORG

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We’re proud to host you and your taste buds at

TRAVEL SOUTH SHOWCASE 2018.

Give your group an adventure to remember, right here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Here, you’ll find 62 miles of coast for you to explore. Or you can just kick back, relax, and order up some Gulf-fresh oysters. Plan your escape at GulfCoast.org. WE HOPE YOU FIND SOME ADVENTURE OF YOUR OWN AT TRAVEL SOUTH SHOWCASE 2018 HERE ON THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST.


Tricia Walker

CLEVELAND, MISSISSIPPI Music took Tricia Walker from Mississippi to the world’s biggest stages — and then back again. TH E S H I N DIG I N “I grew up in a small town in southwest Mississippi called Fayette,” she CLAYTON, NORTH CARO LI NA said. “After I saw the Beatles on ‘Ed Sullivan,’ I wanted to learn to play guitar, and I played until my fingers bled. I started a high school band, playing everything from Jimi Hendrix to the Monkees. After I finished my master’s By Aaron Dahlstrom, courtesy Visit NC degree in music, I started writing songs.” Walker entered some songs in a local competition and won, which encouraged her to take the plunge and move 500 miles to Nashville. She found success as a performer, backing up artists such as Connie Smith and Shania Twain; as a songwriter; performing songwriter shows in the round with Ashley Cleveland, Pam Tillis and Karen Staley. After Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of Mississippi in 2004, her alma mater, Delta State University, began a music recording program and reached out to her about coming to work with talented young students. So now, Walker leverages her TRICIA WALKER experience as director of the Delta Music Institute helping up-and-coming Mississippi musicians hone their craft. “Blues is very important to the history of the Delta,” she said. “But here in the college program, I see students doing all kinds of things. I hear a lot of alt rock, a lot of hiphop, a lot of experimental music. Our students come from different towns, mash up against each other and start doing things that are pretty unique. So I’m hopeful that what they will put out in the world is going to be new and fresh.” Walker said groups visiting the Delta should get to know the breadth of its music scene by making stops in a variety of places. Cleveland has an indie rock scene, and Clarksdale, about 40 miles away, is an epicenter of traditional blues. She also encourages groups to stop at the Gramm Museum Mississippi in Cleveland. T HE ALLUVIAN H OTEL • TH E AL L U V IA N S PA “There’s a Mississippi-centric portion that has a fantastic apparaV I KING C OOKING SC H OOL • GIA R DINA’S tus called the Music Table,” she said. “It’s like you’re looking at a river, and A cosmopolitan boutique hotel deep in the Delta there are digital photos and fields 318 Howard Street Greenwood, MS 662.453.2114 thealluvian.com floating down the table. You can touch them, listen to the music and learn about the influences.” 22

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TH E BRIGHT STAR IS KNOWN FOR ON E OF TH E B EST S EAFOO D GUM BOS I N COASTAL ALABAMA .

BY SAVAN NAH OS BOU R N

T

ravelers journey down South for many reasons, but it is the time-tested cuisine of family-owned restaurants in Southern cities both large and small that makes the trip memorable. From grits to gumbos and fried green tomatoes, traditional Southern dishes are packed with rich flavors that satiate the senses. Next time you visit the South, be sure to look for these hidden gems.

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Courtesy The Bright Star


DINING in

DYNASTIES

T H E S E R E S TA U R A N T S T E L L T H E S T O R I E S O F T H E S O U T H

WWW. T R A V E L S O U T HU S A . CO M

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DINING in

TH E BRIGHT STAR I N ALABAMA

DYNASTIES

Courtesy The Bright Star

LOCAL

Bright Star

southern

SECRETS

BESSEMER, ALABAMA For those in search of original Gulf Coast seafood, The Bright Star in Bessemer, Alabama, is just the place to visit. Known for serving some of the freshest seafood in the Southeast, the century-old restaurant specializes in snapper. Fresh loads of fish brought in from the docks twice a week are used to make sizzling culinary creations such as Greek-style snapper, fried snapper throats and seafood gumbo. In recent years, the restaurant has also gained traction as a steakhouse, winning the title of Best Steak in Alabama in 2012. In 1907, Greek immigrant Tom Bonduris opened The Bright Star in a small, horseshoe-style bar in town; it was later moved into the historic Realty Building in downtown. Other family members from Greece eventually joined him in the United States to help run the business. As The Bright Star flourished and expanded, it eventually took over the entire first floor of the building. It now stands as the oldest restaurant in Alabama. Today’s patrons will notice the original vintage flooring and the beautiful European murals that line the walls. According to Andreas Anastassakis, one of the current owners, what makes The Bright Star so remarkable is his family’s dedication to carry on what their ancestors started, as well as the loyal guests who continue to visit the restaurant generation after generation. “Every day, something special happens at this place,” said Anastassakis. “We’ve got employees who have been here over 40 years and customers who come in every day. All of that really sets us apart from the competition.” 26

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Sweet water TENNESSEE

“A visit to Sweet water is like taking a step back in time. Discover many unique shops and attractions teeming with nostalgia, charm and friendliness. In the historic shopping district, you will find shops filled with rare antiques, exquisite home furnishings and decor, original works of art, choice fashion, unique garden gifts, hard-to-find collectibles and much more. W hile you’re there, don’t miss a chance to explore underground at the fascinating Lost Sea.” — KEVIN TRIPLETT Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

W W W.V ISI T SW E E T WAT E R .COM

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LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL

HISTORY Naturally Made

at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Walk in the footsteps of the nine students who paved the way for integration. The Little Rock Nine Monument at the Arkansas State Capitol commemorates this major moment in Civil Rights history. Mosaic Templars CULTURAL Center in Little Rock serves to educate visitors on AfricanAmerican culture. What history will you make in Arkansas? Learn more at CivilRightsTrail.com.

Arkansas.com


DESS ERT AN D ENTR EE AT TH E BRIGHT STAR Courtesy The Bright Star

The restaurant has entertained some notable guests over the years, from actress Sandra Bullock to Alabama football coaching legend Paul “Bear” Bryant. The dedicated “Bear” Bryant Booth, where Bryant often sat, is the mostsought-after table in the restaurant. W W W.T HE BR IGH T S TA R .COM

Buckner’s Family Restaurant

JACKSON, GEORGIA

Based in the heart of Jackson, Georgia, Buckner’s Family Restaurant treats guests to family-style country cooking on Lazy Susan tables. The restaurant’s large round tables seat six to 10 people, making groups feel right at home, and feature rotating Lazy Susans in the center with buffet items laid out in oval dishes. “It’s not your standard buffet; we bring the buffet to you,” said owner Drew Buckner.

Courtesy The Bright Star

The Buckners believe in preparing their heritage recipes the old-fashioned way, rolling bread dough by hand and bringing in fresh chicken, pork and beef to cut and cook on-site. Though the menu changes daily, one item remains a constant: Buckner’s famous fried chicken. The restaurant serves close to 100 tons of chicken breast each year in addition to other mouthwatering Southern foods, like barbecued pork, stewed tomatoes, creamed corn and peach cobbler. “It’s a lot of work,” said Buckner with a laugh. “But it has a family atmosphere, just like home. We’re here to serve and love the people, and I think they feel that when they walk in.” The restaurant was founded by Buckner’s father, uncle and grandparents in 1980. Buckner recalls busing tables when he was as young as 8. One of his earliest memories of the restaurant is when his family would bring in gospel and bluegrass musicians to help attract customers, although today, the restaurant’s famous chicken draws more than enough business on its own. Buckner’s Family Restaurant also offers a private din-

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Huntsville

Get ready for your adventure in the Rocket City! Huntsville, Alabama | huntsville.org

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Embrace adventure at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

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Discover the nation’s largest seasonal butterfly house at the Huntsville Botanical Garden

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Shop the Artist Market at Lowe Mill and stay for a concert & picnic

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Hear stories of spies, lies, alibis & ghosts while touring our Historic Districts, Historic Huntsville Depot, Weeden House ...and more!

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KENTUCKY’S B EAUMONT I N N

ing area for anniversary parties, celebrations and other group events that can accommodate up to 100 guests with round-table seating. W W W. BUC K N E R SFA MILY R E S TAU R A N T.COM

Beaumont Inn

HARRODSBURG, KENTUCKY Named one of the South’s top 20 charming inns by Southern Living Magazine, the Beaumont Inn is a historic bed-and-breakfast in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, the oldest town in the commonwealth. The inn, on a lovely, parklike property, features 31 guest rooms in three separate buildings. Passed down through the Dedman family for five generations, the Beaumont Inn reflects the finest qualities of Kentucky culture, particularly through its food offerings. In the main dining room, guests can sample traditional Kentucky fare such as yellow-legged fried chicken, 2-year-old

Courtesy Beaumont Inn

BUCKN ER’S FAM I LY R ESTAU RANT FRI ED CH ICKEN

BUCKN ER’S FR ES H RO LLS

Courtesy Buckner’s Family Restaurant

S T A Y L A F AY E T T E Plan your escape to t he Happiest Cit y in America.

L A F AY E T T E T R AV E L . C O M /Groups

WWW. T R A V E L S O U T HU S A . CO M

800 346 1958

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BEAUMONT INN OWNER DIXON DEDMAN

Courtesy Beaumont Inn

Kentucky cured country ham, corn pudding and cornmeal cakes. Those with a sweet tooth would be remiss not to try a bite of the restaurant’s famous orange lemon cake. The Beaumont Inn, also an official stop along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, offers 70 distinct brands of bourbon, along with many other wines and spirits, in the nearby Old Owl Tavern. Groups can sign up for the Innkeeper’s Bourbon Tasting with owner Dixon Dedman to sample up to six of these bourbon varieties. After dining, visitors can lounge on the rocking chairs outside, stroll down the neighboring walking trail, and admire some of the family antiques and memorabilia in the circa-1845 Main Inn building. Among the fascinating features are a baby grand from the 1860s, places in the window panes where girls once scratched their names with diamond rings and a chair used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he visited the area during the 1930s. W W W. BE AU MON T I N N.COM

LAM B ERT’S CAFÉ I N M ISSOU RI By Michael Owens

Lambert’s Café SIKESTON, MISSOURI

When guests take a seat in Lambert’s Café in Sikeston, Missouri, they can expect to see a roll or two flying across the room. Home of the “throwed roll,” the restaurant bakes nearly 600 dozen rolls each day, sweetening the bread with a dollop of sorghum molasses. Servers are known to toss the rolls to customers as they walk past the tables. As guests settle into this friendly, laid-back atmosphere, they can take their pick of piping-fresh fare like chicken and dumplings, fried okra, chicken pot pie and smoked hog jowl. In 1942, Earl and Agnes Lambert opened Lambert’s Café with a small loan from the bank and just 14 cents to their name. They persevered through World War II, when many restaurants were forced to close due to rationed food supplies, and provided a small refuge where locals could gather during hard times. After Earl Lambert passed away in 1976, his son, Norman Lambert, took over the cafe with his mother. 30

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BRING YOUR GROUP TOUR TO LIFE.

Fall in love with the rhythm of the waves with hands-on experiences and uncommon access offered exclusively for groups. Plan your group’s Live the Life Adventure at VisitVirginiaBeach.com/GroupTour.


ANTOI N E ’S I N N EW OR LEANS

The tradition of the throwed rolls began one day when Norman Lambert was passing around dinner rolls to customers throughout the tightly packed restaurant. There was one patron he could not quite reach who finally told him to “just throw the damn thing.” Lambert obliged, much to the amusement of everyone watching, and soon other servers began doing the same thing. “Everybody joined in, really by accident,” said general manager Jerry Johnson, who has worked at the restaurant for over 30 years. “People just liked the entertainment of it.” Under Lambert’s ownership, the local diner progressed into a well-known, 300-seat establishment. During the 1990s, he opened two more locations, in Ozark, Missouri, and Foley, Alabama. Lambert passed away in 1996, leaving the management of the popular restaurant chain to his two sons. W W W.T HROW E DROL LS .COM

Antoine’s Restaurant NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA Photos courtesy Antoine’s

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In the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Antoine’s Restaurant is the oldest French-Creole fine-dining restaurant in the city. It was founded in 1840 by a young French immigrant named Antoine Aliciatore, who served the local French gentility and quickly established the restaurant’s reputation as one of the classiest venues in the area. Today, fifth-generation owner Rick Blount carries on Aliciatore’s legacy as CEO of the restaurant. During its 178 years, Antoine’s Restaurant has played a central role in popularizing French-Creole cuisine across the United States. It is the birthplace of famous dishes such as oysters Rockefeller, pommes de terre soufflés and eggs sardou, which are poached eggs topped with artichoke hearts, truffles and hollandaise sauce. After dinner, guests can top off their meal with classic French desserts like mousse au chocolat or order a glass of café brulot diabolique, a flaming spiced coffee with brandy.


Detail: KALEIDOSCOPIC CALAMITY by Margaret Solomon Gunn

PADUCAH, KENTUCKY Hundreds of Beautiful Quilts on Exhibit

Aisles of Fabrics, Machines & Quilting Supply Vendors

World-Renowned Quiltmaking Instructors

For more information, visit QuiltWeek.com

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The restaurant features 14 exquisite dining rooms on two floors and can host private events or parties with up to 700 guests. Each room displays different themes and artifacts that reflect the rich culture of New Orleans, whether groups prefer to dine like kings in the Rex Room or recline in the stately Capital Room. W W W. A N T OI N E S .COM

BOWENS IS LAN D R ESTAU RANT I N CHAR LESTON

Bowens Island Restaurant CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Photos courtesy Bowens Island Restaurant

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Bowens Island Restaurant is one of Charleston’s bestkept secrets. Locally, it is known as the best place to fill up on fresh steamed oysters and enjoy a beer on the waterfront. For many years, the offbeat venue was characterized by mismatched furniture and decades of graffiti scrawled on virtually every wall and surface. Visitors could find heaping piles of sun-bleached oyster shells outside, one of the few exterior indications that the ramshackle building was a restaurant. But it was these features that gave Bowens Island Restaurant so much character. In 2006, the old cinderblock building was destroyed in a fire, much to the dismay of longtime patrons, but thirdgeneration owner Robert Barber quickly rallied efforts to rebuild. The new building has more deck space, a dock house and fresh walls on which guests can pen their names and stories. In addition to the restaurant’s signature steamed oysters, visitors can sample authentic low-country foods such as shrimp and grits, crab cakes and Frogmore stew. Rental space is available in the Dock House, the Sophisticate or the Porch, providing the perfect opportunity for a group event overlooking the salt marsh. W W W. BOW E NSISL A N D. BI Z

GRACELAND.COM/GROUPS • 800-238-2010 © EPE. Graceland and its marks are trademarks of EPE. All Rights Reserved. Elvis Presley™ © 2017 ABG EPE IP LLC

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OUR STORIED ROADS AND RIVERS

T

he Gateway Arch in St. Louis is perhaps the ultimate starting point for your Missouri adventure.

After all, the 630-foot monument commemorates America’s westward expansion and is a symbol of the country’s pioneering spirit. Be sure to visit in 2018, when the new Museum at the Arch opens, capping a multi-year renovation project. From St. Louis, cruise across the Show-Me State on Route 66, the avenue for the quintessential American road trip. Winding through cities of all sizes, a ride on Missouri’s stretch of “the Mother Road” leads to motor courts, roadside oddities and family-friendly attractions such as Meramec Caverns in Stanton. It also leads to the highway’s birthplace, Springfield, home of the new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. The immersive museum has more than 350,000 square feet of outdoors-themed exhibit space and 1.5 miles of trails to explore.

When it comes to museums, Missouri has abundant mustsees, including the renowned Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Noted for having works from around the globe, the collection at Nelson-Atkins is one of the finest in the country. In 2015, Yelp! users ranked it the top museum in the U.S.

From Springfield, it’s a quick drive south to Branson, home of fabulous entertainers and the natural beauty of the Missouri Ozarks. Take a relaxing boat ride on Table Rock Lake, grab a front-row seat for Legends in Concert and learn about a tragic chapter in world history at Titanic Museum Attraction.

Of course, when people think of Kansas City, their minds – and taste buds – often go straight to barbecue. With experienced pit masters and innovative ways of presenting ’cue, it’s no wonder groups enjoy places like Jack Stack Freight House where menu items include everything from smoked ribs to the staple of Kansas City barbecue, burnt ends.


One hour south of St. Louis, along the Mississippi River.

Sedalia, Missouri where Music History Lives!

www.VisitSedaliaMo.com

Group Travel_StCharles _Oct_17.pdf

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A PASS ENG ER R ELAXES DU RI NG A CRUIS E ABOAR D TH E AM ERICAN Q U EEN.

BY SAVAN NAH OS BOU R N

S

cenes of water are quintessential to the South, and there are myriad ways for groups to experience them. Adventurous travelers can kayak or paddleboard along lush coastal regions, and nature lovers can savor the sights of remote waterways on narrated ecotours. Others may gravitate toward a relaxing dinner cruise down some of America’s most historic rivers. No matter what kind of aquatic excursion appeals to your group, the following attractions are guaranteed to provide an unforgettable experience on the water.

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Courtesy American Queen Steamboat Company


ON the

SURFACE

I S L A N D S A N D W AT E R D E F I N E S O U T H E R N C U LT U R E

WWW. T R A V E L S O U T HU S A . CO M

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AM ERICAN Q U EEN

ON the

SURFACE Courtesy American Queen Steamboat Company

LOCAL

American Queen Steamboat Company

southern

SECRETS

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Based out of Memphis, Tennessee, the American Queen Steamboat Company gives groups the opportunity to cruise down the Mississippi River as Mark Twain once did — aboard a magnificent, vintage-style steamboat. The company offers some of the best river cruise packages in North America, including pre-cruise hotel stays, complimentary beer or wine with dinner and customizable shore excursions in each port. The largest steamboat ever built, the six-deck American Queen will make passengers feel like Victorian royalty as they sail past antebellum plantations, Civil War sites and picturesque river towns along the Mississippi. The greatest advantage of American Queen cruises is that groups can create their own sightseeing itinerary in each port. The night before the ship docks for a shore excursion, each guest receives a map with designated HopOn Hop-Off locations. While groups explore the city at their leisure, a dedicated fleet of Hop-On Hop-Off motorcoaches stops at each pick-up site every 15 to 20 minutes. “What we do is give people the entire city,” said Bob Buesing, co-founder of Shore Excursions of America. “We don’t just put people on a bus for three hours. Our tours allow them to enter museums, attractions and all kinds of things at their own convenience.” Before working with the American Queen, Buesing ran the tour company East Coast Touring for 38 years. Seven

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Sk y Lake

STONEVILLE , MISSISSIPPI “Ancient ba ld c y press trees, some more than 1,0 0 0 years old, are the main attractions at Sky Lake. The oldest tree measures nearly 47 feet in circumference and reaches 70 feet ta ll. Sk y La ke is a lso home to a diverse range of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and other wildlife. Walk the boardwalk, or kayak through the living Delta swamp.” — JIM BEAUGEZ Visit Mississippi

W W W. SK Y L A K E MIS SIS SIPPI.ORG

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VI SI T

T Y B EE Picture your group here. We can. Discover yourself on Savannah’s Beach. Just 20 minutes from historic Savannah. VisitTybee.com

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ST. SI MONS IS LAN D, G EORGIA

Courtesy SouthEast Adventure Outfitters

years ago, he partnered with fellow tourism professional Jim Palmeri, to found Shore Excursions of America, incorporating the Hop-On Hop-Off concept into river cruises. “We love what we do,” said Buesing. “We don’t run tours; we give experiences on the American Queen.” W W W. A MER ICA NQU EENST EA MBOATCOMPA N Y.COM

SouthEast Adventure Outfitters ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA

Just off the coast of Georgia, St. Simons Island is characterized by long stretches of unspoiled beach and live oaks draped in Spanish moss. The rugged beauty of the coast has always drawn visitors to the island, but until the 1990s, there were not many guided outdoor activities available for tourists. In 1994, Georgia native and longtime boating en-

thusiast Michael Gowen recognized that need, and with the help of some friends, founded his own ecotour company: SouthEast Adventure Outfitters. “I always say that coastal Georgia has a huge trail system; it’s just all wet,” said Gowen. “Back in 1994 when we started, there wasn’t much ecotourism in the area, so it’s been gratifying to see that grow. We started out with a couple [of] kayaks, and now we have two retail stores.” Thanks to SouthEast Adventure Outfitters, visitors can now explore St. Simons and the surrounding islands through guided experiences such as kayak tours, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing charters and eco-cruises. For those who prefer to relax on a boat, the Norma Eco-Cruise accommodates up to six passengers for a narrated boat tour of the area. Departing from the historic Village Creek Landing, the vessel takes guests along 21 miles of remote waterways between St. Simons, Sea Island and Little St. Simons, where they may spot wildlife such as dolphins, sharks, otters and colorful migratory birds. “You can go every day and see something different,”

PL AY A ND GE T AWAY ON T HE

NORTHSHORE

Visit St. Tammany Parish and bring your appetite for great Louisiana cooking, and for living. Come paddle the bayou, tour Honey Island Swamp, do the Dew Drop, toast the town at Abita Brewery or Pontchartrain Vineyards, and sample sweets at The Candy Bank. Less than an hour from New Orleans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Baton Rouge.

8 0 0 - 6 3 4 - 9 4 4 3 • w w w. L o u i s i a n a No r t h s h o r e . c o m /g r o u p s 42

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said Gowen. “The sheer variety, the pureness of the area, the unspoiled nature — it’s pretty amazing.” In addition to savoring the natural sights, groups get the chance to learn about some of Georgia’s rich history. One of the most treasured sites along St. Simons is the 600acre historic Musgrove Plantation, where President Jimmy Carter held his first preinaugural cabinet meeting. W W W.V IL L AGEC R E E K L A N DI NG .COM

SOUTH EAST ADVENTU R E OUTFITTERS

A Cajun Man’s Swamp Tours and Adventures GIBSON, LOUISIANA

Louisiana is well known for its beautiful bayous and cypress swamps that teem with wildlife such as alligators, snapping turtles and great blue herons. Just 70 miles west of New Orleans, travelers will discover one of the best locations in the Courtesy SouthEast Adventure Outfitters

WWW. T R A V E L S O U T HU S A . CO M

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A CAJ U N MAN ’S SWAM P TOU RS AN D ADVENTU R ES

Courtesy A Cajun Man’s Swamp Tours

state to experience the spectacular beauty of the swamps: A Cajun Man’s Swamp Tours and Adventures. “Most people who come to Louisiana spend most of their time in New Orleans and the big cities, but the most beautiful part of the state is right here,” said Captain Billy Gaston, who leads the tours. Gaston purchased the well-established company in 2015 from Ron “Black” Guidry, who had been running the tours for 26 years. Since then, Gaston has added his own unique flair to the tour, often sharing personal stories of his life growing up in the heart of Cajun country. “The best part of my job is meeting people from all over the world and showing them what I love so much about the place where I was born and raised,” said Gaston. “I make sure everybody walks away with a smile on their face.” With no sound or sight of human activity for miles, the 49-passenger vessel winds throughout the rich ecosystem of Bayou Black, where guests are sure to spot an alligator or a nesting eagle. One of the highlights of the experience is when Gaston calls the alligators by name to the boat, providing a rare opportunity for passengers to see the immense creatures up close. “I’m like the Dr. Doolittle of southern Louisiana,” said Gaston with a laugh. “They usually hide when other boats pass, but they come right up to me.” W W W.C A J U N M A N A DV E N T U R E S .COM

Tour Daufuskie HILTON HEAD, SOUTH CAROLINA

TRUE DELTA VIBE. TIMELESS SOUTHERN CHARM.

Home to fewer than 500 permanent residents, Daufuskie Island is a beautiful, uncultivated spot off the coast of South Carolina, accessible only by ferry from Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. The vibrant island provides a pristine natural getaway, and travelers can explore everything it has to offer through Tour Daufuskie. Tour Daufuskie began in 2011 when local ironworks artisan Chase Allen noticed the need for ecotourism activities on the island and partnered with a fellow outdoor enthusiast to launch the

Treat your group to a unique melting pot of experiences and cultures that only Greenwood can deliver. Uncover the mystery of Blues legend Robert Johnson, learn the secrets of mouthwatering Southern cuisine at the world-renowned Viking Cooking School, or soak up the atmosphere and landmarks featured in the DreamWorks blockbuster film “The Help.” And that’s just the beginning of a tour sure to end in rave reviews! Talk to us about custom itineraries, group travel rebates and concierge services.

662.453.9197 www.visitgreenwoodMS.com

Paid for in partnership by Visit Mississippi.

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HATFI ELD AN D M CCOY AI R BOAT TOU RS

Courtesy Hatfield and McCoy Airboat Tours

KAYAKI NG WITH TOU R DAUFUSKI E GU LLAH TOU R GUI DE , SALLI E AN N ROBI NSON Courtesy Tour Daufuskie

Courtesy Tour Daufuskie

business. This past year, Anna Clark joined the team as the managing director and lead guide. “When people join us for a tour, they really get to see what makes Daufuskie Daufuskie, and I love getting to share that with visitors,” said Clark. Tour Daufuskie offers four different tour experiences. The History and Artisan Tour, the most popular option, takes groups on golf carts to some of the island’s most fascinating landmarks. Depending on group preference, guests can visit sites like the circa 1800 First Union Baptist Church, the Mary Fields School, the Bloody Point Lighthouse or the Billy Burns Historic Museum. In 2016, Tour Daufuskie partnered with sixth-generation island native Sallie Ann Robinson to premier a Native Gullah Tour, which highlights the history of Gullah culture on the island. Those hoping to encounter some of the island’s native wildlife may prefer the Eco Tour or the Kayak Tour. Clark described one special memory from when she was kayaking with a father and his two daughters. “There was this pod of 10 to 15 dolphins that showed up unexpectedly and breached the water, which is really rare,” said Clark. “So that was a neat experience to share with them.” W W W.T OU R DAU F USK IE .COM

EXPERIENCE ~

Hatfield and McCoy Airboat Tours

MATEWAN, WEST VIRGINIA

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill A Landmark Destination — The Historic Centre, The Farm & The Preserve

The Hatfield and McCoy feud has become almost legendary in modern culture, often dramatized as a harrowing tale of lawless revenge and forbidden romance. The story stems from the real-life rivalry between two rural families that lived on either side of the Tug River: the McCoys in Kentucky and the Hatfields in West Virginia. In 2012, a Hatfield and McCoy miniseries aired on the History Channel starring A-list actors Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton. The show spurred renewed fascination with the history of these feuding families, and tourists began flooding into the Matewan area, particularly to visit

Old Fort Harrod State Park Costumed artisans, seasonal outdoor theatre, fort, museum & gift shop

• Beaumont Inn • Shaker Village • Bright Leaf Golf Resort • Over 300 affordable rooms just minutes SW of Lexington. • Olde Towne Distillery • Lemons Mill Brewery • Award-winning downtown • Unique shopping & dining • Year-round arts, cultural & music events. www.HarrodsburgKY.com • 800-355-9192

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the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System. Around that time, former coal miner Keith Gibson began toying with the idea of offering boat tours aboard his six-passenger airboat. “It was an idea I’d had for a really long time,” said Gibson. “After the TV series aired, we were getting quite of bit of tourism from the trail system, so starting the business was a combination of getting laid off from the mining industry and seeing tourists come in with the numbers to sustain it.” During the tour, passengers ride with Gibson down the Tug River, which marked the dividing line between the two families, and learn more about their contentious history, from the stolen hog that allegedly started the feud to the tragic romance between Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy. W W W.HATFIELDMCCOYAIRBOAT TOURS.COM

Mark Twain Riverboat HANNIBAL, MISSOURI

The Mark Twain Riverboat takes groups on a scenic, narrated cruise down one of America’s most legendary rivers: the Mississippi River. The river’s claim to fame stems from celebrated author Mark Twain, who grew up along the riverbank and watched steamboats sail into port each day with travelers and trade goods from around the world. As a young man, he worked as a riverboat pilot and later immortalized the dynamic river setting in classic novels like “Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” “In his day, every boy wanted to be a riverboat pilot,” said Captain Steve Terry, who operates the Mark Twain Riverboat with his wife, Sandy. “It was a grand and glorious job as far as they could tell, and the river made an awesome background for his stories.” During the cruise, passengers will spot notable landmarks such as the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse on Cardiff Hill and the famous Jackson Island, which Twain featured prominently in his work. Groups can book a one-hour sightseeing cruise during mid-to-late afternoon or sign up for the two-hour dinner cruise later in the evening. After dining, guests can relish the view from the open-air deck or swing by the dance floor to enjoy jazz and melodic tunes from a live band. “I give passengers plenty of downtime to just listen to the birds and listen to the wind blow through the trees,” said Terry. “A lot of people live in the city and don’t get to experience that.” W W W. M A R K T WA I N R I V E R BOAT.COM

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Plan your visit at ArkEncounter.com Williamstown, K Y (south of Cincinnati)


WORKERS FO LLOW G EORG E WAS H I NGTON'S WH ISKEY R ECI PE I N TH E DISTI LLERY AT MT. VER NON.

BY SAVAN NAH OS BOU R N

T

he South is full of famous faces, from celebrated singers and authors to those who changed the course of history on the battlefield. When groups visit the homes and museums of these individuals, they get the chance to step into the shoes of their heroes and learn about the world that shaped them. Some visitors may be surprised by how much they relate to these historical figures and walk away with newfound appreciation for their legacies. Here are six legendary Southerners who are sure to capture the imaginations of all your group members.

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Courtesy VTC


FACES and

PLACES SOME SOUTHERNERS REVEAL ITS SOUL

WWW. T R A V E L S O U T HU S A . CO M

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ROS EMARY CLOON EY AN D BI NG CROS BY

FACES and

PLACES

By Kathy Brown, courtesy Rosemary Clooney House

LOCAL

Rosemary Clooney House

southern

AUGUSTA, KENTUCKY

SECRETS

Internationally recognized singer and actress Rosemary Clooney was known for the rich texture of her voice and for cultivating an expressive, bluesy style that set her apart early in her singing career. “Anytime you hear her sing from her early years, you can tell it’s Rosemary,” said Steve Henry, proprietor of the Rosemary Clooney House. Originally from Maysville, Kentucky, Clooney began her entertainment career in the late 1940s when she sang a duet with her sister Betty on a Cincinnati radio station. After going on tour with the Tony Pastor Band, she eventually signed with Columbia Records, also home to Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra. Over the years, she appeared on popular programs like the “Ed Sullivan Show” and released No. 1 hits such as “Come On-A My House,” “Hey There” and “Mambo Italiano.” She later starred alongside Bing Crosby in the classic film “White Christmas.” When “White Christmas” debuted in 1954, it garnered rave reviews worldwide, becoming the highest grossing film of the year. According to Henry, one of the reasons the film achieved such widespread popularity during the 1950s was that it paid tribute to military veterans. “You have to understand that the U.S. had just been through World War II and the Korean War,” said Henry. “Plus, it had great actresses, great singers — all of the music that Irving Berlin produced was highly regarded.” Just four months before she passed away from lung cancer

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Moton Museum FARMVILLE , VIRGINIA

“The Robert Russa Moton Museum, located in Farmville, Virginia, is the national center for the study of civil rights in education. Named a National Historic Landmark in 1998, the former high school was the site of the first nonviolent student demonstration in 1951, an action that led to the Brown vs. Board of Education case before the U.S. Supreme Cour t, which mandated equa l education for all Americans.” —ANDREW COTHERN Virginia Tourism Corporation W W W. MO T ON M USEU M.ORG

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MACARTH U R M US EUM OF ARKANSAS M I LITARY H ISTORY

Courtesy MacArthur Museum

in 2002, Clooney received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of her illustrious six-decade career. Fans can visit Clooney’s picturesque riverside home in Augusta, Kentucky, where she spent the last 22 years of her life. The house is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and features childhood photographs, beautiful costumes from her films, a comprehensive collection of “White Christmas” memorabilia and an exhibit on her famous nephew, George Clooney. W W W. ROSE M A RYC LOON E Y.ORG

Douglas MacArthur LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS

Gen. Douglas MacArthur has long been regarded as one of the greatest military leaders in American history, perhaps best known for his valiant defense of the Philippines and other Pacific regions during World War II. He

famously uttered the line, “I shall return” when President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered him to flee the Philippines as Japanese forces closed in, and he did so two years later with reinforcements to liberate the islands from Axis control. Later, he oversaw the successful Allied occupation of postwar Japan and played a pivotal role leading United Nations forces in the Korean War. Though his outspoken criticism of President Harry S. Truman’s leadership during the Korean War led to his dismissal from military command in 1951, a decision that sparked outrage among the American public, MacArthur received a hero’s welcome upon his return to the United States and remained an influential figure until his death in 1964. The five-star general was born in 1880 in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the Civil War arsenal where his father was stationed as a captain. Today, the Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal is one of the most historic buildings in the state, housing the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. Inside the museum, visitors can browse exhibits

Shelbyville . Simpsonville . Kentucky Atmospheric Dining: Claudia Sanders Dinner House Boutique shopping and the only Outlet Mall in Kentucky Agritourism Tours Behind the scenes horse farm tours NEW: Ground to Glass Distillery Tour

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WI LLIAM FAU LKN ER’S ROWEN OAK

that highlight some of the most critical events and innovations in military history, from the advent of the jeep to the use of propaganda posters during World War II to draw public support for the war effort. The museum examines many details of MacArthur’s life and legacy, particularly the controversy of his dismissal from command, which led to tense civil-military relations for many years to come. Groups also get the chance to explore an authentic Civil War structure and walk the grounds where many of the historic events depicted in the gallery occurred. W W W. M AC A RT H U R PA R K L R .COM

By Robert Jordan, courtesy Ole Miss Communications

Faulkner’s Rowen Oak OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI

Just south of downtown Oxford, Mississippi, literature lovers can visit the beautiful wooded Rowen Oak, where distinguished author William Faulkner and his family lived for

MACARTH U R M US EUM OF ARKANSAS M I LITARY H ISTORY Courtesy MacArthur Museum

MARGAR ET M ITCH ELL HOUS E I N ATLANTA Courtesy Atlanta History Center

FESTIVALS AND FUN. GRAND HISTORIC HOMES. BIRTHPLACE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST PLAYWRIGHT, TENNESSEE WILLIAMS. RUN OR BIKE ALONG THE SCENIC RIVERWALK, WINDING AROUND AND OVER THE TOMBIGBEE RIVER. SHOP, DINE, AND SAVOR IN THE ULTIMATE SOUTHERN DESTINATION. VisitColumbusMS.org YEAR-ROUND Daily Historic Home Tours APRIL 5 -14, 2018 78th Annual Spring Pilgrimage SEPTEMBER Tennessee Williams Festival OCTOBER Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium

for attraction and event listings. Tennessee Williams Home & Welcome Center 300 Main Street | 800.920.3533

WWW. T R A V E L S O U T HU S A . CO M

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ROWEN OAK

By Robert Jordan, courtesy Ole Miss Communications

more than 40 years. Faulkner purchased the Greek Revival house and surrounding 29 acres in 1930. The serene, secluded landscaped allowed him the privacy he needed to write, and it was there he penned some of his greatest works, including “A Fable,” “Absalom, Absalom!” and “As I Lay Dying.” Many of his novels explored controversial topics such as slavery, poverty and the decline of Southern aristocrats, introducing dark themes that came to characterize the Southern Gothic genre. “He was the first person to write about the modern South that emerged following the Civil War,” said William Griffith, curator of the museum. “He developed a formula for Southern literature: a nice, bucolic town that’s hiding a dark, vicious secret, and then something uncovers the secret, and the town has to confront it.” When Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, he was the first writer from Mississippi to receive the honor. His novel “The Sound and the Fury” is widely considered one of the greatest English-language novels of the 20th century.

One of the most popular times to visit Rowen Oak is early spring, when the trees and flowers come into full bloom. After admiring the beautiful original furnishings throughout the home, visitors can step outside to explore historic structures on the grounds, such as an old horse barn, a detached kitchen and the servants’ quarters. W W W. ROWA NOA K .COM

Margaret Mitchell House ATLANTA

Margaret Mitchell published only one work of fiction in her life, but that did not deter her captivating Civil War tale, “Gone With the Wind,” from becoming one of the most revered examples of Southern literature. The book was conceived in 1926, the year newlyweds Margaret Mitchell and John Marsh moved into a quaint, red-brick apartment building on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, a home Mitchell af-

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Twin Falls Resort State Park , WV

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AN DY GRI FFITH M US EUM

By Hobart Jones, courtesy Andy Griffith Museum

fectionately called “The Dump.” After an ankle injury left her bedridden, her husband brought home dozens of books from the library each week to help her pass the time. Eventually, he grew tired of carrying armloads of books into the house and brought back a typewriter instead, saying, “For God’s sake, Peggy, can’t you write a book instead of reading thousands of them.” So Mitchell started to write, and a vivid story of survival in a war-torn country began to take shape. Though nearly a decade passed before Mitchell submitted her manuscript to a publisher, “Gone With the Wind” was an instant success. Within a year of publication, the novel received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and four years later, the story was adapted into an award-winning film starring Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh. In the whirlwind of publicity that followed, Mitchell found little time to produce more writing, instead turning her attention to philanthropic work in the local community. In 1949, she was struck by an off-duty cab driver as she and her husband were crossing the street, and she passed away shortly after at the age of 49. At the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, groups can learn more about Mitchell’s rich inner world, her phil-

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anthropic efforts and her inspiration for writing the timeless novel. “Many people expect her to embody the typical, sweet Southern belle, but she was very much an independent and, at times, quite a rebellious young lady,” said Jessica VanLanduyt, deputy mission officer at the Atlanta History Center. Visitors can tour the apartment where she penned most of the book and see various exhibits throughout the house that commemorate her background and legacy. W W W. AT L A N TA HIS T ORYC E N T E R .COM

Andy Griffith Museum MOUNT AIRY, NORTH CAROLINA

When many people think of Andy Griffith, they recall his role as small-town sheriff Andy Taylor in the beloved family sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show.” The award-winning, eightseason show captured the hearts of viewers from its debut in 1960, following the heartwarming story of sheriff and widower Andy Taylor; his son, Opie; his bumbling deputy, Barney Fife; and other comical characters in the close-knit community of Mayberry. “‘The Andy Griffith Show’ was about friendship, kindness and taking care of one another,” said Abigail Linville, director of collections and exhibitions at the Surry Arts Council. “It was a simpler time and place, and that’s what made his character so endearing to people.” Three years before the actor’s death in 2012, the Andy Griffith Museum opened in his hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. The museum featured memorabilia from his extensive career in film, theater and music. Many artifacts were donated by Griffith’s friends and family, among them a rocking chair made by Griffith’s father, the suit Griffith wore in “Matlock,” and the original sheriff and deputy badges from “The Andy Griffith Show.” “Everyone puts him in the category of Andy Taylor,” said Linville. “The most common statement I hear

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Endless Possibilities

SAVE THE DATE | February 24-27, 2019 Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel


THOMAS J EFFERSON'S MONTICELLO

is ‘I had no idea he did anything else. I had no idea he did ‘A Face in the Crowd,’ ‘Waitress’ and ‘No Time for Sergeants.’ I encourage people to come to the museum so they can see the type of actor he was.” In September each year, the Surry Arts Council celebrates the legacy of the “The Andy Griffith Show” with Mayberry Days, a weeklong festival that draws thousands of fans. W W W. SU R RYA RT S .ORG By Ali Zaman

Presidents’ Homes VIRGINIA

AN DY GRI FFITH M US EUM

I NTERPR ETER'S AT MOU NT VER NON

By Hobart Jones, courtesy Andy Griffith Museum

By Cameron Davidson, courtesy VTC

NASA Visitor Center

#

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ALABAM

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.

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Virginia is the birthplace of more U.S. presidents than any other state in the country, and today, groups can visit eight of their beautiful, historic homes. Visitors could easily spend a day at George Washington’s stunning country mansion Mount Vernon, along the banks of the Potomac River. The expansive estate includes the main house, a distillery and gristmill, flower gardens and an education center. Charlottesville, Virginia, is known as the home of the country’s third, fourth and fifth presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and James Madison. Considered one of the most brilliant politicians in American history, Jefferson spent nearly 40 years modifying the house and gardens of his hilltop home, Monticello, a project he called his “essay in architecture.” Unique features include Venetian porches with wooden blinds, an octagonal Dome Room and 13 skylights. The Neoclassical-style plantation house Montpelier served as the home of James Madison, also known as the Father of the Constitution. In addition to touring the house, groups can wander through more than eight miles of surrounding trails. Other history buffs may want to stop by the lovely country house of Ash-Lawn Highland at the base of the Southwest Mountains, where James Monroe lived. W W W.V IRGI N I A.ORG / PR E SIDE N T S

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

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GRITT’S FARM HAS B EEN FAM I LY OWN ED I N WEST VI RGI NIA SI NCE 1927.

BY SAVAN NAH OS BOU R N

T

he farms of the South have so many unusual experiences to offer, from tastetesting fresh oysters and herb-infused honeys to meeting impressive animals such as buffalo and towering Clydesdale horses. The next time your group is looking for a revitalizing venture outside the city, consider taking them to one of these little plots of paradise.

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Courtesy Gritt’s Farm


HONEY and

HALF SHELLS

HOM E- GROWN GOO DN ESS IS A SOUTH ER N TRADITION

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DI N N ER AT GRITT’S FARM

HONEY and

HALF SHELLS Courtesy Gritts’ Farm

LOCAL

Gritt’s Farm

southern

BUFFALO, WEST VIRGINIA

SECRETS

Gritt’s Farm in Buffalo, West Virginia, has been a staple of the Kanawha Valley area for more than 90 years. The 400acre homestead farm was established in 1927 by Italian immigrants Veto and Nellie Gritt, who handed down the family business through four generations. During the 1950s, second-generation owner Lee Gritt began experimenting with greenhouses, becoming the first person in West Virginia to grow hydroponic tomatoes. Today, Gritt’s Farm uses greenhouses to grow a wide range of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers that guests can pick up from the farm store or order through the farm’s gourmet Community Supported Agriculture program. In 2012, Gritt’s Farm featured its first professionally designed corn maze, which was an instant hit with locals. Soon after, the farm began adding more attractions to entertain visitors, including a wagon train, human hamster wheels, apple cannons and rubber duck racing. On Slide Mountain, guests can race down three giant slides built into the side of a hill. Bunnyville features little houses with cute rabbits inside. “We’re always adding new attractions. The first question anyone asks when they come is ‘Oh, what’d you add this year?’” said Brad Gritt, fourth-generation owner. Recently, the farm has begun hosting farm-to-table dinners using locally harvested ingredients to make delectable menu options, such as pumpkin pie soup, apple fritters and slow-roasted chicken with parmesan grits.

Congaree National Park HOPKINS, SOUTH CAROLINA

“Congaree National Park is located a short drive from downtown Columbia. Open to the public and free of charge, there is a wonderful welcome center filled with information about the park, the wildlife found there, the tree and plant life that grow in the park and its overall histor y. Visitors can take advantage of various programming offerings throughout the year and take a canoe or kayak tour down Cedar Creek.” — KIM JAMIESON Discover South Carolina

W W W. N PS .G OV/ CONG

W W W.GR I T T SFA R M.COM

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THE ONLY THING MORE IMPRESSIVE THAN SEEING THEM AT TOP SPEED IS SEEING THEM SITTING STILL. Not only do we have great convention facilities, but we have some pretty impressive facilities for after your meeting, too. Like the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum – home to the largest motorcycle collection in the world. Standing amidst the 1,600 vintage and modern bikes and race cars you’ll actually feel the energy in the room. And the entire city. Right here in Birmingham.

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GRITT’S FARM

Courtesy Gritt’s Farm

Seven Springs Alpaca Farm

LEBANON, VIRGINIA

In the foothills of the Clinch Mountains in southwest Virginia, Seven Springs Alpaca Farm produces high-end alpaca fabrics for clients around the world. Deborah and Dwight Bailey purchased the land in 1998, and brought home their first alpaca about three years later. “I love working with textiles, so alpacas were a natural choice,” said Deborah Bailey. “You can press their wool against your face, and it doesn’t itch. It’s hypoallergenic and very insulating.” At present, the property houses more than 100 huacaya alpacas of premier breeding stock. Though some farmers raise alpacas as a hobby, the Baileys employ a selective breeding process to ensure the quality of the fiber, sometimes traveling across the country to handpick the finest alpacas available. Seven Springs Alpaca Farm offers guided tours through-

out the year that take visitors through highlights of the farm, including the veterinary facility, the quarantine barn and the birthing room. Guests can also visit the farm store to pick out their own alpaca sweaters, scarves or socks. Bailey suggested that groups visit the farm in the spring or fall, when birthing season is in full swing. “Alpacas are normally standoffish like cats, but the babies come up to you and nibble on you or smell you,” said Bailey. “They’re very curious. They love little children, and they’re not much bigger than the kids themselves.” W W W.7SPR I NG SA L PAC A.COM

Wehrloom Honey

ROBBINSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA When Aron and Jessica Wehr moved to Robbinsville, North Carolina, in 2010, they had no intention of starting a honey farm. The passion project began when Aron Wehr

Your group tour will have no trouble staying entertained. With a beautiful, revitalized waterfront, world-class shopping, amazing chef-owned restaurants, harbor cruises, museums, tours of the world’s largest navy base and so much more to choose from. No wonder Norfolk was named America’s #1 Favorite City for 2018! 1-800-368-3097 | visitnorfolk.com

Contact Melissa Hopper, Associate Director of Tour & Travel, to plan your next trip today!

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bought his wife two beehives as a Christmas gift one year. The Wehrs started selling their honey at local farmers markets and festivals, and as the demand for their products increased, so did the number of beehives in their backyard. Now, the couple owns close to 200 hives. “It took us a couple years before we were like ‘Wow, I think we could actually do this,’” said Aron Wehr. “But we’re having fun. It sort of grew on its own.” In 2015, Wehrloom Honey open a year-round retail store on the main highway in Robbinsville. The shop features a wide selection of honey-based products, from herb-infused honeys to moistening balms and handmade herbal soaps, and guests are welcome to sample any of the 16 honey varieties available for purchase. Sourwood Honey, derived from the nectar of sourwood blossoms high in the mountains, is one of the most popular varieties. The farm store also has a honeybee observatory, where groups can view 40 active beehives through vertical glass casings. This past year, Wehrloom Honey also began produc-

Courtesy Wehrloom Honey

S E VEN S PRI NGS ALPACA FARM

Courtesy Seven Springs Alpaca Farm ehrloom Honey

Courtesy Wehrloom Honey

Like the sun breaking over the horizon, our trip to Little Rock was inspiring. Visiting Central High School National Historic Site Visitor Center and learning about the bravery of the Little Rock Nine was a powerful experience, as was touring the Clinton Presidential Center and seeing the Anne Frank Tree sapling. Catching a great exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center and a stirring performance at the beautiful, new Robinson Center — who knew? You can enjoy all this and more in Little Rock.

Little Rock Central High School > To see more visit LittleRock.com

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ing mead, a honey wine made from fermented honey. Among the available choices are light, fruity flavors such as Pretty in Peach and Black Bear-Y. “Honey is our best-selling product, but the mead is catching up pretty quick, and we’ve only had it for sale since May,” said Wehr. To learn more about honey farming, visitors can schedule a guided tour of the production area and honeybee observatory. Groups can also sign up for a beekeeping class during the spring and summer. W W W.W E HR LOOM.COM

Ratchford Buffalo Farms MARSHALL, ARKANSAS

Not every traveler can claim they have seen a buffalo herd up close. Eighty miles south of Branson, Missouri, Ratchford Buffalo Farms specializes in selling exotic meats such as buffalo, elk, wild boar and venison, housing an average of 50 buffalo on-site. Otis and Madge Ratchford purchased the 500-acre farm in 1952 and made a simple living raising cattle and growing produce such as strawberries and tomatoes. After Otis’ death in 1986, his son, L.C. Ratchford, took over management of the farm and expanded the business to include beef, buffalo and pork farming. Buffalo and elk provide leaner and more nutritious meat than cattle. In addition, Ratchford avoids the use of any antibiotics, hormones or steroids, raising his livestock on natural, grass-fed diets, dramatically affecting the richness of the flavor. Some of the farm’s most popular products are hot buffalo snack sticks and wild boar snack sticks. “It’s something that you can’t get at Walmart,” said Ratchford. “It’s a healthier snack stick. When you come here, you get to see where it’s raised and how it’s raised, and get to know your local farmer.” Groups are welcome to stop by the farm, though visits must be scheduled in advance. As visitors admire the burly buffaloes within their enclosure, they may also notice Ratchford’s assortment of rescued animals, which include peacocks, a llama, an alpaca and a pet deer. According to Ratchford, many people acquire these kinds of animals as pets without knowing what to do with

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them, so he often offers to take them under his wing. “To me, it’s a way of life; it’s not just a job,” said Ratchford. “You’ve got to love it, or you can’t do it.” W W W. R AT C HF OR DFA R MS . N E T

Warm Springs Ranch

WARM S PRI NGS RANCH I N M ISSOU RI

BOONVILLE, MISSOURI

Encompassing more than 300 acres of rolling green hills, Warm Springs Ranch is the breeding farm for the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses. It is in Boonville, Missouri, around 150 miles west of St. Louis. Clydesdale horses are known for the furry white stockings on their legs as well as their incredible size; their backs alone reach six feet in height. For 85 years, these gentle giants have been featured in Budweiser commercials and promotional events, traditionally displayed pulling a bright-red beer wagon in teams of eight.

Courtesy Warm Springs Ranch

RATCH FOR D BUFFALO FARMS

A CLYDES DALE AT WARM S PRI NGS RANCH Courtesy Ratchford Buffalo Farms

Courtesy Warm Springs Ranch

Historic Downtown Bardstown

WONDER History surrounds you in Kentucky’s second-oldest city. With more than 35 annual events on tap, there’s always a reason to hurry back and raise a glass in Bardstown, Kentucky. www.visitbardstown.com | 800.638.4877 bart10028v2_groupTravel.indd 1

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M U R DER POI NT OYSTERS

Courtesy Murder Point Oysters

At Warm Springs Ranch, groups can meet these magnificent animals up close and learn about the extensive training required for a Clydesdale horse to join the Budweiser team. “Whether people are 4 years old or 84 years old, they still get that big smile on their face when they see the Clydesdales,” said farm manager John Soto, who has worked with Budweiser Clydesdales for more than 35 years. Soto began working with horses as a teenager and often visited the Clydesdale horses whenever a Budweiser hitch came to town. When Budweiser offered him a fulltime position at the age of 21, he leapt at the chance. “I’ve never had a real job — I’ve only really worked with horses,” said Soto jokingly. Groups can take a walking tour of the farm’s premier 25,000-square-foot breeding facility, visiting areas such as the examination room for pregnant mares and the foaling stalls, which usually house four or five baby Clydesdales. At the end of the visit, groups return to the breeding room for a complimentary Budweiser beer tasting and photo opportunity with one of the geldings. W W W.WA R MSPR I NG SR A NC H.COM

Elvis Presley Event Center Elvis Presley Birthplace

Elvis at 13 Bronze Statue State-of-the-Art Theater

Murder Point Oysters GULF COAST, ALABAMA

The Zirlott family has been in the seafood business for five generations, harvesting shrimp, fish and other natural resources along the Gulf of Mexico. After taking a training course from Auburn University on animal husbandry in 2012, Rosa and Brent Zirlott decided to try their hand at oyster farming and partnered with their son, Lane, to launch Murder Point Oysters. The company prides itself on offering a premiumgrade product. Grown in the nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the oysters develop a plump, buttery texture. “Most people have never tasted a real Alabama oyster, so we’re really excited to give everyone the chance to try it,” said Rosa Zirlott, co-owner of the company. The family raised 25,000 oysters the first year and quickly fell in love with the process. Zirlott described her excitement upon pulling up one of the hatchery baskets for the first time. “We opened the basket and saw this nursery of baby oysters, baby crabs and fish. It really excited us to see that, and that’s when it hit home for us that we just loved what we were doing,” said Zirlott. Since then, business has been booming. In 2017, Murder Point Oysters harvested 1.3 million oysters. Seafood lovers can stop by the new Murder Point Oyster retail store to purchase farm-fresh oysters, or pick up a souvenir hat or T-shirt. This summer, Murder Point Oysters will begin featuring a behindthe-scenes tour of the farm, where groups can learn about raising oysters and see the long rows of hatchery baskets lining Sandy Bay. W W W. M U R DE R POI N T OYS T E R S .COM

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f o s t h g i l h g i h e h t f o One ife ! - Brian from my l Tennessee

L clo ibrary sed Jan will b uar e y 1– 6.

“The Billy Graham Library was very inspirational and encouraging,” Brian also wrote. “It was on my bucket list.” Bring your group to Charlotte, N.C., and discover what God can do through an ordinary life surrendered to Him. Walk in the shoes of a farm boy who became pastor to presidents and shared God’s love with millions. Admission is free, and exhibits are state-of-the-art. The experience is unforgettable. “Come and see what God has done.” —Psalm 66:5, ESV

A ministry of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

©2017 BGEA

Monday to Saturday, 9:30–5:00 • BillyGrahamLibrary.org • 704-401-3200 Reservations required for groups of 10 or more; email LibraryTours@bgea.org or call 704-401-3270. 4330 Westmont Drive • Charlotte, North Carolina


A L A BA M A | A R K A NS A S | GEORGI A | K EN T UCK Y | LOU ISI A NA | MISSISSIPPI | MISSOU R I

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NORTH C A ROL INA | SOU TH C A ROL INA | TENNESSEE | V IRGINI A | W EST V IRGINI A

2018 Travel South Tour Planner  

Experience the stories of the South in this year's Travel South Tour Planner.

2018 Travel South Tour Planner  

Experience the stories of the South in this year's Travel South Tour Planner.