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ON T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R FAITH-BASED TRAVEL PLANNERS VOL. 20 - NO. 1

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Kentucky offers dozens of attractions. From a life-size Noah’s Ark to Shaker Village, you’ll find something for everyone. For sample itineraries and travel tips, visit kentuckytourism.com/faith.

The Ark Encounter

Shaker Village

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

#travelky


GOF

THE MAGAZINE

F O R FA I T H - B A S E D T R AV E L

[ WINTER 2017 ]

24

18 20

Greatness in Green Bay

Maryland’s Heritage of Faith

Beach Cuisine

This Wisconsin city enjoys a championship tradition.

Sites throughout the state tell stories of religious freedom.

Check out the food in these favorite coastal destinations.

D EP A R T M EN T S Columns

6 EDITOR’S NOTES: Get to Know America Again.

ON THE COVER: A small country church outside Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Spotlights

HEARTLAND

TRAVEL GUIDE 32 Discover the iconic attractions in each state in America’s Heartland.

News

10 PROFILE:

7 NEW DEVELOPMENTS at Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the Becky Thatcher House in Hannibal, Missouri.

Cindi Brodhecker

12 INTERNATIONAL: Corinth, Greece

30 RETREAT: WinShape Retreat Center

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Mac T. Lacy Founder and Publisher

Brian Jewell Executive Editor

Eliza Myers Online Editor

Charles A. Presley Partner

Herb Sparrow Senior Writer

Christine Clough Copy Editor

Donia Simmons Creative Director

Ashley Ricks Circulation

Savannah Osbourn Staff Writer

Stacey Bowman Account Manager

Going On Faith is published quarterly by THE GROUP TRAVEL LEADER, Inc., 301 East High Street, Lexington, Kentucky 40507, and is distributed free of charge to qualified group leaders who plan travel for churches, synagogues and religious organizations. All other travel suppliers, including tour operators, destinations, attractions, transportation companies, hotels, restaurants, and other travel-related companies, may subscribe to Going On Faith by sending a check for $39 for one year to: Going On Faith, Circulation Department, 301 East High Street, 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.


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EDITOR’S

NOTES BRIAN JEWELL

GET TO KNOW AMERICA AGAIN

O

ne of the most overlooked benefits of travel is the opportunity it affords to get to know people who are unlike us in almost every way. We often think about the trips we’re planning based on the places we want to go and the things we want to do when we get there. Our itineraries often include lists of attractions, hotels and restaurants. There are sights to see, photos to take and souvenirs to buy. But all along the way, our trips are creating opportunities to interact with new people, many of whom have a different perspective on life. I’ll never forget some of the most interesting conversations I have had as I traveled the world: an Australian businessman anxious about America’s aggressive stance after 9/11, a Jordanian Muslim explaining the history of the Middle East in terms of religious persecution, a Cuban tour guide sharing his family’s struggles with rationing in a communist country, a South African nature photographer lamenting the poaching industry that threatens to wipe out the rhinoceros population. I have been fortunate to have traveled widely throughout the world, and visiting foreign countries and cultures opens doors for curious minds to pursue honest conversations. But you don’t need to trek halfway around the globe to find someone with a different perspective who has an interesting story. The travel industry is filled with kind, hospitable and talkative people who love chatting with strangers and showing them a bit of their daily lives. There are great conversations just waiting

to be had with tour guides, bus drivers, hotel desk clerks, gift shop employees and museum volunteers. Ask a flight attendant how her day is going, where she is flying next and how long she has been away from home. When you meet young singers, dancers and entertainers, inquire about their hometowns, their families and how they got into show business. Read local newspapers as you travel to learn about the issues and challenges facing big cities and small communities. Some of those issues will be things you are unfamiliar with, and others will remind you a lot of the kinds of things you deal with at home. As you explore, ask the locals for their perspective on the news. Don’t try to have arguments or advance your political position; just listen and learn. After a contentious presidential campaign and an election result that seems to have left the country more divided than ever, it’s clear that Americans have been spending far too much time surrounding themselves with like-minded people and far too little time with people from other walks of life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When you take your groups out on the road, you are creating powerful opportunities for them to get to know sides of America — or the world — that they probably wouldn’t come into contact with otherwise. You may even be surprised by how much you get to know about the people traveling with you. Travel changes hearts and opens minds. Travel creates conversations. It forms friendships and builds bridges. Travel is a gift, and it comes with a purpose. Let’s make the most of it.

BRIAN JEWELL [ EDITOR ] brianj@grouptravelleader.com

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going on faith [ winter 2017 ]


NEWS WORTHY

RUBY FALLS TO IMPLEMENT IMPROVEMENTS FOR CENTENNIAL CHATANOOGA, Tennessee — Leading up to its centennial in 2020, Ruby Falls is working with St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations to improve the visitor experience. Planned amenities include new, thematic retail and dining attractions; an immersive multimedia experience; an outdoor plaza and seating area; improved parking; a new observation deck from which to enjoy sunsets and sunrises; improved staff facilities; and enhanced ticketing services. Construction on the new features is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2017 and be finished in early 2018. Ruby Falls features a 145-foot waterfall located 1,120 feet beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain — America’s deepest commercial cave and tallest underground waterfall open to the public. www.rubyfalls.com

BECKY THATCHER HOUSE REOPENS AS PART OF MARK TWAIN MUSEUM COMPLEX HANNIBAL, Missouri — The Becky Thatcher House, one of several structures throughout Hannibal that are part of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, recently reopened after a major restoration. The house, across the street from the early boyhood home of author Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, was home to Laura Hawkins, who Twain said was the real life inspiration for his fictitious Becky Thatcher, the love interest of Tom Sawyer. The reinvigorated Becky Thatcher House gives a glimpse at life in the 19th-century Midwest, and visitors can assume the roles of Thatcher, Sawyer, Jim and Huckleberry Finn. Among the new artifacts, graphics, media and interactive exhibits are custom images of Twain’s characters throughout the house created by local illustrator Brenda Beck. www.marktwainmuseum.org

going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ]

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HOW TO

HOW TO PLAN MEANINGFUL MISSIONS

Y

BY BR I A N J E WE L L

ou brought 30 unskilled Americans into a Third World village for a week. You constructed a school, you held some babies, and you handed out some gifts. You got some great photos, had some very moving experiences and went back to your church with a great report. But do you really know how much good you did for the people you were serving? It could be a lot less good than you think. Some development experts and mission organization leaders have concluded that many short-term mission trips do more harm than good. Recent years have brought a lot of discussion in the faith community about the impact of short-term mission trips, with experts warning that many of the customs of American mission travelers can put a burden on the communities and the long-term ministries they intend to serve. That’s not to say that all short-term mission trips are bad. But it does mean that American ministers and group leaders should think more carefully about how they plan and execute mission trips.

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going on faith [ winter 2017 ]


Here are 10 rules gathered from mission experts that will help your mission trips make a lasting, positive difference. GET IN-DEPTH, PRE-TRIP TRAINING. A good short-term mission trip begins before travelers ever leave home. Pretrip training is imperative for helping travelers and volunteers understand the geographic, cultural, political, economic and spiritual climate in which they will be working. Travelers should learn to be culturally sensitive, servant minded and realistic about the kinds of experiences they are about to have. A well-trained team can have a much more positive impact on the places they visit than a group with no discipline or unrealistic expectations.

6)

BE FLEXIBLE. If you lead leisure group trips for your church, you might be accustomed to sticking to a well-organized itinerary. But rigid scheduling can be a nightmare in foreign countries, where things often happen at a much slower pace than they do in the United States. Flexibility is key — understand that plans may change, events may be rescheduled or get started very late, and resources you were counting on may prove unavailable when you need them. Take the changes in stride, and teach your travelers to do the same.

7)

2)

OFFER ON-SITE MENTORING. For people who have never traveled abroad before, the first contact with foreign cultures, poverty and other international experiences can be overwhelming. It’s not uncommon for young, inexperienced volunteers to shut down mentally and spiritually in the face of these challenges. Therefore, you should dedicate a significant amount of your time in the field to group devotions, debriefing and mentoring to help your travelers deal with the things they are experiencing and keep their attitudes positive.

3)

PREACH THE GOSPEL, NOT AMERICA. People in foreign countries often have different views of global events and America’s role in them than we do at home. The mission field is not a place to wave the American flag or promote your political outlook. Instead, focus solely on meeting people’s needs and spreading the Gospel. And understand that the expression of Christianity in the local culture might look different than it does in America. That’s a good thing. Don’t try to make foreign believers fit into the American Christian mold.

AVOID THE WESTERN SAVIOR MENTALITY. It’s common for short-term mission travelers from wealthy, developed countries to believe they have the answers for the poverty and problems of the Third World simply because they come from a more prosperous place. But your group is not going to eradicate poverty in seven days, and a nation’s systemic challenges will remain long after you leave. Instead, work with partners on the ground to determine how best to serve and reach out to locals in ways that are respectful and culturally sensitive. WORK WITH LOCALS, NOT FOR LOCALS. Unless you’re a professional construction worker, chances are you have little real value to offer in building a school or orphanage. There are local tradesmen in the places you visit who can do the work much better than you and who would be grateful for the opportunity. Don’t base your mission trips on doing work that locals could do for themselves. Instead, find ways to work alongside locals and support them in what they are doing, even if that work is menial or unattractive.

4)

SERVE THE LONG-TERM MISSIONARIES ON-SITE. Many short-term mission teams work hand in hand with long-term missionaries on the ground. And although those people are sometimes grateful to have short-term help from home, the time, effort and expense of hosting a short-term group from America often detracts from more important relationship-building work in the community. Instead of expecting long-term missionaries to act as your local tour directors for a week, find ways to serve them individually and to encourage them personally, even if that means spending less time with locals.

5)

PROMOTE THE LOCAL CHURCH. After your team leaves the mission field, the long-term fruit of your work will depend largely on the local churches in the area where you worked. Good mission trips should always work in tandem with local churches and help those pastors and congregations make inroads into their communities. When in doubt, do things to put local Christians in the spotlight, and keep your team busy serving in the background.

8) 9)

PRACTICE POST-TRIP FOLLOW-UP. Studies have found that although most short-term missionaries experience elevated spiritual zeal and commitment during and immediately after a trip, those feelings often taper off in the months and years after a trip. And some travelers even become jaded or downcast because of difficult things they have seen in the mission field, which may damage their relationship with God. Experts believe it is important for church leaders to follow up with mission participants on a regular basis after trips to help them work through negative feelings and turn their temporary spiritual momentum into long-term, sustainable growth. BUILD LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS. Short-term mission trips are, by definition, limited, but church groups can have greater impacts in the places they visit by intentionally building longterm relationships. Instead of taking your groups to a different place every year, find a place where your church can invest with trips year after year or even more frequently if possible. This allows locals to develop a level of trust with you that isn’t possible in a one-time trip, and it helps you get to know the community better and develop a keener sense of how to make the most positive impact. going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ]

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FACES

of FAITH

Leading Women of Faith

TRAVEL BY A SHLE Y RI CKS

CINDI BRODHECKER

[ THE PRISCILLA WOMAN’S TOURS ] BY AS HL E Y R I CK S

C

WHO DO YOU PLAN FOR? Cindi Brodhecker is the owner of The Priscilla Woman’s Tours and the president of Faith Travel Development and Consulting.

indi Brodhecker didn’t start out with a career in travel; instead, she jokingly refers to this change of profession as her midlife crisis. Previously, she worked in accounting and office management, but she had her “aha!” moment when she began working for a motorcoach company. She fell in love with travel and decided that was what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. Since changing course to a life in travel, she has become a pioneer in the faith travel industry. Brodhecker started her own company, The Priscilla Woman’s Tours. Her company seeks to provide wholesome and fun-filled experiences, as well as spiritual growth, for women through travel. Her trips are unusual in the sense that they are womenonly trips, but this allows for a more tailored and empowering experience. Brodhecker is also the president of Faith Travel Development and Consulting and contributes to various faith-focused efforts in both the tourism and publishing industries. Even though she is now “semiretired,” Brodhecker still takes an active role in her company and continues to go on many of the trips.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BIBLE VERSE? Galatians 6:10 Brodhecker prefers the simplicity of this passage in the Amplified Bible, which she paraphrases as “Be mindful to be a blessing to the brethren.”

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

TRAVEL TIPS TIP 1

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Know how important the destinations are and how traveling to them helps strengthen our faith.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESTINATION?

TIP 2

Brodhecker’s favorite destination is Greece. Her first international trip was to Greece, and her family is Greek.

Understand the difference between markets and Christian denominations. TIP 3

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES? Reading.

going on faith [ winter 2017 ]

No matter where you are, people are willing to help; you just have to ask


Brodhecker strives to bring faith to the forefront on her trips in a meaningful way that engages both the heart and the mind. “Some people think that faith-based travel is reading the Scriptures or taking Communion, but it’s more,” she said. “You’re seeing the sites of biblical history; for example, in Greece, the country and their philosophy, as well as how Paul challenged their stoic intellect at Mars Hill.” Brodhecker incorporates Scripture into her trips in a variety of ways. Printed itineraries include Scripture references, and devotionals are part of the activities at different sites. Sometimes she even employs actors to bring biblical stories to life. For example, on a trip to Corinth, Brodhecker brought in an actor to portray Paul in the market of the ancient city during the time he spent working alongside Aquila and Priscilla making and selling tents. Trips may also feature guest speakers who bring added layers of meaning or understanding. While many trips are to biblical destinations, Brodhecker and her groups travel all over the world. Although some trips go to destinations outside of the Holy Land, they still incorporate faith and fellowship. A past trip featured Gigi Graham, daughter of well-known evangelist Billy Graham, as she shared her personal experiences, thoughts and favorite destinations in Switzerland.

Brodhecker’s strength is found in her passion for faith travel. “I’ve always been told my passion is my greatest sales tool,” she said. She encourages others to share in her experiences and travel to biblical destinations to make the connections that have helped her grow in her own beliefs. For Brodhecker, faith travel is more than a vacation: It has encouraged her desire to develop a deeper understanding of the Scriptures. She builds trips in such a way that others will see the places and stories of the Bible come to life and experience a growth in their personal convictions the way she has. Today, Brodhecker’s company, Priscilla Woman’s Tours, focuses on women-only travel as an enriching, faith-filled experience. The name came from the story of the biblical figure Priscilla, whom Paul met while preaching in Corinth. Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, were tent-makers and worshippers of God. They traveled and lived in Rome, Greece and Turkey because of the growing persecution of their faith, and later traveled and worked alongside Paul to teach the Gospel in Ephesus, located in present-day Turkey. Because of her example in faith and a life of travel, Priscilla is an example to “modern women who also want to go and explore, meet and experience the world in a comfortable atmosphere with other modern-day Priscillas,” Brodhecker said.

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PASSPORT

STAMPS INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

CORINTH GREECE

Travelers often enjoy the freshly caught seafood and local produce that make up the vibrant cuisine of Greece’s coastal cities.

All photos courtesy Visit Greece

BY A S H LE Y R ICK S

W HERE IN THE BIBLE? Acts 18, I and II Corinthians

going on faith [ winter 2017 ]

T

he footsteps of Paul — and the spread of the Gospel — lead through Corinth, a Greek coastal city that is an ideal destination for faith-based groups and other travelers who enjoy Greek history, food and culture. When the apostle Paul arrived in Corinth on his second missionary journey, he found a bustling center of trade, perfect for spreading the Gospel to others living around the world. Acts 18 says that Paul lived and worked in Corinth for 18 months as a tent-maker alongside Aquila and Priscilla while preaching and establishing a congregation of believers, before the three of them continued on to Ephesus. Located on the Peloponnesian Peninsula, the mod-

ern coastal city of Corinth was built after an earthquake destroyed the original city in 1858. The city is close to the Greek capital of Athens and at the entrance to the southern region of Greece. For this reason, groups visiting Corinth can have the comfort of staying in one destination and still experience the different regions of the country. The bridges that span the canal provide stunning views of the surrounding area and the many ships that cross through the isthmus. Visitors who venture outside the city will see many vineyards growing grapes and olives, as well as citrus orchards. The regional cuisine is bright and flavorful, featuring local produce and the honey and fresh herbs that are also common to the area.


TOP ATTRACTIONS

FOR CHURCH GROUPS • ANCIENT KORINTHOS — Located about five miles north of the modern-day city, the archaeological site of Ancient Korinthos has a museum that details the history of the ancient city, with relics unearthed in the excavations. Among the ruins are the Roman forum, a basilica and baths; the Temple of Apollo; and the agora, or city center, which included the market where Paul, Aquila and Priscilla likely sold their wares. • PERIVOLAKIA SQUARE — This park is a great stop for a snack, some shopping or sightseeing. The area has multiple coffee shops and boutiques, and across the street are the city’s courthouse and a statue of Archbishop Damascenus Papaudreou of Greece, an important figure in 20th-century Greek history. • HISTORICAL AND FOLKLORE MUSEUM This museum highlights Greek heritage and culture. On display at the museum are many traditional Greek costumes from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as samples of ancient embroidery, jewelry and tools.

MUST-DO: An annual grape festival each September celebrates the harvest and winemaking tradition of the Corinth area.

MUST-TASTE: Portokalopita is a type of sweet cake made with oranges. One variation includes semolina flour and Greek yogurt to produce a moist sweet cake; others include shredded filo pastry for a bit of crunch. Common ingredients in the area around Corinth include seafood, goat’s milk cheeses, Greek-style yogurt, olives and fresh herbs.

BRING IT HOME: Popular Corinthian souvenirs include local honey, olive oil and hard-to-find spices such as saffron or the spices mastic and mahleb used in authentic Greek Easter bread. A popular nonfood item with Greeks and non-Greeks alike is komboloi beads, or “worry beads.” You’ll see many locals walking around “worrying” or toying with their beads, which come in all colors and designs imaginable.

• EL. VENIZELOS SQUARE AND THE SEASIDE ZONE — This area is home to the Pegasus statue, a popular symbol of Corinth. This area is most famous for the small port of Floisvos and the marina, which is known for its many high-end shops and yachts. Also close to this area is the Kalamia, a picturesque, pebble-strewn beach that features many coffee shops and taverns. • ACROCORINTH — Just south of the city of Corinth, this peak has served as the fortified acropolis of Corinth for hundreds of years. The Acrocorinth is home to the oldest and largest castle on the Peloponnesian Peninsula, dating from the Middle Ages, and to the Temple of Aphrodite from the Greek period. Other ruins include Christian churches and buildings dating from the Ottoman era. In addition to these historical features, the Acrocorinth is home to an expansive botanical garden that features many wildflowers indigenous to the region. The botanical garden is part of the Natura 2000 European Union habitat network, a larger conservation effort to preserve species unique to the European continent.

PHOTO OP: Many visitors stop for photos atop one of the bridges spanning the Corinthian Canal. Others take snapshots of the column ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite that sits on the highest point of the Acrocorinth.

Coastal town in Greece

RESEARCHING Y OUR TRI P www.visitgreece.gr Greek olive groves


FINDING FAITH

IN

AMISH COUNTRY GOING ON FAITH

CONFERENCE PREVIEW

All photos courtesy Holmes Co. COCTB

The Amish people of Holmes County are famous for their baked goods.

I

BY DAN DICK SON

n 2017, there are few places left in the United States where time seems to stand still and you catch a glimpse of what farm life might have been like 150 to 200 years ago. But in the Amish country of Holmes County, Ohio, located 90 miles northeast of Columbus, visitors can see the traditions of the past alive and well in the present. About 40 percent of the 44,000 residents of Holmes County are Amish and members of a very traditional Christian sect with Dutch, German and

going on faith [ winter 2017 ]

Swiss religious influences. On any given day in Holmes County, you may spy a family traveling down a busy commuter highway, normally reserved for motorized traffic, in a horse-drawn carriage. Out in a field, an Amish farmer may be clearing his land with a horse and plow. The dress for men, women, girls and boys is straight out of the 19th century. As many as 4 million tourists travel to Holmes County each year. They enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and peace of this unusual place. They

seem to crave the simple Amish and country-life experience, the gorgeous scenery, the furniture, the quilts, the locally harvested food and the craftwork. Many people come here on spiritual retreats. The key to that, say locals, is to get tranquil and embrace the quiet, simple life as exemplified by the Amish. Among the tourists are various church groups and organizations from around the world. For example, the next Going On Faith Conference, the professional gathering for religious travel planners, will take


Elkhart County combines scenery, Amish culture, art and other attractions.

Attendees to the Going On Faith Conference will enjoy the sights, sounds and traditions of the Ohio Amish country.

place in Holmes County August 22-24. “We want to showcase our area to group travel leaders who have not been here before,” said Laurie Judson of the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. “We are still a best-kept secret, even though we are the No. 1 travel destination in the state, even ahead of the legendary Cedar Point amusement park near Sandusky.” The Holmes County Amish come from as many as 11 different church affiliations. The more conservative

“WE ARE STILL A BEST-KEPT SECRET, EVEN THOUGH WE ARE THE NO. 1 TRAVEL DESTINATION IN THE STATE, EVEN AHEAD OF THE LEGENDARY CEDAR POINT AMUSEMENT PARK NEAR SANDUSKY.”

among them is the Old Order. Another is known as Andy Weaver Amish or Dan Church. One of the most tradition-minded groups that shun technological change is the Swartzentruber Amish. However, members of New Order Amish blend a bit more easily with non-Amish people in Holmes County and beyond. Whichever group they encounter, visitors will get a unique experience. “It is nostalgic for folks,” said Judson. “There are very few places in the world where you can see exactly what you’ll see here in Holmes County.”

going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ]


ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCES

Quilting is an Amish tradition that continues to be a major artistic expression in Holmes County. Organized quilt shop hops feature magnificent work created by Amish craftspeople. Many visitors attend knitting or crafting classes while they are in the area. Simple but delicious made-from-scratch Amish meals are at the center of the area’s culinary tradition. Desserts include old-fashioned farm-made pies, and many dinner guests want to taste the excellent Swiss chocolate produced in the area. Amish cooks know their way around a kitchen and are quite adept at cooking and serving large meals for dozens of people after weddings, church services and funerals. Music of all kinds, from peaceful Amish tunes to bouncy Southern Gospel songs, can be heard live throughout the area. Theater is also popular in Amish Country, with professionally produced musicals and comedies that are fun and appropriate for families.

FUN FOR EVERY SEASON

Each of the four seasons offers something special for visitors to Amish Country. Holmes County bursts forth in spring. On the Amish farms, many animals are being born. It is fun to see newborns in the fields and barns. Flowers are popping up everywhere. One of the receptive tour operators in the area offers a trip called the Tulip Trail, which is a back-roads tour. In summer, the working farms are busy places.

“Driving around the county, you see scenes that are almost out of a long-ago century,” said Judson. “There’s the shocking of wheat; hay bailing is done using horses and a minimal amount of machinery, depending on what the farm family’s particular church allows.” Folks also love to come to the cheese houses to watch the old-fashioned cheesemaking process and, of course, to taste the varieties. Judson said fall is the busiest time of the year in Holmes County; October, especially so. Fall 2016 was an exceptionally beautiful color season. In 2014, National Geographic magazine named the area the third-best destination for fall foliage viewing in the United States. Holmes County was ranked only behind Sonoma County, California, and northern New Mexico. “The landscape and the views are probably one of the big things tourists want to see,” she said. “It is still a rural county. The roots are very agrarian. What people mostly come for is the authenticity of Amish Country.” Fall is also festival season, and many communities in Holmes County and adjacent counties celebrate everything from apples to pumpkins. Halloween is a big celebration on some of the farms. Wintertime is beautiful in Amish Country, and holiday celebrations abound. Festivals and special events abound throughout the area each holiday season. For example, visitors enjoy the Farm at Walnut Creek for wintry outdoor activities such as a horse-drawn sleigh ride over some of the 120 acres of rolling hills. The sleighs are always piled high with warm blankets so riders can ward off the winter chill. The journey can be a quiet, romantic moonlit ride for couples or families, and church and corporate planners can book multiple sleighs for group outings.

Photo credit: Bruno Vega

With more than 2.5 million travelers visiting Peru’s 11 World Heritage Sites each year, it comes as no surprise that the country’s $168 million annual tourism revenue is on the rise. That’s why in 2011, Tourism Cares selected Peru for a sustainable tourism initiative that engaged peers from both the North American and Peruvian tourism industries to make an impact through volunteering and distributing $80,000 in grant funding.

THIS LLAMA IS VALUED AT $168 MILLION.

Join a growing roster of industry-leading companies committed to preserving the going on faith [ winter 2017 ] places we love and depend on.

Visit TourismCares.org to see how your company can help make global sustainable tourism a reality.


On some of the rides, the driver may stop and let the resident llamas, yaks, American bison, elk and deer saunter up to the sleigh for a little feeding. There is also a stop at a heated barn, where visitors will see zebras, water buffalo, baboons, giraffes and cockatoos that are spending the winter inside. The last stop on the journey is the main house, where hot cocoa, coffee, tea and snacks are served. Also during the colder months, the area’s renowned furniture-making continues indoors. “We are known around the world for the beautiful Amish-made hardwood furniture that comes out of this area,” said Judson. “It is shipped everywhere.” That furniture becomes heirlooms and is enjoyed by generations of family members in their own homes.

BEST DONE IN GROUPS

Individuals and couples enjoy touring Ohio’s Amish Country, but sometimes the fun is expanded when you are part of a group. Many groups of schoolchildren bus to the area on field trips to learn about Amish culture. The local chamber of commerce can help group planners create an unforgettable itinerary that will leave everyone smiling. One site groups enjoy visiting is Yoder’s Amish Home, which was opened in 1983 by the Yoder family. The home strives for authenticity, and household members want to share their knowledge, heritage, customs and history with visitors. Tours include the two family houses and an 1885 barn, which features the unique architecture of the Amish, such as hand-hewn beams and pegs. Knowledgeable Amish guides make the visit interesting. The Yoder property also offers authentic Amish buggy rides. Amish drivers are quite comfortable with the visitors and glad to answer questions. The buggy ventures down private back roads, and the drivers point out favorites places and spaces around the hay field

With our hearts we welcome you.

Host for 2017 Going on Faith Conference Share our heritage. Share our beauty.

EVENTS AND MEETINGS

More special events and meetings can take place in the area now that the Holmes County Fairground at Harvest Ridge has been completed. Since it opened, another new building is under construction on the campus, and when that is completed, there will be a combined 70,000 square feet of flexible rental space available for a wide range of groups. “That will be great for anyone who wants to hold an event in Holmes County,” said Judson. The upcoming Going On Faith Conference will be one of the first significant conferences to be booked at the new fairgrounds. There are five prime hotels for groups to book in Holmes County. The chamber of commerce suggests the Berlin Grande Hotel, the Berlin Resort, Zinck’s Inn, Comfort Suites Berlin and Lodging on the Square. For many conferences and corporate meetings, opening night ceremonies can include a welcome dinner at the popular Amish Door Restaurant, a traditional meat-and-potatoes restaurant and buffet in a sprawling Amishthemed venue in Wilmot. The all-inclusive campus has a restaurant, an event facility, a hotel, a bakery and a gift shop. Entertainers are often brought in to perform for the conference attendees. “And we always plan to offer plenty of authentic experiences,” said Judson. For registration details, visit www.gofconference.com.

www.VisitAmishCountry.com

1-877-643-7875

going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ]


BY BR I A N J E W E L L

TRAVEL

SNAP SHOT

A PACKERS PILGRIMAGE

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN Photos courtesy Green Bay CVB

or football fans, Green Bay just keeps getting better. Ever since the days of Vince Lombardi, this Wisconsin city has been known for its beloved Packers, whose sporting tradition is woven into the very fabric of the community. Of note, the Packers are the only team in the NFL not owned by a wealthy individual or family; instead, many thousands of residents of Green Bay own small shares in the team. But it’s not just the past that makes Green Bay exciting for sports fans. The city’s signature attraction, Lambeau Field, has seen numerous upgrades recently, giving fans and visitors more immersive experiences than ever before. And an ongoing development project in the area around the stadium holds even more promise for the community. A seat at a Green Bay Packers home game is one of the toughest tickets to get in professional sports, so seeing a live football game isn’t a viable option for groups traveling in Green Bay. But travelers can get a taste for the area’s football culture with a visit to the famed Lambeau Field, which is open year-round. In 2015, Lambeau Field completed a two-year, $140 million renovation that greatly enhanced its visitor experience. The renovation updated the stadium’s atrium, a public space first opened more

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Top: Football fans explore Packers Heritage Trail Sites around Green Bay. Bottom: Lambeau Field on game day

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than a decade ago, and brought improvements to the on-site Packers Hall of Fame, the definitive Packers museum and 1919 Kitchen and Tap, a footballthemed restaurant that has become a popular stop for groups in Green Bay. The renovation also brought an expansion of the Packers Pro Shop, which sells a wide variety of branded merchandise. The new shop now has 20,000 square feet of retail space. Just outside the stadium, the Titletown District is a new football-themed entertainment and retail development whose first phase is set to open this year. “It’s a 34-acre site just west of Lambeau Field,” said Brenda Kranik, director of marketing for the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They’re in the process of building a four-star hotel. And Hinterland Brewery, which is in downtown Green Bay, is building a restaurant and brewing operation in that area. “Also in that space is going to be a sledding hill and an ice-skating pond in the winter. It will be lined by businesses and a village. There will be a park with a full-size football field, as well as programming and live music.” Church groups that visit Green Bay should spend some time exploring Titletown, the stadium and several other interesting attractions in the area.


National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

NATIONAL SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF GOOD HELP Just outside the city, a small, historic country church has recently been designated a National Shrine. Now more than 150 years old, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is the only official Marian shrine in the United States. Along with that designation has come new developments to accommodate visitors, including wheelchair access and a special reception area for groups. Visitors can take tours of the small church led by representatives of the local diocese and are often greeted by a friendly dog that lives on the farm next door. WWW.SHRINEOFOURLADYOFGOODHELP.COM

AUTOMOBILE GALLERY In the heart of Green Bay’s revitalized downtown, the Automobile Gallery is a hybrid museum and event center that showcases an impressive collection of classic and contemporary cars. The gallery was opened in early 2016 by a local businessman and car aficionado inside an old Cadillac dealership that had sat empty for many years. Visitors can see a variety of rare and vintage automobiles, including a DeLorean and a 1969 Cobra, as well as brand-new, high-end autos. The event space and catering kitchen also make the gallery a popular lunch stop for tour groups. WWW.THEAUTOMOBILEGALLERY.ORG

The Automobile Gallery

TROLLEY TOURS AND MORE The Packers tradition in Green Bay extends far beyond Lambeau Field; several Packers-related sites around town have been designated with bronze historic markers and organized as the Packers Heritage Trail. A local tour company, C&M Presents, offers tours of these sites by trolley that are popular with groups. More active groups can opt to take the tour via Segway vehicles. The company also offers food and brewery tours, performing arts and day trips into the surrounding area. WWW.CANDMPRESENTS.COM

ONEIDA NATION Long before Green Bay was known for cheese and football, the area was home to the Oneida Nation, a Native American group that continues to thrive in southeast Wisconsin. Groups can take a tour of Oneida tribal sites around the area to learn about their history and see elements of their culture in person. Highlights include the tribal headquarters, a traditional organic farm, the Oneida Nation Elementary School and the Oneida Nation Museum. The Oneida Nation also created the Walk of Legends, which is a series of monuments along Lombardi Avenue that pay tribute to Oneida members who have played a significant role in Green Bay football. WWW.EXPLOREONEIDA.COM

Oneida Nation Museum

going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ]


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STATE OF FAITH

MARYLAND’S RELIGIOUS

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Courtesy VisitAnnapolis.org

CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS ALIKE FIND SPIRITUAL HERITAGE ON THIS TOUR

Clockwise from top: the chapel at the U.S. Naval Academy; a cross at St. Clement’s Island State Park in St. Marys County; National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

going on faith [ winter 2017 ] Courtesy St. Marys Co. Div. of Tourism

Courtesy Visit Frederick


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he story of America’s religious heritage is woven throughout the state of Maryland. From Baltimore to Emmitsburg in the north and St. Marys City in the south, destinations around Maryland showcase the state’s role in America’s spiritual journey. Groups that tour the area will see historic sites related to early religious liberties, important Catholic shrines, a world-famous chapel and several important Protestant churches. This itinerary makes a loop through Maryland to visit some of these religious sites and the destinations that encompass them. It starts in Baltimore and then heads up to Emmitsburg, down to the D.C. suburbs, south to St. Marys City and then back north to end in Annapolis, not far from Baltimore. Driving distances between each of these places are short, so it’s possible to do this trip in four days. Adding a day or two in Baltimore or Annapolis would give your group even more time to enjoy these waterfront cities.

BALTIMORE

HIGHLIGHT | CATHOLIC HISTORY Located right on the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore is Maryland’s largest city and marquee destination, with dozens of great attractions for groups to explore. Faith-based travelers, especially Catholic groups, should take time to visit a trio of historic Catholic sites around the city. Visitors will likely be awed by the magnificence of the Basilica Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Constructed between 1806 and 1821, this was the first cathedral built in a metropolitan area of the United States after the adoption of the Constitution. Another important landmark is St. Mary’s Historic Site on Paca Street. This site preserves the home of Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born canonized saint, as well as the first Roman Catholic seminary built in the United States. Groups can also visit the Oblate Convent, which was founded in 1829 and is the country’s oldest religious congregation for women of African descent. WHILE YOU’RE THERE: No visit to Baltimore would be complete without spending some time at Inner Harbor. Groups can visit museums such as the Maryland Science Center and the National Aquarium, or take one of numerous harbor cruises that depart from the site.

MORE INFO | www.baltimore.org

2 EMMITSBURG

HIGHLIGHT | SETON SHRINE AND MORE About 55 miles northwest of Baltimore, right on Maryland’s border with Pennsylvania, Emmitsburg is a small city with a big claim to fame: It was the home of Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Catholic girls school that she established. Groups can explore Seton’s life and heritage in depth at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The shrine involves several experiences. Visitors can tour the home where Seton lived, as well as several other historic structures on the property related to her life and ministry. There is also a museum at the site with an introductory video and exhibits about Seton and her legacy. Finally, the basilica at the shrine is a beautiful church open for Mass, prayer and reflection. Religious groups in Emmitsburg should also stop by the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, the oldest replica of the Grotto of Lourdes in the Western Hemisphere. WHILE YOU’RE THERE: For a memorable meal in a historic setting, take your group to Emmitsburg’s Carriage House Inn. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the restaurant was built in 1857 and later became a feed and grain warehouse. In the 1900s, it served as a broom factory and later a bus depot before being refit into an elegant country inn.

MORE INFO | www.visitfrederick.org going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ]


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HIGHLIGHT | BIBLICAL ART

HIGHLIGHT | RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

From Emmitsburg, it’s a short 60-mile drive south to Maryland’s Washington, D.C., suburbs. Though cities such as Bethesda and Silver Spring are known as prosperous, busy bedroom communities, they also hold several attractions of interest to Protestant travelers. In Bethesda, the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum is a campus that consists of three buildings that house artwork created by area artist Phillip Ratner, as well as pieces by other artists. Though the art spans a wide range of media and subjects, a significant portion of the galleries consists of a visual walk through the Bible that features artwork on biblical themes. The Seventh-day Adventist world headquarters is in nearby Silver Springs, and groups can arrange a tour of the facility to learn more about this often-overlooked Christian denomination and its history. The headquarters includes a visitors center with educational exhibits, and tours of the offices last about 45 minutes. WHILE YOU’RE THERE: Several of the suburbs around D.C. have vibrant arts scenes. The Silver Spring Art District features public artwork, galleries, studios and theaters, and Bethesda’s Arts and Entertainment District is a popular place for groups to catch live music and other fine-arts performances.

At the southern end of Maryland’s coastline, about 90 miles south of the Washington metro area, St. Mary’s County is a beautiful waterfront destination steeped in history. Groups can explore the area’s heritage in detail at Historic St. Mary’s City, an 800-acre living-history site that interprets the town as it was when it served as Maryland’s first capital in the mid 1600s. Visitors can choose from a variety of tour experiences at Historic St. Mary’s City. One of the most interesting for church groups will be the State and Church tour, which examines Maryland’s role as one of the first areas in Colonial America to enact religious liberties for its inhabitants. Guests at Historic St. Mary’s City can also explore a re-creation of the Maryland Dove, the ship that brought Maryland settlers to the New World from England, as well as exhibits on the area’s Native American inhabitants and Maryland farm life. WHILE YOU’RE THERE: Maritime heritage abounds along the St. Mary’s shoreline. The area has four lighthouses, including the Piney Point Lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse on the Potomac. A museum at that lighthouse also has exhibits on historic vessels that sailed in the area.

MORE INFO | www.visitmontgomery.com

MORE INFO | www.visitstmarysmd.com

Blackstone Lighthouse in St. Mary’s

Courtesy St. Mary’s Co. Div. of Tourism

Grotto at the Seton Shrine

Historic St. Mary’s City Courtesy St. Mary’s Co. Div. of Tourism

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The Dove II at Historic St. Mary’s City Courtesy St. Mary’s Co. Div. of Tourism

Courtesy Visit Frederick


5 ANNAPOLIS HIGHLIGHT | NAVY SPIRIT About 70 miles north of St. Marys, Annapolis is Maryland’s quintessential Chesapeake Bay destination. It is also home to the U.S. Naval Academy, whose historic chapel will be inspiring to travelers of any religious background. The Beaux Arts-style chapel, whose iconic dome is a key feature of the Annapolis skyline, was built in two sections. The original section, finished in 1908, was built in the shape of a Greek cross. A nave added in 1940 changed the shape of the chapel to that of a Latin cross. The chapel seats up to 2,500 people and hosts both Protestant and Catholic worship services every week. Visitors can see the chapel as part of Naval Academy walking tours. The chapel is also open to the public for visits and prayer when regular services or special events are not taking place. Visitors must show a photo identification to enter the academy grounds. WHILE YOU’RE THERE: Annapolis companies and outfitters offer groups many ways to get out on the water and explore the Chesapeake Bay. Traditional boat cruises offer scenic views and informational narratives. More adventurous guests can opt for paddleboarding, fishing charters and other nautical excursions.

Sunset at the Annapolis waterfront

Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy

MORE INFO | www.visitannapolis.org

Photos courtesy VisitAnnapolis.org

VISIT THE HOME OF THE FIRST AMERICAN-BORN SAINT Open daily 10am–4:30pm. )UHHPXVHXPYLVLWRUFHQWHU VKRUWÞOP about Elizabeth Ann Seton. Free tours daily of her two historic homes, the Basilica where her remains are entombed, and more. 339 S. Seton Ave., Emmitsburg, MD 301.447.6606 | setonshrine.org Gettysburg PA

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F L AV O R S

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BEACH VACATIONS ARENÕT COM PLETE W ITHOUT SAM PLING THESE FOODS

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Fish tacos are a signature dish on the beaches of San Diego.

An elegant seafood dish in Charleston

Courtesy Charleston Area CVB

San Diego’s Ocean Terrace

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Courtesy George’s at the Cove/San Diego Tourism Authority

unnel cakes, caramel corn, saltwater taffy, hot dogs, fish tacos, lobster rolls: No trip to the beach would be complete without sampling the boardwalk fare, the walk-up stands and the fresh seafood. These coastal cities are just as famous for their food as they are for their waterfronts.

By Christian Martinez, courtesy San Diego Tourism Authority


[ ST. IGNACE , MICHIGAN ] Michigan is more closely associated with cold than with coast, but in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) region, the town of St. Ignace is the first community to greet those crossing the Straits of Mackinac from the Lower Peninsula. With a marina, lighthouses and views of the Mackinac suspension bridge, the small town delivers plenty of waterfront charm. But St. Ignace has another somewhat unlikely claim to fame: the pasty. Never had one? Pasties are traditionally savory Cornish pastries. The best way to describe a pasty is if you took the filling from a pot pie and wrapped it up in the crust, sort of like a calzone or an empanada. Michigan’s U.P. has an unusual history with the pasty, which immigrants from all ethnic groups widely adopted as a handy meal while working in the regional copper mines. In St. Ignace, Lehto’s Pasties will mark its 70th year in 2017. Lehto’s still serves its beef pasties with potatoes, onions and rutabaga, as well as chicken and vegetable versions in gravy folded up in a flaky crust. Bessie’s Original Homemade Pasties has been in business for nearly 60 years and serves up three pasties: chicken, veggie and the original beef pasty made with steak. Suzy’s Pasties offers beef, veggie and turkey pasties. www.stignace.com [ SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA ] There’s a lot of lore surrounding San Diego’s love affair with fish tacos, but the most common legend is that local surfer Ralph Rubio brought the taco back after a surfing trip to Baja in the 1970s. Rubio opened his small walk-up restaurant serving fish tacos in 1983 in Mission Bay and today owns more than 200 Rubio’s restaurants around the country. The foundation is always the same: battered fried fish served on a soft corn tortilla with a creamy sauce. From there, “everyone has their own version,” said Edna Gutierrez, public relations manager for the San Diego Tourism Authority. There’s no shortage of food trucks serving up the San Diego specialty, and visitors should look for the longest lines; “those are usually the best,” she said. In 2015, The Daily Meal blog voted taco truck Marisco’s German the best fish taco in San Diego and the No. 7 best taco nationally. George’s at the Cove is known for its fish tacos and offers group dining and private events. The restaurant has three levels, each with its own concept, but the open-air Ocean Terrace on the third level is the place for fish tacos and sweeping ocean views. George’s chef Trey Foshee also owns Galaxy Taco, where groups of 80 can reserve the entire dining area for a build-your-own-taco bar, or smaller gatherings can use the private dining room or patio. Oscars Mexican Seafood is a local chain known for its fish tacos, and visitors can still grab a fish taco at the original Rubio’s. www.sandiego.org [ CONEY ISLAND, NEW YORK ] “Coney Island” and “hot dog” are forever linked. Hot dogs at Coney Island are just as famous as the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel, said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island. “Almost everyone who comes to Coney Island has to have a hot dog from Nathan’s,” she said. “It’s one of the top five things that’s a must-do when you visit.” Although it wasn’t the first, Nathan’s Famous is pretty much the only name in town when it comes to hot dogs. Nathan Handwerker began Nathan’s as a nickel hot dog

stand in 1916, and the restaurant celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. Today, groups can still get a dog at the original Nathan’s location almost around the clock — it opens at 8 a.m., so “you could have a hot dog for breakfast if you want” — or they can visit the newer location on the boardwalk. In this Brooklyn neighborhood, “Coney Island hot dog” refers to the location, unlike in Detroit and Chicago where it means the dog is smothered with chili. In its hometown, locals use only four toppings on their Coney Island dogs: relish, onions, ketchup and mustard. But groups don’t have to go to Nathan’s to enjoy a Nathan’s hot dog, which are served all over town. Visitors can grab one during a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game at MCU Park or at the new 5,000-seat beachfront Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk, which opened this summer with a Sting concert. www.allianceforconeyisland.org

Nathan’s hot dog stand on Coney Island

By Alexandra Silversmith, courtesy Coney Island

[ CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA ] Although the Gullah culture, also known as Geechee, is 100 percent American, its deep roots are planted in the West and Central African heritage of the slaves who worked the rice plantations along the coastal low country regions between North Carolina and northern Florida. One of the best ways to experience Gullah culture is to taste it. Whatever the land and sea produces is what is found in Gullah cuisine, which puts seafood and seasonal produce front and center on the plate but also features rice, grits and beans. Most popular among visitors and most familiar among Gullah dishes are shrimp and grits, crab cakes and low country boils, said Halsey Perrin, media relations assistant for the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Less well known but no less delicious is okra soup, “the gumbo of the Gullah culture,” she said. The Glass Onion dishes up low country dishes such as Carolina shrimp with creamed greens over Geechee grits and cornmeal-fried North Carolina catfish. Dixie Supply Bakery and Café is a small shop, but groups can enjoy its big flavors — dishes like low country red rice and squash casserole — through the restaurant’s catering business. Hominy Grill “is one of the most iconic restaurants for low country cuisine; there’s a line out the door,” Perrin said. Jestine’s Kitchen is a true low country cuisine place where diners can dig into traditional veggies, seafood, fried chicken and cornbread. www.meetcharleston.com

going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] 25


MYRTLE BEACH OCEANFRONT

INSPIRED

DEDICATION TO MEETINGS. Top-rated Myrtle Beach hotel by TripAdvisor.com. “Best in Hospitality” by Myrtle Beach Hospitality Association. Plus 6 oceanfront pools (with hot tubs and heated pools), new Sanctuary Spa, fitness center, complimentary Hampton “On the House” hot breakfast buffet, and 90-seat conference and meeting facility. Portland Lobster Co. By Chris Lawrence

www.HamptonInnOceanfront.com or call 877-946-6400 and ask for our Sales Department 1801 South Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 843-946-6400

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going on faith [ winter 2017 ]

[ PORTLAND, MAINE ] In Portland, Maine, visitors seek out the best and most buttery lobster rolls. Whether it’s a food truck or a high-end restaurant, every establishment has its own take on the Maine staple, which comes “in so many different varieties now,” said Elissa English, director of sales and marketing for the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau. The three most common are rolls with either plain lobster meat or served with drawn butter or mayonnaise, but lobster rolls are now “popping up in various ethnic foods.” The Eventide Oyster Co. serves it on a Chinese steamed bun with brown butter vinaigrette. Zapoteca dishes up lobster in rolls as well as tacos, ceviche and guacamole. The Bite Into Maine food truck is a favorite that recently expanded into catering. It will reopen in April for the 2017 season. The Linda Kate Lobster and Seafood Co. is a new catering outfit that gets its lobsters from Casco Bay fishermen and serves them at lobster bakes. The Casco Bay Lines ferry service created a package that allows passengers to take the ferry to Peaks Island, where they enjoy a lobster bake dinner at a covered waterfront pavilion that offers panoramic views of the sunset over the bay. During a Lucky Catch cruise, the captain shows small groups how to haul in lobster traps and measure lobsters. If it meets regulations, guests can buy it and take it to the Portland Lobster Co., which will steam it, and “you can sit there and eat it on the dock,” English said. www.visitportland.com


NA NEDW

B Y RACHEL CA RTER

N OT E W O RT H Y

THESE FAITH-BASED ATTRACTIONS ARE GROW ING AND IM PROVING

The Ark Encounter opened to much fanfare in Kentucky last year.

The Holy Land Experience in Orlando Courtesy The Holy Land Experience

A dramatic show at The Holy Land Experience

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Courtesy Answers in Genesis

eligious attractions and museums around the country strive to bring the Bible to life, whether visitors are standing in front of the oldest known copy of Romans 5:1, which states that Christians “are justified by faith,” or listening to actors portray Jesus’ disciples after they encounter him on the road to Emmaus. Some focus on education, and others highlight entertainment; but they all exist to share the Bible and stories from its pages. Here are some of the new developments at top faith-based destinations and attractions across the country

Courtesy The Holy Land Experience

going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] 27


[ MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE ] WASHINGTON, D.C. When the Museum of the Bible opens in November 2017 in Washington, it will interpret one of the oldest texts on earth using some of the most modern technology: $42 million worth, to be exact. “We’ll be on the cutting edge in innovating what a modern museum experience is,” said Steven Bickley, the museum’s vice president of marketing. Above visitors’ heads in the lobby, a 150-foot LED screen will span the ceiling where the museum can display anything its staff decides on, such as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, nature scenes or illuminated manuscripts. Handheld devices like smartphones will offer a map of the museum’s interior, like GPS for exhibits and galleries. Using the devices, guests can choose to hear about exhibits from different perspectives — for example, from a Jewish, Catholic or Protestant perspective — or opt for a “40,000-foot explanation or go superdeep” to gain scholar-level understanding, Bickley said. In the Bible Now area, visitors can see in real time all the Bible engagement taking place around the world through YouVersion’s Bible app. The museum’s intent is for people of all types and backgrounds to engage with the Bible through its history, narrative and impact, and those are the museum’s three main exhibit floors. More than 500 biblical texts and artifacts will be displayed on the History floor. The Impact floor will have approximately 20 vignettes exploring how the Bible has affected everything from health care to fashion, criminal justice to charities. People who have designed for Disney and Universal Studios are doing the Narrative floor. Two more central exhibit floors will include the long-term international libraries and long-term international museum galleries. A 500-person theater will showcase various performances and productions, and 40-foot-tall bronze doors will lead to the rooftop biblical garden. www.museumofthebible.org [ ARK ENCOUNTER ] WILLIAMSTOWN, KENTUCKY Since opening in July, the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, has been flooded with visitors: 400,000 of them in the first three months alone. Those numbers are almost as big as the ark itself, which is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high, all built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. With the opening of the Ark Encounter near Answers in Genesis’ other attraction, the Creation Museum, “this region has really become the destination rather than part of an itinerary,” said Eddie Lutz, sales and promotions representative at the Ark Encounter. When motorcoach groups arrive, a park guide boards the bus, which then drives a one-mile stretch and crests a hill, giving guests their first glimpse of the world’s largest timber-frame structure. “To me, that’s the highlight of the day because I can hear the gasps on the bus,” Lutz said. Inside, visitors will find animal figures in their pens and learn about how they were likely cared for. Guests can also visit an imagining of Noah and his family’s living quarters, “a beautiful area” where designers included personal touches among the couples’ possessions. One of the most popular exhibits is the “amazingly lifelike” animatronic Noah, who will answer any of 14 questions visitors key in on a touch-screen monitor. Outside, at the Ararat Ridge Zoo, guests can ride a donkey or a camel, and visit animals in the petting zoo. Officials are already expanding the zoo and just opened an animal encounter area inside the ark. Emzara’s Kitchen is a 1,500seat restaurant “that’s an exhibit in and of itself,” Lutz said. The dining area is filled with taxidermy, but the best seat in the house is on the second-story deck, where diners have “the bow of the ark coming right at you,” he said. www.arkencounter.com 28

Courtesy Museum of the Bible

Artist’s renderings of the upcoming Museum of the Bible Courtesy Museum of the Bible

[ HOLY LAND EXPERIENCE ] ORLANDO, FLORIDA Recent renovations and refreshes at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, are intended to “get back to our roots” and make the experience more authentic, said Jane Wilcox, guest services supervisor for the Bible theme park. “We want to offer the Holy Land experience that’s available in the middle of Orlando rather than going to Israel, which is a long way and a lot of money,” she said. Projects included updates to the re-created Dead Sea Qumran Caves, Wilderness Tabernacle, Great Temple and Golgotha, where a guided walking tour leads guests from the site of the Crucifixion to the replica Calvary Garden Tomb. The newly renovated Jerusalem Marketplace is packed with stalls and vendors and provides a backdrop for live dramatic events for guests, such as live singing or a performance of “On the Road to Emmaus,” which portrays when Jesus appeared as a stranger to the downcast disciples. One of the most moving moments for visitors is the park’s flagship dramatic production, which was also reworked. Originally called “The Passion” and now renamed “The Promise,” the play tells of the life and ministry of Jesus from Palm Sunday through the Crucifixion. “He’s inspiring us in the present day with his ministry from 2,000 years ago,” Wilcox said. The park debuted several new shows after Thanksgiving, including “Love Never Fails,” which tells the story of Naomi and Boaz; “Lost and Found Christmas,” for younger audiences, about “the shepherd finding what he’s looking for”; and “Journey to Bethlehem,” set against the new marketplace backdrop. “Come to the Manger” is the park’s Christmas drama that will take place at dusk on Temple Plaza in front of the towering white-and-gold replica of Solomon’s temple www.holylandexperience.com

Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens

going on faith [ winter 2017 ] Courtesy Christ in the Smokies


[ CHRIST IN THE SMOKIES MUSEUM AND GARDENS ] GATLINBURG, TENNESSEE At Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, visitors can explore 12 scenes from the life of Christ that feature more than 100 wax figures. Each is a life-size, lifelike diorama with dramatic scenery, lighting and a three-minute narration as part of an automated tour. “It’s like a live play without live actors,” said curator Mark Pedro. Visitors can see baby Jesus in the manger and 12-year-old Jesus at the temple. Other scenes depict the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Ascension. At the end of the tour, guests enter the outdoor prayer garden, where the face of Christ is carved into a block of stone, and “no matter where you stand, it looks like Christ is facing you,” Pedro said. Next summer, the museum will unveil its “Women of the Bible: The Faithful and the Fallen” exhibit. Visitors will see a scene of Mary washing the feet of Jesus, and eight figures will flank the rotunda. On one side will be a display of four figures of faithful women, such as Ruth and Esther. On the other side will be four figures of “fallen” women, such as Jezebel. The new exhibit is the museum’s “big push,” Pedro said, and will be on display from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For the Easter season, starting in February, the museum will showcase the story of Ben-Hur, including a new wax figure of Charlton Heston. This fall will mark the 500th anniversary of the moment Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg in 1517. To celebrate, the museum is planning an exhibit on the Lutheran Reformation and denominations. www.christinthesmokies.com [ BRANSON, MISSOURI ] In a community that puts “faith, family and flag” at the forefront, it’s not surprising that Branson, Missouri, offers visitors a host of religious productions to choose from every year. Branson’s Sight and Sound Theatres debuted its latest biblical production, “Moses,” in March, and it has been a “big hit; so many sold-out shows,” said Lynn Berry, director of communications for the Branson/ Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Every year I wonder how they’re going to top it, and every year they top it,” she said. Sight and Sound Theatres is known for its visually stunning productions of biblical stories, among them “Jonah.” Moses will run through December, then take a break before returning in March for an eightmonth run. The theater’s special effects, including the burning bush, pharaoh’s palace and the parting of the Red Sea, bring the story of Moses to life onstage. Particularly touching is the scene of floating baby Moses down the River Nile, she said. Voices of Glory is a sibling singing group — two brothers and a sister — whose success started in sorrow. The three first started singing together at the bedside of their mother, who was in a coma after a car wreck with a drunk driver. Michael, Avery and Nadia Cole sang to their mom every day, and eight months later, she awoke from her coma. In 2009, the trio were finalists on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” show. Today, their show, “AYO,” at the Hughes Brothers Theatre, “is just incredible,” Berry said. Faith-based groups should also check out “All Hands on Deck” at the Dutton Family Theater. The USO-style show is a re-creation of an authentic 1942 Victory Caravan and features four performers and a live ninepiece orchestra. www.explorebranson.com going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] 29


FAITH

CENTERED

WINSHAPE Marriage retreats are among the most popular programs hosted at Winshape Retreat Center.

RETREAT CENTER

All photos courtesy Winshape Foundation

W

BY A SHLEY RIC K S

inshape is not just a name; it’s a philosophy centered on “shaping winners.” When S. Truett Cathy, the founder of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, began the Winshape foundation, it was a program to help youth succeed. In 2003, that led to the creation of the Winshape Retreat Center, which welcomes groups of all types seeking spiritual and personal growth. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in northwestern Georgia, the Winshape Retreat Center provides the opportunity to disconnect from the modern hustle and bustle and, instead, reconnect with creation. The center is easily accessed from Interstate 75, about halfway between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta.

LOCATION Berry College campus, Mount Berry, Georgia SIZE: 11 meeting rooms; auditorium seats up to 180 people CAPACITY: 80 rooms CONTACT INFO: 877-977-3873 www.winshape.org

going on faith [ winter 2017 ] Courtesy Jordan Tourism Board


THE CENTER The buildings and grounds that make up Winshape were once the Berry College dairy farm, which operated on the campus for about 70 years. Originally built by Martha Berry, the founder of Berry College, the structures mimic the architectural designs of the Normandy countryside. When the property was converted to a retreat center, the interiors were renovated, but the Frenchinfluenced facades remained intact. Today, the guest check-in is in the old calf barn, the Hay Barn houses most of the meeting space, and the milking barn is the main dining area. Touches like the dramatic vaulted ceilings in second-floor rooms of the former dairy barn have also been preserved. Overnight guests have the option of staying in the smaller Normandy Inn, also on-site. As part of the larger Berry College campus, the Winshape Retreat Center is located on 26,000 acres of wildlife preserve. Deer and wild turkeys are common sights around campus, and visitors often enjoy getting out and exploring the miles of trails that wind through the property. Winshape also promotes an “unplugged” experience so couples and teams can focus on each other and their personal transformation without being distracted by the outside world. However, Wi-Fi is available in meeting areas.

FUN ACTIVITIES Groups can take part in shared activities in addition to the activities planned as part of the leadership or marriage-building programs. Extra activities can include a pottery-throwing class, historical tours, and hopping on a tandem bike and enjoying the paved trails across the Berry College campus. The Winshape staff often incorporates these programs into retreats and workshops. For example, a team-building program may include a personality test to identify the strengths of each participant, followed by a breakout activity where members of the group will work together to escape a locked room as an exercise to recognize how all their strengths work together. Other activities, such as outdoor dining, fireside breaks and making s’mores can be added to a group’s retreat experience and must be scheduled ahead of time.

The buildings at the retreat center preserve the Normandy-style architecture of the original dairy barns.

PROGRAMS The core of Winshape’s programming is to “create experiences that transform,” according to Betty Bergen, the senior sales manager for the center. This translates to experiences designed for both spiritual and personal growth and attention to detail that even affects things like dinner and fellowship around the table. Weekends at Winshape are reserved for marriage retreats. Couples can take part in retreats led by the center’s staff 12 weekends of the year. There are many options for couples, such as Successful Stepfamilies, Couples in Crisis and Keeping the Dream Alive: Passion After Parenting. One of the hidden gems at Winshape is a surprise you’ll see in the closets of the rooms at the Normandy Inn. Couples leave encouraging notes and their own stories for future couples on the walls of the closets. Winshape is also known for its leadership programs. Cathy believed that growing and cultivating good leaders was an important endeavor and wrote several books on the topic. His legacy of teaching future leaders and helping those already in the position to continue to grow lives at the foundation of Winshape leadership retreats. These workshops can be targeted toward corporate leaders or church leadership. One program, Dive Deep, helps leadership teams develop management strategies, mission statements and plans of action for their organizations.

A PERSONAL TOUCH In all their endeavors, the Winshape staff strive to “create an environment that makes groups feel as if they are truly cared for,” said Bergen. The staff comes together each week to pray as a team for the groups coming to the center. “We pray that God will enrich their stay and bring them transformative experiences, either as individuals or as a group.”

going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ]


HEARTLAND

HEARTLAND

TRAVEL GUIDE

Skydeck offers breathtaking views of Chicago.

S

KEEP THESE MUST-VISIT SITES ON YOUR MIDWEST ITINERARIES BY S AVANNA H OS BO URN

ome of the country’s most exciting and iconic travel experiences await church groups visiting America’s Heartland. From the Skydeck in Chicago to the Brickyard in Indianapolis and Minnesota’s famous Mall of America, cities and towns throughout the American Midwest are home to attractions and activities that any traveler will want to experience. Whether you have been there a dozen times or have never been there, stopping to visit these places is an essential part of touring Heartland destinations. Although there were dozens of attractions from which to choose, we have highlighted a must-see one from each Midwestern state that offers great group experiences. Plan to include some of these stops on your itinerary the next time you travel through America’s Heartland.

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going on faith [ winter 2017 ]

Iowa’s Field of Dreams

Courtesy Field of Dreams


HIGHLIGHTS FIELD OF DREAMS DYERSVILLE, IOWA Now celebrating 25 years, the film “Field of Dreams” touched millions of viewers with its whimsical tale of a farmer who plows down part of his crop to build a baseball field. Many fans still visit the century-old Lansing farm in Dyersville where filming took place, which preserves the movie set right down to the tall rows of corn in the background. Admission to the property is free, though guests can purchase a variety of baseball memorabilia at the gift shop, such as ball caps, posters, jerseys and baseball cards. MUST SEE: Fans and baseball lovers can hit a few balls on the field and leave saying they played on the field of dreams. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: On some summer nights, a “ghost” team performs for visitors’ entertainment, emerging from the cornfield like the ghosts in the movie. www.fodmoviesite.com

SKYDECK CHICAGO

Courtesy Skydeck

Visitors can view up to four states from the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, which reigned as the world’s tallest building for nearly 25 years. In addition to the hair-raising view from Skydeck’s glass platform, the attraction also features a short film on Chicago’s architectural history, interactive exhibits and several restaurants. Skydeck is open 365 days per year, including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. MUST SEE: Stand 1,353 feet above the ground on the Ledge, which comprises several glass boxes that extend 4.3 feet from the building. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: Groups are encouraged to save 53 percent on tickets with a Chicago City Pass, which includes admission to Skydeck as well as four other key Chicago attractions. Motorcoach parking is free. www.theskydeck.com

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY INDIANAPOLIS

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Courtesy IMS

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts some of the most prominent races on the planet, including the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. At the world’s largest spectator facility, visitors can take advantage of the 250,000 outdoor seats or lounge in the legendary Panasonic Pagoda, a nine-tier tower designed in the style of a Japanese pagoda. MUST SEE: One of the speedway’s most famous features is the 36-inchwide strip of brick marking the finish line, a final remnant of the 3.2 million paving bricks that originally covered the track as well as the namesake for the Brickyard 400. “Kissing the bricks” is a racing champion tradition. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: Groups can take a narrated bus-ride around the 2.5-mile track, hosted by a staff member from the Hall of Fame Museum. www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com

STRATACA UNDERGROUND SALT MUSEUM HUTCHINSON, KANSAS At the Strataca Underground Salt Museum, prepare to travel 650 feet underground and explore a vast subterranean world. Visitors climb into a double-decker shaft that descends into the mine in less than two minutes; there they will find a multitude of activities and exhibits, from underground train rides to a mining gallery and a habitat for ancient salt-dwelling bacteria. MUST SEE: Strataca offers two vehicles for adventure: the Salt Mine Express and the Dark Ride. The Express is a 15-minute narrated train ride through the tunnels that highlights many untouched aspects of the excavation site, such as abandoned dynamite boxes and break rooms with vintage candy wrappers. The Dark Ride takes a daring course past old mine hazards and nuclear waste storage on a 30-minute tram tour. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: Throughout the year, the museum hosts an interactive dinner theater called Murder in the Mines, with past themes such as The Spy Who Killed Me, Who Killed the ’80s and Murd-ER, which featured characters from the television shows “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scrubs” and “ER.” www.underkansas.org

THE HENRY FORD DEARBORN, MICHIGAN With more than 300 years of American innovation on display, The Henry Ford museum showcases far more than its founder’s famous Model T automobiles. The museum is a testament to what perseverance and creativity can achieve and celebrates the work of America’s greatest minds as well as the obstacles they overcame to reach their success. In Henry Ford’s words: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” MUST SEE: A few of the museum’s most notable exhibits include the Rosa Parks bus, the presidential limousine of John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln’s chair from Ford’s Theatre, Thomas Edison’s laboratory and the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: School groups can enjoy an interactive learning experience through one of the museum’s educational scavenger hunts or a Model T building activity. www.thehenryford.org

going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] 33


MALL OF AMERICA BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA The Henry Ford

The Wilds Courtesy The Henry Ford

Courtesy The Wilds

With enough room to fit seven Yankee Stadiums inside, the Mall of America holds more than 570 restaurants, stores and attractions within its walls, staking its claim as the largest shopping mall in the United States. If guests spent 10 minutes in each store, it would take them around 86 hours to explore the entire mall. MUST SEE: In addition to a huge number of retail options, the complex houses a 1.2 million-gallon aquarium. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: To make it a more memorable outing, try the behind-the-scenes tour at the aquarium or an educational program on the physics of theme park rides at Nickelodeon Universe. www.mallofamerica.com

CITY MUSEUM ST. LOUIS

City Museum

Nebraska’s Strategic Air Command Courtesy City Museum

Courtesy Strategic Air Command

The City Museum might be the only museum where guests are encouraged to touch and climb on the exhibits. Originally a shoe factory, the 600,000-square-foot building was converted into a spectacular urban playground during the 1990s using repurposed material such as abandoned planes, salvaged bridge parts, construction cranes and chimneys. While its themes are always expanding, some of the current highlights are 10-story slides, tunnels made from old cooling tubes, thousands of fiberglass icicles and an old Ferris wheel on the roof. MUST SEE: No trip to the museum is complete without a race down its famous 10-story slides, which can be found throughout the caves. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: For game enthusiasts, the spiraling cave tunnels make a great venue for hide-and-seek. www.citymuseum.org

COME TOGETHER I N T H E F OX C I T I E S

Endless shopping, dining and nightlife options

Make the Fox Cities your next meeting destination! Enjoy the big city amenities and small town charm that our 20 communities along the shores of Lake Winnebago and the Fox River have to offer: • An exceptional visitor experience for groups of 10 to 2,500 • Safe, walkable communities • Flexible, affordable meeting spaces • Free bureau services

15+ facilities with unique, affordable meeting space

We invite your group to COME TOGETHER IN THE FOX CITIES. Begin your planning at 34

going on faith [ winter 2017 ]

FoxCities.org or 800-236-6338

GET SOCIAL!

Fun options for group activities and team building


STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND ASHLAND, NEBRASKA Nebraska’s Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum boasts one of the top collections of United States airships, nuclear missiles and spacecraft. The museum is unique in that it showcases the development of airship technology and commemorates those who witnessed the consequences of modern warfare firsthand with special tributes to Holocaust survivors and Vietnam War veterans. MUST SEE: The Searching for Humanity Exhibit contains personal testaments from Nebraskan Holocaust survivors and soldiers. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: Groups should keep an eye out for the museum’s monthly events, which range from exhibitions of aviation art to the Swing Under the Wings dinner and dance. www.sacmuseum.org

THE WILDS CUMBERLAND, OHIO Sprawled across nearly 10,000 acres, The Wilds is a nonprofit conservation that shelters rare and endangered animals, allowing them to roam in open fields. During this reallife safari adventure, guests ride through beautiful grassy hills on an open-air transport as they observe rhinos, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes and bison grazing with their young. MUST SEE: The Open-Air Safari tour takes visitors through the conservation to meet rhinos and giraffes face to face, sometimes close enough to offer them a bite of lettuce. Afterward, visitors can eat in the Overlook Café. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: Other unusual experiences on the preserve include the Wild Zipline Safari Tour, the Horseback Safari and the Fishing Safari. http://thewilds.columbuszoo.org

THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK SPRING GREEN, WISCONSIN The House on the Rock is a museum of oddities nestled atop Deer Shelter Rock that takes visitors on a surreal journey through rooms of eerie animatronics, unusual antiques and endless color. Designed by Alex Jordan Jr. during the 1940s and 1950s, the house continually expands its bizarre collection. There are several seasonal events throughout the year, such as the Dark Side Halloween, the Winter Guided Experience and Christmas at the House on the Rock, during which more than 6,000 Santas are displayed. MUST SEE: Several hallmarks of the tour are the world’s largest indoor carousel, a room full of automated musical instruments, a 200-foot model of a whale fighting a squid, a reconstruction of an early-20th-century town, an antique doll collection. SPECIAL GROUP EXPERIENCE: The property also features an inn and a resort; groups can find lodging deals there on the attraction’s website. www.thehouseontherock.com going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] 35


Greece:

In the Footsteps of Paul the Apostle

Meteora, Greece

Retrace the missionary journey of the Apostle Paul, proliďŹ c writer of the New Testament letters. Travel through ancient cities and pastoral landscapes, and relax on a 3-night cruise of the magical Greek Islands. Santorini, Greece

Ephesus, Turkey

Offer the world to your travelers with journeys to seven continents.

faith

To learn about our extensive tour selection, call 800.762.5345 or your local Travel Agent. CST# 2006766-20 UBN# 601220855 Nevada Seller of Travel Registration No. 2003-0279

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Going On Faith Winter 2017  

The Going On Faith Winter 2017 issue features beach food; what's new in faith-based attractions; Corinth, Greece; Maryland's religious herit...

Going On Faith Winter 2017  

The Going On Faith Winter 2017 issue features beach food; what's new in faith-based attractions; Corinth, Greece; Maryland's religious herit...