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Winter 2013

HEARTLAND BEAT Join The d n a l t r Hea nce e i r e Exp

Exploring Ohio’s Hocking Hills Region Chicago Southland: Tracks, Tea & Trains Only in the Heartland: Warther Museum

Exclusive FAM Tour Offers Marietta/Parkersburg Grand Rapids & Sandusky

Destinations: Amish Country Theatre; Dublin, OH; The Mall of America; Muskegon, MI; Tour Cayuga; Blackhawk Waterways

A Marketplace of More Than 600 Million Group Travelers

North America’s

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HEARTLAND Feel the Beat!

Heartland Travel Showcase is one of the nation’s largest regional meeting spots for tour operators and tourism suppliers. Its compact format means you’ll do business with far less time out of the office than most shows. And, its regional location is close to home for many tourism suppliers whom you may not see elsewhere. Join us for a powerful few days of booking travel in the heart of America!

Heartland travel showcase • March 7 - 9, 2014 Seagate convention Centre • toledo, OH 2 HEARTLAND BEAT | Winter 2013

CONTENTS Winter 2013


Close enough to enjoy the city’s many pleasures,

Chicago Southland is superb as a stopover for Chicago tours and is also convenient to points north, south, east and west.

Feature Destinations

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Located in the heart of scenic northwest Illinois, Blackhawk Waterways is an easy 2 to 3 hour drive from Chicago. Muskegon is the perfect playground for anyone who relishes natural beauty. As the nation’s largest retail and entertainment complex, The Mall of America features more than 500 stores, 50 restaurants and 400 free events While you’re in the Twin Cities, tour the Mississippi with Padelford Riverboats Cayuga County is conveniently located in the center of the New York’s Finger Lakes Region The Amish Country Theatre is a rib-ticklin’, knee slappin’, sidesplittin’ comedy adventure



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Dublin, Ohio has a passionate connection to all thing Irish and is home to the second largest Irish Festival in the world.

Match Made In Heartland


With more than 10,000 acres of breathtaking forests, Southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills Region is an ideal location for the active motorcoach traveler. Housing three renowned museums, the Cincinnati Museum Center is perfect for group tours.

In Dover, Ohio The Warther Museum, which is dedicated to master carver Ernest “Mooney” Warther, doesn’t have the luxury of revolving exhibits. Instead the museum finds ways to create new interest and new audiences for its existing collection of intricate bone, wood and ivory carvings.

Laurel Highlands and AAA Travel Massillon. Barb McGuinness doesn’t want to offer her group travel clients “cookie cutter” tours. The certified travel associate looks for special experiences to incorporate into her packages. That’s why she attends the Heartland Travel Showcase. for show updates & registration information

Heartland 2014


FAM Tour: Experience Grand Rapids


FAM Tour: Saints & Spirits Marietta & Parkersburg


FAM Tour: Merry Mysteries & Haunted Histories

More From The Heartland


New exhibits and tours are available at: The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Sandusky County & COSI | 3

Match Made In Heartland Laurel Highlands and AAA ECO Travel Massillon is a “Match Made In Heartland” Barb McGuinness doesn’t want to offer her group travel clients “cookie cutter” tours. The certified travel associate looks for special experiences to incorporate into her packages. That’s why she attends the Heartland Travel Showcase. The regional motorcoach showcase puts her in touch with travel professionals who have insights and expertise that they put to work for her and her travelers. “The vendors and representatives are very good at matching what they have with what your needs are,” said Barb, who works at the Massillon branch of AAA ECO Travel. “It helps me put together things in a more unique way.” After meeting Linda Mauzy, vice president of group travel at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, the women put together a phenomenal Frank Lloyd Wright-themed tour of southwestern Pennsylvania. The itinerary included numerous items that Linda suggested and that elevated the caliber of the tour, Barb said. “Going to Heartland offers a chance to make connections that result in bookings” according to Linda. She enjoys meeting with tour operators because she can find out what their needs are and provide options that suit them. She uses it as an opportunity to ask question and listen to what tour operators are saying about their clients and their interests. “Our role is giving them the tools they need to put tours together, to put them in touch with people that can help,” she said.

HEARTLAND BEAT Winter 2013 Volume 1, Issue 2 PUBLISHER Ohio Travel Association 800-896-4682 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Melinda Huntley SHOWCASE MANAGER Janet Johnson COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Jeremy Myers EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Tiffany Gerber STAFF WRITER Melissa Dutton Heartland Beat is published quarterly by Ohio Travel Association, 130 E. Chestnut St, Suite 301, Columbus, OH 43215 and is provided as a service of Heartland Travel Showcase. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are available. Contact Janet Johnson, by calling 800-896-4682 x2


“The face-to-face interaction helps build relationships that can foster ongoing business. It also makes for better tour packages. The relationships we create are critical to the success of the tours,” she said. “The exciting thing about Heartland is that people are making connections and conducting business during set meetings, over meals and in the hotel lobby. It’s very good for inspiring ideas,” Barb said.

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Send your group tour news, stories and suggestions to: Heartland Beat | 130 E. Chestnut St, Suite 301, Columbus, OH 43215 800-896-4682



Close enough to Chicago to enjoy the city’s many pleasures, while at the same time taking advantage of reasonable hotel room rates, superior interstate access, free motorcoach parking and a variety of historical and cultural attractions, the Chicago Southland is superb as a stopover for Chicago tours and is also convenient to points north, south, east and west.

Itinerary Spotlight

Track, Tea and Trains Tour (3-day itinerary) Bringing your groups to the Pullman Historic District immerses them in the unique history of the Pullman Palace Car Company and the Pullman neighborhood. From a model city to near complete demolition, the Pullman Historic District guided tour takes you to the historic Greenstone Church, made from the distinct serpentine stone. From there you will travel past neighborhood row houses, through the Market Square, and finally to the grand Hotel Florence.

The Pickwick Society Tea Room, Gifts & Antiques in Frankfort offers a quaint setting for afternoon tea. Loosely based on the classic novel, “Little Women,” the Pickwick Tea Room offers a whimsical take on the common tea room. Guests will be pampered and impressed by the delightful tea service and homemade bakery items. R! L OFFE A I More than 50 varieties of C E P S st o the fir perators t d r tea are offered from heady a C s o $300 Ga ch of new tour o g a ic darjeelingDarjeeling h oa eC motorc ht in th ig n r y e a v o varieties to fresh varieties tions m staying (restric to find d n la of green tea. There are h t ne Sou g ntact Ja in o k C o . ) o b seven types of tea service ly nal app ur additio o t y u o p b u a t for visitors to choose, out to se es and i-Fam! including a three-course incentiv outhland Min oS Chicag tea tasting experience and a simple dessert tea offering. 6 HEARTLAND BEAT | Winter 2013

Jane Bushong Chicago Southland CVB 2304 173rd St., Lansing, IL 60438 (708) 895-8200

Pick your favorite pony and see if you can hit a trifecta at Balmoral Park, the state’s premier harness racing facility. Bet as little as $2 on a race, and sometimes even as little as 10 cents! Balmoral Park has been in operation for more than85 years. Tours of the historic facility are offered. All group packages include admission, official race program, reserved seating, an official race dedication and a winners’ circle group photo.

Blackhawk Waterways

Located in the heart of scenic northwest Illinois, the Blackhawk Waterways region is an easy 2- to 3-hour drive from downtown Chicago. Tour the John Deere Historic Site, witness the birthplace and the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan, travel stretches of the Lincoln Highway and the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, and learn about the clashes and bloody battles that took place here during the Black Hawk War of 1832. The region is also an outdoor recreation paradise with 10 state parks, a 2,200-acre state forest, great golf, and more than 125 miles of boating and fishing water courtesy of the scenic Rock River and the mighty Mississippi.


Itinerary Historic Spotlight Center announces two new

Visit the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home, where the Reagan family resided 1920 to 1923. Learn about Reagan’s boyhood and the community that formed his moral values during his formative years. Stroll through the yard where our 40th president played football, worked in the family garden and helped raise rabbits with his older brother, Neil. Visit the newly remodeled Visitor Center and Gift Shop next door, which features books and gifts highlighting the Reagan legacy lifeline. After visiting Reagan’s home, travel a couple blocks to Reagan’s former school, now The Northwest Territory Historic Center. Beautifully restored, the Center is proudly affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and houses the Veterans History Project Regional Center, historical exhibits, an art gallery, a surround-sound theater and museum store. The Dixon Heartland: FAM Offer Blackhawk Waterways invites you to a 2-day/1-night stay, Monday through Friday, to familiarize yourself with our area. When you call us at 1-800-678-2108 or email and mention “Heartland,” we’ll arrange an itinerary designed specifically for you.

permanent exhibits – spectacular galleries enriching our understanding of regional Native American life and early American farming. Speaking life-like figures enrich our perception of life and the struggle to thrive in a young 19th century United States. See the story of 1800’s America unfold through expressive conversations and watch as a noisy conflict unfolds into gunfire. Hear the sounds of the outdoors and a farmyard. After partaking in the sights of Dixon, travel 15 minutes to the John Deere Historic Site, a pioneer home and special archaeological exhibit of the original blacksmith shop. The group will be shown a short video presentation of the history of the plow, a tour of the John Deere home and a working blacksmith demonstration. This historic site also features a gift shop and visitor center.

Contact: Lori King, Tour Coordinator Blackhawk Waterways CVB 201 N. Franklin Ave., Polo, IL 61064 (800) 678-2108 | 7

2014 Heartland Travel Showcase Official FAM

Heartland FAM Offer Extend your Heartland Travel Showcase experience by exploring Grand Rapids. Registration is required by visiting: Or, contact Jeremy Myers at (800) 896-4682. The cost per participant is $50. March 9, 2014 Depart Heartland Travel Showcase, and Learn more about ArtPrize, check into the hotel. Enjoy dinner at a local Grand Rapid’s interactive art Farm-to-Fork Style Restaurant. festival recently named by “Times Magazine” as one of the “Five March 10, 2014 Festive Events You Won’t Want to Experience the Frederik Meijer Gardens Miss”. Ride a 1928 carousel and and Sculpture Park onboard a narrated experience life a century ago on the tram. One of the world’s most visited “Streets of Old Grand Rapids” at museums, this botanic garden and the Grand Rapids Public Museum. sculpture park features indoor and outdoor This state-of-the-art center features gardens, more than 100 magnificent interactive history and natural sculptures and more. The tram tour science exhibitions, including includes the Sculpture Park, the Michigan a look at the region’s important Farm Garden, and the American Horse furniture-making tradition. Sculpture.

Then, visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Attend a White House State Dinner, step inside the Oval Office, and see the original Watergate burglar tools. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Burial Site is on the grounds. Dinner will be at Grand Rapid’s new Downtown Market March 11, 2014 Following breakfast at the hotel, we’ll depart Grand Rapids at 9 a.m.

Your Group Adventure Awaits!

419.385.4040 8 HEARTLAND BEAT | Winter 2013 | 9

Muskegon County

10 HEARTLAND BEAT | Winter 2013


Muskegon is the perfect natural playground for anyone who relishes the beauty of clear-blue water against a sugar sand beach, the quiet contentment of a campfire in the woods or the thrill of reeling in the big one. Muskegon is graced with 26 miles of unspoiled beachfront, including one of the few nationally certified “clean beaches” on the Great Lakes.

Kristin Knop, Tourism Specialist Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau 610 W. Western Ave., Muskegon, MI 49440 (231) 724-3102


When you mention “Heartland,” we’ll provide you with a complimentary overnight stay in Muskegon with any site visit within our area.

Heartland Itinerary Spotlight: Beacons to Barons Tour (2-day) Tour the stately and picturesque White River Light Station Museum and see the world’s largest weathervane, then head to the Muskegon Museum of Art. Next visit Aan Omaha Beach D-Day Veteran, the USS LST 393. This ship served in World War II. Tour the ship, still camouflaged for an intended invasion to Japan. Then tour the Muskegon County Museum of African American History before setting off for a sunset dinner cruise on Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. The second day begins at the home of two lumber barons, Charles H. Hackley and Thomas Hume, at the Hackley and Hume Historic Site. Learn of turn-ofthe-century firefighting at the Fire Barn Museum, and then head next door to the Scoclnik House of the Depression Era that tells the story of common families living through the Great Depression. The Lakeshore Museum Center provides glimpses of Michigan’s 400-million-year old journey. Visit the most decorated WWI submarine, the USS Silversides, and the Prohibition era USCGC Cutter McLane that earned honor for sinking during an enemy vessel during WWII at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum. Then head to the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center for state-of-the-art explorations of Michigan’s unique sand dune story. | 11


News from the Heartland Radisson Blu Hotel Opens at Mall of America

Mall of America Bloomington, Minnesota

The Mall of America is a leading group destination that welcomes more than 12,000 bus groups annually. As the nation’s largest retail and entertainment complex, it features more than 500 stores, no sales tax on clothing or shoes, 50 restaurants and more than 400 (free) events each year. The Mall also features the nation’s largest indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe®, with 30 exciting rides and entertainment for Nickelodeon fans of all ages and courage levels. Conveniently located in Bloomington, just five minutes from the MSP International Airport and 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, there is also lightrail transportation available between all three destinations.

Special Heartland Offer

Contact: Millie Philipp Mall of America 60 E. Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425 (952) 883-8843 12 HEARTLAND BEAT | Winter 2013

Mall of America is offering a special postcard promotion for group travel planners to enhance your group experience and maximize your budgets. The postcards will be sent by mail, so be sure to request yours by sending your name and address to You will be able to redeem it for a free Mall of America Coupon Book (contains over $2,500 in savings) and a stylish MOA shopping bag for each member of your group - a combined retail value of $14.95 per person.

In 2013, the Mall of America became an even more attractive destination with the opening of the Radisson Blu Mall of America Hotel. The 500-room property is the first hotel to be physically connected to Mall of America. In addition, Radisson Blu staff will meet guests anywhere inside Mall of America to pick up their packages to bring back to the hotel while the guests continue to shop. Please contact Joan Hane, group sales manager, at joan.hane@

New Hands-On Activities Offered Just for Groups!

Mall of America group experiences offer a mix of experiential opportunities for your clients. Enjoy a cooking demonstration with wine pairing, a wine tasting, a scavenger hunt, or a behindthe-scenes tour of the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium.

While You’re There...

Padelford Riverboats St. Paul, Minnesota

Located across the Mississippi River from historic downtown Saint Paul, Padelford Riverboats are located near many of the amenities and attractions that make the Twin Cities such a great destination for tour groups. Their many different cruises make it easy to fit a visit to the Mississippi River into any itinerary. With top notch customer service, an impeccable safety record and over four decades of cruising on the Mississippi River, Padelford Riverboats offers the most unique and memorable way to experience such an iconic piece of Americana. “These beautiful boats offer sightseeing tours, sunset dinner and picnic lunch cruises, and educational river trips. Take in summer fireworks, fall foliage, city skylines, and the beauty of the mighty Mississippi River atop a Minnesota riverboat. Oh, and the food is great, too!" -‘ Capt. Tracy Shimek (800) 543-3908


Charge on in.

After 50 years, COSI is still the place that delivers “a-ha” moments daily. Come visit us again to be inspired, to be challenged, and to be amazed by yourself and the world around you.

Innovation and inspiration for every generation.

333 W. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215 | 614.228.2674 | | 13


Tour Cayuga Auburn, New York

Contact: Andrea Bornheim (585) 287-8838

Cayuga County is conveniently located in the center of the scenic Finger Lakes Region of New York State. We have ready-to-go Wine & Food, History and Agri-tourism itineraries. Or, we’ll help design an itinerary of our 27-stop Sweet Treat Trail, our Finger Lakes Cheese Trail, or one based on your clients’ needs.

Heartland Itinerary Spotlight: Fork in the Road Culinary Tour (2-day itinerary) Pick apples, peaches, pumpkins and gourds, then shop for locally-made honey, maple syrup and other products. Enjoy local foods at BeauVine Chop House & Wine Bar, with its good selection of Finger Lakes wines. Learn the art of beekeeping at Bee Attitudes, where you can also make your own. Then pick strawberries at Strawberry Fields Hydroponic Farm before shopping for homemade jams, salad dressings and ‘Strawberry Blossom Delight” honey. Enjoy dinner at Oak & Vine at Springside Inn, a modern gastro-pub featuring organic pasta and produce. After dinner, enjoy a glass of Finger Lakes wine at the bar or head to Green Shutters Restaurant for a delicious cone and walk on the Owasco Lake Pier.

Heartland: FAM Offer The next Cayuga County Tour Operator FAM will be held in June, 2014. Please contact Andrea Bornheim at (585) 287-8838 or to participate.

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Start the second day at The Apple Station, a family-owned business that specializes in growing apples and blueberries. Enjoy the waterfront charm of Aurora, a walkable village with boutiques, shops, fine restaurants and historic sites. Lunch at Pumpkin Hill Bistro for a meal prepared with locally-sourced ingredients. After lunch, head right up the hill to Long Point Winery. Overlooking the lake, the awe-inspiring views take a back stage only to the medium to full-bodied vinifera wines you experience in the tasting room. Your culinary odyssey ends as it began-on a farm. A grazing herd of Registered Holstein and Jersey cows produces the high quality milk that turns into Keeley’s Cheese Company’s signature cheeses.

Only in the Heartland

2014 Heartland FAM

Saints & Spirits Tour

Generations of Warthers Continue to Carve a Museum’s Legacy

Patrick Warther 331 Karl Ave., Dover, OH 44622 (330) 343-7513

In Dover, Ohio The Warther Museum, which is dedicated to master carver Ernest “Mooney” Warther, doesn’t have the luxury of revolving exhibits, says museum director Patrick Warther, Mooney’s great grandson. Instead, the museum finds ways to create new interest and new audiences for its existing collection of intricate bone, wood and ivory carvings. “We mix up how we market and showcase different items,” says Warther. And this creative showcasing of its collection adds new group experiences around every bend. Many of Warther’s carvings focus on modes of transportation. He carved the “History of the Steam Engine”, beginning with Hero’s Engine, an early steam-powered device from 250 BC, and ending with the Union Pacific Big Boy Locomotive of 1941. The museum also details how Warther’s desire to create better carving tools launched the family business, Warther Cutlery. The Warthers continue to make hand-crafted knives using the old world craftsmanship Mooney developed. Some recent programs have tapped into the country’s enthusiasm for cooking. The museum has hosted Meet the Chef events that showcase Warther Cutlery. “We’re trying to get more interest in the culinary aspect of Warther’s,” Patrick says. The museum also recently launched a tour that focuses on Freida, wife of Ernest Warther. An interpreter brings Freida to life and shares family stories during the tour. Other successful innovations have included serving dinner at the museum to provide visitors with an after-hours look at the museum and highlighting the Warther gardens. Warther says he always looks forward to sharing the museum’s new plans and tours during the Heartland Travel Showcase. “We get a lot of feedback from tour operators,” he says. “Based on that, we can tweak things and add things. It’s a great show for us.”

Come explore the heart of the start – the expansion of the Northwest Territory. From the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, to our neighbors directly south of us along the Ohio and Kanawha rivers, Marietta and Parkersburg welcome you an exclusive 3-day, 2-night Saints and Spirits Tour FAM tour. Register at March 5 , 2014 Depart from Toledo at 9 a.m. and head for the Historic Lafayette Hotel, a Grand Riverboat Era Hotel, in Marietta. Then be one of the first to visit the newest minor basilica, St Mary’s Catholic Church, on Ash Wednesday. As part of the diocese of Rome, and one of only 75 minor basilicas in the US, its impressive grandeur and beauty includes the papal emblem and special basilica symbols such as bells and Umbrilino – a large umbrella which would cover the pope should he ever visit. We’ll then explore heavenly bodies at the Anderson Hancock Planetarium on the Marietta College Campus where we will “reinvigorate your fascination with the night sky.” Stars of the carnal kind will soon take the stage at the Historic Hippodrome – Colony Theatre recently renamed the Peoples Bank Theatre. Currently under restoration, the original vaudeville house was built in 1911 and will seat 1,000 people. Seven dressing rooms, large chorus girls room, perfect sight lines and exceptional acoustics are all part of this amazing experience. Wine, spirits and appetizers follow at The Cook’s Shop, then we’ll enjoy dinner and entertainment at The Galley Fine Food & Libations and The Adelphia Music Hall. A Ghost Trek through Marietta rounds out the evening. March 6, 2014

Start your day at the Lafayette Hotel, then we’ll set off to the Parkersburg Art Center. During a tour of the center you will create your own personalized greeting or occasion cards.

Tour the Blennerhassett Island State Park Museum, then shop for chocolates or apparel at Holl’s Chocolates and Mulberry Lane or Coldwater Creek. The day concludes with a cooking demonstration and wine pairings at the Blennerhassett Hotel. | 15



- Country Living Magazine

Amish Country Theater - Walnut Creek Country Living Magazine calls it “Hilarious. The Amish Country Theater’s production is a rib-ticklin’, knee slappin’, side-splittin’ comedy adventure for the whole family.” In addition to its country extravaganza, the theatre hosts Christmas in the Country. Learn Amish Christmas traditions and enjoy a narrative of the rich history of Christmas carols during this show with John Schmid, a Nashville recording artist. Both shows are performed in a 325-seat theater that triggers your imagination by creating the illusion that you are stepping into an authentic Amish barn—except this barn features state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and effects. As a result, audiences experience the production at the highest level. The climate-controlled theater features comfortable movie theaterstyle seating and easily accommodates wheelchairs.

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News from the Heartland The Amish Country Theater’s 2013 production was a smash hit (with a total audience of over 15,000 and more than 120 tour groups). Its producers have raised the bar with an all-new sidesplitting show for 2014. The show features live bluegrass music, ventriloquists, hilarious actors, and comedians. Hosting the performance is Ken Groves, a nationally recognized ventriloquist. Ken has made 12 television appearances and has performed for packed audiences from Las Vegas to Japan, and everywhere in between.

A crowd favorite, Lynyrd, is a spotlight-stealing country bumpkin who is as unpredictable as an Ohio spring. And the Amish characters “The Jonas Brothers” use their quirky mannerisms to serve up hilarious one-liners about farm living. Combined with the rest of the cast and musicians, audiences enjoy a value-packed two-hour variety show. Jeffrey Conn Amish Country Theater 6279 County Rd. 201, Millersburg, OH 44654 (888) 988-7469


HeartlandHEARTLAND Itinerary Spotlight Ohio Irish Without a Passport (2-night/3day) Leave your groups talking (with a brogue!) Discover little-known secrets about this emerald city during a driving tour, and then visit the quaint shops in the Historic District during a 4-Leaf Clover Scavenger Hunt. Savor lunch or a high tea at Biddie’s Coach House before visiting one of the foremost Irish dance schools in North America to watch and learn some fancy footwork.

Dublin has a passionate connection to all things Irish. Home to the second largest Irish Festival in the world, this historic Ohio town northwest of Columbus holds Irishthemed events year-round. Sample Irish-approved products, such as an Irish Egg Roll or a Shamrock Sundae. Groups overnighting in Dublin hotels are VIPs (Very Irish People) with exclusive Irish experiences around every turn.

News from the Heartland New Ghost Tour Itinerary is Available Dublin now has Ghost Tours available to groups. Tours take participants through Historic Dublin where many of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Hear accounts of local ghost sightings, while also learning the history of the district and urban legends.

Heartland FAM Offers In addition to customized FAM tours for qualified operators upon request, the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau offers FAMs during the Irish Festival weekend with complimentary tickets to the festival and can organize hotel arrangements for group tour operators.

Contact: Samantha Kennedy, Group Tour Sales Manager Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau 9 S. High St., Dublin, OH 43017 (800) 245-8387

Meet Cait Seo Rua, the daughterin-law of “Pat Murphy” who is the guest of honor at an old-style Irish Wake. Discover the customs and folkways of this curious and disappearing three-day tradition as it would have been circa 1898. Then, watch a cooking demonstration and sample Irish treats, such as potato cabbage bundles and Miss. McFarland’s honey-roasted chicken. The evening is topped with tales told by an 1830s era Irish immigrant, Sean O’Shaughnessey, as he tells the story of leaving Ireland with his young bride and arriving in America. The next day, shop three floors of gifts, antiques gourmet foods and more at the historic Morgan House before enjoying lunch served near a roaring fire in a log cabin. Embrace the smells of spring and Ireland as you create a scented candle with a customized label at The Candle Lab. Dinner includes Craggaunowen Chicken and Irish apple cake, and may include Irish dancers and a fiddler. | 17

Hocking Hills


Southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills region is an ideal destination for the active motorcoach traveler. Thanks to Mother Nature, more than 10,000 acres of breathtaking unbroken forests provide the backdrop for unforgettable ecoadventures.

Itinerary Spotlight Bring Your Bucket List Group tour operators serving the emerging small group market now have a new destination to offer their travelers. Southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills offers unique lodging options and a plethora of “Bucket List” activities. Luxury lodges can accommodate groups of up to thirty-six with all the comforts of home. Groups will enjoy lots of room to mix and mingle, large decks overlooking the scenic landscape, game rooms, swimming pools, hot tubs, grills and fire rings. It is the perfect setting for sharing stories of the day’s The Hocking State Forest Rappelling adventures. & Rock Climbing area provides adrenaline-pumping challenges for all There is no shortage of adventure in skill levels. Defy gravity at the area’s the Hocking Hills, making the region newest attraction, Jet Pack Water an ideal destination to check off a few Adventures. Get up close and personal experiences on a Bucket List. The with wildlife on a guided kayak tour or Hocking Hills is the Canopy Tour float down the Hocking River by canoe. Capital of the Midwest with more than Take a trip back in time on horseback to 50 ziplines including the Super Zip for a genuine cowboy cookout. flying Superman-style. For more than a century, visitors have tested their The Hocking Hills Market and endurance at popular hiking locales Nelsonville Historic Art Square will like Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Rock delight treasure hunters with one-of-aHouse, Conkle’s Hollow, Cantwell Cliffs, kind, handmade collectibles. Quirky and Ash Cave. Naturalist led hikes to meets history at the world’s only less visited, remote scenic wonders are Pencil Sharpener Museum and the last available and perfect for groups. remaining washboard manufacturer in the U.S. 18 HEARTLAND BEAT | Winter 2013

The Hocking Hills are Ohio’s Natural Crown Jewels and the ideal destination for your groups and their Bucket Lists. Karen Raymore, Executive Director Hocking Hills Tourism Association 13178 State Route 664 S., Logan, OH 43138 (800) HOCKING 

Violet Rae Webster (513) 287-7021 or (800) 733-2077 Email:

The Cincinnati History Museum, Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science, and the Duke Energy Children’s Museum are housed together, offering groups options to tour each or combine visits into one stop. Step aboard a replica of a side-wheel steamboat, learn about World War II in a home front exhibition, speak with a settler new to the river valley in 1792, set type with a printer in his shop on the Public Landing, and learn about 1940s-Cincinnati from a street car conductor. Walk through a glacier and step back 19,000 years into the Ice Age. Explore a re-created limestone cave, underground waterfall, and a live bat colony.

News from the Heartland

World’s Final Showing of Diana, a Celebration, Comes to Cincinnati Diana, A Celebration, chronicles the remarkable life and work of Diana, Princess of Wales. Direct from the Althorp Estate in England, the ancestral home of the Spencer family, comes more than 150 personal objects including Diana’s royal wedding gown, 28 designer dresses and gowns, family heirlooms, personal mementos and rare home movies. Touring the world since 2003, this exhibit can be viewed a final time Feb. 14 through Aug. 17, 2014 in Cincinnati. Bring in the Holidays at Cincinnati Museum Center Cincinnati Museum Center comes alive during the holidays, November through early January. Exhibits, films and live entertainment create an engaging experience for your group. The vintage model trains in Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains are among the finest of their kind and the striking theatrical backgrounds create a wonderland to explore. Duke Energy’s holiday train display, a 65-year Cincinnati tradition, is now a permanent part of Holiday Junction and included in admission to the Cincinnati History Museum or the All Museums Pass. Add Rocky Mountain Express at the OMNIMAX® Theater to complete your train adventure. Call (513) 287-7021 or (800) 733-2077 or visit for more information. And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (800) 733-2077 | Using the powerful medium of story quilts, And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations narrates four centuries of African American history, from the first slave ships to the first African American president. Through 85 quilts from the National Women of Color Quilters Network, the exhibition reveals the stories of freedom’s heroes, ranging from Frederick Douglass to Thurgood Marshall to President Obama. Through the accessibility of their colors, patterns and symbols, these quilts can relate stories that enable conversations about sensitive topics from our history, furthering the conversation of racial reconciliation in America.

2014 Official FAM

Merry Mysteries & Haunted Histories Fremont/Clyde, OH Extend your Heartland Travel Showcase experience by exploring the Merry Mysteries and Haunting Histories FAM tour of Sandusky County, Ohio. Register at The cost per participant is $50. March 9, 2014 Enjoy a welcome reception hosted by Chateau Tebeau Vineyard and Winery, then be greeted by a costumed guide for a tour of White Star Park log cabins and quarry, Scultpure in the Village, and the Northcoast Veterans Museum. Local chef Jimmy G’s will serve dinner as part of a Dinner ‘n Dogs experience at Lynwood Kennels before you’ll get a Jaws with Paws Enforcing Laws police dog demonstration. March 10, 2014 Following breakfast, a costumed guide will lead your way to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue, before heading off to the McPherson House in Clyde. This is the boyhood home of General James Birdseye McPherson and offers a glimpse into his childhood and life on the Ohio frontier. Following lunch at Our Town’s Brewin’, you’ll get a guided tour of the Clyde Historical Museum, including a sneak peek of a new 2014 Story Town Tour surrounding Sherwood Anderson’s book, Winesburg, Ohio, which was based on Clyde. Enjoy Ohio wines or craft beer while perusing greenhouse flowers at Hall’s Garden Gate, then enjoy a Stained Glass Window Tour, a brief Heritage Walking Tour and a tour of the Historic Sandusky Jail, Dungeon and Gallows Exhibition Hall. The evening includes entertainment and a tour at the Lady of the Pines Retreat Center before heading to the Historic Strand Theatre with live entertainment and a tour. You’ll also get a chance to preview the new 2014 group experience, Diamonds, Divas and Decorations. March 11, 2014 Before heading back to Toledo, you’ll visit The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, including its home to the nation’s 19th president and his wife, Lucy. | 19

More News From The Heartland New Sandusky County, Ohio, Tours Debut Kathryn Rice, In 2013, Sandusky County launched three group experiences surrounding the Historic Sandusky County Jail and Dungeon. An historical 1.5 hour guided tour takes groups through the jail, dungeon and Gallows Hall. The Jailhouse Rock Dinner Theater is cell block entertainment at its finest. Costumed staff serve “prisoner style,” and your group will enjoy a meal in the cell block while being serenaded by great local entertainment. The Dungeon Descent is an adventure into the paranormal. Spend an evening being a paranormal investigator. This event is hosted by ORBS, a nationally televised group of paranormal investigators. In 2014, Sandusky County is launching two new experiences. Sherwood Anderson's Storybook Tour follows the trail of the now infamous tale of Winesburg, Ohio - a tale that eventually launched a book burning! The second experience is Diamonds, Divas and Decorations. This experience is centered at the Historic Strand Theater. Sherlock Holmes Darkens the Doors of COSI in 2014 50 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH Jaclyn Reynolds, (614) 228-2674 The streets of London – dark, shadowy, mysterious – set the stage for The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at COSI in Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 8 through Sept. 1, 2014. Follow in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes, the literary creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Join the master detective on his pursuit to crack the most intricate mysteries and dreadful crimes using the powers of deduction and cutting-edge 19th century techniques of forensic science. Surpass the infallible Holmes by joining today’s forensic scientists with 120 years of scientific progress and discovery at your fingertips.

Dixie Stampede 3849 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (865) 453-4400 Located in the footprint of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visitors and locals agree that Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner and Show is a fun-filled, action-packed extravaganza that everyone should experience. 32 magnificent horses and a cast of top-notch riders thrill you with daring feats of trick riding and competition, pitting north against south in a fun and friendly rivalry, all coming together in a patriot salute of Red, White, and Blue, written and recorded by Dolly herself. All of this while enjoying a fabulous four course feast. If that wasn't enough, in addition to our main event, your ticket purchase includes pre-show entertainment in our world famous Dixie Belle Saloon. Enjoy the comedy and musical talent of Bluegrass and Country band, Mountain Rukus. Only Dixie Stampede brings you this diverse mix of musical talent of our Bluegrass and Country in such a family-friendly atmosphere. You won't want to miss the Smokies Most Fun Place To Eat!

20 HEARTLAND BEAT | Winter 2013




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The Beautiful Kankakee River

Kankakee County - See what’s new in 2014! See what’s new in Kankakee County in 2014! Our redesigned website includes a section just for travel groups. See the sample itineraries to enhance your visit and take advantage of all of the wonderful things to see and do in Kankakee County. Our newest publications are designed with group travellers in mind and include activities for a range of participants. Outdoor adventures, cultural activities, family recreation, dining and shopping await you less than an hour south of Chicago. With more than 900 hotel/motel rooms, Kankakee County has the accommodations you need to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Kankakee County is an affordable lodging, dining, and entertainment stop for tour groups traveling to or through the Midwest. Kankakee County is located just 50 miles south of Chicago, off of Interstate 57. State routes 45/52, 50 and 17 also run through the area.

Historic Church Tour

The Kankakee County and Visitors Bureau welcomes the opportunity to work with your group. Our community offers exciting places to eat, play, meet and sleep. Our seasoned sales and services team are available to assist you.

Group Travel Guide

Barn Quilt Tour

Heartland Beat - Winter 2013  
Heartland Beat - Winter 2013  

The essential magazine for Group Tour Operators conducting tours in America's Heartland Region. Featuring unique destinations and special F...