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JUNE 2011

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contents Vol. 21, No.3

June 2011

COVER STORY

COVER STORY 4th Annual Group Itinerary Planning Guide Tour planners will find enticing sample trips in each regional section of this fourth annual special issue.

10 14

Robert L. Bullock/El Roco Photography

FEATURES Memorable Holiday Trips by sue arko What’s Up Down Under? by randy mink

REGIONAL COVERAGE 18 22 24 26 28 46 49 51 52 72 76 78 80 88 93 96

MIDWEST Ethnic Iowa by randy mink Heritage Clubs International International Peace Garden by alyssa cherwak Midwest Rail & Cruise Options by john kloster Sample Itineraries: Midwest

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SOUTH Chugging Through North Carolina by dave bodle West Virginia for the Holidays by dave bodle Sample Itineraries: South

TACOMA’S WORLD OF GLASS

South-Seeing by River & Rail by melinda hughey WEST Montana’s Mining Heritage by heather lee Tacoma’s World of Glass by carol smith Sample Itineraries: West Western Rail & Cruise Options by heather lee NORTHEAST Sampling D.C. Museums by randy mink Northeast by Rail & Water by emily k. weber Sample Itineraries: Northeast

CANADA 100 Canada by Train & Boat by emily k. weber 101 Sample Itineraries: Canada

COLUMNS 6 On My Mind

12

by don heimburger

by jeff gayduk

8 On Tour

On Trains

106 On Marketing by dave bodle

by marty sarbey de souto

DEPARTMENTS 5 On the Write Side

103 On the Record

ON THE COVER:  Amtrak routes keep alive the romance of the rails. Photo courtesy of Robert L. Bullock/El Roco Photography


On the Write Side

NUMBER CRUNCHING

Meet the Contributors to This Issue marty

8 sarbey de souto see page

With over 40 years in nearly all phases of the travel business, our long-time columnist is excited about the website just launched by Sarbey Associates, her travel/tourism industry consulting and educational firm (sarbeyassociates.com). She lives in El Cerrito, Calif. with her husband Jose Souto-Martinez. Enjoy Marty’s column on page 8.

sue

see page

10

arko

john

see page

26

kloster

A 30-year travel industry pro, John is a senior editor of Leisure Group Travel and was twice named one of the industry’s 25 most influential executives. He consults with OSSN, a travel agency group, and Europanache, a Paris-based FIT operator. His favorite trip is his next one. Enjoy John’s Midwest rail and cruise article on page 26.

dave

see page

bodle

don

melinda

heimburger

see page

52

hughey

Don began his publishing career early—at age 14 he became publisher of the S Gaugian, a model railroad magazine that today has worldwide circulation. The Chicagoarea resident has founded and continues to publish two other magazines—one on model railroads and an all-digital magazine entitled European Traveler.net. Read his rail museums column on page 12.

Melinda is a regular contributor to Leisure Group Travel and for more than 25 years has been “on the run and having fun” with senior adult bank travel groups she’s served through her own company, The RH Factor in Pulaski, Tenn. See her article on Southern rail and cruise options on page 52.

randy

carol

see page

14

mink

The managing editor of Leisure Group Travel, a lifelong resident of Illinois, recently has been finding travel treasures in neighboring states he previously overlooked, with trips to places like Amish Country in Indiana and Iowa. His next trip targets another “I” destination—India. Read Randy’s foreign and domestic articles on pages 14, 18 and 88.

75 Percent of West Virginia covered by forests

560 Length in miles of North Carolina

70 Ghost towns in Montana

see page

76

smith

Leisure Group Travel readers may know Carol Smith from when she was editor of Group Tour Magazine. Carol is delighted to have found a new home at Premier Tourism Marketing as a senior editor. We welcome her aboard! Feel free to drop Carol a line at carols.csmith@gmail.com. Enjoy Carol’s Tacoma article on page 76.

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.

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46

Based in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Dave heads up our Southern editorial coverage and contributes a marketing column. He was publisher of the Carolina Explorer, Virginia Explorer and Tennessee Trails group travel publications. See Dave’s North Carolina trains article on page 46, West Virginia holiday report on page 49 and marketing column on page 106.

12

Year the Amish settled in Iowa

Miles from L. A. to Sydney

Based in Gilbert, Ariz., Sue is owner of Free Spirit Vacations and Events and co-owner of Red Hot Celebrations and Travel Alliance Partners. She earned her bachelors and masters degrees in recreation and public administration at Arizona State University. Check out Sue’s article on holiday events on page 10.

see page

1846

233,000 Miles of railroad track in the U.S.

588,373 Population of Washington, D.C.

June 2011 5


on my mind ❖

On My Mind jeff gayduk

❖ jeff gayduk

Planes, Trains, Cruises or Buses

Vol. 21, No. 3 June 2011 Editorial & Advertising Office

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

Publisher – Jeffrey Gayduk jeff@ptmgroups.com

Managing Editor – Randy Mink

randy@ptmgroups.com

Senior Editor – John Kloster john@ptmgroups.com

Senior Editor – Elana Andersen elana@ptmgroups.com

erhaps the greatest travel-themed motion picture ever, the 1987 release of Planes, Trains and Automobiles details the drama that two businessmen (Steve Martin and John Candy) incur trying to get home to Chicago for the Thanksgiving holiday. When their plane is grounded in Kansas City, they feebly attempt to navigate home by hitching a ride, boarding a train, taking a not-tooflattering bus ride and finally inching into St. Louis, where they rent a car which of course is a disaster all in itself. With its lighthearted view of the travel and tourism infrastructure, great comedic actors and a solid 90 minutes of entertainment, this should be required viewing for anyone in the tourism industry. Also, as in any good humor there’s a bit of truth to it, as I recently experienced when renting a car in Orlando but that’s a column for another edition. Luckily your customers have you! And as your guidepost, we’re proud to launch our 4th Annual Group Itinerary Planning Guide. This year’s edition contains 45 sample trips, brought to you by leading destinations in North America. You will find throughout this edition that CVBs are putting their best sample trips in front of you, just in time for your 2012 planning. In addition to what you find in this print publication, we also house the largest collection of itineraries in the group travel industry at the all new www.GroupTravelDirectory.com.

P

We have redesigned this site from the ground up, so in addition to over 5,000 supplier listings, you can search over 500 worldwide itineraries and a new Group Deals section, very “Groupon-ish” to help you identify and book specials. This is our first major overhaul of the industry’s leading online research tool since 2007, and I’m convinced you’ll find it a useful tool when planning your next trip. Rounding out this edition, we take a look at scenic rail and sightseeing cruise options, starting with a column from contributing writer Don Heimberger, one of the foremost authorities on railroads in the U.S., then continuing with regional updates on some of the top rail and sightseeing cruise excursions in North America. So, whether your group is arriving by plane, train, cruise boat or bus, we have a collection of ideas that are sure to get your next group trip off the ground. Enjoy this special edition of Leisure Group Travel, and thank you for your readership. Sincerely,

Jeff Gayduk, Publisher jeff@ptmgroups.com

Senior Editor – Dave Bodle dave@ptmgroups.com

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

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

Director of Sales

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

Regional Sales Managers Illinois – Jim McCurdy

P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 jim@ptmgroups.com

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

Mid Atlantic – Ellen Klesta

P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 ellen@ptmgroups.com

Southeast/West Coast – Cheryl Rash

P 563.613.3068 • F 815.225.5274 cheryl@ptmgroups.com

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

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

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On Tour

❖ marty sarbey de souto, ctc

Rules of The Road For Short Excursions I KNOW THAT SOME OF you have not yet ventured into overseas tours and cruises or longer tours here in the U.S. Your traveling groups may consist primarily of those who enjoy one-day excursions to nearby destinations or perhaps short overnight trips. And, on many of these trips you probably have different folks on board for each trip; it isn’t an ongoing, continuing trip with the same people who get to know your rules and what you expect of those who travel with you. You may wish, therefore, to consider making up a handout to all who sign up for your excursions. Here’s my magic dozen points you might wish to mention on your handout. • Front seats in the coach are reserved for trip escort(s) and personnel operating the trip. • If you sat near the front of the coach in the morning, please rotate and sit in the rear or middle of the coach in the afternoon. Do not keep a front area seat for the entire trip. • As a courtesy to your fellow tour members and to your trip escort or step-on guides, please listen when they are speaking rather than chatting with your seat-mate and making it difficult for others to hear. • Your trip escort will advise you at each stop as to what time the coach will depart. As a courtesy to all, please be back on board by the stated time or we may leave without you. • Jot down the number of the coach and name of the driver, so if you get lost you could find us. When a coach parking lot is filled with 50 coaches, they 8 June 2011

may all look alike! Also, your driver may move your coach while waiting for you to return so it might not be parked in the exact same place as you left it. • It is suggested that you always bring a wrap (even in the heat of midsummer) to contend with air conditioning on coaches, in restaurants, etc. Also bring anything else you may need such as extra camera batteries and any daily medication you need to take while on the tour. • It is expected that all trip participants will be sociable and mix with all

in the tour price and which are not and who, if anyone, should be tipped by you and what the appropriate amount might be. • If you have enrolled on a trip that involves overnight accommodations on a share-room basis, please note that we only accept participants who are “good sports” and can share their room gracefully. On the other hand, if you prefer the luxury of reading or watching TV until late or taking long leisurely baths, or if your snoring brings down the roof, we urge you to request a single room

Issuing tour guidelines in advance will make the trip more pleasant for everyone others in the group so as to make this a happy experience for all. Please help us make newcomers welcome. • If a meal or meals are included in your trip package, please understand that many times we have negotiated a set menu and cannot guarantee meals for special diets. At other times, meals may be offered in a meal court or similar wherein each tour member may order individually. When meals are not included in the trip, be prepared to pay at the time and have small bills/ cash with you to facilitate this so as not to hold the entire group up while those at your table sort out the bill. • On some trips it may be appropriate for each individual to tip – waiters, coach drivers, etc. Your trip escort will advise you at the start of the day as to which tips are included

when enrolling and pay the single room supplement accordingly. • All tour participants are asked to bring along their ID, information on their doctor and medical plan, and contact in case of emergency. • Let us know how you liked the tour and, if you really enjoyed it, the nicest compliment you can give us is to refer friends and colleagues to our program. That’s how we grow!

Marty is founder of the travel industry program at Berkeley (Calif.) City College, where she taught all aspects of group travel for 32 years. She is a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) and continues to design and lead tours as well as provide consulting services.You may reach her at josemarty@ yahoo.com. For information on her book How To Plan, Operate, and Lead Successful Group Tours, click on Premier Tourism Marketing's educational website, groupuniversity.com.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


on holiday travel ❖

sue arko

ver the past 30 years, many destinations have created special holiday-themed events in order to generate demand in a typically soft time of the year. By hanging over a million lights, decorating boats, conducting parades, and providing carolers and hot chocolate, they were able to draw tour groups to see all the spectacular creations. In today’s competitive and economically fragile environment, however, this might not be enough. In order for groups to keep coming back, destinations and tour operators must allow groups to “feel” or experience the event. Not only do tour operators and destinations have to create a holiday event, but they must create an event that touches the guests psychologically, evokes  passion and  triggers emotional connections.  The following is what several travel professionals have to say about their holiday events and how they strive to connect emotionally with guests: Pete Weien, senior vice president and general manager of Gaylord Opryland Resort, describes the worldrenowned Country Christmas: “Christmas is when Gaylord Opryland shines its brightest, and our 28th annual A Country Christmas will make memories of a lifetime for guests who travel from around the world to experience the most captivating holiday resort entertainment, décor and food in America. “A Country Christmas includes two million sparkling lights and more than a dozen shows and attractions, including ICE!, an interactive, biggerthan-life ice sculpture world; the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes; a new holiday dinner show with Louise Mandrell; Christmas shows aboard the General Jackson Showboat and much more. “The Christmas spirit is incredibly

O

Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort celebrates the Yuletide in style.

Holiday Trips Involve More Than Lights and Carolers From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, magical events strike emotional chords in popular group-tour destinations real here. A Country Christmas is always a magical time for our STARS (employees), and that certainly translates into the guest experience. It is humbling that every year more than one million people choose to make Gaylord Opryland a part of their holiday celebration.” Similarly, Charlie McIlvain, director of the Granbury, Texas CVB, discusses the Candlelight Tour of Homes: “The Granbury Candlelight Tour of Homes is an annual event that residents and visitors to Granbury look forward to each December. Normally 12-15 historic homes and commercial buildings are highlighted in the tour. “Community volunteers spend weeks planning, decorating and prepar-

ing each facility to accommodate hundreds of guests. During the Candlelight Tour docents dressed in period attire great each visitor and spend time discussing the home’s or structure’s history and the families who have lived in the homes or the activities that have taken place in the commercial buildings. “Emotions set in as visitors experience kitchen aromas permeating the homes, bringing back memories of visits to grandparents’ homes for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter or other special occasions.” Finally, Rita Stephenson-Reedy, corporate marketing director, portrays Christmas at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville with KaLightoscope Christmas as the main attraction: 

Georgia Department of Economic Development

10 April June 2011 2011

LeisureGroupTravel.com


“Guests marvel at the lights, colors and movement during KaLightoscope Christmas, a different kind of holiday attraction. Visitors are moved by the spectacular Nativity Scene’s size and the detail of the sculptures. The event creates and conjures up Christmas memories from early childhood and is a perfect inter-generational activity. “Christmas at the Galt House Hotel will be bigger and better in 2011 as the multi-layered celebration grows. KaLightoscope Christmas, the main attraction, will showcase new interactive, lighted sculptures with a discovery around every corner. A brand new attraction is being added for 2011—the breathtaking and magical Snow Fairy Castle where children can wander through, open secret doors and write down their Christmas wishes in hopes that the Snow Fairy will make them come true. Plus, a walk through the new charming Christmas Village will grab guests’ attention as they peek into village shop windows to see what’s going on inside. A world-class dinner show will have you whistling holiday tunes, Breakfast with Santa is a must and shopping in Mistletoe Marketplace will excite gift givers looking for that unique gift.” In addition to meeting psychological needs, guests travel over the holiday period for social reasons—they are looking for the camaraderie that a group tour offers. While family may be far away, those not wanting to be alone join groups at holiday times. Activities that allow for socialization and meeting new friends are important and popular when considering holiday travel events. To add value for the guest, a suggestion is to combine several events for a unique holiday experience. One example is a Thanksgiving weekend package in Southern Nevada, which may include LeisureGroupTravel.com

Thanksgiving dinner at a major resort in Las Vegas and the Midnight Madness shopping event at the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm, followed by the Laughlin Boat Parade of Lights, where groups can actually ride in the parade. Whatever the reason for traveling

over the holiday period, there are destinations and events for your group. The number of choices continues to increase, and the creativity behind the scenes improves each year. Utilize the knowledge of a tour operator, and your tour is sure to shine in the hearts of your group for years to come. LGT

A friendly city that’ll really get your wheels turning. In Norfolk, there’s always something to celebrate. With hundreds of waterfront festivals, the fun never stops. To plan your itinerary, visit us online or contact Melissa Hopper, Associate Director of Tour & Travel.

v isitnorfolktoday.c om | 1-800-368-3097

June 2011 11


On Trains

❖ don heimburger

Rail Museums All Steamed Up For Groups Something haS changed on the tour group scene in the last 10 years: railroad museums are beginning to play a greater role as a destination for groups. the reason for this is that railroad museum marketing has become smarter, and museums have spent time and money beefing up their trains to handle more riders. Rail museums offer a variety of benefits for groups. First, they offer history, as most display and promote historical pieces of rail equipment, from steam locomotives to early diesel engines. Besides the equipment, many museums offer rides from a couple of miles long to half-day trips. these trips can include meals or light snacks, and usually have an end point that in itself is scenic or historic. Some train trips ramble through snow-capped mountains, while others follow scenic rivers. Larger trains can accommodate up to 200-300 people on a single trip, as most coaches have a capacity of 50 or more. With plenty of advance notice, museums can specialize the ride to include more stops along the way, cater a meal onboard or near the train tracks, or provide extra service for senior citizens. Following are just a few scenic trains recommended for tour groups: neW meXico Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, chama; 877-890-2737, cumbrestoltec.com. narrow gauge lines used to run throughout the Rocky mountains, but most have disappeared. this three-footgauge line, which accurately represents 12 June 2011

the 1920s, comprises 64 miles of trackage through the rugged San Juan mountains, crossing the new mexico-colorado border 11 times. Steam locomotives, rebuilt and refurbished, ply the rails with coaches filled with tourists. expect spectacular views. coLoRado Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, durango; 877-872-4607, durangotrain.com. Part of the same original denver & Rio grande Western RR three-foot narrow gauge line as the

Bretton Woods; 603-278-5404, thecog.com. england may have invented the railroad, but the United States invented the cog railroad, and the first successful cog—a standard railroad with flanged wheels but with the addition of a gear engaging a cog down the center of the tracks—is credited to the mount Washington cog Railway in 1869. the railway has been in operation ever since, making summer and fall trips to the top of 6,288-foot mount Washington, infamous for its bad weather but famous for its great views. the steep

Besides displaying railroad equipment, many museums offer rides from a couple of miles long to half-day trips above cumbres & toltec RR, this popular rail line, dating from the 1880s, twists and turns its way along a 45-mile stretch between durango and Silverton. its coal-fired locomotives take visitors past the animas River gorge at 350 feet above the rushing mountain river. Waterfalls and wildlife enthrall passengers as the train weaves through the San Juan mountains and San Juan national Forest. coaches with open windows and open-air gondolas allow passengers to feel the colorado air and smell the genuine coal smoke on their way to 9,300-foot-high Silverton, an old mining town where riders have time to eat and explore the freight yard museum. neW hamPShiRe Mount Washington Cog Railway,

tracks remind one of a ladder plunked down on the mountainside; trips, headed by small inclined puffer belly coal-fired steam locomotives until just recently, take three hours. and let’s not forget about the transportation museums and scenic train rides in europe, where rail travel is a way of life. Perhaps the most soughtafter seats are those aboard mountain trains like the Bernina express and glacier express in Switzerland. and a great place to learn about the country’s railroads is the Swiss Museum of Transport and Communication, conveniently located next to one of the Lake Lucerne navigation co.’s boat piers. the expansive structure is one of the world’s foremost transportation museums, employing 250 staff members. LeisureGroupTravel.com


A good portion of the floor space is devoted to preservation of Swiss railway cars and locomotives. On display are a replica of the Spanisch-Brotli-Bahn (Spanish Bun Railway), the first train to operate in Switzerland in 1847; the 1873 cogwheel steam locomotive No. 7 from the Rigi Railway, the first engine manufactured by Swiss locomotive builder SLM and the first successful mountain locomotive in Europe; the C 5/6, a 2-10-0 (1916), the most powerful Swiss steam locomotive; and the articulated Be 6/8, affectionately known as the “Crocodile,” built in 1920. A scenic train ride or museum visit, at home or abroad, will add a dose of fun and nostalgia to any group tour itinerary. Don Heimburger is an editor, publisher and writer who travels the world in search of the best train rides. Besides authoring 11 railroad books, his company, Heimburger House Publishing (heimburgerhouse.com), specializes in rail titles. For seven years he worked in the public relations department of the Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago.

T R A N S P O R TAT I O N

T R A I N S P O R TAT I O N

SM

MORE LEG ROOM. ONE MORE REASON TO RIDE AMTRAK ®. VISIT AMTRAK.COM

Amtrak and Enjoy The Journey are registered service marks of The National Railroad Passenger Corporation.


on international travel ❖

randy mink

What’s Up Down Under? Australia has ambitious plans to ramp up its marketing efforts The Sydney Opera House, its roof evocative of a ship at full sail, is one of the world’s most recognizable buildings.

©Tourism Australia/Robert Wallace

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angaroos and koalas…Aboriginal art…Sydney harbor...the Great Barrier Reef…rugged Outback landscapes bathed in fiery red hues. These are the iconic images we associate with the Land Down Under. Most Americans venturing to this distant continent at the far reaches of the Pacific consider it a once-in-a-lifetime trip. And quite a distance it is—figure on a 15-hour flight for the 7,487-mile trip from Los Angeles to Sydney. Most tour packages are two or three weeks long and often include New Zealand. 14 June 2011

With lofty designs on garnering a larger piece of the international tourism pie, the Australian government has plans to increase foreign visitation to its shores in the next decade. “The focus is ambitious—to double overnight visitor expenditure from today’s $70 billion to between $115 billion and $140 billion by 2020,” said Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia. “The key markets where this growth will come from have been identified and this is where Tourism Australia will focus its marketing efforts going forward.

“While Australia did have a record year last year in terms of numbers, with 5.9 million visitors, we have seen our share of the global travel market decline over the past decade,” McEvoy said. Indeed, keeping Australia on travelers’ radar is a challenge when so many destinations are competing for a slice of the pie. Prime markets for Australia include the United States, which ranked fourth in tourism revenues generated last year (after China, the United Kingdom and New Zealand). A total of 472,126 Americans visited Australia during 2010, spending a total of $2.1 billion. LeisureGroupTravel.com


Some of those American travelers were fans of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which invited 302 viewers to accompany the queen of daytime talk on “Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure,” a four-part series filmed all over the continent late last year. The tourism industry is still weighing the “Oprah effect.” While it might be a little early to start popping the champagne, McEvoy said early indicators are that the series and campaigning around it are starting to pay off. Visits to Tourism Australia’s website (australia.com) during January and February, for example, were nearly double the monthly average prior to this period. Since its announcement in September 2010, Oprah’s visit has generated some 86,000 media articles across the world, with an estimated equivalent advertising value of $368 million. Online travel agency Orbitz, a key partner in Tourism Australia’s “Great Aussie Sale” promotion that ran in the U.S. alongside the Oprah shows’ airing, has reported an increase in flight and hotel bookings (9.65 and 13.6 percent) in January and February over the same period last year. In a survey of Tourism Australia’s premier Australian travel agency specialists in North America, 74 percent said they have seen an increase in Australian enquiries. The recent introduction of Qantas’ non-stop flights from Dallas-Fort Worth to Brisbane (and on to Sydney)—four times weekly—also is expected to boost tourism from the U.S. The Texas gateway, a major hub for American Airlines, will bring Australia closer to the eastern half of the country and take advantage of codeshare services between the two airlines.

lives on its eastern shores. Sydney, where most travelers begin and/or end their trip, is the country’s biggest and most cosmopolitan urban center. Blessed with a sunny climate, Sydney is built around a glorious harbor indented with bays and studded with world-class beaches.

Located in the state of New South Wales, Sydney also serves as a base for side trips to the interior. Blue Mountains National Park, 90 minutes west of the city, is a World Heritage area with forests, waterfalls, canyons and wild kangaroos. (The blue haze is caused by the fragrant eucalyptus oil emitted

WHERE TO GO…WHAT TO DO Most of Australia’s cities are on the coast, and 80 percent of the population LeisureGroupTravel.com

June 2011 15


on international travel ❖

©Tourism Australia/Camille Nuttal

Only-in-Australia experiences: Making friends with a kangaroo in a wildlife park and exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

from the leaves of the eucalypt trees.) Koalas, kangaroos and other animals unique to Australia also can be found in Sydney itself—at Taronga Zoo and Koala Park Sanctuary. Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, is Australia’s most European city, a shopper’s paradise and a lively arts center. Side trips include Yarra Valley wine country and the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, 90 minutes from Melbourne. Hundreds of the miniature fairy penguins waddle every evening to the safety of their homes in the sand dunes. Queensland offers its own coastal draws, from the Gold Coast’s theme attractions, casinos and nightclubs to the Great Barrier Reef, its crown jewel. An aquatic wonderland encompassing more than 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands, the Reef spellbinds divers and snorkelers with exotic fish and coral formations. Cairns and Port Arthur are jumping-off points for the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living feature on earth and the only one visible from space. A tour of Australia is not complete without a foray into the Outback, the vast central desert region comprising the states of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. This untouched wilderness, home to the ancient Aboriginal culture, ranges from the tropics of coastal Darwin and the far western 16 June 2011

city of Perth to the Red Centre around the oasis town of Alice Springs. Remote and mostly uninhabited, this is the “real Australia” as outsiders imagine it. Iconic natural landmarks include the monoliths Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). TOURS DOWN UNDER The following is a sampling of Australia-New Zealand tours offered by major operators: COLLETTE VACATIONS “From the Outback to the Glaciers,” a 20-day trip from Melbourne to New Zealand and Fiji, includes a three-day Outback adventure highlighted by a bush walk, a meeting with Aboriginal people at their camp and a champagne toast as Ayers Rock magically changes color at sunset. Also featured are Sydney, Cairns and a glass-bottom boat ride along the Great Barrier Reef. (collettevacations.com) GLOBUS “Down Under Discovery,” a 19-day trip from Auckland to Sydney, focuses on Australia’s and New Zealand’s most scenic areas and popular cities. Australia highlights include a tour of the Opera House in Sydney, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, an Outback

Photo Credit: Globus

barbecue in Alice Springs, a walking tour around Uluru and dining onboard a historic tramcar restaurant as it winds its way through Melbourne. (globusjourneys.com) GO AHEAD TOURS The 22-day “Australia and New Zealand Tour” begins with a threenight stay in Cairns (highlighted by catamaran sail to the Great Barrier Reef ) and three days in Alice Springs (with desert trek to Ayers Rock and optional sunrise balloon ride). The trip continues to Melbourne and Sydney before the flight to New Zealand. Tour members get free time to explore in each city. (goaheadtours.com/aun) GOWAY The 15-day “Best of Oz” tour presents the best of Australia, starting in Cairns with a ride into the rainforest on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. After a day on the Great Barrier Reef, it’s on to the Outback for the Olgas, Ayers Rock, a camel ride and tour of Alice Springs. A free day in Adelaide, two nights in Melbourne and three nights in Sydney round out the trip. (goway.com) Appealing to our sense of wanderlust, the Land Down Under is perhaps the ultimate travel adventure. It is indeed the trip of a lifetime. LGT LeisureGroupTravel.com


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on location: midwest ❖

ethnic

randy mink

Kalona is the largest Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River. A few farmers still work their fields with horses.

iowa rom Dutch culture in Pella to German traditions in the Amana Colonies, tour planners can stitch together enchanting itineraries flavored with Old Country flair. Museum visits, ethnic festivals, shopping forays and lots of good eating lend a taste of Europe to treks across the rolling farmlands of Iowa. The Germans were the dominant

F

18 June 2011

Pockets of European culture enchant groups touring America’s heartland

non-English-speaking group to settle Iowa in the 1800s, and today 52 percent of the population can trace its roots back to Germany. As a Midwesterner with great-grandparents who migrated from Germany to Eastern Iowa, I was especially interested in places with German roots on my recent trip. I started by heading to the recently renovated German American Heritage

Center & Museum in Davenport, part of the Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa. Housed in a former hotel that catered to immigrants, the four-story brick building commands a prime location on the mighty Mississippi. A museum highlight is “Step Into My Shoes,” where visitors step on a footprint that activates a video screen with an actor who describes his or her LeisureGroupTravel.com


experience as an immigrant. Six characters tell the stories of actual people who made the journey to Iowa. Visitors also learn about the local German-language newspaper (published for 62 years) and Schuetzen Park, where German-Americans and others enjoyed the picnic grounds, roller coaster, shooting ranges, dancing and beer concessions. One exhibit focuses on the anti-German sentiment from World War I that restricted activities of German-Americans and led to the prohibition of speaking German in public. My Germanic quest continued in the Amana Colonies, a collection of seven villages settled by a German religious group that was persecuted for its beliefs. An industrious bunch, they practiced a communal way of life that lasted until 1932. Though Amana residents are often confused with the

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Amish, they are not related, even though both groups developed separatist societies in the mid-1800s in Southeast Iowa, spoke German and dressed in similar styles. You will not see horse-drawn buggies in the Amana Colonies, but you will in Kalona, an Amish enclave 30 miles away. The main activity in the Amana Colonies is strolling down the main street in the village of Amana, popping into gift and antique shops and sampling tasty treats. At the Amana Woolen Mill, dating from 1857, see the looms in operation and choose from a vast array of sweaters, scarves and blankets. Wineries specialize in such fruit flavors as pomegranate, dandelion and rhubarb. Ronneburg Restaurant, housed in an original communal kitchen, and Ox Yoke Inn offer hearty German fare like sauerbraten and wiener schnitzel.

June 2011 19


on location: midwest ❖ Kalona, my favorite discovery, claims the largest Amish population (more than 1,200) west of the Mississippi. A highlight was exploring the countryside on a ByWays van tour arranged by the Kalona Historical Village and Kalona Chamber of Commerce. Our narrator guide, D. Paul Yoder, whose great-grandfather was Old Order Amish, explained the simple lifestyle of the “plain people” as we traveled past buggies on gravel roads and white farmhouses with laundry hanging out to dry. We made two stops during the 90-minute tour. At the

20 June 2011

Amish-owned Community Country Store, next to a chicken pen and vegetable garden on farm property, I bought a homemade apricot pie. Our stop at JK Creative Wood & Gifts, a Mennonite enterprise, included a tour of the workshop and showroom. Many groups make a day of it, combining their tour with a home-cooked meal in an Amish or Mennonite home and a visit to Kalona Historical Village, a collection of three museums and 15 buildings (a rail depot, general store, church, one-room school house, etc.) spread across a block in the heart of town. Galleries in its modern visitor center display historical and contemporary Amish and English (nonAmish) quilts. Groups also need time to wander about downtown Kalona, fresh from a spiffy makeover completed this spring. Visit antique, quilt and other specialty shops. Treat yourself to an old-fashioned cinnamon roll at the Kalona Bakery. Then take the brand new Quilt Block Tour. As the “Quilt Capital of Iowa,” little Kalona (pop. 2,363) is now literally “paved” with quilts, its downtown sidewalks embedded with 42 quilt patterns made of colored paving stones. Iowa’s Dutch heritage is most evident in Pella, about 80 miles west of Kalona. Ablaze with tulips in April and May, the tourist-friendly town offers visitors a

The German American Heritage Center in Davenport has a bright new look.

virtual trip to Holland, with gabled buildings, an authentic Dutch windmill, a landscaped canal and places to shop for Delftware and other Dutch imports. The Tulip Time Festival in early May features parades, special tours, flower and quilt shows, and Dutch-style entertainment. Danish traditions take center stage in Elk Horn, home of the Danish Windmill Museum. Built in Denmark in 1848 and transported to Iowa in 1975, the mill grinds wheat and rye. A tour includes a 15-minute video. At the site are the largest Danish import shop in the U.S. and a replica of a Viking blacksmith’s shop. Also in town are the Danish Immigrant Museum and 1908 Bedstemor’s (“Grandmother’s”) House, furnished to reflect Danish-American tastes in the early 20th century. LGT

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE One of Iowa’s hidden gems is the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum in West Branch. Read Randy Mink’s story at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=23756. Obtain Iowa visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info LeisureGroupTravel.com


Bank Clubs Network in Iowa at Heritage Clubs Annual Conference

A

s America’s oldest bank marketing organization, Heritage Clubs International provides targeted marketing solutions for community banks interested in building new relationships, solidifying existing relationships and building core deposits, the cornerstone on which banks are funded. Asked what sets Heritage Clubs apart, Laura Kammarmeyer of First State Bank in Manchester, Ia. remarked, “I would say the networking. There are four competing banks in my town that have clubs. Working with Heritage members allows us to offer trips that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to. We just had three banks combine on one trip and whereas we would normally get 14 and have to cancel, we are able to run the trip.” Kitty Nash of Home State Bank in Crystal Lake, Ill. agrees. “From the day we started with Heritage Clubs, because of the training we could start in the middle instead of the beginning. They helped us compete in the marketplace from day one.”

Bankers and Travel Service Providers network during the open trade show. 22 June 2011

Nash continued, “The sharing of information is good. We recently started a tiered membership at the bank and we were able to talk to other banks and so we had an idea of how it was going to work, and we could tailor our plan to our own customers – it saved a lot of time.” Once a year, members gather for the Heritage Peer Group Conference. This year’s event, held in Dubuque, Ia., drew close to 180 attendees. George Aker, president of Heritage Clubs, likes the central location for its members. “We feel it’s important for our Mid-

work and get things done. Remarked Kammarmeyer, “We learn a lot from the PTO’s and destinations which helps us understand what is new. Their presentations and meetings show what’s new and what we should be focusing on.” Nash relishes the opportunity to sit down and conduct business with the organization’s eight preferred tour operators and dozens of suppliers during the trade show. “One of the reasons it’s so valuable is that we come back with our trips planned. We come there with

It’s the only program on the planet that’s continuing education for bank club directors western clubs to have good destination cities. This city has a lot to offer.” Indeed it has. Over $400 million has been invested in the community in the past decade. This includes the 2003 introduction of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, a major expansion at the Diamond Jo Casino, a new water park and the return of an iconic hotel with a history as rich as the Mississippi itself, the Hotel Julien. Site of this year’s conference, the Hotel Julien has been in operation since 1915. Reopened in September 2010 after extensive renovations, the luxury boutique hotel boasts a $236-million renovation, including extensive reworking of the lobby and grand ballroom to exact replicas of how they appeared in 1915. The conference is the place for members to acquire knowledge, net-

a five-year plan and look to fill slots – we will actually get trips planned to the letter at the show.” But it’s the education that really sets this show apart. Continues Nash, “It’s the only program on the planet that’s continuing education for bank club directors. Every other position in the bank has continuing education – this is the one opportunity for us to get banking information, marketing information and travel information in one place. It’s a font of knowledge and great resource.” With a loyal conference following, superior networking opportunities for members and a healthy dose of educational sessions to keeps banks at the forefront of market trends, Heritage Clubs is working hard to ensure the ongoing success of bank clubs. (www.HeritageClubs.com) LGT LeisureGroupTravel.com


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 ❖

alyssa cherwak

Floral flags mirror the spirit of friendship between the U.S. and Canada.

International

Peace Garden

Straddling the american-canadian border, this group-friendly attraction fits well into a two-nation vacation n the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota and Manitoba lies the International Peace Garden, a unique attraction dedicated to the peace and friendship between two countries. Embodying beauty and serenity, the botanical garden spans over 2,300 acres and draws thousands of tourists every year. Constructed and dedicated in 1932, the International Peace Garden is a representation of unity and peace between the United States and Canada. A monument, constructed from native stone,

Ren Davis/North Dakota Tourism Division

I

24 June 2011

was placed on the American-Canadian border as a symbol of this friendship with an engraving that reads, “To God in His Glory…We two nations dedicate this garden and pledge ourselves that as long as men shall live we will not take up arms against one another.” Half of the garden is in North Dakota, half in Manitoba. The cascade panel, a narrow channel of water, flows through the center, dividing the garden in two. Each side can be identified by a floral display of its country’s flag. The

American and Canadian flags are the only two floral displays in the garden that remain the same every year. One of the garden’s more popular attractions is the floral clock. In 1966, a duplicate of the Bulova Floral Clock in Berne, Switzerland was received from the Bulova Watch Co. In 2005, it was replaced with a clock from St. Louis. Each spring a new flower arrangement is planted around the 18-foot-wide clock; sometimes up to 5,000 plants are displayed. LeisureGroupTravel.com


IPG Photo

The Formal Garden area with its abundance of flowers and fountains is a visitor favorite. It contains the sunken garden, an octagon-shaped pool with a center fountain and smaller square fountains on either side with a stone garden house. Recently added, the Interpretive Center and Conservatory provides visitors with a vivid display of the history of the International Peace Garden. It features a tribute to the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps who built and planted the garden from 1934 to 1941. The Carillon Bell Tower, a focal point in the garden, was built in 1976 and dedicated to war veterans. Inside the tower is the Arma Sifton bell, a set of 14 chimes that were a gift from Central United Church. The bell was originally a donation to the Central United Church in Brandon, Manitoba from two sons of Lady Arma Sifton. The bell echoes throughout the garden every 15 minutes. In summer of 2002, 10 steel girders were brought to the garden from the New York World Trade Center. They were used to build a September 11th memorial in remembrance of those who lost their lives in terrorist attacks against the United States. The Peace Chapel, the only IPG building located on the border, is built with limestone that has been engraved

Girders from the World Trade Center dominate the garden’s 9/11 Memorial.

IPG Photo

with quotes from “people of peace.” The chapel is non-denominational and open to everyone. At the far end of the garden is the Peace Tower, comprised of four columns representing four corners of the world uniting. Two of the columns stand in Canada and two in America. They reach 120 feet in the air, symbolizing early immigrants’ high ambitions. The garden has seven peace poles that were donated in 1997 by the Japanese government. The poles are handcrafted obelisks engraved with the phrase “may peace prevail on earth” in 28 different languages. A unique exhibit at the garden is the Vitko Collection of cacti, which contains over 6,000 types of cacti and succulents. They are located in a new climate-controlled conservatory that cost $5.1 million. Johannes Olwage, a South African botanist appointed curator of the conservatory, takes care of the plants and gives tours of the exhibit. Throughout the garden are hiking and biking trails. Accommodations for tour groups include group rates and a group menu at the cafe. The International Peace Garden hosts several annual events. The Old Time Fiddlers ConFountains grace the color-splashed Formal Garden. test in June has been des-

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ignated an American Bus Association (ABA) Top 100 Event. Some of the best fiddlers around gather at the Burdick Center for the Arts at IPG to compete; each contestant must play a hoedown, a waltz and a song of their choice. In August, IPG hosts the “FAME” Summer Festival (Fun, Art, Music, Entertainment) with the International Antique Classic and Shine car show featuring musical performers and artists. Also in August is the Metis Festival, “where the fiddle and mountain unite.” This three-day event is centered on fiddling, jigging and dancing. A representation of peace and friendship, the International Peace Garden is one of North Dakota’s special places. Its symbolism and natural beauty make this botanical wonderland an ideal group attraction along the American-Canadian border. For more information, contact the International Peace Garden at 701-2634390; peacegarden.com. LGT Obtain North Dakota visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE Read about top attractions in the Bismarck-Mandan area of North Dakota. Log on to http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=23606.

June 2011 25


john kloster

MIDWEST

â?–

Midwest Rail and Cruise Options

Hop aboard Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad or take a harbor cruise in Duluth.

irtually every group tour involves a motorcoach, and motorcoaches are convenient and outfitted for sightseeing and comfort. But you should consider getting off the coach and exploring other means of getting your passengers around.

V

BY RAIL The Branson Scenic Railway in Branson, Mo. offers a 40-mile trip through the Ozarks from its base at the historic downtown depot. The exact route changes depending on the commercial traffic on the tracks, but either route offers views and territory otherwise inaccessible to visitors. Highlights include tunnels, trestles and extinct communities that disappeared early in the 20th century. Trips are offered daily from March through November, except on Sundays. All excursions are sightseeing only, except for the dinner trains on Saturdays from April through October. (bransontrain.com) The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway outside of Cleveland, Ohio runs through Cuyahoga National Park and along the Cuyahoga River. In the park walk along the Ohio & Erie Canal

Towpath Trail and see the canal lock and Canal Visitor Center, a canal-era structure offering a look into the past. The train also goes to Akron, where coaches are available to visit the Akron Art Museum, Akron Zoo or Hale Farm and Village. The southern terminus of the railway is Canton, where you can visit the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the Canton Museum of Art. Trains operate Wednesday through Sunday June through October and weekends only from November through May. (cvsr.com) In Iowa, the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad traverses the Des Moines River Valley with its distinctive canary yellow locomotive and coaches from the 1920s. The train travels from Boone to the old mining town of Fraser to experience turkeys, deer or bald eagles. The railroad also offers the restored 1915 Charles City & Western electric interurban trolley through downtown Boone. For something different, the valley trip is also available on 1950s-era first class cars for the popular dinner, dessert and pic-

nic trains. Boone is also home to the Iowa Railway Museum, which is in the planning stages for a brand new facility to expand its offerings. (scenicvalleyrr.com) BY WATER Vista Fleet in Duluth, Minn., offers two-hour sightseeing cruises of the Duluth and Superior, Wis. harbor on Lake Superior. The scope of this giant commercial harbor is worldclass. Massive ore boats ply the waters delivering their loads to the commercial docks here. Cruises are offered weekends from May to early October and daily during the summertime. (vistafleet.com) Soo Locks Boat Tours offers a very unique excursion through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The Soo Locks is the largest waterway traffic system on earth and the two-hour narrated trip actually goes through the lock alongside large freighters. The ship is lifted 21 feet up to the level of Lake Superior. The ship then sails under the International Bridge to Canadian waters to see a steel plant and then returns to the lower harbor through the

Georgia Department of Economic Development

26 April June 2011 2011

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Canadian Lock and past the St. Mary’s Rapids before docking back in the city. The line also offers luncheon cruises, dinner cruises and unique lighthouse cruises along the St. Mary’s River. These cruises go past the Cedar Point Lighthouse, the remains of the Round Island Lighthouse and then to the restored Point Iroquois Lighthouse built in 1871. From there the trips enters Canada for the Gros Cap Reefs Lighthouse and on to the Lakeshore-Shallows area and the picturesque beaches and summer cottages at Pointe Aux Pins. (soolocks.com) LGT

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For more scenic rail and sightseeing cruise ideas in the Midwest, log on to http://leisuregrouptravel .com/?p=23749.

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June 2011 27


Alton, Hartford, Jerseyville, Elsah, Village of Godfrey and Grafton, Illinois

DESTINATION ALL AROUND ALTON HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway ➤ Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Confluence Tower ➤ National Great Rivers Museum and Melvin Price Locks & Dam ➤ Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail with Dinner at Lincoln’s Table ➤ Dinner Theaters, Wineries and Scenic Views

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Begin your travels along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and National Trail Site #1 in Hartford, IL. Hear the story of the Corps of Discovery and learn about the five months they spent preparing for the journey. Next, stop at the new Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower and check out the view of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers from the platforms at 50, 100 and 150 feet. Then, enjoy lunch in Historic Downtown Alton at one of the quaint hometown restaurants on Alton’s Antique Row, or for those art lovers, have lunch catered in at the Jacoby Art Center and watch the artists at work. It’s time to watch the barges come in at the National Great Rivers Museum and the Melvin Price Locks & Dam. See tows and barges as they push their way through this incredible structure. For dinner get ready for some side-splitting laughter at the Die Laughing Dinner Theater. Choose from several different shows served with a four-course meal and an extra serving of laughter.

DAY 2:

DAY 3: Back on the Byway, your first stop will be the dragon-like beast that decorates the river’s bluffs. The legendary Piasa was noted in the journals of Father Marquette and Louis Joliet during their exploration of the Mississippi River in 1673. Next take a guided tour of Elsah, “the village where time stood still,” and Principia College, the only Christian Science college in the world. The campus and the buildings are a masterpiece of breathtaking scenery and architectural beauty. It’s time for lunch in Grafton, where riverside restaurants can tailor a menu to your group with a scenic view of the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Plan a stop at one of the many wineries for a taste of the local flavors. The final stop on this tour will be Pere Marquette State Park, the largest state park in Illinois. The centerpiece of the park is the Lodge and cabins built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Let one of Alton’s step-on guides lead your group on a Historic Alton Tour, an Underground Railroad Tour or Alton’s Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail. Then, have lunch at one of the region’s many group-friendly restaurants. Visit the Alton Museum of History & Art to view special exhibits relating to the Civil War and Alton’s Underground Railroad connections. Next take a 30-minute drive north to Jerseyville, where we tour the Col. Fulkerson Mansion and view the Civil War artifacts of this Union military leader. Cap off your day with Dinner at Lincoln’s Table at My Just Desserts in Alton. Enjoy a meal that would have been served at Lincoln’s table. Guests will be engaged as they read aloud their souvenir name card, making connections with the many people that dined with Lincoln and Mary Todd through the years.

CONTACT: Alton Regional CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Sissy McClain • www.visitalton.com 200 Piasa St., Alton, IL 62002 Phone: 800-258-6645 • Email: sales@visitalton.com

➤ Gardens, Grapes & Galleries ➤ Barn Quilts of Calhoun County

28 June 2011

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Charlevoix, Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinaw City, Michigan

GRAND LADIES OF THE LAKES HIGHLIGHTS ➤ See the beacons of the lakes that guide the freighters ➤ Cruise through the busiest international waterway –

Soo Locks ➤ Casino fun included in your package ➤ Tour an actual freighter aboard the

Museum Ship Valley Camp ➤ See the third oldest city in the country –

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY Love Lighthouses and the Great Ships of the Great Lakes? Step aboard Keweenaw Excursions’ exclusive package that embodies the majesty of the Great Lakes, the massive freighters, and the beacons of the lakes that guide these beautiful ships.

that navigate the tight channels and various ranges of the river. After arriving in Sault Ste. Marie, a coach will pick you up and bring you to the Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie for the night.

DAY 1: The trip departs from the port of Charlevoix, Michigan. Board the Keweenaw Star for a beautiful boat ride north through the Grey’s Reef Passage and then east under the Mighty Mac, the world’s longest suspension bridge. This evening arrive in the historic city of St. Ignace, Michigan. Along the way you will see the lights at the Charlevoix Pier, Ile Aux Galets, Grey’s Reef, Waugoshance Shoal, White Shoal, and St. Helena Island. Tonight arrive at the Kewadin Casino for fun and entertainment.

DAY 2: A full breakfast buffet at the casino this morning before heading to the marina. Step aboard the Keweenaw Star for another day of an exciting adventure. From St. Ignace head east through Round Island Passage past historic Mackinac Island and continue toward Detour where we will enter the St. Mary’s River. The river acts as an international border between Michigan and Ontario, Canada. As you navigate your way up the river to the historic city of Sault Ste. Marie, the oldest city in Michigan and one of the oldest cities in the United States, you’ll have great views of the lights of Round Island Passage, Bois Blanc, Martin Reef, and Detour Reef. While traveling up the St. Mary’s River you will be near some of the world’s largest freighters

DAY 3: The following morning you will get the opportunity to pass through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie aboard one of the Soo Locks Boat Tour Boats, a national historic landmark. The Soo Locks has been referred to as one of the great wonders of the world. Experience a ride through the lock system – chances are a freighter will be in the locks with you – it is a spectacular sight! More tonnage passes through these locks than the Panama and Suez canals combined. Afterwards, tour the Museum Ship Valley Camp. At this freighter-turned-museum you’ll learn what it was like to live aboard a working vessel on the Great Lakes. Discover the extensive nautical collection highlighted by the lifeboat from the famed shipwreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Enjoy lunch in historic downtown Sault Ste. Marie. Explore the shops and boutiques in the city named by Father Jacques Marquette. A French missionary, he came to this area in the 1600’s and named Sault Ste. Marie in honor of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards board your coach for a short trip back to Mackinaw City for a tour of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. Mackinaw City offers great shopping venues and entertainment too. Explore downtown for an array of restaurants and attractions. Overnight in Mackinaw City.

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

➤ Pig Iron, Pasties and the U.P. ➤ Quilts, Quakers & Collies

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June 2011 29


EXPERIENCE GENEVA

Geneva, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Indulge in a chocolate tour ➤ Shop at over 150 unique shops ➤ Relax at the Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Gardens ➤ Lunch and fashion show at Atrium Café ➤ Historic walking tour

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 Chocolate Tour of Geneva! 9:30am-Noon: Indulge your sweet tooth with a fun and educational Geneva Chocolate Tour. This guided walking and tasting tour of chocolate shops, bakeries and cafes includes traditional and nontraditional chocolate locations. Lunch: Enjoy a light lunch accompanied by a fashion show at The Little Traveler’s Atrium Cafe. Afternoon: Explore the 36 specialty themed rooms in The Little Traveler and discover treasures from around the world in this landmark “department store” dating back to 1922. Step outside and over 150 specialty shops are within walking distance along picturesque tree-lined streets. Many of the shops are tucked away in architectural gems that were once homes. 3:00-4:00pm: Geneva’s History Center will give you a behindthe-scenes look at Geneva’s past. Choose a bus tour with a step-on tour guide dressed in period attire or take a walking tour of the “haunted streets” of downtown Geneva. After the tour you’ll have more time to enjoy Geneva’s historic downtown. You can choose to shop, explore the historic district, or simply rest on a bench and soak up the small town vibe. Dinner: Geneva may have an abundance of small-town charm, but the dining options are world class. From fine dining to friendly diners, you’ll find the perfect option for your taste and budget.

DAY 2: Morning: After enjoying a 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 on the sprawling estate of the Oscar Swan Country Inn. The proprietors of the Oscar Swan will work with you ahead of time to create a one-of-a-kind private luncheon on their eight-acre estate. Afternoon: After lunch you’ll have a variety of options. You can rent a bike and take a relaxing ride along the scenic Fox River Bike Trail. You can head back to the historic shopping district and explore all the shops you didn’t have time for the day before. Or you can visit the lifestyle shopping center, Geneva Commons, for the best national apparel and home décor retailers. Looking for something a little tastier? Take a Culinary Tour of Geneva and bake 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.

CONTACT: City of Geneva

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Jamie Heflin • www.genevadowntown.org 22 S. First St., Geneva, IL 60134 Phone: 630-938-4555 • Email: grouptours@geneva.il.us

➤ Art & Wine in Geneva ➤ Crafter’s Getaway

30 June 2011

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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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June 2011 31


WHAT’S COOKING IN COLUMBUS

Columbus, Ohio

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Get a real taste of Columbus on guided food tour ➤ Prepare tempting meals under the guidance of a

Culinary Institute of America-trained chef ➤ Learn how to enhance your favorite recipes with herbs ➤ Figure out “whodunit” at the entertaining “Dickens of a

Mystery” interactive dinner theater ➤ Take a cooking class with America’s most-awarded spicy

foods creator

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Discover why Gahanna is known as the Herb Capital of Ohio. We’ll make herb-infused vinegars and oils at the Ohio Herb Education Center, and learn how to add the palate-pleasing flavor of herbs to favorite recipes. Continue our herbal experience at Teh Ku Tea Company in Historic Dublin, where we’ll sample teas from around the world. Or indulge with a food and handcrafted wine tasting at Wyandotte Winery, which makes more than a dozen varieties onsite. Taste handcrafted flavors like lime cardamom and cherry Lambic at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Chef/owner Jeni Britton Bauer’s handcrafted ice creams have been touted in dozens of national publications, including The New York Times that said her ice cream is “worth the drive to Ohio.” Take a guided tour of the historic Worthington Inn before joining the award-winning chef for an in-depth hands-on cooking demonstration. Help prepare a seasonal three-course meal, then enjoy our creations.

DAY 2: Taste the results as America’s most-awarded spicy foods creator John Hard, better known as CaJohn, uses chiles to make mild to fiery cuisine during cooking school at the North Market.

Eat, drink and explore with Columbus Food Adventures. Get a real taste of Columbus on guided food tours with stops at independently owned businesses, complete with samples of their best menu items. Explore new cuisines and learn about the history of Columbus’ delicious neighborhoods. Sip wine crafted the old fashioned way at Via Vecchia Winery, one of just a handful of U.S. wineries that don’t add lab-created yeasts or sugars to its vintages. Depending on the season of our visit, the wines could be in the crush (as in stomping with our feet!), fermentation, aging or bottling phase. Figure out “whodunit” at the entertaining “Dickens of a Mystery,” one of four original interactive dinner theater shows at Ohio Village, the re-creation of a Civil War-era town.

DAY 3: Prepare tempting meals under the guidance of Tami Cecil, a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, at Woodhaven Farm. Pick fresh herbs from the organic garden, then prepare our meal in the state-ofthe-art indoor kitchen or the outdoor kitchen. Take the recipes home to re-create.

CONTACT: Experience Columbus

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Alissa Preston, Tourism Sales Manager • ExperienceColumbus.com/tours 277 W. Nationwide Blvd., Suite. 125, Columbus, OH 43215 Phone: 614-222-6146, 800-354-2657 • Email: APreston@ExperienceColumbus.com

➤ Go Green in Columbus ➤ Girls’ Getaway Weekend

32 June 2011

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


KANKAKEE COUNTY – HISTORY & ARCHITECTURE TOUR

Kankakee County, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Historic Barns adorn Kankakee County’s scenic countryside ➤ Frank Lloyd Wright architecture ➤ Mystery Dinner Theatre ➤ Kankakee County Museum guided tour ➤ Affordable accommodations just an hour south of Chicago

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Kankakee County Hotel Check-In: Kankakee County offers affordable lodging accommodations including two full-service properties. Take a minute to settle in to your hotel and freshen up for an evening of dining and entertainment. Be sure to pick up information and Barn Quilt Guidebooks from the front desk. Barn Quilts: Use your Barn Quilt Guidebooks to learn the history of rural homesteads in Northeast Kankakee County. There are many Barn Quilts scattered along the way to the Bennett-Curtis House Mystery Dinner Theater. Dinner Theater: At the Bennett-Curtis House your evening begins with appetizers and mingling with guests and cast. The cast is seated amongst you as a five-course dinner is served. During the meal a murder is committed. It's up to you to figure out who dunit!

Lunch/Cooking Demonstration: Take a seat for great service and a satisfying midday meal. Make reservations for a cooking demonstration at America’s Bistro. Watch as the chef prepares a masterpiece for your lunch and dessert. Barn Quilts: Schedule a step-on guide or use the Barn Quilt Guidebook to do a self-guided tour. Each historic barn is marked by a beautiful, hand-painted quilt pattern. The tour celebrates history, art, culture and heritage.

DAY 2: Kankakee County Morning: Enjoy breakfast in the comfort of your hotel. Frank Lloyd Wright Tour: Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright left an enduring legacy in Kankakee County with two neighboring houses beautifully set along the banks of the Kankakee River. The B. Harley Bradley House & Stable has been opened as a house museum. Designed in 1900, the Bradley House and its neighboring home, the Hickox House (private residence), marked the beginning of Wright’s Prairie School style. Experience the history of the house and its owners, life in turn-of-the-century Kankakee and the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School design. Tours are one hour and include both floors and the Stable Shop gift shop.

Kankakee County Museum: Visit the Kankakee County Museum (also a Barn Quilt location). Take a tour of the museum, including the art gallery, historic 1855 Dr. A.L. Small House and the 1904 Taylor OneRoom School House. Walk the paths of Governor Small Park and the Museum's Column Garden and outdoor exhibit area. The museum houses a gift shop with Barn Quilt gifts and collectibles. Evening: End the day with a relaxing and delicious dinner at a unique restaurant. Contact the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau for a list of restaurants with private dining areas for large groups.

CONTACT: Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Melissa Nymeyer • www.visitkankakeecounty.com One Dearborn Square, Suite 1, Kankakee, IL 60901 Phone: 815-935-7390 or 800-747-4837 • Email: info@visitkankakeecounty.com

➤ Kankakee County - Indoor and Outdoor Adventures ➤ Kankakee County - Barn Quilt Tour

34 June 2011

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HIDDEN TREASURES, COUNTRY PLEASURES

Lake County, Illiniois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Sanfilippo Estate, also known as Place de la Musique ➤ Gold Pyramid House ➤ Genesee Theatre ➤ Great Lakes Naval Museum ➤ Fort Sheridan and Adlai Stevenson’s Historic Home

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Wadsworth, Barrington, Lincolnshire & Waukegan Tempel Farms – The intimate experience of watching our famous Lipizzan horses in training. Take in the exclusive shops at the Ice House Mall. Tucked inside is Chessie’s/111 Grille, which gives a peek into Barrington’s past. See the former Barrington train depot and dine in a train car. Place de la Musique or the Sanfilippo Estate is a truly unique experience. This 44,000-square-foot home contains the world’s largest pipe organ (we provide a mini-concert), musical machines, Tiffany lamps and the carousel building for more amazing machines. We give you a glimpse on how the Sanfilippo family made their fortune at the Fisher Nut Store. Dinner is at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort and just a short walk inside is our evening’s entertainment, a well-known or new musical at the Marriott Theatre. Check into one of our newest hotels, SpringHill Suites Waukegan/Gurnee.

Discover Egyptian treasures and life inside our unusual Gold Pyramid House. A home-cooked buffet dinner is waiting at The Country Inn Restaurant at Lambs Farm. Learn about their 50-year mission and shop in their specialty stores. Some free time to take advantage of all the savings and great stores at Gurnee Mills is always popular. Your outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. Last Call by Neiman Marcus presents designer products that are always on sale. Optional evening entertainment includes Ravinia Festival, Genesee Theatre, James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts and many area community theaters.

DAY 3: Great Lakes, Lincolnshire, Fort Sheridan & Wheeling DAY 2: Lake Forest, Gurnee, Waukegan & Libertyville At Elawa Farm/Wildlife Discovery Center we teach about the history and gardens of Elawa Farm and its peculiar residents. The Popcorn Factory—the original popcorn in a tin company. Visit the store, enjoy samples and have time to shop for delicious treats to bring home. Keylime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort lunch – a splashtastic adventure isn’t just for kids. Have a fabulous lunch created by Chef Brian and take time to explore the resort’s wonderful shopping, goodies and Paradise Mist Spa. Take a glimpse back into time with a tour of our 1920s movie palace, the Genesee Theatre. Waukegan is the home of Jack Benny, who had many movie premieres at the theater.

Explore 100 years of history at the new Great Lakes Naval Museum. Learn about the man, the mission and his home life during a tour of Adlai Stevenson Home. Our Fort Sheridan’s legacy lives on with a windshield tour of the beautiful grounds and homes. A walk of the grounds is available along with a great group photo opportunity in the red hawk nest sculpture. A healthy lunch from Sweet Tomatoes and wine tasting at Illinois’ oldest winery – Lynfred Winery is one of the best ways to start the trip back home. All these amazing sites are tucked away in Lake County, right in between Milwaukee and Chicago. Our Hidden Treasures and Country Pleasures are just a short drive away!

CONTACT: Lake County, IL Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Jayne Nordstrom • www.lakecounty.org 5465 W. Grand Ave., Suite #100, Gurnee, IL 60031 Phone: 800-525-3669/847-662-2700 • Email: jayne@lakecounty.org

➤ A Honey of a Tour ➤ Let the Ride Take You to Potawatomi Casino

LeisureGroupTravel.com

June 2011 35


AMISH COUNTRY OF NORTHERN INDIANA QUILT GARDENS TOUR ALONG THE HERITAGE TRAIL

Nappanee, Middlebury, Shipshewana, Indiana

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Amish Acres historic farm guided tours, films,

wine tasting, family-style dinner and Broadway musical theater in Nappanee, Indiana ➤ Das Dutchman Essenhaus family-style meal, shopping,

garden basics seminar and hands-on quilting program in Middlebury ➤ Shipshewana Flea Market shopping in Shipshewana

(Tuesday & Wednesday only) ➤ Master Gardener step-on guide for full-day

Quilt Gardens guided tour ➤ Dinner at an Amish farm with Amish cooking class

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Shipshewana and Nappanee, Indiana Morning: Experience first-hand the Shipshewana Flea Market, the Midwest’s largest outdoor flea market with 900 booths covering 60 acres. There are special finds at every turn. A shopper’s paradise! Afternoon/Evening: The 80-acre restored Amish farmstead, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the focal point of Amish Acres in Nappanee. A farm wagon ride, documentary films and a guided historic farm tour give guests an overview of the Amish way of life. Sample and taste wines from the Great Lakes region, then dine in a century-old barn restaurant enjoying the famous family-style Threshers Dinner. Top off the evening with live musical theater in the majestic 1911 Round Barn Theatre offering Broadway-style musical productions.

DAY 2: Goshen and Middlebury, Indiana Morning: Join your local Master Gardener step-on guide and get the inside scoop on the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail. You’ll hear local stories and see quilt patterns brought to life in vibrant colors at such gardens as Flower Basket, Sunrise, Pinwheel and Hope Blooms. Up to 18 gardens and 18 murals in multiple communities are featured along the trail, dependent on the group’s specific interests and time. Lunch/Afternoon: Enjoy a freshly prepared lunch at The Trolley Cafe located inside The Old Bag Factory in Goshen, featuring their signature homemade quiche and orange muffins. Then shop in the artisan complex of The Old Bag Factory, filled with pottery, furniture, candles and unique gifts. Conclude your visit at the log cabin shop of Quilt Designs, filled with exquisite, originally designed contemporary quilts. Meet owners and artisans Dave & Shirley Shenk, who explain their technique and showcase their one-of-a-kind trademarked patterns that present quilting as an art form.

CONTACT: Amish Country of Northern Indiana/Elkhart County CVB ➤ Sonya L. Nash, CTP • www.AmishCountryTours.org 219 Caravan Drive, Elkhart, IN 46514 Phone: 800-517-9657 or 574-262-8161 • Email: sonya@amishcountry.org 36 June 2011

Evening: Your adventure continues with an Amish Country experience of a lifetime! Meet the Yoder family as they show you how to make some of the tastiest food around in an Amish Cooking Demonstration on the Yoder family farm. Following the class, sit down to enjoy a hearty family-style Amish dinner.

DAY 3: Elkhart, Bristol, and Wakarusa, Indiana Morning: Continue your Quilt Garden Tour journey at Wellfield Botanic Gardens in downtown Elkhart followed by a guided tour of the elaborate Beaux-Arts mansion Ruthmere. The home is a time-capsule of a wealthy lifestyle in 1910, filled with a collection of fine art including Rodin sculptures, Tiffany leaded glass and velvet window coverings. Lunch/Afternoon: Dine in Indiana’s largest restaurant, Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, noted for tasty meals using family-favorite recipes handed down through the generations and tasty treats worth every calorie. Save room for pie – they offer 29 varieties! Following lunch, enjoy shopping in The Village Shops for gifts, baked goods and more. Then learn how to create your own backyard quilt garden in the Quilt Garden Basics class. Learn basic quilt patterns to incorporate into your own backyard, including color placement and flower suggestions. Finally, end your experience with your own handmade quilt. Roz at The Quilt Shop makes a little “quilt magic” without a needle in sight. Select and complete your own 6” x 6” quilt block in no time flat. It’s a quick, easy and fun way to create a take-home souvenir from Amish Country.

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE: ➤ Autumn Pleasures Along the Heritage Trail in Amish Country of Northern Indiana ➤ Delicious Stitches in Amish Country of Northern Indiana

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CENTURY-OLDE MILWAUKEE

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Shopping on Old World Third Street ➤ Gilded Age splendor at Pabst Mansion ➤ Miller Valley brewery tour ➤ Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum and

Harley-Davidson Museum ➤ Basilica of St. Josephat’s and St. Joan of Arc Chapel

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY Come experience history, traditions, architecture and entertainment that span more than 100 years.

DAY 1: We will begin our tour with a visit to the Milwaukee Public Museum, which opened in 1882. The Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit area represents the city around the turn of the 20th century. Tonight enjoy dinner at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, a downtown landmark built in 1889. It houses one of the largest private art collections in Wisconsin.

DAY 2: This morning explore Forest Home Cemetery, established in 1850. A docent-led tour will share the stories of some of our most famous citizens, including the Blatz, Schlitz and Pabst families, Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne, and the Davidson family. Travel a short distance to the Basilica of St. Josephat’s, which tells the story of Polish immigrants who settled on the south side of Milwaukee. Lunch will be enjoyed at the George Watts Tea Shop, which has been run by the family since 1870. We will head over to Lake Park and the North Point Light Station, consisting of a 74-foot lighthouse tower and wood-frame keeper's quarters. This iconic structure played an important role in the region's maritime trade for more than 120 years. Stroll, shop and dine on Old World Third Street, the last remaining portion of the original German retail district in Milwaukee. It features the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, the Spice House, Mader’s German Restaurant and Usinger’s Sausages, which has been located here since the late 1870s.

explores the rich heritage of a world leader in the design and manufacture of mining equipment since 1893. Our next stop is the Pabst Mansion, the stately home of Maria and Capt. Frederick Pabst. Built in the 1890s, it represents the epitome of Gilded Age splendor. We’ll continue on to lunch at Best Place, located at the historic Pabst Brewery, first known as Best Brewery beginning in 1844. When you enter the Blue Ribbon Hall, you will instantly be transported back in time. Onward to Miller Valley, home to more than 150 years of brewing history. The brewery tour includes the historic caves and a sample or two. From one American icon to another, we head to the Harley-Davidson Museum to learn about this celebrated brand dating back to 1903. The museum features the oldest known Harley-Davidson motorcycle and over 300 others. The museum campus has two restaurants for your group to enjoy.

DAY 4: Visit the Marquette University campus, home to the oldest church in the U. S., the St. Joan of Arc Chapel. This little Gothic oratory was built five centuries ago in France. You may recognize our next stop from a ’70s sitcom, but Milwaukee’s City Hall, built in 1895, was just named one of the top 10 most beautiful municipal buildings in the country. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the Pfister Hotel, which has been the premier downtown hotel for over a century. You’ll appreciate the extraordinary architecture and Victorian art collection. We’ll end our stay with a visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum, a staple of our city for over 120 years.

DAY 3: Today explore the companies that have influenced our city, country and the world. We’ll begin with a visit to the Bucyrus Museum, which

CONTACT: VISIT Milwaukee

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Wendy Dobrzynski • www.visitmilwaukee.org 648 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203 Phone: 414-287-4222 • Email: wdobrzynski@milwaukee.org

➤ Spirits of Milwaukee ➤ Entertainment, Celebration & Fun

38 June 2011

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FUN AND GAMES IN THE PETOSKEY AREA

Petoskey, Michigan

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Gaslight Shopping District –

Boutique & resort shopping galore ➤ Historical Museum –

Discover the past of young Ernest Hemingway ➤ Odawa Casino – The finest in gaming, dining,

crafts and entertainment ➤ Bay View – Our National Historic Landmark

Summer Chautauqua ➤ Kilwins – Chocolate factory tours –

making yummy confections since 1947

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Arrival: Meet your local tour guide for a complimentary one-hour orientation and history tour of the area. Hotel Check In Dinner: Our small lakeside towns pride themselves on the variety and quality of their many dining establishments. Your group will find just the right blend of cuisine and service to please even the most demanding tastes. Evening Entertainment: Odawa Casino Resort. The entrance of Odawa Casino Resort is a one-of-a-kind architectural vision come to life. Inside, guests will find more than 1,300 slot machines, dozens of Las Vegas-style table games, unique shopping and some of the friendliest people on Earth. Odawa Casino Resort has dining options that will be sure to satisfy any palate and wallet. Waas-no-dé Buffet will dazzle your senses with seating for 350, live-action food stations, a rotisserie, a wood-burning pizza oven and a dessert station with a vast selection of tempting treats. Sage, Odawa Casino Resort’s fine dining restaurant, combines a superior menu, impeccable service and a luxuriously intimate setting to provide you with an amazing culinary adventure.

DAY 2: Breakfast: Enjoy a fresh and hearty Northern Michigan breakfast at your hotel. Bay View Association: This charming Victorian community beside Little Traverse Bay has its roots in religious expression and culture. The

Methodist Church founded Bay View in 1875 as a summer retreat. The community's programs included lectures, concerts, recitals and Sunday evening vespers. In 1987, Bay View's 440 cottages were designated as a National Historic Landmark, only the 17th such site in the state of Michigan. Many of these historic homes are still occupied in the summertime by descendants of the founding families. Hemingway Tour: Discover the life, times, and influences Northern Michigan had on the famous author during his youth as a summer resident on Walloon Lake. Lunch Kilwins Chocolate Factory Tour: One smell and you'll know why this company ships its sweets all over the nation! Shopping in the Petoskey Gaslight District: Flower boxes overflow with color and the aroma of fresh-baked breads and pastries waft through the air while you stroll. Shops offer high fashion for men and women, children's wear, art and photo galleries and antiques. When you are finished shopping, enjoy a leisurely walk along Petoskey's one-mile waterfront on Little Traverse Bay. Bayfront Park offers a paved trail, covered gazebo and the Little Traverse History Museum. Return to Hotel Young Americans Dinner Theatre: The Young Americans handpick top young talent from across the country to perform at Boyne Highlands, in July and August, just for you. Sophisticated cuisine and Broadway music combine to make an enchanting evening for you and your family or group. While you eat, The Young Americans sing songs from the time when Al Capone lived a few miles away, to more contemporary classic tunes that you know and love. Watch the vibrant young singers, dancers and actors dazzle on stage.

CONTACT: Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau ➤ Peter Fitzsimons • www.PetoskeyArea.com 401 E. Mitchell St., Petoskey, MI 49770 Phone: 800-845-2828 • Email: Peter@PetoskeyArea.com LeisureGroupTravel.com

June 2011 39


PRIVATE HOME TOURS

Quincy, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Unrivaled architecture & historic districts ➤ Riverfront dining ➤ Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Underground Railroad ➤ Great River Road ➤ Illinois Wine Country

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Exclusive Private Home Tours Wake up with coffee and a light breakfast 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 Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Groups love our Private Home Tours of three architecturally significant homes in the East End Historic District. Tours are given by homeowners themselves, in neighborhood groupings. Enjoy lunch at the Pier Restaurant, cantilevered over the Mississippi, specializing in creative Midwestern cuisine. Take in a Behind-theScenes Theatre Tour at the Quincy Community Theatre. Visitors are exposed to improv, stage combat and even get a glimpse of the Green Room and Scene Shop. Peruse local antique purveyors or the outstanding Quincy Museum (formerly the Newcomb-Stillwell Mansion) before heading to dinner at Quincy’s newest hotspot, ONE. In a restored theater, ONE is complete with original balconies, two bars and delicious fusion cuisine from an array of cultures.

DAY 2: Great River Road Trip Morning hours are magnificent on the Mississippi River bluffs, especially from the vantage point of Quincy’s 1900 Mediterranean castle, the Villa Kathrine. Following our castle tour, head north on the Great River Road to the historic Warsaw Brewery for lunch. Admire the broad expanse of the river and its huge lily pads on the way to Nauvoo, IL. This distinctively restored riverfront town boasts 65 shops and homes featuring period furnishings and knowledgeable guides. Horse-pulled wagon rides and tours of the city are available year-round. Settle in for a bountiful buffet at the Historic Hotel

Nauvoo, nationally known for its award-winning fare, with 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 groupfriendly hotels.

DAY 3: Underground Railroad Sweet start at Underbrink’s Bakery. Enjoy a “radio roll” or iced nut roll during a behind-the-scenes tour of this 1929 bakery where many of the original recipes and equipment are still in use. A step-on guide will accompany groups on the amazing Underground Railroad trail in the area. Quincy was the first “station” across the border from Missouri and was instrumental in the abolitionist movement. Lunch in a restored “scale house” in rural Adams County at Windsong Acres, studio of artist Shelly Rasche. This inviting space is outfitted with original details and fireplace. Meander to nearby Ridgeview Winery and wind down with a relaxing glass of local wine at this scenic Illinois vineyard.

CONTACT: Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Holly Cain • www.seequincy.com 532 Gardner Expressway, Quincy, IL 62301 Phone: 800-978-4748 • Email: hcain@seequincy.com

➤ Reds, Blues & Greens Golf Package ➤ FAB Getaway: Eagle Package

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EXPERIENCE THE BLACK HILLS AND BADLANDS OF SOUTH DAKOTA

Rapid City, Hill City, Keystone, Wall

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Mt. Rushmore National Memorial ➤ Crazy Horse Memorial ➤ Badlands National Park ➤ 1880 Train ➤ City of Presidents

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Morning: This morning you will depart for Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Set in the natural beauty of the Black Hills, sculptor Gutzon Borglum began a project that would become known as America’s Shrine of Democracy. The faces of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln come to life on the granite mountainside. Lunch: Head to Hill City for lunch and to explore the quaint shops along Main Street. Afternoon: Board the 1880 Train and enjoy this scenic and historic ride through the Black Hills to Keystone. Evening: This evening you will enjoy a fun-filled evening full of Western entertainment as you experience a Chuckwagon Supper and Show before returning to Mount Rushmore for the evening lighting ceremony. Mount Rushmore takes on a magnificently different feeling in the evening as you witness the ceremony from the open, outdoor auditorium.

DAY 2: Morning: This morning you will see the world’s largest sculpturein-progress as you visit Crazy Horse Memorial. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski officially started Crazy Horse Memorial on June 3, 1948, to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians. Lunch: Enjoy lunch at Crazy Horse Memorial’s Laughing Water Restaurant. Afternoon: Continue on to Custer State Park, which encompasses 71,000 acres and an abundance of wildlife. The natural beauty of Custer State Park is filled with a wide variety of wildlife including one of the nation’s largest herds of wild buffalo, which you will experience up-close on the park’s Buffalo Safari. Evening: After returning from your Jeep tour through the buffalo, you will have dinner at the Custer State Game Lodge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1920, it served as the “summer White House” for President Calvin Coolidge.

DAY 3: Morning: After breakfast, you will head to Badlands National Park. People are drawn to the rugged beauty of the Badlands, containing the world’s richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, spires and wildlife, all viewable from the park’s scenic loop road. Lunch: No trip to the Badlands would be complete without a stop at Wall Drug. In 1931, the Wall Drug Store got its start during the Depression by offering free ice water to thirsty travelers. Today, the family-owned and run business offers a spectacular, 76,000square-foot American experience, including the Western Art Gallery Restaurant, where you can try a local favorite, the buffalo burger. Afternoon: Returning to Rapid City, your next stop will be The Journey Museum to experience the history of the Black Hills from formation over 2.5 billion years ago to the continuing saga of the Western frontier. After completing the museum tour, you’ll head to downtown and the City of Presidents, where you can have your picture taken with the life-sized bronze statues of our nation’s presidents, which line downtown streets. Experience unique shops like Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries and visit Main Street Square while deciding which of Rapid City’s delectable dining establishments to enjoy for dinner.

CONTACT: Rapid City Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Michelle Thomson • www.TourRapidCity.com 444 Mt. Rushmore Rd. N. Rapid City, SD 57701 Phone: 605-718-8489 • Email: Thomson@VisitRapidCity.com

➤ National Parks and Monuments ➤ Native American History

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June 2011 41


AROUND THE WORLD

St. Charles, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Unique dining experiences that include Italian,

Mexican and Greek fare ➤ Tour an 1850s working Dutch windmill ➤ Exquisite marble carvings at America’s largest Hindu Mandir ➤ Live theater...choose from four St. Charles theaters ➤ And of course…Chicago-style pizza!

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Visit St. Charles, Illinois and experience a bit of the world! Kick off your tour with an authentic Nepalese lunch at Taste of the Himalayas. Next, head to the Fabyan Villa and Japanese Gardens. Remodeled in 1907 by Frank Lloyd Wright, George and Nelle Fabyan’s riverside home is now a museum. Filled with their private collection of Asian artifacts and natural history specimens, the mansion museum boasts a garden designed by Taro Otsuka, a Japanese landscape architect. Enjoy this garden tour and learn how you might add beauty to your own backyard. A short walk takes you to an 1850s Dutch windmill, another treasure of the Fabyans. This five-story, 68-foot windmill is fully restored to operate by natural wind energy. Next, experience Hindu culture at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in nearby Bartlett, where you will enjoy hours of discovery and peace. Over 7,000 tons of Italian Carrara marble and Turkish limestone were hand-carved by skilled craftsmen in India and assembled in just 16 months right here in the states. Next, step into Italy with a wine tasting and tour at Acquaviva Winery, a family-owned, 40-acre estate vineyard and full-service winery. Stay for dinner at Acquaviva or head to a taste of Mexico at Fat Rosie’s, where you’ll enjoy traditional Mexican food with a gourmet flair.

DAY 2:

about St. Charles’ rich history and culture from our historian who will board your motorcoach for a complimentary driving tour. Ever wonder who invented barbed wire and why? This and more will be included in a trivia quiz – complete with prizes. Stop at our museum, too. Next stop is…Chicago-style pizza at Gino’s East! A trip to the Windy City isn’t complete without a slice of famous, deep-dish pizza. After lunch, receive a guided tour of the beautiful Hotel Baker, listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, and then spend free time in downtown St. Charles. Shop at a collection of unique shops in Century Corners Shopping District or visit Arcedium Coffeehouse, where coffee is roasted on site. Rent a bicycle and enjoy over 30 miles of bike trails or take a stroll along the Fox River. Enjoy Greek cuisine for dinner at Odyssey Authentic Greek Taverna. Let your journey to flavor begin with flaming saganaki and end with Grecian sea bass, de-boned right at your table. For evening entertainment, see live theater at one of four theaters in St. Charles. Choose from Noble Fool Theatricals at Pheasant Run Resort; the quaint, 80-seat Steel Beam Theatre; the beautiful 1926 Arcada Theatre; or Norris Cultural Arts Center.

DAY 3:

Experience Ireland with a traditional breakfast at McNally’s Irish Pub (breakfast served on weekends). Or enjoy an eco-friendly breakfast at Prasino, where organic agriculture is a priority. Head to St. Charles’ Pottawatomie Park to enjoy good ol’ American fun on a Paddlewheel Riverboat Cruise! Enjoy a scenic Fox River cruise, from May-October, aboard a Mark Twain replica paddlewheel boat. Private charters are available as well as lunch and dinner cruises. Or choose to cruise in the evening, with a French wine and cheese night. You’ll enjoy hearing

Since St. Charles is just one hour west of Chicago, extend your tour and visit Chinatown or Greek Town in downtown Chicago!

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE: ➤ Summer Shines Through ➤ Girlfriends Getaway ➤ The Great Antique Hunt

CONTACT: St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau ➤ Jenny O’Brien • www.visitstcharles.com 311 N. 2nd St., Suite 100, St. Charles, IL 60174 Phone: 800-777-4373 or 630-377-6161 • Email: jenny@visitstcharles.com 42 June 2011

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St. Cloud, Little Falls, Cold Spring, Freeport, Royalton, Minnesota

KIDS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN! HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Charles Lindbergh Home – Where the famous

aviator spent his boyhood summers ➤ Hemker Park and Zoo –

Look and learn close-up tour of the animals ➤ Summerland – Is fun for the entire family ➤ Make a great memory of your

grandkid/grandparent adventure ➤ Treasure City – All things weird and wonderful

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Morning: Creativity with all of the fun and none of the mess. Taking pictures is part of everyone’s vacation, but adding in a customized handpainted picture frame makes the memory of the trip even better. Art As You Like It is where the fun begins. Lunch: Voted as the best burger and fries – Five Guys Burgers and Fries. All fresh products here, nothing is frozen. Afternoon: After lunch we will explore the wild side at Hemker Wildlife Park and Zoo. It’s a chance to get up close and personal with the animals. A 90-minute guided tour of the grounds is a chance to see a wildebeest, musk ox, black swans, kudu, penguins and so much more. Hemker’s also provides animals to zoos around the country. On the way back to the hotel it’s a must to stop at Mr. Twisty for an ice cream treat. The locals love Mr. Twisty—its trademark soft-serve cone comes with eyes… yes eyes! Evening: A quick check-in at one of our great hotel properties and we’re off to the Pizza Ranch for dinner…it’s an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, a favorite with everyone. Before retiring for the evening, you may want to head out to Summerland for mini-golf, go-karts, kiddie boats, bumper boats and on a hot summer’s evening the waterslide feels great. Or, take a leisurely stroll through Riverside Park and Munsinger/Clement Gardens located along the Mississippi River.

DAY 2: After breakfast you will follow the Great River Road to Charles Lindbergh’s boyhood home located along the Mississippi River. Sit in the plane the young aviator flew across the Atlantic and check out his favorite hiding spot in the house. The home has many of the original furnishings that were part of Charles’ early years. This is all part of the Charles Lindbergh Historic Site. Lunch: For lunch it’s the Black and White Restaurant. This restaurant has been in business for the last 80 years in Little Falls. Savor the flavor at the Black and White, from a sandwich to prime rib, and yes, they have a kid’s menu. Afternoon: Cap off the day with a stop at Treasure City. It’s probably the most eclectic store a kid can spend some time in just browsing through the trinkets, toys, T-shirts and some unusual items…just good clean fun at Treasure City. The best time for this tour is the summer months. Preferred ages: 4-12 years old. Welcome to Granite Country USA!

CONTACT: St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Jean Robbins • www.granitecountry.com 525 Highway 10 South, Suite One, St. Cloud, MN 56304 Phone: 800-264-2940, ext. 129, or 320-202-6729 • Email: jean@granitecountry.com

➤ Stained Glass Sanctuary & Floral Fantasy ➤ Let the Good Times Flow – The Great River Road

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June 2011 43


QUILTING IN THE COUNTRY

McHenry County, Illinois

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Northern Illinois Quilt Fest –

“Travel the Trail from Barns to Bedcovers” ➤ McHenry County Historical Society Museum Quilt Exhibits ➤ Grace Farm Studios – Organically Grown Raspberries

and a Working Icelandic Fiber Art Studio ➤ Shop Hop Through Six Quilt Stores ➤ Hidden Treasures Around Every Corner

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY Whether you visit McHenry County in July, August and September of 2011 for the Northern Illinois Quilt Fest or at another time completely, quilt-related sightseeing and shopping is abundant! See amazing quilts, quilted barns, quilt gardens, art exhibits, quilt shops and special events you won’t want to miss. As you explore McHenry County, travel the scenic byways past barn quilts, porch quilts, quilt gardens, quilt shops, quilt shows and quilt displays! Stop off at one of our county’s many farm markets for fresh seasonal produce and shop for hidden treasures throughout McHenry County at Ginger Blossom, Steelheart, Downtown Crystal Lake, the Historic Woodstock Square and Huntley Outlet Center.

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 limitedservice national brand hotels. Continue your shop hop to three more quilt shops including: Sunshine & Shadow Quilt Shoppe in McHenry, Pieceful Gathering in Fox River Grove and Material Girl in Crystal Lake.

DAY 1: Visit Grace Farm Studios in Woodstock, home to an Amish-style barn quilt, “Crown of Thorns," the whimsical 2011 “Great Berry QuiltOff” exhibit, “Irene’s Morning” (“Best Use of Embellishment,” 2008 Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza), organically grown raspberries and a working Icelandic fiber art studio. Start your shop hop with three of our quilt shops including: Woodstock Quilts and Hopscotch Square in Woodstock and Quilt in Joy in Huntley. Enjoy your lunch Wild West style at Donley’s Old West Steakhouse, Wild West Town & Museum. Cowboy, law & order, mining and Civil War memorabilia, and an antique phonograph and music box collection judged by the Charles Edison Foundation as one of the finest Edisonia displays in the U.S. Visit the quilt exhibits at the McHenry County Historical Society Museum in Union. Exhibits will include: "Quilting Optimism: Depression Quilts," "Going Crazy: Crazy Quilts" and "Seeing Red" (an exhibit on political quilts). Union is also home to the Illinois Railroad Museum, America’s largest railway collection. For dinner, try al fresco at Port Edwards Restaurant, a nautical dining experience since 1964.

Spend your lunch hour…or two…relaxing on the Fox River! The Snuggery offers lunch river cruises on their very own pontoon boats. Stop in at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake and enjoy their quilt displays and quilt garden. View the quilt garden at Countryside Flowershop, Nursery & Garden Center. See the downtown “Porch Quilts” in Marengo. While there, stop in at Flatlander Market for a great selection of Illinois wines, a sweet treat or grab a gourmet box lunch to go for a yummy meal to enjoy on your way home! Enhance your quilt experience in McHenry County with our very own local AQS Certified Quilt Appraiser, quilt historian, teacher and quilt maker, Sandy. She offers half-day, one-day and two-day quilt lectures and workshops on a number of quilt-related topics. Her favorite topics are how to protect and safeguard newly-made and older quilts and the importance of labeling your quilts.

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

➤ European Treasures, Country Pleasures ➤ Plains, Trains & Automobiles

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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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June 2011 45


on location: south ❖

dave bodle

Chugging through

North CaroliNa Scenic railroads lend a touch of nostalgia while showcasing the state’s mountain majesty

The coal-fired engine of the Tweetsie Railroad takes riders on a three-mile ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

rom the fragrant blooms in the spring and the splendor of summer to the explosion of warm fall colors and the cleanliness of winter, the North Carolina mountains make a wonderful group destination. Regardless of the season you visit, one activity is a must. Your itinerary needs to include a ride aboard one of the state’s scenic railroads. There’s no better way to discover the beauty and heritage of the region. Located between Boone and Blowing Rock, Tweetsie Railroad dates back to 1881 when a narrow gauge railroad with 50 miles of track brought iron ore from the mountains to John-

F

46 June 2011

son City, Tenn. Closing of the original railroad was followed by the sale of Tweetsie Locomotive #12 and finally its return in 1957. Tweetsie Railroad evolved from an excursion railroad into the first theme park in North Carolina. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Tweetsie delights visitors of all ages. Tweetsie Locomotive No. 12 and the No. 190 Yukon Queen are both in operation. The train ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains is approximately 30 minutes. The scenery is breathtaking and the three-mile Wild West adventure trip delightful. The Wild West theme radiates

throughout the park. The old Western town features live shows, amusements, concerts, the Deer Park Zoo and plenty of souvenir shopping. For the adventuresome in the group, consider a scenic chair lift ride to Miner’s Mountain and experience panning for gold. Tweetsie Railroad is an ideal destination for just about any group. Seniors are going to thoroughly appreciate the beauty of the mountains. Maybe a comfortable train ride will spark a moment of remembrance when rail travel was an important part of their lives. The student/youth segment is a natural. Tweetsie Railroad has partnered with Letterland for a great educational LeisureGroupTravel.com


event in May of each year. In addition, the parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s educational efforts include the Learning Express, which provides memorable rides for teachers and students. The rides are Fridays in May and from Labor Day through October. Curriculum guides are online at tweetsie.com. Departing from its Bryson City depot in Western North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (GSMR) is for groups with rail trips high on their list of must-dos. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something for everyone on this world-class line. The Nantahala Gorge excursion features spectacular views along the Little Tennessee and Nantahala rivers and over the dramatic Fontana Lake Trestle. This 4½-hour adventure includes an hour layover at the scenic gorge. Travel First Class in 1940s-era, climate-controlled bar, lounge and diner cars. Included with comfortable seating is a delicious lunch served by the carâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attendant. A souvenir tumbler and embroidered tote bag are included in your package. Restrooms are available. Crown Class offers restored climate-controlled coaches dating back to the late 1920s with large windows for better viewing; passengers receive a souvenir. Coach Class features vintage coaches with windows that open. Fall foliage season peaks in October and affords stunning views for Great Smoky Mountains Railroad passengers.

Group Motorcoachingâ&#x20AC;Ś So Much Fun it Just Became a Verb! Reasons to group Motorcoach to Harrahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s: s 3AYINGh-OTORCOACHvISFUN s .OWSERVINGALCOHOL s -OTORCOACH,OBBYCOMFORTABLYSEATS s $OUBLEDGAMINGSPACEFORMOREFUN s !DDEDSPACEWITH$RIVERS,OUNGE s ,OADINGUNLOADINGAREAINCOVEREDDECK s .EW#REEK4OWEROPENINGBRINGSROOMTOTAL TOOVER  s 3ERIOUSLY SAYh-OTORCOACHv s ,OCATEDIN#HEROKEE .#ATTHEENTRANCETO THE'REAT3MOKY-OUNTAINS For more information or to book your group, call toll free 1-877-778-8138 or email bwebb@cherokee.harrahs.com. Must be 21 years of age or older and possess a valid photo ID to enter casino and to gamble. Know When To Stop Before You Start.ÂŽ Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-522-4700. An Enterprise of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. Š2011, Caesars License Company, LLC.

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

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

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

north carolina visitnc.com


on location: south ❖ The group sales staff at GSMR encourages booking fall trips well in advance for the best availability. Dinner trains combine a threecourse dinner and an enjoyable special event. Wine tasting and mystery theater have become extremely popular. For active groups, a Train & Rafting Combo might just be the ticket. From April through October you’ll enjoy a morning ride on the Open Air Gondola and a rafting experience down the Nan-

stop on a pre- or post-mountain trip is the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer. The museum is located on the site that was once Southern Railway Company’s largest steam locomotive servicing facility. In 1896 the site was opened midway between the company’s major terminals of Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. At its peak the Spencer Shops employed nearly 3,000 people. Although the Spencer Shops closed

music, a chili cook-off, theatrical nighttime photography opportunities, and arts and crafts. Halloween and Christmas are other favorite times to visit the museum. The 2011 Autumn Train Excursions promise to be unforgettable. On Oct. 29 the first trip departs Spencer with a stop in Greensboro. The jaunt continues into western central Virginia and on to Roanoke, where Southern Railway built its classic steam engines. A visit to

Visit the North Carolina Transportation Museum or celebrate the holidays on Great Smoky Mountains’ Polar Express.

tahala River led by one of two reputable outfitters. Morning concludes with lunch, a shower, a photo show and transportation back to the Bryson City depot. Not to be confused with rafting on the chilly river (it is a mountain river fed by a mountain lake!), Great Smoky Mountains’ Polar Express has become popular with both families and multigenerational tours. It’s a wonderful way to visit Santa. All tickets on a Great Smoky Mountains Railroad excursion include admission to Smoky Mountain Trains. This top-rated Lionel train museum includes trains dating as far back as 1918. (gsmr.com) Also for train aficionados, a must 48 June 2011

in 1960, during the late 1970s Southern Railway made significant acreage donations, including several historic buildings. The first exhibit area opened in 1983. In addition to being a window on transportation history, the North Carolina Transportation Museum offers numerous activities, including a ride to view the 57-acre facility and special events. The two-day Rail Days Festival traditionally held in mid-June celebrates the golden age of railroads. Classic engines pull period coaches through the property. The colorful caboose train is a fun photo opportunity. Also featured are motorcar rides, turntable rides, live

downtown Roanoke and the O. Winston Link Museum of fabulous rail photography are in store for groups. The Oct. 30 trip goes south to Tocca, Ga. and world-famous Tocca Falls. This ride includes passage over the 100-foot Seneca Trestle crossing Lake Hartwell. (nctrans.org) Whether you’re considering a North Carolina rail experience as an itinerary item or a full-fledged theme tour, great opportunities await. LGT Obtain North Carolina visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info LeisureGroupTravel.com


on location: south ❖ isiting West Virginia during November and December has a genuine feeling of going home for the holidays. Almost every town and city invites you to share its own holiday festivities and hospitality. The Mountain State may be “Wild and Wonderful,” but during the holiday season it’s “Warm and Welcoming.” From parades and festivals to open houses, there is much to see, do and enjoy in West Virginia during the Christmas season. Whether travel

V

dave bodle plans call for a day trip, a stopover or a multi-day tour, there are magnificent events just waiting for your group. Here are just a few to get you started: In Philippi the Christmas Celebration at Adaland Mansion begins Nov. 15 and continues through Dec. 31. Built in 1870 and authentically restored, this magnificent home and land reflect early West Virginia. The home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is period-decorated for the season. Open house events and special period buffet dinners are available during the season.

Snowbound countryside and historic homes like Adaland Mansion highlight Christmastime tours in West Virginia.

West Virginia for the

Holidays

Festivities throughout the Mountain State make the season bright LeisureGroupTravel.com

Of course, what’s a Christmas season without dazzling light displays? Point Pleasant begins its Christmas Fantasy Light Show on Nov. 18, and it continues nightly through Dec. 31. On your drive through Krodel Park you’ll witness light displays such as Santa Claus and his workshop, a sternwheeler, 20-foot windmill and gingerbread men. New additions are added every year. A holiday parade gets the festivities started. Point Pleasant is also home to the WV State Farm Museum Holiday Light Festival. Throughout the prop-

June 2011 49


on location: south ❖ erty every tree, shrub and building is decorated. More than three million lights are used. Santa Claus appears nightly, with free hot chocolate and cookies for the kids. This drivethrough festival is from Dec. 9-19. The Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Resort & Conference Center in Wheeling (Nov. 11 to Jan. 8, 2012) is nationally renowned, has been designated an American Bus Association Top 100 Event and was listed as one of the 10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the U.S. by AOL Travel. It features more than 70 larger-thanlife light displays on more than 300 acres over a six-mile drive through the resort. Something new is added every year. Favorites from previous years include the animated “Snowflake Tunnel,” a display that wows visitors as they drive through dozens of twinkling snowflakes, and the massive “Polyhe-

50 June 2011

dron Star,” which is emblazoned with over 2,000 lights and stands on the highest hilltop in Oglebay. Also popular are several displays showing Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. The lighting of Welton Park’s Christmas Festival of Lights is Thanksgiving evening and the display will shine through Jan. 7, 2012. This drive-through exhibit features thousands of sparkling lights and intricate light displays. The ninth annual Yule Tea will be held Dec. 4 at Berkeley Castle in Berkeley Springs. There will be servings at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. with limited tickets for each. On the first floor, almost untouched from its Victorian beginnings, guests stand and sit around the grand ballroom enjoying costumed Victorian carolers. Many guests pose for a photograph on the majestic stairway decorated for the season. The Yule Tea is a favorite of many Red Hat groups. In addition to sparkling lights and carolers, West Virginia theaters roll out the red carpet with holiday shows. West Virginia Public Theatre calls Morgantown’s Metropolitan Theatre home and always delivers a wonderful family-oriented show during the holiday season. Show goers have enjoyed a rotation that’s included Annie, A Christmas Carol and The Sound of Music. Charleston’s Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater also offers holidayseason performances.

The Yule Tea at Berkeley Castle harks back to the Victorian era.

The American Mountain Theater in Elkins begins the annual Christmas Spectacular the Friday after Thanksgiving. The 2010 season saw additional shows added to the schedule. The show is eclectic, with traditional sacred songs along with secular, country and popular Christmas music. This year’s edition will be the biggest ever and begins on Nov. 25 and continues through Dec. 18. The Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg is the State Professional Theatre of West Virginia. The holiday season performance of Oliver, based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist, begins Nov. 3 and continues through Dec. 3. The Winter Wonderettes holiday musical runs from Dec. 6-23. Offering numerous seasonal holiday events and world-class entertainment, West Virginia has the welcome mat rolled out for groups. The warmth and welcoming nature of the Mountain State will provide splendid memories for years to come. Get your planning started by calling Kathy Johnson at 800225-5982 or kathy.a.johnson2@wv.gov. (wvtourism.com) LGT Obtain West Virginia visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For a look at holiday celebrations in Delaware, log on to http:// leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=23778.

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CIVIL WAR TRAILS TO MOUNTAIN RAILS

Potomac Highlands Region, West Virginia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Two Historic Rail Excursions ➤ Two Mountain Music Shows ➤ Regional Civil War Tour ➤ Victorian Tea & Civil War Impersonations ➤ A True West Virginia Mountain Experience

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Romney to Moorefield, WV Our Mountain Highlands adventure begins in Romney, the oldest incorporated town in the state of West Virginia, the only state formed because of and during the Civil War. Romney reputedly changed hands 56 times during that war. Meet our Mountaineer Country Tours guide and hop on board Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, which travels along the South Branch of the Potomac River. While we dine onboard, watch for eagles swooping into the river. On a driving tour of historic Romney, see Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters, the first monument to the Confederacy, and West Virginia School for the Blind. Then, it's on to a brief historical tour of Moorefield and checkin at South Branch Inn. A dinner of local flavor is followed by entertainment at McCoy’s Grand Theater.

DAY 2: Moorefield to Davis, WV After breakfast, mosey on down to Southside Depot offering everything from candles to antiques and fine art. Then, it's down through the picturesque valley to Harper’s Old Country Store, a general country store serving generations continuously since 1902. View majestic Seneca Rocks, one of the best-known landmarks in West Virginia, where we may spy a daring rock climber scaling the cliffs. Visit Seneca Rocks Discovery Center and learn about Native Americans and rocky cliff formations before lunch at Seneca Caverns Restaurant, located in scenic Germany Valley. Step beneath the earth into Seneca Caverns for an interactive and entertaining cavern tour specifically designed with seniors in mind. Afterwards, try your luck at panning for gems. Dinner and lodging is at Canaan Valley Resort, an oasis of natural beauty where the deer and black bear play. Laugh out loud when the Men of Accord barbershop quartet treats you to its comedy and harmonies. The group performed for Red Skelton's 82nd birthday party.

DAY 3: Davis to Elkins, WV Travel through Parsons, where the first general died in battle during the Civil War, arriving in Elkins, one of the region’s hottest group tour destinations and home to American Mountain Theater. Experience America’s musical past with popular songs from the early 1900s through today from the talented cast that includes three RCA recording artists. Then, board the legendary Cheat Mountain Salamander, one of four historic trains operated by Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, for a short rail jaunt to Historic Beverly to relive the Battle of Rich Mountain and be immersed in Civil War history in the town where Stonewall Jackson's sister, a Union sympathizer, lived. Enjoy living history portrayals, Appalachian storytelling or music. A Victorian tea awaits us at Graceland Inn. The mansion, built in 1893, features the opulence of America’s Golden Age, from its two-story great hall to its oak-paneled billiard room, stone turrets and a gracious veranda with panoramic view of the valley below. After checking in to Holiday Inn Express, have a wonderful dinner at 1863 Tavern at Elkins Motor Lodge. Be treated to another Branson-style show at American Mountain Theater.

CONTACT: West Virginia Mountain Highlands ➤ For Travel Guide & Tour Map: West Virginia Mountain Highlands P.O. Box 1456, Elkins, WV 26241 1.877.WVA-MTNS (982.6867) • www.mountainhighlands.com ➤ For Group Tour Information: JoAnn Peterson, Mountaineer Country Tours Phone: 304-329-6330 • Email: JoAnn@mountainhighlands.com LeisureGroupTravel.com

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melinda hughey

SOUTH

South-Seeing by River & Rail

Groups enjoy fine food aboard My Old Kentucky Dinner Train and Nashville’s General Jackson showboat.

hroughout the Southeast it’s “all aboard” for touring with a twist as groups set sail with near-endless opportunities to see the sights via river and rail. Scenic railway excursions and sightseeing cruises provide groups welcome relief from “road routine,” allowing them to gain not only a refreshing perspective on their tour destination but access to sights that many times can’t be experienced any other way.

T

River Street in downtown Savannah. (savannahriverboat.com) The General Jackson, America’s largest showboat, is back in action after Nashville’s disastrous May 2010 “Thousand Year Flood” that took the boat out of commission for weeks afterward. Daily buffet lunch cruises feature musical entertainment with Steve Hall & Shotgun Red, while dinner features the final season of Country Music USA. (generaljackson.com)

CRUISE OPPORTUNITIES The Pickwick Belle is an authentic paddlewheel riverboat cruising Pickwick Lake between Florence, Ala. and Pickwick, Tenn. Various themed cruises are offered for sightseeing, lunch or dinner. She can be chartered for large groups. (pickwickbelle.com) The Savannah River Queen and Georgia Queen kick it up a notch with their “Murder Afloat Mystery Cruise,” “Gospel Dinner Cruise” and new “Haunts and Hags Tour” that explores mystical legends surrounding the South Georgia Coast. Sightseeing, meals and entertainment can be arranged on these boats moored on

AND FROM RIVER TO RAIL My Old Kentucky Dinner Train is based in historic Bardstown, the second oldest town in the state. Exceptional dining and spectacular scenery are the hallmarks of this excursion as the vintage train cars make their way through 14,000-acre Bernheim Forest to Limestone Springs Junction on the Jim Beam American Outpost. (rjcorman.com) Tennessee Valley Railway in Chattanooga operates excursions year-round, but is best known for its Autumn Leaf Specials. Missionary Ridge Local trips and the nearly full-day Chickamauga Turn trip are staged aboard vintage 1950s-era trains. (tvrail.com)

The Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society oversees the worldrenowned New River Train excursions through the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia. As one of the newest national parklands, the “Grand Canyon of the East” along the New River is aglow in fall colors in mid to late October. It is during this peak autumn foliage time that the train traverses the former Chesapeake & Ohio mainline from Huntington to Hinton, providing a front-row seat to some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. New River Train excursions in 2011 operate the weekends of Oct. 1516 and 22-23. Each trip is an all-day, 300-mile-long roundtrip trek. Stops in St. Albans and Montgomery give passengers the option of three boarding locations. At Hinton a street fair is held each day with local food stands, arts and crafts, entertainment, a railroad museum and other attractions. (newrivertrain.com) LGT

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For more rail and cruise ideas in the South, log on to http:/leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=23751

Georgia Department of Economic Development

52 April June 2011 2011

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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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SPIRIT OF FIRE & STRENGTH OF STEEL

Corinth, Mississippi and Shiloh, Tennessee

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Stand at the 16 most important square feet

of the Confederacy ➤ See the place where the Battle of Shiloh was planned ➤ Taste the delights found at Mississippi’s oldest

family drug store/soda fountain. ➤ Walk the path of freedom with former slaves ➤ Find a “place of peace” at Shiloh

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, we will be treated to lunch at the Weaver Center, a private dining facility trimmed with a fine, private collection of Civil War artifacts. Afternoon: 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 the Corinth Contraband Camp, the site of early freedom for many African-Americans 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, continuously family-operated drugstore. An old-fashioned soda foun-

tain 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 the Generals’ Quarters Inn, an 1870s home in the heart of the historic downtown residential district.

DAY 2: Morning: We 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 we make our 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 the 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 the Shiloh Battlefield.

CONTACT: Corinth Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

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

➤ A Feast for the Senses ➤ A Birthplace of Freedom

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WHERE TRUE GRIT HAPPENED

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. 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 17th year of production. Step back into a colorful past, both novel and entertaining!

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. St. Scholastica—Tour the facility and get insight on life in a convent. Artwork by Sisters dating back to early 1900s. Electric Trolley—Nostalgic ride through downtown on a restored electric trolley (1926 Birney).

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. 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.

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. OR Taliano’s Italian Restaurant—locally owned and operated, home is on the National Register of Historic Places with original chandeliers and stained glass. 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!

Church Tours—First Lutheran and Immaculate Conception Church have beautiful stained glass windows and fascinating history.

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.

Fort Smith Museum of History—150 years of Fort Smith history; learn the city’s role in the early frontier, Civil War and the area’s late 19th century lawlessness. Enjoy old-fashioned soda at the working drug store/soda fountain.

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 St., Fort Smith, AR 72901 Phone: 479-783-888 or 800-637-1477 • Email: tourism@fortsmith.org

➤ Take a Walk on the Wild West Side ➤ Fort Smith, Arkansas – The West Starts Here! ➤ 6-night Itinerary – check in and see our entire area with hub-n-spoke tours

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EVER-NEW AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ 7 Live Theaters ➤ Sharks to Shopping ➤ New SkyWheel ➤ New Pirates Voyage ➤ New WonderWorks

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Arrive in Myrtle Beach, SC • Check in at host hotel

DAY 3: Coastal South Carolina • Savor the delectable dishes from Myrtle Beach's finest choice of restaurants that offer group rates

• Breakfast at host hotel

• Catch live entertainment at one of Myrtle Beach's renowned theaters

• Stroll along the New Boardwalk

• Return to hotel and settle in for an evening of rest and peace

• Ride the New SkyWheel

DAY 2: Myrtle Beach Area

• Tour Broadway at the Beach

• Breakfast at host hotel

• New WonderWorks (at Broadway at the Beach)

• Visit Brookgreen Gardens and its new Low Country Center that depicts the history of the Low Country from its Native American beginnings to its slave era and beyond; don't miss the entertaining and informative one-man show of Gullah native and historian Ron Daise tracing the history of the Gullah people from Africa to South Carolina's Low Country (New Butterfly House, seasonal)

• Ripley’s Aquarium • Lunch at local restaurant featuring Southern cuisine • Catch live entertainment at one of Myrtle Beach's New Shows • Return to hotel; relax your weary bones and knotted muscles

• Buffet or boxed lunch at Brookgreen Gardens

DAY 4: Depart Myrtle Beach

• Travel to Hopsewee Plantation for afternoon tea and tour • Shop along the coast for cultural arts and crafts including: quilts, sweet grass baskets, dolls, wood carvings, collectibles and memorabilia; also set up a craft class making sweet grass baskets or grass dolls

• Breakfast at host hotel • Depart from Myrtle Beach

• Return to Myrtle Beach for a dinner and show on the town • Rest at your host hotel

CONTACT: Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Sandy Haines • Visitmyrtlebeach.com 1200 N. Oak St., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 Phone: 843-916-7248 • Email: sandy.haines@visitmyrtlebeach.com

➤ Postcards & Sharks Tour ➤ Yellow Ribbon Tour

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NEW ORLEANS PLANTATION COUNTRY

River Parishes, Louisiana

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Historic plantations with demonstrations ➤ Conveniently located between New Orleans and

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

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Travel Through Time Begin your tour in Vacherie at Oak Alley Plantation, one of the world’s most photographed plantations with its alley of 300-year-old oak trees and Civil War history. Spend a little time shopping Oak Alley’s vast gift shop on the grounds. Nearby St. Joseph Plantation is a working Creole sugar plantation with tours provided by descendants of Joseph Waguespack who acquired the property in 1877. After a full morning of touring, cross the river at Hwy. 641 and stop for lunch at Nobile’s Restaurant. Nobile’s was founded in 1895 during the logging boom and still serves authentic Louisiana dishes in an historic atmosphere. There are several historic churches in the area to tour before heading east to Garyville, where the opulence of San Francisco Plantation with its vivid colors and intricate architecture will stand in stark contrast to the more modest Creole homes. Leave time for shopping at Roussel’s Antiques in LaPlace or a Cajun Pride Swamp Tour before dinner at Frenier Landing Restaurant & Oyster Bar. LaPlace-area hotels will provide comfortable accommodations for your group.

DAY 2: Touring and Swamp Tours

DAY 3: African American Heritage Explore our African American heritage. Laura: A Creole Plantation has tours based upon Laura’s detailed memoirs of life in Creole Louisiana in 1805 and the interaction between the slaves and her family. This plantation is also noted as the place where the tales of Br’er Rabbit were first recorded. A wide variety of gifts, including Laura’s memoirs are available in the gift shop. Stop for lunch at B&C Seafood Market & Cajun Restaurant, a quaint spot known for its mouth-watering, down-home Cajun and Creole dishes. Evergreen Plantation in Edgard has the most intact plantation complex in the South with 37 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, including 22 slave cabins. Both Evergreen and Laura: A Creole Plantation are featured on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail because of their dedication to preserving the true stories of slaves, as well as their contributions to art, history and Louisiana culture. Then cross the Mississippi to Reserve to visit Our Lady of Grace Church. Then head toward New Orleans or Baton Rouge along the River Road or I-10.

Take I-10 to Darrow for a tour of Houmas House Plantation & Gardens, stopping off at its lavish gift shop. Then take I-10 to Exit 220 and head to tours at Ormond Plantation and Destrehan Plantation. Ormond is a West Indies-style plantation, and Destrehan is the oldest documented plantation home in the lower Mississippi Valley and boasts skilled artisans and displays of the original Louisiana Purchase documents. Ormond Plantation serves lunch during the weekday, or Zydeco’s in Boutte is also a good option for groups. An exhilarating Swamp Adventures or Airboat Tours by Arthur Matherne will round out the afternoon. Dinner at Mario’s Cypress Café and another night’s accommodations in the area will leave you refreshed for one more day of touring.

CONTACT: River Parishes Tourist Commission

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

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

➤ Churches and Cemeteries ➤ Outdoor Adventures

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OPSAIL 2012 – INTERNATIONAL TALL SHIP FESTIVAL

Norfolk, Virginia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Wednesday, June 6:

Military Parade of Sails – Navy War Ship/Grey Hulls Noon to 4 p.m. ➤ Friday, June 8: Parade of Sails – International Tall Ships

Noon to 2 p.m. in Downtown Norfolk ➤ Friday, June 8 through Monday, June 11:

Opsail Festival is open with food, art and entertainment ➤ Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10:

International Tall Ship Visits – 9 a.m. to noon ➤ Saturday, June 9: Wisconsin/Nauticus or Spirit of Norfolk

Dinner and Fireworks – 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY 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. Next year Norfolk expects over 20 International Tall Ships, 10 Military Grey Hulls and ships from around the world with Opsail 2012!

DAY 1: Friday Afternoon: Come aboard the Spirit of Norfolk or the Victory Rover 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 more than 20 international tall ships.

DAY 2: Saturday Morning: Come explore an outdoor festival on the water at Opsail. 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. Enjoy live music and great food. Tall Ships open for tours giving visitors the opportunity to explore the decks and talk to international sailors. Special private tours of the Tall Ships are available for groups from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch: Stroll over to Granby Street, one block from Opsail. Experience over 30 locally-owned and -operated restaurants from American bistro to tapas to Mexican. Whatever your taste buds are, Granby will satisfy.

Afternoon: 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. Tour the MacArthur Memorial and discover the life and career of a fivestar General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur. Located in Downtown Norfolk’s restored 1850s City Hall, the complex contains a museum, theater and special exhibit galleries. Evening: Dinner, Fireworks and Ships! Sit in style for the fireworks on the tailfin of the Battleship Wisconsin. Before the fireworks, take a tour of 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. Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin are located right next to Town Point Park. End your tour with a wonderful dinner at Nauticus. Do not forget you can also jump aboard the Victory Rover or Spirit of Norfolk for the best seat in the house for the fireworks!

DAY 3: Sunday Morning: Take a fun-filled boat ride or tram tour at Norfolk Botanical Garden. Explore the waterways or stroll the gardens and discover a variety of plants from the cultivated to the wild.

CONTACT: VisitNorfolk

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Melissa Hopper • www.VisitNorfolktoday.com 232 E. Main St., Norfolk VA 23510 Phone: 800-368-3097 • Email: mhopper@norfolkcvb.com

➤ Virginia International Tattoo ➤ Norfolk’s Annual Jazz Festival

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SHOWTIME IN THE SMOKIES

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Great Smoky Mountains National Park ➤ Dollywood ➤ Theaters & Dinner Shows ➤ Shopping ➤ Parkway Attractions

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Afternoon: Upon arrival in town, the towering ship-shaped museum attraction, Titanic Museum Attraction, is anchored and ready for boarding. Twenty galleries with priceless Titanic artifacts, the grand staircase and the chill of an iceberg will have your group in awe.

DAY 3: Evening: The Smith Family Dinner Theater offers a wonderful variety of music and fun by hometown entertainers, The Smith Boys. A Southern cooked meal rounds out the show. After dinner, the Tennessee Shindig is the place to go. A show that will bring back the memories of days gone by!

DAY 2: Morning: After a hearty breakfast at Wood Grill Buffet, it’s off to Dollywood. Whether you come in the spring for Festival of Nations, summer for KidsFest, fall for National Gospel & Harvest Celebration or for Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival, Dollywood has great entertainment, master craftsmen and thrilling rides. Evening: Enjoy a delicious dinner and show at the Lumberjack Feud, the Smokies’ rowdiest good time dinner show! After dinner, go on down the road where you’ll find the Smoky Mountain Opry — big stage, big cast, big talent wrapped into one big show!

Morning: Start your day with a step-on guide tour of the most visited national park in the United States, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This three-hour tour will give your group a look at its awe-inspiring beauty! Afternoon: Have lunch at the Pottery House Cafe for soups, salads, sandwiches and spuds in the Old Mill Historic district! A matinee performance at the Country Tonite Theatre delivers the best mix of country classics and country hits of today. Evening: It’s feudin’ fun at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud. Become part of the longest-running feud in history as they settle their differences mountain-style OR settle the feud between the North and the South at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. It’s the Most Fun Place to Eat in the Smokies! This itinerary is a perfect fit for any of our many festivals that are held throughout the year!

CONTACT: Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

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

➤ Winterfest Magic ➤ Autumn Colors

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

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

PigeonForgeTours.com 1-800-285-7557

Where W here the GPS isis always set to fun.


EVENTS IN

PIGEON FORGE TENNESSEE

JANUARY

Wilderness Wildlife Week™ FEBRUARY

Saddle Up! MARCH

A Mountain Quiltfest™ MAY

Dolly’s Homecoming Parade

PigeonForgeTours.com

J U LY

Patriot Festival AU G U ST

Celebrate Freedom!™ O CTO B ER

Harvestfest NOV EM B ER–FEB RUA RY

Winterfest

1-800-285-7557


FORGING FREEDOM: AMERICAN CIVIL WAR AND EMANCIPATION 150TH

Richmond, Virginia

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Experience Richmond when our nation was at war ➤ Enjoy a narrated Canal Cruise ➤ See the largest collection of Confederate artifacts

in the nation ➤ Drive along the nation’s only avenue designated a

National Historic Landmark ➤ Visit sites that tell the stories of enslaved Africans

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Richmond • Begin your day at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, which tells the national story of the Civil War through three perspectives: Union, Confederate and African American. • Continue to the Richmond National Battlefield Park and Civil War Visitor Center, where a park ranger will orient you to the region’s surrounding battlefields and introduce the story of Richmond during the Civil War. • Explore the emancipation story at the Manchester Slave Trail. For 40 years prior to the Civil War, Richmond was the nation’s center for the export of slaves. • An afternoon tour of Historic Shockoe Bottom brings you to cobblestone streets, Lumpkin’s Jail Site and the Reconciliation Statue. • Attend an Emancipation-themed dinner.

DAY 2: Richmond • Tour the Virginia State Capitol, meeting place of the Confederate Congress and where Gen. Robert E. Lee accepted his commission in the Confederate Army. • Visit the Museum and White House of the Confederacy, which houses the largest collection of Confederate artifacts in the nation, and Jefferson Davis’ home. • After lunch, drive along Monument Avenue, the nation’s only avenue designated a National Historic Landmark. Most monuments are dedicated to Confederate leaders. • Enjoy a late afternoon visit to Hollywood Cemetery, the final resting place of Jefferson Davis, 25 Confederate generals, 18,000 Confederate dead and two U.S. Presidents. • Visit the Virginia Historical Society, whose headquarters was constructed as a shrine to the Confederate dead. An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia relates personal experiences of Virginia’s free and enslaved men, women and children. • Attend an 1862 Confederate dinner.

DAY 3: Richmond • Take a Canal Cruise on the canal designed by George Washington. Don’t miss the Henry “Box” Brown exhibit along the canal. In 1849, Brown, a slave who worked in a Richmond tobacco factory, shipped himself to Philadelphia in a box. • Visit the Chimborazo Medical Museum, the site of the largest military hospital in the world from 1861-1865, where 76,000 patients were treated. • Tour the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church which was organized by Rev. John Jasper, a former slave. Here lunch is available by appointment. • Visit Jackson Ward, a 40-block neighborhood once known as the “Harlem of the South.” • Visit St. Paul’s Church, an elegant example of Greek Revival architecture featuring Tiffany windows, and where Jefferson Davis received word from Gen. Lee to evacuate Richmond on April 2, 1865. • Enjoy dinner in a historical setting.

DAY 4: (Optional battlefield visits) • Learn why the names of places such as Seven Pines, Petersburg, Gaines Mill, Cold Harbor and Malvern Hill are forever etched in America’s memory by exploring some of the Richmond Region’s best known battlefields. Guided tours are available with a park ranger.

CONTACT: Richmond Metropolitan CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Janie Lawson, CTIS, Tourism Sales Manager • www.VisitRichmondVa.com www.OnToRichmond.com • 401 N. 3rd St., Richmond, VA 23219 Phone: 800-370-9004 or Direct: 804-783-7409 • Email: jlawson@richmondva.org

➤ Footprints in Time: The African-American Story ➤ 400 Years of History & Beyond!

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York County, South Carolina and the Charlotte, North Carolina region

GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Afternoon at a day spa ➤ Antique shops, outlet stores and shopping malls with

stores such as Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus and White House/Black Market ➤ Tour of Glencairn Garden and master gardening class ➤ Float down the Catawba River or whitewater rafting at the

U.S. National Whitewater Center ➤ Golf at one of York County’s premier golf courses ➤ Horseback riding at the Anne Springs Close Greenway

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: With an afternoon arrival, begin the York County experience with an outing at a day spa…facial, massage, pedicure, and manicure. After unwinding at a day spa, enjoy a wine and cheese reception at the hotel, and then top off the evening with dinner at a local restaurant.

DAY 2: After breakfast, Day 2 is full of options…spend the day doing whatever seems fun! One option is to enjoy a relaxing float down the pristine Catawba River. Bald eagles, deer, osprey and many other species call the Catawba River home. And a picnic along the river is as good as it gets. If a more exciting water ride sounds more fun, the U.S. Whitewater Center, home of the world’s largest re-circulating river, is the place to be. Novices and experts alike can enjoy flatwater or whitewater kayaking… rafting is also a part of this awesome experience. Other outdoor opportunities include golf at one of York County’s premier golf courses. Hiking or horseback riding is also available at Anne Springs Close Greenway, a 2,300-acre greenway filled with spacious forests, rambling terrain, shimmering lakes and rolling pastures. And if flying through the trees seems the thing to do, then Camp Canaan is the place to be. 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.

Enjoy a tour of Glencairn Garden, an 11-acre garden displaying nature’s finest colors, textures and shapes; visitors can also spend some time improving their gardening skills with a master gardener class. A trip to the York County area would not be complete without a NASCAR experience…visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame, ride on the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. And of course, no girlfriend getaway is complete without shopping. Spend time strolling through antique shops, outlet stores, and shopping malls with stores such as Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus and White House/Black Market. The evening can be spent enjoying the arts at a Winthrop University theater or dance production, a live musical performance at the Sylvia Theater in quaint downtown York or a show at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in bustling Uptown Charlotte.

DAY 3: Sleep in and enjoy some girl coffee time. Then enjoy a delicious brunch at a local restaurant and return home refreshed and energized.

CONTACT: Rock Hill/York County CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Margaret Wallace • visityorkcounty.com 452 S. Anderson Rd., Rock Hill, SC 29730 Phone: 888-702-1320 • Email: mwallace@visityorkcounty.com

➤ Thrills & Spills ➤ Holiday Cheer

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VICKSBURG: THE KEY TO THE SOUTH

Vicksburg, Mississippi

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Vicksburg National Military Park ➤ Old Court House Museum ➤ Vicksburg Battle Field Museum ➤ Biedenharn Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia ➤ Five Waterfront Casinos

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Morning: Meet your licensed tour guide at the Vicksburg National Military Park’s Visitors Center and enjoy a film presentation that details the Campaign for Vicksburg. Continue through the 1,800-acre park, which features over 1,340 monuments that commemorate the campaign, defense and siege of Vicksburg in 1863. Visit the ironclad gunboat U.S.S. Cairo with its thousands of artifacts that had been submerged on the bottom of the Yazoo River for 102 years. Vicksburg National Cemetery embraces 116 acres and holds the remains of 17,000 Civil War Union soldiers, a number unmatched by any other national cemetery. Lunch: Enjoy a delicious Southern-style lunch at the restaurant of your choice in one of our historic districts. Afternoon: The Old Court House Museum will welcome you to stroll through its 15,000 square feet of exhibition space and an entire city block of lovely grounds. The 1858 structure is considered to be the city’s finest antebellum structure, and its exhibits showcase thousands of artifacts from pre-Columbian implements to the contents of ladies’ wardrobes in the Costume Room, and, of course, a plethora of fine artifacts from the Civil War. Discover a host of tour homes for your enjoyment. Our tour homes date from the early 1820s through the turn of the 20th century. For a tour of antebellum Vicksburg, visit Cedar Grove Mansion, where cannonballs from Union gunboats are lodged in the floors and walls; Anchuca Mansion, which was the home of Jefferson Davis’ brother Joseph; and Duff Green Mansion, which served as both a Union and Confederate hospital during the siege. Evening: Vicksburg is home to five world-class waterfront casinos where you find the excitement of gaming as well as lavish evening buffets.

DAY 2: Morning: The Vicksburg Riverfront murals by acclaimed artists Robert Dafford and Martha Ferris feature life-sized depictions of the history of Vicksburg. Just across the street, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Children’s Art Park at Catfish Row. Just up the bluff from the murals is the Biedenharn Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia, where Coca-Cola was bottled for the first time in 1894. Those with a fascination for vintage dolls will surely want to visit Yesterday’s Children Antique Doll and Toy Museum, which is home to one of the largest U.S. collections of rare 19th and 20th century French and German bisque dolls. Lunch: Choose from one of many restaurants located throughout the historic district offering specialties that range from down-home delicious to downright elegant. Afternoon: Marvel at the majesty of Old Man River from one of our scenic river overlooks high above the mighty Mississippi. Your tour of Vicksburg will not be complete without a visit to the Church of the Holy Trinity. View its 11 Tiffany stained-glass windows and the only known set of stained-glass windows honoring the deceased of both the North and South.

CONTACT: Vicksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau ➤ Sherry Jones • www.visitvicksburg.com P.O. Box 110, Vicksburg, MS 39181 Phone: 601-636-9421 • Email: sjones@vicksburgcvb.org 64 June 2011

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SAVANNAH, EST. 1733

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 riverboat 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.visitsavannah.com 101 E. Bay St., Savannah, GA 31401 Phone: 912-644-6419 • Email: Mshea@savannahvisit.com

➤ Ladies of Leisure Girlfriends Getaway ➤ Savannah’s African-American Heritage

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THE DELTA MUSEUM MILE

Greenville-Washington County, Mississippi

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Hebrew Union Temple History Museum ➤ Old #1 Firehouse Museum ➤ The Patriot ➤ 1927 Flood Museum ➤ The Birthplace of Kermit the Frog Museum

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1:

DAY 2:

Meet up with your Museum Coordinator and begin your journey through time. Begin at the 1927 Flood Museum. Greenville is the epicenter of one of the worst natural disasters in history. The break in the levee here put flood water over the roofs of houses 75 miles away. Tour this natural phenomenon that changed landscapes, lives and politics in the oldest structure in downtown Greenville. Explore the impact of Greenville’s writers on Southern literature at Greenville Writers’ Exhibit at William Percy Memorial Library. Greenville is said to have produced more famous writers per capita than any city in the country. Housed in the restored Miller Building, Greenville History Museum provides a glimpse into Greenville’s history from the late 1800s to the 1970s. Memorabilia, artifacts, photos and news clippings take visitors through each gripping day of the 1927 flood and give visitors a glimpse of how people lived, worked and played back in the day.

Breakfast at one of our memorable breakfast places – Jim’s or Bucks. This is the very soil where the blues was born. The HWY 61 Blues Museum chronicles the story of the Delta Blues through the music, folk art and artifacts of Little Milton, B.B. King, James “Son” Thomas and many more. Long before Miss Piggy karate-chopped her way into our hearts, Muppet creator Jim Henson was born in Greenville and played on the banks of Deer Creek. A visit to The Birthplace of Kermit the Frog Museum is filled with the creativity of Jim Henson and all his Muppet friends. Lunch at Connie’s Kitchen in Leland, MS Enjoy a walking tour of Greenville’s Historical Cemeteries. From Holt Collier (Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting guide) to The Patriot (a mysterious knight), the cemeteries of Greenville have some of the most fascinating stories to tell. Experience regional cuisine at one of our local eateries.

Ride with the brave firefighters of history in this restored vintage (circa 1923) fire station at the Old #1 Firehouse Museum. Lunch downtown Gazing at the monolithic mounds at Winterville Mounds State Park, one can almost hear the tribal drums and chants of a civilization that thrived a thousand years ago. Greenville Air Force Base Museum was an Army Flying School, which instructed thousands of U.S. airmen and women. The museum tells their story from the darkest days of WWII through the Cold War. Dinner around town at one of our unique restaurants.

DAY 3: Greenville Cypress Preserve is one of the last virgin cypress preserves in the U.S. This 16-acre preserve showcases magnificent 100year-old cypresses. E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center and the Armitage Herschell Carousel are housed in the same building. The E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center holds seven exhibitions per year, and Delta Center Stage has produced a subscription season of plays continuously for 29 years. The Armitage Herschell Carousel is beautifully hand-painted and one of the two oldest working Armitage Herschell carousels in the country.

CONTACT: Greenville-Washington County CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Wesley D. Smith • www.visitgreenville.org 216 S. Walnut St., Greenville, MS 38701 Phone: 800-467-3582 • Email: info@thedelta.org

➤ A Day In The Delta ➤ Delta Man-Cation

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

THREE DAYS OF DISCOVERY HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Ship Island Excursions – watch for dolphins as you catch

a noon trip to the island, home of Ft. Massachusetts and beautiful beaches ➤ Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art – experience the creations of

“Mad Potter” George Ohr and other coastal artists ➤ StennisSphere – discover outer space in a whole new

interactive way ➤ Old Town Ocean Springs – unique boutiques, galleries

and restaurants in a quaint artisan town atmosphere ➤ Biloxi Lighthouse – climb the restored lighthouse, an icon

of the Coast

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 complex. 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, circa 1852, last home of President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis and the origin of his memoirs. You won’t want to miss a tour through the new Presidential Library at Beauvoir, scheduled to open late 2011. 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 and Biloxi Historic Tour. 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.

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.

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. Drive along Beach Boulevard and marvel at the beautiful tree sculptures that decorate our coastal highway. 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. Travel on to a narrated tour through the nation’s largest rocket test complex where space shuttles’ main engines were tested. Stand by for the opening of the new interactive science museum, Infinity, where visitors will explore our earth, oceans and space with a hands-on, activity-based format. 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 CVB

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 ➤ Eco-Tourism and Outdoor Adventures Itinerary

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Add the Mississippi Gulf Coast to your next Deep S outh Tour and...RELAX!

Y

ou can relax when you plan a tour to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Where your tour options are many: Twenty-six miles of beaches, walkable bridges, glitzy casino resorts, headline entertainment, 24 hour gaming, fun-filled festivals, outdoor adventuring, coastal attractions, cruising, exciting museums, 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 charter boat fishing. And, help with your tour planning is a given: Customized itineraries, hotel lead service, referral service for step-on guides, group attractions, restaurants, 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 HarringtonManager Leisure Sales & Group Travel Mississippi Gulf Coast CVB Phone: 888-467-4853 Email: janeth@gulfcoast.org


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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on location: west ❖

heather lee

Historic towns provide a peek into the Gold Rush era

Montana Office of Tourism Photo by Donnie Sexton

Bannack, site of Montana’s first big gold strike, soon turned into a ghost town, but many original buildings remain.

M O N T AN A’S M I N I N G

roups looking for some riproaring chapters in America’s pioneer past can strike it rich in the Gold West Region of Montana. Located in the southwestern part of the state between Glacier and Yellowstone national parks, the broad expanse of forests, lakes and rivers sprang to prominence overnight in 1862 with the

G

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H E R I T A G E

discovery of gold in Bannack. A year later Bannack’s population soared to over 3,000 and it became the territorial capital. Prosperity, though, was shortlived; within two years the Alder Gulch of Virginia City overtook Bannack in gold abundance. Bannack became a ghost town. Despite such a fall, today Bannack

features more than 60 of the original buildings. Highlights include Graves House, built in the 1860s; Masonic Temple, which housed Bannack’s school; and Meade Hotel, originally the Beaverhead County Courthouse. In 1954 Bannack was designated a state park. Bannack Days, a two-day festival held the third weekend of July, LeisureGroupTravel.com


Montana Heritage Commission

celebrates the history of Montana’s pioneers and mining endeavors. Alder Gulch, also known as Alder Creek, would become one of the largest gold producers in history. Discovered by Bill Fairweather in 1863, the gulch produced $10 million the first year. Cities sprang up along the creek, the most prominent being Virginia City and Nevada City. With a population of 10,000 in a year, Virginia City replaced

Bannack as the capital in 1865. When the gold supply ran out in the Alder Gulch, Virginia City was able to survive, avoiding the fate of becoming a ghost town. However, with depleted wealth and prominence, the town was unable to develop and remodel. Because of this, Virginia City is one of the best preserved Victorian mining towns,

Donnie Sexton

The historic mining town of Nevada City is now an open-air museum.

Montana’s early days come alive in the Gold Rush town of Virginia City. LeisureGroupTravel.com

its development frozen at its Gold Rush height. Exceptional examples of 1850s buildings, most filled with original artifacts, line Main Street. Today Virginia City has 150 yearround residents, a population that doubles during the summer months when visitors throng the streets to see the town’s 100 historic sites. One of the oldest structures in the city is the Montana Post Building, which housed the state’s first newspaper. In Hangman’s Building, an exposed beam used to hang four men in 1864 still remains. Outlaws who were hanged were buried hastily at Boot Hill, with boots still on. The Visitor Center and Museum Store provides an introduction to Virginia City’s history. Other attractions include Virginia City Historical Museum, Wells-Fargo Overland Company Building, J. Spencer Watkins Memorial Museum and Thompson-Hickman Memorial Museum. The town is also known for its entertainment. The Virginia City Players began in 1949 and is Montana’s oldest professional acting company, performing at the historic Opera House. Brewery Follies, famous throughout Montana, June 2011 73


on location: west ❖

Donnie Sexton

features Old West period melodramas nightly in the summer. Located a mile and a half from Virginia City is the small ghost town of Nevada City. Restored between 1945 and 1978, it is now an open-air museum with 100 original wooden buildings and 40 living history interpreters. Because of its authentic buildings and setting, the town has been a prime spot for Western movies such as Return to the Lonesome Dove and Missouri Breaks. The Alder Gulch Short Line train connects Nevada City to Virginia City. As Virginia City replaced Bannack as the capital, Helena became the capital after Virginia City’s decline. Located in the foothills of the Montana Rockies, Helena was a prosperous mining town in 1865; only Manhattan boasted more millionaires. The gold was found in Last Chance Gulch, so named by the four miners who discov-

Helena, the capital of Montana, abounds with historical attractions and has a lively arts scene. The Last Chance Tour Train hits the highlights.

Donnie Sexton

Old Helena highlights miner houses and shops built in the 1870s. Other sites include Helena’s State Capitol Building in the Greek Renaissance style. Topped by a Montana Nevada City, a genuine ghost town, has copper dome, it contains the has been used in Hollywood movies. largest painting of Lewis and Clark by Charlie Russell. The Catheered it since it was their “last chance” to dral of St. Helena, finished in 1924, feaprosper in the Gold Rush. tures twin 230-foot spires and Bavarian Today, Helena remains Montana’s stained-glass windows. Between 1913 capital and is a bustling center for the and 1959, Montana’s governors lived in arts and outdoor activities. Architecthe Victorian-style Governor’s Manturally significant buildings are scatsion, which is available for tours. A tered throughout the city. The Pioneer great way to see these sites is through Cabin, Helena’s oldest surviving home, Last Chance Tours Train, a train engine dates from 1864 and houses a museum on wheels that winds through Helena. of the Gold Rush. Reeder’s Alley in 74 June 2011

Montana’s Gold West Region enjoyed prosperity and decline during the Gold Rush. For today’s visitors, Bannack, Virginia City, Nevada City and Helena provide a glimpse into America’s mining history and westward expansion. LGT Obtain Montana visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For more information on touring Montana’s capital city, see the Helena article at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/ ?p=23615.

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on location: west ❖

carol smith

Tacoma’s World of Glass A famous artist has put this Washington city on the cultural map ashington State is synonymous with fine wines and unique agricultural products, but its cultural product became world renowned with the internationally acclaimed glass artwork of Dale Chihuly. A number of attractions and activities allow groups to explore this art form: TAComA ArT muSeum The Tacoma Art museum’s permanent collection focuses on the works of Northwest regional artists. Since 1963, the TAm collection has grown to contain more than 3,500 works, including the largest, most comprehensive public collection of glass art by Tacoma native Dale Chihuly. TAm was the first museum in the region to present a juried exhibition of glass art and has continued to collect and display extraordinary glass works from Northwest artists. In 1990 Chihuly presented the museum with a gift of more than 30 sculptures and drawings in honor of his father and brother, and he continues to donate his art. The museum’s extensive collection 76 June 2011

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W

The Seaform Pavilion is part of the 500-foot-long Chihuly Bridge of Glass.

of Chihuly glass is housed in its own gallery. Dating from 1977 to the present, the display is the premier collection of the artist’s work and features an installation of Niijima Floats and Baskets, Sea Forms, Cylinders, macchia, Persians and Venetians from Chihuly’s major series. In the current exhibit Dale Chihuly’s Northwest (through Sept. 25), group visitors will be able to step into an en-

hanced re-creation of the Northwest room from Chihuly’s Seattle boathouse. The exhibit features his glass artwork alongside selections from his personal collections that include Native American baskets and trade blankets, Willits canoes and edward S. Curtis photogravures. The exhibit celebrates Chihuly’s artwork in honor of his 70th birthday. (253-272-425, tacomaartmuseum.org) LeisureGroupTravel.com


muSeum oF glASS Docents engage groups in an interactive experience to provide a deeper understanding of the artwork. All group tours include: All-day admission to the museum galleries, glass-making demonstrations in the hot Shop, education Studio and theater; a staff member to greet the group and orient them to the museum; a docent-led gallery tour; interactive experiences that identify major themes, explore stylistic and Obtain Washington visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info LeisureGroupTravel.com

aesthetic content and help groups relate to the exhibition in a meaningful way; and a docentled plaza tour to learn about the building’s architecture, artwork on the plazas and Chihuly Bridge of glass. The education Studio features hands-on art projects that relate to the exhibitions in the galleries. A docent or staff member will get you started making your Glassblowers demonstrate their techniques in the own work of art. group Hot Shop at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass. rates are available to partide and weather conditions are right, ties of 10 or more; bus drivers are free. these glass floats wash up on WashingTours booked for 1 p.m. or later on a ton’s beaches, while millions more are weekday come with an additional disstill floating in the ocean. (253-383counted rate. The museum Cafe offers 3499, tacomaglassblowing.com) lgT a bistro-style menu and can arrange box lunches. The hot Shop is a museum highlight. groups can watch as the hot Shop team or visiting artists demonstrate the process of creating art from molten glass. Artists are always on the floor, and close-ups of their work can be seen on a big video screen. An interpreter explains the process, the art, the science and the history of making glass. guests can ask questions or offer input to help design a piece. There is seating for 200 visitors. (253-284-4713, museumofglass.org) TAComA glASSBloWINg STuDIo opened in 2006, the studio offers a range of classes for beginners. Classes for stuffed floats are available Saturday or Sunday by appointment. A stuffed float is a blown-glass float filled with a small souvenir. In the 1900s Japanese fishermen began using glass floats, which would often escape their nets. When

Ma Chihuly’s Floats at the Tacoma Art Museum honors the artist’s mom.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE Read Carol Smith’s article on another group favorite in Washington State, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Log on to http://leisuregrouptravel.com/ ?p=23739.

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BrIDgINg WITh glASS meanwhile, Tacoma boasts more installations of Chihuly’s artwork than any other city. Through the Tacoma museum of Art, groups can go on a guided Chihuly walking tour in downtown Tacoma, including union Station and the Bridge of glass. A free selfguided cell phone tour is also available. The Chihuly Bridge of glass spans Interstate 705 with thousands of glass purple sea urchins, red reeds and ruffled clamshells created by the glass artist. The 500-foot-long bridge links downtown Tacoma with the Thea Foss Waterway and the museum of glass using three distinctive installations. Across the span walkers encounter the glass ceiling of the Seaform Pavilion, two ice blue Crystal Towers and the 80-foot Venetian Wall displaying 109 Chihuly sculptures. Illuminated at night, the Chihuly Bridge of glass is open 24 hours a day. At historic union Station, about a block from the museum of glass, visitors will find Chihuly’s glass hanging from the ceiling and a wall of the artist’s paintings.


Wenatchee, East Wenatchee and Cashmere, WA

THE VALLEY VIEW HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Heirloom Cuisine…a personal culinary adventure ➤ Ice Age Floods Geological Trail…discover the

flood remnants ➤ Area Wineries…offering ice wines to rich reds ➤ Ohme Gardens…nine acres of lush alpine greenery ➤ Rocky Reach Dam…renewable energy

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: East Wenatchee & Wenatchee, WA Follow the 30- or 164-mile Ice Age Floods Geological Trail and view remnants left by the cataclysmic floodwaters as it raged through the Valley 17,000 years ago. Explore Downtown Wenatchee and have some fun. Join a self-guided walking tour of the outdoor Art on the Avenues sculptures, go shopping in antique stores and specialty shops or enjoy ice cream in the historic Owl Soda Fountain. Stroll across the RiverWalk Crossing into Riverfront Park and the Apple Capital Loop Trail or follow the walking tour of the downtown historical buildings and signs. Enjoy wine tasting and dinner at Chateau Faire le Pont Winery, a state-of-the-art gravity flow winery that creates world-class, ultra-premium wines from locally grown grapes and is housed in a superbly restored 1920s fruit warehouse.

DAY 2: East Wenatchee & Wenatchee, WA The Bridge of Friendship Japanese Garden is a partnership between the Sister Cities of Misawa, Japan, East Wenatchee and Wenatchee. The garden features a reflecting pool, pagoda, and authentic Japanese artifacts. Visit the “Miss Veedol” hanger where history comes alive! Hear the spine-tingling story of Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon’s struggle to complete the first non-stop transpacific flight and get a first-hand look at a working replica of the plane that made the flight in 1931. Enjoy wine tasting and lunch at Saint Laurent Winery where the winery and its unique European landscaped gardens overlook the Wenatchee Valley. The Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center features four floors of the region’s historical treasures and is home to six of the original Clovis Tools discovered in the valley in 1987. Stroll through Ohme Gardens’ nine acres of lush alpine beauty; sit beside a tumbling

waterfall or wander along cool and serene rock walkways with stunning views of the Columbia River and Wenatchee Valley. Tour Tiny’s 42-acre Organic Farm in East Wenatchee and learn about the variety of fruits and vegetables with names like Arctic Snow nectarines, Indian Blood peaches and DapplDandy pluots (a hybrid between a plum and an apricot).

DAY 3: Wenatchee & Cashmere, WA At Rocky Reach Dam, “Look a Salmon in the Eye” in the fish viewing room or explore the Museum of the Columbia and the Gallery of Electricity. Outside marvel at the giant water pipe that transports juvenile salmon around the face of the dam and deposits them downstream into the Columbia River. Stop by Stemilt’s Bountiful Fruit for a crisp juicy apple or other in-season fruits. The WA Apple Commission Visitor Center is full of historic photos, interactive displays and an informative video about the apple industry. Reserve your seat at the Town Toyota Center for a memorable concert, thrilling hockey game, wild sports action or spectacular family entertainment. The Aplets and Cotlets Factory Tour incorporates savory Washington apples, ripe apricots and crunchy English walnuts into Aplets and Cotlets Candy— top sellers since 1920! The Discover Heirloom Cuisine program at the Cashmere Cider Mill will offer you an experience like no other. Join working chefs and food artisans in a hands-on cooking class or an adventure excursion to an artisan producer, local farm, market, orchard or vineyard.

CONTACT: Wenatchee Valley Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Marcia Janke • www.wenatcheevalley.org 5 S. Wenatchee Ave., Suite 100, Wenatchee, WA 98801 Phone: 509-663-3723/800-572-7753 • Email: marcia@wenatcheevalley.org

➤ Savor Wenatchee ➤ Flowers and Gardens

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THE BEST OF SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WASHINGTON

Everett, Lynnwood, Mukilteo and Tulalip, Washington

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Boeing Tour at the Future of Flight Aviation Center ➤ Flying Heritage Collection and Historic Flight aviation

collections ➤ Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian Restaurant wine pairing

and cooking demonstration ➤ Nature-based tour components – river rafting, kayaking

and bird watching ➤ Shopping galore! Outlets, malls and antique shopping in

quaint villages and urban centers

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 3: Foothills of the Cascade Mountains DAY 1: Everett 11:00 am – 3:00 pm: Experience a half-day estuary tour of the Everett Everglades! Over 350 species of migratory birds pass through the largest wetland near an urban center on the West Coast. Try kayaking for the best experiences! After your day paddling, pamper yourself with a delectable meal with “Get Sauced Safely” - Cooking Italian with Washington Wines at Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian. Learn the secrets of preparing five versatile sauces. Each sauce is demonstrated, served and paired with a wine from Washington State.

DAY 2: Mukilteo, Everett and Bothell 9:00 am – 11:00 am: Experience the Boeing Tour and Future of Flight Aviation Center. Witness the marvel of commercial jet aviation including a factory tour to see the assembly of the 747, 777 and the new 787 Dreamliner. 11:30 am – 1:00 pm: Lunch nearby in Mukilteo while watching the ferry come and go from the adjacent dock. Or head to the Edmonds waterfront to enjoy the view of the marina and the Olympic Peninsula while dining. 1:30 – 3:00 pm: Tour the Flying Heritage Collection or Historic Flight Foundation to see vintage military aircraft from the early 20th century restored to a degree of authenticity never before attempted. Schedule your tour during the fly dates to see these treasurers in flight! 3:30 – 5:30 pm: Wander Bothell Country Village; 45 specialty shops and restaurants housed in cozy farm-style buildings. Antiques, a fullservice day spa, wine tasting, restaurants and more.

(One to six hours depending on desired experience.) River rafting in the Northwest is a spectacular experience. The Skykomish River surrounds you with thundering waterfalls, awesome granite gorges, mountain landscapes and old-growth forests. Fall, winter, spring and summer trips…white water to scenic float trips.

DAY 4: Lynnwood, Snohomish and Tulalip 10:00 am – 11:30 am: At Alderwood, reacquaint yourself with a favorite store like Macy's, Nordstrom or Coach, then check out The Village's one-of-a-kind shops and upscale retailers. If outlets are more to your liking, visit Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip for haute couture fashions at unbelievable discounts. 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm: On the National Register of Historic Places for its business and residential districts, Snohomish is the “Antique Capital of the Pacific Northwest.” Stop by a riverfront cafe for lunch, then stroll along historic streets and shop where over 350 antique dealers sell their treasures. 4:00 pm – overnight: For evening entertainment, try your luck at Tulalip Resort Casino! Casino games, slot machines and live entertainment will keep you busy after you dine at one of the restaurants on site, from Tulalip Bay, a fine dining restaurant, to The Eagles buffet for a more casual dining experience. If you’re planning a winter itinerary, the holiday magic of the Lights of Christmas awaits you in December. Dazzling light displays, the holiday sounds of Victorian carolers, live music, stunning nativity scenes, gifts and crafts, storytelling and more makes the Lights of Christmas the perfect holiday idea for you. Enjoy a dinner theater or dessert matinee, or extend your experience with an overnight stay.

CONTACT: Snohomish County Tourism Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Amy Spain • www.snohomish.org 909 SE Everett Mall Way, C300, Everett, WA 98208 Phone: 425-348-5802 or 888-338-0976 • Email: amy@snohomish.org

➤ Snohomish County Arts, Culture and Heritage ➤ Snohomish County Farms, Flowers and Festivals

LeisureGroupTravel.com

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heather lee

WEST

Scenic Western Adventures On its run through Northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon Railway features Western-style entertainment.

railway or waterway excursion is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty, splendor and history of the West. From the mountains to the Pacific coast, opportunities abound for visitors to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Be sure to have a camera in hand to capture the one-of-a-kind views that these tours provide. The Coast Starlight, traveling daily between Seattle and Los Angeles, offers one of Amtrak’s most scenic rides. Views on the 1,377-mile route range from the snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta to forests, valleys and Pacific Ocean shoreline. Amenities include multiple dining options, complimentary Internet access and an onboard theater. Another popular Amtrak train is the California Zephyr, which negotiates Colorado’s Rocky Mountains on its run between Chicago and San Francisco. West of Denver, the train crosses the Continental Divide, making numerous switchbacks as it gains altitude and goes through 29 tunnels. Then the train glides through the Gore and Glenwood canyons, sheer rock walls towering above the Colorado River, where rafters tackle the wild rapids. The Zephyr then heads across the Utah desert to Salt Lake City and on across the Nevada desert to the High Sierras and California’s famed Donner Pass. (amtrak.com).

A

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The Grand Canyon Railway departs from Williams, Ariz., on its way to one of America’s most popular national parks. During the 2¼-hour trip from the 1908 Williams Depot to the canyon’s South Rim, strolling musicians and Wild West characters keep passengers entertained as they traverse 65 miles of Northern Arizona’s pine forests, grassy plains and canyons. Commonly seen wildlife includes elk, mule deer and pronghorn. (thetrain.com) Gourmet dining defines Napa Valley Wine Train’s three-hour champagne brunch, lunch and dinner excursions. The 36-mile trips pass 26 wineries between Napa and the quaint village of St. Helena in one of the world’s most famous wine valleys. In an area equally renowned for its cuisine, the train’s chefs prepare seasonal menus highlighted by the freshest and highest quality ingredients in the train’s two kitchens. Guests are welcome to watch chefs work through windows located three feet away from the grill fire. The elegant 1917 Pullman dining car is accented with etched glass, polished brass, fine fabrics and rich mahogany paneling. (winetrain.com) Cruise boats on Lake Tahoe provide an excellent opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. The Tahoe Queen provides a tour on the lake’s only authentic Mississippi paddlewheeler boat. Departing from Ski Run Marina, the Tahoe Queen offers daytime scenic cruises and sunset dinner dance cruises. (boattahoe.com) San Diego Harbor Tours provides an array of boat cruises on the San Diego Bay. Options include whale watching cruises, lunch or dinner cruises and a 13-mile tour of the North or South Bay. One-hour sightseeing cruises on the North Bay glide by sea lions basking on buoys and bait barges; pelicans, sea gulls and double-crested cormorants; ships and aircraft at the naval air station; a Navy submarine LeisureGroupTravel.com

base; and Point Loma Lighthouse, strategically located where the bay meets the Pacific. (sandiegotours.us) Argosy Cruises offer one-hour harbor excursions that provide an ideal orientation to Seattle. Besides panoramic views of the downtown skyline, passengers get close-up looks at gantry cranes loading and unloading container ships. Snow-capped mountains loom in the

distance, providing great backdrops for the freighters, ferry boats and pleasure boats crisscrossing Elliott Bay. (argosycruises.com) LGT

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE To read about additional scenic train adventures in the West, go online and log on to lesiuregrouptravel.com/?p=23758.

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

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June 2011 81


AMARILLO: WHAT YOU EXPECT OF TEXAS AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

Amarillo, Texas

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Palo Duro Canyon State Park – 2nd largest canyon

in the U.S. and a magnificent scenic attraction ➤ TEXAS – Outdoor musical drama performed each

summer in the amphitheater in Palo Duro Canyon ➤ Cadillac Ranch – 10 Cadillacs buried nose-first ➤ American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum –

beautiful artifacts, interactive exhibits and touching history of a true American horse breed ➤ Route 66 – The Texas portion of the fabled road runs

directly through Amarillo

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Start off your afternoon in Amarillo by visiting one of our unique museums. The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum is dedicated to showcasing the American Quarter Horse and the Western lifestyle. The Amarillo Museum of Art provides quality visual arts through collections, temporary exhibitions representing a variety of media and periods, educational programming, preservation and research. The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian will offer a glimpse into the cultures of the people of the Pueblos and Plains. The museum displays fine paintings, bronzes and fine old beadwork. For dinner, consider the world-famous Big Texan Steak Ranch! Their steaks are carefully aged for maximum flavor, and the aroma from the grill will have your mouth watering as soon as you enter the huge dining room. You just might be up for their 72-oz. Steak Dinner Challenge. It’s FREE, if it and all the trimmings are eaten within one hour, that is (otherwise it’s $72)!

DAY 2: Get a home cookin’ good breakfast at Calico County Restaurant before heading out for kicks on Route 66; visit the Amarillo portion of the road, 6th Avenue, with its many stores and eateries. On to Vega, with a pit stop to check out the old restored Magnolia Gas Station, which dates back to the early 1920s. Ride on to Adrian for your lunchstop at Midpoint Cafe in the exact middle of Route 66 between both

coasts. Don’t forget a slice of their famous Ugly Crust Pie! On the way back to Amarillo don’t forget to stop at the Cadillac Ranch. Keeping with tradition, bring a couple cans of spray paint to release your inner artist onto any of the 10 Cadillacs buried nose-first in a field.

DAY 3: Get over to River Breaks Ranch for a hearty Western meal. Your visit starts with a ride on a covered wagon. Now that ya’ll are in the Western spirit, visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park for breathtaking views and adventures with guided tours, horse rentals, wildlife exhibits and more! June 5 through August 15 head down to the Pioneer Amphitheater. Fill up with a pre-show dinner, catered by the Big Texan. Enjoy a performance of the renowned outdoor musical TEXAS, a family-friendly show bringing to life the stories, struggles and triumphs of the settlers of the Texas Panhandle in the 1800s with a generous helping of good ol' Texas humor.

CONTACT: Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council ➤ Jutta Matalka, CTP, TDM • www.visitamarillotx.com 1000 S. Polk, Amarillo, TX 79101 Phone: 806-342-2012 • Email: jutta@visitamarillotx.com 82 June 2011

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ELK CITY: A PERFECT POSTCARD VISIT

Elk City, Oklahoma

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Discover Route 66, the “Mother Road” ➤ National Route 66 Museum Complex (Transportation

Museum/Farm & Ranch Museum/Blacksmith Museum/ Old Town Museum) ➤ Ackley Park (Centennial Carousel, Choctaw Miniature Train,

Old Town Putt-Putt Golf) ➤ Washita Battlefield Historic Site ➤ Black Kettle National Grasslands

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY

After your visit to the National Route 66 Museum Complex, you will enjoy a visit strolling Elk City’s historic downtown filled with unique shops with one-of-a-kind finds. Along the way we’ll even stop for pictures on the adorable Centennial Carousel located in Ackley Park.

Welcome to Great Plains Country! DAY 1: Step into yesteryear as you tour the official National Route 66 Museum Complex in Elk City, Oklahoma. Inside, the road motif takes visitors to all eight states along the “Mother Road” from Illinois to California. Photographs, vintage autos and recorded personal accounts vividly re-create the heyday of this historical route. As visitors tour the Transportation Museum they discover an interactive trip through the history of transportation. From sitting in the front seat of a 1959 Cadillac as you drive down Route 66 to climbing on the 1917 Reo Fire Truck as you ring the bill, kids of all ages will enjoy this museum in motion. Early Oklahoma pioneer life is depicted as visitors wander through this grand two-story Victorian house. The upper level is devoted to the early cowboy and rodeo way of life. As visitors continue on to the Blacksmith Museum, they can view how blacksmiths created objects from iron or steel by forging metal using a multitude of tools.

And then it’s a quick stop to marvel at the famous Parker Drilling Rig, home to Parker Rig No. 201, once the biggest inland rig in the world and brought to Elk City in the summer of 1981. Then it’s on to Washita Battlefield National Historic Site in nearby Cheyenne. Hiking trails meander through the battlefield, and rangers are on hand for tours and interpretive talks. Adjacent to the battlefield, Black Kettle National Grasslands has miles of road through open prairie. Wildlife is abundant, so watch out!

DAY 2: Today, after kicking off your morning with hot coffee and a delicious chuckwagon breakfast at the Flying W Guest Ranch, enjoy discovering the archeological excavation of the buffalo kill sites and learn details about the life of the Plains Indians. The sites reveal the tools and cooking materials used by the early Plains Indians, including spear points, cutting knives, scraping tools, and other instruments and cooking items used to prepare meat and hides.

Moving on to the Farm & Ranch Museum, visitors discover a vast collection of tools that were used in early farm and ranch life in western Oklahoma. The windmill collection, tractors, tractor seat collection, broom corn thrasher and barb wire collections are among some of the exhibits found in this museum.

Tonight you will rest easy at one of Elk City’s hotel properties after dining at a trendy grill with a diverse menu, including fish, steaks and Italian cuisine.

While touring the National Route 66 Museum Complex, visitors will not want to miss the Whited Grist Mill, the beautiful Opera House, Cowtown Watering Hole, Memorial Chapel or the Paul Jones Drug Store, where you can still buy stick candy and soda pop that comes in a bottle!

Sleep in and then enjoy a relaxing lunch at Country Dove Gifts & Tea Room, a two-story Victorian home where daily specials are scrumptious and desserts are world-renowned! It’s a fabulous way to complete your visit to Elk City.

DAY 3:

CONTACT: Elk City Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Tawana Thomas, Director • www.visitelkcity.com P.O. Box 972/1016 E. Airport Industrial Rd., Elk City, OK 73648 Phone: 580-225-0207 • Email: thomast@elkcity.com

➤ Elk City Fall Festival ➤ Elk City Christmas in the Park Weekend

LeisureGroupTravel.com

Convention & Visitors Bureau

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OKLAHOMA!: “NEVER MET A MAN I DIDN’T LIKE”

Bartlesville, Claremore and Ponca City, Oklahoma

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Stroll through the life and times of Will Rogers ➤ Dinner amid the world’s largest private arms collection ➤ Price Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright’s only realized skyscraper ➤ Woolaroc, Frank Phillips’ wildlife preserve and summer estate ➤ Dine in style at America’s Castle, the Marland Mansion ➤ Hear the poignant story of Chief Standing Bear

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Claremore A visit to Oklahoma wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the birthplace of the man who “Never met a man he didn’t like.” Will Rogers’ Oologah ranch home, sits atop a hill overlooking Oologah Lake, you can imagine “little Will” ropin’ anything that moved. A short drive south, across the rolling plains to Claremore, you’ll arrive at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, dedicated to the life of Oklahoma’s favorite son. Your guide brings to life multiple galleries featuring various stages of Will’s professional career, from calf-roper to revered columnist. You may want to linger longer in the gallery detailing his final day. A reception is planned to welcome you to the museum. Dinner will be served amid the world’s largest private arms collection, accumulated by Will’s fellow Oklahoman, J.M. Davis. Also on display are steins, WWI posters and if you search a bit, you’ll discover a few “strange” items at the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum. On to our “bed-down” location for the evening.

DAY 2: Bartlesville It’s a short drive to Bartlesville, where oil was first discovered in Oklahoma and the area features this historic event. This is where Frank Phillips (Phillips Petroleum) amassed his fortune. While visiting the Frank Phillips Home, you’ll hear grand stories of his life during early statehood. One of the most striking structures in Oklahoma is “the tree that escaped the forest,” the Price Tower skyscraper designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, another must-see. From here travel the rolling hills to Woolaroc, the expansive wildlife and summer retreat of Frank Phillips. The grounds and collection are so extensive you’ll want to break for lunch and regain your visual strength. The Phillips story continues as you visit the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum, a state-of-the-art museum chronicling the transformation of a small-town business into a global energy enterprise. Dinner this evening features a special Native American style show at the Bartlesville Area History Museum. Then it’s “lights out” for the night.

DAY 3: Ponca City Arrive at the Pioneer Woman Museum and meet Madame Opal, your guide for a tell-all experience in Ponca City – a city that exudes the Roaring Twenties. Prepare yourself for a home you’d never expect to find. The Marland Mansion is four stories and a mere 48,000 sq. ft. of sculptured stone, Waterford crystal and gold leaf, and known as the “Palace on the Prairie” and featured on America’s Castles. Lydie and E.W. Marland, the last residents in the home, will join you for your noon meal. A bit of fresh air is in store at the Standing Bear Native American Museum and Park. The poignant story is best shared while sitting at the foot of the bronze, larger-than-life Standing Bear statue. Your final evening and it’s 1924 all over again at the Poncan Theater. Vaudeville Dave along with a troupe of entertainers will see that your closing night in Oklahoma is one to remember. “Sweet Oklahoma dreams” tonight.

CONTACT: Claremore Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Tanya Andrews • www.visitclaremore.org 419 W. Will Rogers Blvd., Claremore, OK 74017 Phone: 877-341-8688 • Email: cvb@claremore.org

➤ Visit Group TravelDirectory.com for more NE Oklahoma and individual city itinerary ideas

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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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ULTIMATE GOLD RUSH TOUR

Sacramento, California

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Old Sacramento: historic buildings, museums

and shopping ➤ Sutter’s Fort – one of the most important Gold Rush

locations ➤ Enjoy the scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe ➤ Marshall Gold Discovery State Park – the exact spot where

the Gold Rush started ➤ Yosemite National Park – as stunning as it was 150 years ago

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Sacramento After the discovery of gold, Sacramento developed quickly as the commerce center of the region. You’ll enjoy the Old Sacramento waterfront district where prospectors once stocked up on mining supplies and blew their riches in the saloons. Today, the wooden boardwalks and historic buildings are filled with museums, restaurants and an assortment of shopping options. Old Sacramento is anchored by California State Railroad Museum at the western end of the Transcontinental Railroad. Step inside and see the original Golden Spike, locomotives and railroad cars from throughout the history of the rails. You’ll also visit the California State Capitol building and its historic grounds. Sacramento has been the capital of California since 1854 and the building dates back to the 1860s. Sutter’s Fort is one of the most important locations tied to the Gold Rush. This is where John Sutter originally set up shop to provide rest and accommodations to weary pioneers (famously, the Donner Party). The Gold Rush is also responsible for creating the earliest forms of California cuisine. Some of the finest chefs of the time worked their way west to cater to the wealthy businessmen and lucky prospectors of the region. This evening you’ll be treated like the “Big 4” railroad barons as you dine at Mulvaney’s Building & Loan, which focuses on the fresh produce of our rich agricultural region.

DAY 2: Sacramento, Truckee, North Lake Tahoe Trace the footsteps of the 49ers as you depart Sacramento for the foothills. In the town of Truckee, you’ll enjoy shopping, restaurants and more Donner Party history as you visit the Emigrant Trail Museum at Donner Memorial State Park. This is the infamous spot where the

Donners were trapped in an unexpectedly early snowstorm in the autumn of 1846. From there, you’ll travel to Crystal Bay on the border between California and Nevada, where you’ll enjoy the scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe and the casinos of Nevada.

DAY 3: Coloma, Sutter Creek A trip to Coloma takes you to Marshall Gold Discovery State Park and the exact spot where the Gold Rush started. This is the home to Sutter’s Mill, where James Marshall first saw that glimmer in the river back in 1848. Drive through the picturesque rolling foothills to the town of Sutter Creek to get a true gold mining experience. At Sutter Gold Mine you’ll enjoy a mine tour and take your shot at panning for gems and gold. The foothills of Amador County are a well-known wine producing region and home to over 50 wineries. This evening you’ll get your first sip of regional flavors as you head to Plymouth for dinner at Taste Restaurant.

DAY 4: Sonora, Yosemite, Sacramento The time of the Gold Rush was also the time that preservationists began the push to protect the natural beauty of our land. Today, a trip to Yosemite is just as stunning as it was 150 years ago. Spend the afternoon exploring this natural wonder and imagine what early pioneers must have thought as they crossed the Sierra Nevada Range and stumbled upon this majestic place. Then it’s back to Sacramento for one final dinner with your peers aboard the Sacramento Hornblower river cruise ship. In the days before automobiles, travel on the Sacramento River between San Francisco and Sacramento was a popular option and tonight you’ll get to experience it for yourself as part of your closing night festivities.

CONTACT: Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Terry Selk, Director of Tourism • www.discovergold.org 1608 I St., Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: 916-808-8989/800-292-2334 • Email: leldred@cityofsacramento.org

➤ Ultimate Northern California ➤ Northern California Wine Tour

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FIRE & ICE - VOLCANOES & GLACIERS

Alaska & Hawaii

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Denali National Park ➤ The Alaska Railroad ➤ Anchorage & Honolulu ➤ Pearl Harbor & the Arizona Memorial ➤ Volcanoes National Park

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: DAY 7:

Fly to Anchorage; overnight.

DAY 2: Today is a guided tour to Denali National Park. En route you will pass through heavy birch forests and the spectacular Knik and Matanuska River Valleys. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Two nights Denali.

DAY 3: Today is the Tundra Wilderness Tour, a search through the Denali wilderness for bear, moose, caribou and Dall sheep. It’s a full-day narrated bus trip on Denali Park Road, offering you great wildlifewatching opportunities.

DAY 4: Enjoy a morning of leisure with options for individual exploration in the park. Then an afternoon ride on the world-famous Alaska Railroad. This trip of a lifetime follows the Susitna River, where you might see black bear fishing. Two nights Anchorage.

DAY 5: Today is a narrated tour of Anchorage and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. A renowned cultural center and museum, it is a place where all people can expand their understanding of Alaska's first people. You will feel their heartbeat, hear their stories, explore their history and villages, and discover a cultural heritage that is living and thriving today. Tonight is an Alaskan family-style buffet and a visit to Wildberry Chocolates factory

DAY 6: The Alaska portion ends with a shuttle to the Anchorage Airport and a flight to Honolulu, where you are met with a traditional flower lei and escorted to your hotel.

This morning you visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial first, then enjoy a narrated tour of Honolulu including the National Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl), Washington Place (the Governor’s Mansion), the State Capitol, Chinatown, Iolani Palace and King Kamehameha Statue. This afternoon you have free time to explore the shops on Kalakaua Avenue and stroll on the world’s most famous beach, Waikiki. But tonight...be ready to hula. The evening features a real Hawaiian luau with Polynesian drinks, traditional Hawaiian food and live island music.

DAY 8: The narrated Grand Circle Island tour is a breathtaking 120-mile trip around Oahu. It visits Hawaii’s most famous landmarks: Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole, Pali Lookout, Dole Pineapple Plantation and North Shore.

DAY 9: This morning you fly to the Big Island, Hawaii. Here this afternoon you can explore Kona Town. King Kamehameha’s place of worship was here as is the site of the first Christian church built in Hawaii. Dinner tonight is at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

DAY 10: On a full-day Best of the Big Island Tour, you’ll witness impressive and diverse natural wonders, from volcanoes to tropical forests, black sand beaches and the spectacular Kealakekua Bay Overlook. But Volcanoes National Park is the biggest highlight. You’ll learn about Hawaii’s active volcanoes and see lava tubes and flows. You’ll hear about this island’s seven ecological zones and native Hawaiian culture. It’s a full day of excitement.

DAY 11: Flights for home

CONTACT: US TOURS

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Bob Cline • www.USTours.Biz 2819 Murdoch Ave., Parkersburg, WV 26101 Phone: 304-485-8687 • Email: Bob@USTours.Biz

➤ Hawaii Three-I ➤ Alaska National Parks & Wildlife Tour

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on location: northeast ❖

randy mink

Hillwood Estate was the scene of high-society dinners.

Sampling the Museums of Washington, D.C. Shake up your next itinerary by including some of the “other” museums in our Nation’s Capital 88 June 2011

n “official” tour of our Nation’s Capital has to include at least one Smithsonian museum. Standard itineraries feature the National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum and other great repositories on the National Mall. But the District of Columbia abounds with outstanding museums that don’t always appear on tour planners’ radar screens. Here are just five of Washington’s “other” museums: Newseum. Media junkies and anyone who follows current events will have

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See George Washington crossing the Delaware at Madame Tussauds.

a field day immersing themselves in exhibits documenting the world’s greatest news stories. Visitors learn about the First Amendment, go behind the scenes of news operations and often see live newcasts taking place. In the interactive newsroom they can play the role of a TV LeisureGroupTravel.com


reporter or photographer. Situated on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington, halfway between the Capitol and White House, the glassand-silver building offers 14 galleries and 15 theaters on seven levels. More than 700 newspapers transmit their front pages electronically to the Newseum every day. Up to 80 are enlarged and printed for display in the Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Front Pages Galleryâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;one from every state and a sampling of international newspapers as well. Additional front pages are displayed outside. Other Newseum must-sees include the 9/11 Gallery, which explores the horrendous events of Sept. 11 and the challenges journalists faced in chronicling the attack on America. Also view the most comprehensive collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs ever assembled and sections of the Berlin Wall, the largest unaltered display of the wall outside of Germany. (888-639-7386, newseum.org) International Spy Museum. Indulge your inner James Bond as you examine the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest collection of spy artifacts. Anyone intrigued by gadgetry will marvel at the espionage toys used by the CIA, FBI and KGB. Items include a wristwatch camera, lipstick pistol, invisible ink, bugs of all kinds and ingenious disguise techniques developed by Hollywood for the CIA. Follow the history of spying from biblical times to the Cold War and even learn about celebrity spies like singer Josephine Baker, chef Julia Child and actress Marlene Dietrich. Besides perusing museum exhibits, visitors can play a U.S. intelligence officer in Operation Spy, a one-hour experiential adventure where they have to locate a missing nuclear trigger before it ends up in the wrong hands. It involves cracking a few safes, decoding some messages, conducting video surveillance of a clandestine meeting and interroLeisureGroupTravel.com

gating a suspect double agent. Located four blocks from the National Mall, the Spy Museum is especially popular with student groups. (202-393-7798, spymuseum.org) National Museum of Crime and Punishment. A state-of-the-art attraction that opened in 2008, this must for

CSI fans, traces the history of crime in America, from pirates and Wild West outlaws to white-collar criminals. On display are such ultimate implements of punishment as an electric chair, gas chamber, lethal injection machine, guillotine and medieval torture chamber. In a full-scale model police station, see a

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June 2011 89


on location: northeast ❖ booking room, lie detector test and replica jail cell. Highly interactive, the museum invites visitors to test their Wild West shooting skills, crack a safe and try to hack a computer. There’s a high-speed car chase simulator and FBI shooting range. In “Body of Evidence,” visit the morgue and discovers the wonders of an autopsy. “CSI Experience” shows how to solve a crime through forensic science technology. “Crime & the Media” illustrates how news reporting, television and movies mirror America’s obsession with crime. Guests also can see the filming studio for America’s Most Wanted, the TV show hosted by John Walsh; behindthe-scenes studio tours explain his involvement in the museum and the family tragedy that led him to become one of America’s top crime fighters.

Test your skills at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment.

(202-621-5550, crimemuseum.org) Madame Tussauds. The big news this year is the Presidents Gallery, the only place where you can view all U.S presidents’ likenesses in 3D. From George Washington crossing the Delaware to Barack Obama in the Oval Office, the life-size wax figures appear in 14 themed areas where visitors are encouraged to touch, take photos and participate in computer games and other activities that make American history come alive. In the gallery’s Founding Fathers room, test your knowledge of American history using a touch-screen quiz. Or sit at a table with John Adams as he prepares the Declaration of Independence with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson watching over you. In the Civil War section sit alongside Abraham Lincoln in a recreation of the Ford’s Theatre box the moment before his assassination. Obtain Washington D.C. visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info

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Johnny Depp, star of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, is the newest wax figure at Madame Tussauds in Washington.

Enjoy the serenity of the Japanesestyle garden at Hillwood Estate. LeisureGroupTravel.com

Guests can pose with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin holding the American flag on the moon, uncover the full story of Watergate using a touch-screen interactive and stand next to Ronald Reagan at the Berlin Wall. The Hope 9/11 room recalls the horrific and heroic events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001. Visitors to Madame Tussauds also mingle with Hollywood celebrities, from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to Jennifer Lopez and the Jonas Brothers. The newest figure depicts Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. (866-823-9569, madametussauds.com./washington) Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens. Set on 25 acres in a peaceful residential neighborhood in northwest Washington, Hillwood is the former home of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973), a socialite who entertained presidents, diplomats and royalty at her 40-room Georgian mansion. She also was an avid art col-

lector. The purchases she made while living in the Soviet Union when Joseph E. Davies, the third of her four husbands, was U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union (1937-38) formed the nucleus of the most important assemblage of Russian imperial art outside Russia today. Pieces range from fine porcelain to Russian Orthodox icons and jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs. Hillwood also features a large collection of French decorative arts and a sumptuously appointed Louis XVI drawing room. In addition to the mansion, groups can explore Hillwoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s formal gardens and greenhouse. Lunch and tea menus are available at Hillwood Cafe. A 15-minute film discusses the estate and the life of the heiress. (202686-8500, hillwoodmuseum.org) LGT

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE Historic Fordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Theatre, just a few blocks from the International Spy Museum, is a Lincoln museum as well as a playhouse. Find out more at http:// leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=23653.

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emily k. weber

New York Water Taxi

Sightseeing Alternatives

Strasburg Rail Road

NORTHEAST

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Chug through rural Pennsylvania on the Strasburg Rail Road or cruise past the New York skyline.

he Northeastern United States offers rich history and pleasing scenery. Explore in a unique way while soaking in the sights and magnificent views aboard one of the many rail or boat tours. Here is just a sampling of

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excursions available from Maine to Maryland: The Cape Cod Central Railroad in Massachusetts provides scenic excursions on diesel-operated locomotives. The train runs from Hyannis over 23

miles of the New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad, passing cranberry bogs, forests and marshes. The railroad offers a package with Hyline Cruises that includes a one-hour cruise on a Maine-style coastal steamer of Hyannis

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Harbor and the Kennedy compound. (capetrain.com) In Vermont, passengers can travel on the Green Mountain Railroad’s White River Flyer along the majestic Connecticut River. The train departs from Union Depot in White River Junction and offers roundtrip journeys to Pompanoosuc Mills in East Thetford after a brief stop at the Montshire Museum of Science. (rails-vt.com) The Maine Eastern Railroad offers coastline views from large-windowed, stainless steel coaches. The railroad goes over 33 bridges on a 57-mile track between Brunswick and Rockland. (maineeasternrailroad.com) The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is a 3½-hour, 32-mile ride between Cumberland and Frostburg. The train passes through a breach in the Allegheny Mountains, crosses an iron truss bridge and threads a 914foot-long tunnel. Passengers have a 90minute layover in Frostburg to dine at the 1891 depot, shop in the old hotel or visit the Thrasher Carriage Museum. (wmsr.com) The Strasburg Rail Road departing from Strasburg, Pa., allows passengers to soak in the unspoiled charm of Lancaster County, where Amish farmers still plow their fields with horses and mules. The nine-mile, 45-minute excursion on America’s oldest short-line steam train goes to the town of Paradise and back. Across the road is the world-class Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, with more than 100 locomotives and coaches from yesteryear. Also in Strasburg are the National Toy Train Museum and the Choo Choo Barn, both with model train layouts. (strasburgrailroad.com) Enjoy the sights and sounds of historic Boston with Boston Harbor Cruises. See the contemporary and historic sights while experiencing the 94 June 2011

treasures and history of Boston’s waterfront on a 90-minute, narrated tour of Boston’s inner and outer harbors. Information and sights include tales of famous Revolutionary battles, the nation’s oldest continuously manned lighthouse, and islands of the inner and outer harbor. (bostonharborcruises.com) New York Water Taxi allows travelers to view the famous skyline, Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty aboard several harbor boat tours. The “Statue of Liberty Express” departs from Pier 17 at South Street Seaport and takes passengers on a narrated tour of the Big Apple, with close-up views of Lady Liberty. The “Statue by Night Cruise” spotlights New York under the stars. Enjoy a champagne toast as you cruise by the illuminated Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and landmark buildings. The “HopOn/Hop-Off ” cruise allows passengers to disembark as they please for visits to such sights as the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, 9/11 Memorial, Statue of Liberty and Times Square. Or they can just relax and enjoy the 90-minute loop. The tour picks up and drops off at West 44th Street (next to the Intrepid), Battery Park, South Street Seaport and Fulton Ferry Landing. (nywatertaxi.com) The MS Mount Washington offers dinner dance and excursion cruises on scenic Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Surrounded by mountains, the 72-square-mile lake is the largest in the state. The U.S. mail boat Sophie C. takes passengers around to the islands as it makes its deliveries. Both cruises depart from Weirs Beach. (cruisenh.com) LGT

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For more ideas on trips by rail or water in the Northeast, log on to http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=23771

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OCEAN CITY & CAKE TO CAKE

Coastal Maryland

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ 10 miles of sparkling Atlantic Coast beach ➤ Famous Assateague Island wild ponies ➤ Rural heritage at its best ➤ Excitement of the award-winning OC Boardwalk ➤ Experience crab cake and Smith Island cake delicacies

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: When you tour the Ocean City region, you will enjoy excellent accommodations and the sea air! Situated beside the roaring Atlantic Ocean, our 10-mile Boardwalk is just the place for long walks, a few reflective moments beside the ocean or a fun dinner with friends at one of the Boardwalk eateries. Or enjoy dining out on the town—Ocean City offers everything from boardwalk fries and cotton candy to the finest in elegant dining with classically trained chefs.

DAY 2: Today, visit the Life Saving Station Museum at the end of the Ocean City Boardwalk that has the absolute best view of Assateague and the Ocean City Inlet waters. Learn about the “lore of the sea” and the forerunner of today’s Coast Guard in the surf men that pulled fishermen to land with ropes and sheer strength. From here, you might glimpse the famous wild ponies of Assateague that entice visitors from around the world. Visit Assateague National Seashore Park and the lovely new visitor center to learn about coastal bays and wildlife in the area. Have lunch in nearby Berlin and enjoy the quaint specialty shops before heading back to Ocean City for a stroll on the boards or relaxation at the hotel.

DAY 3: Travel to the historic fishing town of Crisfield, where you can board tours to Smith or Tangier Islands in the Chesapeake Bay. On land, experience a lunch where you can enjoy crab cake, and see how crabs are steamed, picked and prepared as you await the delectable Chesapeake region delicacy. Smith Island Cakes have been named Maryland’s official dessert. This multi-layer confection has become a famous favorite at meals and you can see how they are made and assembled. Talk with Smith Island native bakers and get a glimpse of how life was when the waters teemed with seafood and production and shucking houses were big business!

Schedule a stop at one of the local wineries on the way back or choose a round of golf for the afternoon. The Ocean City area offers extensive golfing choices. Tonight might be the perfect evening for a traditional Eastern Shore crab feast or even fine Italian dining. Ocean City offers great choices for both, and everything in between, many with oceanfront or bayside dining.

CONTACT: Ocean City MD Dept. of Tourism/CVB

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Norma Dobrowolski • www.ococean.com 4001 Coastal Hwy., Ocean City MD 21842 Phone: 800-626-2326 • Email: ndobrowolski@ococean.com

➤ Seaside Adventures ➤ Relaxation at the Beach

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HISTORY MEETS HOSPITALITY

Franklin, Oil City and Titusville Pennsylvania

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Snooze in a Caboose ➤ See & Hear Antique Musical Marvels ➤ Tour a Wild West Museum ➤ See where the world’s First Successful Commercial

Oil Well was drilled ➤ Take a Train Ride “Through the Valley That Changed

the World”

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Franklin DeBence Antique Music World in Franklin, Pennsylvania offers mechanical, musical marvels from the 1800s to the 1940s. These very rare and one-of-a-kind treasures have been preserved and restored as a repository of our past. Our next stop is St. John’s Episcopal Church for a close-up glimpse of a complete set of Tiffany windows, one of only six sets left in the country. Tiffany installed the windows around the turn of the century as the church was being restored after a devastating fire. We’ll shop till we drop along Franklin’s Liberty Street and enjoy lunch on your own at one of the many fine eateries. Franklin’s Antique Mall gives us a tour of their “Wild West Museum” with its one-of-a-kind display of famous cowboys and we will also find the finest Civil War room in the country.

industry in the 1890s and early 1900s. John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Company was associated with the building during this time and large vaults were installed to accommodate his sizable amounts of money and securities. After a delicious lunch at Coal Oil Johnny’s eatery and bulk food store, it’s off to tour Tyred Wheels Museum. Antique cars, toys, airplanes, pedal cars and over 5,000 miniature vehicles are on display. We will now travel to Titusville, Pennsylvania to check in to the Caboose Motel, the region’s unique accommodation. These 21 cabooses are selfcontained with heat, AC, showers, TVs, phones, Internet and outside decks. This overnight stay will truly be a one-of-a-kind experience. The evening meal will be served at the Cross Creek Resort nestled in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania.

DAY 3: Titusville After a busy day it’s time to check in and relax at the Quality Inn in the heart of the “Oil Heritage Region.” Dinner will be served at The Commons at Franklin offering the finest cuisine and four-star service.

DAY 2: Oil City to Pleasantville After breakfast, our local step-on guide will take us to Oil City, Pennsylvania to visit the Venango Museum of Art, Science and Industry, where we explore several thematic displays including “Black Gold or Black Magic.” Just a short walk from the museum we will tour the National Transit Building, the operational headquarters for 84% of the domestic oil

Breakfast will be a short walk from the cabooses at any one of Titusville’s fine restaurants. Our first stop of the day will be at Drake Well Museum, where the first successfully commercial oil well was drilled in 1859 and launched the modern petroleum industry. Here we will see a full-scale replica of the original oil well and many more oil-related exhibits. The highlight of the day will be a ride on the OC&T Railroad “through the valley that changed the world.” Hear narrations of how the oil boom created towns almost overnight. Ride the open gondola car and mail a souvenir postcard from the only operating Railway Post Office train car in the United States. A delicious box lunch will be served on the return trip.

CONTACT: Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Betty Squire • www.oilregion.org 217 Elm St., Oil City, PA 16301 Phone: 814-677-3152 • Email: bsquire@oilregion.org

➤ Musical Wheels & Oily Rails Tour ➤ Oil City History Tour

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WHERE THE POTOMAC MEETS THE CHESAPEAKE…AND MARYLAND BEGINS

St. Mary’s County, Maryland

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Discover the island where Maryland’s story began ➤ Climb Potomac River lighthouses ➤ Explore Maryland’s first colonial capital ➤ Savor fresh seafood at waterside restaurants ➤ Less than one hour from Washington, D.C.

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY St. Mary’s County is where the Potomac meets the Chesapeake and Maryland begins! Early explorers found this Chesapeake Bay peninsula full of surprises and full of charm. Your group will, too!

DAY 1: Start your visit where 140 hardy colonists came ashore in 1634. Visit the St. Clement’s Island Museum and discover Maryland’s beginnings. Enjoy a guided tour of the museum that tells the story of Maryland’s first landing. Then take the water taxi out to the actual Potomac River Island. This quiet island of beach grass and water birds is crowned with an enormous cross that commemorates the place where the colonists first landed. There is also a lighthouse to tour. Leonardtown lies along breezy Breton Bay. The quaint town square has numerous cozy restaurants for lunching and shops with regional art and unique finds for exploring. In warm weather sidewalk dining is the way to go. A short bridge from the mainland gets you to your second island: St. George Island. The oldest lighthouse on the Potomac River, Piney Point Lighthouse, is just around the corner. The Piney Point Museum has historic vessels that once plied the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay. The setting is sandy and serene. Seafood is savory in St. Mary’s! Waterside restaurants serve not only crabs and crab cakes—try a crab muffin! Or dig into the fresh catch of the day. In the summer, try rockfish. And in those “r” months, September through March, mouth-watering fried oysters top the menu.

DAY 2: Spend the morning at Historic St. Mary’s City. Experience 17th century life, Maryland style. Meet its planters, printers and sailors—and its Indians! The “city” offers inspiring outdoor living history. Along its trails you’ll find a garden plantation, an Indian Hamlet, a town center and the Maryland Dove, a working replica of the tall ship that brought the first colonists to Maryland. Allow enough time to browse the site’s fabulous gift shop! Leave the 17th century and enter the 18th at Sotterley Plantation, which offers grand sweeps of the Patuxent River and of history. Sit down to a welcoming lunch just for your group on the riverside portico, then tour the rambling manor house, where each nook and cranny holds a story. The gardens are lovely and the grounds are dotted with outbuildings worth an inquiring peek. Ready for more seafood? St. Mary’s can fill that order—or try other fresh fare at one of the county’s many unique restaurants.

DAY 3: Breakfast at a place the locals favor and follow up the eggs with a cooking demonstration of the area’s very own dish—stuffed ham. Say good-by to St. Mary’s with a stuffed ham sandwich picnic box to enjoy on the motorcoach ride home!

Overnight at one of our great group-friendly hotels and enjoy the special touches that let you know you are welcome. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast before beginning a second inspiring day.

CONTACT: St. Mary’s County, Maryland Tourism

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Rebecca Deprey • www.visitstmarysmd.com P.O. Box 653, Leonardtown, MD 20650 Phone: 301-373-4200, ext. 1404 • Email: Rebecca.Deprey@stmarysmd.com

➤ Be Inspired! ➤ Maritime Menu

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New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts

NEW ENGLAND FALL COLORS HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Boston, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine

without changing hotels ➤ Spectacular New England fall colors in the White and

Green Mountains ➤ Historical tour of Boston ➤ Visit some of Maine’s most photographed lighthouses ➤ Taste Maine lobster, Vermont cheese, New Hampshire

chocolate

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: Arrive Boston or Manchester You will be met at Logan International Airport or Manchester Airport and transferred to the Radisson Nashua Hotel. For those who arrive early in the day we have the opportunity to visit Anheuser-Busch Brewery for a tour and tasting and Swan Chocolate for a chocolate tasting. Welcome dinner.

DAY 2: Boston City Tour Our day begins with a visit to historic Boston, Massachusetts. Our first stop will be the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy. Next we will visit the North End of Boston, where we will see the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s Home. Then it is on to the famed Quincy Market for a bit of shopping and lunch. After lunch our tour of Boston will continue with the State House, Boston Common, Trinity Church and other Boston highlights. Our last stop this afternoon will be the Kennedy Library. Breakfast and dinner included.

DAY 3: New Hampshire We will enjoy a full breakfast buffet at the hotel before heading off to explore the New England fall colors. Be sure to bring your camera for the spectacular viewpoints and scenic vistas. If the weather is bad, we will skip the Kancamaugus Highway. The Kancamaugus offers some of the most dramatic views, with the fall colors and covered bridges. Breakfast and dinner included.

DAY 4: Vermont Today we will have a taste of Vermont as we see how Vermont products are made. Our first stop is the Cabot Creamery, Vermont’s largest

dairy cooperative. In the tasting room we will be able to sample over 50 different types of cheeses. Next we’re heading to the infamous Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream for a factory tour and tasting. At Ben and Jerry’s we will be able to taste whatever flavor ice cream that is being produced. Later in the day we will visit Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where we will have the opportunity to taste fresh-squeezed cider and apple cider doughnuts, as well as a variety of other Vermont made products. We will end the day with a traditional Vermont turkey dinner. Breakfast and dinner included.

DAY 5: Maine It is off to coastal Maine, where we will explore the Light House Trail. Our first stop will be at Nubble Light, one of the most photographed points in Maine. Next it is on to the largest lighthouse gift shop in Maine, followed by a New England lobster lunch. This afternoon we will visit Portland and the famous Portland Head Light, as well as other lighthouses in the area. Breakfast and lunch included.

DAY 6: Massachusetts Today we will visit Historic Salem, home of the famous Witch Trials and the Maritime National Park. We will explore the Witch Museum and learn what really happened in Historic Salem as well as meet with a real witch who will answer questions that we may have. Later in the day we will visit scenic Rockport, where we will have time to explore this unique village. Breakfast and dinner included.

DAY 7: You will be transferred to the airport or train station for your return trip home.

CONTACT: Radisson Nashua – Crescent-Managed Hotel

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

➤ Laura Elkin • www.chrco.com 11 Tara Blvd., Merrimack, NH 03062 Phone: 248-230-8985 • Email: lelkin@chrco.com

➤ A Tasty Tour of Southern New Hampshire ➤ Girlfriend’s Escape – Pampering, Food and Fun

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June 2011 99


emily k. weber

Canada by Train and Boat

Harbour Cruises and Events

18/03/20 10 Rocky Mountaineer

CANADA

Enjoy mountain vistas on the Rocky Mountaineer or experience Vancouver on a harbor cruise.

anada offers breathtaking scenery and a wide range of ways to see it all. Touring the land by rail or boat allows groups to gain a completely different perspective on the magnificent landscapes. Your group can take in the beauty of the mountains, canyons and rivers between Toronto and Vancouver aboard VIA Rail’s Canadian. On this four-day journey the train features a skyline car where passengers can take in panoramic views of the emerald green lakes, Rocky Mountains, boreal forests, waterfalls and prairie sunsets. (viarail.ca) The Royal Canadian Pacific, operated by Canadian Pacific Railway, takes passengers on a vintage diesel locomotive that includes sleeping, observation and dining cars with lavishly designed interiors. The Royal Canadian Pacific’s sixday, five-night journey from Calgary into British Columbia crosses through prairie landscapes and Crowsnest Pass and Kicking Horse Pass at the Continental Divide. The locomotive travels through the railway’s famous spiral tunnels and follows the headwaters of the Columbia River. (royalcanadianpacific.com) The Rocky Mountaineer offers two-day trips over three routes. Other

C

100 April June 2011 2011

than its signature Vancouver-to-Jasper route, the Rocky Mountaineer travels from Vancouver to Banff or Calgary, from North Vancouver to Whistler and from Whistler to Jasper. (rockymountaineer.com) In the Lake Superior/Lake Huron region of Ontario, just across the water from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Agawa Canyon Tour Train is an all-day wilderness excursion that takes you 114 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie over towering trestles, alongside pristine lakes and rivers, and through awesome granite formations. After a 500-foot descent to the canyon floor, you have an hour and a half to hike the trails and see four sets of waterfalls. One option is climbing the 300-some stairs to the lookout platform. (agawacanyontourtrain.com) On the Toronto Harbour Cruise, operated by Toronto Tours, groups will enjoy a narrated one-hour tour through Toronto’s scenic harborfront and island parklands. (torontotours.net) Your group can experience a different view of Vancouver on a narrated Vancouver Harbour Tour operated by Harbour Cruises and Events. This one-hour tour takes passengers on an adventure through the Burrard Inlet,

commonly known as the “Gateway to the Pacific.” Some popular sights include the lookout tower, Lions Gate Bridge and North Shore Mountains. (boatcruises.com) LGT

LeisureGroupTravel.com


Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrook, Charlevoix, Outaouais

QUEBEC’S RAILS AND WALLS HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Ride Le Massif – Quebec’s newest tourist train ➤ Board the rolling stock exhibited at ExpoRail ➤ Visit several historic sites and national parks in Quebec ➤ Experience the majesty of the St. Lawrence ➤ Discover Montreal, Quebec City and the National Capital

DAY 1: Montreal We’ll arrive in Montreal and take a tour of the city, including stops at Windsor Station, Old Port and the central business district. Our overnight will be at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, situated just on top of the Montreal train station and connected to its famous “underground city.”

MOTQ / Linda Turgeon

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY

DAY 5: Quebec City to Gatineau DAY 2: Montreal to Sherbrook We’ll stop on the outskirts of Montreal at ExpoRail – The Canadian Railway Museum, home to over 160 railway vehicles, models and artifacts. We’ll also visit Fort Chambly & Canal and the Amerindien Cultures House. We’ll take the sunset ride on the Sherbrook-Magog Dinner Train.

We’ll have breakfast on board VIA Rail as we travel to Canada’s National Capital. Once there, we will take a tour of the city, including Parliament Hill, the Canadian War Museum, RCMP Stables and the National Mint. We’ll overnight at Lac Leamy, where you can enjoy gaming in the casino or exploring the beautifully manicured parks around the property.

DAY 6: Gatineau/Outaouais DAY 3: Sherbrook to Quebec City On our way to Quebec City, we’ll stop at the Windsor Pouderier and Ft. Levis. We’ll take a guided tour of Chateau Frontenac, 22nd Regiment Museum and the Plaines of Abraham, where many battles important to North America were decided. Dinner this evening will be at a revolving restaurant with magnificent views of the region.

DAY 4: Quebec City to Charlevoix

The Canadian Museum of Civilization covers over 1,000 years of Canadian history, from coast to coast. We’ll have a docent-led tour in the morning. Then we’ll board one of North America’s last remaining steam trains for a ride to Wakefield. In Wakefield, we can help turn the engine and take a guided tour of the village. We’ll have a fantastic dinner and entertainment onboard for our return to Gatineau.

DAY 7: Ottawa to Montreal

Today, we’ll try Quebec’s newest rail attraction, Le Massif du Charlevoix. Our scenic ride will take us along the St. Lawrence Seaway. The day will include a whale-watching cruise and dinner served onboard the train during our return to Quebec City.

We’ll visit the Plaisance Heritage Center for the display on the history of trains around Ottawa. Then, we’ll stop at the Montebello Train Station and follow the short trail to Chateau Montebello for lunch. The hotel timbers were brought from British Columbia by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Carillon Barracks and Canal will be our final stop before heading for the airport.

CONTACT: Tourisme Québec

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

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

➤ Quebec Lighthouse Discovery ➤ Montreal Hub and Spoke

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June 2011 101


SASKATOON – A NEW ENERGY

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

HIGHLIGHTS ➤ Batoche National Historic Site ➤ Western Development Museum featuring Boomtown 1910 ➤ Ukrainian Museum of Canada ➤ Wanuskewin Heritage Park ➤ The Granary

DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY A Walk in Time—Saskatoon and Area

DAY 1: Trails of 1885 – Saskatoon – Batoche – Fort Carlton We begin our adventure at the Batoche National Historic Site, which was once the center of Métis settlement in Saskatchewan and served as the last battlefield in the Northwest Resistance of 1885. Down the road at the Duck Lake Regional Interpretive Centre we’ll find artifacts pertaining to the 1885 Métis Resistance. You have to climb the 80-foot tower and take in the 360° view of the surrounding area. The Fort Carlton Provincial Park was the original site of a Hudson’s Bay fur trading post that operated between 1810 and 1885. Visiting the reconstructed palisade, provisions store, clerk’s quarters and tipi encampment takes you back in time. The Saskatoon Station Place provides casual, fine dining in the design of the building and dining cars dating back to the early 1800s. Perhaps most impressive of all are the C.N.R. dining cars that are annexed to the building and offer diners a real glimpse into the past.

DAY 2: Saskatoon’s Roots – Saskatoon Beginning our day at the Western Development Museum, which features Boomtown 1910, provides you with what life was like in a typical prairie town in 1910. Stroll along Main Street and hear the clang from the blacksmith shop and laughter of children as they race down the street with their favorite dog barking behind them. To capture the feel, have your picture taken in the Boomtown Photo Studio, then board the simulated train and begin your journey to a new family homestead. Participate in a walking tour of the downtown area, which shows a variety of buildings, sculptures and memorials starting with Saskatoon’s history at the Meewasin Valley Centre. The University of Saskatchewan is home to the Diefenbaker Canada Centre, where you can learn all about Canada’s 13th prime minister, John G. Diefenbaker, and then take a campus tour and visit the many

museums and galleries. Learn about the hardships of Ukrainian immigrants and share in their cultural heritage that is displayed at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, one of Canada’s foremost cultural heritage museums. Carver's Steakhouse in the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel offers AAA beef, Saskatchewan-raised meat and fresh local produce.

DAY 3: Linkages from the Past – Saskatoon Over 6,000 years ago, the Northern Plains Indians settled on the land of Wanuskewin Heritage Park. Aboriginal history throughout the river valley was a way of life as many First Nations communities gathered. Walk in their footsteps at the buffalo jumps, tipi rings and a medicine wheel. Your visit would not be complete without a tour of the historic “Castle on the River,” the Delta Bessborough Hotel, which was originally a Canadian Pacific Railway hotel. Guided tours highlight the history and some little known features and facts about the grand hotel’s past. A true taste of Saskatchewan flavor is waiting for you at The Granary, which boasts all the features one could wish for in an upscale casual dinner house—in a unique old-fashioned prairie atmosphere.

CONTACT: Tourism Saskatoon

OTHER ITINERARIES AVAILABLE:

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

➤ Golf Tours ➤ Natural Beauty

102 June 2011

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on the record â?&#x2013;

On The Record Online Tools: Key to Marketing FOLLOWING ARE ANSWERS from Leisure Group Travel readers who responded to this question about online marketing: How are you using online toolsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;websites, email, social networkingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;to grow your business? Collette is concentrating on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;socialâ&#x20AC;? aspect of social media. Through our corporate blog (Traveling Well) and various Twitter accounts we are participating in the vast online travel community. Rather than focus on selfpromotion and â&#x20AC;&#x153;advertising,â&#x20AC;? we participate in discussions and point out interesting travel stories, while posting our own useful travel content. That can include everything from travel

Chocolate Tours

DeBrand Chocolatier oďŹ&#x20AC;ers tours of their kitchens as well as an elegant chocolate shoppe with gourmet desserts and specialty drinks. Call the Corporate OďŹ&#x192;ce to reserve your tour today!

XXXEFCSBOEDPNt Conveniently located just a few minutes from I-69 Exit 116 on the north side of Fort Wayne, Indiana. LeisureGroupTravel.com

LArrY KOPKE

BONNiE BrOwNiNG

photo and packing tips to timely information on new escorted tours. Via this strategy, which includes a lot of listening as well as content creation, we are learning more about our clients and their needs. This will organically grow our business simply by making us a more informed organization while at the same time providing potential customers with something of value. John Geysen, Copywriter Collette Vacations Pawtucket, RI Here is how we use online tools for the AQS Quilt Shows â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we produce four of the largest quilt shows in the country, with attendance ranging from 17,000 to 30,000: â&#x20AC;˘ Website: Hosts our show information and online registration â&#x20AC;˘ Email: We use email to send out our weekly OnPoint newsletter that covers a variety of topics â&#x20AC;&#x201C; our quilt show, new books released, membership opportunity, magazine subscription links, free quilt patterns and quilt puzzles. â&#x20AC;˘ Blog: Our communication link where quilters can learn more about our shows, magazines, tips and tricks, etc. â&#x20AC;˘ Facebook and Twitter: Communication links back to our website and blog We have one staff member whose job it is to monitor Facebook and Twitter.

JOHN GEYSEN

Five staff members contribute to providing content for our website and blogs. It is a continual challenge to keep people up-to-date with information in this fast-paced technological world today. We are continually looking for new avenues to provide information to our consumers. Recently we just added webcasting of lectures and some special events from our events â&#x20AC;&#x201C; people could subscribe to watch them live or â&#x20AC;&#x153;on demandâ&#x20AC;? up to 90 days following the event. Bonnie Browning, Executive Show Director American Quilterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Society Paducah KY Over the years, some 20 to be exact, as a small business owner I have always looked for the easiest and least expensive way to promote my business. When it was Coastal Tours a quarterly newsletter was printed and mailed to a list of about 800 tour operators and travel agents. Yes, it was expensive, but it helped sell tours. In 2006 I partnered with a number of my suppliers and we did co-op ads. The business rolled in. Just about a month ago a tour operator called and wanted to talk about one of the tours that was featured in a magazine. The magazine did have a shelf life as that was five years ago. June 2011 103


on the record ❖ Moving forward….I’ve had a website ever since the first ones were launched. We had no idea what we were doing, how it would drive business or what to really expect from it. It was not cheap, but it was what I felt we had to do to stay ahead of the market. It worked! We booked business and the traffic picked up, phones rang and business increased. Amazing!  Now I have moved into the social media arena along with e-mailing a monthly newsletter to 1,500 tour operators. I Tweet, post to Facebook, blog and am continually updating my website. I have nearly 2,000 followers on Facebook and nearly 200 on Twitter.  I write about what is going on in the areas that I offer tours and anything that would help my customers be more successful. I have discovered that these 2,200 people that follow me really are reading what I am writing. I had a tour operator tell me just yesterday that she

can’t wait to see what I am writing from day to day and what I am doing. Many times I’m out searching out new and different things to add to my tours to enhance or change my itineraries. I’m known throughout the industry for doing different things from everyone else. Is all the social media worth the time and effort? Who knows, but all it costs me is some time. Will it help grow my business? It already has! I just sent my e-mail newsletter out this morning, Tweeted it, posted on Facebook and have had calls from people who have seen it on all the different media.  Worth it? Yes! Time is money and I’m looking for an even better year next year than this one has been. I have had no tours cancel this year!  Ginny Howell Ginny Howell Tours Jekyll Island,  GA 


Please Go Away™ Vacations uses many online tools to educate, promote and close sales. Among them are: 1. A quarterly electronic newsletter. This is distributed to our entire email address database and is an overall information piece about upcoming travel opportunities and short articles of general travel interest. 2. A monthly electronic magazine. Content is more specific. It is written and distributed each of the two months occurring between the quarterly electronic newsletter distribution. 3. Specifically targeted E-blasts. These are done as often as needed by closely monitoring deadlines and limited remaining space availability. Each employs a rifle shot approach of creating urgency and closing of sales on travel opportunities within the targeted area of interest. Our database is highly refined as to group affinity and specific travel interests. 4. Online travelogues. Time of pres-

entation ranges from 27 minutes to 44 minutes, and consists of commentary and photos about a specific group departure (either our own or a private label custom group). Interactivity between presenters and attendees occurs through online chats and two-way verbal communications. Sole purpose is to make a sale. Verbal closing tactics are used. Highly effective, especially when considering there are no geographical or distance limitations, only an online connection being required. 5. A highly personalized website. Emphasis is on recognizing our past travelers (we have a 94+% repeat factor) as we provide them with recognition for their travel achievements; coupled with promotion of our own specific group departure programs, as well as those of the custom groups. 6. Facebook and blogs. These are our newest efforts and are just now beginning to produce results. 7. Electronic greeting cards. Clients celebrating wedding anniversaries,

birthdays and other notable occasions receive a greeting combining visual effects and appropriate sounds. Larry L. Kopke Please Go Away™ Vacations Great Bend, KS

IN THE AUGUST ISSUE of Leisure Group Travel, our On the Record column will look at experiential travel. Please send us your response to this question: In light of the trend toward experiential travel, what kind of hands-on or behind-the-scenes elements have you used to make an ordinary trip a special one? 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 2011 issue. Thanks in advance for your valuable opinions. Send to: Randy Mink, randy@ptmgroups.com

Garvan Woodland Gardens, Hot Springs

New penguin exhibit at Little Rock Zoo

Safari by bus.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs

Take a trip to the wild side – from exciting zoological exhibits to wildlife refuges and magical botanical gardens. Find out more by visiting our website or calling the tollfree number for itinerary ideas. Get more information at

ArkansasGroupTravel.com or by calling 1-800-872-1259

See video on phone with QR reader.


On Marketing

❖ dave bodle

Is Branding Really Important to Your Business? ALONG WITH “SOCIAL MEDIA,” another buzzword for marketing gurus is “branding.” The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.” That’s a mouthful, but looking closely it appears the key word is “differentiate.” That takes me back about 100 years. In college I wrote a dissertation on “Differential Advantage.” At the risk of oversimplification, it means everything you do should support how the product or service your company offers is perceived. A high-end women’s clothing store should never have inexpensive linoleum

LOOKING AHEAD TO OUR AUGUST ISSUE

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Gaming/Casinos Girlfriend Getaways Adventure/Experiential Museums Nevada Alaska Utah Illinois Ohio New Jersey Massachusetts Arkansas South Carolina India See our page-flip edition & past issues at

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

106 June 2011

flooring. A tour operator who specializes in moderately priced, value tours should never produce a catalog that would be more fitting for the Museum of Art. The product/service, price and promotion all need to work in harmony. Sounds pretty straightforward and it probably should be. Like life, though, branding is simple; we just tend to complicate it. Today, I ran a Google search “Branding Agencies” and received 11,900,000 results. Although I did not take time to review the results, I have seen some branding agencies in action. Six years ago, I watched with interest when a CVB hired an agency to assist in their branding. During the search for the proper brand, their marketing efforts almost came to a standstill. Only essential advertising was done. Trade show attendance was severely cut back. They didn’t want to get in the way of their new (to come) brand. Meanwhile, the branding agency was bringing all the stakeholders to the table for their opinions. They ran extensive online surveys (not scientific research) of what the locals wanted. They even went to visitors and asked what they thought. After a year of surveys and meetings, the agency presented a lengthy, professional presentation. The CVB loved their new logo and tagline. Unfortunately, the agency also presented the last of their quarterly invoices, too. The CVB was able to redo its stationery package and a new sign featuring the approved logo, but serious marketing dollars were not available until six months later. Needless to say, the previous example is possibly the poster child for “Brand-

ing Gone Bad.” Please do not get me wrong. Remember, I wrote a paper on this subject before it was popular. I believe in a cohesive marketing mix where each component—price, promotion, product and place—blend seamlessly together. My beef is with the experts who want to re-brand you. They tend to charge too much money for their “team” and generally have very little understanding of your business. Here’s my suggestion for what it’s worth: I believe that every business, needs to regularly take an introspective look. Few would disagree, but dedicating the time is always a challenge. We’re too busy doing what we do to take a serious, unbiased look at who we are. Unless you’re Coca-Cola or Ford Motor Co., you probably do not need a brand agency. The majority of us are not ready for that step. Get it started in-house by bringing in a facilitator (somebody from the industry) for a few days. Tell them you want to be certain that everything you’re doing is sending the same message to customers. Give them time and let them take a good look at your business. A meeting with the staff and another session with some customers is a good beginning. Allow them to make an assessment and see how close they come to what you perceive as your brand. If changes are needed, my bet is they’ll be minor. Re-branding at a steep cost just isn’t necessary for the majority of us in this business. Contact Dave at 843-712-1140 or email dbodle@sc.rr.com.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


Short Circuit Your Trip Planning Process With Instant Info!

JUNE 2011

Researching destinations, attractions and tour companies is a cinch, with Instant Info, from Leisure Group Travel! SM

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Leisure Group Travel June 2011  

The june 2011 edition of leisure group travel magazine

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