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AUGUST 2011

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contents Vol. 21, No. 4

August 2011

COVER STORY

COVER STORY 18 ARkAnSAS MuSEuMS

by dave bodle

Attractions enshrine everything from gangsters to Walmart

FEATURES 14

Infinite India

24

Virginia for Girls Only by heather swick

27

South Carolina Fishing Holes by dave bodle

32

All About Atlantic City by sarah nelson

36

The Columbus Experience by melinda hughey

40

Illinois Girlfriend Getaways

45

Alaskan Adventures by heather swick

by randy mink

18 SOUTH CAROLINA

COLUMNS On My Mind

12

by christopher doyle

by jeff gayduk

8

On Tour

50

by marty sarbey de souto

10

On Adventure Travel

On Girlfriend Getaways by lisa kasanicky

DEPARTMENTS 6

Meet Our Writers

44

On Our Radar: MIDWEST

47

On Our Radar: WEST

On Marketing by dave bodle CAST YOUR VOTE

RE ADER’S ★ ICE C H★ AWARDS See Our Reader Service Page

27 ON THE COVER:  Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, Little Rock (Photo courtesy Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism)

Santee Cooper Tourism Region

4


on my mind ❖

On My Mind jeff gayduk

❖ jeff gayduk

Survey Says...

Vol. 21, No. 4 August 2011 Editorial & Advertising Office

621 Plainfield Road, Suite 406 Willowbrook, IL 60527 P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 info@ptmgroups.com

Publisher – Jeffrey Gayduk jeff@ptmgroups.com

Managing Editor – Randy Mink

randy@ptmgroups.com

Senior Editor – John Kloster john@ptmgroups.com

I’M NO RICHARD DAWSON, but I do have the results from Leisure Group Travel’s 2011 Group Intentions Survey. We asked readers a wide range of questions regarding your business, planning and customers. Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s study. Your input will help shape our editorial calendar for years to come. The survey questions were: How is 2011 Business Compared to Last Year? Much better 20%; little better 41%; little worse 29%; much worse 10%. How Many Trips Do You Plan Each Year? Averages were: 14 day trips; 6 two-tofour night; 2 five-to-seven night; 1 eight + night; 2 cruises. Where in the U.S. Are Your Groups Traveling? Northeast 55%; South 54%; West 46%; Midwest 44%. Percentage of Groups That Travel to the Following: Europe 38%; Canada 34%; Central/ South America 17%; South Pacific 11%; Asia 9%; Africa 5%. What Types of Groups Do You Plan Travel For? Seniors 97%; religious 26%; students 15%; girlfriends 15%; reunions 15%; corporate 9%; other 4%. What Activities Do You Include On Trips? Theater 84%; shopping 60%; sightseeing cruises 58%; scenic rail 48%; gambling 45%; hands-on experiences 35%; adventure/outdoor 27%.

How Do You Plan Your Tours? Plan my own 79%; use a tour operator 64%; use a receptive operator 29%. What Industry Websites Do You Use When Planning Trips? LeisureGroupTravel.com 56%; GroupTravelDirectory.com 53%; Grouptour.com 26%; Grouptravelleader.com 16%; Busrates.com 12%; Groupconnect.com 9%. Average Lead Time When Booking Trips: 12+ months 13%; 7-12 months 47%; 6 months or less 40%. Type of Travel Your Group Prefers: Moderate 52%; economy 34%; deluxe 14%. CAST YOUR VOTE IN OUR 9TH ANNUAL READER’S CHOICE AWARDS Vote for your RE ADER’S favorite travel ★ ICE C H★ AWA R DS companies and destinations in our CAST YOUR VOTE BY 9th annual Reader’s SEPTEMBER 15! Choice Awards poll. There are two ways to vote – either return this month’s Instant Infosm card, or visit LeisureGroupTravel.com and click on the Reader’s Choice icon @ the top of the page. Cast your vote by September 15! Happy Traveling,

Senior Editor – Elana Andersen elana@ptmgroups.com

Senior Editor – Dave Bodle dave@ptmgroups.com

Senior Editor – Carol Smith carols.csmith@gmail.com

Director, Design & Production – Robert Wyszkowski rob@ptmgroups.com

Director of Sales

Theresa O’Rourke P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 theresa@ptmgroups.com

Regional Sales Managers Illinois – Jim McCurdy

P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 jim@ptmgroups.com

Northeast & Eastern Midwest/Canada – Amy Janssens P 630.294.0318 • F 630.794.0652 amy@ptmgroups.com

Mid Atlantic – Ellen Klesta

P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 ellen@ptmgroups.com

Southeast/West Coast – Cheryl Rash

P 563.613.3068 • F 815.225.5274 cheryl@ptmgroups.com

Southern – Dolores Ridout P/F 281.762.9546 dolores@ptmgroups.com Florida & Caribbean – Prof Inc. P 813.286.8299 • F 813.287.0651 jimg@ptmgroups.com The publisher accepts unsolicited editorial matter, as well as advertising, but assumes no responsibility for statements made by advertisers or contributors. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information published, but the publisher makes no warranty that listings are free of error. The publisher is not responsible for the return of unsolicited photos, slides or manuscripts.

Leisure Group Travel (ISSN-1531-1406) is published bi-monthly by Premier Tourism Marketing, Inc. 621 Plainfield Road, Suite 406, Willowbrook, IL 60527. The magazine is distributed free of charge to qualified tour operators, travel agents, group leaders, bank travel clubs and other travel organizations. Other travel-related suppliers may subscribe at the reduced rate of $12.00 per year. The regular subscription price for all others is $18.00 per year. Single copies are $4.95 each.

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Jeff Gayduk, Publisher jeff@ptmgroups.com

A

publication

All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publisher. 4 August 2011

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On the Write Side

NUMBER CRUNCHING

Meet the Contributors to This Issue marty

8 sarbey de souto see page

dave

see page

bodle

Based in El Cerrito, Calif., our long-time columnist is the author of How to Plan, Operate and Lead Successful Group Tours, an e-book available from Premier Tourism Marketing’s educational website, groupuniversity.com. Marty founded the travel industry program at Berkeley City College, where she taught all aspects of group travel for 32 years. Enjoy Marty’s column on page 8.

Senior editor Dave Bodle, a former publisher of travel trade publications, heads up our Southern editorial coverage. He operates David’s Tour Connections, a receptive operator that serves Myrtle Beach, the Carolinas and Virginia and offers outgoing tours as well. See Dave’s Arkansas article on page 18, South Carolina article on page 27 and marketing column on page 50.

lisa

heather

see page

10

kasanicky

see page

christopher

sarah

12

see page

32

nelson

A prominent voice in the adventure travel industry, Chris is vice president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and editor of AdventureTravelNews.com. His travels on five continents have ranged from whitewater rafting and sea kayaking to rock climbing, dog sledding and skydiving. See Chris’ adventure travel column on page 12.

An editorial intern, Sarah is a senior English and Spanish double major at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich. She will travel to Spain this fall to study at the University of Seville and learn more about Spanish culture. Sarah’s favorite vacation spot is her grandparents’ cottage on Lake Erie in Ohio. Read Sarah’s Atlantic City article on page 32.

randy

melinda

see page

Arkansas’ national ranking in rice and poultry production

28 People born every minute in India

swick

Heather, an editorial intern, is a junior journalism major at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. She is editor-in-chief of the Bradley Scout newspaper. Heather has studied in Spain and most recently visited the United Kingdom, where she explored Scotland, Ireland and England. See Heather’s Virginia article on page 24 and Alaska article on page 45.

see page

1

24

Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Girlfriend Getaways, Lisa is also the creator of AZSpaGirls.com, a guide that speaks to a new generation of spa and beauty enthusiasts. She appears regularly on ABC’s Sonoran Living in metro Phoenix and has been interviewed on Martha Stewart Living Radio and ABC News Now. See Lisa’s girlfriend getaways column on page 10.

doyle

14

mink

A mere week in India this past June only whetted the appetite of Leisure Group Travel’s managing editor, whose FAM group braved 115-degree heat and some digestive issues. Next time he wants to explore tropical resorts in the south of India and search for elusive tigers in a game reserve—at a cooler time of year. Read about Randy’s India experiences on page 14.

see page

7,702 Air miles from Newark to Delhi

1959 The year Alaska became the 49th state

370 Golf courses in South Carolina

36

hughey

A regular contributor to Leisure Group Travel, Melinda explores the world with senior adult bank travel groups she’s served through her own company, The RH Factor in Pulaski, Tenn. She currently is working on a book entitled War Stories, a chronicle of weird, wild and wacky things that have happened during her exploits. See Melinda’s Columbus, Ohio feature on page 36.

Become a fan of ours on Facebook and we’ll keep you informed of the latest news in the industry by sending you Facebook updates when news breaks. Simply search for “Group Travel” and look for the Premier Tourism Marketing logo! Leisure Group Travel is also joining the Twitter craze. Go to Twitter.com/LeisureGroup to get the latest “tweets” from the Leisure Group Travel staff.

6 August 2011

18

4 Miles of boardwalk in Atlantic City

787,033 Population of Columbus, Ohio

LeisureGroupTravel.com


On Tour

❖ marty sarbey de souto, ctc

One-Day Tours – The Solution for Hard Times IN THESE DIFFICULT economic times, maybe your usual trip participants just can’t muster the expenditure for a major trip. Yet, they may not wish to admit out loud that this year they just can’t afford it. You don’t want them to disappear from your travel program forever and you’re afraid if you cancel your bigger trip(s), you may never see them again. Why not offer a yearly series of oneday trips? This way they can enroll in them one-by-one in accordance with their interests and their month-bymonth budget. Perhaps one-day trips are already a part of your offerings. But perhaps they’re not, or you’d like some suggestions for some new ones. Here are my suggestions for a dozen starters. I’m sure you’ll have your ideas for additional ones to add to the mix. Eleven are one-dayers; the last one is an overnighter.

1

MONTHLY DINE-AROUND, trying new restaurants in town or nearby surroundings. Get your members involved by their suggesting restaurants they’d like to visit or those they’ve tried and liked. Be sure the chef is available to meet and greet them. Maybe the chef can even give the group a cooking or shopping hint.

2

COUNTY FAIR. A day at the fair can never go wrong. Include roundtrip coach transportation and entry fee (if any). Let the group roam where they like within the fairgrounds. Perhaps include lunch (or coupons for lunch), the horse races or the evening show if there is one.

8 August 2011

3

CULINARY DAY. A cooking class day complete with a chef demonstrating special dishes, perhaps one wherein the tour members chop and stir and actually participate rather than just sit and listen. Include handout of recipes. Perhaps add a morning visit to the marketplace to select ingredients and lunch wherein everyone eats what they produced.

4

ART MUSEUM BLOCKBUSTER SHOW complete with a docent giving your tour group a private explanation. Check out the biggies like Chicago’s Art Institute, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Excellent local museums are curating blockbuster exhibits as well but on a smaller scale.

5

A DAY OF AGRICULTURAL VISITS. Include opportunity for members to pick or buy at fruit and vegetable markets. Meet with farmers who follow organic, sustainable practices. See www.bayareagreentours.org for ideas.

6

SHOPPING DAY with coach transportation to several top stores – not just one shopping center. Work out a plan with store management for coupons for freebies. Maybe include a nice lunch en route.

7

FASHION SHOW. Check with department stores and other fashion outlets for dates of future fashion shows. Include entrance fee and perhaps a drink. Allow time for shopping after the show.

8

CONCERT, indoors or a summer on-the-lawn venue. Many orchestras and little theaters schedule warmweather outdoor programming. Take along a picnic supper for all.

9

MOTHER’S DAY CELEBRATION. Many families are fractured these days. Mothers without kids. Kids feeling a bit lost after their mothers have died. Be the focal point for a function to bring everyone together for next year’s Mother’s Day.

10

A FUNDRAISER of some sort. Cost into the trip a donation from each participant for some needy organization in your community. Hint – this will bring you local publicity and perhaps new members.

11

THEATER ATTENDANCE at the newest edgy play opening in a nearby theater. Maybe add a visit backstage or a lecture before the play discussing the author’s work.

12

AN OVERNIGHT MINI-TRIP to the nearest national park, staying in a lodge. Include a meeting with a park ranger, perhaps an evening sing-along around the campfire complete with s’mores and maybe a ghost story or two. This might be an ideal time to suggest participants bring along young people in their family and plan it for a weekend when kids are not in school.

Marty is a Certified Travel Counselor who designs and leads tours. Her travel industry consulting and educational firm is Sarbey Associates (sarbeyassociates.com).

LeisureGroupTravel.com


Around 500 locations Service, Value, Variety Free meals for your driver and group leader • Ample free motor coach parking • All-inclusive nationwide pricing • Food that’s ready for a quick, hassle-free stop • A wide variety of foods to accommodate specific diet choices Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner

Reservations made easy. Visit www.buffet.com/leisuregroup email: groupsales@buffetsinc.com or call 800-753-8207

© 2010 Buffets, Inc.


❖ lisa kasanicky

On Girlfriend Getaways Dealing with the Deal Sites I LOVE MY DAD. Love him to death. But during a recent phone conversation, he got slightly on my nerves – through no fault of his own really. It’s just that I can’t seem to escape the “G” word. Even my newly retired, slightly computerchallenged, non-Facebook-using father was “on the Groupon” and now he was taking travel advice from the group-deal giant. “Yeah,” he said with such a burst of enthusiasm that I thought he won the lottery. “I bought a Groupon to go skiing on the Fourth of July!” You see the dilemma. Swishing through the remains of a late spring snow on July Fourth in Northern California? Very cool. Our retired heroes allowing Groupon to sway their travel choices? Not so cool. Over the last year, Groupon, Living Social and Travelzoo, along with a myriad of other spinoffs, have proliferated on the Internet and filled up our email inboxes with deals so amazing, they’re often hard to resist. The deal sites have woven themselves into the fabric of our daily purchasing choices. And now, they’re barking up the travel tree. Because I advocate spas and girlfriend getaways as a writer and television contributor, I’m looking at this purely from a consumer perspective. But here’s my take on how to integrate them into your group getaway planning. BEAT ’EM AT THEIR OWN GAME The rise of the deal sites came partly out of the sluggish economy. Businesses were willing to discount their services drastically, just to get customers through their doors. They pay nothing to the 10 August 2011

deal sites upfront (brilliant) and they get a big fat check from the sites after the deal runs (even more brilliant). But, here’s the catch. Businesses are generally required to discount their product or service by 50% and they get reimbursed about 50% on that deal price. As a group travel planner, you can broker a similar deal but the business won’t lose as much money on your arrangement. For example, I recently came across a deal for $210 worth of spa treatments

voilà – you could pass along this fabulous deal and if it works for them, you plan the trip around it. The caveat, of course, is that deals often have date limitations and the venues are usually more crowded during those periods. To cover yourself, I would suggest reiterating the fine print of the deal before encouraging them to buy it. As consumers, we can’t live without our daily deals. And as group travel organizers, you can’t kill ’em. But by

Girlfriend getaway planners can use deal sites to their advantage at a posh Arizona retreat for $99. The spa will get reimbursed somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 for each deal sold – as a spa know-it-all, I can tell you that’s barely enough to cover their expenses. A $99 spa day at an upscale spa is a perfect add-on to a girlfriend getaway. If you were able to negotiate a similar deal for your group, the advantage to that spa is that the takers are paying the spa directly the full amount of your “deal” – not to mention that you’re bringing a group of women with pocketbooks full of credit cards to their resort. Win-win. CAN’T BEAT ’EM, JOIN ’EM Now, the flip side. You could also integrate these group deals into your itinerary as an option or even plan the trip around them. Take that same spa deal mentioned previously. If part of the group wishes to spend a day at a posh Arizona spa –

keeping the end goal in sight – female travelers getting a value-packed, memorable getaway – you can use the deal sites to your advantage. Lisa Kasanicky is author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Girlfriend Getaways (Alpha Books, 2009) and founder of ArizonaSpaGirls.com — a girlfriend-to-girlfriend guide to spas, salons, beauty and wellness. The book offers travel details on more than 70 destinations in the United States and Canada ideal for female-focused group travelers.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


On Adventure Travel

❖ christopher doyle

The Rising Prominence of Adventure Tourism Tourism conTinues To occupy an important position in the global economy. it has been called the greatest voluntary transfer of wealth from rich to poor countries.* And, in both developed and developing countries, the sector commands attention as a means of sustainable economic development. For example: ecuador President rafael correa’s 2011 goal is to see tourism become the chief source of income (over oil) for the country, and in the united states, President obama signed the Travel Promotion Act, the first-ever national travel promotion and communications program to attract more international travelers to the u.s. Adventure tourism as a subset of the leisure tourism industry is rising in prominence, as evidenced by mexican President Felipe calderon’s statement during the December 2010 coP 16/united nations climate change conference: “mexico needs to become the champion of adventure travel.” The Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) February 2011 survey of nearly 100 tourism boards covering six continents also reveals an increasing appetite for adventure. When asked, “How has the importance of the adventure tourism sector for your tourism organization changed?”, 89% responded that the sector is being given “increasing importance” within their organization (versus the 42% indicated for “Prior to 2007”). Furthermore, 52% of tourism boards had not yet recognized “adven*Ashley, M. & (2009). “Can the private sector reduce poverty at scale? – evidence from the tourism value chain.” The Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book, 1-4. 12 August 2011

ture tourism” as a stand-alone category prior to 2007. Today, a full 85% of responding tourism boards now recognize it as an independent travel sector. These same tourism organizations reported similar growth in the private sector, as has ATTA, whose membership growth globally continues at a steady and solid pace despite recent economic volatility. For the group travel community, knowing why adventure tourism is growing and how to responsibly develop

travelers into passionate evangelists and advocates. Travelers’ firsthand experiences tend to leave powerful and lasting impressions, often inspiring thoughtful and helpful action. in this vein, adventure travel focuses on the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. responsibly engaging in adventure tourism development is no easy undertaking, but there are plenty of resources to guide thoughtful involvement. Presently, ATTA offers webinars and

Some countries are marketing almost exclusively to adventure travelers this sector is essential to its success. Adventure, as a way of travel, is increasingly appealing to consumers. in fact, destinations such as new Zealand, Greenland and norway are now positioning their offerings and marketing almost exclusively towards adventure travelers. Perhaps cementing the sector’s mainstream appeal, pop culture figure oprah Winfrey teamed with Tourism Queensland to market Australian tourism. “oprah’s ultimate Adventure” featured the talk show host zip lining and snorkeling. in large part, adventure travel is gaining favor because it involves healthyphysical activities, allows for a deeper cultural exchange with different people and an appreciation for the fragility of places. it also is more often viewed as a “guilt-free” holiday option given that money spent can penetrate more deeply into communities, contributing to local economies. it is transformative and turns

regional meetings on sustainability efforts and best practices, details of which are regularly featured in adventuretravelnews.com. And, later this year, ATTA will officially launch its new ATTA’s AdventureeDu initiative, a university-level adventure travel education and training program. And, as always, ATTA’s annual conference, the Adventure Travel World summit (adventuretravelworldsummit.com), is where members of the entire adventure tourism supply chain representing more than 50 nations explore the trends, research, issues and opportunities central to the rising prominence of adventure tourism and its staying power. Christopher Doyle is vice president of Seattlebased Adventure Travel Trade Association (adventuretravel.biz.com). Credit for information in this column also goes to the 2010-11 Adventure Tourism Development Index (adventureindex.travel) and co-author Christina Heyniger (Vital Waves Consulting).

LeisureGroupTravel.com


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I

on location: south asia ❖

randy mink

NFINITE

NDIA A kAlEIDoscopE oF ImprEssIoNs colors AN uNForgETTAblE TrIp To ThE subcoNTINENT

iding through the crowded streets of Jaipur in our air-conditioned minibus, the jaw-dropping scenes unfolded one after another. One that really caught our collective eye was a dilapidated bus with about 30 people sprawled across the roof, nearly every square inch occupied. Inside was jampacked, too, on this 115-degree day. We took pictures of the roof riders as they waved and smiled. For them, it was all part of daily life in India. For our Globus FAM group, the spectacle was one of the bewildering sights that kept us on the edge of our seats. It was a slice of the real India, the India that stays with you, the India you tell others about after a mesmerizing trip to the subcontinent of Asia. On the six-hour drive from Agra to Jaipur, one of my favorite experiences, I kept my nose glued to the window, not wanting to miss a moment of the passing parade—camel carts and oxcarts, 14 August 2011

Michael Lundquist

R

Leisure Group Travel’s Randy Mink visits the Taj Mahal in Agra.

mango and banana vendors, stuffed-tothe-gills Jeeps with boys hanging off the back, rickshaw drivers pedaling through impossible traffic. Stray cows and dogs wander the streets, monkeys scamper across rooftops and boys herd

water buffalo (prized for their milk). And you want to get a picture of every woman gracefully draped in a turquoise, chartreuse, magenta or saffron sari—exclamation points in the stream of pedestrians spilling onto LeisureGroupTravel.com


Randy Mink Photos

Most visitors to Jaipur trek north to the hilltop Amber Fort, where an elephant ride is de rigueur. In the city proper, they can prowl souvenir markets offering puppets and other crafts, photograph fruit vendors and ride a camel.

roadways. As for the men napping on their parked handcarts, you wonder how they can sleep amid the constant horn-honking and near-miss accidents. With so much going on, there was no way I was going to nod off on the bus. A nap could wait until I got home. I’m in India! I told myself. If ever there was a place to gape and gawk, this is it. Though India is packed with traditional sights—temples, mosques, forts, the Taj Mahal—it’s far from a conventional destination. A journey to the world’s largest democracy is more about lifestyles. Tour director Anil Bahal of Distant Frontiers, Globus’ ground operator, told us, “You never go to India for a vacation. You go for the experience. When you get home, you’ll need a holiday.” The FAM trip for tour planners and trade press was an abbreviated version LeisureGroupTravel.com

of Globus’ 14-day “Secrets of India,” using the same hotels and incorporating the same activities. We did the Golden Triangle portion—Delhi, Agra

Agra’s Itimad-ud-Daulah Tomb has been called a “jewel box in marble.”

and Jaipur—taking the Shatabdi Express train from Delhi to Agra. Michael Lundquist, Globus’ national group sales manager, accompanied us. Though we suffered through tripledigit heat in early June, travelers in fall and winter can expect more pleasant weather in North India. Temperatures in October reach into the high 80s, while highs in February are around 75. The daily schedule for Globus groups includes welcome leisure time. It’s not just go-go-go every minute. India can get too rich for the blood, and you need time to recharge and absorb what you’ve seen. Everyone appreciates a break from the high-intensity experience and welcomes the chance to nap, go to the pool or get a massage. One afternoon before dinner I walked across the street from my New Delhi hotel and watched boys play a August 2011 15


on location: south asia ❖ pick-up game of cricket in the park. Then I went over to the pedestrian shopping area where cooks were grilling kebabs at little restaurants with outdoor tables. Standing cheek-byjowl on one block were McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Domino’s. (Burgers in India are lamb, chicken or vegetarian as the cow is sacred to Hindus. Anyone for a Chicken Maharajah Mac?) Here are some only-in-India experiences that Globus travelers can expect and that really brought the country alive for me: • Thrust yourself into the chaotic street life of Old Delhi on a 30-minute rickshaw ride for two through the teeming wholesale bazaars of the most densely packed quarter in India’s capital city. Weaving between bikes, handcarts, motorcycles and motorized rickshaws, your driver pedals through a labyrinth of narrow lanes covered in canopies of tangled electrical wires. At some points you almost can stretch out and touch the hole-in-the-wall stalls. Especially

Globus’ Michael Lundquist tests his snake-charming skills at the Amber Fort.

gawk-worthy: the color-splashed fabric markets and grisly butcher shops. • Another Old Delhi highlight is Jami Masjid, India’s largest mosque. Set on a mound above the fray, the red sandstone building topped by three marble domes is a beehive of activity. Our visit coincided with a Muslim pilgrimage. We had a field day taking pic-

tures of people milling about the courtyard and washing in the ablution tank. They were in a festive mood and glad to pose for us. In fact, some had their own cameras and wanted to include us in their group photos—we were exotic to them. Before entering the mosque, we had to remove our shoes and cover ourselves in a sarong or robe.

Globus ProGrams In IndIa est known for its European and North American tours, Globus has always been strong in Asia and now is “looking for a much more prominent slice of the pie, and India fits into that as a unique and exotic touring destination,” said Mike A. Schields, Globus’ managing director, groups and emerging markets. India “certainly stands apart from all other destinations in the world,” he said. “It is a chance to get completely outside of your current world and comfort zone. Everything is so different and unique vs. our lives here that it makes you both appreciative and awestruck at how we live and how they live. “India appeals to a certain type of traveler so the qualification process and target marketing have to be very selective,” Schields said. “Groups that have done China, Southeast Asia, Russia and South

B

16 August 2011

America would be appropriate for India.” Globus’ 14-day “Secrets of India” (priced from $2,929, plus air) includes the well-traveled Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur) circuit. The North India itinerary also features Varanasi, the holiest of Hindu pilgrimage cities; Khajuraho temples; Udaipur; and Ranthambore National Park, famed for its tigers. Ten departures in 2011-12 are scheduled from Sept. 24 to March 10. Groups are limited to 20 in a fullsize motorcoach, and there are a few flights as well. A four-day South India extension is available. India is a “natural group market as few people would just wing it individually,” Schields commented. “Our goal is to grow the destination slowly and carefully via the group markets, targeting those groups that are looking for lifetime experiences. “We also want to push our extension

programs in the south of India, as the country is very large and diverse, and regional differences are significant,” he continued. Globus’ Monograms division, geared to travelers who want more independence, also offers India options. For details on Globus programs in India, visit globusfamilygroups.com.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


Resplendent in saris, Amber Fort groundskeepers gladly pose for tips. Stunning tablecloths tempt shoppers in Jaipur.

• The Taj Mahal, one of the most famous buildings in the world, is the very symbol of India and more than worth the crack-of-dawn wakeup call. To beat the heat and the crowds, Globus groups make a sunrise visit to this world wonder, making their way in two-person tongas (horse carriages) to the outer gates. The clip-clopping ride through the quiet streets of Agra is the lull before the storm of vendors hawking postcards and snow globes depicting the marble masterpiece. No matter how many times you’ve seen pictures of this ethereal monument to love—designed by Emperor Shah Jahan as a monument to his wife, who died in childbirth—there’s nothing like feasting your eyes on it the first time. For even the most jaded traveler, it’s a great travel moment. • Another classic experience is the elephant ride up the ramparts of the Amber Fort, high on a hill north of Jaipur. The 20-minute ride in a twopassenger metal basket (howdah) secured on the back of an Asian elephant is a standard activity at the fort, a sprawling complex of palace apartments, gardens and courtyards. As your beast of burden trudges uphill, you’ll have lots of photographers snapping your picture and they will hound you afterwards to buy. • A special Globus feature is a private-home dinner in Jaipur, the “Pink LeisureGroupTravel.com

City.” Just steps from the rough-andtumble streets, groups enjoy a homecooked meal at Sankotra Haveli. (A haveli, traditionally for merchants or noblemen, is a multi-story mansion built around courtyards.) The family has lived there since the 1720s. Our group was greeted with flower necklaces and led into an open-air sitting room where hors d’oeuvres were passed around and conversation flowed. Next came a tour of the home. On the upper terrace, Padmini Singh, our hostess, told us not to provoke the monkeys on the adjacent buildings. In the dining room we had sari-wearing and turban-wrapping demonstrations before the meal. I sat next to Mrs. Singh and had a chance to ask all kinds of questions about food and life in India. Later we encountered a torchlight wedding procession right outside our hotel. A marching band played as the groom rode a white horse and people danced in the street with the bride. When the revelers noticed us taking pictures, they invited us to join in. To say that India provides sensory overload would be an understatement. It makes other destinations pale in comparison. We barely skimmed the surface in five full days, but even a lifetime would be insufficient to experience the rich tapestry of India, a land infinite in its splendor and passion for living. LGT

INDIA

fast facts

• The population of India is 1.2 billion, making it the second most populous nation on earth (after China). With 28 people born every minute, India grows by 18 million annually. A third of the population is under 15 years of age. • India, a third the size of the U.S., is the world’s seventh largest country. It is bordered by China, Nepal and Pakistan. • For North American travelers, India is halfway around the world. Our group’s nonstop Continental Airlines flight from Newark to Delhi covered 7,702 miles in 13 hours, 28 minutes. • Indian Railways, with more than one million employees, is the largest employer in the world. • Hinduism, practiced by 80 percent of the population, is India’s most prominent religion, yet it has more Muslims than any country but Indonesia. • Besides Hindi and English, 16 official languages (and over 800 dialects) are spoken.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE Tour planners on the Globus FAM trip offer their thoughts on India as a tour destination. See the article at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=24666.

August 2011 17


on location: south ❖

dave bodle

Museum

Medley Top-notch museums add a cultural slant to Arkansas itineraries

Travelers go back in time at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources and Bill Clinton’s birthplace (right).

18 August 2011

Photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

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rkansas comes by its slogan “The Natural State,” well, naturally. With more than 60 percent of its land wooded, and blessed with abundant lakes, streams and rivers, Arkansas is proud of its outdoor beauty. From hunting and hiking to fishing and boating, both residents and visitors take full advantage of the state’s recreational offerings. Never to be overlooked, however, are Arkansas’ significant historical and cultural contributions to the region and the nation. Covering many topics, the museums of Arkansas paint a wide brushstroke, offering educational and entertaining stories. Here’s a dozen that might interest your groups: Jacksonville Museum of Military History, Jacksonville. This military museum fosters an appreciation for

The Delta Cultural Center in Helena spotlights the region’s blues music. LeisureGroupTravel.com


Exhibits at the State Capitol bring Arkansas history alive.

the men and women who have served our country. Its mission ensures that the freedoms we enjoy are not taken for granted. A new exhibit is the “C-130/360 Virtual Tour,” which provides a 360-degree interior view of the C-130 Hercules plane. Observe every part of these workhorses, including instrument panels and the cargo compartments that transport our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world. (jaxmilitarymuseum.org) Arkansas State Capitol, Little Rock. A tour of the almost-century-old capitol and surrounding grounds is a must for every visitor to Arkansas. A permanent display, “Call of Duty: Arkansans at War,” is located on the fourth floor. (sos.arkansas.gov) William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum, Little Rock. An on-going goal is to bring exciting temporary exhibits to the museum. Here are three to round out 2011: Elvis at 21 (through Aug. 21) is an exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution of photographs by Alfred Wertheimer of Elvis Presley at the Obtain Arkansas visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info LeisureGroupTravel.com

very beginning of his fame. Elvis (through Sept. 11) highlights items from the collections of the Clinton Presidential Library, President Clinton and Graceland. Nathan Sawaya: Art of the Brick (Oct. 1, 2011-Feb. 12, 2012) reveals the Lego® artwork of Nathan Sawaya. (clintonlibrary.gov) President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site, Hope. The two-story, white-frame house that belonged to Clinton’s grandparents was our 42nd president’s home until age 4. Growing up, he regularly returned for summer vacation and weekends. A National Historic Landmark, it was presented into the national park system on Jan. 2, 2011. Park rangers provide tours of the house and conduct interpretative programs. (nps.gov/wicl) Gangster Museum of America, Hot Springs. This recently opened museum investigates Hot Springs’ infamous past and its more notorious visitors. Galleries host photographic displays and artifacts related to the era (1920s1940s) when the city’s hot mineral baths and gambling entertained Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Bugs Moran, Frank Costello and a host of the rich and famous. (tgmoa.com)

ll types of groups including professional tour companies and travel agencies, senior groups, bank travel clubs, church groups, military, school and family reunions, wedding parties and more have discovered Eureka Springs as a popular destination.

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An extraordinary experience awaits your group in Eureka Springs. Cradled within the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, our picturesque Victorian Village truly is a “one of a kind” place. It’s refreshingly different from any other group travel destination. Groups from all over the United States as well as many other countries are discovering a new way to be entertained. We have broken the mold, getting away from “cookie cutter” itineraries.


uni q u e vis i t s With 52 diverse Arkansas state parks to choose from, there is always something new for your group to discover.

Lake Chicot State Park

888-AT-PARKS • ArkansasSt at eParks.com


Make the highpoint of Arkansas WKHKLJKOLJKWRIWKHLUWRXU 7UDYHOWKH0RXQW0DJD]LQH6FHQLF%\ZD\WR0RXQW0DJD]LQH6WDWH3DUN:LWKXQVXUSDVVHGYLHZVIURP DWRSWKHKLJKHVWSRLQWLQ$UNDQVDVWKLVSDUNRIIHUV\RXUWRXUJURXSVXQIRUJHWWDEOHH[SHULHQFHV *UDFLQJWKHPRXQWDLQ·VVRXWKEOXIIWKHSDUN·VUHVRUWPRXQWDLQORGJHLVWKHSHUIHFWHQG WRDGD\RQWKHURDG&DOOIRUVSHFLDOJURXSUDWHV

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Spa City.

Hot Springs is famous for natural thermal spas and historic Bathhouse Row. But with the South’s newest gaming center, stunning woodland gardens, delicious dining and more – you can call us whatever you like. Visit hotsprings.org or call 1-800-922-6478 for your Group Tour Planner now.

Bloom City. Play City. LGT/11


on location: south ❖ Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, Fort Smith. With a planned move after the first of the year, the small art center will become a state-of-the-art museum meeting national standards. The new location in downtown Fort Smith will be equipped to facilitate national and international traveling exhibits. (fsram.org) Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, Prairie Grove. The 1862 Battle of Prairie Grove was the last time Confederate and Union forces faced off in Northwest Arkansas. The on-site Hindman Hall Museum reopens later this summer following renovations and will feature new exhibits and interpretation of the critically important battle that kept Missouri in Federal hands and eventually aided in cutting off Texas from the Confederacy. (arkansasstateparks.com/prairiegrovebattlefield) Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville. Opening to the public on Nov. 11, the new museum, founded by WalONLINE EXCLUSIVE mart heiress Alice For a look at five great attracWalton, will present tions in Northwest Arkansas, log on an overview of to http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=24405. American art, in-

Clinton Library exhibits remember Elvis Presley.

cluding American masteworks, lesser-known pieces from the Colonial era and contemporary works. Several works from the Crystal Bridges permanent collection have been or are currently on loan at various museums throughout the United States. (crystalbridges.org) Walmart Visitor Center, Bentonville. The fully restored Walmart Visitor Center has re-opened in the historic Terry Block building. There are several additions to the newly renovated center dedicated to Walmart and its founder, Sam Walton. The center will introduce an expanded gallery where visitors can view a variety of new and restored items significant to Walmart’s history. (walmartstores.com) Delta Cultural Center, Helena. Every exhibit tells a story that defines the economic importance and social impact of the Mississippi River. Native Americans, European explorers and early pioneers are all portrayed. The growth of Delta towns, the Civil War and the region’s rich music history are on display. (deltaculturalcenter.com) Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie, Stuttgart. Germans traveling from Ohio settled in Arkansas’ Grand Prairie and planned for a new colony and Lutheran synod. Although the land was unsuitable for cotton, newcomers in the late 1800s harvested rice and soon Arkansas was on its way to leading the U.S. in rice production. The museum focuses on the settlers and the area’s natural environment. (grandprairiemuseum.org) Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources, Smackover. Dedicated to the early 1920s pioneers of South Arkansas’ oil industry, the museum portrays a story of wealth, rowdiness, danger and waste. Focusing primarily on the oil boom, the exhibition center features vintage photographs, period gas pumps, roughnecks working a site and modern drilling techniques. An elevator ride allows the visitor to see a large diorama that depicts underground seas and scenes from the Industrial Revolution. A video and walk down a re-created Smackover street with storefronts and vintage automobiles are part of the experience. (amnr.org) LGT


Discover one of New England’s favorite group travel attractions! The World’s Largest Candle Store, The World’s Greatest Christmas Shop and Yankee Candle™ Home, all under one roof! Yankee CandleŽ Flagship is more than a store - Explore a wonderland of fun ... visit with Santa ‌ catch snowflakes year ’round in the Black Forest ‌stroll through our authentic Bavarian Christmas Village ‌ Satisfy every food craving with lunch or dinner at our award-winning Chandler’s Restaurant, sandwiches and more at Mrs. Claus Bakery & CafÊ or the sweet taste of our famous fudge. Contact our Group Travel Department today to learn more at grouptour@yankeecandle.com.

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Discover one of Virginia’s favorite group travel attractions! The World’s Largest Candle Store, The World’s Greatest Christmas Shop and Yankee Candle™ Home, all under one roof! Yankee CandleŽ Flagship is more than just a store. It is always snowing in Holiday Park and visit with Santa in his Toy Shop! Hickory, Dickory & Doc, our animatronic band, will entertain your group in the Town Square. Mrs. Claus’ Bakery & Cafe offers an assortment of coffees, teas and tantalizing treats for dessert as well as an array of lighter fare. There is something fun for everyone! Group Tour Contact Information: Call 1-877-616-6510 or Email us at bhuss@yankeecandle.com.

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on location: south ❖ hen it comes to love, all girls have their hearts set on something a little different. But when it comes to your girlfriend getaway, think of Virginia as everyone’s perfect match. Quaint, sophisticated and steeped in history, Virginia has aged like the fine wines it is famous for. American charm is visible even in the most modern towns, and chances are a treasure trove of antiques, gourmet food or spectacular outdoor views is never far away. For a delectable food and wine selection, Floyd is the place to settle in and stay awhile. For the group seeking a quiet, remote getaway, the Bent Mountain Lodge Bed and Breakfast provides just that. A flower garden, gazebo, porch and rooms overlooking Southwest Virginia’s Cahas Mountains make this the ideal setting for your group to unwind after a day spent wining and dining. The Mountain Rose Inn, a Victorian-style bed and breakfast, is also a top group choice. Because a trip to Floyd requires at least a sample of the county’s wine, the Blue Ridge Wine Trail ensures your group gets a wide and varied tasting. The trail offers wine, mead and cider with stops at Villa Appalachia, Chateau Morrisette and Amrhein wineries, Foggy Ridge Cider and Black Snake Meadery. Remember to take the scenic route when getting around Floyd; the Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Scenic Byway visited for its natural beauty. This route is especially incredible in the fall when flaming leaves paint the countryside in a rainbow of colors. Natasha’s Market Café at the Harvest Moon Gallery is available for organic brunch, lunch and dinner.

heather swick Everything from the crackers to the desserts are made in-house, and when your meal is done there is plenty of shopping available at the gallery. The area offers enough boutique and specialty stores to satisfy even the

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most avid shopaholic, but the New Mountain Mercantile is the hub of all local artistries. More than 100 artists and craftsmen are represented with items including books, candles, beads, jewelry and pottery. (floydvirginia.com)

Virginia

for Girls Only

Kelly J. Mihalcoe/Virginia Tourism Corporation

From mountain towns to coastal resorts, the state abounds with getaway options

Williamsburg Winery, a favorite with girlfriend groups, is a place for touring, tasting and relaxing. 24 August 2011

LeisureGroupTravel.com


Beth Furgurson/Virginia Tourism Corporation

on location: south ❖ Winchester is known as an artistic hub, and with good reason—Shenandoah University provides a college-town atmosphere with concerts, operas, plays and festivals. The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival takes place here every May and more than 250,000 people from around the world attend. While family fun abounds at the festival, there is no shortage of activity for girlfriends. Live music, dancing, luncheons, celebrity appearances and carnival shows are just a fraction of what visitors can expect. Veramar Vineyard is a picturesque location for a stroll or tasting, and for those who dream of creating their own wines, the vineyard hosts a three-day wine camp with meals and lodging. For a shopping break in Winchester, browse Loudoun Street for a wide selection of antique, boutique and specialty stores. (visitwinchesterva.com)

Virginia Tourism Corporation

Groups enjoy touring Virginia homes during Historic Garden Week in April.

Tour members in Gloucester take a break from Main Street shopping.

An oceanside excursion is always a crowd pleaser, and Virginia Beach is no exception. Seventeen blocks of outdoor cafes ensure that you never go hungry. If you have a hankering for seafood, you’ve come to the right place. Chesapeake Bay crab cakes, steamed shrimp and striped bass are all local favorites. Being a health-conscious city, Virginia Beach has many health and well26 August 2011

ness spas. The Flowering Almond Spa at the Founders Inn is pure decadence for you and your girlfriends. The Virginia Beach Spa Bed and Breakfast, located right on the water, is a complete trip in itself: cozy lodging, seaside spa services and gourmet breakfasts. Spend a morning at the beach and, after lunch on the boardwalk, visit the Cape Henry Lighthouses for views of the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay. (visitvirginiabeach.com) Chesapeake City is Virginia’s go-to destination if you are looking for a rustic escape from the bustle of everyday life, and it is the perfect backdrop for kayaking, bird watching, fishing, hiking, biking and camping. Spend a day kayaking in Virginia’s second-largest natural lake, Lake Drummond, and explore the wetlands in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Stop by Famous Uncle Al’s Hot Dogs and Grill or Wood Chicks BBQ for lunch or savor seafood at the Rose Bay Seafood Restaurant. Carafe Wine Makers allows your group to taste and create a wine of its own. Delicious wine at an affordable price makes this the perfect stop for girlfriends, and each bottle is personalized with labels designed by you. Chesapeake City is home to ample “Virginia Green” certified lodging options. For a stay that is as kind to the earth as it is to its guests, opt for the Town Place at Greenbrier, Aloft Chesapeake or the Candlewood Suites Chesapeake. (visitchesapeake.com)

Richmond is ideal for a trip to the past. Stroll the streets of the Historic District and you will be walking in the footsteps of Edgar Allan Poe, Robert E. Lee, Patrick Henry and Lt. Stonewall Jackson. Explore the tastes and sights of the city with a bar crawl through favorite local haunts like Legend Brewery or Capital Ale House. For classy dinner options to begin a night out, try Rowland Fine Dining in the Fan District or savory French cuisine at Chez Max. Participate in the Richmond tradition of Sunday brunch in the Rotunda lobby of the Jefferson Hotel. Tour the vineyards at the James River Cellars Winery, Woodland Vineyard and River City Cellars, where a wine tasting is offered every Friday night. To wine a bit more, explore the shops at Once Upon a Vine, Strawberry Street Vineyard and Wine Lovers. Richmond has a rich selection of art galleries and exhibitions. The Manchester District Art Galleries, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or a tour of the public artwork and sculptures allows your group to sample a wide spectrum of talent. (visitrichmondva.com) Regardless of the season, the towns of Virginia, from the mountains to the seacoast, have much to offer you and your girlfriends. Why should the lovers have all the fun? LGT Obtain Virginia visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info LeisureGroupTravel.com


on location: south ❖

dave bodle

Good Catch Consider fishing as a hook on your next group offering in South Carolina

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ccording to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report, the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, there are nearly 30 million anglers more than 16 years of age in the United States. The creative tour operator will find numerous ways to tap into this market and South Carolina is just the place to begin. Although South Carolina ranks 26th in population, it is No. 8 in angler spending and in the top five states in non-resident fishing destinations ranked by retail sales. Both saltwater and freshwater anglers have discovered

LeisureGroupTravel.com

an abundance of fishing opportunities in the Palmetto State. South Carolina is blessed with bountiful fishing from the mountains to the coast and beyond. The best place to begin is the websites of the South Carolina Association of Tourism Regions (scatr.com). If there’s fishing in the region (and there most likely will be), these local organizations will have all the information. Years ago my grandson and I were gathering background for a story in a series titled “On the Road with Dylan and Pop-Pop.” One of our stops was in

the Capital City & Lake Murray Country region. This area is home to some major fishing tournaments, including a stop on the televised Bass Masters Elite Series. The good folks at the tourism office arranged for us to do a morning of fishing. Already four days on the road, I did not cherish the idea of getting a 9-year-old out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to be at the dock by 6:30. We arrived on time and were at our fishing spot on Lake Murray at 7:00. By 8:30 we had our limit and were unable to get the bait out of the water quick enough! We both August 2011 27

Santee Cooper Tourism Region

South Carolina’s Santee Cooper Country, home to Lakes Marion and Moultrie, holds a number of fishing records.


South Carolina Parks, Recreation & Tourism

on location: south ❖

South Carolina’s Atlantic coast offers a variety of group fishing options.

had a great time and still cherish some wonderful memories. Off I-95 is the Santee Cooper Country region, home to Lakes Marion and Moultrie. Due to its easy access and natural abundance this area is a hot bed of fishing opportunities. A quick look on its website gives a complete listing of

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For travel ideas in South Carolina’s Thoroughbred Country tourism region, log on to http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=24407.

United States Coast Guard-approved guides. You’ll see where they are located and the type of fish you can expect to catch with them. Other than fishing license, sunscreen and a cooler of drinks and snacks, your guide will supply everything you’ll need. However, be ready for some action because the Santee Cooper Country lakes hold a number of fishing records. With 30 million people fishing, you might just be able to fill a tour that includes, lodging, fishing and meals.

Although most lake guides accommodate only four to six passengers on a boat, multiple guides can be used to accommodate a larger group. A more realistic option is adding fishing to any South Carolina itinerary. Shopping or a museum tour might not be for everyone. A morning of fishing just might attract a few extra passengers. Of course, a fishing component is a perfect addition to any multi-generational tour. Closer to the Atlantic Ocean, numerous fishing opportunities can be found in all coastal tourism regions. The Lowcountry & Resort Islands, Historic Charleston region and the Myrtle Beach Area & Grand Strand provide everything from rivers and marshes to surf, pier and deep-sea adventures. On Hilton Head Island the 70-foot Captain Hook party fishing boat specializes in group outings of more than 20 passengers. Most group hotels can make all the arrangements. The Holiday Inn will even provide a cook-

Myrtle Beach Offshore Gaming ishing charters are not the only vessels sailing from one South Carolina port. A ruling by state legislators now allows local counties to approve gaming vessels to sail from their deep-water ports to international waters. The Myrtle Beach area has the only two such gaming ships. The Big M Casino is a 186’ vessel with slots, blackjack, roulette, craps and Let It Ride and 3-card Poker. A buffet is included

SunCruz Casino

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SunCruz passengers enjoy gaming, entertainment and buffet dining.

28 August 2011

in the cost of every cruise. The cruises depart twice a day, Tuesday through Sunday. With a passenger capacity of 600 the 237’ SunCruz Casino ship is a casino that just happens to be on a ship. There are 320 slots, every imaginable table game, and a poker room featuring Texas Hold ‘Em and a sports betting lounge. A buffet with every cruise and entertainment in season adds to the experience. SunCruz sails twice daily Tuesday through Sunday and evenings only on Monday. SunCruz Casino welcomes groups and recently introduced a $60 Value Fun Book for groups of 10 or more. Tiered pricing is honored and a complete group package is available. Both ships are located just minutes from North Myrtle Beach at the Little River, SC fishing village.

Ample coach parking is available at each dock. Both casinos offer transportation from most area hotels. The hour sail into international waters provides a relaxing time to enjoy the scenic beauty along the Intracoastal Waterway and buffet. The three hours of gaming starts when the slots are turned on and the live dealer table games begin. —Dave Bodle

LeisureGroupTravel.com


South Carolina Parks, Recreation & Tourism

Hickory Knob State Resort Park rests alongside Strom Thurmond Reservoir on the Savannah River.

ing demonstration with your catch on their outdoor deck. The Charleston region offers offshore fishing in the Atlantic. Both Matt Galvin of Coastal Yacht Charters and Captain Rich Harris and wife Theresa of Reel Deal Charters are happy to work with groups. In the Myrtle Beach area from Georgetown to Murrells Inlet to Little River, there’s something for everyone’s fishing interest. The easiest option to arrange might just be pier fishing. Most likely there’s a pier close to where

you’re staying and it has the equipment you need. A South Carolina fishing license is not required on private fishing piers. In Murrells Inlet, the Inlet Sports Lodge offers a variety of fishing packages for small to mid-size groups. Standard fishing packages and a new fly-fishing package await the serious recreational fisherman. The luxurious lodge includes fish preparation stations to clean and package your catch for shipping. Outdoor grills are available, or simply leave the cooking to the staff.

Try trout fishing on the Middle Saluda River at Jones Gap State Park. LeisureGroupTravel.com

Captain Dick’s in Murrells Inlet and Little River Fishing Charters offer a variety of options. Half-day charters, gulf stream excursions and an overnight fishing trip provide a menu that can be tailored to your time and budget. Regardless of where you drop a line, there is likely a South Carolina state park (southcarolinaparks.com) nearby. They’re perfect for a “catch and cook” addition to your itinerary. Imagine turning your catch over to an executive chef, allowing him to prep your dinner while you return to your hotel for some much-needed rest. Converge at a state park pavilion that evening for a cooking demonstration and dinner. A wonderful dinner, followed by roasted marshmallows and an abundance of fish stories, makes for a great ending to a South Carolina fishing excursion. LGT Obtain South Carolina visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info August 2011 29


Kristi Driver, Group Travel Manager kdriver@nccommerce.com 919.733.7413

From outdoor recreation and unique lodging to arts and culture and more than 100 wineries, the charming small towns

and vibrant urban locations of North Carolina offer something for everyone.

north carolina visitnc.com


Where time is not W measured by a clock. Where W here you bring luggage but lose baggage.

Where every visit creates lasting memories Motorcoach travelers know that Pigeon Forge is the perfect place to make memories. Could be because there’s so much to see and do here … shopping, shows, Dollywood ® or the majestic beauty of our Smoky Mountains. Or it could be that warm welcome they receive, kind of like visiting an old friend. Whatever the reason, they know that every visit creates memories that will last a lifetime.

PigeonForgeTours.com 1-800-285-7557

Where W here the GPS isis always set to fun.


on location: northeast ❖

sarah nelson

All About

Atlantic City The Eastern Seaboard’s casino capital is a winning destination for tour groups

High-rise casino hotels, like the Showboat and Trump Taj Mahal, light up the shoreline of Atlantic City, a holiday haven since the late 1800s.

32 August 2011

golf, souvenir and clothing stores, a shopping/dining pier, Boardwalk Hall (entertainment arena), attractions and great people-watching opportunities.” From traditional sights to new developments, here is an overview of what’s what in Atlantic City: GAMING There are 11 casino hotels in Atlantic City: Atlantic City Hilton Casino & Resort, Bally’s Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, Resorts Atlantic City, Showboat Casino, Tropicana Casino & Resort,

Photos courtesy Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Bureau

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tlantic City, New Jersey has been a tourist Mecca for more than a century and continues to reinvent itself. For group travelers, the “Las Vegas of the East” offers a Mother Lode of gaming, shopping, dining and sightseeing opportunities, many of them concentrated along the famous Boardwalk. Elaine Zamansky, manager of media relations of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, said the iconic oceanfront promenade includes “four miles of free, wellguarded, white sand beaches and a boardwalk lined with seven casinos, restaurants, amusement piers, miniature

Travel the Boardwalk on a rolling chair, a classic tourist experience. LeisureGroupTravel.com


Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino and Trump Taj Mahal Casino & Resort. Zamansky said, “Trump Marina has been sold to Landry’s Inc., owner of the Golden Nugget, and has been transformed into the Golden Nugget, with new restaurants by Landry’s and renovations throughout the property.” (goldennugget.com) Revel Entertainment plans on opening Revel, a new beachfront casino hotel, in May 2012. When construction is complete, Revel will include 150,000 square feet of gaming space and 500,000 square feet for entertainment, dining and shopping. Revel’s two towers will hold 3,800 guest rooms. Plans also include a 5,000-seat special events center and Atlantic City’s first wedding chapel. (revelentertainment.com) Resorts, Atlantic City’s first casino hotel, opened Club Piscopo on June 30, 2011. Stand-up comedian Joe Piscopo, born in New Jersey, is well known for his Saturday Night Live skits, film roles and impressions. Performers at Club Piscopo will include Piscopo himself and other comedians, musicians and entertainers. Zamansky added, “Resorts Casino has re-branded itself under new ownership with a Roaring 20s theme, and has opened Prohibition nightclub, Torch whiskey bar, East Wind Asian gaming area and noodle bar, among others.” (resortsac.com) Borgata opened in 2003 and was the first hotel casino built in Atlantic City since Trump Taj Majal in 1990. It includes fine and casual dining, two entertainment venues, nightclubs, a spa and specialty shops. Borgata’s main tower has 2,000 rooms with floor-toceiling windows and the casino has 161,000 square feet of gaming space. (theborgata.com) LeisureGroupTravel.com

Oceanfront diversions include beach frolics and Steel Pier thrill rides.

SHOPPING AND DINING Atlantic City Outlets - The Walk is a 15-block retail outlet mall that also features dining and entertainment venues. This open-air shopping center has 100 well-known retail stores, including Bath & Body Works, Coach, Eddie Bauer, Guess, H&M, J Crew, Nike, Old Navy and The Gap. (acoutlets.com) Pier Shops at Caesars, located next to Caesars Casino, includes many upscale designer stores as well as nine

restaurants. The shops are on four underwater-themed floors: the Boardwalk (gift and entertainment shops), Skybridge (higher-end shops), Promenade (restaurants and nightlife) and One Atlantic (space for special events and parties). The fountain at the Pier Shops at Caesars is famous for its daily choreographed shows. (thepiershopsatcaesars.com) The Quarter at Tropicana is an Old-Havana-themed shopping, dining and entertainment center at Tropicana

Carmine’s at The Quarter at Tropicana serves Italian dishes family-style. August 2011 33


on location: northeast ❖ Casino & Resort. The Quarter also has an IMAX theater and a spa. (tropicana.net) Other casino hotels with shopping include Borgata (Borgata Shops and The Shoppes at Water Club), Harrah’s (The Waterfront Shops), Trump Taj Mahal (Spice Road) and Resorts. SIGHTSEEING TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS Groups traveling to Atlantic City should definitely spend time at the Atlantic City Boardwalk, the world’s first boardwalk (opened 1870). The Boardwalk, Atlantic City’s lifeline, has souvenir shops and restaurants and provides access to casinos, hotels and other entertainment venues. Download a podcast or print a copy of the “Boardwalk Walking Tour” to learn about the Boardwalk’s history and main attractions.

WHEATONARTS

One of Southern New Jersey’s Most Popular Cultural Destinations! Located Less Than An Hour From Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Cape May! Visit the Museum of American Glass Only museum collection devoted exclusively to American glass. Special exhibitions and tours.

Enjoy Special Glass Studio Shows Watch Artist Demonstrations in the Ceramics and Woodcarving Studios Shop Award Winning Museum Stores One-of-a-kind gifts. Free packaging!

Bake Shoppe and Café

Scenic Picnic Area

April through December Open Tuesday thru Sunday, 10am to 5pm We offer Flexible and Affordable Adult and Student Group Packages!

wheatonarts.org 800.998.4552 | Millville, NJ 08332

34 August 2011

Garden Pier, a pier stemming from the Boardwalk, serves as a cultural center and includes the Atlantic City Historical Museum, Atlantic City Art Center and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. One unique way to see the Boardwalk is a ride in a rolling chair. Relax with up to three people as an attendant pushes your rolling chair along. The chairs have been around since 1887. Royal Rolling Chairs offers Boardwalk tours. (609-347-7148) Zamansky mentioned trolley tours as a fun way to see Atlantic City. Among offerings from Atlantic City Trolley Tours are “Shorelines & and Shipwrecks Tour,” “Splash of Atlantic City Tour” and the brand new “Roaring 20s Trolley Tour.” (gatrolley.com) Steel Pier is Atlantic City’s family amusement pier. The pier originally opened in 1898 and was known for the famous entertainers that performed there. Steel Pier has been making a comeback since 1993 and features games, helicopter rides, prize wheels and 24 rides. (steelpier.com) Visitors can also explore Absecon Lighthouse, New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1857 and remained active until 1933. Climb the 228 steps to the top and visit the museum in the keeper’s house. (abseconlighthouse.org) Atlantic City Aquarium displays 100 marine species including coral, eels, fish, octopi, sharks and turtles. Make sure to watch the “Dive and Dine” show where an aquarium diver feeds and interacts with marine animals in the Fish of the Mid-Atlantic tank. Guests can ask the diver questions during the show. Groman, a 100-lb. loggerhead turtle, is a must-see. (acaquarium.com) Another way to see marine wildlife is by going on Atlantic City Cruises’ dolphin watching cruise. The twohour ocean cruise is narrated by a ma-

Historic Absecon Lighthouse is New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse.

rine naturalist. (atlanticcitycruises.com) Lucy the Elephant is an example of novelty architecture in nearby Margate City. The elephant is six stories high (65 feet tall) and was built by real estate developer James V. Lafferty in 1881 to draw potential buyers to his properties. Lucy has been more than just a tourist attraction over the years— she has been a business office, campground centerpiece, cottage, restaurant and tavern. Climb a stairway through her hind legs for a panoramic view. A gift shop and restaurants surround Lucy. (lucytheelephant.org) Atlantic City offers more group travel options than almost any other resort city on the East Coast. For gaming, shopping, dining out and sightseeing, the choices are limitless. For more information, contact the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, 609-449-7151; atlanticcitynj.com. LGT

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For a look at other New Jersey coastal resorts, log on to http:// leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=24616.

Obtain New Jersey visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info LeisureGroupTravel.com


ATLANTIC CITY Excitement Is Always In Season! • • • •

Sizzling Casino Action Exhilarating Nightlife Distinctive Dining Rejuvenating Spas

• • • •

Stylish New Shopping Free Beaches Electrifying Entertainment Legendary Boardwalk

For group tours, contact Heather Colache at 609.449.7151 or hcolache @accva.com

STAY CONNECTED


on location: midwest ❖

melinda hughey

Groups in Columbus can satisfy their culinary impulses, create their own pizza and learn how baseball bats are made.

THE COLUMBUS E X P E R I E N CE OHIO’S CAPITAL ABOUNDS WITH INTERACTIVE FUN FOR TOUR GROUPS

F

or group travelers, the hottest thing in Columbus is the opportunity to really experience what this eclectic and entertaining state capital has to offer. And on a recent fourday FAM trip, the Experience Columbus team packed in enough ideas to create an endless array of itineraries suitable for girlfriends, senior adults, families, students or virtually any other special-interest group. Instead of merely taking a passive look around, visitors on Experience

36 August 2011

Columbus’ experiential tours get to immerse themselves in imaginative encounters ranging from creating a work of art to being cast as a newly-signed baseball player starring in a press conference. With an entertainmentpacked city center ringed by a collection of charming suburbs, the Columbus area generates enough activity to keep a group busy for days. For girlfriends looking to get their groove back, Columbus offers infinite possibilities built around culinary, artistic, gardening and shopping.

The picturesque suburb of Worthington, reminiscent of a New England village, imparts a sensory nirvana in the form of candle making, winetasting and spa services, plus a bit of card-making at a vintage letterpress thrown in to satisfy artistic types. The “Wax, Wicks & Wine Experience” begins at The Candle Lab, where a mindboggling selection of more than 100 scents encourages inventive blending for the soy candles group members pour and take home. Next up and next door, House Wine hosts a tasting LeisureGroupTravel.com


experience that encourages guests to sample vintages by the ounce or the glass, with a huge selection of bottles for purchase. A delicious distraction just steps away is also a Columbus staple— Graeter’s Ice Cream. A gourmet dinner is as close as the Historic Worthington Inn, just across the street. Exotic morels harvested by the executive chef himself starred on the menu the night we visited. Girlfriend groups can hone their culinary skills in myriad ways with visits to downtown’s 135-year-old North Market, where Chef CaJohn of Flavor & Fire presides over a spice-mixing class and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream has fascinating flavors (like rhubarb and lime cardamom or goat cheese and cherry) that demand to be sampled. In historic Dublin the bakery Irish Treats presents an opportunity to decorate cupcakes with intricate designs taken from the Irish Book of Kells. International culinary adventurer Bethia Woolf ’s Columbus Food Adventures can tailor a tour focusing on the city’s thriving food-truck offerings. Artful gardening—both botanical and topiary—blooms throughout Columbus, with acres of manicured beds designed to dazzle the most ardent horticulturalist. And across town, tea at the Gahanna Herb Education Center complements an informative class on the culinary, medicinal and aromatic use of herbals, proving why the town is known as the Herb Capital of Ohio. Out at Franklin Park Conservatory, meticulously-tended community vegetable gardens form the perfect setting for a wood-fired pizza experience. An outdoor brick oven is tended by a chef who stands ready to help group members create their own custom pies, LeisureGroupTravel.com

which are cooked and served onsite. Art connoisseurs will love the Columbus Art Museum’s “Artist For A Day Tour” celebrating George Wesley Bellows, a favorite son who created more than 600 paintings in 25 years. The experience opens with a welcoming interpretive conversation by an actress who captivatingly portrays Bellows’ Aunt Eleanor Smith Doggett. She acquaints visitors with her nephew’s life and works. Visitors then proceed into

An actress discusses the art of Columbus native George Bellows.

the galleries and, instead of staring at the art, are equipped with an assortment of art materials, including sketch pad and pencils, and encouraged to reproduce their favorite work of art. Columbus offers retail therapy in a big way at Easton Town Center, where breakfast and a fashion seminar at Nordstrom can be followed up by scrapbooking classes and workshops at Archivers, a superstore of page decor. During summer months, outdoor movies, concerts and the Easton Art

Fair enhance one of the city’s largest shopping venues. But Columbus is far from a ladiesonly destination! On the outer fringe of the city center and within view of the sleek skyline rests Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers, an AAA-affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The new stadium was unveiled in 2009 as a state-of-the-art replacement for the 31-year-old Cooper Stadium. Here group members can seize the spotlight by becoming a Columbus Clipper for a day, from “contract-signing” to faux press conference. Throughout the ballpark, the team’s history is so artfully exhibited that it could share equal billing with a game for entertainment value. Clipper executive Joe Santry is a walking history book of team lore. Working hand-in-glove with the Clipper experience is an up-close look at professional baseball bats and how they are crafted at Phoenix Bats. Deceptively small, this partner-owned operation produces and supplies bats to major leaguers and others. Tours follow the bat-crafting process from raw wood to slicklylacquered finished product, with visitors gifted with their very own miniature, personalized version of a Phoenix bat at the tour’s conclusion. With the emphasis on getting travelers involved and peeking behind the scenes, Columbus has been a leader in experiential tourism. Group planners will discover a gold mine of fresh itinerary ideas. LGT Obtain Ohio visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info August 2011 37


Because the only thing better than telling old stories is creating new ones. If you’ve ever been to Columbus, you know it isn’t your ordinary destination. Its one-of-a-kind festivals, unique hands-on attractions and freethinking attitude make it a city like no other and one your group is sure to love. So start planning your Columbus visit today at ExperienceColumbus.com/tours or by calling 800-354-2657. COMING IN 2012


ONE OF THE NATION’S BEST PLACES FOR FUN

SHOPPING SO GOOD YOU NEED EXTRA LUGGAGE

NEIGHBORHOODS WITH PERSONALITY

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ!+)!ĆŤ*ĆŤ.0%/0ĆŤ"+.ĆŤ0$!ĆŤ 5ĆŤ0 0$!ĆŤColumbus Museum of Art. Rachel Trinkley, 614-629-5942, www.columbusmuseum.org

đƍƍ$+,ƍ0ƍ$1* .! /ƍ+"ƍ/,!%(05ƍ/0+.!/ƍ 0ƍEaston Town Centerċƍ Bethany Braden, 614-750-0616, www.eastontowncenter.com

đƍƍ2+.ƍ0$!ƍ0/0!/ƍ+"ƍ+( ƍ .!(* ƍ%*ƍDublinċƍ Mary Szymkowiak, 614-792-7666, www.irishisanattitude.com

đƍƍ0ƍ.!'"/0ƍ3%0$ƍ0$!ƍ*%)(/ƍ0ƍ 0$!ƍColumbus Zoo and Aquariumċƍ Roger Dudley, 614-645-3521, www.columbuszoo.org

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ$+,ĆŤ0ĆŤÄ Ä€Ä€ĆŤ*)!ÄĄ.* ĆŤ/0+.!/ĆŤ 0ĆŤPrime Outlets–JeffersonvilleÄ‹ĆŤ Kristen Hauer, 740-948-9091, www.primeoutlets-jeffersonville.com

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ$((!*#!ĆŤ5+1.ĆŤ%**!.ĆŤ!4,(+.!.ĆŤ0ĆŤCOSIÄ‹ĆŤ Susan Peters, 614-228-2674 ext. 2542, www.cosi.org

WHERE TO REST YOUR HEAD

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ2+.ĆŤ$!.ÄĄ%*"1/! ĆŤ"++ /ĆŤ%*ĆŤGahannaÄŒĆŤ '*+3*ĆŤ/ĆŤ0$!ĆŤ!.ĆŤ,%0(ĆŤ+"ĆŤ$%+Ä‹ Katrina McDonald, 614-418-9114, www.visitgahanna.com

đƍƍ(+3ƍƍ#(//ƍ+.*)!*0ƍ%*ƍLicking CountyċƍBen Clemons, 740-345-8224, www.escapetolickingcounty.com

đƍƍ$100(!ƍ0+ƍ/0+*ƍ+3*ƍ!*0!.ƍ ".+)ƍEmbassy Suites Columbus AirportċƍLindsay Phillips, 614-536-0211, www.columbusairport.embassysuites.com

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ '!ĆŤEastern Ohio ToursĆŤ5+1.ĆŤ .!/+1.!ĆŤ"+.ĆŤ%*0!.0%2!ĆŤ0+1./Ä‹ĆŤ Dixie Wyler, 740-754-1833, www.easternohiotours.com

đƍƍ2!.*%#$0ƍ%*ƍ0$!ƍ$%,ƍ$+.0ƍ+.0$ƍ .0/ƍ%/0.%0ƍ0ƍHampton Inn & Suites Downtown Columbusċƍ Gene Minnich, 614-559-2000, www.columbusdowntownsuites. hamptoninn.com đƍƍ05ƍ(+/!ƍ0+ƍ+(.%/ƍ/$%+*ƍ(!ƍ 0ƍHilton Garden Inn Columbus/ Polarisċƍ Teresa Shay Tompkins, 614-846-8884, www.columbuspolaris.gardeninn.com

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ%#1.!ĆŤ+10ĆŤÄ—3$+ 1*%0Ä˜ĆŤ 1.%*#ĆŤ+.%#%*(ĆŤ %*0!.0%2!ĆŤ %**!.ĆŤ0$!0!.ĆŤ/$+3/ĆŤ%*ĆŤ Ohio VillageÄ‹ĆŤLesley Cornathan, 614-297-3219, www.ohiohistory.org

đƍƍ4,(+.!ƍ$!ƍ$%+ƍ00!ƍ*%2!./%05ƍ* ƍ +3*0+3*ƍ0ƍHilton Garden Inn– OSUċƍMaggie Mungai, 614-263-7200, www.columbusuniversityarea.stayhgi.com đƍƍ05ƍ +3*0+3*ƍ0ƍHoliday Inn

Columbus Downtown Capitol Square. Tyson Schweitzer, 614-221-3281, www.holiday-inn.com/cmh-cityctr đƍƍ2!.*%#$0ƍ(+/!ƍ0+ƍ +3*0+3*ƍ 0ƍUniversity Plaza Hotel & Conference Centerċƍ John Loree, 614-456-1156, www.universityplazaosu.com

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ+1.ĆŤ5+1.ĆŤ+3*ĆŤ1/0+)ÄĄ/!*0! ĆŤ * (!ÄŒĆŤ0$!*ĆŤ/!(!0ĆŤ5+1.ĆŤ"2+.%0!ĆŤ 3%*!ĆŤ%*ĆŤWorthington.ĆŤ Mindy Mace, 614-841-2545, www.visitworthingtonohio.com


on location: midwest ❖

I L L I N O I S

GIRLFRIEND

G E TAWAY S Possibilities abound in Chicago and beyond Tour planners putting together girlfriend trips will find unlimited options across Illinois. A combination of festive

shopping, top-notch theater and carefree sightseeing, along with tempting hotel packages, make the state a Mecca for ladies-only escapes. Here are three prime areas to consider for the next outing without the boys: SUBURBAN CHICAGO

LAKE COUNTY: There is nothing quite like walking in the worldrenowned Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Walk the 24 gardens with your girlfriends for a relaxing morning during the summer months. Or tour Cuneo Mansion and Gardens in Vernon Hills, an estate completed in 1918. It has been donated to Loyola University and now offers summer concerts, art classes and guided tours of the gardens. Long Grove Historic Village, with over 80 specialty shops and various festivals throughout the year, is the perfect shopping getaway. Extreme shoppers head to Gurnee Mills, where you will find more than 200 stores. Catch a show at the historic Genesee Theatre, Waukegan’s newest venue for Broadway shows, musical acts and comedians. Or see a musical at the in-the40 August 2011

round Marriott Theatre at Lincolnshire Marriott Resort. (Lake County CVB, 800-525-3669; lakecounty.org) ST. CHARLES: If you and your girlfriends are the crafty type, check out Fine Line Creative Arts Center. Purchase craft supplies for knitting, drawing, crocheting and more at the Fine Line Art Shop. The center offers classes in various media as well, so be sure to see what is available during your stay in St. Charles. Fine Line also has three galleries of art. See a live performance at Steel Beam Theater or Pheasant Run Resort. Both offer a variety of excellent performances so check the show listings and pick the right show for you and the girls. (St. Charles CVB, 800-777-4373; visitstcharles.com)  DUPAGE COUNTY: Book the “Suite Shopping Package” at Embassy Suites Hotel Chicago-Lombard/Oak Brook and receive one Chicago PreLeisureGroupTravel.com


mium Outlets and one Yorktown Mall coupon book. Also receive 20 percent off restaurant and room service, four cans of soda and a bag of popcorn to bring back the days of sleepovers with the girls. Contact the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau to get a DuPage Deals card. It offers around 40 discounts and special offers. (630-575-8070, discoverdupage.com) —Nicola Trumbull PLAY IN PEORIA

Anyone planning girlfriend getaways should not overlook the riverfront city of Peoria in Western Illinois. A city with a small-town feel, Peoria has plenty to entertain your group on a weekend outing. Downtown flourishes in the warmer months, and the boys of summer offer a cheap night out at O’Brien Field, home of the Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball team, an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Every night has a themed event, and there are fireworks and concerts after select games. A sightseeing cruise on the Spirit of Peoria Riverboat is a memorable way for your group to enjoy summer on the Illinois River. Downtown Peoria abounds with bars, pubs and clubs. Club Apollo is a local favorite for a dressier night out, offering drink and food specials, dancing, pool and a nightly in-house DJ. The Irish pub scene is the hallmark of a Peoria night out. Kelleher’s Irish Pub, Donnelly’s Shamrock Pub and Sully’s are the best. For gaming and buffet dining, the riverfront’s Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino in East Peoria is a favorite with girlfriend groups. In addition to

Girlfriends on vacation have a chance to unwind at Peoria-area wineries.

Par-A-Dice, there are more than 20 downtown lodging options. Kickapoo Creek Winery, a short drive from Peoria, offers tastings, tours and a private room for catered meals, plus picnic areas, walking trails and two lakes. Peoria has two large malls, Northwoods and the outdoor Shoppes at Grand Prairie. Northwoods has department store shopping along with two stories of food and clothing stores, and Grand Prairie has more specialty dining and shopping options. Next to the Shoppes at Grand Prairie is the 18theater Rave Motion Pictures movie theater, which just opened a 3-D IMAX theater. (Peoria Area CVB, 800-747-0302; peoria.org) —Heather Swick

DOWNTOWN CHICAGO

The Magnificent Mile, the worldfamous shopping boulevard that stretches from the Michigan Avenue Bridge to Oak Street, is the epicenter of girlfriend getaways in Chicago. The street abounds with designer boutiques and familiar chains, from Gucci and Tiffany to Macy’s and the Disney Store. The chief magnet is Water Tower Place, a vertical mall with more than 100 stores and restaurants. The 900 North Michigan Shops and North Bridge are other multi-level malls. Cruises on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan provide another activity option. Downtown hotels offer attractive packages that may be just right for your girlfriend escape to the Big City.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For an overview of group-friendly attractions in Alton, Illinois, log on to http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=24676.

LeisureGroupTravel.com

Enjoy a night at the theater at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. August 2011 41


on location: midwest ❖ Among the offerings: DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile has a “Girls Getaway” package that includes a $50 gift card valid at over 70 luxury retailers inside the 900 North Michigan Shops, plus cocktails and an appetizer at the hotel bar. The hotel is close to Navy Pier and has a seasonal outdoor pool. (866-778-8536, doubletreemagmile.com) Red Roof Inn Downtown Chicago, one block east of Michigan Avenue, builds a package around Bike & Roll Chicago’s “Sites@Nite” Segway tour in lakefront Millennium and Grant parks. A highlight is seeing Buckingham Fountain’s water and light display. (312-787-3500, redroof.com) JW Marriott Chicago, an elegant hotel housed in a former bank building in the city’s financial district, features a “Shop ’Til You Drop” package that includes $100 spending money at Macy’s and a State Street visitor Obtain Illinois visitor guides savings pass. (312-660-8200, and itineraries – and contact groupjwmarriottchicago.com) friendly suppliers —Julianna McHale directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info


Midwest on our radar

New attractions in America’s heartland provide group travel planners with fresh itinerary ideas

These are among the developments creating a buzz in the Midwest:

ILLINOIS One of the world’s greatest collections of Pontiac and Oakland automobile brand items is on display at the brand new Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum in Pontiac, Ill. Featured are antique and classic cars, dealer signs, toy model kits, brochures and oil cans that span the period from the brand’s earliest days as the Pontiac Buggy Co. to the end of the car line in 2010. Pontiac is also the home of the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum. (800-835-2055, visitpontiac.org) SOUTH DAKOTA Soaring Eagle Zipline, the Black Hills’ hottest new attraction, is now open at Rushmore Cave in Keystone, 30 minutes south of Rapid City. The area’s first zipline gives riders the sensation of flying while accelerating 700 feet down the mountainside on a suspended cable in a side-byside seat. (605-255-4384, rushmorecave.com) WISCONSIN The world of Cleopatra VII, lost to the sea and sand for nearly 2,000 years, will surface at the Milwaukee Public Museum on Oct. 14 when Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt opens its doors. The timed-entry exhibition, running through at least April 30, 2012, features nearly 150 artifacts on view for the first time in the U.S. and helps visitors experience the present-day search for the elusive queen, which extends from the sands of Egypt to the depths of the Bay of Aboukir near Alexandria. (414-223-4676, mpm.edu) SHOWCASE

Harley-Davidson Museum Visitors to Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson Museum experience the heart-thumping adventure and life-changing freedom offered by the bestknown motorcycle brand in the world. Exhibit galleries celebrate the people, products, culture and history of the iconic, Milwaukee-based company. Museum-goers view vintage motorcycles, learn about engines and motorcycle design, and watch video clips of Easy Rider and other Hollywood movies that spotlight the thread of rebellion associated with motorcycle culture. Highlights include Elvis Presley’s 1956 KH motorcycle and the 1903 Serial Number One, the oldest known Harley-Davidson bike in existence. Stories include the launching of a global, independently-owned dealer network; the company’s contribution to America's efforts in two world wars; and the emergence of color and style in the mid-1920s. Visitors can hop on a variety of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and pose for pictures. Located on 20 riverfront acres in downtown Milwaukee, the three-building museum also features a restaurant, cafe, retail store and indoor/outdoor event spaces. (h-dmuseum.com)

44 August 2011

LeisureGroupTravel.com


on location: west ❖

heather swick

ALASKAN ADVENTURES Challenge your groups with active options in the wilderness

t’s no surprise that “Alaska” is the Aleut word for “great land.” Seasoned and novice adventurers alike can attest to the rich natural landscape, from the millions of lakes and rivers to the dizzying heights of Alaska’s steepest mountain peaks. The great outdoors is Alaska’s claim to fame and most precious possession, and groups will find no shortage of day, week or multiple-week excursions to tempt the adrenaline junkie within. Consider it the United States’ own rustic backyard—worlds away, but no passport required. Living among the flora and fauna is one of the main draws of an Alaskan adventure trip. There are countless group tours to choose from, many of them complete with lodging or camping packages. Alaska Adventure Tours (travelalaskaoutdoors.com) and Cam-

I

LeisureGroupTravel.com

pAlaska Tours (campalaska.com), both in Wasilla, are set up to work with groups of 10 or fewer people. On tours ranging from one to three weeks, campers experience remote trails, glacier hiking, a soak in hot springs, fishing and animal watching. Each tour is unique in that weather conditions, animal sightings and the guides’ choices shape every experience. There are itineraries available for various interests, ages and difficulty levels. Alaska Group Tours in Anchorage has a six-day trip for guests to raft, hike and boat their way through the Alaskan wilderness. Four days are spent in remote lodges surrounded by wildlife where adventure sports, fishing and mountain biking are available. (alaskagrouptours.com) Ecotourism, meaning traveling responsibly to natural areas and leaving

little or no impact during your stay, is central to any Alaskan trip. Alaska Wildland Adventures is known for its exciting travel packages as well as its diligence toward protecting the earth. Alaska Wildlife Adventures offers two- or three-day lodge stay packages or six- to 11-day complete vacations. The adventure trips include sea kayaking, hiking, rafting and fishing, but there also are many day packages to choose from, such as fishing and rafting. Each trip is operated out of one of four lodges. Add-ons are available for any lodging package. These include a full day at Glacier Bay National Park, trekking in Prince William Sound, bear viewing at Redoubt Bay Lodge on Big River Lakes, touring the cities of Barrow and Nome, and touring a long stretch of the Arctic Ocean coast. (alaskawildland.com) August 2011 45

Brian Adams and Jason Cannon/TravelAlaska.com

Kayakers explore the pristine waters of Ailik Bay in Kenai Fjords National Park (inset) and Prince William Sound .


Brian Adams/TravelAlaska.com

on location: west ❖

A guided river adventure from Haines showcases the untamed wilderness.

hours and are available in one- and two-person vehicles. Routes travel along old coal mining shafts, the Alaska Range and near the Teklanika River. (denaliatv.com) Glaciers are Alaska’s nature-made monuments, and they make for a memorable, serene backdrop for a hiking tour. St. Elia’s Alpine Guides offers half- and full-day glacier hiking trips throughout Anchorage. Both trips travel through the Root Glacier and the vistas of Mt. Blackburn. Glacial-hiking shoes, called crampons, are offered to each hiker. The half-day trip is ideal for beginners and families, while the full-day excursion is a bit more adventurous. The chances of discovering an ice cave

Obtain Alaska visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info

Frank Flavin/TravelAlaska.com

The benefit of a camping or adventure tour is that it includes a variety of outdoor activities. However, many companies focus on one activity. Kayaking and rafting are Alaskan staples. The duration and difficulty of each course vary, so there is a paddling route for everyone. The Nenana River in Denali National Park is the most popular whitewater river in Alaska. Nenana Raft Adventures has trips from a few hours to an overnight stay. (alaskaraft.com) Backcountry Safaris in Seward provides three different rafting excursions, one a three-day “Bear Glacier Adventure Camp” and two other sevenday trips. Groups also have the option of setting up a custom itinerary for the number and age range of people in attendance. Guests kayak near glaciers and waterfalls, and it’s common to see humpback and orca whales. (backcountrysafaris.com) For an out-of-the-water adventure experience, Denali ATV Adventures offers a dynamic experience for adult groups. Tours range from two to five

or blue pool for the first time are high. (steliasguides.com) In recent years, zip lining has become a much more mainstream activity for the average traveler. Alaska Canopy Adventures offers a three-and-a-halfhour zip line expedition through the Eagle Creek Fly Zone near the Tongass National Forest. The tour extends over eight zip lines and three suspension bridges, all ranging from 100 feet to 850 feet above the forest ground. From the tree platforms, groups often see eagles and bears. (alaskacanopy.com) A campfire under the midnight sun. A rare glimpse at the aurora borealis. Kayaking through glaciers hundreds of feet tall. Alaska is indeed an adventurer’s playground, equipped with some of the most ethereal natural wonders earth has to offer. Whether your group is seeking a pulse-pounding trip down a whitewater river or an afternoon fishing capped off with a dip in a hot spring, the Alaska wilderness, seemingly untouched by the modern world, is the perfect companion. LGT

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For adventure travel ideas in Utah, log on to http://leisuregrouptravel.com /?p=24364.

46 August 2011

River banks in the Kenai Peninsula provide ideal sites for camping. LeisureGroupTravel.com


West on our radar

Planners organizing group tours will find many new itinerary brighteners in the region Take a look at what’s happening in the West: ARIZONA Mission San Xavier del Bac, located nine miles south of downtown Tucson, is offering free guided tours for the first time in its 214-year history. Volunteer docents lead 45-minute tours Monday through Saturday and explain the mission’s rich history and ornate interior that includes painted murals and original statuary. Tours of the mission, a National Historic Landmark, are made possible through Patronato San Xavier, a nonsectarian, nonprofit organization founded in 1978 to promote the restoration, maintenance and preservation of the mission, which was completed in 1797. The tour schedule is subject to change because the mission is a working Roman Catholic Church. (520-294-2624, sanxaviermission.org)

CALIFORNIA Central Coast Food Tours has started guided walking tours through downtown San Luis Obispo. Focusing on the town’s culinary riches, the two-mile walk is on mostly flat-terrain city sidewalks that thread along creeksides, picturesque landscapes and historic city streets. There are typically six to seven pre-arranged food and beverage tasting destinations on each tour. Cost is $49 per person, including all food and wine tastings. There is a maximum of 12 people per tour, and private tours for small groups can be arranged. (centralcoastfoodtours.com) SeaWorld San Diego has unveiled Turtle Reef, an interactive attraction that gives guests an up-close look at more than 60 sea turtles as well as an immersion into the life cycle of these threatened and endangered species. The focal point of Turtle Reef is a 300,000-gallon aquarium featuring hawksbill and green sea turtles. Also included are interactive games, a touch-screen tracking map and a ride that takes passengers on a rescue mission of their own. (800-257-4268, seaworldsandiego.com) Previews have begun for a brand new Cirque du Soleil production, IRIS, A Journey Through the World of Cinema, at Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, home of the Academy Awards. Turtle Reef is the newest crowd-pleaser at SeaWorld San Diego. Directed by French director-choreograLeisureGroupTravel.com

August 2011 47


on our radar: west ❖ pher Philippe Decouflé and featuring a score by Grammy Award-winning composer Danny Elfman, IRIS brings together dance, acrobatics, live video, filmed sequences and animation, taking spectators on a voyage through the history of cinema and its genres. The premier is set for Sept. 25. (877-5047164 or la.sales@cirquedusoleil.com; cirquedusoleil.com/groups)

SHOWCASE Tulalip Resort Casino

SHOWCASE Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino For those who seek comfort, adventure and a connection to the natural beauty of the Southwest, Inn of the Mountain Gods, five-time recipient of AAA’s Four Diamond rating for luxury, accommodations and service, is the ultimate locale for a relaxing getaway. Located in Mescalero, N.M., near Ruidoso in the southwestern portion of the state and situated snugly in the heart of the Sacramento Mountains at 9,600 feet, Inn of the Mountain Gods is New Mexico’s premier mountain locale. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be enchanted by original works of art throughout the property, roaring fireplaces in the lobby and a tranquil setting that makes the everyday world feel a million miles away. Beyond that, discover an endless variety of activities, entertainment and escapes. From luxury rooms and suites, exciting casino games, a championship golf course and dozens of opportunities for outdoor recreation including fishing, hiking, biking and hunting, the Inn has it all. (innofthemountaingods.com)

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum Located in downtown Oklahoma City, this shrine pays tribute to those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever by the April 19, 1995 terror bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Museum visitors can watch TV newscasts, witness heroic rescue and recovery efforts, listen to survivor accounts and click on a touch screen for reminiscences of victims by family and friends. Artifacts include twisted metal from the rental truck used by the perpetrator. In the Gallery of Honor, family and friends have remembered their loved ones with photos and such personal mementoes as a Secret Service badge, Marine Corps pin, stuffed animal or Precious Moments figurine. Videos show excerpts of funerals. Nearly 20 percent of OKC metro residents attended at least one funeral. The outdoor memorial includes a grassy area with a Field of Chairs overlooking a reflecting pool. Each of the 168 bronze-and-stone chairs represents one who died. (oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org) 48 August 2011

Tulalip Resort Casino is one of the largest and most distinctive gaming, dining, entertainment and event destinations in Washington State. Recognized with a AAA Four Diamond award and named to the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, Tulalip Resort Casino offers a variety of award-winning dining choices, casino excitement, a world-class spa and a multitude of live entertainment and premium shopping options. Conveniently located between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., the resort is an ideal location to visit for a day or for a week, with 370 exquisite guest rooms and suites that feature premium pillow top beds, large separate walk-in showers with three body sprays and granite countertops. The guest experience is complete with 24-hour room service, a tropical indoor Oasis pool, a full service concierge to assist with any need, a fitness center and an on-site floral service. (tulalipresort.com)

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE To read more about Tulalip Resort Casino, see the article at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/p?=24602

Westfield San Francisco Centre Custom-made for girlfriend getaways, Westfield San Francisco Centre is one of the city’s top group travel attractions. The iconic destination, just two blocks from famed Union Square, occupies the site of the historic former Emporium Department Store, a structure built in 1896 and once hailed as the “Grandest Mercantile Building in the World” with its grand Beaux-Arts facade and elegant glass dome. Westfield San Francisco Centre boasts the West Coast flagship of Bloomingdale’s and the secondlargest Nordstrom in the United States. The more than 200 shops include Herve Leger by Max Azria, Hugo Boss, Vera Bradley, San Francisco’s first Michael Kors and the only Edition by Banana Republic. Westfield San Francisco Centre’s VIP Passport program entitles group travelers to hundreds of dollars in savings in special offers. Culinary programs for groups, including chef demonstrations, cooking classes and wine tastings, can be arranged at several of the restaurants and food purveyors. (westfield.com/sanfrancisco) LeisureGroupTravel.com


Napa Valley Ziplines, in the western foothills of Yountville, will open in October. The seven-zipline course will be constructed on 200 acres behind the Veterans’ Home of California. A portion of Napa Valley Ziplines proceeds will be donated to the home. The course is designed specifically for first-timers. The first two ziplines will be the shortest and slowest of the course, designed to ease participants into the adventure. Three of the next five ziplines will be over 1,200 feet, with the longest reaching 2,000 feet. (707-944-9947, napavalleyziplines.com) MULTI-STATE Brendan Vacations has five new itineraries in its just-released 20122013 USA & Canada brochure. New additions include the nine-day “Colorful Trails of the Southwest,” which starts in the resort town of Scottsdale and takes in Oak Creek Canyon, Monument Valley and Mesa Verde National Park, plus the history and culture of Taos and Santa Fe. Dining highlights include a cowboy barbecue with wine in Moab, Utah. The package is priced from $2,199 per person, land only, based on double occupancy. The new eight-day “National Parks Wonders” begins in Salt Lake City and travels through scenic Jackson, takes in the snow-capped mountains of Grand Teton National Park, explores the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park and includes a visit to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Price is from $1,850 per person. (800-421-8446, brendanvacations.com) TEXAS The Museum of the American Railroad just broke ground at its new 12-acre site in Frisco. The project will LeisureGroupTravel.com

relocate one of the nation’s finest collections of 20th Century railroad artifacts and exhibits from Dallas’ Fair Park. The first phase of construction includes installation of nearly one mile of trackage at the museum’s new site just south of Frisco Square. The trains will move in late 2011, with a soft opening in the works for mid-

2012. The new Frisco facility will allow the museum to greatly increase its footprint and showcase its 40piece assemblage of historic locomotives and rail cars, including the nation’s premier collection of Pullman first-class sleeping cars from the 1920s. (museumoftheamericanrailroad.org)

Luckier

Where heaven and earth meet, so can you. Incredible convention and meeting facilities are only the beginning of your experience at Inn of the Mountain Gods. From full casino action and award-winning dining to championship golf and unparalleled mountain scenery, even your keynote speaker will be speechless. > 273 luxury rooms and suites > 40,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space

> Championship golf course* > Fine and casual dining > Full casino

> Ski Apache* > Fishing* > Horseback riding*

InnoftheMountainGods.com 1-800-545-6040 | Mescalero, NM near Ruidoso Booking Info: jokazhe@innofthemountaingods.com FULL CASINO | CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF *Weather permitting. Must be 21 or older to enter casino. The Mescalero Apache Tribe promotes responsible gaming. For assistance, please call 1-800- GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537).

August 2011 49


On Marketing

❖ dave bodle

Five Easy Steps to an Effective Public Relations Program WITH THE ARRIVAL OF August you are probably putting the finishing touches on your 2012 catalogue, placing advertising in local media for your holiday trips, and posting everything about your business on Facebook. The plan is to finish strong in the fourth quarter of 2011 and set the stage for a profitable 2012. With all the new media opportunities and of course the traditional media, do not overlook one very effective method of reaching your target audience. A good public relations program should be an integral part of your marketing mix. Regardless of where your news appears— print, broadcast or online—it carries that coveted third-party endorsement credibility. And by the way, publicity is free and measurable exposure!

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October Issue

• Religious Travel • Culinary/Agritourism • Fall Foliage • Colorado • Idaho • Oregon • Wisconsin • Michigan • Vermont • Mississippi • Louisiana • New Hampshire • Europe/Canada • Alabama See our page-flip edition & past issues at

LeisureGroupTravel.com We can help showcase your business to groups. Call us 630.794.0696 or advertising@ptmgroups.com

50 August 2011

A good public relations program cannot be handled on a “when something happens” basis. Like all marketing efforts, it must be planned and implemented in a timely fashion. Here are a few easy steps to get you started: Begin by developing a strong media list. A good list is the cornerstone of your public relations effort. Virtually every name, address, telephone number and e-mail address is sitting on the coffee table of your reception area, or within easy reach on your computer. Research the daily and community newspapers that service your area. Addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for travel and business writers and editors need to be in your database. Add the same for the news directors at television and radio stations. Develop a second list for publications that need your information 60+ days before publishing. Local/regional business magazines and industry trade publications with extended lead times should top your second list. Do not forget the associations to which you belong. Most likely each will have a publication of some sort. Online opportunities cannot be overlooked. Every media outlet from the local weekly newspaper to leading publications like Leisure Group Travel has an online presence. Exclusive web editorial is often featured along with the publication’s current issue. Regular e-newsletters are published and often there are blogs maintained by the editorial staff. These new media outlets almost double the need for relevant editorial. Step two is to identify news from within your organization – employee

awards for length of service, community service or safe driving are a start. Blow your own horn. If you serve on boards or have received industry recognition, tell the world. Recognize customers who exhibit longevity and are regular travelers. Simply stated, all organizations have plenty of news if they just stop and think for a moment. You do not have to do this alone. At your next managers meeting, dedicate 15-20 minutes to exploring company news opportunities. I’ve moderated these exercises and am always surprised at how much information the managers will supply. Step three is developing a series of story ideas. These take more thought, but often result in a feature story. Determine what your company does best and write a paragraph about that attribute. Highlight your unique or unusual trips that are scheduled. Why not feature all your holiday trips? Step four is create a “Media” page for your website and post the story ideas that you’ve developed. Also, place all news releases on your site. Photographs should certainly be an important part of your media page. Finally, designate someone within your organization to manage the program. The owner/gm may be the spokesperson, but keeping publicity on schedule is not their focus. Regardless of how you get started, stick to the plan. A 12-month public relations program that’s properly administered will yield good results with only minimal effort. Contact Dave at 843-712-1140 or email dbodle@sc.rr.com.

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