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share the journey enjoy the VALUE There’s a reason that travelers spark lasting friendships on Collette Vacations tours. Travel is more fulfilling when you share the journey. Your traveling companions are like you – active, engaged and interested in exploring the world. They enjoy the benefits of traveling together – and the inherent value that entails.

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contents Vol. 20, No.3

June 2010

COVER STORY

COVER STORY 2010 Group Itinerary Planning Guide Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Narvikk, Online Creative Media

Find enticing sample trips in each regional section of this third annual special issue.

REGIONAL COVERAGE 22 26 29 32 34 38 62 66 69 82 85 88 96 97

NORTHEAST Maryland’s Historic Railroads by vanessa day Holiday Celebrations in the Northeast by vanessa day Sample Itineraries: Northeast SOUTH Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail by justine mulattieri Christmas ’Round the South by melinda hughey Sample Itineraries: South MIDWEST Iowa’s Urban Pleasures by randy mink Holidays in the Heartland by john kloster Sample Itineraries: Midwest WEST Oklahoma City/Cherokee Sites by randy mink Holiday Magic, Western-Style by elana andersen Sample Itineraries: West

On My Mind by jeff gayduk

6

HISTORIC RAILROADS

Sample Itineraries: Canada

COLUMNS 4

22

CANADA Holiday Festivals in Canada by john kloster

On Tour by marty de souto

12

On Technology by john kamm

16

On Insurance

DEPA RTMENTS 13

On The Record

by john martinen

18

On Tourist Trains

ON THE COVER:  For avid travelers, all signs point to fun and discovery. 

by jim wrinn

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Narvikk, Online Creative Media


on my mind ❖

jeff gayduk Vol. 20, No. 3 June 2010

It’s Itinerary Planning Season! LIVING IN CHICAGO, I’m accustomed to two seasons, winter and construction. Neither of which are very enjoyable if you’re a commuter. Back in my tour planning days, we also had two seasons, booking season and tour shipping season, and lines were clearly drawn when you booked trips and when you shipped trips. With today’s shifting consumer interests and technology advancements those seasons have been blurred. Enter our 3rd annual Itinerary Planning Guide edition of Leisure Group Travel. Starting on page 29 you’ll find the largest selection of sample itineraries in the market today. Destinations throughout North America, from name-brand cities to hidden jewels, are all putting their best foot forward with fresh new ideas for your next group trip. For this edition we’ve also supplemented our itinerary coverage with a unique regional feature that spotlights some of the most prominent holiday events around the U.S. and Canada. Plus, our On the Record column features your ideas for spicing up itineraries. And as you’re researching sample itineraries, be sure to investigate our Online Itinerary Planning Guide on GroupTravelDirectory.com. From the home

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

page, click on the Itineraries tab and you’ll open up over 250 unique trip ideas.

Senior Editor – John Kloster john@ptmgroups.com

TRIP RESEARCH & PLANNING MADE EASIER This June we debut a brand-new tool for group travel planners, Instant Info. Instant Info helps you to gather destination, attraction, restaurant, hotel and tour service information with the click of a mouse or stroke of a pen. Flip to the back inside cover of this publication, or go online to LeisureGroupTravel.com and select the Instant Info tab. Here you can select suppliers by category, state/region or keyword and communicate with them via email, view their web page or request a catalog/brochure in the mail. It’s a great way to receive information on a multitude of suppliers/destinations in a format that works for you. Enjoy this Itinerary Planning Guide edition of Leisure Group Travel, and the new set of planning tools available via Instant Info. Most importantly, get out and enjoy the summer!

Senior Editor – Elana Andersen elana@ptmgroups.com

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

SM

SM

Happy Traveling,

Jeff Gayduk, Publisher

Online Exclusives The NEW LeisureGroupTravel.com is packed with daily headlines and rich destination features covering all aspects of planning group travel. This month, read all about Train Travel in Switzerland and view highlights from the recent Heritage Clubs International Conference in Oklahoma City and Pow Wow in Orlando, plus editorial columns on the Perils of Booking Group Airfare, Holiday Trip Planning Hints and a new trend that’s developing in the cruise industry, the Shifting Effect.

4 June 2010

Managing Editor – Randy Mink randy@ptmgroups.com

Regional Sales Managers Illinois – Jim McCurdy

P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 jim@ptmgroups.com

Eastern Midwest/Canada – Amy Janssens

P 630.294.0318 • F 630.794.0652 amy@ptmgroups.com

Northeast – Ellen Klesta

P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 ellen@ptmgroups.com

Southeast – Hutson Lambert P 228.452.9683 • F 228.452.6370 hutson@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

West/Midwest/Online sales

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

Send Address Change to:

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

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on tour ❖

marty sarbey de souto, ctc

Mexico’s Colonial Circuit HOLA! YOUR GROUPS MAY have been to Mexico before – perhaps to one or more of the many beach resorts like Acapulco or Cancún. Or perhaps they’ve cruised the Mexican Riviera down to Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. But if they haven’t been to the lovely interior towns of the Spanish Colonial region, then they haven’t really seen Mexico. This is the area of cobblestone streets, lovely homes featuring hidden inner patios with tiled fountains and bougainvillea in bright oranges, pinks and purple. This is where the small artisan towns are located, rich in the heritage of making pottery, glassware, embroidered linens, copperwares, colonial furniture and straw goods. This is the historical area, home to Mexico’s movement for independence from Spain. Here you’ll find murals of Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, folkloric ballet, local markets and mariachi bands. MAKE THE COLONIAL CIRCUIT By flying into Guadalajara (or Léon or Mexico City) one can make the colonial circuit. This should include the aristocratic university town of Morelia (named for Morelos, the priest and revolutionary leader in the War of Independence). And it can include the interesting town of Pátzcuaro, once the capital of the Purepechan Indian empire (now referred to as the Tarascans). It is here that Lake Pátzcuaro is located and the best known Day of the Dead ceremonies are celebrated Nov. 1 on Janitzio Island in the lake. I found the best selec6 June 2010

tion of woven tablecloths, placemats, napkins and other tablewares in shops on the square in Pátzcuaro. Your itinerary most certainly should visit Guanajuato, a city built in a narrow canyon on different levels with zig-zag

take classes at the Instituto Allende and School of Fine Arts. The trip can begin or end in the country’s second city of Guadalajara. Its central colonial section of the city, its fine university, Orozco murals and folk-

Consider interior towns like Morelia, Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende streets and connecting tunnels. In fact, parts of the city are connected by an elevator much in the style of Lisbon, Portugal or Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. For two-and-a-half centuries, its rich Valenciana silver mine provided 20% of the world’s silver, and many colonial structures built from this wealth still remain intact. The city is also home to Diego Rivera’s birthplace and the popular Cervantes Festival the last two weeks in October, complete with galloping horses and medieval costumes. Strolling student minstrels give the town a youthful spark. THE BELL RINGER The tiny town of Dolores Hidalgo is the place to stop to buy local pottery and to remember Father Hidalgo, who rang the bells and issued his famous “grito” (cry for independence) at his parish church on Sept. 16, 1810. And no trip would be complete without a night or two in San Miguel de Allende, an entire town declared a national monument and popular with “expat gringos” who winter there and

loric dance performances make it a popular spot for visitors. And its huge Mercado Libertad, a four-block, threestory covered marketplace, is THE spot for shopping – everything from leather goods to piñatas. The nearby town of Tequila makes for an interesting side trip as does the community of Lake Chapala with over 5,000 American and Canadian residents who have retired there. And while Guadalajara boasts many top-notch hotels, I found it most attractive to have my group stay in the artisan suburb of Tlaquepaque (“Tlackuh-pock-eh”) instead, but this will only be possible with relatively small groups. Although most North American tour operators seem hell-bent on offering Mexico resort packages, there are a few who still (or again) are offering itineraries for colonial Mexico – among them, Globus and Collette. Marty is founder and chair of the travel industry training program at Berkeley City College in Berkeley, Calif., where she teaches all aspects of group travel. You can reach her by e-mail at josemarty@yahoo.com. For information on her latest book, How To Plan, Operate, and Lead Successful Group Trips, click on Premier Tourism Marketing’s educational website, groupuniversity.com. LeisureGroupTravel.com


GROUPS

GO FARTHER GLOBUSfamily of brands

WITH THE


on technology ❖

john kamm, ctp

Have Tablet, Will Travel FOR MORE THAN FOUR million of us, the next computer we buy won’t exactly be a computer. At least not like the desktop or laptop we commune with day in and day out. Released in April to legions of blearyeyed early adopters who stood in line through the night, Apple’s iPad is being widely acclaimed as revolutionary. This new device is perhaps more evolutionary – it’s not the first time Apple has redefined a device category. Lust-worthy – oh yes. Must-have – time will tell. According to analysts, the iPad is a media tablet which is characterized by a touch-screen interface, 5- to 11-inch diagonal screen size with wi-fi internet connectivity, gaming and video functionality. Tablet devices have been available for several years from established vendors like Lenovo and HP; Apple has come later to the party but now appears to be calling the iTunes. What does the iPad do? It has a big, bright screen with 1024 x 768 resolution, comes with up to 64 GB of memory, has an on-screen keyboard, wi-fi connectivity and excellent battery life – up to 10 hours. It has the Safari web browser and Apple’s business productivity suite, iWorks. Like its smaller sibling the iPhone, the iPad connects to Apple’s iTunes or Amazon online

distribution sites for content – music, videos, eBooks, podcasts and applications; millions of titles are available. RIVALING NETBOOKS So, what are you shopping for that makes the iPad an option? The diminutive netbook computer category will probably take the biggest hit from the emergence of supercharged media tablets. Their popularity has been driven by the fact that they function like a familiar computer, but they are smaller in form, in price and for the most part, in functionality.

Apple’s iPad will redefine the media tablet category and may overtake netbooks Netbooks feel familiar because they have a keyboard, touchpad and an LCD screen. They run Windows or Linux and popular productivity software. Speculation is that they don’t do these things well enough to survive the paradigm shift to a tablet done right. eBook readers represent another niche of the media tablet market. iPad brings a stunning color display at the expense of battery life. Kindle, Amazon’s eBook reader, utilizes E Ink,

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.

12 June 2010

a 16-shade, black-and-white display providing battery life measured in days. A high-end Kindle costs about the same as the entry-level iPad; the Kindle has worldwide connectivity that is generally available without fees, unlike the 3G networked iPad. However, in terms of functionality and visual excitement there is no comparison. Media tablets are also going head to head with smart phones with one important distinction – tablets can’t make phone calls (yet). Spend a few minutes with an iPad and it will occur to you that this is an iPhone on steroids; the

look, the feel of the interface, the apps, all very familiar. This begs the question – do I need to add another pound or so of glass and metal to my already overstuffed carry-on? Consider: the iPad renders web and video content well enough to be considered a viable presentation tool, and there are connectors available for larger screens. Apps will be available for a wide variety of business- and travel-related functions. Maybe it’s time to ditch the clam-shell laptop; the iPad looks like it belongs in the 21st century and a $50 cell phone can drop a call just as well as a premium handset. John Kamm is CEO of TourTech Systems, Inc., developers of TourTools®, the most popular tour reservations solution in North America. Visit www.tourtools.com for more information.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


on the record ❖

Little Extras Make a Big Difference FOLLOWING ARE ANSWERS from Leisure Group Travel readers who responded to the questions: In crafting itineraries, what do you add at little or no cost that makes a big difference in satisfying customers? Are there hidden extras, surprises, even gifts that provide icing on the cake and bring smiles to passengers’ faces?

To add value and that extra little surprise, I give some gift from our bank with each trip— an umbrella, bag, deck of cards. Their value is in relation to the cost of the trip. For our Australia trip and Alaskan cruise, I gave everyone very nice rain jackets that they all loved. Plus we could always find each other with our yellow hoods. As another little value, I always carry a cooler with water under the bus. It is much appreciated, and I serve goodies like granola bars, homemade Rice Krispie bars or trail mix. Ellen Borkenhagen Top of the Hill Club Director Profinium Financial, Inc. Fairmont, MN

On a recent tour to New Orleans, after dinner at the New Orleans School of Cooking, I gave each customer a cookbook autographed by the author or a bottle of seasoning as a surprise. I also included a mint julep or lemonade at Oak Alley Plantation. On the same tour, I included a Backbeat Tour of Memphis as a “mystery” the last morning of the tour. Any extras add excitement and that LeisureGroupTravel.com

ELLEN BORKENHAGEN

JOEL COHEN

feeling of receiving something “special.” Jane Julian Jane’s Journeys West Frankfort, IL  

As a New England receptive operator, we have been including festive “tour hats” for all passengers on our specialty themed tours. Such as lobster hats for our “Maine Lighthouses & Lobsters” coastal tour and moose hats for our “Maine Moosin’ Tour,” which features a moose watch excursion in Rangeley. On our “Leaves and Locomotives” tour of New Hampshire and Maine during the fall foliage season, each passenger receives a souvenir engineer’s cap. Donna Hanson, VP of Fun The Maine Tour Connection South Portland, ME

What our travelers to New York City appreciate are the free admission vouchers that we provide to some of the most popular attractions. They get a choice of admission to the Empire State Building Observatory, Museum of the City of New York or a harbor cruise with New York Water Taxi. Additionally,

JANE JULIAN

they get a choice of free admission to the American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art or Top of the Rock Observation Deck. These admission choices are free for every person; they are not a “buy one get one free” offer, nor do they have any strings attached. The free admissions are worth up to $40 per person. Joel Cohen Vice President New York City Vacation Packages Kingston, PA

Our company’s favorite value-added extras include: A free travel tote bag, sling pack or backpack (as appropriate for age group); beverages and snacks available on board the coach throughout the trip; a welcome card and special snack that is sent ahead and placed in their hotel room for when they arrive. (And if they change rooms five times, they get five welcomes!) “Secret” stops along the way vary from a surprise stop at an attraction to a bonus free meal during the trip. Lena Mulcahy Entourage Management Bowling Green, KY June 2010 13


on the record ❖ Presently I am hosting our group on a Rhine River cruise. The smoochies or the unexpected surprises really make the difference out on tour. Each night in our travelers’ cabins, they receive a written description of what they are going to see the next day as well as a very small chocolate or item of the local region on their pillow. As we all are saying good night, I can feel the excitement over what their treat will be when they return to their cabin. Sometimes we give them a recipe on a local delight or a poem. It really does not have to be expensive, just one last thought before they close their eyes. The difference is in the details. Mary Stachnik, Co-Owner Mayflower Tours Downers Grove, IL

I always add in a small amount for the extras – an ice cream cone at DQ or a special place in a city. Sometimes I stop at a rest area and provide snacks. Watermelon is a favorite, also carrots and celery sticks, cookies and peanut butter and crackers. I provide water and soda as well. I also take along gifts for

14 June 2010

LeisureGroupTravel.com


games. However, many times we don’t have the time to play a game, so I give everyone a ticket and draw for prizes.  I like to get such things as food items they can consume, not things to take home and throw in a drawer. Also seasonal items. Jeanne Sleeth Classic Club Officer Empire Bank Springfield,  MO

I try to plan rest stops and lunch stops that include something extra. For example, we made a rest stop at St. Joseph’s Pony Express—it only took about 30 minutes to tour and they have restrooms. That gives everyone a nice stretch and something interesting to break up the long ride. They take

just as long if we stop at a truck stop, using facilities, stretching and purchasing snacks. We also made a rest stop at Dodge City, where we stopped at the visitors center and timed it so they would be able to see the gunfight outside. Also, I try to incorporate lunch stops that may include shopping or browsing, such as Cracker Barrel and Casey Jones Old Country Store. Cindy D. Mosley, Director PBNB Crown Club Pine Bluff National Bank Pine Bluff, AR

Leisure Group Travel was deluged with reader responses on how tour planners make trips special by providing value-added extras. Go to LeisureGroupTravel.com to see all the great responses that didn’t make it into our print issue.

IN THE AUGUST ISSUE of Leisure Group Travel, our On the Record column will look at group interaction on the road. Please send us your response to this question: How do you get a busload of strangers to mix and socialize? What are your techniques for promoting group camaraderie on tours? Along with your comments, please include your name, company name and location. Also for publication, send a high-resolution photo of yourself. A selection of responses will be printed in the August 2010 issue. Thanks in advance for your valuable opinions. Send to: Randy Mink, randy@ptmgroups.com

Superior Value | Customized Service Get the best prices and service in group travel today. Every tour is totally customized to the needs and budget of your group. Ask for a free quote! • Book it all – air, hotels, motorcoach, sightseeing, activities, guides, meals, shows, meeting space, exclusive events, insurance – even a tour manager.

• Every group receives the best possible price and personalized service from our staff.

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• Cruise Groups – gain added value from every cruise with hotel nights, transfers and sightseeing before the cruise, while ensuring your group doesn’t miss the cruise departure. Book exclusive shore excursions from ports-of-call, or inspiring post-cruise travel.

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• You decide your selling price, so you set your profit. • Flexible payment options.

Customized Groups: Tel: 800-808-9547 | Fax: 800-808-9548 | Groups.tb@gta-travel.com LeisureGroupTravel.com

June 2010 15


on insurance ❖

john martinen

Volcanic Ash and Trip Cancellation Insurance THE EUROPEAN AIRSPACE was empty of commercial flights. Countless travelers stranded in airports from London to Rome spent days waiting for airlines to resume operations. Tens of thousands of North Americans saw their transatlantic flights cancelled, and their dreams of a European vacation shattered. The airlines lost $200 million per day during the shutdown. Unfortunately for thousands of travelers without trip cancellation insurance, a staggering amount of personal funds was lost.

for Covered Reasons is included in most travel insurance plans automatically and requires no additional premium. CANCEL FOR ANY REASON The company that provides Leisure Group Travel readers with Our Travel Protector was the first company to offer Cancel for Any Reason. It works like this: If you decide to cancel your trip at least two days before departure, the insurance reimburses you for 75% of your non-refundable trip costs. You

Tens of thousands of North Americans saw their dreams of a European vacation shattered. If an erupting volcano teaches us anything about planning ahead, it’s the necessity of trip cancellation insurance. There are two types, and they complement each other:

are never asked why you cancelled your trip because the reason for canceling is not important. Cancel for Any Reason is optional coverage that requires additional premium.

CANCELLATION FOR COVERED REASONS This is the traditional benefit package in travel insurance that reimburses the traveler if he or she cancels the trip for reasons that are covered by the insurance. Covered Reasons typically include a medical condition that forces the traveler to cancel the trip. Or it could be the death or health problem of a traveling companion or close relative. Many other reasons for canceling a trip are also covered. In the case of the volcano event, the airline shutdown was a classic example of a Covered Reason. Cancellation

“SHOULD I GO?” QUESTIONS Consider this situation: You have a group that will be flying from the United States to Paris and everyone bought travel insurance. The volcano may disrupt European air travel again, but no one knows when. Your travelers begin to get nervous; they ask you whether they should cancel or still take the trip. If they purchased travel insurance, but not Cancel for Any Reason, the insurance will cover them only if their flight is cancelled and the airline is grounded, typically for 12 hours or more. But if travelers cancel their trips

16 June 2010

and the flights still take place, the insurance will not cover their cancellations, and they will lose all of their trip investments. If they bought the optional Cancel for Any Reason benefit, your travelers can get a 75% cash refund if they don’t go on the trip, so long as they notify you of their decision to cancel at least two days before the scheduled departure. The reason is not important - they might just be afraid of getting stranded in Europe. Your travelers have peace of mind knowing that 75% of their trip investment is protected no matter what happens with the volcano. When you get “what should I do” questions about travel insurance, it’s best to have your travelers call the insurance company to get the answers from the source. You don’t want to try to interpret the coverage yourself - that puts you in a risky position if you make a mistake. It is vitally important that the traveler’s decision to travel or to cancel is based on an accurate interpretation of the policy. To learn more about Our Travel Protector and travel insurance in general, visit www.OurTravelProtector.com, where you’ll find some very interesting articles and an excellent insurance plan you should consider using for your travelers. John Martinen graduated from Michigan State University and New York University Law School. After traveling as chief purser on Grace Line cruise ships in the Caribbean and South America, he developed the first cruises in the Galapagos Islands. He served as president of Globus & Cosmos, Vista Travel Ventures and Trafalgar Tours, before joining Safe Passage International as a principal in 2003.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


Carnival Cruise Lines from New Orleans

®

Pl On us wit e Free he ve 10 Pai ry d ®

The Queen of the Mississippi & The Carnival Triumph Jan. 20-27 and Jan. 29-Feb. 5

This is a French Quarter Cruise & Play Tour. We've combined sightseeing in the Port of New Orleans with a “Fun Ship® ” cruise through the Mississippi Delta south into the Caribbean. Experience first the soul of New Orleans from your hotel in the Vieux Carre. Feel the rhythm of Bourbon Street, hear the wail of Jazz Trumpets celebrating into the night and taste the flavor of a cuisine perfected by centuries. Then fall in love with the Carnival Triumph® a ship packed with Balcony staterooms. You'll get a giant dose of fun with Carnival's Seaside Theater ®, three pools, a waterslide and Spa Carnival.® Oh, and mini golf. And a sliding Sky Dome. Sailing into the Western Caribbean you can dive among Cozumel's famous coral reefs, ride a beach buggy or swim with a dolphin. Then at Progreso, Yucatan you can visit one of the new Seven Wonders of the World - the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. Sailing twice a month year-round you can schedule this tour to fit your schedule. Prices vary with season. Note, we have great group rates secured in January. So, Hop aboard and get the fun started.

U.S. Tours Cruise Tour Package includes: • Two Nights Lodging in the French Quarter • Dinner & Private Cooking Class at the New Orleans School of Cooking • Dixieland Jazz Brunch at Court of Two Sisters • French Quarter Walking Tour • Five Day Cruise on the Carnival Triumph® • Visits To Cozumel & Progreso Mexico • Meals aboard Ship • All Taxes & Fees on these services • Luggage Handling at the Hotel & Pier • One free berth with every 10 paid full fare guests

Per Person Prices:

• PASSPORTS ARE REQUIRED!

$698 Interior Stateroom $748 Ocean View $828 Balcony Carnival reserves the right to re-instate the fuel supplement for all guests at up to $9 per person per day if the NYMEX oil price exceeds $70 per barrel.

Call U.S. TOURS Today!

888-393-8687

Rates are in U.S. Dollars per guest, double occupancy, capacity controlled and cruise only. Restrictions apply. Ship’s Registry: Panama.


on tourist trains ❖

jim wrinn

Scenic Railroads Offer Seasonal, Holiday Departures LOOKING FOR A HOLIDAY OR seasonal train trip with a different twist? Scenic railways across the country offer themed departures to celebrate almost every holiday imaginable. They put together special trips that spotlight everything from deserts and mountains to wildlife, gold mines and timber operations. Groups are especially welcome, whether a busload or smaller contingent New Mexico’s Santa Fe Southern Railroad, profiled in the July issue of Trains magazine, offers Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Gay Pride Day trains. The railroad is even investigating special nighttime trains for stargazers who can ride into the dark desert for spectacular views of the heavens. Starting with Independence Day specials (including some evening trips that include fireworks), American tourist railroads enter into a time of the year when they offer excursions that appeal to broad audiences. Most popular, of course, are fall color trips that provide unique viewing opportunities for passengers from mid-September to early December, depending on the location and elevation of the railroads. The unfolding kaleidoscope of colors from a passing train is a delightful experience, especially among the hardwood forests of the Appalachians or in the groves of quaking Aspen trees that shade the Rockies a bright yellow. Halloween trains offer two kinds of entertainment: Some take passengers to pumpkin patches where guests can 18 June 2010

select their own pumpkin, while others are all about frights and thrills with trains in the darkness. A recent addition to this line-up is a Peanuts cartoon strip-themed Halloween train. Starting in November and going into December, tourist railroads offer many types of holiday trains. Most popular are the Polar Express trips that replicate the experience seen by mil-

step into their own fantasy “Murder on the Orient Express” experience. Want to ride and then cool off? North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers a chance to ride the train one way and raft the Nantahala River the other way. Hanker for the Old West?– The Lone Ranger wants to meet you on board the Texas State Railroad.

Groups should book early for fall color, yuletide and other themed train trips lions in the 2004 movie of the same name. Children on these trips often dress in their PJs and enjoy a reading of the famous story en route. They get hot chocolate and a bell. The trips conclude with a visit by Santa Claus. New Year’s Eve trains, including some that include a dance car, provide an outing for adults. Dinner trains, which run year-round, provide special menus for the New Year’s celebration. Looking for something more exotic? It’s out there. West Virginia’s Potomac Eagle train, for example, offers glimpses of our national bird from a train that offers open-air, coach and first-class dining cars. Want to go snow tubing? Utah’s Heber Valley Railroad will carry you to a venue near Salt Lake City, where you can take a ride at a 2002 Winter Olympics venue. Several railroads, including Idaho’s Thunder Mountain Line, organize a murder mystery express where passengers can

The secret to getting your passengers on these special event or themed trains is to book early. Trains sell out long in advance and the earlier that a trip is booked, there’s more opportunity to find seating, especially on highvolume railroads like Colorado’s Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Some railroads will charter special trains if the group is large enough. These can include custom departure times and railcars to meet the needs of the visiting group. You’ll find an unending number of specialty train trips. As long as there are holidays or other fun activities, there are trains to take your riders into the spirit of the event. Many tourist trains offer group rates and provide group information on their websites. Jim Wrinn is editor of Trains magazine by Kalmbach Publishing Co., which also publishes Tourist Trains Guidebook, a guide to North American tourist railroads and train museums.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


on trains ❖

Rhythm of the Rails Tourist trains revive routes of yesteryear

I

ncluding a scenic train trip in a group itinerary is a sure-fire way to spread happiness and contentment. Everyone likes a relaxing journey through the countryside that harks back to a time when track-bound transportation was the main way of moving around the nation. Riding through forests, fields and mountains in vintage passenger coaches pulled by an old-fashioned steam or diesel locomotive provides a little adventure away from the trappings of civilization, a nostalgic escape into yesteryear. Mountain states like Colorado, where miles of track served the mining industry, have the greatest number of tourist trains. Colorado’s Durango & Silverton, Cumbres & Toltec and Georgetown LeisureGroupTravel.com

Loop are legendary among rail buffs. You’ll also find plenty of scenic rail options in the mountains of New England and in the Appalachians. Fall is always a favored time, so leaf-peeping groups should reserve early. The 304-page Tourist Trains Guidebook (Kalmbach Publishing Co., $19.95) is a gold mine of information on scenic railroads in the United States and Canada. Written by the staff and contributors of Trains magazine, it provides detailed descriptions of 175 leading excursion trains and railroad museums, plus dozens of other smaller attractions, including trolleys and historic depots. To obtain a copy, call 800-533-6644 or visit kalmbach.com/books. Following is a sampling of trains that welcome groups:

New River Train The Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, Inc. will operate four, 300-mile roundtrip rail excursions from

Huntington to Hinton, W.Va., in October 2010. Amtrak locomotives and a mixture of Amtrak and privately owned Amtrak-approved coaches, lounge cars and dome cars make up the 28-car train. These trips started in 1966 with a very small train and have grown to become a must for rail travelers. With Mother Nature’s co-operation you will enjoy one of the most breathtaking autumn color excursion trains in the world. Your train will travel through the 65-mile-long New River Gorge, where the sole vestiges of civilization are the old C&O Railway tracks, the New River Gorge bridge and whitewater rafters on the river. You will also travel along the Kanawha River and go past the beautiful State Capitol building in Charleston. At Hinton you will enjoy approximately three hours at the annual fall festival in this scenic mountain town. There will be arts, crafts, hometown entertainment, a railroad museum and food each day. June 2010 19

Yvonne Lashmett

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad showcases the mountain splendor of Southwest Colorado.


on trains ❖ American Heritage Railways The company’s Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, in continuous operation since 1881, travels through the high-mountain landscape of the San Juan National Forest in Southwest Colorado. In 2009 it was named “One of the World’s Top Ten Train Rides.” The Texas State Railroad, departing from Victorian-style depots in Palestine and Rusk, offers excursions year-round through the piney woods of East Texas. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, also owned by American Heritage Railways, takes groups through a remote corner of North Carolina into river gorges, across fertile valleys and through tunnels carved out of mountains. New for 2010—a package for First Class passengers that includes lunch served by the car’s private attendant, a souvenir tumbler with unlimited fountain sodas and a GSMR embroidered tote bag. For more information on these three trains, see the online article at http://tiny.cc/ds72k. LGT

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For an overview of scenic rail travel in Switzerland, go online and see the article “Staying Connected: Travel on Switzerland’s Train System.” Log on to LeisureGroupTravel.com and scroll down to “Online Exclusives” on the home page.

20 June 2010

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HOW HOW DO YOU YOU

NEW NE W Y YORK? ORK?

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on location: northeast ❖

vanessa day

A Trip Through Time:

MARYLAND’S

HISTORIC

RAILROADS Train museums and scenic excursions spotlight the state’s industrial heritage

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad excursions through the mountains go from Cumberland to Frostburg.

n a world dominated by advanced technology and gas-guzzling machines, it is difficult to remember a time when locomotives were the primary means of transportation. A time when depots bustled with passengers boarding and disembarking from the train as it billowed steam from the smokestack. A time when trains were the gateway to the West. Those humble days are long gone, but the memories linger in Maryland like a train whistle in the distance. The state is home to some of the most famous railroad lines and locomotive museums in the country. It was Baltimore businessmen who were behind the creation of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, America’s first common carrier

I

Walkersville Southern Railroad passengers enjoy a blast from the past. 22 June 2010

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and pioneer of the Western Frontier; the Western Maryland Railway carried Abraham Lincoln to Pennsylvania to deliver his Gettysburg Address; and the birthplace of American railroading, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, houses the largest collection of railroad artifacts in the nation. Groups touring Maryland get a glimpse of the past through locomotives, milestones in our industrial history. The

tion people have had with trains through the years. Apart from the compelling exhibits, the museum also features operable replicas of historic steamers. Children and adults alike can climb aboard and enjoy a ride down the first commercial railroad track in America. Train rides are offered Wednesday to Sunday, April through December. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum hosts events throughout the

Maryland brims with old train depots and stations, dotted throughout the state. Most of these stations have been transformed into small museums. Visiting these relics is perfect for tourists looking to explore more of Maryland’s countryside while simultaneously taking in railroad history. Ellicott City Station, located on the Old Main Line of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, is said to be the oldest existing railroad

Riders on the Walkersville Southern Railroad, just north of Frederick, Md., can ride in a vintage 1920s passenger car or open flatcar.

best place to absorb the tradition of Maryland’s railroads is at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. Known for its extensive collection of 19th century locomotives, the museum has become a must-see attraction in Baltimore. Not only does the museum collect and preserve thousands of railroad artifacts for guests to peruse, but also displays scale models and toys to convey the fascinaLeisureGroupTravel.com

year for tourists and locals to enjoy. One of the most loved celebrations is Railfest Steam Days (Oct. 16-17), where rare steam engines travel along the first mile of track that was laid down in 1827. Spectators can ride behind the museum’s famous locomotive, the #4 St. Elizabeth, built in 1950 to transport coal for the U.S. Government’s St. Elizabeth Hospital. (borail.org)

station in America. Here, guests can see the original depot building, dating from 1830, as well as the freight house and a replica of the first horse-drawn rail car. (ecborail.org) Bowie Railroad Station was built in 1910 and now houses not only rail exhibits, but also an interlocking switch tower, waiting shed and caboose. (www.cityofbowie.org/museums). On June 2010 23


on location: northeast ❖ the shores of Chesapeake Bay lies the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum, located in the original railway’s station. This rail line operated from 1900 to 1935, shuttling vacationers to the resorts every summer. The museum showcases a range of artifacts from rail ties and photographs to authentic bathing suits and postcards from the era. This railway station truly represents the beautiful landscape and carefree lifestyle of the Chesapeake area. (cbrm.org). Gaithersburg Community Museum is yet another attraction in a restored Baltimore & Ohio railroad station. The museum holds both a permanent collection of artifacts and rotating historical exhibits. Outside the building sits a 1918 Buffalo Creek & Gauley steam locomotive and a bay window caboose. (gaithersburgmd .gov/museum) While railroads reigned in the world of cross-country transportation, trolley cars became prominent features in big cities. The District of Columbia had relied heavily on trolleys to get around, but streetcar service ended in the late 1950s. The National Capital Trolley Museum was founded soon after in 1959 and opened its doors to the public in 1969 in Montgomery County, Maryland. The museum houses collections from all over the country and the world, bringing in cars from several European cities. Last year the museum presented its multimillion-dollar visitor 24 June 2010

center, car barn and demonstration railway, providing visitors with access to its impressive collection of 14 street cars. Now guests can take 20-minute rides aboard both American and European streetcars on the mile-long demonstration railway. The new expansion offers guests more hands-on exhibits, but it is also visually stimulating, with architecture inspired by electric railway buildings in Washington. (dctrolley.org) Clearly there is plenty of railroad history in Maryland for groups to see, but a true railroad experience involves more than just looking. Riding on a scenic rail-

A “train robber” holds up Maryland’s Walkersville Southern Railroad on its run through the Maryland countryside.

road gives passengers a chance to travel back in time to the glory days of railroading. Maryland offers a few scenic tours worthy of a ride. As part of the Pennsylvania Railroad Frederick Secondary, the railway between Walkersville and Frederick was constructed in 1869, a couple years after the end of the Civil War. For years, dairy farms thrived along the line, sending milk and eggs to the markets. But in the early 1970s the railroad fell on hard times, forcing it to close and be put up for sale. The State of Maryland purchased the stretch within its borders from WalkLeisureGroupTravel.com


Ride a vintage train at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

ersville to Frederick. Now it operates as Walkersville Southern Railroad, a scenic eight-mile trip through woods and farmland. The railroad offers regular excursions where passengers have the choice of riding in an open-air car, a refurbished coach car or the caboose. On top of these standard trips, Walkersville Southern includes mystery dinner trains, holiday trains and Jesse James robberies. In 2009, Maryland granted the railroad access to three more miles of track north of the current station, and Walkersville Southern has already started to build and upgrade the track so it can begin service on the new rails. (wsrr.org) Journeying through the mountains of Maryland is best done on railroad tracks. The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad makes a 32-mile trip from Cumberland to Frostburg, taking passengers through an idyllic landscape in the Allegheny Mountains. The railroad operates two trains: a 1916 Baldwin steam locomotive or a vintage diesel engine. Either one will give groups an experience they won’t soon forget. Regular excursions offer passengers seats in restored coach cars or the option to LeisureGroupTravel.com

purchase first-class tickets, allowing them to enjoy lunch in the dining car. After the train cuts through the Narrows, bounds around Helmstetter’s

Curve and plows into Brush Tunnel, it arrives at Frostburg Depot. Here, passengers enjoy a 90-minute break where they can roam between shops and restaurants, and they can witness the train changing directions on the turntable. While the regular excursion is enjoyable, some visitors may opt for a murder mystery or specialty train instead. Trains run May to December, but the fall months, particularly October, are most popular due to the changing leaves. (wmsr.com) With all the history and railroad memorabilia, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic when visiting Maryland. A vacation to Maryland is certainly a trip through time, back to the days when passenger trains chugged along iron tracks, and the sounds of whistles filled the air. It will have any visitor yelling “all aboard!” LGT

June 2010 25


vanessa day

Northeast Woodstock, Vermont’s Wassail Weekend Parade

Holiday Celebrations in the Northeast Time-honored traditions make the season bright for groups touring the historic East t doesn’t take much to get into the holiday spirit, but America’s Northeast goes above and beyond to provide locals and visitors with an array of festivals, parades and shows to enjoy. The Northeast’s small towns and rich history are perfect platforms for celebrating the season, creating a sense of excitement and compassion familiar with this time of year. Every city offers group travelers a different experience, but all will leave them brimming with holiday cheer.

I

Plan a visit to the Mid-Atlantic region’s finest woodland wildflower garden. Let our unparalleled collection of native plants inspire you. Fall Group Tours are available by reservation from September 15th—November 7th. Call 302.239.4244 to sign up today.

Tour the Brandywine Valley’s premier naturalistic garden.

Greenville, DE www.mtcubacenter.org

26 June 2010

NEW YORK New York City, a popular destination during the holiday season, is home to some of the nation’s most famous events. The 84th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will arrive on 34th Street, with Santa Claus officially kicking off the season. Visitors can see the Rockettes kick up their heels at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular or head over to Rockefeller Center and its Christmas tree. For shopaholics, a favored tradition is meandering from LeisureGroupTravel.com


one decorated store window to the next, enjoying the themed displays of the department stores. A quick trip over to Staten Island offers guests the opportunity to participate in the Candlelight Tours, where historic Richmond Town is lit by candles, oil lamps and hearths, free for all to explore. (nycgo.com) MASSACHUSETTS Not far from the bustling New York streets, Massachusetts delivers holiday fervor in its capital city. Boston mixes the joy of the holidays with its significant attractions spread throughout the city. The Boston Christmas Festival takes place at the beginning of December and features over 300 artisans selling their unique crafts. Guests can also watch chefs and bakers from around Boston create gingerbread masterpieces in the Gingerbread House Competition. The Freedom Trail winding through Boston is a popular attraction for tourists any time of the year, but especially during the holidays. Historic Holiday Stroll Tours on the Freedom Trail takes place every weekend from mid-November through the end of December, teaching visitors about the evolution of holiday traditions in Boston. Picturesque Boston Common features many holiday attractions and celebrations, including the Ice Skating Pavilion, nightly Holiday Lighting and the Menorah Lighting. All the festivities culminate with First Night Boston, a day-long festival on New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eve ending with a grand procession down Boylston Street. (bostonusa.com) NEW JERSEY The college town of Princeton truly captures the feel of the holidays, inviting guests to join in the festivities at Palmer Square. The Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place the day after Thanksgiving, and entertainment is provided throughout December, including caroling and LeisureGroupTravel.com

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Northeast horse-drawn carriages. Christmas trees are a staple in holiday celebrations, and the Morven Museum & Garden cannot get enough of them, literally. Its Festival of Trees allows local businesses and clubs to decorate a tree and display it in one of the museum galleries. (visitprinceton.org)

RHODE ISLAND A visit to Newport will have tourists gawking at some of the most magnificently decorated mansions on the East Coast. The Newport Mansions—the Breakers, the Elms and the Marble House—open their doors to showcase thousands of wreaths, yards of garland and bouquets of poinsettias, lilies and roses. Children can visit with Santa while adults tour the immaculate rooms, nibbling cookies and pastries, sipping eggnog and cider. These mansions represent the true meaning of “deck the halls.” (newportmansions.org) VERMONT Woodstock puts on an annual event known as Christmas at Billings Farm, where guests are transported back to the 19th century. The historic dairy farm is authentically decorated and provides numerous activities. Wassail Weekend in Woodstock has been a longstanding event, celebrating the name’s Norse meaning “drink to the health.” Festivities include a parade, house tours, and a medieval banquet. (woodstockvt.com)

ON THE WATER IN NEW YORK CITY

F

or groups bound for New York City in any season, Harbor Experience Companies offers many ways to enjoy the harbor from South Street Seaport, including one-hour Statue of Liberty sightseeing cruises aboard a New York Water Taxi double decker catamaran or Circle Line Downtown’s Zephyr, a 400-passenger smooth sailing yacht. Groups will find it impossible to control the laughter aboard a half-hour thrill ride on the high-speed Shark. After the cruise, passengers can enjoy fun events at the Water Taxi Beaches (Long Island City, South Street Seaport or Governors Island) with their awesome views, activities like ping pong and mini-golf, and great food. Offering fully customizable packages, Harbor Experience Companies provide multiple options for groups seeking a unique New York City harbor experience. (harborexperience.com)

PENNSYLVANIA Bethlehem: The name says it all. This city is brimming with holiday spirit, and visitors are in for an experience nothing short of magical. Bethlehem, known as the Christmas City, embraces its Moravian culture. Guests can wander through the Christkindlmarkt, modeled after the open-air markets of Germany. (lehighvalleypa.org) LGT LeisureGroupTravel.com


HISTORIC GETTYSBURG

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Immersion into the battle through the restored

1884 Cyclorama Painting ➤ A tour of the historic Gettysburg Battlefield ➤ Dinner with a historic figure ➤ Historic and haunted town tours ➤ Backstage theater tours

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY © Donnie Thompson

DAY 1: Rise and shine after a restful night at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, complete with indoor pool, fitness center, and just minutes from all the historic attractions. Enjoy a free deluxe continental breakfast and prepare for a day of history!

Haunted Gettysburg book series, guides in period attire will lead you to sites of hauntings and eerie sightings.

Your first stop will be the Gettysburg Diorama. Experience the entire battlefield in 3-D miniature. Over 20,000 pieces set the stage of the three-day battle as a light and sound show bring the tragedy to life.

After breakfast, meet American Stories Historic Walking Tours for a tour of historic Downtown Gettysburg. Recount the experiences of the Gettysburg civilians in 1863 as the famous battle rages around them, or take a Civil War Fact or Fiction tour and try to determine which tales of the battle are true. You will be sure to remember this interactive history tour.

Visit the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center for an immersion into the Battle of Gettysburg. A New Birth of Freedom film orients you to the Battle and the American Civil War. After the film, ascend the escalator to see the massive Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama painting, circa 1884, and feel as though you are on the fields of Pickett’s Charge. Spend time exploring the museum where the story of the Battle and the war is told through artifacts, interactive exhibits and short films. Enjoy a lunch at one of our many group-friendly restaurants including buffet, served and boxed-lunch options. Tour the Battlefields to see where our nation was saved in July 1863 and the site of Abraham Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address.

DAY 2:

Gather for lunch and a backstage tour at the Majestic Theater, built in 1925. Now celebrating its fifth season, the Majestic keeps audiences applauding with live performances from August through May, as well as Classic Movies Wednesdays during summer. Explore Gettysburg on your own. With the help of Freedom Transit, you can experience a variety of locations at your own pace aboard a new public trolley system. And, since it runs late from May-November, you can have a full evening to explore.

DAY 3: Your dinner will be at the Dobbin House historic tavern, located in one of the oldest buildings in Gettysburg. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this colonial restaurant offers candlelit elegance, gracious service and superb food. Invite a historical character, such as President Lincoln, to join you for this special dinner in Gettysburg. Following dinner Haunted Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Tours leads you through the streets for a hauntingly entertaining evening. Based upon documented stories collected for Bob and Bonnie Wasel’s

As you depart Gettysburg, take a scenic drive through the battlefield. Spend a few extra moments capturing photos for scrapbooks. From Gettysburg, head west for a guided tour of the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, which offers Broadway performances, musical groups, dance troupes and youth programs. Tours include the history of the Center, architectural, construction and audio and visual equipment highlights, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the theater.

CONTACT: Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Jennifer Racey • www.gettysburggrouptours.travel 571 W. Middle St., Gettysburg, PA 17325 Phone: 800-337-5015 • Email: jracey@gettysburg.travel

➤ A Different Side of Gettysburg ➤ Living History at Gettysburg

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June 2010 29


EXPERIENCE PHILADELPHIA LIKE NEVER BEFORE

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Visit the birthplace of our nation ➤ 117 year-old public food and vendor market –

Reading Terminal Market ➤ World-renowned art and cultural museums ➤ Tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes ➤ Experiential and voluntourism tour options

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Morning: Load your group on board a double-decker bus, historic trolley, or land-and-sea “duck” for a 90-minute tour of Center City Philadelphia. Professional guides will provide a wealth of facts about the city’s history, attractions and architecture. Unload at Independence National Historical Park for a walking tour of “America’s most historic square mile,” including the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, and soon, the President’s House commemorative site. Don’t miss the oldest street in America, Elfreth’s Alley, or famous flag-maker Betsy Ross’ House. Lunch: Fill your groups’ appetites with delicious food from more than 80 merchants at Reading Terminal Market, an authentic farmers market in the heart of Center City. Your groups can select from Pennsylvania Dutch specialties, Philadelphia cheesesteaks, world-famous mac ’n cheese and cuisine from around the globe. Afternoon: Continue your tour of the Historic District with a visit to the National Liberty Museum or the Independence Seaport Museum on the waterfront. Build some of the 25 free historical sites into your afternoon, including Christ Church and Franklin Court, home to America’s first post office and print shop. End your afternoon at the National Constitution Center, where you can view the U.S. Constitution. Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a Colonial-style tavern, City Tavern or pub in the Historic District.

DAY 2: Morning: Visit the city’s most renowned cultural museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, whose steps were made famous in the Rocky films. Other options include the sculptures at the Rodin Museum or American paintings at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Lunch: Dine at the Water Works Restaurant overlooking Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill River.

Afternoon: Explore the world’s largest urban landscaped park via I-Glide, Philadelphia’s version of a Segway® Tour. A short distance away is Eastern State Penitentiary located in the Fairmount neighborhood, where your group can tour Philadelphia’s famous prison that once housed Al Capone. (During September and October, the Penitentiary hosts a frighteningly wonderful haunted tour that welcomes groups.) Dinner/Dancing: View the city skyline from the Delaware River as your group departs from Penn’s Landing on a Spirit of Philadelphia dinner cruise.

DAY 3: Morning: The day starts before the sun rises in the Italian Market. With more than 125 years of history and tradition, you won’t want to miss the place film character Rocky Balboa made famous. Enjoy some free time to shop for produce, cheeses and breads. Or take a behind-the-scenes tour of Termini Brothers Bakery. Whether you take the tour or not, enjoy the famous cannoli and coffee in their cafe. Lunch: Sample the selection of cuisine along famous South Street. Choose from dozens of restaurants, then shop the eclectic boutiques, listen to live music, or just sit back and take in the bustling street at an outdoor cafe. Afternoon: Head west through Antique Row to the Avenue of the Arts, where you can record yourself singing one of Gamble and Huff’s famous songs at The Sound of Philadelphia souvenir shop. Take a tour of City Hall – the tallest municipal building in the world – and then head across the street to Macy’s for tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes. Dinner: Wear your new Philadelphia outfit for a group dinner at one of the world-class restaurants along the Avenue of the Arts or in the trendy Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.

CONTACT: Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Ryan O’Connor, Tourism Sales Manager • www.philadelphiausa.travel/group-tour-planners 1700 Market Street, Suite 3000, Philadelphia, PA 19103 Phone: 215-636-3312 • Fax: 267-479-6312 • Email: RyanO@pcvb.org

➤ Philadelphia Culinary Tour ➤ Philadelphia for Students ➤ Philadelphia Free Attractions

30 June 2010

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Hudson River Valley, New York & Pennsylvania

SLEEPY HOLLOW’S LEGEND NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Peddlers Village Scarecrow Festival &

Scarecrow Make & Take Workshop ➤ The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor ➤ Sightseeing in Sleepy Hollow Country and

a Hudson River Autumn Cruise ➤ Philipsburg Manor October Celebration and

Legends Night in Sleepy Hollow ➤ Four Nights Lodging, Four Breakfasts and Two Dinners

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Travel to New Hope, PA and check into the Golden Plough Inn for an overnight stay. Tonight dinner is at the Cock n’ Bull Restaurant serving a traditional meal in a colonial setting. You will also enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. (This tour is available the 2nd and 3rd week of October.)

Sleepy Hollow" to life! It is a haunted landscape filled with goblins and ghosts from Hudson Valley folklore.

DAY 2: Start with a Guided Tour of the Peddlers Village Scarecrow Festival with time for shopping in the Village. Tour includes a Scarecrow Make & Take Workshop. Next, travel to the Hudson Valley for a two-night stay. Dinner tonight will be on own. Tonight features the most exciting Halloween event in the Hudson Valley, The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, featuring more than 4,000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack o'lanterns. Enhanced by professional lighting and steeped in spooky music and sound effects, this must-see event is a delight for all senses!

DAY 3: Enjoy a morning of Sightseeing in Sleepy Hollow Country including a cruise on the Hudson River. This afternoon you will enjoy a rustic October Celebration at Philipsburg Manor with pumpkin carving, spooky storytelling, open-hearth cooking and colonial games for children. Visit the water-powered gristmill, 18th century barn and newly restored manor house. Dinner is on your own at the festival grounds. This evening experience Legends Night at Philipsburg Manor. Lit by candle lanterns and bonfires, this event truly brings "The Legend of

DAY 4: Take a morning Tour of Kykuit, home to four generations of the Rockefeller family, beginning with the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. This is the preeminent Hudson Valley landmark for architecture, remarkable gardens, art, history and spectacular scenery. The home is simply amazing. This afternoon travel to Wilkes Barre, PA and check into your hotel for an overnight stay. Tour The Houdini Museum followed by a supernatural evening experience. Dinner included at a local restaurant. Next is the evening show at the Psychic Theater, titled "Haunted! Mind Mysteries & THE Beyond." Not for the weak of heart, you learn about mentalism, mind reading, telekinesis and sightless vision. Hear about the story of the murder/suicide/electrocution in this 100-plus-year-old historic building. Attend a seance in the dark, which is part of this highly acclaimed three-hourplus paranormal event!

DAY 5: Depart for home.

CONTACT: US TOURS

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Bob Cline • www.ustours.biz 2819 Murdoch Ave., Parkersburg, WV 26101 Phone: 888-393-8687 • Email: bob@ustours.biz

➤ Colorado’s High Mountain Railroads ➤ Almost Heaven West Virginia

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June 2010 31


on location: south ❖

justine mulattieri

Travelers on distillery tours in Kentucky can see how bourbon whiskey is made and may get to sample the product.

k e n t u c k y’s Bourbon Trail Savor the mellow spirit of the Bluegrass State on a distillery-hopping tour between Lexington and Louisville

ith rolling green hills dotted with the glossy coats of thoroughbreds, winding country roads and carpets of bluegrass swaying in the breeze, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is more than an education in the art of distilling spirits; it is a complex blend of heritage, culture and achievement. Declared by the U.S. Congress in 1964 as “a product distinctive to the United States,” bourbon whiskey is a liquor steeped in time-honored tradition and crafted with pride. Kentucky is both the birthplace and the largest producer of bourbon, providing 95% of the world’s supply. The six distilleries officially featured on the Bourbon Trail, plus others, are within an hour’s drive of one another. Most offer group tours led by a resident bourbon expert, and if you’re lucky, you may get to meet the master distiller.

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A short drive west of Lexington, Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles boasts an impressive pedigree and is one of two stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail that does not produce multiple varieties. Woodford Reserve Bourbon is hand-crafted in small batches and each bottle is individually numbered and labeled. The distillery was founded in 1865 in Woodford County horse country. It is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby and releases a Derby commemorative bottle each year. The bourbon has a distinctively sweet flavor of creamy vanilla, smooth caramel, soft buttery notes and a balanced fruitiness. Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort produces 24 varieties of bourbon and whiskey including Blanton’s, a fivetime winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition gold medal.

Buffalo Trace was the first distillery to use steam power for distilling, to ship whiskey down the Mississippi River and to market single-barrel bourbon. Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the flagship blend, is light in color and bears a complex aroma of vanilla, mint and molasses. Frankfort, Kentucky’s capital city, has plenty of options for visitors looking to get a taste of regional heritage. Berry Mansion, the Colonial Revival home of the family that owned the Old Crow bourbon company from the late 1800s through the mid-20th century, is a vision in Southern grandeur. In Kentucky, bourbon is incorporated into numerous cooking recipes. Guided tours are available at RebeccaRuth Candy & Tours, a Frankfort factory that produces more than 120 different types of candy, including its

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signature “bourbon ball” chocolate. Those who like their whiskey with a kick will certainly find it in Lawrenceburg at Wild Turkey Distillery. Producing 12 varieties, including Rare Breed, a “knock-your-socks-off ” 108 proof, and three traditional rye whiskeys, Wild Turkey was founded in 1855 and has a trademark distillation process. The blend is “simmered” like a stew and very little distilled water is added, which contributes to the full flavor and high alcohol content. In addition to being incorporated into many a song lyric and Hollywood bar scene, Wild Turkey was proclaimed by the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London as “Best Worldwide Whiskey” of 2008. Also in Lawrenceburg is Four Roses Distillery. Legend has it that in 1888 founder Paul Jones Jr. named his bourbon after the Southern belle he courted, instructing her to pin flowers to the front of her dress at an upcoming festival if she returned his affections. She arrived with four roses pinned to her gown and the rest, as they say, is history. Four Roses produces 10 separate varieties, including the limited edition “Mariage” Collection (that’s how they spell it). For this unique collection, barrels are selected by the master distiller, and in a limited-edition small batch, he marries two separate flavors of Four Roses in a barrel proof release. A romantic spirit, both in history and in flavor, Four Roses bourbon traditionally has a soft, mellow flavor with notes of apple and pear. Tours of the Spanish Mission style-structure and its rose gardens are offered Monday through Saturday. In Loretto we discover one of Kentucky’s more famous distilleries— Maker’s Mark. Although the actual structure of the distillery was built in 1889, the first Maker’s bottle sold in

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1959. It was the first distillery to have a visitors center and to be made a historic landmark. This use of branding and the mentality that bourbon crafting could be presented as a tourist attraction contributed to the creation of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Coming from a long family history of whiskey crafting, Maker’s Mark was born when its founder, a sixth-generation distiller, burned his family’s centuries-

A guide at Four Roses Distillery explains the distilling process.

old recipe and opted to create his own using red wheat instead of the typical rye. Visitors wishing to take home a souvenir can hand-dip their very own bottle of Maker’s Mark in the signature red wax covering. Boasting the nation’s largest volume of Kentucky bourbon, Heaven Hill Distilleries houses upwards of 40 million gallons of aging bourbon at its expansive facility in Bardstown. Founded in 1934, the company produces nine varieties of bourbon, including its signature medium-amber Evan Williams. The Bourbon Heritage Center and tasting room is a barrel-shaped structure where visitors are invited to sample the various products.

Stop by the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in Bardstown. The museum features advertising posters, rare documents and other assorted memorabilia from the American whiskey industry. We end the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in Clermont, just south of Louisville, with bourbon’s “royal family,” Jim Beam. Apart from its namesake nectar, the world’s best-selling bourbon, Jim Beam also produces four small-batch varieties that have added to the Beam legacy. Distilling since 1794, the Beam family is one of the oldest in bourbon history. While tours of the plant itself are not currently available, visitors can visit Jim Beam and see the grounds, a working rack house and the Beam family mansion. Free samples of Jim Beam products are offered to visitors 21 and older. Complementing the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail is a seven-bar trek that showcases establishments where bourbon is the drink of choice and a resident connoisseur is always on hand to assist in a tasting. Each is well-stocked with at least 50 bourbons, and as many as 150. Guests can try modern bourbon cocktails or classics like the Old Fashioned and Mint Julep. Whether you take the scenic route through the rolling hillsides or a more studied approach downtown, you’ll leave Kentucky knowing why America’s native spirit still reigns supreme. LGT

PLAN IT ! • Kentucky Bourbon Trail: 502-875-9351, kybourbontrail.com • Kentucky Tourism: 800-225-8747, kytourism.com • Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail: justaddbourbon.com

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melinda hughey

South Christmas ‘Round The South

The Galt House in Louisville is gearing up for KaLightoscope.

Special events throughout the region lure groups with holiday mirth and merriment right lights and big celebrations steeped in generations of tradition define the holiday season south of the Mason-Dixon with a wealth of festivals, parades, tours and events marking the “Down South Christmas Countdown” each year. Southerners do love getting all “lit up” for the holidays, and outdoor illumination reaches new heights, er brights, via colorfully festooned parks, gardens, attractions and in some cases, entire towns. These truly shine as destinations in their own right. A merry mix of old favorites and new twists generates memory-making itinerary ideas for even the most seasoned groups!

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34 June 2010

Jackson Square is a nerve center of Christmas cheer in New Orleans. LeisureGroupTravel.com


Here is a sampling of suggestions, any of which qualify for “must-see, must-do” status: KENTUCKY This year the Commonwealth commandeers a spot in Christmas lighting luminosity with KaLightoscope, a huge light display at The Galt House in Louisville. KaLightoscope (kalightoscope.com) is a landscape of largerthan-life, lighted holiday sculptures inspired by ancient Chinese art. Made of sheer, painted fabrics, each towering sculpture is enhanced by light, color and an imaginative setting. Some even reach 24 feet high! Santa’s Midnight Flight over the World, Toyland and the breathtaking Nativity are just some of the 12 areas designed to awe and delight. Holiday music, aromas and little surprises make it an unforgettable experience for anybody. And it’s all inside a temperature-controlled, 16,000-squarefoot pavilion. A holiday dinner show, “Colors of the Season,” a gingerbread village, scads of activities starring Santa and a Mistletoe Marketplace round out the experience, which has already drawn “incredible response” in terms of advance reservations, according to Galt House sales director Carol McMasters. TENNESSEE Smoky Mountain Winterfest (smokymountainwinterfest.com) greets visitors from one end of Sevier County to the other, as the towns of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg pull out all the stops to dazzle visitors with spectacular lighting displays. With a wealth of new shows and activities, along with traditional favorites like Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, The Incredible Christmas Place and its year-round Inn at Christmas Place, there are ample reasons to revisit this popular holiday venue. At press time, Gaylord Opryland LeisureGroupTravel.com

Hotel, renowned for its Christmas festivities, was assessing damage from Nashville’s devastating and historic May 1 flood that saw the Cumberland River overflow its banks, surging into the hotel as well as the adjacent Grand Ole Opry House and Opry Mills shopping mall. In an early press conference, Gaylord CEO Colin Reed indicated

South hopes the hotel would reopen within four to six months. Tour planners are urged to consult the hotel website (gaylord-opryland-resort.com) for updates.

GEORGIA Magical Night of Lights (lakelanierislands.com), billed as the world’s largest animated light extravaganza,

The Norfolk waterfront is the perfect destination for fun, dynamic group tours. From museums to harbor cruises, live entertainment to outdoor recreation, there’s always something unique and interesting to be found in the heart of the Virginia waterfront. Plan your visit today at visitnorfolktoday.com, or contact our sales department at 1-800-368-3097.

visitnorfolktoday.com | 1-800-368-3097

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See the glockenspiel at the Inn at Christmas Place, Pigeon Forge.

M Y R T L E

B E A C H

sparkles and shimmers across Lake Lanier Islands Resort near Atlanta. The fun runs each evening from 5-10 p.m. on a drive-through tour of seven miles of twinkling, holiday light displays. A Holiday Village with carnival rides, pony rides, photos with Santa and holiday treats, including a marshmallow roast, add to the festivities. In Pine Mountain, Callaway Gardens (callawaygardens.com) puts on a show of its own, Fantasy in Lights, for the 18th season on Nov. 19. Billing itself as “the Southeast’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show with more than eight million twinkling lights,” Fantasy in Lights has attracted more than two million visitors who come to see more than a dozen lighted scenes, custom-designed just for Callaway.

O C E A N F R O N T

THE 100%COMPLETE RETREAT. Six oceanfront pools, including 2 heated pools, Jacuzzis and lazy rivers. Our new Sanctuary Day Spa, fitness center, golf, and a spectacular Radical Ropes high ropes course with extreme zip lines. Plus a new 90-seat conference and meeting facility and spacious accommodations that include 2-BR family suites with full kitchen and separate kids’ BR. www.HamptonInnOceanfront.com or call 1-800-HAMPTON 1801 South Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577/843-946-6400

36 June 2010

South NORTH CAROLINA Candlelight Evenings & Christmas at the Biltmore (biltmore.com) begins Nov. 12 this year and continues through New Year’s Day. George Vanderbilt’s palatial summer home takes on a warm glow as firelight and candlelight fill the house and accent delicate ornaments and priceless treasures. Choirs singing European carols, the shops of the adjacent stables, plus the newly-opened Antler Hill Village and expanded winery tour, all enhance the holiday mood. The front lawn of Biltmore House sets the scene with a sparkling holiday illumination of evergreens bathed in thousands of twinkling lights. While in Asheville, don’t miss the National Gingerbread House Competition, (exploreasheville.com) held annually at Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa (groveparkinn.com). The event draws gingerbread architects and artists from points near and far and has become an eagerly awaited and favorite holiday tradition at the historic resort.

LOUISIANA New Orleans celebrates the holiday season like no other place. Tour the magnificent Celebration in the Oaks at City Park, a festive display of nearly two million lights decorating 100-yearold oak trees. Ride a horse-drawn carriage through the park or travel by foot or car. At Caroling in Jackson Square, a free public sing-along, each caroler is given a song sheet and a lit candle. It takes place the Sunday before Christmas depending on how early in the week Christmas occurs. If Christmas falls on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, then the event is usually scheduled two Sundays before. There are literally hundreds of special events, free music concerts, culinary and cultural happenings. (neworleanscvb.com) LGT LeisureGroupTravel.com


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AUTUMN COLORS

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Great Smoky Mountains National Park ➤ Dollywood ➤ Theaters & Dinner Shows ➤ Fall Colors & Arts and Crafts ➤ Shopping

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Arrive in Pigeon Forge and enjoy the splendid colors and fall decorations at every turn before you check in to one of our many groupfriendly hotels. For dinner, your folks will love the Old Mill Restaurant. Take a guided tour and browse the general store featuring products from the Old Mill, which was built in 1830. After a big Southern dinner, take your group to one of our stage shows such as the Comedy Barn Theater with its family friendly performances and fun barnyard animals or Country Tonite Theatre with its high-energy entertainment, dancing and humor. (D)

DAY 2: Start the morning at your hotel with a deluxe continental breakfast, then join your step-on guide for a tour of the most visited national park in the United States. This Great Smoky Mountains National Park tour will reveal awe-inspiring beauty and a touch of Appalachian history. Enjoy an afternoon of shopping at the outlet and specialty shops like those you’ll find at Walden’s Landing or Belz Outlets. This evening your group can enjoy one of our many dinner shows like Black Bear Jamboree, where you will dine on a fabulous feast while being entertained by an award-winning cast of singers and dancers, or maybe Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction and its amazing displays of horsemanship. Another option is Smith Family Dinner Theater with the music and comedy of Charlie, Jim and Charlie Bob Smith or Magic Beyond Belief, for magic that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Or how about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Miracle Theater. This blockbuster musical is new to Pigeon Forge in 2010. (B,D)

DAY 3:

comedy. Then, it’s on to Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s very own theme park, with shows, handmade crafts and rides for all ages. For an afternoon of entertainment take your group to The Miracle Theater, where the curtains rise with the dawning of creation as the fingerprint of Christ is illustrated throughout history. Dinner this evening is at the Hoot n’ Holler Dinner Show at WonderWorks. Sit down for an Italian feast while enjoying this vaudeville-style musical production. Or your group can take a musical step back in time with a performance at Memories Theatre or Tennessee Shindig. (B,D)

DAY 4: Enjoy a pancake breakfast at Flapjack’s or Log Cabin Pancake House, before heading out to Pigeon Forge’s newest attraction, the Titanic Museum. See the world’s largest personal collection of Titanic artifacts ever assembled in one place. Lunch is on your own at one of the many restaurants along the Parkway. This afternoon you are welcome to ride the Pigeon Forge Fun Time Trolleys to your favorite shopping or entertainment destination. Choose dinner this evening from fine restaurants such as Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, Tony Roma’s, Golden Corral, Mama’s Farmhouse or Wood Grill Buffet. Your entertainment this evening should include a visit to the Smoky Mountain Theater to enjoy legendary Motown music at The Temptations Revue. (B,D)

DAY 5: Depart Pigeon Forge with memories that will last a lifetime!

Enjoy breakfast at the Blackwood Morning Variety Show as the awardwinning Blackwood Quartet starts your day with gospel, country and

CONTACT: Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Joy McNealy, CTIS, or Kay Poole, CTIS • www.pigeonforgetours.com P.O. Box 1390, Pigeon Forge, TN 37868 Phone: 800-285-7557 • Email: jmcnealy@mypigeonforge.com or kpoole@mypigeonforge.com

➤ Springtime in the Smokies ➤ Lights on the Mountain Christmas Tour

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Because some destinations never leave you.

There are plenty of reasons motorcoach travelers keep coming back to see us... the biggest being the variety of things to see and do. Whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the shopping, the shows, Dollywood or the beauty of the Smokies, there is truly something for everyone in Pigeon Forge.

PigeonForgeTours.com

1-800-285-7557


PigeonForgeTours.com

1-800-285-7557


ents in Ev

Pigeon Forge TENNESSEE JANUARY

Wilderness Wildlife Week™ F EB RUARY

Saddle Up! MARCH

A Mountain Quiltfest™ MAY

Dolly’s Homecoming Parade J U NE

Smoky Mountains Storytelling Festival™ J U LY

Patriot Festival AU G U S T

Celebrate Freedom!™ OCTOB ER

Harvestfest NOVEMB ER – F EB RUARY

Winterfest

PigeonForgeTours.com

1-800-285-7557


ALMOST HEAVEN WEST VIRGINIA

Elkins, West Virginia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Two train rides on the New Cheat Mountain Salamander

& The Durbin Rocket ➤ Three music shows including the American Mountain

Theater’s Premier 2-Hour Variety Show and Bluegrass with a Twist dinner show ➤ Dinner at Graceland or Halliehurst Mansion ➤ Two nights first-class lodging ➤ Two breakfasts, one lunch and two dinners

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Far removed from the hustle and bustle of modern urban society is the quaint town of Elkins, West Virginia. After checking into the Holiday Inn Express RailYard for a two-night stay, we will enjoy a nice dinner at the RailYard Restaurant. Following dinner, enjoy an evening music show “Bluegrass with a Twist.” Enjoy a toe tappin’ good time with The Jumpin’ Tyme Band as they perform popular music with Bluegrass instruments.

DAY 2: Today begins with a real kick, a morning music show. The American Mountain Theatre’s “History of American Music” show covers the ever-changing world of music. It’s a musical welcome to the mountains that will start your blood pumping and get your toes tapping. Next, ride the NEW Cheat Mountain Salamander. This diesel locomotive leads you from Elkins to the High Falls of the Cheat River, a point literally five miles from the nearest road. It then follows the remote Cheat another 21 miles across the mountain top. We will also enjoy a Hobo Lunch Buffet on the train. Following a short drive down the far side of Cheat Mountain, you find the town of Durbin and a steam locomotive known as The Durbin Rocket. This 90-minute excursion follows the Greenbrier River Valley, a remote stream between two mountains with many scenic and wildlife-viewing opportunities.

Returning to Elkins you have dinner at either the Graceland or Halliehurst Mansion, homes built by timber barons in the late 19th century. Ending the day is the American Mountain Theater’s Premier 2-Hour Variety Show. The freshest sound in the mountains, this stage show is similar to the family variety shows that made Branson famous. Two hours of musical styles including country, southern gospel, bluegrass, pop and patriotic music.

DAY 3: After discovering the timeless mountain heritage with two train excursions and enjoying a toe tappin’ good time, with three music shows, it is time to depart for home. This trip truly is Almost Heaven.

CONTACT: US TOURS

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Bob Cline • www.ustours.biz 2819 Murdoch Ave., Parkersburg, WV 26101 Phone: 888-393-8687 • Email: bob@ustours.biz

➤ Colorado’s High Mountain Railroads ➤ Sleepy Hollow’s Legend Night

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HISTORIC FREDERICKSBURG

Fredericksburg, Virginia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Original George Washington family homes ➤ Charming Old Town Fredericksburg – a shopper’s delight

and restaurants to suit any palate ➤ Four Civil War battlefields ➤ Classic Broadway musicals at Riverside Dinner Theater ➤ Wine tastings and food pairing demonstrations

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: George Washington influenced not only Fredericksburg’s history, but also the new nation he helped form. At Ferry Farm you’ll see the site of Washington’s boyhood home before journeying to the home he purchased for his mother, the Mary Washington House, and his sister’s home, Kenmore, known for its beautiful plasterwork. His brother, Charles, sold his home and it later became the Rising Sun Tavern, remaining today as a lively interpretive site with costumed 18th century tavern wenches. Lunch can be enjoyed on your own in Old Town or at any of a wide variety of group-welcoming restaurants. Spend the evening at Potomac Point Winery learning about and sampling the awardwinning wines and the food that is paired with them.

DAY 2: Strategically located midway between the capital of the Confederacy in Richmond and the U. S. capital in Washington, D. C., Fredericksburg was the scene of four of the most devastating battles of the Civil War. A local guide will join you as you visit Chatham Manor, a Georgian plantation home that served as a vital Federal headquarters, communications center and hospital. Visitor centers at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville feature museum exhibits, videos and short walking tours that tell the story of the four battlefields in the region. Enjoy evening entertainment at Riverside Dinner Theater, which possesses state-of-the-art facilities and seats 452 guests. Riverside boasts gourmet cuisine, a choice of four entrees served at your table and a commitment to classic Broadway musicals.

DAY 3: There are many unique sites in the area that have an ambience all their own. Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont was the home of this American Impressionist artist. Your senses will delight in not only the wonderful artwork and furnishings, but also the gardens on the 27-acre estate. No visit to the area would be complete without some free time for shopping in Old Town Fredericksburg. After lunch on your own in one of the independently owned restaurants, spend time browsing the galleries, antique shops, boutiques and craft stores that line the brick sidewalks, a portion of the 40-block National Historic District. After lunch visit Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center housed in two historic buildings and discover thru the eyes of local residents the region’s rich and varied past. Or perhaps you need medical treatment. Although Dr. Mercer may not be in at the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, his apprentice will be certain to have a treatment for whatever ails you. Your group will depart the Fredericksburg region with many fond memories and an appreciation for one of the most historic cities in America. We welcome you to experience it for yourself.

CONTACT: Fredericksburg Regional Tourism Partnership

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Lura Hill, Manager Tourism Sales • www.VisitFred.com 706 Caroline St., Fredericksburg, VA 22401 Phone: 540-372-1216/866-405-3046 • Email: lhill@fredericksburgva.gov

➤ Art, Romance, Mystery, Fashion—Immerse Yourself ➤ Of Wine and Roses

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MYRTLE BEACH – THE CLASSIC TOUR

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Oceanfront breakfast with savory Coastal Carolina Cuisine ➤ Enjoy a little culture and history at a local rice plantation

or art museum ➤ Relax and rejuvenate yourself at a tranquil day spa ➤ Tap your toes at any one of the area’s seven live

entertainment theaters ➤ Savor the area’s finest seafood along the Murrells Inlet

Marsh Walk

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Arrive Myrtle Beach Hotel Check-In – The Myrtle Beach area’s grand beaches and communities are strung with a necklace of luxurious resorts – oceanfront or on a fairway, roomy condos, cozy cottages, quaint motels and beach houses catering to every group’s needs. Dinner – Head out and experience our Carolina Coastal Cuisine, featuring various styles of strikingly delicious cooking. The area is historically known for fresh local seafood, rice, grits, sweet potatoes, peaches, berries and a fresh produce season that starts in early spring. Evening Entertainment – Boasting a unique variety of award-winning music, dance, comedy, dinner shows and celebrity concerts, the Myrtle Beach area today is home to some of the best in the entertainment world. Several showplaces and thousands of seats provide the perfect venues for top-notch entertainment every night of the week.

DAY 2: Myrtle Beach Breakfast at Hotel – Most hotels feature fantastic selections to begin your day. Depart Hotel for a Taste of Culture – The South is a place rich in history that has defined the strong cultural landscape of the Myrtle Beach area. From the craftsmanship of glass blowing in Conway and on Pawley’s Island, to stately rice plantations with endless stories to tell – and even the coming together of a community to compete for the Grand Strand’s best Chicken Bog – Myrtle Beach is redolent of its heritage, and, with Southern hospitality in mind, welcomes groups to indulge in its local customs.

Dinner on Your Own, Then Shopping! Surf, sand, amusements and golf aren’t the only activities in the Myrtle Beach area. The area enjoys a sterling reputation as a vibrant shopping destination by the sea. The Myrtle Beach area abounds with retail options from boutiques to factory outlets to mixed-use shopping and entertainment complexes that tempt every imaginable budget, taste and style.

DAY 3: Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Breakfast – A number of oceanfront restaurants, some conveniently located in your own resort, line the Grand Strand. Savor a Lowcountry Crab Bake or Eggs Benedict, Coastal Carolina-style, against the spectacular East Coast sunrise. Spoil Yourself – Spend the morning on the beach, then treat yourself! An early afternoon pampering is the perfect time to unwind, rejuvenate and even indulge. While the Myrtle Beach area makes it easy to save, the area’s offerings allow for just the right amount of “laid back luxury” – with pampering spas. Dinner – Head to Murrells Inlet and the Marsh Walk! Savory Lowcountry cuisine is bountiful here; so is fresh seafood, the finest steaks and a range of mouth-watering delicacies prepared by some of the region’s award-winning chefs. From casual to upscale dining, you’ll find a delightful selection of notable restaurants along the Marsh Walk. After dinner, stroll along the walkway and take in the sounds of nature or a live band playing at a neighboring restaurant!

CONTACT: Myrtle Beach Area CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Sandy Haines • www.VisitMyrtleBeach.com 1200 N. Oak St., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 Phone: 843-916-7248 • Email: Sandy.Haines@VisitMyrtleBeach.com

➤ Visit GroupTravelDirectory.com for more Myrtle Beach itinerary ideas

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SPIRIT OF FIRE & STRENGTH OF STEEL

Corinth, Mississippi and Shiloh, Tennessee

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Meander up the walkway to the Interpretive Center to

find artifacts embedded in the landscape ➤ See the bedroom where the orders for attack on

Shiloh were made ➤ Walk the path of early freedom for escaped slaves ➤ Have a cherry coke at the historic soda fountain ➤ Find a place of peace on the Shiloh Battlefield

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Morning: Start the day with a visit to the Alcorn County Welcome Center with a complimentary coffee break and rest stop. A step-on guide will then present the sights of Civil War Corinth: Crossroads Museum at the Depot, where the railroads crossed thrusting Corinth into the national spotlight in the 1860s and home to an impressive collection of local relics; C&D Jarnagin Company, a leading outfitter of Civil War reenactment uniforms and supplies; Verandah Curlee House, the site where Special Order #8 was given for the launch of the Battle of Shiloh; and Civil War Earthworks, the best preserved in the nation. Lunch: So as not to miss a moment of Corinth’s history, the group will be treated to lunch at the Weaver Center, a private dining facility trimmed with a fine, private collection of Civil War artifacts. Corinth’s premier attraction, the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, a National Park Service site, is next on the list. It features interpretive films, interactive exhibits and a marvelous outdoor courtyard and fountain. Ranger programs are also available. Then it is off to Corinth Contraband Camp, the site of early freedom for many AfricanAmericans even before the Civil War ended. The group will next be treated to a driving tour encompassing Corinth National Cemetery, Antebellum Homes and Historic Businesses. As an afternoon treat, a visit to Borroum’s Drug Store has been added. Opened by a Confederate veteran in 1865, Borroum’s is Mississippi’s oldest, continuous family-operated drugstore. An old-fashioned soda fountain is a

bonus featuring cherry cokes and chocolate malts. While at Borroum’s, view the Confederate monument on Court Square dedicated to Col. William Rogers, the hero of the Battle of Corinth. Evening: Dine on the porch of Generals’ Quarters Inn, an 1870s home in the heart of the historic downtown residential district.

DAY 2: Morning: The group will get an early start with complimentary breakfast at the host hotel where a guide will be on hand for a tour of Shiloh National Military Park. As the group makes its way into the park, either a ranger or professional guide will join the tour at the Visitor’s Center to give an in-depth view of the pivotal points of the battle including stops at Hornet’s Nest, Peach Orchard, Bloody Pond, Albert Sidney Johnston Death Site and Pittsburg Landing. Lunch: Catfish, hushpuppies and sweet tea abound as the tour is capped off with lunch at Hagy’s Catfish Hotel, a historic Tennessee riverfront restaurant just yards from Shiloh Battlefield.

CONTACT: Corinth Area CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Kristy White • www.corinth.net 215 N. Fillmore St., Corinth, MS 38834 Phone: 800-748-9048 • Email: tourism@corinth.net

➤ By These Hands ➤ Birthplace of Freedom

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WHERE THE WEST WAS FUN

Fort Smith, Arkansas

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Fort Smith National Historic Site ➤ “The Medicine Show on Hanging Day” musical/comedy ➤ Railway excursion through the Ozarks ➤ Tour/tasting in Arkansas Wine Country ➤ Chaffee Barbershop Museum

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Afternoon: Miss Laura’s Visitor Center—Tour the former bordello, the first to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. With prior arrangements, “Miss Laura” will be in costume to greet and give the tour! Pre-arrange for refreshments of sarsaparilla and peanuts. Stepon guide can join group for driving tour of Historic District. Fort Smith National Historic Site—Tour Hangin’ Judge Isaac C. Parker’s Courtroom, the old jail known as “Hell on the Border,” and see replica of famed gallows where 79 men met their fate. Check in Evening: Dinner—The Lighthouse Inn on the banks of the Arkansas River and enjoy Miss Laura’s Players in The Medicine Show on Hanging Day, an original musical/comedy in its 16th year of production. Step back into a colorful past, both novel and entertaining!

DAY 2: Morning: Darby Home—Boyhood home of the founder of famed World War II “Darby’s Rangers,” restored to the early 1940s; contains lots of World War II memorabilia. A & M Railway—Excursion north through the beautiful Ozarks. Oneway or roundtrip available. Box lunch can be pre-arranged.

DAY 3: Morning: Fort Smith Art Center—Fine paintings, sculptures and art exhibits or Farm Tour—Working farm in operation for over 60 years by three generations of a family. Learn about farming in the region and crops such as soybeans/rice/corn. Stroll through pecan groves; see honeybees at work. Fort Smith Museum of History—150 years of Fort Smith history; learn the city’s role in the early frontier, the Civil War and the late 19th century lawlessness of the area. Enjoy old-fashioned soda at the working drug store/soda fountain. Electric Trolley—Nostalgic ride through downtown on a restored electric trolley (1926 Birney). Lunch: The Park at West End—Dine in restored rail car; ride a classic 1935 Ferris Wheel (in the 1930s World’s Fair in San Diego); take in sights/sounds of an old-time calliope. Afternoon: Church Tours—First Lutheran or Immaculate Conception Church—beautiful stained glass windows/fascinating history. St. Scholastica—Tour facility and get insight on life in a convent. Artworks by Sisters dating back to early 1900s.

Afternoon: “High Tea” at the Clayton House—Circa 1850s restored home of William Clayton, Judge Parker’s prosecuting attorney. Contains authentic Clayton family and period pieces. “High Tea”/tour must be pre-arranged. Return to hotel.

Chaffee Barbershop Museum—History of Fort Chaffee, built in 1941 to train World War II recruits. Restored barbershop where many recruits got their first ‘buzz” cut, including Elvis Presley in 1958!

Arkansas Wine Country—Visit one of several wineries for tour/tasting followed by dinner at Wiederkehr’s Weinkeller Restaurant, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Other activities available: Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center; learn how “The Natural State” got its name. Choctaw & Cherokee Casinos – Enjoy time at the slots!

CONTACT: Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Carolyn Joyce • www.fortsmith.org 2 North B Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901 Phone: 479-783-8888 or 800-637-1477 • Email: tourism@fortsmith.org

➤ Take a Walk on the Wild West Side ➤ Fort Smith, Arkansas – The West Starts Here!

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Biloxi, Gulfport, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Bay St. Louis, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

THREE DAYS OF DISCOVERY HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Your choice of maritime excursions on the Gulf of Mexico ➤ Beauvoir, last home of the only president

of the Confederacy ➤ Ohr-O'Keefe and Walter Anderson Museums of Art,

Smithsonian affiliates ➤ Old Town areas, boutique shopping, local craftsmen

and Southern cuisine ➤ 24-hour gaming with headline entertainment at

Vegas-style casinos

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Savor the Flavor of Gulf Coast Culture Morning: Start off the day soaking in the Coast history and culture. Experience the creations of “Mad Potter” George Ohr at the OhrO’Keefe Museum of Art. Travel back in time at the Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center, a replica of the original house built by former slave Pleasant Reed in 1887. Stop by the Hurricane Katrina Memorial built by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Climb the restored Biloxi Lighthouse, icon of the coast, built in 1848. Explore Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home circa 1852, last home of the president of the Confederacy and the origin of his memoirs. Afternoon: If the Gulf of Mexico beckons, catch a noon trip with Ship Island Excursions from the Gulfport Harbor. Watch for dolphins as you cruise to Ship Island, home of Ft. Massachusetts and beautiful beaches. Relax aboard the Biloxi Schooners, replicas of the oyster schooners used from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Take in tales of shrimping, fishing and Biloxi history aboard the Biloxi Shrimping Trip. Become a “foodie” for the afternoon with a culinary demonstration or Southern tea offered by one of our local chefs. Night: Enjoy excellent restaurants, top-name entertainment and exciting gaming at one of our first-class casino resorts.

Afternoon: For a truly unforgettable experience, meet the real McCoys! Let Captain Lynn with McCoy’s River and Marsh Tours take you on the Pascagoula River, one of the most pristine river swamps in America. Greet some gators at the Gulf Coast Gator Ranch, the oldest gator farm in Mississippi. Night: On your way back through Ocean Springs, choose from a variety of excellent restaurants, bars and pubs, all within walking distance.

DAY 3: From the Bay to Beyond the Milky Way Morning: Spend the day in the Bay. After a beautiful drive west along the Gulf, cross the Bay of St. Louis into a shopping and dining paradise. Mississippi’s West Coast is home to more than 200 resident artists, creating the unique pieces exhibited in local galleries. Visit St. Rose de Lima, a Catholic church with a magnificent surprise! Stop by the historic L & N Train Depot, home to Hancock County’s CVB, for a rest and visitor information. Afternoon: Intrigued by outer space? Blast off to StennisSphere and discover why America comes to NASA’s Stennis Space Center before going into space. Begin your journey at the Launch Pad to prepare for your mission. Then on to a narrated tour through the nation’s largest rocket test complex where space shuttles’ main engines are tested.

DAY 2: Old Town and the Real McCoys Morning: Travel east to Old Town Ocean Springs. Visit the many boutiques and galleries of this quaint artisan town. Don’t miss the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, home of the distinctive works of this renowned Coast artist.

Night: On your way back, stop in revitalized Downtown Gulfport, where restaurants, hot music spots and cozy bars are just steps away from one another.

CONTACT: Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Janet Harrington • www.gulfcoast.org P.O. Box 6128, Gulfport, MS 39506 Phone: 888-467-4853, ext. 228 • Email: janeth@gulfcoast.org

➤ Student and Family-Friendly Itinerary ➤ Ecotourism and Outdoor Adventures Itinerary

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You can relax when you plan a tour to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Where your tour options are many: Twenty-six miles of beaches, walk-able bridges, glitzy casino resorts, headline entertainment, 24 hour gaming, fun-filled festivals, outdoor adventuring, coastal attractions, cruising, exciting new museums opening between 2010 and 2012, unique boutiques, artisan districts, and hidden galleries, shopping, Old Town strolling on tree-lined streets, fresh seafood and award winning dishes at group friendly restaurants, signature golf and fantastic fishing. And, help with your tour planning is a given: Customized itineraries, hotel lead service, referral service for Step-on guides, group attractions, restaurants and special programs, digital imagery for your flyers, online catalogs and local maps for your tour members along with genuine southern hospitality. Call us about adding the Mississippi Gulf Coast to your tour schedule and plan to relax.

Contact Janet Harrington Manager, Leisure Sales & Group Travel Mississippi Gulf Coast CVB Phone: 888-467-4853 Email: janeth@gulfcoast.org


Gretna, Westwego, Crown Point, Marrero, Jean Lafitte, Kenner & Metairie, Louisiana

EXPERIENCE JEFFERSON HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Travel back in time when the Germans settled in Gretna ➤ Make friends with an alligator with marshmallows ➤ Seafood sensations created by local chefs ➤ Experience the bayou up close and personal ➤ Join the parade in authentic Mardi Gras costumes

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Jean Lafitte Explore the historic town of Jean Lafitte, a small Cajun village known for its waterways, seafood and festive culture. Enjoy the splendors of nature with Louisiana Tour Company as you journey along Bayou Barataria on a swamp tour and see beautiful moss-covered oaks, cypress trees, lush vegetation and abundant wildlife. Join the park rangers at Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve for a canoe trek or stroll the paths and enjoy captivating bird watching. Enjoy fresh seafood at the Restaurant Des Families or one of the many local favorite restaurants. As you travel you will see signs of the everyday fishing culture such as a lugger, which is a fishing boat that was outfitted for trawling, fishing and hauling oysters from the bayou. Experience the life of the pirate Jean Lafitte like never before as the events leading up to the battle of New Orleans are depicted in 12 working dioramas at the Jean Lafitte Visitor Center. Next is the Louisiana State Fisheries Museum, once the one-room schoolhouse of the bayou. Set under moss-covered, century-old oak trees, the museum tells the historic swamp life of the Cajun people. Finish the day at Jean Lafitte Nature Study Park, a 41-acre site with a mile of raised boardwalk running through a pristine cypress swamp. Enjoy dinner at Andrea’s Restaurant, where tuxedoed waiters help translate the Italian menu and colorful chef-owner Andrea Apuzzo often visits with diners.

DAY 2: Gretna, Westwego & Kenner Wander through the Historic District attractions in the City of Gretna or join a local guide at the 1905 train depot that houses the visitors center and museum for a walking tour of Gretna’s beautiful old cot-

tages, David Crocket Firehouse, St. Joseph’s Church and restored Blacksmith Shop. On Saturday mornings join the locals for a taste of Louisiana’s beautiful crops at the Gretna Farmers Market. On the second Saturday shop “Art Walk” featuring work of local artists. Tour the German-American Cultural Center Museum and learn how the first German immigrants settled the west bank of the Mississippi River. Go west to the Westwego Historical Museum, where you can experience a hidden treasure housed in an original General Merchandise Store. Shop the craft booths of the Farmers and Fisheries Market located near the Mississippi River. Enjoy traditional New Orleans favorites at Acme Oyster House or Austin’s Restaurant for lunch. Next, take a walking tour of Kenner’s Rivertown museums and attractions. Visit the Mardi Gras Museum, Toy Train Museum, Science Center, Heritage Park and a state-of-the-art planetarium experience at the Louis J. Roussel Planetarium & MegaDome Cinema. Photograph the mighty Mississippi River from LaSalle’s Landing. Dine at Johnny Trauth’s Seafood Bistro, a local favorite where you will always find seasonal specialties.

CONTACT: Jefferson Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Lynn Toca • www.experiencejefferson.com 1221 Elmwood Park Blvd., Suite 411, New Orleans, LA 70123 Phone: 877-572-7474 • Email: lynn@experiencejefferson.com

➤ Complimentary customized itinerary assistance available

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A TASTE OF NEW ORLEANS

New Orleans, Louisiana

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Breakfast of beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde ➤ Louisiana cooking class ➤ River Road Plantation Country and Cajun swamp tour ➤ Jazz brunch in the French Quarter ➤ Dinner and entertainment at Cajun music restaurant

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Morning: Start your morning with a traditional New Orleans Jazz Brunch located in a beautiful courtyard setting in the heart of the French Quarter. Sample some local favorites, such as eggs Benedict, grits and grillades, bananas Foster and bread pudding. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a real jazz brunch without a live jazz combo playing Dixieland tunes, accompanied by a cool mimosa. Afterwards, meet your guide for a Historic French Quarter Walking Tour and learn about the city’s fascinating history and how to navigate the French Quarter, or Vieux Carre. Afternoon: Now that you have explored the French Quarter, you may wish to try one of the many restaurants where locals go and enjoy a traditional po-boy or muffalatta that are one-of-a-kind delicacies famous in New Orleans. After lunch the group may wish to take a relaxing ride aboard an authentic paddle wheeler complete with live Dixieland jazz and a narration of the historic Mississippi River. Evening: Now that you are acquainted with the area, you may want to take in one of many fine dining establishments or arrange a dinner and cooking demonstration at cooking schools. Afterwards, walk down Bourbon Street for an evening filled with live entertainment or, if you’re feeling lucky, stop in Harrah’s Casino, where there’s over 100,000 square feet of gaming right at the foot of Canal Street.

DAY 2: Morning: This morning start your day at Café du Monde with a traditional New Orleans breakfast of café au lait and beignets (a square doughnut covered in powdered sugar). Truly a New Orleans original.

is complete with visits to above ground cemeteries and the many neighborhoods that make up the Crescent City. Afternoon: This afternoon leave some free time to shop and explore the French Market, take in a street car ride or enjoy one of the many museums located throughout the city. There is truly one to suit all interests and ages. Evening: This evening you may want to enjoy a restaurant that offers live entertainment. You can choose a traditional dinner and jazz combo or take in a live zydeco performance while bowling at Rock-n-Bowl, a unique entertainment venue where the locals love to go!

DAY 3: Morning: Venture outside the city limits today for a combination tour to include a historical River Road plantation and swamp tour where you can get up close and personal with our area wildlife and natural beauty. In keeping with the Cajun theme of the day try a Cajun fais do do at one of our Cajun family restaurants complete with live music and dance lessons for all.

Afterwards, take a city tour of New Orleans. This comprehensive tour

CONTACT: New Orleans Metropolitan CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Lisa M. Holland, Tourism Sales Manager • www.neworleanscvb.com 2020 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130 Phone: 800-748-8695, ext. 5053 • Email: lholland@neworleanscvb.com

➤ New Orleans Culinary Tours ➤ Student & Youth Tours

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HARBORFEST – TALL SHIP FESTIVAL

Norfolk, Virginia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Discover the life of five-star General Douglas MacArthur ➤ View the Parade of Sails from the Spirit of Norfolk ➤ Explore Harborfest, an outdoor festival on the water ➤ Discover Nauticus, an exciting interactive science and

technology center ➤ Stop for lunch at the chic eatery, Vintage Kitchen

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY 4 Days /3 Nights Norfolk is host to the annual festival favorite, Harborfest! Each year Norfolk celebrates nautical history by displaying tall ships from all over the world, along with maritime events, children's activities, local, regional and national entertainment, delicious food and a spectacular fireworks display all along the downtown waterfront.

DAY 1: Thursday Afternoon: Tour the MacArthur Memorial and discover the life and career of a five-star General of the Army. Located in downtown Norfolk’s restored 1850s City Hall, the complex contains a museum, theater and special exhibit galleries. Evening: Dine at 456 Fish, located on Granby Street. 456 Fish offers a casual, fine-dining restaurant experience in the heart of downtown Norfolk. The eclectic menu has a variety of dishes ranging from local cuisine with a down-home flair to items with a more international flavor.

DAY 2: Friday Morning: Take a bus tour of the world’s largest naval installation, Naval Station Norfolk. A knowledgeable, active duty Navy guide will board your motorcoach and give a narrated tour of the base. Afternoon: Parade of Sails - come aboard the Spirit of Norfolk for the Parade of Sails. Watch tall ships from around the world sail down the Elizabeth River in a spectacular two-hour parade. You will have the best view of the harbor, with 700 boats and vessels to see, as well as seven tall ships. Come explore an outdoor festival on the water at Harborfest. Ships from countries around the world including Italy, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain and the Netherlands have been invited to Norfolk’s waterfront for this spectacular event every June. Enjoy live music and great food accompanied by a fireworks display. Tall ships open for tours after the

Parade of Sails for visitors to explore the decks and talk to international sailors. Historical re-enactments from the Colonial Era and the 1908 Jamestown Exposition, sailing demonstrations, art shows, theater performances and musical events will capture groups of all ages.

DAY 3: Saturday Morning: Tour Nauticus, the Battleship Wisconsin and Hampton Roads Naval Museum. Nauticus is a fun and exciting interactive science and technology center exploring the power of the sea. It features more than 150 exhibits, films and exotic aquatic life. Hampton Roads Naval Museum introduces you to over 200 years of naval history in Hampton Roads. Located next to Nauticus is the Battleship Wisconsin, the largest and last battleship ever built by the U.S. Navy. Lunch: Stop for lunch at Vintage Kitchen, a chic eatery that overlooks the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. Vintage Kitchen uses Virginiagrown produce and ingredients in the dishes served and Virginia textiles and designs for the restaurant's décor. Afternoon: Head back over to Town Point Park for Harborfest and enjoy over 50 food vendors, live concerts on three stages and fireworks along the downtown waterfront. A great end to any trip!

DAY 4: Sunday Morning: Before heading home, dine at Omar’s Carriage House for brunch. This two-story brick building nestled in the historic Freemason District once sheltered horses. Today it houses this cozy restaurant that serves innovative dishes in a cheerful setting. Seafood Benedict is the star specialty of Sunday brunch along with other classic breakfast favorites, such as waffles and omelets.

CONTACT: Norfolk Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Melissa Hopper • www.visitnorfolktoday.com 232 E. Main St., Norfolk, VA 23510 Phone: 757-664-6620 • Email: mhopper@norfolkcvb.com

➤ Adventure and Trekking in Norfolk, Virginia ➤ Spring/Fall Town Point Wine Festival

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CIVIL WAR RICHMOND – HEADQUARTERS, HEROES & HAUNTS

Richmond, Virginia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Virginia State Capitol ➤ The Museum and White House of the Confederacy ➤ Pamplin Historical Park ➤ Monument Avenue – Hollywood Cemetery ➤ Richmond National Battlefield Park at Historic Tredegar

Iron Works

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY Steeped in Civil War history and attractions, the past comes to life as you experience the Richmond Region. With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation beginning in 2011, Richmond is a great place to begin your journey.

DAY 1: Richmond Arrive Richmond afternoon and begin your tour at the Virginia State Capitol, where the Confederate Congress met and Robert E. Lee accepted his commission in the Confederate Army. Visit St. Paul's Church, where Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee worshipped. Then it’s off to The Museum and White House of the Confederacy, which houses the largest collection of Confederate artifacts in the nation. The house is as it was when Jefferson Davis lived there. Check in to your Richmond Region hotel. Enjoy a Civil War Dinner complete with Southern cooking and soldiers!

Enjoy an Emancipation Celebration Dinner with entertainment.

DAY 3: Richmond After our breakfast in the hotel, visit the Richmond Region Visitor Center and Gift Shop. Pick up last-minute gifts at the gift shop with discounts. (Notify Janie Lawson within one week of arrival and when you arrive be entered into an annual drawing for a $1,000 AMEX gift card. Special gift for the tour operator, the escort, driver and a gift to give away on the return home to one lucky traveler.)

DAY 2: Richmond/Petersburg Learn about Richmond’s place in the Civil War at the Virginia Historical Society, whose headquarters, Battle Abbey, was constructed by the Confederate Memorial Association as a shrine to the Confederate dead. Visit the Chimborazo Medical Museum, the site of the largest military hospital in the world from 1861-1865. Here, 76,000 patients were treated.

Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center at historic Tredegar Iron Works features evocative voices of soldiers and civilians and a 20-minute film about Civil War Richmond. See the American Civil War Center that tells the story through three interwoven perspectives: Union, Confederate and African-American. Then learn about the area’s many battlefields.

Lunch in Petersburg at the Pamplin Historical Park located on the site of Breakthrough, the battle that ended the Petersburg Campaign and led to the evacuation of the Confederate capital in Richmond. Lunch is before the tour. Return to Richmond to visit the Confederate War Memorial, built in 1887 by Confederate veterans.

Belle Isle is home to an 18th century site that served as a prisoner-ofwar camp for more than 6,000 Union prisoners during the Civil War. Next drive past the Reconciliation Statue, which is one of three identical markers for the apology of slavery located in the world and the only one in the U.S.

Late afternoon visit Hollywood Cemetery. This is the final resting place of Jefferson Davis and his family, 25 Confederate generals and 18,000 confederate dead and two U.S. Presidents.

Drive down Monument Avenue, the nation’s only avenue that’s designated a National Historic Landmark, featuring monuments dedicated to Confederate leaders.

CONTACT: Richmond Metropolitan CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Janie Lawson, CTIS • www.VisitRichmondVa.com 410 North 3rd Street, Richmond, VA 23219 Phone: 800-370-9004 or Direct: 804-783-7409 • Email: jlawson@RichmondVa.org

➤ 400 Years of History and Beyond ➤ Richmond: The African-American Story

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NEW ORLEANS PLANTATION COUNTRY

River Parishes, Louisiana

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Historic plantations with demonstrations ➤ Conveniently situated between New Orleans

and Baton Rouge, Louisiana ➤ Enjoy authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine ➤ Unique shopping venues ➤ Experience a taste of New Orleans

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Journey into the Past Your journey into New Orleans Plantation Country begins in the heart of Vacherie, Louisiana, where picturesque day tours will escort you into the charm and elegance of historic plantations. Take a glimpse into Creole history at Laura: A Creole Plantation, where the stories of Compare Lapin, known in English as the legendary “Br’er Rabbit”, were captured. Discover the history of the sugar cane industry from its beginning in 1795, through the years when sugar was white gold to the present day while touring St. Joseph Plantation. Enjoy lunch at Nobile’s Restaurant, whose long history of hospitality dates back to 1894. The beautiful Victorian mahogany bar that greets restaurant customers and the interesting collectibles bring back the feeling of those days when the cypress loggers raised their glasses and enjoyed a respite from their labor. Walk down the alley of 300-year-old oak trees framing the view of the majestic Oak Alley Plantation, the “Grande Dame of the Great River Road.”

DAY 2: Opulence Abounds

DAY 3: Taste of New Orleans Put on your walking shoes for a day in New Orleans, but before exiting Plantation Country stop off at Destrehan Plantation. Learn of the many changes this majestic house has seen over the last two centuries and participate in historic demonstrations like open hearth cooking, wood crafting, African American herbal remedies, indigo dyeing, candle making or bousillage. In New Orleans, enjoy a walking tour of the city to work up your appetite for a jazz brunch at the Court of Two Sisters. Enjoy an afternoon free to explore the historic French Quarter or one of the city’s many attractions: National World War II Museum, Audubon Insectarium, Aquarium of the Americas or IMAX Theatre – just to name a few. Complete your day with an evening dinner jazz cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez or dinner and jazz at the Palm Court Jazz Café.

As the sun rises and dries the morning dew, begin your day taking in the beauty of San Francisco Plantation, known for its hand-painted ceilings and faux marble finishings. Spend the afternoon at Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, tour the magnificent “Sugar Palace”, browse through the gift shop and enjoy the beautiful views of the gardens while dining at Café Burnside. Catch a glimpse of the setting sun on a pontoon boat ride on beautiful Lac Des Allemands with Pleasure Bend Nature Tours. Return to your hotel and freshen up for dinner at Bull’s Corner in LaPlace, specializing in prime steaks and fresh Louisiana seafood.

CONTACT: River Parishes Tourist Commission

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Kimmie Carlos • www.NewOrleansPlantationCountry.com 2900 Highway 51, LaPlace, LA 70068 Phone: 985-359-2783 or 866-204-7782 • Email: sales@neworleansplantationcountry.com

➤ Plantation Country Festival Trail ➤ New Orleans Area Sugar Trail ➤ African American Heritage Trail

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THRILLS AND SPILLS

Rock Hill / York County, South Carolina

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Sky Dive Carolina ➤ NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Motor Speedway ➤ Mountain biking at Crowder’s Mountain ➤ Float down the Catawba River or whitewater rafting at the

US National Whitewater Center ➤ Carowinds Amusement Park and the Intimidator, the fastest,

longest and steepest roller coaster in the Southeast

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY Carolina blue skies have never looked so good when jumping from a plane at 120 miles per hour.

DAY 1: With an afternoon arrival, begin the York County experience with a geocaching tour of the area. This high-tech treasure hunt, using a GPS device, allows discovery of hiking and paddling trails, lush outdoor scenery and historical sites. Then settle into a great local restaurant and enjoy some great Southern cooking.

DAY 2: After breakfast, Day 2 is full of options…spend the day doing whatever seems fun and exciting. One option is the world of NASCAR. NASCAR began in southern Appalachia, and the Charlotte region is where NASCAR made its home. From the race shops to the Charlotte Speedway and zMAX Dragway, fans will enjoy the ultimate race experience. And with the recent opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte, it only got better for the race enthusiast. Water activities are also a part of the York County experience. A relaxing float down the pristine Catawba River is a great way to see nature. Bald eagles, deer, osprey and many other species call the river home. And a picnic along the river is as good as it gets. For a more exciting water ride, the US National Whitewater Center is the place to be. On the world’s largest re-circulating river, novices and experts alike can enjoy flatwater or whitewater kayaking…and rafting is also a part of this awesome water experience. For those who look for that adrenaline rush, the York County area is the place to be. Sky Dive Carolina is the premier sky dive facility in the Carolinas for both the beginner and experienced jumper. Those

If dirt bikes and ATVs are the preferred mode of transportation, then check out Carolina Adventure World. With over 100 miles of customdesigned trails and 2,600 acres of privately owned land to explore, Carolina Adventure World is the premier destination for riders of all skill levels. The York County area is full of biking, hiking and walking trails that navigate through greenways, blue ways and byways. Mountain biking is available at Crowder’s Mountain. And horseback riding trails throughout the county are available for the experienced or beginning rider. If flying through the trees seems like the thing to do, then Camp Canaan is where the fun begins. A zip line canopy tour of this 100-acre island sends visitors zipping through 100-year-old oak trees and flying over the beautiful Catawba River.

DAY 3: If there haven’t been enough thrills and spills in York County so far, then check out Carowinds theme park, the thrill capital of the Southeast. From 13 rockin’ roller coasters to tsunami-sized waves in the water park, Carowinds is an awesome finale. The park’s newest thrill is the Intimidator, a roller coaster inspired by racing legend Dale Earnhardt. So pack up the car, plane or train and check out the Thrills & Spills in York County, SC…just 20 miles south of Charlotte, NC.

CONTACT: Rock Hill/York County CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Margaret Wallace • www.visityorkcounty.com 452 S. Anderson Rd., Rock Hill, SC 29730 Phone: 800-866-5200 • Email: mwallace@visityorkcounty.com

➤ A Grande Ole Time ➤ Holiday Cheer

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EXPERIENCE SAVANNAH’S SPLENDOR

Savannah, Georgia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ A unique city layout with an abundance of squares

and parks ➤ River Street with over 100 restored cotton

warehouses, restaurants, art galleries and shops ➤ Informative and fun tours offered through the

Historic District ➤ Nighttime activities that include river boat cruises

and live musical theater ➤ Outstanding dining options including The Lady and Sons

restaurant, home of famous Southern chef Paula Deen

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY

DAY 3:

DAY 1: Savannah Welcome Center/History Museum: The Savannah History Museum showcases the city’s history from its founding to the present day. The museum is home to exhibits that include Forrest Gump’s bench, one of Johnny Mercer’s Oscar Awards and a carriage owned by the family of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low. Take a Tour: Get to know Savannah by experiencing a city tour, either on our period-style trolleys or with one of our highly trained step-on guides. The tour lasts about two hours and will help your group get better acquainted with our genteel Southern beauty. Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Savannah offers all types of casual and upscale dining options. We can help you determine which restaurants are particularly “group friendly!”

African-American History: Take a tour that focuses on our rich black heritage. Highlights include a church that was built by slave labor and served as part of the Underground Railroad. We’re also home to the state’s oldest continuous school for newly freed slaves as well as a modern museum chronicling the civil rights struggle in Savannah. Military Might: From its beginning, Savannah has been fortified to protect its residents and strategic port. Today our eight forts stand as un-garrisoned but fascinating reminders of our military history as well as striking memorials to our country’s struggles to remain free. Fright Night: Discover why Savannah has repeatedly been named “America’s Most Haunted City!” There are numerous touring options to choose from, making this a great evening event for your group that’s entertaining, fun and informative, no matter the age.

DAY 4: DAY 2: Riverboat Tour: Explore the Savannah River’s natural beauty on the Savannah Riverboat. This two-hour excursion shows you the city from a unique perspective. You might even spy playful dolphins swimming alongside! Tasty Treats: Go behind the scenes to see the “masters at work” creating some of the most delicious candies and cookies in the South. Fantastic Tybee Island: Just 20 minutes from Savannah lies Tybee Island, a uniquely charmed island that offers a change of pace and taste. While there, take your group to the Tybee Light Station. Dating back to 1773, the lighthouse is one of America’s most complete historic light stations.

Visit a Historic Home: Savannah’s past is told in the many house museums that populate the area. Your group will enjoy this immersion into the lifestyles of our most famous founding fathers, exploring their period homes, possessions and history. Savannah Souvenirs: Your group will enjoy spending their last afternoon in Savannah looking for that perfect signature Savannah souvenir. The city has a multitude of trendy shops and boutiques that are sure to have something for everyone. It’s Showtime!: Your group’s final night in Savannah is sure to be a memorable one as they experience the city’s live musical theater. The two-hour production will have your group smiling, laughing, singing and tapping their toes to the melodies of well-known songs of the past and present.

CONTACT: Savannah Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Mindy Shea • www.VisitSsavannah.com 101 E. Bay St., Savannah, GA 31401 Phone: 912-644-6419 • Email: mshea@VisitSavannah.com

➤ Girlfriend’s Getaway ➤ Student Sojourns

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THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA: THE LAND OF KINGS

Tunica, Clarksdale and Indianola, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Accommodations, dining and casino gaming in Tunica ➤ Graceland, Sun Records and Beale Street in Memphis ➤ Clarksdale’s Delta Blues Museum and Ground Zero

Blues Club ➤ B.B. King Museum in Indianola ➤ National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY Just down the road in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, there is a special place that connects you to the legends, history and excitement of Southern Kings.

DAY 1: Tunica Check into your luxurious Tunica Casino Resort Hotel. Your group may enjoy any of the nine casino resorts with 24/7 gaming action in the South’s Casino Capital. Dinner recommendations: Paula Deen’s Buffet at Harrah’s Casino Resort (Y’all hungry?) or the Holywood Cafe, made famous in the song “Walking in Memphis” and home of the fried dill pickle.

DAY 2: Tunica and Memphis Options

Peabody Hotel. Witness the tradition of the famous Peabody Marching Ducks. Every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., a red carpet is unrolled and the ducks march through crowds of admiring spectators to the tune of John Philip Sousa's King Cotton March. National Civil Rights Museum. Located at the Lorraine Motel, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the museum chronicles the legacy of the American civil rights movevement. Return to Tunica for the evening, enjoy dinner at a casino resort or one of the local favorites. End the night with some fast-paced casino gaming.

DAY 3: Tunica – Clarksdale – Indianola

Tunica: Tunica RiverPark Museum. Aquariums, interactive exhibits and dioramas reveal the legends and life of the Mississippi River. Voted the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year. Tunica Queen Riverboat. Sightseeing cruises on the Mississippi River. Tunica Museum. Don’t miss Dr. Dick’s humorous and entertaining presentation on the history of Tunica and “King Cotton,” the crop that made the Mississippi Delta famous. Memphis: Graceland. Experience life as Elvis did at his estate, Graceland, with an audio guided tour. Located just north of Tunica.

Enjoy breakfast at one of the spectacular casino buffets or the Blue and White Cafe, a mainstay on Hwy. 61 since 1937. Head south down historic Highway 61 to Clarksdale and on to Indianola. From the cotton fields, street corners and juke joints of the Mississippi Delta came a new kind of music – the blues. Considered by many to be the only truly indigenous American music, this form that has influenced musicians worldwide is deeply rooted in Delta soil. In Clarksdale, visit the internationally acclaimed Delta Blues Museum or Hopson Plantation. The Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the blues. Displays include one of B.B. King's "Lucille" guitars, harmonicas once owned by Sonny Boy Williams II and the log cabin that Muddy Waters lived in at the Stovall Plantation. This is blues heaven. Enjoy lunch at the Ground Zero Restaurant, co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman.

Lunch – many choices Sightseeing Tour of Memphis may include: Sun Studio. Guided tour through the Birthplace of Rock ′n Roll. Hear outtakes from sessions, touch Elvis′ first microphone and hear the history of the studio that launched Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, B.B. King and many more.

Depart Clarksdale, continuing down Highway 61 and over to Indianola, birthplace of B.B. King and home of the new B.B. King Museum and Interpretive Center. The museum explores King’s 60-plus-year career through objects from his life and work. Return to Tunica for dinner.

CONTACT: Tunica Travel

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Bill Canter • www.tunicatravel.com PO Box 2739, Tunica, MS 38767 Phone: 888-488-6422 • Email: bcanter@tunicatravel.com

➤ Visit GroupTravelDirectory.com for more Tunica itinerary ideas

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June 2010 57


SOUNDS OF THE MOUNTAINS— TRAIN WHISTLES AND BLUEGRASS

Snowshoe, Cass and Marlinton, West Virginia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Cass Scenic Railroad State Park ➤ Exploring Snowshoe Mountain Resort ➤ National Radio Astronomy Observatory ➤ Pocahontas County Opera House ➤ Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Afternoon: Check in at Inn at Snowshoe Head to top of Snowshoe Mountain to explore the village shops and beautiful mountain views. Evening: Regroup at the Junction restaurant for some good eats and unforgettable bluegrass music. Return to base of mountain to the Inn at Snowshoe

standing of radio astronomy. The Greenbank Telescope is the largest moving structure in the world. The Green Bank Science Center offers several options for groups to enhance their tour through customized itineraries. Evening: Dinner and interactive folk music show at the Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton. Entertainment takes place in this completely restored opera house from 1909.

DAY 2: Morning: Breakfast at the Inn at Snowshoe Depart for Cass Scenic Railroad State Park for an excursion that will take your group back in time….let them relive the era of steam-driven locomotives. The trip to Cass will be filled with rich history and an amazing ride up the mountain. The trip will include a bag lunch at Whittaker Station before reboarding to return to Cass. Afternoon: Tour the town of Cass and enjoy the relatively unchanged and restored buildings that add to the charm and atmosphere, including the company store gift shop. Depart for Greenbank and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a new, modern facility designed to inform and expand guests' under-

DAY 3: Morning: Breakfast at the Inn at Snowshoe Depart for the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad. The Durbin Rocket is powered by a rare steam locomotive, one of only three operating Climax-geared logging locomotives on earth. You can ride in the 1920s-era coach and vintage wooden cabooses as she chugs alongside the headwaters of the Greenbrier River. This two-hour ride offers exceptional mountain and river scenery in the Monongahela National Forest. Afternoon: Depart Nature's Mountain Playground

CONTACT: Pocahontas County Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Abbey Withrow • www.naturesmountainplayground.com P.O. Box 275, Marlinton, WV 24954 Phone: 304-799-4636 • Email: awithrow@pocahontascountywv.com

➤ Heavenly Indulgences in West Virginia

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Lake Murray, South Carolina

LOVIN’ LAKE MURRAY

(Lexington, Richland, Newberry & Saluda Counties)

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Historic Columbia house tours ➤ Lake Murray dinner cruise ➤ Purple Martin Phenomenon ➤ Carter & Holmes Orchids ➤ Outdoor recreation at Saluda Shoals or Dreher Island Park

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Enjoy a unique breakfast setting at the Robert Mills Historic House and Park. Afterwards tour with the Historic Columbia Foundation through the Hampton-Preston Mansion, Mann-Simons Cottage, Seibels House & Garden, and the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. For lunch, savor the flavors at one of our neighborhood restaurants or cafes…DiPrato’s is a local favorite, especially the pimento cheese! On our way back to the hotel to relax and freshen up, spend a little time shopping at the local shops on Devine Street and at the SC State Farmer’s Market. For the evening, you will never forget this fascinating and completely unique experience, the Purple Martin Phenomenon. Lake Murray is the largest roost in North America for these little birds! Take it all in as you tour Lake Murray aboard one of our tour boats, The Southern Patriot or The Spirit of Lake Murray, where dinner will be catered.

DAY 2: After breakfast, get ready for another captivating experience as you tour Carter & Holmes Orchids. They are the premier source for outstanding orchids all over the U.S. You can even take one home! Continue on to downtown Newberry, which has antique shops, boutiques, restaurants and retail stores. After lunch, tour the 129-year-old Newberry Opera House and be entertained at a matinee performance!

For dinner, sit back and relax to the sounds of local live music at Spinner’s Resort or one of our other favorite “Lake”al restaurants, all while taking in the gorgeous views of Lake Murray.

DAY 3: Take it easy for the day and soak in some sun along the water. We’re going to unwind from our other adventures and do some picnicking. Enjoy the day river-side at Saluda Shoals Park where there are walking trails, picnic areas and exceptional educational, recreational and cultural opportunities. Or spend the day at Dreher Island State Park. In addition to woodsy hiking trails and lots of places to fish from shore, Dreher Island offers picnic areas, campsites and lakeside villas. You’ll Love Lake Murray – Come Visit!

CONTACT: Capital City Lake Murray Country

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Amanda Hildebrand, CTIS • www.lakemurraycountry.com P.O. Box 1783, Irmo, SC 29063 Phone: 803-781-5940, ext. 1 • Email: Amanda@lakemurraycountry.com

➤ Follow the Hallows – A Tour of Historical Cemeteries ➤ A Southern Christmas

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ECO-WILDLIFE SAFARI

Virginia Beach, Virginia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge excursion with a naturalist ➤ Kayak tour through First Landing State Park ➤ Get up close and personal with some of the aquatic

favorites at the Virginia Aquarium and their new exhibit, Restless Planet ➤ Climb to the top of the historic lighthouses at Cape Henry ➤ Visit one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern

world, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Afternoon: Begin your adventure by exploring First Landing State Park and the Cape Henry Lighthouses. Your senses will come alive when viewing where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Climb the lighthouse, then journey through the park and learn how to catch a crab in the bay. Enjoy dinner at the Lynnhaven Fish House or Bubba’s for some fresh catch of the day. If you have some leftover energy, head back to First Landing State Park for a night owl hunt.

DAY 2: Morning: Start your day right with a delicious breakfast at Doc Taylor’s. Then embark on a kayak adventure in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge with Surf and Adventure Company. Stick around in the park and explore the shoreline’s secrets with a nature expert on the Eco-Wildlife Safari and be sure to grab your picnic lunch provided by Margie and Ray's. Afternoon: It’s SwingTime in the Skies with a trip to the Military Aviation Museum. Enjoy a WWII period tour and meet Rosie the Riveter or a Mustang Fighter Pilot. After your trip back in time, head to the Oceanfront for some free time on the boardwalk before heading to dinner. Rockafellers, Waterman’s or Catch 31 – there are so many great restaurants, it’s hard to choose.

DAY 3: Morning: Meet your guide with Chesapean Outdoors at King Neptune’s Statue at 31st St. and Atlantic Ave. Bring your energy and quest for adventure—they’ll supply the bikes and the tour. Ride the boardwalk and explore the trails of First Landing State Park. Afternoon: Grab some lunch at Rudee’s and head for the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Take a behind-the-scenes tour with the Conservation Quest experience. Then it’s time to choose your favorite: stand up paddle boarding, hopping in a kayak or hang ten with surf lessons. Or maybe you want to relax at Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. Spa with a two-hour massage. Either way, it won’t be an easy choice.

DAY 4: Morning: What will it be this morning – a dolphin cruise, sea kayaking or a relaxing morning on the beach? Whatever you choose, your day is sure to be filled with fun. Before going home, take a behindthe-scenes tour of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and enjoy lunch right in the middle of the Bay at the Chesapeake Grill.

CONTACT: Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Jim Coggin • www.vbgrouptours.com 2100 Parks Ave., Virginia Beach, VA 23451 Phone: 800-700-7702 • Email: jcoggin@vbgov.com

➤ NAS Oceana Jet Base The Sound of Freedom Adventure ➤ Taste of the Market with Virginia Beach Farmers

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Ranked “Most Affordable” by AAA.

.

Ft. Abraham Lincoln State Park, Mandan

NDTourism.com or call 1-800-435-5663 for a FREE Group Travel Guide


on location: midwest ❖

randy mink

mages of cornfields, barns and livestock inevitably come to mind when anyone mentions Iowa. In a state that leads the nation in pork production, it’s not surprising that these visions of rural America tend to “hog” the spotlight. But the Hawkeye State is more than endless green acres sprinkled with farm towns. For groups touring Iowa— and for people living in its quiet hamlets—the cities have their own allure. Oases of culture waiting to be discovered, these urban centers offer museums, amusements, theater, music and fine cuisine. Fresh attractions are pumping new life into historic cities that have figured out Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Des Moines how to reinvent themselves.

I

Iowa’s Urban Pleasures

Beyond the silos and waves of grain, country sights give way to city lights in population centers like Dubuque, Des Moines and Waterloo

In Dubuque (population 57,000), one of the Midwest’s great Mississippi River towns, much of the past decade’s redevelopment has occurred along the downtown riverfront. The America’s River Project, a complete overhaul of the Port of Dubuque, invites visitors with a conference center, riverwalk, outdoor plaza, amphitheater, the Grand Harbor water park hotel and new Diamond Jo Casino. The National Mississippi River Mu62 June 2010

seum & Aquarium will double the size of its Port of Dubuque campus with an $18-million expansion set for completion by the end of June. New museum features will include a gallery that covers America’s river history and a Gulf of Mexico aquarium with sharks, rays and other ocean creatures. Guests at the Rivermax 4D/3D Digital Theater will feel their seats rumble and experience wind, water and scent in a completely immersive experience.

Youth groups and others who don’t mind rustic surroundings can stay overnight in dorm-like quarters on the museum’s William M. Black dredge boat, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operated on the Missouri River from 1935-1973. Adjacent to the steamboat, a boardwalk trail features a fur trader’s log cabin, Indian hut, boatyard and wetland habitat. Groups will enjoy an outing on the mighty Mississippi with Dubuque LeisureGroupTravel.com


The revitalized Mississippi riverfront is a gathering place in Dubuque.

River Rides. Its 377-passenger Spirit of Dubuque paddle wheeler offers sightseeing, lunch and dinner cruises. The company also operates Miss Dubuque, a sleek motor yacht. Another group-friendly venue on the riverfront is Star Restaurant, occupying an 1892 brick building that once housed Dubuque Star Brewery. The East Dining Room, built around an old copper brewing tank, offers river views, and there’s an open-air patio off the bar. Special menus and cooking demonstrations are available for groups. The historic brewery building, with beer memorabilia on display, also is home to Stone Cliff Winery, where groups can have a tour/tasting or a meal. Murder mysteries can be arranged. Stone Cliff turns out 100,000 bottles of wine each year, producing cabernet, riesLeisureGroupTravel.com

ling and chardonnay, plus fruit wines like cherry and cranberry. The winery has a piano bar and riverside patio. The Quad Cities area, straddling the Mississippi on the Iowa-Illinois border, also abounds with group tour possibilities. Favorites in Davenport (pop. 101,000) include the Figge Art Museum, housed in a dramatic facility overlooking the Mississippi, and the newly expanded German-American Heritage Center, which chronicles German immigration to the Upper Mississippi region. Also in Davenport are Modern Woodmen Park, home of baseball’s Quad Cities River Bandits, and Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science, which has an IMAX theater. For gaming fun, try the Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf (Iowa’s largest hotel complex, with over 500 rooms) or

Rhythm City in Davenport. Sightseeing and meal cruises are available on the Celebration Belle excursion boat out of Moline, Ill. Waterloo (pop. 67,000) blossoms with new attractions. If your group sees only one of them, it should be the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, named after five Waterloo brothers who perished together on the USS Juneau during a World War II battle in the South Pacific. You can learn about their family’s sacrifices and those of other Iowans who have served the nation, on the battlefront and the home front, from the Civil War to the present. Exhibit areas on each war feature artifacts (weapons, uniforms, mess kits), a review of home front happenings and a mini-theater. There’s also an interactive Communication Station for each war. Visitors get involved in activities like testing their speed at packing cans of food in boxes, a task that many Iowa women factory workers did in World War II. The Sullivan Brothers, portrayed in the 1942 movie The Fighting Sullivan Brothers, are remembered with a statue, replica of their home’s interior and five unopened letters that were returned to their mother after they died. Groups at the veterans museum can enjoy a catered meal underneath the lobby’s P-51D Mustang fighter plane. They also can book historical re-enactment presentations by a soldier or home front personality like Rosie the Riveter. Connected to the Grout Museum of History & Science, the military museum is part of the Grout Museum District, which includes Bluedorn Science Imaginarium and two historic houses. Galleria de Paco, a downtown Waterloo restaurant, has become an attraction in itself since opening in 2006. Operated by Bosnian war refugees who left their country in the 1990s, Galleria de Paco is decorated with vivid scenes replicating Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome. It’s all the work of June 2010 63


on location: midwest ❖ spray-paint artist Paco Rosic, who also is the chef. Group menu options are available; a tour and documentary movie on the artwork can be part of the package. Groups also might enjoy a factory tour at the John Deere Waterloo Operations. Visits to the Engine Works or Tractor Assembly Division include a 20minute video and one-hour riding tour.

Des Moines, Iowa’s capital and largest city (metro pop. 556,000), brims with cultural exclamation points, including downtown’s new Pappajohn Sculpture Park. The 24 sculptures are worth $27.5 million. Other downtown cultural meccas include the Civic Center (touring Broadway fare), Des Moines Art Center (19th, 20th and 21st century masterpieces) and Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater. The Iowa State Capitol with its signature

gold dome offers guided tours, and the State Historical Museum of Iowa lies at its foot. The Iowa Cubs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, bring baseball excitement to riverside Principal Park. Tour groups also like Historic Valley Junction, a charming shopping district in West Des Moines. Perfect for browsing, this eclectic, Main Street-style collection of old storefronts has art galleries, fashion boutiques, antique shops, vintage clothing and other specialty stores. The Heart of Iowa gift shop abounds with souvenir possibilities, from corncob candles and stuffedanimal pigs to John Deere tractors and logo wear. Even in the larger cities, reminders of the state’s farming culture are never far away. LGT

PLAN IT ! • Iowa Tourism Office, 515-725-3083, traveliowa.com

WHERE MEETINGS COME TO LIFE Over 24,000 square feet of flexible meeting and banquet space. Connected via skywalk to over 500 comfortable hotel rooms at the Isle. Quick and easy access from I-74, I-80, I-280 and I-88. Within minutes of Quad City International Airport. For facility rental and reservations, call our sales team at 1-800-724-5825 and mention code FORUM. Visit www.theislebettendorf.com and click on the meeting tab for more Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center details. Follow us on

at twitter.com/QuadCitiesWCC.

45"5&453&&5t#&55&/%03' *" © 2010 Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center is a service mark of the City of Bettendorf.


john kloster

Midwest

Holidays in the Heartland Dreamy visions of Christmases past come to life at Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee.

Christmas traditions warm travelers’ spirits in some of the region’s most group-friendly places he holidays are a great time for groups to explore the Midwest, where festivities abound in towns large and small.

Courtesy of the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion

T

CHICAGO Let’s begin in Chicago, the region’s largest city and one that goes all out for the holidays. The season begins on the Saturday afternoon before Thanksgiving with the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. As the parade travels down North Michigan Avenue, more than one million white lights adorning the trees illuminate the city’s prime shopping street. Also lit for the holidays are Lincoln Park Zoo with its ZooLights 66 June 2010

Christmas shoppers in Chicago make a beeline to North Michigan Avenue. LeisureGroupTravel.com


and Navy Pier, where Winter WonderFest activities lure crowds to Chicago’s most popular tourist magnet. Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science & Industry has been a Chicago tradition for over 60 years. More than 50 trees are decorated to honor different ethnic groups. A newer tradition is Christkindlmarket, dating to 1996. Held in Daley Plaza, this is the largest German Christmas market in the country. The goods, many handmade, include glass ornaments, cuckoo clocks, toys and nutcrackers. There are also vendors offering traditional German sausage and sauerkraut as well as German beer and wine. (explorechicago.org) MILWAUKEE A Grand Avenue Christmas, held Nov. 19-Jan. 9 in Milwaukee, is an annual event that showcases the 37-room

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Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion, built in the 1890s by a beer baron, whose brewery at the time was the largest in the world. Interior designers, florists and residents are brought in to make a dozen or so of the opulent rooms even more so. Each room is decorated differently each season, so there’s every reason to make return visits. The home also hosts Dickens Dinners in December. This is a traditional English feast where Dickens himself reads sections from the classic A Christmas Carol. (pabstmansion.com)

FRANKENMUTH, MICHIGAN There’s Christmas shopping and then there’s Christmas shopping! Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in the charming German village of Frankenmuth is the world’s largest

Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood is home to A Christmas Story House and Museum.

June 2010 67


❖ midwest Christmas store. It offers over 50,000 different items in a building the size of 5½ football fields. More than 350 Christmas trees are adorned with 6,000 ornaments. The 27 acres of grounds are landscaped with Christmas displays, and there’s a nightly year-round display of outdoor lights along Christmas Lane, with life-size Nativity scenes outside each entrance. Its more than two million annual visitors, including more than 2,000 groups, make it one of the state’s top attractions. Bronner’s only has snacks, so groups will want to head into downtown Frankenmuth for an iconic family-style chicken dinner at either the Bavarian Inn or Zehnder’s. (bronners.com) CLEVELAND The 1983 film A Christmas Story had modest success in theaters but has since become a classic, running around the clock on cable during the holidays. A Christmas Story House and Museum, located in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, is the original family home from the film in which Ralphie is hoping for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. The home was purchased by a fan in 2004 and has been renovated to match the sound stage of the film so visitors can see sights such as the Old Man’s leg lamp in the front window. There are also hundreds of photographs and original props, such as the “I can’t put my arms down” snowsuit. An annual convention allows guests to meet members of the cast, screen and discuss the movie, ride on the movie’s fire truck and shoot BB guns in the back yard. The weekend coincides with Cleveland’s annual tree lighting and Christmas parade, this year on Nov. 26-28. (achristmasstoryhouse.com) SANTA CLAUS, INDIANA The town of Santa Claus, in South68 June 2010

Movie fans in Cleveland flock to the filming site of A Christmas Story.

west Indiana, has the only post office in the world with this name. As a result, it receives thousands of letters from children from around the world, and a group of volunteers answers each of them. For three weekends in December, the town’s Santa Claus Christmas Celebration features a traditional Christmas with the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree and attractions. These include a drive through the Santa Claus Land of Lights, Santa’s Great Big LED Tree of Lights at Kringle Place and a chance to learn the history of the town at the Santa Claus Museum. Enjoy a holiday arts and crafts show, many themed restaurants and shops, and visits with Santa himself. (santaclauschristmascelebration.com) LGT LeisureGroupTravel.com


TAKE A BITE OUT OF SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Marshall, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and New Buffalo, Michigan

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Broadway fare at Cornwell’s Dinner Theatre ➤ Gaming action at Firekeepers Casino ➤ Visions of yesteryear at Gilmore Car Museum ➤ Winery visit along the Wine Trail ➤ Fruit farm tour and picnic-style dinner

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Battle Creek - Marshall Experience the Freedom Saga Tour. Witness the finest and largest display of underground railroad sculptures in the entire country. Bronze sculptures bigger than life depict Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and families of slaves fleeing out of a forest and into a river. Riveting, dramatic stories told by a guided city tour in Battle Creek.

What a unique experience among automobile attractions…..the Gilmore Car Museum! Situated in the hilly countryside, the Gilmore houses antique automobiles in historic red barns. Part of the Motor Cities National Heritage, this is a “must see” on all tours. Take a spin in a vintage car or hop aboard a London double-decker bus. Round out your visit with a stop in their Blue Moon Diner for an ice cream treat!

The magic of Broadway-style theatre – brought to you by Cornwell’s Dinner Theatre. Enjoying talented performers from across the country, groups enjoy a traditional turkey meal with all the fixin’s accompanied by professional entertainment in an intimate setting.

It’s cocktail hour with a stop at one of many wineries along the Wine Trail. This region has more than 10,000 acres of grapes that are nestled among the rolling hills and inland lakes. A superior culinary experience. Cheers!

From burning hot slots to scorching giveaways, you have more ways to win big at Firekeepers Casino. Like bonfire big! Enjoy your evening of gaming at Michigan’s newest casino. Newly renovated McCamly Plaza Hotel is the place to overnight. Warm hospitality and superior guest rooms make it tops for group tours!

DAY 2: Kalamazoo Prepare for take-off this morning! The Air Zoo is a highly charged, multisensory atmosphere that goes beyond anything you’ve ever seen. Everything is designed to help you achieve the total flight experience. Strap in as you experience adventure and entertainment. Nestled in Hickory Corners and built by cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg in 1925, Kellogg Manor House is a classic Tudor-style home sitting high on beautiful Gull Lake. Lunch will be at the stately residence. Afterwards, enjoy a tour of the home and lovely gardens.

DAY 3: St. Joseph - New Buffalo Take a bite out of fresh farm fruits or vegetables in Michigan and you’ll never buy store-bought again. Over 60 roadside markets and fruit farms offer sun-ripened goodness. The temperate climate has helped Michigan to lead the nation in growing tart cherries and blueberries. Take a farm tour aboard a “folks-wagon” and hear the history of the farm and witness harvesting techniques. How about participating in your own group cherry-pit spitting contest, too? Pick out your own assortment of fruits and veggies or jams, jellies and cider. Enjoy a picnic-style dinner at the fruit farm—and a big slice of homemade cherry pie. Yummy! Your day ends along the sparkling shores of Lake Michigan with an overnight at Marina Grand Resort. Every room has a spectacular view of the harbor. Now go and ahead and catch some peaceful zzzz’s……

CONTACT: Circle Michigan

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Janet Kasic • www.circlemichigan.com P.O. Box 541, Trenton, MI 48183 Phone: 800-513-6424 • Email: janet@circlemichigan.com

➤ Join the U.P. Fun Ship…An Adventure Awaits You ➤ Paradise of Sugar Sand Beaches Lap the Shores of Lake Michigan

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DISCOVER GENEVA

Geneva, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Trip to Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Gardens ➤ Culinary tour of Geneva ➤ Guided bus tour of historic downtown ➤ Shopping in historic district ➤ Lunch at Mill Race Inn

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Breakfast: Start your morning at one of Geneva’s many diners or cafes―or save your appetite because you’ll be taking a culinary tour of Geneva! 9:30am – Noon: Take a culinary tour of Geneva and sample the various good eats along Third Street and State Street, or take a cooking class and learn the ins and outs from the pros. Make your own loaf of bread, learn about spices, taste premium olive oils and balsamic vinegars, enjoy a tasting of hand-crafted beer, wines or coffees from around the world. End your tour with lunch at one of Geneva’s many restaurants. Or, take a cooking class with the renowned chef of Wildwood Restaurant, make delicious meals from scratch, and enjoy your hard work at the end of the class. Afternoon: After lunch choose your history tour. A step-on tour guide, dressed in period attire, will guide you through the streets of downtown Geneva as you learn about the historic figures that helped shape this quaint riverside community. Or take a walking tour of the “haunted streets” of downtown Geneva on a guided ghost tour. Tours will end at the Geneva History Center, where you can receive a guided tour of the museum and its current exhibits.

themed rooms. Shoppers will discover treasures from around the world in this landmark “department store” dating back to 1922. Dinner: Enjoy dinner at one of Geneva’s fabulous restaurants. From fine dining to friendly diners, there truly is something for every taste and budget.

DAY 2: After enjoying the complimentary breakfast from one of our fine hotels, spend a relaxing morning at the historic Fabyan Forest Preserve. Explore the latest exhibits at the Fabyan Villa Museum featuring the Fabyans’ private collection of Japanese artifacts, scientific instruments and original furniture. Learn about the Frank Lloyd Wright design features throughout the Villa Museum. Savor a moment of harmony with nature and soothe your spirit in the Japanese Garden, originally planted in 1910. Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the Mill Race Inn, a Geneva landmark since 1933. Mill Race Inn offers traditional American fare in a charming setting overlooking the Fox River. Feed the ducks!

Afterwards, enjoy exploring the unique shops in Geneva’s historic downtown shopping district with over 600 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Over 150 shops are within walking distance along picturesque tree-lined streets. Many of the shops are tucked away in architectural gems that were once homes. Don’t miss The Little Traveler, which offers a wonderful assortment of 36 specialty

Afternoon: After lunch the choice is yours to take a relaxing bike ride along the scenic Fox River Bike Trail, take an invigorating kayaking lesson, or head back to the historic shopping district and explore all the shops you didn’t have time for the day before.

CONTACT: City of Geneva

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Ellen Divita or Jamie Heflin • www.genevadowntown.org 22 S. First St., Geneva, IL 60134 Phone: 630-232-7449 • Email: grouptours@geneva.il.us

➤ Crafters Getaway in Geneva ➤ Wine and Art in Geneva

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TAKING THE STAGE IN ST. CHARLES!

St. Charles, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Experience up to five live theaters in St. Charles! ➤ Tour a 900-seat former vaudeville house, built in 1926

– still using the original pipe organ! ➤ Participate in a hands-on art class ➤ Dine in a former church, built in 1851

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Upon your arrival in St. Charles, enjoy lunch along the Fox River at the beautiful Hotel Baker. Built in 1928, this charming hotel offers a group tour menu with a complimentary hotel tour. Listen up for the legendary stars who performed and stayed here in the early 1900s! After lunch, take a journey through St. Charles with a step-on guide from the Visitors Bureau. End your tour at the St. Charles History Museum and learn about all the magnificent people, places and things mentioned during your driving tour! Go behind the scenes with a tour of the Arcada Theatre. Built in 1926, this landmark is one of only a handful of vaudeville-era theaters that is still in its original splendor of the “Roaring Twenties” and to this day uses the original pipe organ! Next up… live theater! Enjoy dinner and a play at Pheasant Run Resort. Laugh with award-winning Noble Fool Theatricals, showcasing professional Off-Broadway musicals and interactive comedies in the resort’s Main Stage or intimate Studio Theater. Ask about a Murder Mystery dinner. Before the performance, check out the Bourbon Street Art Gallery!

DAY 2: After breakfast, visit the Fine Line Creative Arts Center. The Fine Line is one of only a few regional art centers in this country and is housed in a former barn! The center was recently featured in the book “Barns of Illinois.” View the Fine Line Prairie as you approach the center for your art experience! Prearrange a presentation, tour of the galleries or a short class with Fine Line Faculty. They offer many different types of art media!

luncheon down the scenic Fox River! Enjoy a private chartered cruise with lunch during this popular group activity. Launches from beautiful Pottawatomie Park. Now it’s time for shopping in downtown St. Charles. Be sure to visit our art, antique and boutique shops. For dinner, you will enjoy a truly unique dining experience at Onesti’s Italian Steakhouse and Supper Club! Housed in a former Catholic church and built in 1851, this restaurant is a favorite among tour groups. After dinner, enjoy a performance at Steel Beam Theatre. Live theater presentations in an intimate, historic setting with just 79 seats – not a bad view in the house!

DAY 3: After breakfast, you will visit Norris Cultural Arts Center Art Gallery and Theater. This 1,000-seat live theater has provided family entertainment for over 20 years. The Norris Art Gallery has various art exhibits throughout the year. Or visit King’s Mill Refinishing for a discussion on what to look for when purchasing an oriental rug. King’s Mill specializes in fine furniture and antique restoration. A truly wonderful gem of a shop! Depending on the time of year you are visiting, add one of these special events to your itinerary: Kane County Flea Market (MarchDecember), St. Charles Fine Art Show (May), Concerts in the Park (Thursdays from June-August), Antique Collectible Toy and Doll Show (April & October), Country Folk Art Festival (September), Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot Machine & Juke Box Show (November), Christmas on the Fox (November) and Christmastime at the Fine Line (December).

Or…stroll through Sculptures in the Park in beautiful Mt. St. Mary’s Park. From May-October, enjoy this magnificent exhibition of original, unique sculptures. Then, enjoy a paddlewheel riverboat cruise

CONTACT: St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Jenny O’Brien • www.visitstcharles.com 311 N. 2nd St., Suite 100, St. Charles, IL 60174 Phone: 630-377-6161 • Email: jenny@visitstcharles.com

➤ Scarecrow Festival – The 25th Anniversary! (Oct. 8-10, 2010) ➤ Students on Stage – Ask about our Student theater program!

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JOLIET’S JOLLY HOLIDAYS

Joliet, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ “White Christmas” Holiday Celebration at the

Abbey Dinner Theatre ➤ Talk & Tour of Jacob Henry Mansion ➤ Overnight Accommodations ➤ Poinsettia Show at Birdhaven Greenhouse ➤ Organ Mini-Concert & Tour at the Rialto Square Theatre

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Joilet, Illinois Be personally greeted upon arrival at the Jacob Henry Mansion, where you will receive a Welcome Reception in the Drawing Room, the main room of this National Historic Landmark. Enjoy assorted hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar as you are treated to a talk and tour of the 1873 Victorian home before departing next door for dinner. You will marvel at the craftsmanship and warmth of the mansion with 40 rooms that feature Old World fixtures and Victorian charm. From November through mid-January, the Jacob Henry Mansion celebrates its annual Victorian Holiday. The holly, evergreen and mistletoe are abundant in Victorian custom and each room is decorated in its own special way. Located on the Jacob Henry Mansion Estate, the Abbey Dinner Theatre combines the best in homemade meals, heartwarming musical productions and family hospitality. Join us for our annual holiday celebration, “White Christmas,” inspired by the classic film White Christmas. This spectacular holiday concert will take you on a musical journey from a World War II performance for the troops to the glamour of a Florida nightclub and finally the charm and simple beauty of a New England town. Please visit www.landmarkdestinations.com to view the complete schedule for the Abbey Theatre. Depart for one of Landmark Destinations’ motorcoach-friendly hotel properties to enjoy the indoor pool, whirlpool and fitness center, or head off to one of Joliet’s two Vegas-style casinos.

DAY 2: Joilet, Illinois Start off your day with a relaxing extended continental breakfast at the hotel before heading off for Pilcher Park. Arrive at Birdhaven Greenhouse to view spectacular poinsettias amongst the sparkling lights of the holiday. Make sure to bring a camera! Poinsettia plants are available for purchase. The Greenhouse & Conservatory was constructed at its current site in the early 1900s. The Italian Renaissance-style facility features spectacular floral shows with seasonal motifs during fall, winter and spring. A tropical house, cacti room and show house are offered year-round. Your next stop of the trip will be at the Rialto Square Theatre, located in Joliet’s City Center. This beautifully restored 1920s vaudeville theater will have you in awe as you walk through the esplanade fashioned after the Palace of Versailles, the rotunda based on the Pantheon of Rome and take in every twinkle of the 22-foot Czechoslovakian hand-cut crystal chandelier. You will be treated to a private organ mini-concert on the world renowned Barton Grande Theatre Pipe Organ. Before heading home, enjoy lunch at one of Joliet’s fine dining establishments.

CONTACT: Joliet Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Ben Benson • www.visitjoliet.org 150 West Jefferson Street, Joliet, Illinois 60432 Phone Ctc: 815-724-4460 • Email: bbenson@jolietcity.org

➤ Joliet’s Stars & Stripes ➤ Joliet Kicks on Route 66

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GUARDIANS OF THE LAND AG EXPERIENCE

Four Counties in Northwest Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Excursion to Muller’s Lane Farm to experience the old

homestead way of life ➤ Grist Mill demonstration of stone-grinding techniques

used in milling wheat ➤ Cooking demonstration & luncheon featuring organic

produce & meat ➤ Tour of John Deere Historic Site, where the plow

was invented ➤ Tour of Chaplin Creek Village, a restoration depicting a

mid-19th century prairie settlement

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Rock Falls & Sterling Begin your ag-tour at Muller’s Lane Farm, where they use traditional methods and still farm using Belgian draft horses and steel-wheel machinery. This farm will expose you to history still happening. Your next destination is Behrens’ Muffins ’N More for a lunch of downhome cooking & homemade muffins and desserts. You can then explore Behrens’ Country Village for unique gifts and floral items. Following lunch, you’ll travel to Chief Shikshak Northwest Bison Ranch to view bison, red deer, heritage waterfowl and peacocks. Guided humvee or walking tours will take you for an off-road adventure to experience the scenic woodland habitat. You will return to Rock Falls and following check-in at your hotel, evening dinner will be arranged at your choice of local eateries ranging from elegant fine dining restaurants to cute mom and pop cafes serving local favorites. (L,D)

DAY 2: Milledgeville, Mt. Carroll, Grand Detour & Dixon Day Two begins with a scenic drive through the country to visit Roger’s Creek Grist Mill in Milledgeville to tour this mill built from reclaimed barn wood & mill equipment. Roger will demonstrate the stone-grinding techniques of yesteryear, and we will sample products under development such as various types of flours and mixes made into muffins and breads. After driving to Mt. Carroll you’ll join Learn Great Foods chef Donna Duvall in her unique kitchen on the picturesque campus of Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, where she will give a cooking demonstration using organic produce and meat followed by a five-course lunch. Following lunch you’ll

drive to Grand Detour to tour the John Deere Historic Site to visit the restored pioneer home and special archaeological exhibit of the original blacksmith shop. This is the site where John Deere invented the self-cleaning plow and revolutionized farming. The historic site includes a working blacksmith shop, gift shop and visitors center. At the end of Day Two you will travel to Dixon and check into your hotel before proceeding to dinner at one of Dixon’s fine dining establishments. (L,D)

DAY 3: Franklin Grove Following breakfast, a tour of the Chaplin Creek Village in Franklin Grove introduces you to an evolving, full-scale historical restoration project depicting a prairie settlement typical of the 19h century. Historically significant buildings and artifacts have been relocated from the surrounding area such as a blacksmith shop, a saltbox-style house built in the mid-1800s and a typical country schoolhouse. A short trip to the Franklin Creek Grist Mill is followed by a down-home country lunch served on this site located within the Franklin Creek Natural Area. A tour of the reconstructed timber-frame 1847 mill will allow participants to watch the four-ton waterwheel as it powers pulleys and gears to turn the millstone to grind corn. Also featured is a display of panels of 43 native Illinois trees and a variety of fossils found in the stone walls. (L) Itinerary options include historic architectural tours, tours of modern, state-of-the-art working farms or our Reagan Roots tour. We can personalize the Guardians of the Land Ag Experience to suit any group.

CONTACT: Blackhawk Waterways CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Julie Kessinger, Group Tour Coordinator • www.bwcvb.com 201 N. Franklin Ave., Polo, IL 61064 Phone: 800-678-2108 • Email: jkessinger@bwcvb.com

➤ Rock River Culinary Tour ➤ Sweet & Salty Saturday with a Chocolate Covered Sunday: A Weekend on the Blackhawk Chocolate Trail

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THE MANSIONS OF LAKE COUNTY

Lake County, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Cuneo Mansion & Gardens ➤ Tempel Lipizzans ➤ Downtown Antioch ➤ Lehmann Mansion ➤ Gold Pyramid House

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Shiloh House is an elegant 25-room mansion that was built by the City of Zion's founder, the Reverend John Alexander Dowie, who headed the Christian Catholic Church. Artifacts of the period and many personal items of the late Dr. and Mrs. Dowie are on display. A leisurely lunch at Savanna House Restaurant fits in well with your mansions tour. The restaurant takes its name from the lush green forest preserve it is located in front of, in the beautiful town of Wadsworth, Illinois. Libertyville's most prominent building, the Cook Mansion, was built in 1879 by Ansel Brainerd Cook. The two-story Victorian mansion served as Cook's summer home as well as the center of his horse farm. The Cuneo Mansion and Gardens is an historic mansion dating from 1914 nestled on 74 acres of vistas and formal gardens. Owned by the Cuneo family from 1937-1990, the museum reflects European architecture and decor, including furnishings and paintings. Due to its beauty, this mansion has been used for several movie locations. Check into the newly remodeled Lincolnshire Marriott Resort and you'll be impressed with the changes. The King's Wharf Restaurant is located right in the hotel for convenient dining and the Marriott Theatre has a year-round schedule of favorite and new musicals.

DAY 2: Start the day with a Tempel Lipizzans performance (mid-June through the end of August) or their Tour & Training Session in the off-season. Either way you will experience these beautiful stallions that have performed for royalty and have been in several inauguration parades.

Head into the quaint Village of Antioch for some unique shopping fine arts, chocolate, jewelry, home decor and more. Arrange for a stop at the local china outlet that has produced china for kings and queens. By now, everyone must be getting hungry, so take in the "royal treatment" at the downtown tea shop. Or arrange a special lunch at Lehmann Mansion, which was constructed in 1912 as a summer home for Edward J. Lehmann and his family. The drive up to the mansion will take your breath away! A "mansion" of another color, the Gold Pyramid House is the home to Egyptian artifacts, and your group can learn of life experiences inside a pyramid. During the summer, an evening of beautiful music reigns at Ravinia Festival. A gathering place for music lovers for over 100 years, Ravinia offers classical, pop, jazz and kids concerts featuring world-class stars under the stars. Dinner can be as simple as on the lawn or a group dinner inside for an elegant setting. Whether you choose a one-day or two-day tour of Lake County, your group will feel like royalty when they leave for home!

CONTACT: Lake County, Illinois CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Jayne Nordstrom • www.lakecounty.org 5465 Grand Ave., Suite 100, Gurnee, IL 60031 Phone: 800-Lake-Now • Email: Jayne@lakecounty.org

➤ Spooky Spaces ➤ Green Spaces

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WE DON’T HAVE PYRAMIDS IN COLUMBUS But with everything else you can experience you won’t even notice.

Our experiential tours were created for the curious. Those who want to know what it’d be like to bottle their own wine, or interact with exotic animals, or share the stage with a world-class jazz musician. Aren’t you a bit curious?

To learn more about our experiential tours, visit ExperienceColumbus.com/tours or call 800-354-2657


EUROPEAN TREASURES, COUNTRY PLEASURES

McHenry County, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Magnificent antique music machines at

“Place de la Musique” ➤ Fresh produce at the historic

Woodstock Square Farmers Market ➤ Juicy apples at Royal Oak Farm Fruit Orchard ➤ Sweet Chocolate at Anderson’s Candy Shop ➤ Unique ethnic gifts at Ginger Blossom

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Shop for locally grown and produced items at the Woodstock Farmers Market, operating in its 29th consecutive year. The market is located on the Historic Woodstock Square, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the wonderful Farmers Market, the brick-paved streets are very much alive with the famed Woodstock Opera House, the Old Courthouse Arts Center, distinctive shops, unique restaurants and coffee shops. Dine on Polish-American fare at Zubrzycki’s Warsaw Inn. Enjoy delicious home-cooked Old World food. The long buffet table is stocked with Polish sausage, sauerkraut, fried chicken and fish, mashed potatoes, stuffed cabbage, potato pancakes, pierogi and blintzes. The Sanfilippo "Place de la Musique" is known worldwide for its magnificent collections of beautifully restored antique music machines, phonographs, arcade and gambling machines, chandeliers, the world's largest restored theater pipe organ, the most spectacular European salon carousel in existence, street and tower clocks and steam engines, all displayed within a breathtaking French Second Empire setting. In the evening, enjoy a custom wine dinner, pontoon boat dinner on the Fox River or dine at a local favorite restaurant and then take in a theater performance at one of our historic theaters.

DAY 2: Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the morning along with a refreshing splash at the indoor pool in one of McHenry County’s full- or limited-service national brand hotels.

fall raspberries as well as pumpkins, gourds and squash are also grown on the farm. Visit the Apple Barn for fresh-picked apples, raspberries, peaches, pumpkins. If you prefer, pick your own apples, raspberries or pumpkins. Visit the Bakery for homemade pies and fresh cider donuts and purchase a nice gift from the Country Market. Enjoy lunch at the orchard in the Country Kitchen Restaurant. Each day the chef creates tasty soups, sandwiches, entrees and salads that will satisfy your apple picking appetite and have you returning for more! At Anderson’s Candy Shop, enjoy America’s finest homemade and hand-dipped chocolates and other delicious confections, lovingly made since 1919 by the Anderson Family. Watch chocolates being dipped as you browse the specialty shop and purchase sweets to enjoy later…if you can wait! There is something for everyone and a story behind every item for sale at Ginger Blossom. When Ginger Blossom is not out traveling the world in search of wonderful and unusual things for her business, she is minding the store on the farm where she grew up.Inventory includes ethnic and traditional crafts, rugs, furniture, sweaters, antiques and more from around the world. All items are purchased under the guidelines set by the Fair Trade Federation. McHenry County is an easy drive northwest of Chicago and is convenient to Milwaukee and Lake Geneva, WI; Rockford, IL; and the entire Chicagoland area. Extend your stay in McHenry County and enjoy the surrounding sites.

Explore Royal Oak Farm Fruit Orchard on foot or via hayride. There are over 12,000 trees featuring 26 varieties of apples. Late summer and

CONTACT: McHenry County Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Jaki Berggren • www.visitmchenrycounty.com 5435 Bull Valley Rd., Suite #324B, McHenry, IL 60050 Phone: 888-363-6177 • Email: sales@mchenrycountycvb.com

➤ Plains, Trains & Automobiles ➤ Always a Groundhog, Never a Bride

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Troy, Piqua, Tipp City & surrounding areas in Ohio

GOURMET LOVER’S TOUR HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Create a personal essence at a professional perfumery ➤ Be dazzled as custom handcrafted jewelry is made

from raw materials ➤ Feast on a pioneer meal after riding the

Miami Erie Canal boat ➤ Visit a 4th generation chocolate shop located

inside historic hotel ➤ Tour working grist mill, stand mixer factory and winery

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Start the day with breakfast at the hotel. Then it’s off to Bear’s Mill, a 160-year-old working grist mill, one of seven left in Ohio. The gift shop offers freshly ground flours, grains and meals, plus gourmet foods, pottery and jewelry. Guests receive cornmeal with cornbread recipes. Next is KitchenAid Stand Mixer factory tour & Retail Experience Store, with a live test kitchen. Guests participate in demonstrations and make-it/take-it projects. Lunch at the lovely and historic Inn at Versailles, named Restaurant of the Month by Ohio Magazine, where groups experience world-class dining in a French country atmosphere. After lunch, Versailles Winery hosts a tour with wine and cheese tasting. Dinner at the elegant Troy Hayner Cultural Center, a beautifully restored 1914 mansion, includes tour, catered meal and entertainment if desired.

DAY 2: After breakfast at the hotel, groups will visit and sample items at Winans Chocolates & Coffees, located in downtown Piqua at the grand Fort Piqua Plaza, the town’s historic gem. A former hotel, this architectural treasure is now a multi-use community building, recently restored to its former beauty. After the tour, lunch is served at the restaurant in the Plaza or groups can opt for a more historic, pioneer meal at Johnston Farm in a very informal setting.

section of the Miami Erie Canal, pulled by mules as in the days of yesteryear, for an authentic and memorable experience. Guides share stories of canal life. After the canal boat ride, guests visit the Historic Woodland Indian Museum and Johnston Farm Home, where costumed interpreters will demonstrate and describe the life of early settlers. Moving from the heritage of the Miami Valley to the present day, groups will be dazzled at a visit to the “back room” of the area’s largest fullservice, family-owned jewelry company, where they will see how stones are cut and polished and learn about the design and creation of custom jewelry, from start to finish. Dinner will be at one of the fine local restaurants, either The Caroline or La Piazza in downtown Troy, named one of Ohio’s Best Hometowns by Ohio Magazine.

DAY 3: Rise and shine with breakfast at the hotel! Today’s first stop is Freshwater Farms of Ohio, the largest indoor trout and shrimp farm in Ohio. Tour the tanks, learn how the fish are raised, and sample gourmet smoked fish products and cheeses. They also have sturgeon that appreciate a pat on the head and will even entertain on demand!

The Miami Erie Canal awaits groups for the next leg of the tour. Visitors board a working canal boat replica and glide serenely on a re-watered

Lunch is in the very quaint downtown of Tipp City at Harrison’s Restaurant. Following lunch, groups will enjoy another unique, sensory experience! A professional perfumery will give a presentation on the secrets of traditional perfume making, and guests will have the experience of creating their own personal fragrance. The visit ends with shopping at the many specialty stores in charming downtown Tipp City.

CONTACT: Miami County Visitors & Convention Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Kay Hamilton • www.VisitMiamiCounty.org 405 SW Public Square, Suite 272, Troy, OH 45373 Phone: 937-339-1044/800-348-8993 • Email: KHamilton@VisitMiamiCounty.org

➤ Discover Ohio’s Aviation Pioneers ➤ Feed Your Inner Farmer

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PEORIA AREA FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Welcome at Historic Riverfront Visitors Center ➤ FOLEPI's Lighted Winter Wonderland ➤ Spirit of Peoria Dinner Cruise ➤ Historic Home Tours ➤ Glass-blowing Demonstration and Tour of Toraason Glass

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY The Peoria Area sparkles throughout the holidays! The East Peoria Festival of Lights, celebrating its 26th anniversary in 2010, is one of the largest lighted nighttime festivals. Add beautifully decorated mansions, glass-blowing demonstrations, theatrical performances and you have a wonderful winter weekend getaway. Bring your group to the Peoria Area for spectacular displays and add some sparkle to your holidays.

DAY 1: Peoria and East Peoria Start your morning at the Riverfront Visitors Center where you’ll find a plethora of area information, maps and brochures. Stroll along the riverfront to the Spirit of Peoria, a unique and historic paddle wheeler, for a hot, homemade buffet and lively holiday entertainment. After lunch, take a drive to Luthy Botanical Gardens, next to Glen Oak Park and Peoria Zoo. With more than 1,000 poinsettias on display and festively decorated Christmas trees, your holiday cheer will surely elevate! After dinner at your choice of area cafe, restaurant or pub, the holiday sparkles with the two-mile drive through FOLEPI’s Winter Wonderland showcasing numerous animated displays and LED lighted floats, with the return of some favorites, the Starship Enterprise and the Budweiser Clydesdales. You won't want to miss the Narrated Nativity Scene and this beautiful handmade attraction. The life-size structures take on a three-dimensional appearance at night. A two-minute narration is available by tuning to radio station 1610 AM.

DAY 2: Peoria and East Peoria After a delicious breakfast, tour Pettengill-Morron House and John C. Flanagan House. These two homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places allow you to discover the lifestyles of times past and are dressed for the holidays! Stroll through the up-and–coming art warehouse district and encounter a true art form: Glass-blowing at Toraason Glass! A local artisan, Hiram Toraason, will give a demonstration and will have Christmas ornaments and other gallery pieces on display for purchase. Take another unique look back in time while experiencing Historic Holiday Traditions. The 129-year-old Doering Homeplace is decorated for the holidays by the East Peoria Historical Society and showcases 1800s-style handmade ornaments. Relax and enjoy a delightful dinner at your choice of eateries in the area. For dessert, enjoy the Andrew Lloyd Webber smash Broadway musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Eastlight Theatre. This magical musical has been a Festival of Lights tradition for 20 years!

CONTACT: Peoria Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Cheryl Bockhold Sloan • www.Peoria.org 456 Fulton St., Suite 300, Peoria, IL 61602 Phone: 800-747-0302 • Email: cbsloan@peoria.org

➤ Peoria Industry and Historical Tour ➤ Fall Treasures

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EFFINGHAM…WE CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW YOU AROUND

Effingham, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ My Garage Corvette Museum ➤ Cross at the Crossroads ➤ The Effingham Performance Center ➤ Ballard Nature Center ➤ Firefly Grill

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY participate in demonstrations and spend time relaxing on the beautiful grounds. For more information, visit www.ffgrill.com.

DAY 1: Corvettes and Motorcycles Start the day out exploring the history of America’s sports car at My Garage Museum, located on the campus of Mid America Motorworks. Located on the northeast side of Effingham, this one-of-a-kind museum houses vintage Corvettes and thousands of pieces of Corvette history and memorabilia. For more information, visit www.mamotorworks.com. From the Corvette Museum, visitors can then swing by the Harley Barn, which is just down the road. Legacy Harley-Davidson houses new and pre-owned motorcycles, along with clothing, merchandise, parts and much more. This is a must see for motorcycle enthusiasts and a great stop for those who are interested in unique stores. For more information, visit www.legacyhd.com. After a day of sightseeing, enjoy a home-style meal at Niemerg’s Steakhouse where guests will enjoy great food and great service at reasonable prices. From chicken dinners, to steaks, to seafood, Niemerg’s is certain to have something to please everyone. And, be sure to save room for their famous pie!

DAY 2: Dinner and a Show The Firefly Grill in Effingham is much more than just a restaurant; it is a culinary experience that brings thousands of people each year to the Effingham community. The Firefly Grill has been recognized in several publications including the Chicago Tribune, Bon Appetite and the St. Louis Post for its unique atmosphere and its efforts to Go Green. The Firefly Grill offers an unforgettable experience for travelers. Groups are invited to explore the gardens where food is grown for the restaurant,

End the day with a show at the Effingham Performance Center. This is a 1,564-seat theater that hosts 40 performances a year. Local, regional and national acts are scheduled to perform, with categories including Country, Pop/Top 40, Contemporary Christian, Comedy, Jazz, Dance, Classical and Bluegrass. Several nationally recognized performers will take the stage during the theater’s third season.

DAY 3: Art and Engineering Effingham is a great place to explore the arts. Start the morning with a walk along the streets of downtown Effingham and take a tour of the Sculpture on the Avenues. This outdoor exhibition features over 30 works of art from some of the Midwest’s best known and unknown sculptors. Come explore the sculptures that have transformed the City of Effingham’s avenues into an art gallery! From there, guests may take time to explore the Cross at the Crossroads. The 198-foot Cross is certainly an engineering wonder, but its greatest miracle is its call to travelers from every faith, background and circumstance, reminding them of the positive values shared and cherished by all. The Cross features a chapel, reception area, restrooms, a refreshment center, and media room where visitors can view a video of the construction of the Cross. For more information, visit www.crossusa.org.

CONTACT: Effingham Convention and Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Kim Jansen • www.VisitEffinghamIl.com 1505 Hampton Drive, Effingham, IL 62401 Phone: 217-342-5305 or 800-772-0750 • Email: jansenki@ci.effingham.il.us

➤ Explore the Arts in Effingham ➤ Museums and More

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PRIVATE HOME TOURS

Quincy, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Unrivaled architecture and historic districts ➤ Riverfront dining ➤ Lincoln-Douglas Debates City and Talking Houses ➤ Great River Road, National Scenic Byway ➤ Illinois Wine Country

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Extreme Architecture Your day starts on the majestic Mississippi River bluffs at Quincy’s 1900 Mediterranean castle, the Villa Kathrine. After touring the Villa, also home to Quincy’s Visitor Info Center, head east down beautiful Maine Street to your exclusive Private Home Tour of three homes of architectural significance in the East End Historic District. This tour is amazing and has received rave reviews. Each home is an architectural standout. Tours are given by the homeowners themselves and are in neighborhood groupings of three, for ease of touring. Enjoy lunch at the Pier Restaurant, cantilevered over the Mississippi, specializing in creative Midwestern cuisine. A step-on guide from the Quincy Altrusa Club provides a historical and architectural tour of Quincy’s German Calftown, Park Place and Lawndale Historic Districts. Tour the astoundingly detailed Quincy Museum (see the lion head in photo) with 24-ct. gold leaf woodwork in the grand parlor and a rotating exhibit on the third floor. Save time for Old Town Antiques, just around the corner, in a 1915 limestone storefront. Old Town showcases some of the region’s finest 18th and 19th century furnishings.

DAY 2: Great River Road Trip Sweet start at Underbrink’s Bakery. Enjoy a “radio roll” or iced nut roll while you take a behind-the-scenes tour of this 1929 bakery where many of the original recipes and equipment are still in use. Stroll the Great River Road on 31 miles of rich Illinois bottomland to the historic Warsaw Brewery. Enjoy lunch within the massive brick walls of this recently restored structure on the banks of the Mississippi. Admire the broad expanse of the river and its huge lily pads as you wind your way further north on the Great River Road a short 18 miles to Nauvoo, IL. This distinctively restored riverfront town is complete

with over 65 shops and homes that include period furnishings and guides. Enjoy a horse-pulled wagon ride and educational tour of the city year-round. Complete your afternoon in Nauvoo with a bountiful dinner at the Historic Hotel Nauvoo, nationally known for its awardwinning buffet. The restaurant boasts five dining rooms, each reflecting a different era of Nauvoo’s rich history. Return to Quincy for the evening in one of the city’s many group-friendly hotels.

DAY 3: Art, Abe & Illinois Wine Begin your day with Quincy’s early history at the John Wood Mansion, home to Quincy’s founder and 12th governor of Illinois. The grounds also encompass the 1835 Pioneer Log Cabin, Parsonage Museum & Gift Shop, as well as the Friends in Council Club House, which is the oldest continuous women’s literary society in the U.S. After touring the mansion, lunch at the impressive Granite Bank Gallery, formerly a savings & loan built of pink Missouri granite. Now home to a cafe, art gallery and home decor store. The gallery sits across from Washington Park, the hub of the sixth presidential Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Drive to nearby Collver Family Winery in Barry, IL, just 30 minutes east of Quincy on I-72. This family-owned winery hosts sell-out murder mystery theaters and will give visitors a behind-the-scenes tour of the wine-making process. Just 17 miles east, explore the restored Pittsfield Square and walk the streets where Abe walked. A step-on guide will provide a historical narrative of the Lincoln Talking Houses audio and plaque tour of Pittsfield.

CONTACT: Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau ➤ Holly Cain • www.seequincy.com 532 Gardner Expressway, Quincy, IL 62301 Phone: 800-978-4748 or 217-214-3700 • Email: hcain@seequincy.com 80 June 2010

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ENTERTAINMENT, CELEBRATION AND FUN!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Harley-Davidson Museum ➤ Fireside Dinner Theatre ➤ Discovery World ➤ Milwaukee Art Museum ➤ Ten Chimneys

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: DAY 3: Start your visit to Milwaukee by strolling a desert oasis, a tropical jungle and a special floral garden all indoors at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) or perhaps enjoy the outdoors at the Boerner Botanical Gardens, an internationally-renowned horticultural showplace offering gardeners and plant lovers the opportunity to take in the colors and scents of a variety of collections and gardens. For dinner, choose among a variety of unique, ethnic and inviting restaurants in downtown Milwaukee. After dinner, take in a show at the Skylight Opera House located in the Historic Third Ward.

DAY 2: Today begin with a city tour and learn about the European immigrants from Germany, Poland, Ireland and Italy who influenced this uniquely diverse city. Include a stop at St. Josephat’s Basilica and step back in time as you marvel at the history and beauty of this testament of the Polish Catholic faith. See the world’s largest four-faced clock, fondly referred to as the Polish Moon, on the skyline of Milwaukee. Among the fantastic collections housed at the Milwaukee Art Museum, be sure to stop and enjoy the unique and modern architecture of the main entrance designed by Santiago Calatrava. Spend a few moments to watch the “wings” of the Burke Brise Soleil, which is a moveable, wing-like sunscreen that rests on top of the Museum’s vaulted, glass-enclosed Windhover Hall. Choose from a variety of restaurants with beautiful views of Lake Michigan for lunch on your own or as a group. Further enjoy the shores of Lake Michigan with a visit to Discovery World and experience an awesome journey that will take you through technical wonders, mystical and innovative exhibits and natural splendor with the Reiman Aquariums.

Embark on a short drive to Genesee Depot to explore Ten Chimneys, the estate lovingly created by theater legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. Ten Chimneys is a landmark unique among our national treasures, boasting diverse collections and enchanting décor comprised of original pieces handpicked by the Lunts in the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. Created with the same humanizing wit and passion for perfection that distinguished their stage performances, Ten Chimneys is the Lunts’ most enduring and tangible artistic legacy. For decades, their retreat beguiled the country’s finest actors, writers, designers, directors and artists. Continue on to enjoy a marvelous experience at the Fireside Dinner Theatre, one of the Midwest's most popular professional theaters located in Fort Atkinson, Wis. Browse the unique gift shops, enjoy award-winning cuisine, and top off the evening with one of the best professional theater experiences Wisconsin has to offer.

DAY 4: Milwaukee’s newest attraction, the Harley-Davidson Museum™, allows groups to experience the people, products, culture and history of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. It is a celebration of the company’s rich history, the passion of the riders, and the stories of those who have contributed to the Harley-Davidson legacy. A visit to Milwaukee would not be complete without embracing the brewing history that begins with a visit to the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion. Conclude your Milwaukee experience with a tour of Miller Brewing or a microbrewery such as Lakefront Brewery or Sprecher Brewing Company. Prost! to a delightful visit to this jewel of the Great Lakes – Milwaukee.

CONTACT: VISIT Milwaukee

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Wendy M. Dobrzynski, Group Tour Manager • www.visitmilwaukee.org 648 N. Plankinton, Suite 425, Milwaukee, WI 53203 Phone: 800-231-0903 x4222 • Email: wdobrzynski@milwaukee.org

➤ Visit GroupTravelDirectory.com for more Milwaukee itinerary ideas

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on location: west ❖

randy mink

O K L A H O

Myriad Botanical Gardens

Bricktown’s Canal

NEW CE NT U RY ME E T S OLD W E S T arreling into the 21st century, Oklahoma City has undergone a renaissance in the past decade or so. The state capital offers plenty of fresh options for group travelers, but Oklahoma’s largest metropolis won’t disappoint anyone looking for heady doses of old-time Western flavor. Not far from downtown is a historic commercial district called Stockyards City, once bustling with meat-packing houses and still home of the largest feeder-stock auction in the world. Celebrating its centennial in 2010, the district offers several Western wear shops within walking distance of each other. Up-and-coming country music stars perform at the Rodeo Opry. At the landmark Cattleman’s Steakhouse, rib-stickin’ breakfast grub in the original coffee shop section includes giant pancakes, great ham, biscuits and gravy, even calf brains and eggs. Dating from 1910, Cattleman’s also is a classic steak restaurant, with a wood-paneled

B

82 June October 2010 2009

Slices of our frontier past enchant groups in this city on the move room away from the stools and booths. A back room and an upstairs banquet room can accommodate groups. The barnyard odor can be strong, but a tour of the Oklahoma National Stockyards is an OKC highlight. Auctions take place Mondays and Tuesdays, the best days to arrange a tour ($25 per bus) through Stockyards City Main Street, Inc., an economic development organization. After crossing the catwalk above endless pens of cattle, tour members reach the auction house, where

they see ranchers bidding on animals bound for feed lots and ranches. The Oklahoma History Center brings alive the rough-and-tumble heritage of this young state, which joined the Union in 1907. In one theater, a collection of movie clips romanticizes the state’s rugged individualism and wide-open spaces. Besides Westerns starring the likes of Gene Autry, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, viewers can catch scenes from Twister, the 1996 movie that dramatized the plight of Oklahomans coping with a tornado. Weather-related exhibits examine the state’s location in Tornado Alley and how it coped with the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. One gallery spotlights all 39 Indian tribes of Oklahoma. Anyone with a passion for America’s cowboys-and-Indians past can spend hours roaming the galleries of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. In the nostalgialoaded Western Performers Gallery, LeisureGroupTravel.com


M A

C I T Y

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Oklahoma History Center

baby boomers delight in reconnecting with their favorite movie and TV heroes. Artifacts include John Wayne’s eye patch from True Grit, guitars played by singing cowboys Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and props and costumes from the Gunsmoke TV series. Movie posters, comic books, toy gun-and-holster sets, trading cards and lunch boxes recall the good old days. Touch screen quizzes let guests match heroes with their horses, their sidekicks or theme songs. Actor Sam Elliott narrates Silver Screen Cowboys, a 13-minute film. The museum also abounds with world-class Western art and sculpture. Don’t miss Prosperity Junction, a replica frontier town with storefronts and walk-in buildings. Groups like the lunch buffet at the museum’s restaurant, Dining on Persimmon Hill. A painful episode from more recent history confronts visitors at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, which honors the people killed and others involved in the horrific April 19, 1995 terror bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal BuildLeisureGroupTravel.com

Tours Spotlight Cherokee Heritage

A

peek into one of America’s most fascinating and little understood cultures awaits

tour groups in Northeastern Oklahoma. Thanks to an ambitious program launched last year by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Department, word is spreading on what

An equestrian statue looms over Will Rogers’ tomb in Claremore, Oklahoma.

this 14-county enclave offers the group traveler. Catherine Foreman Gray, the department’s interpretive supervisor, sheds light on her people on four different, day-long itineraries that can be tailored to any group. The Cherokees, who initially lived in the Southeastern U.S. before being forcibly removed by the federal government to make room for white settlers, had developed an advanced civilization. Unlike the Plains Indians, who moved from place to place, the Cherokees were farmers and merchants, Gray said. “No, we did not hunt buffalo. No, we didn’t live in tepees. No, we didn’t live on reservations.” The Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, six miles from the Cherokee Nation capital of Tahlequah, tells the Cherokee story in a nutshell. It’s composed of three distinct elements—the recently renovated Cherokee National Museum, Ancient Village and Adams Corner Rural Village. The museum’s centerpiece is the Trail of Tears exhibit, which explores the tragic exodus of some 16,000 Cherokees forced from their homes in Tennessee, North Carolina and other states in 1838-39. They were rounded up and put on wagons for the long journey to Oklahoma,

Continued on page 84 June 2010 83


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Cherokee tour guides tell their people’s story. Continued from page 83

then known as Indian Territory. Thousands died on the way. The Ancient Village, one of the Heritage Center’s outdoor museums, depicts Cherokee life before European settlement, featuring demonstrations of cooking, gardening, arrowhead making and other crafts. A rebuilt Ancient Village will open this summer. Adams Corner is a circa-1890 pioneer town simulating a rural Cherokee community prior to Oklahoma statehood. Buildings include a church, school and general store. Day tours also visit Seminary Hall at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. The 1889 edifice, the campus’s crown jewel, was built as the Cherokee Female Seminary after the first one burned. Sights in downtown Tahlequah include the Cherokee National Capitol and Cherokee National Supreme Court Building. Cherokee Tourism does a “Will Rogers History Tour” that celebrates the life of Will Rogers, who was part Cherokee and proud of it. Galleries at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore showcase the wit, wisdom and show business career of Will Rogers, the leading celebrity of his day until he was killed in a 1935 plane crash in Alaska. He was best known as a spokesman for the common man, an “old friend” appreciated for his honesty during the dark days of the Depression.

ing. Spanning one downtown block, it 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. Visitors to the museum can watch TV newscasts, witness heroic rescue efforts, and listen to survivor accounts. After the Murrah Building bombing, residents of Oklahoma City banded together and picked themselves up. With a can-do spirit born of frontier days, they started a central-core rebirth. Fueling the city’s new image was the 1990s revival of Bricktown, an old warehouse area adjacent to downtown. Now a dining-entertainment showcase, it has changed how people feel about their city. Jim Cowan, director of the Bricktown Association, said, “It has lifted the whole town, made us a destination and given us a special place to show people from out of town.” Tourists flock to Bricktown’s brick streets and sidewalks to frequent music clubs, high-ceilinged sports bars and cafe patios facing the mile-long canal. Boat, pedicab and horse carriage rides add to the ambience. Summer visitors can catch a game at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma City Redhawks, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The American Banjo Museum opened its doors last fall, giving Bricktown a major cultural attraction. It features the world’s largest collection of banjos on public display, video theaters and a recreation of a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor restaurant. Groups can book the Shakey’s room for a meal and sing-along fun. From music and sports to vestiges of America’s rugged frontier, Oklahoma City brims with crowd-pleasing options for group tours. LGT

His homespun humor and timeless quotes (many of them jabs at politicians) still are relevant today. In a sunken garden at the hilltop museum is Rogers’ tomb, inscribed with his most famous quote: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” In Catoosa, the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, operated by Cherokee Nation Entertainment, abounds with rock music memorabilia, from Gold Records and auto-

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE Check out highlights from the recent Heritage Clubs International convention in Oklahoma City. Video interviews, photo galleries and more! Visit: http://leisuregrouptravel.com/education/heritage-clubs-international20 10-convention/

graphed guitars to stage costumes worn by Brittney Spears, Madonna and the Jonas Brothers. Restaurants include Wild

PLAN IT!

Potato Buffet, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill and McGill’s on 19, a fine dining penthouse perch. An events center for concerts and sports will open this summer. Contact: Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Department, 877-779-6977, cherokeetourismok.com; and Claremore

• Oklahoma City CVB: 800-225-56521, visitokc.com • Bricktown Association: bricktownokc.org • Stockyards City Main Street: 405-235-7267, stockyardscity.org

CVB, 877-341-8688, visitclaremore.org. 84 June 2010

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elana andersen

Holiday Magic, Western-Style

Luminarias light up Old Town Plaza in Albuquerque.

December festivities ranging from parades to displays of glowing luminarias spice group itineraries in the West. Here is just a sampling of the merry options: ARIZONA Prescott transforms into Christmas City over the holidays. See the world’s largest Gingerbread Village with more than 100 structures and electric trains on display at the Prescott Resort, Nov. 20Dec. 31. Fain Park’s Valley of Light has a drive-through, animated light show Nov. 25-Dec. 30. Heritage Park Zoo is illuminated weekends, Nov. 26-Jan. 1, featuring holiday displays, entertainment and refreshments. On Dec. 4, downtown is packed with holiday events including a Christmas Parade, a tree lighting ceremony and other activities. Acker Night, Dec. 10, features 100 musical groups LeisureGroupTravel.com

performing at various venues. (visitprescott.com, ackershowcase.com)

rally; Jan. 1-3 – Post-Parade Showcase of Floats. (tournamentofroses.com)

CALIFORNIA The Golden State’s most celebrated New Year’s tradition is Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade and Game. Fesvitities surrounding the five-milelong Jan. 1 parade and Rose Bowl Game offer many opportunities for visitors to get into the spirit. Among the events: Dec. 29 – Equestfest, parade equestrian unit demonstrations; Dec. 20-30 – Bandfest, parade band performances; Dec. 28-31 – float decorating; Dec. 31 – Rose Bowl Game kick-off lunch & pep

COLORADO The Olde Golden Christmas celebration includes its Dec. 3 Candlelight Walk along Washington Avenue with participants singing carols and carrying lighted candles. Upon arrival at the creek, the mayor flips a switch turning on holiday lights. Other activities include a Saturday downtown festival between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with a parade, entertainment, carriage rides and reindeer petting corral. (2hourvacation.com ) June 2010 85

Dan Monaghan/New Mexico Department of Tourism


❖ west Georgetown Christmas Market (Dec. 4-5 & 11-12) steps back to a century-old holiday tradition of St. Nicholas leading the daily Santa Lucia procession of children and townspeople through the historic downtown. Enjoy entertainment, horse-drawn wagon rides and a European-style holiday market. (historicgeorgetown.org)

MONTANA Small-town celebrations are found in Nevada City and Virginia City. Events begin on Nov. 27-28 when townspeople and visitors join together to decorate historic buildings. On Dec. 4-5 is the Community Holiday Open House with old-style activities, entertainment and refreshments. Shops offer seasonal

Golden, Colorado stages Saturday parades and other holiday festivities.

NEW MEXICO This state’s holiday celebrations offer a blend of traditions from Western, Hispanic and Native American cultures. There are spectacular luminaria displays at Albuquerque’s Old Town, the Plaza in Santa Fe and the Pueblo in Taos. All three cities offer traditional Westernstyle holiday events and celebrate cultural traditions like the Hispanic La Posadas, Los Pastores, Blessing of the Animals, Feast of Guadalupe and Winter Market. Native American Pueblo dances and ceremonies honor animals, and New Year’s Day is the Transfer of the Canes ceremony when new tribal leaders come to power. For a complete list of 2010 holiday events contact: Albuquerque, itsatrip.org; Santa Fe, santafe.org; Taos, taoschamber.com 86 June 2010

folk art and gifts, and there are arts and crafts demonstrations and living history events. A Gift and Farmers’ Market features handmade gifts and edibles. (virginiacity.com) OREGON Portland’s Christmas Ship Parade, Dec 9-21, is held nightly on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. A preview performance of all 60 lighted and decorated boats is held on Dec. 4 in Camas. (christmasships.org). At the Oregon Zoo’s Zoolights, Nov. 26Jan.2, there are 200 lighted animated zoo animal displays, plus entertainment, train rides, food and shopping. (oregonzoo.org). The Grotto’s Festival of Lights, Nov. 26 to Dec. 30 follows a path to garden displays and choral and LeisureGroupTravel.com


theatrical performances. Also there are 140 holiday choral concerts scheduled at the Grotto’s indoor venue. Its Christian Gift and Bookstore offers refreshments and a display of nativity sets from around the world. (thegrotto.org). Pioneer Courthouse Square is host to numerous holiday events including an annual Tuba Concert, Dec. 11, with 200 tubas playing holiday music for a community sing-along. (pioneercourthousesquare.org) TEXAS San Antonio is one of America’s top vacation cities and especially so during the holidays. Millions of twinkling lights brighten the night skies and lead visitors to special seasonal event venues. A popular activity is to stroll the River Walk where luminarias line San Antonio River’s banks and decorated barges

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float in parade formation. Other activities include holiday theatrical shows, religious festivals and fiestas, concerts, historic site and museum events, and light shows at area attractions, shopping centers and parks. (visitsanantonio.com) UTAH The Tuacahn’s Amphitheater in Inves presents Christmas in the Canyon Live Nativity and Festival of Light (Wed.-Sat., Nov. 26- Dec. 23). The elaborately staged Nativity is held at the Amphitheater stage at 7 and 8 p.m. nightly, except Dec. 3. The Festival of Light is at the Tuacahn Plaza and offers holiday decorations, music, refreshments and Old Salty Train rides. (tuacahn.org) WASHINGTON Leavenworth’s Christmas Lights

West

Festival brightens the Bavarian-style village with thousands of twinkling lights. On December weekends at dusk visitors gather at the town gazebo to greet St. Nicholas, see the holiday lighting ceremony and join the community singing of “Silent Night.” Throughout the day there are musical performances, sledding and sleigh rides, seasonal personalities and other traditional Alpine holiday activities. (leavenworth.org) WYOMING Sheridan celebrates the holidays with a nightly Christmas Stroll along the city’s Historic Main Street, Nov. 26-Dec. 24. Other activities include seasonal displays, a live nativity scene, horse-drawn wagon and trolley rides, entertainment and fireworks. (sheridanwyomingchamber.org) LGT

June 2010 87


GATORS, GARDENS, GUSHERS & GREAT FOOD

Beaumont, Texas

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Gator Country Adventure Park – see and touch live

alligators, dine on authentic Cajun cuisine ➤ Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center was

just named among the 10 Greenest EcoProjects in the World ➤ Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum – watch

world’s only replica gusher blow 100 feet in the sky, just like in 1901 ➤ Spindletop Steakhouse – Take a culinary tour in

Beaumont’s historic downtown

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Treat yourself to a scrumptious breakfast at Rao’s Bakery & Coffee Cafe, where you’ll find freshly brewed coffee and piping hot croissants and breakfast burritos. Take a short drive over to Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum, where you’ll step back in time to witness Beaumont’s rich oil heritage as you watch the world’s only working replica gusher blow water hundreds of feet into Beaumont’s blue sky. Follow the history of the "Cradle of the Petroleum Age" with a tour of the Texas Energy Museum and experience the fascinating world of oil exploration and refining! Round out your tour of Downtown Beaumont with a trip to a couple of our other intriguing museums: the Art Museum of Southeast Texas and the Fire Museum of Texas. Don’t forget dinner at the legendary Crockett Street Entertainment District!

DAY 2: Rekindle your sense of wonder at Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center, located just minutes from Beaumont. Observe nesting birds in Shangri La’s Ruby Lake through a state-of-the-art bird blind. Explore more than 300 species of plants in one of the most Earth-friendly projects in the world.

After a busy day, relax at Spindletop Steakhouse on historic Crockett Street, where the tantalizing menu items will have your mouth watering.

DAY 3: Start the day by reconnecting with nature at the Big Thicket National Preserve as you slice through the waters of Village Creek in a canoe. Enjoy great Texas BBQ at Willy Ray’s, where you’ll find an array of enticing sides to go along with their famous BBQ. Be inspired at St. Anthony's Cathedral Basilica, one of Beaumont’s many unique and historic places of worship on the Beaumont Faith Trail. Feed your adventurous spirit at Gator Country—Texas’ only alligator theme park. Have a hands-on experience by helping feed LIVE gators and take home a picture to prove it! View educational demonstrations and see the jaw dropping half-ton alligator, lovingly named “Big Al.” End your day on a high note by grooving to the music of a local bayou band and feasting on Gator Country’s famous Cajun cuisine.

See history come alive in any of our three historic homes: the John Jay French House, the Chambers House and the McFaddin-Ward House.

CONTACT: Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Elizabeth Eddins, Director of Tourism • www.beaumontcvb.com 505 Willow St., Beaumont, TX 77701 Phone: 866-822-0245 • Email: eeddins@ci.beaumont.tx.us

➤ The Faith Trail ➤ Nature Trail

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RIDE THE RAILS OF SCENIC COLORADO

Manitou Springs, Cañon City, Cripple Creek, Alamosa

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Ascend 14,115 feet to the summit of Pikes Peak on

The Cog Railway ➤ Sample mineral waters, 2,000 years in the making ➤ Take a train along the Arkansas River with the

Royal Gorge Bridge 1,000 ft. above ➤ Ride a narrow gauge between the historic mining

towns of Cripple Creek and Victor ➤ Climb aboard the longest and highest steam-operated

train in the country

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Manitou Springs We first grab a bite for breakfast on one of the charming patio restaurants of historic Manitou Springs. The Cliff House Inn offers four-diamond dining with treats such as Grand Marnier French toast. We then arrive at the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the highest cog in the world, which treks up Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain – to the 14,115-foot summit. This 8.9mile trip lasts just over three hours including a 45-minute stop at the top. We’ll have a chance to see native wildlife such as bighorn sheep and yellow-bellied marmots, and we’ll grab some tasty homemade doughnuts at The Summit House. The trip runs year-round and will ascend as far as weather permits. Once back down the mountain, we can shop the great boutiques in town and sample the tasty mineral springs.

DAY 2: Cañon City We start the day with a short drive from Colorado Springs to nearby Cañon City, CO where an adventure on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad awaits. Whether it is a lunch, dinner or wine train, the views alongside the waters of the Arkansas River and the steep geological walls forming the vast Royal Gorge are breathtaking. The train travels under the impressive Royal Gorge Bridge, nearly 1,000 feet above, making it the highest suspension bridge in North America. If we want a full day of adventure, we can even do a “Raft and Rail” package or a “Ride and Rail” package that combines rafting or horseback riding with the train excursion. To add a little more “Wild West,” we’ll stop by Buckskin Joe Frontier Town & Railway to see a gunfight and ride the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway. Our next stop will be the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey for a few of

their famous selections before we head back. For dinner, we’ll dine at a restaurant on Tejon Street in historic downtown Colorado Springs.

DAY 3: Cripple Creek - Alamosa The Victor & Cripple Creek Narrow Gauge Railroad offers us a ride through the gold mining era of the 1890s! This steam locomotive picks up speed and covers a span of four miles through the historic gold mining district of Cripple Creek and Victor, where the world’s greatest gold camp existed between 1890 and 1910. During those years it was home to 50,000 residents who pulled out more than 22,400,000 ounces of gold. The train runs mid-May through mid-October. Several stops are included along the way for photos and points of interest, including a deserted mining town, before returning to Cripple Creek. Now that we’ve acquired a taste for the Gold Rush days, we’ll take the 1,000-foot trip underground at the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine. Next we’ll head over to Alamosa to ride the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad, which has history all along its rails. It is the longest and highest steam-operated train and is a joint effort between Colorado and New Mexico. Various routes are offered and in celebration of its 40th anniversary, special discounts are available.

CONTACT: Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Betty Jo Cardona • www.VisitCOS.com 515 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Phone: 719-685-7629 • Email: BettyJo@VisitCOS.com

➤ Hidden Gems to Explore in the Pikes Peak Region ➤ Colorado Springs: City of Churches and Their Architecture

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GRAPEVINE - AGED TO PERFECTION

Grapevine, Fort Worth, Dallas, Texas

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Centrally located in the Dallas/Fort Worth region, Grapevine's

vintage charm offers the perfect hub for area tours! ➤ Enjoy vineyard tours and wine tasting at eight unique

winery tasting rooms ➤ Hop aboard the 1896 steam engine "Puffy" on the

Grapevine Vintage Railroad ➤ Experience local artisan demonstrations, including glass

blowing, bronze sculpting and blacksmithing ➤ Plan an excursion to the Fort Worth Stockyards,

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and Southfork Ranch

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Grapevine Let us introduce your group to Grapevine’s history and heritage at the Grapevine Cotton Belt Railroad, Historic District and Historical Museum. Here, you will also experience artisan demonstrations such as glassblowing at Vetro Glass Blowing Gallery & Studio. Next, shop and sightsee in beautifully restored ca. 1900 buildings in Historic Downtown Grapevine, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Shops and boutiques offer unique treasures and one-of-a-kind finds. Enjoy public art, like the “Coming Home,” “The Sidewalk Judge” and the “Nightwatchman,” that celebrate characters and events that shaped Grapevine’s spirit. Lunch can be enjoyed on their own at any number of family-owned eateries in Historic Downtown Grapevine. This afternoon, follow the Grapevine Wine Trail! Tour several of the winery tasting rooms and learn about grape growing and winemaking in Texas as you savor the flavor of Texas wines! Dinner may be arranged at a winery, complete with entertainment, or at any one of a variety of steakhouses and group-friendly restaurants. For additional entertainment, try your skills with the Gaylord Texan Resort’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. [B,D]

DAY 2: Grapevine / Fort Worth Start your day with mega-shopping at Grapevine Mills mall. Grapevine Mills offers “shoppertainment” with over 200 stores, amusement centers and themed restaurants. This afternoon, ride the rails of nostalgia when you experience the Grapevine Vintage Railroad! The train operates a seasonal schedule round-trip excursion from Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards. At the Fort Worth Stockyards,

see a Texas Longhorn cattle drive, shop Stockyards Station and visit the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame before your return trip to Grapevine. Dinner tonight may be arranged at a variety of Grapevine restaurants. After dinner, enjoy world class musical performances at the Grapevine Opry! Every Saturday night experience the finest country music revue and special theme evenings at the Historic Palace Theatre on Main Street in Grapevine. [B,D]

DAY 3: Dallas Your day starts with a visit to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, also known as the JFK Memorial Museum. Most people remember exactly where they were the fateful day John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas. At this museum you can view minute-by-minute accounts of what happened on that tragic day. Next stop, the Dallas Museum of Art, offering a collection that includes American masterpieces, contemporary art, European and impressionist art, and special temporary exhibits on display throughout the year. Lunch can be arranged for your group at the Dallas Museum of Art. This afternoon, head over to the Dallas Arboretum, a 66-acre arboretum and botanical garden showcasing perennial fragrant gardens, towering trees and lush lawns. Cap off your visit to Dallas with a visit to Southfork Ranch, also known as the home of J.R. Ewing and his family on the hit television series “Dallas.” Here your group will receive a guided tour of this famous ranch, followed by an evening chuckwagon supper. [B,L,D]

CONTACT: Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Grapevine Tourism Department • www.GrapevineTexasUSA.com One Liberty Park Plaza, Grapevine, TX 76051 Phone: 817-410-3184 • Email: Tourism@GrapevineTexasUSA.com

➤ Grapevine Wine Trail ➤ Christmas Capital of Texas

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BEST OF THE NORTHWEST HISTORY AND SCENERY

Vancouver, Washington

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument ➤ Fort Vancouver National Historic Site ➤ Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area ➤ Lewis & Clark Trail to the Pacific Ocean ➤ Portland, Oregon Gardens & Nature

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Photo: Donnelly-Austin Photography

Tour Mount St. Helens and learn about the May 18, 1980 eruption that forever changed the landscape of this famous mountain and captivated the attention of our nation and the world. This world-class natural attraction offers year-round scenic and wildlife viewing as well as educational visitor centers to help visitors comprehend the dramatic events of 1980 and the recovery that has followed. This year marks the 30th anniversary and commemorative events are scheduled throughout the year and new awe-inspiring exhibits are being unveiled.

DAY 2: Northwest History in Vancouver, WA Take a guided tour of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Established in 1825, it was the Pacific Northwest headquarters of the British-based Hudson’s Bay Company and their extensive fur trading empire. Visit Pearson Air Museum, located at one of the oldest continually operating airfields in the United States, to learn about aviation history and view airplanes from pre-WWII. Tour Officers Row and the General George C. Marshall House built in 1886 for the commander of Vancouver Barracks and named for its famous resident who resided there from 1936 to 1938. Lunch at the historic Grant House.

360-degree views of the magnificent Columbia River Gorge. Then tour the Bonneville Dam with historical exhibits and an underwater fish viewing station. Stop and explore Multnomah Falls, the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States.

DAY 4: Lewis & Clark Trail and the Pacific Ocean You’ll find pristine beaches and spectacular scenery on the Pacific Coast, which is only a 90-minute drive from Vancouver. On the way, take a four-mile auto tour of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, home to many species of spring and fall migrating birds. Stretch your legs at the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for White-Tailed Deer. Viewing platforms allow you to see deer and elk species first described for science by Lewis & Clark. Visit the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park with exhibits interpreting Lewis & Clark’s experience at the mouth of the Columbia River. In the seaside town of Long Beach, spend a few hours exploring the International Kite Museum, Marshall’s Free Museum, Cranberry Museum and the historic town of Oysterville.

DAY 5: Portland, Oregon Gardens & Nature DAY 3: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Take a free tour of the famous Pendleton Woolen Mill to see firsthand the state-of-the-art dye house and the spinning, weaving, and finishing of the distinctive Indian motif blankets. At the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, view over 11,000 square feet of exhibits that interpret the area’s cultural and natural history. Cross the Columbia River into Oregon and take a scenic river cruise on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, a triple-decker paddle wheeler, for

Cross the Columbia River into Portland and visit several unique gardens in Washington Park starting with the 5.5-acre Japanese Garden with its authentic Japanese-style buildings, tranquil gardens and ponds. Just next door is the Portland Rose Garden with 550 varieties of roses in a spectacle of color. The nearby Hoyt Arboretum is a 187-acre living museum of trees and plants from all over the world.

CONTACT: Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Debbie Picard • www.VisitVancouverUSA.com 101 East 8th Street, Suite 240, Vancouver WA 98660 Phone: 877-600-0800 • Email: dpicard@VisitVancouverUSA.com

➤ History Comes Alive in Vancouver USA ➤ Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Loop Tour

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TUCSON HIGHLIGHTS

Tucson, Arizona

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Saguaro National Park ➤ Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum ➤ Old Tucson Studios ➤ Sabino Canyon ➤ DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun ➤ Pima Air & Space Museum

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY This itinerary showcases some of the finest attractions that the metropolitan Tucson area has to offer. Enjoy our stunning desert setting at Saguaro National Park, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Sabino Canyon. Relive the excitement of many old Western movies at Old Tucson Studios. Discover our creative side at DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun and learn about our military history at Pima Air & Space Museum. As you’ll discover, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Tucson!

DAY 1: Take a drive-through tour of Saguaro National Park West and get a breathtaking view of thousands of saguaros, the giants of the desert. Break for lunch and a tour at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which tells the unique story of the Sonoran Desert region. More than 300 species of live animals and 1,400 species of plants indigenous to the Sonoran Desert are exhibited in naturalistic habitats. Stop at Old Tucson Studios, the famous movie location and theme park. Take a step back in time and enjoy watching a simulated gunfight and saloon show. Or visit the International Wildlife Museum, a worldclass natural history museum, where you get a close-up view of more than 400 different species of preserved insects, mammals and birds from around the world. The museum features a variety of hands-on exhibits and interactive displays for all ages. For the evening, dine at one of Tucson's many steakhouses; some even offer authentic Western entertainment.

DAY 2:

through some of the most camera-worthy scenery in the Tucson area. Head west to DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, built to showcase the unique Southwestern art of Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia. The gallery is a unique adobe construction with beautiful decorative features and contains rooms exhibiting DeGrazia originals on subjects such as Padre Kino, Cabeza de Vaca and Yaqui Easter. Break for lunch at La Encantada and experience an upscale outdoor specialty shopping center that celebrates the splendor of Old World Spanish traditions alongside modern sophistication. It features plazas, fine dining, and the trendiest national and local retailers. Drive south to the Pima Air & Space Museum, where more than 250 aircraft are on display, representative of America's aviation history. This impressive aircraft collection ranges from the first (a replica of the Wright flyer) to the ultimate flying machine, the famous SR-71A Blackbird. Dine at a Tucson Originals restaurant, an organization of many of Tucson's best independent fine dining, casual and neighborhood restaurants preserving Tucson's culinary sense of place by encouraging the support of local establishments.

Enjoy the views at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, a true desert oasis. The narrated ground-tram ride lasts 45 minutes and travels

CONTACT: Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Judy Wood, Tourism Sales Manager • www.visittucson.org 100 S. Church Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701 Phone: 520-770-2148 • Email: jwood@visitTucson.org

➤ A Birder's Paradise ➤ Stellar Views: Astronomy

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COLORADO’S HIGH MOUNTAIN RAILROADS

Denver, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs, Colorado & New Mexico

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Six Train Rides including the Silverton & Durango

plus the Cumbres & Toltec ➤ High Mountain Jeep Tour ➤ Denver City Tour ➤ Manitou Cliff Dwellings & Garden of the Gods Park ➤ Six Breakfasts, Two Lunches and Three Dinners

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Arrive in Denver, CO. Check into hotel for a two-night stay. Dinner tonight will be on own. famous scenic Toltec Gorge Valley to Alamosa just in time for dinner on own. We will be staying overnight in Alamosa.

DAY 2: Start with a Denver City Tour. See the sights and sounds of the “Mile High City.” Next is a ride on the Georgetown Scenic Railroad. This old-time steam locomotive will chug its way up the canyon, hauling your train past the remains of several gold and silver mines between Georgetown and Silver Plume. Tour the Lebanon Silver Mine, taking you 500 feet into a mine tunnel bored in the 1870s. Return to Denver for dinner at a local restaurant.

DAY 3: Ride the high mountain cliffs and hanging mining trails on a three-hour Jeep Tour over Corkscrew Pass into the Red Mountains. A wonderful picnic lunch will be included today. Your next stop is a ride on the Silverton-Durango Railroad. This steam locomotive travels along the Animas River from Durango to Silverton, winding through spectacular canyons in the remote wilderness of San Juan National Forest. Travel to Pagosa Springs, CO for an overnight stay.

DAY 4: Travel to Chamas, NM and ride the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad, a 64mile, fully operational steam railroad jointly owned by Colorado and New Mexico. Discover spectacular scenery and an unspoiled landscape as well as the historic railroad structures preserved on the line. You will stop in Osier for a hot lunch included with the ride and make your way to Antonito, CO. You will then change trains at Antonito Station and ride the Toltec Limited through the spectacular and

DAY 5: Enjoy a morning ride on either the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad or Royal Gorge Route Railroad. The Rio Grande winds through colorful foothills to cliff-sided mountains, while the Royal Gorge travels along the tumbling waters of the legendary Arkansas River deep within the granite cliffs of the Royal Gorge. Next, travel to Colorado Springs, where we will be staying two nights. Tour the Garden of the Gods Park, a Registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs, and experience the Native American culture. Dinner this evening will be at Guiseppe's Old Depot Restaurant.

DAY 6: Tour the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Located at the foot of Pikes Peak, these mountain dwellings are a rare historical treasure. Preserved under a protective red sandstone overhang, the authentic Anasazi cliff dwellings were built more than 700 years ago. The afternoon features a roundtrip ride on Pikes Peak Cog Railroad. This 8.9-mile ride travels along Ruxton Creek in Englemann Canyon. Conductors like to point out the various "faces" and shapes that can be seen, with a bit of imagination, in the giant boulders. Dinner tonight will be at the Flying W Ranch. Enjoy a real chuckwagon dinner and be entertained by the Flying W Wranglers.

DAY 7: Depart for home.

CONTACT: US TOURS

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Bob Cline • www.ustours.biz 2819 Murdoch Ave., Parkersburg, WV 26101 Phone: 888-393-8687 • Email: bob@ustours.biz

➤ Almost Heaven West Virginia ➤ The Palmetto-Low Country Train

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CHEYENNE FULL DAY ITINERARY

Cheyenne, Wyoming

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Historic Attractions ➤ Trolley Tour ➤ Bison Ranch ➤ Western Shopping ➤ Western Entertainment

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Go downtown to the newly restored Cheyenne Depot. A National Historic Landmark, the depot has been restored to its original glory and is once again a center of activity in the community. Tour the art deco lobby and visit the Cheyenne Depot Museum, which chronicles the railroad and its relationship to Cheyenne. In the depot, purchase tickets for the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley (307-778-3133), which provides a 90-minute overview of the community, its history, and attractions. The tour includes stops at various attractions, allowing riders to disembark for the attraction, and then reboard the next trolley 90 minutes later. Stops include the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum (307-778-7290), Nelson Museum of the West (307-635-7670), Wyoming State Museum (307-777-7022), Historic Governors’ Mansion (307-7777878), Wyoming Capitol and Cheyenne Botanic Gardens (307637-6458). (Trolley drivers are available as step-on guides for motorcoaches.)

(1.2 million lbs.) It was designed especially for the rugged Cheyenne to Ogden, Utah run. End your day watching the Western skits and escapades of the Cheyenne Gunslingers at 6:00 pm in downtown Cheyenne (JuneJuly). Then enjoy the Bit-O-Wyo Horsebarn Dinner Theater in the beautiful mountains west of town (May-Aug). Or catch the Old-Fashioned Melodrama (307-638-6543) at the Historic Atlas Theater, where you can cheer the hero and hiss the villain (July).

Upon returning to downtown, spend some time at a couple of true Western stores. Try the Wrangler (307-634-3048) for jeans, boots, hats, and other Western apparel or Wyoming Home (307-638-2222) for its unique Western furniture and artwork. Or catch a ride on the free downtown carriage rides. Head south nine miles to the Terry Bison Ranch (307-634-4171) for a horseback ride or a train ride into the middle of the bison herd that calls the ranch home. Back in town, be sure to check out Big Boy 4004, the world’s largest steam locomotive

CONTACT: Visit Cheyenne

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Darren Rudloff • www.cheyenne.org 1 Depot Sq., 121 W. 15th St., Ste. 202, Cheyenne, WY 82001 Phone: 800-426-5009 or 307-778-3133 • Email: darren@cheyenne.org

➤ Frontier Days ➤ Downtown Cheyenne

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Destination: Yosemite/Mariposa County, California

CORRIDORS OF SPRING COLOR HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Shopping in Historic Downtown Mariposa ➤ Mariposa Brewing Company Tour and Tasting ➤ Mariposa Gold Rush History Center and Museum ➤ Yosemite National Park Tour ➤ Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Historic Mariposa Receiving its name from the thousands of butterflies that arrive every spring, Mariposa County comes alive with a stunning array of not just butterflies but also the colorful wildflowers they love to visit. Travel through the San Joaquin Valley on Hwy. 99 and exit in Merced, taking Hwy. 140 to enjoy the climb into the foothills where the flowers are in breathtaking full bloom. Afternoon: Arrive in Mariposa in time for lunch in Historic Downtown Mariposa.

Afternoon: Group buffet lunch served in the Garden Terrace. Menu: Rainbow trout and grilled chicken breast ($15.00 inclusive, escort & driver complimentary). Free time to explore the Ansel Adams Gallery, Indian Museum, Yosemite Cemetery, Indian Cultural Exhibit and Historical Post Office, plus shopping for Yosemite souvenirs. Check-in at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.

Visit the California State Mining and Mineral Museum. Then stroll across the parking lot for a tasting and tour at Mariposa Brewing Company. Next tour the Mariposa County Courthouse and Old Jail House, then the Mariposa Gold Rush History Center and Museum. Hotel check-in followed by free time for shopping in antique shops, art galleries and boutiques in Historic Downtown Mariposa. Evening: Dinner – option of a fine dining experience with a wine pairing from one of our local wineries or a more casual experience at a downtown restaurant.

DAY 2: Yosemite Valley

DAY 3: Yosemite Valley Morning: Breakfast at your hotel and free time for shopping and a stroll before boarding your motorcoach. Depart the Yosemite Valley on the Hwy. 41 corridor. Stop by Inspiration Point (aka Tunnel View) for a stunning overview on your way out. At Wawona Pioneer History Center walk through a covered bridge for a self-guided tour of an era gone by. Look for the deer grazing on the only golf course in a national park. Then it’s “all aboard” the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad for a one-hour narrated steam train excursion over rails used for logging at the turn of the 20th century.

Morning: After breakfast at your hotel, depart for the wonders of Yosemite. Enjoy the drive along scenic Hwy. 140, “The All Season Motor Coach Highway” that follows the Merced River, known for its Class 3-4 whitewater rafting in late spring and summer.

Afternoon: An outdoor barbecue awaits your return to the station. Take time to walk through the Thornberry Museum, try your hand at gold panning, visit the bookstore and don’t forget to pick up a few souvenirs in the Ticket Office Gift Shop.

Continue to the Yosemite Valley floor. As winter recedes, the park comes to life in dramatic fashion. Roaring waterfalls are at their peak. We suggest the 2-Hour Narrated Valley Tour or possibly contracting with a step-on guide for a complete overview of Yosemite and its wonders.

Please note: If you are traveling from Southern California, you may want to reverse this itinerary and spend your first night in Yosemite Valley at Yosemite Lodge and spend the second night in Historic Mariposa.

CONTACT: Yosemite/Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Jeffrey Hentz • www.homeofyosemite.com P.O. Box 967, Mariposa, CA 95338 Phone: 209-742-4567 • Email: jeffh@homeofyosemite.com

➤ Fall in Yosemite/Mariposa County ➤ Winter in Yosemite/Mariposa County

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john kloster

Holiday Festivals in Canada

Canada Niagara Falls gushes with yuletide razzle-dazzle

Seasonal delights enchant groups in popular tourist destinations

18/ 03/ 20 10

he holiday season is a great time to visit new destinations or to revisit ones you’ve already experienced as they offer a unique holiday appearance and seasonal festivities. Let’s explore some of Canada’s unique lures for the upcoming holidays.

T

NIAGARA FALLS The Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls is quite a production. Last year it drew one million visitors and 1,000 motorcoaches to the city. The focus is a 3½-mile stretch of the Niagara Parkway that is seasonally known as Niagara Parks Winter Wonderland. It features three million tree and ground lights and over 120 lighted displays, including 20 Enchantment of Disney displays and the world’s largest illuminated Canadian-American flag. In addition, there are lighted displays of animals on Dufferin Islands and other themes throughout the city. The Lundy’s Lane area becomes Candy Cane Lane with candy cane displays and lampposts. The festival (Nov. 6-Jan. 3) also offers weekly fireworks, concerts and special events. The falls are lit nightly. (wfol.com) EDMONTON Fort Edmonton Park, a reconstruction of a Hudson’s Bay fur-trading fort, is now the largest interactive historical park in North America. It is located on 150 acres of city park land in Edmon96 June 2010

ton’s river valley. Each December the park stages Christmas Reflections, an evening program that offers a horsedrawn ride through the park to view Christmas displays and lights followed by a cup of cider or hot chocolate. Costumed interpreters organize carol singing, craft making and baking in the wood stove. This year’s dates are Dec. 5, 10, 11, 12 and 16-23. (fortedmontonpark.ca) SASKATOON Saskatoon’s Enchanted Forest has grown over 12 years to become Saskatchewan’s top winter tourist attraction, drawing 60,000 visitors. Over 60 lighted displays are set against towering evergreen trees along a 1½-mile drive through Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park. Featured displays include Noah’s Ark with over 30 animals and a depiction of each of the elements of the 12 days of Christmas. The exhibition will run Nov. 19-Jan. 9. (enchanted-forest.org) LGT LeisureGroupTravel.com


SASKATOON: BEATING TO ITS OWN RHYTHM

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Western Development Museum Boomtown 1910 ➤ The Berry Barn ➤ The Ivy Dining Experience ➤ Boating on the South Saskatchewan River ➤ Batoche Historical Visit

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Saskatoon We begin with a hearty traditional breakfast at the Western Development Museum, Boomtown 1910, a typical early settlement Saskatchewan town. We don’t just visit this museum, we live it! We travel through Saskatoon, stopping at River Landing, the new shopping and entertainment center. A 20-minute drive down Valley Road brings us to The Berry Barn, where we can pick the famous Saskatoon berries (when in season), savour home-style cooking, relax with a view of the South Saskatchewan River, and purchase wonderful local crafts and Saskatoon berry products. Back in Saskatoon, we stroll Broadway, the first commercial area and important historic thoroughfare in the original Temperance Colony. We visit the quaint shops, stopping for a specialty coffee or tea or Saskatoon berry scone. At day’s end we enjoy a delectable dinner at The Ivy.

DAY 2: Saskatoon We begin our day at one of the most beautiful university campuses in North America, the University of Saskatchewan, featuring Canada’s only Synchrotron. We visit the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, which houses original paintings by William Kurelek, and the Mendel Art Gallery with an extensive permanent collection, and exhibitions of international, national and regional artists. Leaving the Gallery we board the Shearwater Boat Cruises for a trip down the river, featuring commentary on the history of the city as well as current developments. We have the afternoon to relax before our trip out to the Whitecap First Nation’s Dakota Dunes Casino, a short 20-minute ride from Saskatoon. We try our luck at the most dramatic gaming facility in Western Canada and enjoy a leisurely supper or entertainment in the Show Lounge.

DAY 3: Saskatoon – Batoche – Fort Carlton We venture farther afield and explore the fascinating history of the Metis people and the Northwest Resistance of 1885. One hour north of Saskatoon we visit Batoche National Historic Site, the location of the key dramatic battle of the Northwest Resistance. Here we learn about the history and traditions of the Metis community through an interactive experience that shares the story of Louis Rield and Gabriel Dumont. Guides in period costume provide interpretation. We enjoy a traditional lunch of bannock and touritere. We travel to Fort Carlton Provincial Historic Park and a guided tour of the Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post. Heading back to Saskatoon we stop at the Duck Lake Interpretive Centre, with artifacts from the Northwest Resistance. We shop for Saskatchewan-made gifts at the Glen Scrimshaw Gallery. Trip Option: As Saskatoon is the home to a diverse listing of festivals and events, we have the option of timing our visit around a major festival, such as the Saskatoon Fireworks Festival, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan or Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.

CONTACT: Tourism Saskatoon

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Shannon Cossette • www.tourismsaskatoon.com 101–202 4th Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK S7K 0K1 Phone: 800-567-2444 • Email: scossette@tourismsaskatoon.com

➤ Nature Lovers Delight ➤ Zoo Visit ➤ Culture and Art – Hand in Hand

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QUEBEC’S FESTIVAL EXTRAVAGANZA

Montreal, Shawinigan, Quebec City, Drummondville, Tremblant

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Two days at the International Jazz Festival of Montreal ➤ Quebec City Summer Festival –

Eclectic music from around the world ➤ International Festival of Blues at Tremblant ➤ Cirque du Soleil performance in Quebec City ➤ Mondial des Cultures and Eclyps stage show

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Sunday, July 5 – Montreal Crowned by the New York Times as the “King of Jazz Festivals,” the International Jazz Festival of Montreal is 11 days of non-stop music. Drop your bags at the hotel, then join the celebration as several city blocks are turned into pedestrian thru-ways. Your wristband lets you to wander among 10 outdoor stages, stopping at concerts, bistros and cafes as you wish.

DAY 2: Monday, July 6 – Montreal One day is never enough for all the International Jazz Festival has to offer. Breakfast at your leisure, then head to the Festival Site at noon for the start of musical programming. If you want a break from the sun, duck into one of the nearby museums or shopping malls. The evening stays alive with performances after dark.

DAY 3: Tuesday, July 7 – Shawinigan We’ll depart not too early for a visit to Trois Rivieres and Shawinigan. We’ll tour the National Biennale of Art in Trois Rivieres, in the public parks and outdoor spaces of the city. We’ll lunch as a group, then head for the City of Energy at Shawinigan. There’ll be time for a tram tour of the city or gardens and dinner, before seeing Eclyps. Set at a revolving, heated theater in magnificent natural surroundings, this show combines theater, music, dance and the circus arts.

DAY 4: Wednesday, July 8 – Quebec City We’ll travel to historic Quebec City for its award-winning Summer Festival. This walled city will quiver, as more than 1.7 million visitors pick up the intense beats of rock, jazz, hip-hop, funk, blues and classical well into the evening.

DAY 5: Thursday, July 9 – Quebec City A second day of Summer Festival awaits. In 2010, Cirque du Soleil will

pitch it’s tent in the Old Port, so you can book group tickets to this new show. Or, there is the free Cirque street performance Les Chemins Invisibles converging on the highway underpass for a highly interactive show. Relax this evening with a stroll along the city walls to enjoy the light show Image Mill projected in the Old Port.

DAY 6: Friday, July 10 – Drummondville We’re on to Drummondville for the Mondial des Cultures (World Culture Festival). This popular event hosts performance groups from around the world. We’ll organize a group dinner with a selection of local specialties.

DAY 7: Saturday, July 11 – Station Tremblant Station Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains is today’s destination. This world-class ski resort is home of the International Festival of Blues of Tremblant. Several outdoor stages come alive with backto-back programming of the best of the genre. Fans and artists can meet at the Aired u Blues autograph and workshop venues from noon to 10 p.m. each day.

DAY 8: Sunday, July 12 – Montreal/Depart We’ll be departing through Montreal. We’ll either head directly for the airport, or spend some time in Montreal for the Just For Laughs comedy festival. The festival runs another 10 days, so you can extend this visit as long as you like.

CONTACT: Tourisme Québec

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Debra Ruzbasan • www.Bonjour.Quebec.com/us 2158 45th Ave., #218, Highland, IN 46322 Phone: 219-937-2280 • Email: QCDER@aol.com

➤ Quebec’s Winter Playground ➤ Quebec’s Kings Route and Historic Days

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NOVA SCOTIA AND CANADA’S MARITIMES

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Halifax, Nova Scotia touring including Peggy's Cove ➤ Two nights on Cape Breton Island; drive the Cabot Trail ➤ Ferry to Prince Edward Island; Anne of Green Gables home ➤ Musical performance at Confederation Center;

Lobster dinner ➤ New Brunswick's amazing Hopewell Rocks;

cross the Confederation Bridge

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Halifax, Nova Scotia Arrive in Halifax with included transfers to your hotel. Meet your Tour Manager at 6 p.m. for dining suggestions.

DAY 6: New Brunswick DAY 2: Halifax Touring Today tour Halifax and Citadel Hill, travel to Cape Breton Island and see the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.

Visit New Brunswick and cross nine-mile-long Confederation Bridge. This is your chance to see the amazing Hopewell Rocks and Bay of Fundy.

DAY 7: Peggy’s Cove DAY 3: Cabot Trail Enjoy an amazing day of sights; travel the Cabot Trail complete with a picnic lunch. The beauty of Cape Breton Highlands National Park is yours.

Travel to Peggy’s Cove, one of the most photographed fishing villages in the world including the lighthouse. Tonight’s farewell dinner is in Halifax.

DAY 8: Return Home DAY 4: Prince Edward Island

Transfer to Halifax Airport for flights home.

You will enjoy a ferryboat ride to Prince Edward Island. Tonight enjoy a musical performance at Confederation Center.

Call for dates, land and air rates and schedules from your city to and from Halifax.

DAY 5: Anne of Green Gables Today tour Charlottetown and visit the Anne of Green Gables home. Tonight enjoy a lobster dinner on Prince Edward Island.

CONTACT: Mayflower Tours

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Sherri Guiborat • www.mayflowertours.com 1225 Warren Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515 Phone: 800-728-0724 or (direct) 630-435-8239 • Email: sherri@mayflowertours.com

➤ Canadian Rockies (Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise) ➤ Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria)

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