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APRIL 2012

A Premier Tourism Marketing publication

www.leisuregrouptravel.com


COVER STORY

VOL.22, NO. 2 • APRIL 2012

c o n t e n t s

COVER STORY

52 Broadway Boom by randy mink

new york city stages offer groups a spring and summer calendar

filled with cutting-edge fare and much-anticipated revivals.

FEATURES

18 The Essential Costa Rican Nature Experience

by lance harrell

21 Switzerland Attracts Religious Travel Groups

by don heimburger

26 Southern Mansions by dave bodle

36 Music in the Mountains by manny vega

40 Minnesota Milestones by randy mink

46 Curtain Call in Pennsylvania by coley nelson

50 10 Top Iconic Sights of New York City by randy mink

55 Historic Homes & Gardens of California

by marty sarbey de souto

52

COLUMNS

6 On My Mind

by jeff gayduk

8 On Tour

by marty sarbey de souto

10 On Reunions

by edith wagner

12 On the Record

58 On Marketing

by dave bodle

ON THE COVER:

Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana

(Jeremy Daniel, Richard Termine Costume:

Alan Hranitelj ©2011 Cirque du Soleil)

21

SWITZERLAND


ON LOCATION

NUMBER

CRUNCHING

While normally behind

the scenes heading up

Leisure Group Travel’s

art department,

Production Director

Rob Wyszkowski spread

his wings on a recent trip

to the Grand Canyon.

6,400

Windows in the

Empire State Building

WHAT’S ONLINE

EXTRA, EXTRA,

READ ALL ABOUT IT!

many articles in leisure group travel

feature an “Online Exclusive” tab

directing readers to a story that appears

only on our website. these “extras” expand

on the subject in print or cover other

destinations in the same region. we always

have much more to tell you than space

allows, so watch for “Online Exclusive”

icons and log on to LeisureGroupTravel.com.

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ELEVATING SEARCH

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7

Active volcanoes

in Costa Rica

41

Fireplaces in

Hearst Castle

70,000

Population of

St. Gallen, Switzerland

13,770

Height in feet of

the Grand Teton

1886

Year the Statue of

Liberty was dedicated

Switzerland Tourism Photos

32

Boeing 747s that could fit

inside Mall of America


on my mind ❖ jeff gayduk

On My Mind

It’s Showtime!

❖ jeff gayduk

Vol. 22, No. 2 April 2012

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

Welcome to the annual theater

issue of Leisure Group Travel, our

showcase of live entertainment across

the United States.

You can’t cover theater and not

include New York! As Randy Mink

articulates in “Broadway Boom” (pg. 52),

from Spider-Man to Blue Man, there’s

lots new on the Big Apple theater scene.

Traveling west on I-78 opens up a

whole world of theatrical possibilities in

Pennsylvania – dinner shows, big-time

concert halls and historical venues.

Newcomer Coley Nelson covers eight

must-see theaters in “Curtain Call,”

page 46.

This issue also has a strong international

flair, with two of my favorite destinations

– Costa Rica (Lance Harrell,

pg. 18) and Switzerland (Don Heimburger,

pg. 21). Though separated by 5,800

miles, the commonality between the two

is their natural beauty and commitment

to environmental tourism.

We are always trying to make

Leisure Group Travel the most readable

publication in the group travel market.

We continue to roll out design and

content changes to further your reading

enjoyment. Wider columns, bigger

pictures and a more readable font are

just a few recent enhancements. These

are done within the context of a trade

magazine as we strive to focus on the

written word, understanding it’s the most

important element of a good magazine.

I have seen other magazines take redesigns

to excess by removing complete

editorial sections for ginormous photos.

That’s awesome…if you’re Vogue, but

readers tell us that they like this magazine

for the great travel ideas our editorial

team digs up, not extra large pictures of

seafood.

onlIne – AlWAyS GroWInG

At press-time we are flipping the switch

on the latest version of our uber-cool

directory search engine, GroupTravel-

Directory.com. Version 5 takes the art

of search to a new level where you can

plan a complete group vacation online.

The site is comprehensive without being

daunting. Big maps help you zero in on

geographic regions. Easy search bars

help refine look-ups. Browse videos,

photo galleries and supplier deals in a

new “Groups Wanted” section.

Our new TourItineraries.com website

is growing nicely. Already with 250+ fresh

itineraries for your group, by summer’s

publishing of this magazine’s fifth annual

Itinerary Planning Guide we’ll have over

500 posted.

Not to be outdone, our flagship

website, LeisureGroupTravel.com, will

debut a new look in May. It’s the most

visited magazine site in group travel

according to Compete.com, driving 2.5

times as many visitors per month as our

nearest competitor.

We’ve been doing online “right” for a

long time. I’m proud of our accomplishments,

and what’s to come.

Enjoy the show!

Jeffrey Gayduk, Publisher

jeff@ptmgroups.com

Senior Editor – Dave Bodle

dave@ptmgroups.com

Director, Design & Production – Robert Wyszkowski

rob@ptmgroups.com

Regional Business Development Managers

Illinois – Jim McCurdy

P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652

jim@ptmgroups.com

Northeast &

Eastern Midwest/Canada – Harry Peck

P 330.830.4880 • F 630.794.0652

harry@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 – Evelyn Stetler

P 321.235.6002 • F 321.235.6094

evelyn@ptmgroups.com

The publisher accepts unsolicited editorial matter, as well as advertising, but assumes no

responsi bility 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 sub scribe at the

reduced rate of $12.00 per year. The regular sub scrip tion price for all others is

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Send Address Change to:

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A

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All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced in any

form without written permission of the publisher.

6 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


On Tour

❖ marty sarbey de souto, ctc

isn’t it time for a Cruise

Close to home

Many of us think of a cruise as a

romantic trip to somewhere far away

and exotic – or at least different from

what we see and do at home in our

daily lives. Our travelers may be

dreaming of the day they can board a

sea-going cruise ship to historic ports

of the Mediterranean or the colorful

islands of the Caribbean. But perhaps

just thinking of traveling so far from

home, or being so distanced from

family and friends or the safety of

known surroundings, may make them

push this trip to the back burner in

order of priorities in their lives.

Yet, perhaps you could bring the

cruise experience to these same

close-to-home folks if you lured them

into their first such trip on a North

American river or coastal trip. Once

they have that first cruise under their

belts, they’re more likely to travel on

future cruises with you, looking back

on that first happy experience. And,

for those who have led a life that

included past cruises, but now in their

senior years may be less active or

less affluent, a closer-to-home cruise

may be just the ticket.

WatER, WatER EVERyWhERE

But where can you send them and

with which companies There are a

number of opportunities you may wish

to explore – many of them are what

we often call “small ship cruising.”

The first might be Blount Small Ship

Cruises (formerly known as American

Canadian Caribbean Line). The new

name is a tribute to founder Captain

Luther Blount, whose daughter now

wears the title of president proudly.

The company is known for small,

informal, yacht-like cruising on U.Sregistered

and U.S.-crewed ships that

carry 66-98 passengers. The itineraries

are particularly appealing to active,

mature travelers. Its founder designed

ships with a retractable pilot house to

allow for passage under low bridges,

and many of its ships feature low

ramps in the bow to allow one to walk

right off the vessel onto the beach.

The company’s unique itineraries

include the Erie Canal, a 10-day trip

along the East Coast called “Cultures

and Traditions – Charleston to the

Chesapeake” and three itineraries

on the Mississippi. Also of interest is

a New York-to-Toronto trip, cruising

the Hudson, St. Lawrence Seaway,

Thousand Islands and on to Quebec

and Montreal. (blountsmallshipadventures.com)

DiXiELanD anD aLL that JaZZ

Another possibility is the Great

American Steamboat Company’s

paddlewheeler, the 436-passenger

American Queen. April 2012 is the longawaited

comeback of this, the third

“Queen” of the former Delta Queen

Steamboat Company. She will ply the

Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers,

with special fall foliage cruises slated

for September into mid-November and

winter journeys between Memphis and

New Orleans. Itineraries range from

three to 10 nights. Antebellum decor

and showboat-style entertainment will

be featured, including Dixieland jazz,

swing and Big Band music. (greatamericansteamboatcompany.com)

American Cruise Lines offers trips

that emphasize American history and

culture. The Queen of the West is

running seven-night trips on the

Columbia and Snake rivers through

Washington and Oregon following in

the steps of Lewis and Clark’s expedition.

Another itinerary, called “New

Hook travelers on a domestic cruise and

they’ll go farther next time

England Islands,” sails out of Providence,

R.I. and visits Nantucket,

Martha’s Vineyard, Newport and more.

“Great Rivers of Florida” includes

Ocala National Forest, St. Augustine

and Amelia Island, ending in Jacksonville.

(americancruiselines.com)

Of course, one shouldn’t forget our

own states of Alaska and Hawaii to

round out the mix of endless possibilities

right here at home. So whether

you select ships big or small, sedate

or rollicking good fun, East or West,

our country has a panoply of options –

right in our own back yard.

Marty is a Certified Travel Counselor who

designs and leads tours. Her travel industry

consulting and educational firm is Sarbey

Associates (sarbeyassociates.com).

8 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


On Reunions

❖ edith wagner

What are Reunions, Anyway

EvERyonE hAs An idEA about what very creative so they’ve not had to

reunions are. But since those ideas cancel or postpone reunions. They

spring mainly from personal experience, understand some of their members

everyone’s ideas are different.

have difficulty affording a reunion so

When I was developing Reunions they make many adjustments. They

magazine as a product (over 24 years cut the number of reunion days. They

ago), I’d posit my idea to anyone who go camping instead of staying in hotels.

would listen. At the time it was focused They have a picnic closer to home

to a great extent upon adoption/birthparent

reunions, which most said was activities that cost but more that are

instead of traveling. They have fewer

of no interest to them. But without free or low-cost. But they all add the

missing a beat, they’d say, “But let me codicil that they look forward to a time

tell you about my reunions”…which when they can add the extras back in.

included family, class, military and Overall, reunions are still important

Often reunions are the only places where

cousins see one another

other reunions. It was that last list enough that most make the sacrifice to

that really got my attention and once I plan them and to be present.

began to review all their ideas, focus Reunions continue to be the way

of the magazine began to take a 180- most people stay in touch with what

degree turn toward the kind of reunions was important in their lives (school

people really were interested in.

friends, military buddies) and what

is important to stay connected to

REUnions ARE iMPoRTAnT

(families).

Reunions, everyone said, were not Reunions maintain connections to

just important but “very” important. We the past and, for family reunions, to

revisited the question immediately after the future. In an American society

9/11 and lately during the economic whose mobility is sometimes at warp

crisis because both seemed able to speed, reunions serve the very important

purpose of sustaining connec-

negatively affect reunions. But the

“very” importance of reunions was tions. For many families the reunion is

maintained in both instances with a where cousins meet and bond. Early

slightly different point of view. After on I learned about a grandmother

9/11 the response was that “terrorists who, at the funeral of her husband,

are not going to stop our reunion!” realized her grandchildren did not

When, more recently, the economy know one another. So she, of course,

has been the issue, it affects individuals started a family reunion. Often reunions

who have problems affording the are the only places cousins see one

reunion but does not affect reunion another. And if the tradition starts early

events. Reunion planners have gotten enough, they are eager to attend to

reconnect with important relatives.

Mention of funerals is important in

the formation of reunions because they

are often the occasion when family

members look around the room in

earnest and see a generation dying

and other generations not connected.

Ask anyone how their family reunion

started and a very high percentage will

answer that someone at a funeral suggested

meeting during happier times.

There is the strong undertone that they

are also honoring those who are gone.

REUnions ARE FUn!

The reunion planner is a magician

who, over a year or two, develops a

party that can last from a couple

hours to a long weekend or even

weeks. Well-planned

reunions include

access to fun and

games that many

Reunion organizers

will find valuable

ideas in the 12th

edition of Reunions

Workbook, a stepby-step

guide published

by Premier

Tourism Marketing

as a planning supplement to Reunions

magazine. Subjects range from choosing a

date and location to budgeting and setting

up committees. Also covered are accommodations,

meals, activities and fundraising.

To order Reunions Workbook ($9.95),

log on to groupuniversity.com.

members enjoy together and reunion

after reunion. And many reunions

occur every year because for some

families reunion time is the only time

they get together. And they cherish it.

Edith Wagner is founder and editor of

Reunions magazine. Visit reunionsmag.com

for reunion planning ideas and to request a

free sample copy of the magazine.

10 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


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on the record ❖

On The Record

How Can Special Events

Bolster Tour Itineraries

FOLLOWING ARE ANSWERS

from Leisure Group Travel readers

who responded to the question:

How have you successfully

integrated special events into your

tours What big national events,

city festivals or small-town fairs

have captivated your groups

Tall Stacks, Customized

Ohio Travel Treasures has utilized

big events as a backdrop to tours.

We have found that creating special

events within a national event is

something that we can control.

An example would be Tall Stacks

in Cincinnati. Even though the

event itself is a draw, with all the

steamboats and their billowing

smokestacks, it is just one component

that we put into a customized

itinerary. We bring in major shows,

charter our own boats and have

even had groups watch a major artist

DAWN DORNES DIDIER HENSSEN KAY COLLINS

create Tall Stacks prints (which each

group member receives as a remembrance

gift). We can control

the deposits on our own events and

not have to follow the non-groupfriendly

deposits and final payments

that the bigger event demands.

On a smaller city scale, we take a

look at the event and then decide if it

is tour group-worthy. An example is

an ABA Top 100 event in Ferdinand,

Ind. This is an authentic Christkindlmarkt

and offers group members a

chance to experience a taste of Germany.

On this event we partnered

with the local CVB (DuBois County)

and were able to procure a dinner

function in the local monastery prior

to opening-night events. This has

been a huge hit with the group tour

market since it is something that has

never been done before. It takes a

little creativity to make a huge impact

and that is what Ohio Travel Treasures

is noted for—taking something

On a smaller city scale, we take a look at the

event and then decide if it is tour group-worthy.

known and then adding a little

sparkle and controllable features.

Diane Sphar, President

Ohio Travel Treasures LLC, Cincinnati, OH

Specializing in Events Travel

For the past six years, Free

Spirit Vacations has been moving

in a new direction—namely, including

special events in most if not all

itineraries. Selected events may

be big, stand-alone festivals and

parades (like Albuquerque Balloon

Fiesta or Tournament of Roses

Parade) or a combination of several

smaller events such as a holiday

vacation to Arizona. Almost every

community has activities taking

place in December, and by combining

several of the best, such as the

Lake Havasu Boat Parade of Lights,

Red Rock Fantasy in Sedona and

Zoo Lights in Phoenix, a statewide

five-day itinerary becomes attractive.

Free Spirit Vacations and Events

also partners with destinations to

create new special events especially

for tour operators. These are events

planned by a tour operator for tour

operators who have a loyal customer

base and need to provide reasons

for repeat guests to return to a

destination. Events are fresh and

add flavor, value, novelty and

excitement to existing itineraries

and previously-visited destinations.

Several such events include

Mesquite’s BransonFest Out West

(Mesquite, NV), HOPEFest (Palm

Springs area) and From Nashville

to Memphis Festival (Nashville).

Sue Arko

Free Spirit Vacations & Events, Gilbert, AZ

12 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Coast to Coast

We have used the French Quarter

Festival in New Orleans, Albuquerque

Balloon Fiesta and Tournament of

Roses Parade in Pasadena with

great success over the years. And,

while we’ve never actually attended

because of the huge crowds, the

Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center

in New York always happens when

I have groups in Manhattan for

Shoppers’ Week each December.

We always go after the crowds

have dispersed to oooh and ahhhh

at this national holiday icon and

almost always pause for a group

picture at the tree. This year, for

the first time ever, we are taking a

group to the Portland (Oregon)

Rose Festival in June, a tour that

sold out immediately!

Not only do we take the pain out of

On a more local/regional level, we have

successfully incorporated many of the

festivals offered in our own back yard into

consistently sold-out day trips.

crowd navigation, we make sure to ate good sales. We’ve sold them

include any special “extras,” such as straight-up but have also offered

admission to the group hospitality many of them as Mystery trips.

tent at the Balloon Fiesta and

Some of our favorites (and most

premium seating and admission to highly rated) that we enthusiastically

the float decorating/building at the recommend are those in Historic

Rose Parade.

Downtown Franklin (especially the

On a more local/regional level, Main Street and Dickens of a Christmas

festivals), the CMA Festival

we have successfully incorporated

many of the festivals offered in our (formerly Fan Fair) in Nashville,

own back yard into consistently National Cornbread Festival in

sold-out day trips. Tennessee is South Pittsburgh, Apple Festival in

abundantly blessed with these Erwin, Appalachian Folk Festival

estivals and they never fail to gener-

in Norris, Country Ham Festival in

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 13


on the record ❖

Spring Hill, Mule Day in Columbia,

Host of Christmas Past Festival in

Fayetteville, Memphis in May, Jack

Daniels Barbeque in Lynchburg,

National Storytelling Festival in

Jonesborough, and the WinterFest

Lights Holiday Festival in Sevierville,

Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

Each of these events has enhanced

local itineraries and been

used as the end-destination. My

client club coordinators love them

because they can easily turn everyone

loose to explore and enjoy lunch

on their own, which keeps costs

down. Plus, these festival-based itineraries

have stood the test of time

by attracting multiple coaches for us

and repeat visits by our groups over

the years.

Melinda Hughey

The RH Factor, Pulaski, TN

Festivals are perfect for us and easy to set

up. Most of them are a minimal fee so we can

sell tours affordably, plus you can just drop

them at the festival and they’re on their own.

From Wine to Cheese

I incorporate many events

large and small into our tour itineraries.

We travel to the Finger Lakes

Wine Festival, July 4 celebrations

in New York, Lake George and

Boston, Hampton Beach Seafood

Festival and Vermont Quilt Festival

every year. This year we are featuring

Opsail 2012 on July 1 in

Boston, doing a harbor cruise to

see the Tall Ships. We go to the

Hudson Valley Food Festival and

the Garlic Festival. New this year

we will be going to the Cheese

Makers Festival in Vermont and the

War of 1812 Weekend in Plattsburgh,

N.Y.

Festivals are perfect for us and

easy to set up. Most of them are a

minimal fee so we can sell tours

affordably, plus you can just drop

them at the festival and they’re on

their own.

Donna Schien, Tour Coordinator

Wade Tours, Schenectady, NY

Chicago’s North Shore is home to many

world-class attractions and is 20 minutes from

downtown Chicago. You’ll find many dining

and lodging options perfect for groups.

For personalized assistance and to make group

reservations, contact us today.

Caryn Shulman

847.763.0011 Ext. 25 · cshulman@cnscvb.com

TREAT YOUR GROUP to the beauty

of the Chicago Botanic Garden,

complete with a tram ride.

Combine with other area attractions:

• Ravinia Festival

• Illinois Holocaust Museum

• Bahá’í House of Worship

• Charles Gates Dawes House

• Fabulous Cooking Schools

• Guided Architecture Tours

groups.visitchicagonorthshore.com

14 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 15


on the record ❖

Ethnic Milwaukee

Milwaukee hosts several annual

ethnic festivals at Henry Maier

Festival Park on the lakefront that

bring in many groups. Festivals such

as German Fest, Festa Italiana and

Irish Fest will become part of a

group’s itinerary. We then focus

on the influence those particular

ethnicities had on Milwaukee for the

rest of the tour. For instance, during

German Fest we’ll provide a city tour

explaining the influence the German

immigrants had on the city, visit a

Bavarian-style brewery, a German

Catholic church, perhaps the home

of Captain Frederick Pabst and shop

at Usinger’s Sausage. The visitors

learn about the history and enjoy

the modern day pride of the ethnic

groups who make up Milwaukee.

At the festivals they enjoy music,

dancing, cultural exhibits, and, of

course, food and drink.

Kay Collins

KBC Tour Company, Milwaukee, WI

Quebec’s Winter Bash

The Quebec Carnival was a huge

success with our groups this year,

with everyone taking advantage of

the secure destination that is Quebec

City, so close to all the Northeastern

states. Snow gear were on for a few

days of concentrated winter fun! With

French-Canadian culture, exhibits,

wondrous sights and activities,

Le Carnaval de Quebec is the winter

place to be.

Didier Henssen

Prométour, Montreal, Quebec

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Balloons and Blooms

We are presenting the “Trains

and Canyons of the Southwest

featuring the Albuquerque Balloon

Fiesta” in October and the annual

Fiesta is a big draw for this tour. In

2010 we sold over 80 seats as we

featured the Passion Play in our

“Alpine Country and the Oberammergau

Passion Play” tour. The “Tulip

Time River Cruise” featured the

local tulip festival in May and was

definitely the most exciting part of

the trip. These are all great ways to

sell a tour, and there are so many

more of these types of events offered,

so take advantage of them

and use them to sell your tours.

L. Kay Estep, GO Club Coordinator

F & M Trust Company, Chambersburg, PA

Mid-Atlantic Festivals

We have had great success with

integrating special events into our

16 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


tours for 2012. The Star-Spangled

Sailabration in Baltimore in June

has been a huge hit among our preformed

groups. We offered several

options for the groups to include

with the special events going on

that week—Spirit Cruise, Maryland

Historical Society, Ft. McHenry—to

name a few. Our groups are very

excited about being a part of such a

wonderful celebration!

Another special event we targeted

is the Folklife Festival in Washington,

D.C. This has become a perfect

tie-in with many of the wonderful

attractions in the D.C. area and fits

well with the wide variety of groups

we work with.

The annual Azalea Festival and

International Tattoo in Norfolk has

been a long-time favorite among

our groups. It’s another wonderful

destination with a large variety of

attractions, restaurants and tours to

choose from.

We also have had great success

with the Annual ICE Attraction at the

Gaylord National Resort in National

Harbor, Md. This amazing attraction

has drawn many of our groups (young

and old) to experience Christmas on

the Potomac. Last but not least is the

annual Pella (Iowa) Tulip Time Festival.

We have had a great response

to this wonderful package filled with

beautiful tulips, Dutch attire, parades,

food and fun.

Integrating these types of special

events into our tours has made tour

planning so much easier. Half the

work is already done for us, and

promoting the event is a breeze with

the help of the CVB or organization

sponsoring the event.

Dawn Dornes, Group Tour Coordinator

Elite Coach, Ephrata, PA

IN THE JUNE ISSUE

of Leisure Group Travel, our

On the Record column will look at

online marketing. Please send us

your response to this question:

How are you using online tools—

websites, email, social networking—

to grow your business

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

June 2012 issue. Thanks in advance

for your valuable opinions.

Send to: Randy Mink,

randy@ptmgroups.com

Group events are all about enjoying each

other’s company. So why not plan yours

in the place with the most thrilling attractions

and versatile accommodations –

“The Waterpark Capital of the World! ® ”

Not only do we have the largest concentration

of waterparks in the world, we also have

a pretty good concentration of smiles.

groups@wisdells.com | (800) 223-3557

MeetInTheDells.com

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 17


on location: central america ❖ lance harrell

Costa

The

essenTial

Scenic beauty and exotic wildlife await

tour groups in this eco-tourism hotspot

nestled in the cradle of the Central American subcontinent and

caressed by the waters of both the Pacific Ocean and

Caribbean Sea lies one of the world’s last great ecological

treasure troves, Costa Rica.

Touted as one of the greenest places on Earth, this former

banana republic now prides itself on being a thriving ecotourism

destination with over 25 percent of its landmass protected

in national parks and preserves, more than any other

country.

The lush rainforest sweeps down to idyllic beaches at Manuel Antonio National Park, a slice of paradise bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Let’s look at some of the highlights:

Tortuguero National Park

Sprawling along the northern Caribbean coast, Tortuguero

National Park is one of Costa Rica’s true natural wonders. With

an endless network of canals, the park is sometimes referred

to as the “Venice of Costa Rica.” Its name actually means

“Turtle Region,” and turtles are exactly what you will find.

The park encompasses the nesting grounds of four species

of giant sea turtle, which evidence suggests have been using

the area for this purpose since as early as the 1500s. Green,

hawksbill, loggerhead and giant leatherback turtles use the

more than 21 miles of beach to lay their eggs, and guided tours

can be arranged to watch both the depositing of eggs and

emergence of baby turtles from their sandy womb.

Although the turtles are the star of the show here, groups

can also explore the lowland rain forest, swamp forest,

beaches and lagoons that cover the park.

Due to the remoteness of the region, which is only accessible

by boat or air, and the limited number of available

accommodations, it is recommended that your group use a

tour operator to handle the trip and that you set aside at least

two nights to avoid being rushed.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Arriving in Manuel Antonio is like stepping into a postcard of

paradise. The verdant forests, bleach-white beaches and

abundant fauna of Costa’s smallest park seduce you into a

state of tranquil bliss.

This national park is one of only two places where you can

see all four species of Costa Rican monkey (howler, spider,

squirrel and white-faced capuchin). Even outside the park

proper, it’s not uncommon to see them frolicking along the high

ropes that have been strung across the roads to provide them

safe passage.

In addition to our primate cousins, inside the park you

are likely to see sloths, crabs, red-eyed green tree frogs,

bats, countless butterflies and numerous bird species. When

you’ve had your fill of terrestrial wildlife watching, enjoy the

sea kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, surfing and canopy tours

that abound in the area.

18 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Rican

naTuRe expeRienCe

The jungles of Costa Rica’s national parks abound with toucans, sloths, red-eyed green tree frogs and other intriguing creatures.

Chirripo National Park

Those who desire to take their travels to new heights flock

to the Talamanca Mountain Range in southern Costa Rica,

where Chirripo National Park boasts the tallest peak in the

country. Both the Caribbean and Pacific are visible on a clear

day from the summit.

Near the trailhead outside the park are lodges where you

will sleep before starting the 5 a.m. hike. The number of

people allowed in the park at one time is limited, so be sure to

secure your passes several months in advance, especially if

your group is large.

The hike itself can be grueling, but it is far from impossible

even for the amateur hiker. You’ll ascend approximately 7,000

feet along the nine miles of trail, reaching the lodge where you

will spend the night before climbing the final 1,500 feet to the

12,532-foot summit.

While an experienced hiker can reach the peak and return

in a day, I recommend taking a slower pace and spending at

least one night at the lodge so as not to miss the other sites,

including secondary trails and one-of-a-kind sunsets. You are

also likely to encounter tapir, white-lipped peccary, puma,

jaguar, ocelot, jaguarondi, rabbit, coyote and a variety of frogs

and other small amphibians. Among the birds in the region

are the dazzling quetzal, black-faced solitaire, hummingbirds,

flycatchers, wood creepers and warblers.

Corcovado National Park

Occupying nearly half of the Osa Peninsula along the southern

Pacific Coast, Corcovado National Park is considered one

of the most isolated places on the planet and contains the

largest continuous expanse of virgin lowland rainforest in

Central America. If you can stand up to the nearly 250 inches

of annual rainfall and oppressive heat and humidity, you will be

able to count the experience among the greatest of your life.

Home to an unbelievable abundance of fauna, including

more than 150 species of mammals, 120 species of amphibians

and reptiles, and 380 species of birds, the park is within

day-trip reach of Cano Island Biological Reserve.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Long before you reach the end of the steep and winding

dirt road that approaches the town of Monteverde, you will

understand the origins of its name, which translates into

“Green Mountain.”

The area was originally settled by Quakers from the United

States in 1951. Recognizing the need to preserve the rare

cloud forest that blankets the mountaintop, they set aside a

large tract of adjacent land that eventually became Monteverde

Biological Cloud Forest Reserve in 1972.

Shrouded in the misty air of the reserve’s 25,688 acres is

hidden an unbelievable diversity of life, with more than 2,500

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 19


on location: central america ❖

Obtain International visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly

suppliers directly at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info

plant species, of which 400 are orchid species, plus 400

different bird species and over 100 species of mammals.

Cahuita National Park

If you are looking for a true Caribbean experience, Cahuita’s

reggae rhythms, blue-green waters and tranquil pace will

not leave you wanting. This small, charming town has been a

mecca for the hippie and backpacker crowd for years, due

in no small part to Cahuita National Park, which abuts its southern

end.

The park encompasses a 55,000-acre marine park that

includes a magnificent coral reef, one of the largest in the

Caribbean. Snorkeling and diving in the park are tightly controlled,

but you will have no trouble finding a licensed guide

that can take you to a few of the more hard-to-find areas.

However, if swimming with the resplendent blue parrotfish

or angelfish is not your cup of seawater, then take a stroll along

the four-mile trail that skirts the coastline and stake out an

isolated spot on the endless white sand beach. While soaking

up the sun and listening to the waves gently lapping against the

sand, do not be surprised to encounter the occasional sloth,

monkey or iguana that has come to share the experience.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

has six hanging bridges.

Costa Rica offers groups a variety ecological travel options,

but the experiences in the country are by no means limited to

that arena. Costa Rica also has many language learning, cultural

exchange, volunteerism, adventure tourism and luxury

experiences available as well. For more information on all of

these options, keep an eye out at LeisureGroupTravel.com for

our upcoming series of Site InSpections on Costa Rica. LGT


witzerland

AttrActs religious trAvel groups

St. Gallen, a town of ecclesiastical treasures and

Old World charm, observes a special anniversary

By Don Heimburger


Faith travel groups have a particularly

enticing reason to venture to

Switzerland in 2012.

That’s because one of the country’s

most important faith destinations is celebrating

1,400 years of religious tradition.

St. Gallen’s Jubilee this year looks

back on more than a millennium of religious

heritage and will feature an array

of festivities to mark the occasion.

ST. GALLEN ON DISPLAY IN 2012

St. Gallen, population 70,000, is

Switzerland Tourism Photos

close to Lake Constance and nearby

Mt.Säntis and is a gateway to the towering

Appenzell Alps. It is the capital

city of the canton of the same name.

An economic center and railway hub

for Eastern Switzerland, St. Gallen is

internationally renowned for its textile industry,

which dates to the 15th century.

The town’s most famous landmark is

its Baroque cathedral and the Abbey

Library, which houses thousands of precious

historical documents, some handwritten

and some more than 1,000 years

old. The library, open for tours, is one of

the most important monastic libraries in

the world and has been designated a

UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its collection

of books reveals the development

of European culture and documents the

Abbey of St. Gall from the 8th century to

the monastery’s dissolution in 1805.

During its first few centuries, the

abbey grew rapidly, becoming a flourishing

spiritual and cultural center, famous

for its writings and the illumination

of manuscripts. A number of the abbey’s

Weinstein Castle vineyards,

St. Gallen Rhine Valley

creative monks made important contributions

to the cultural history of Europe.

Between 1758 and 1767, abbots

Cölestin Gugger von Staudach and Beda

Angehrn commissioned building of the

library’s magnificent Baroque hall, which

was decorated and furnished by master

craftsmen from the Lake Constance

region. The hall is considered to be one

of the finest of its kind.

The Abbey Llibrary contains 150,000

volumes, but its true treasure lies in the

manuscript collection. Roughly 2,000

manuscripts are archived, and some

400 are more than 1,000 years old.

Particularly significant are the Irish-

Celtic manuscripts. Although many of

them were lost, the collection is one of

the most important in the world. Also

invaluable is the Latin-German dictionary

that originated in 790; it is the oldest

German book known to exist.

History shows that around 612 AD

an Irish monk from Belfast named

Gallus built a hermitage and a house of

prayer in the Steinbach Valley here. It is

said that Saint Gallus, upon first walking

through the area toward Rome with

other monks, became ill and was left on

the shores of nearby Lake Constance

to recuperate. When Gallus was better,

he came to a clearing near the Steinbach

River, and approached by a hungry

bear, offered the bear some food.

In return, the bear brought Gallus wood

for a fire, and Gallus took that as a sign

he should build a church, which was the

Monastery of St. Gallus. Today, many

icons of the monk and the bear can be

located in town.

View towards Mt. Kronberg

and Mt. Saentis, Canton Appenzell


A Baroque jewel: The magnificent hall

of St. Gallen’s Abbey Library

Gallus’ Irish ancestry forms an important

part of this tradition, which has been

handed down through generations, says

St. Gallen Tourism Director Boris

Tschirky. “The 2012 Gallus Anniversary

will draw on this. The bond with Ireland

has always been an important part of the

remembrance of Gallus; within the

framework of the anniversary, this bond

is both maintained and deepened.”

JUBILEE EVENTS

Between April and October, the

region of St. Gallen will celebrate with

tours, theater performances, a variety of

outings, art exhibitions and culinary

specialties in city-center restaurants.

“The 2012 Gallus Anniversary is

intended to astonish, delight and touch

people, to encourage them to reflect

and to inspire them,” St. Gallen Mayor

Thomas Scheitlin says.

The main focus of Jubilee 2012 will

be in the Abbey District, a UNESCO

World Heritage Site, and the surrounding

Old Town. A newly-created Visitors

Center will make the Abbey District

more welcoming, and new signage will

make it easier to navigate.

An opening-day ceremony in the

Cathedral and inauguration of the

Visitors Center, opening of residents’

homes in the Abbey District for small

events, a culinary market, street artists

and musicians in more than 22 locations,

and a festival in the Old Town will be part

of the anniversary celebration. The

Abbey Library will display manuscripts

and prints that document life in the area.


a Call to

adventure

Lucerne to host annual meeting

of adventure travel specialists

If your group is like a lot of adventure travelers,

cutting-edge sports and stimulating

outdoor activities are the name of the game.

Switzerland has been at the forefront of

exciting travel quests for decades. With

glaciers, lush forests and nature parks,

extensive hiking paths and mountain huts,

resplendent lakes and rushing streams, this

eye-popping country rates high on the

adventure charts.

In addition to the many adventure

activities, the Swiss Alps’ jagged peaks,

gushing waterfalls and postcard-worthy

alpine villages are a visual delight.

The diversity of climates, moreover,

gives outdoor lovers a wealth of choices.

In one day you can go from snow-capped

summits to lakes lined with palm trees in

the Italian-speaking Ticino region, known

for its Mediterranean lifestyle.

The list of activities for the serious

adventurer is long. You can go parasailing

on the many exquisite lakes, or mountain

climbing or hiking in the regions of Lucerne,

Zermatt or the Bernese Oberland, all

spectacularly beautiful areas. You can go

boating, hang gliding, kayaking or sailing

in the central part of the country, or snowboarding,

skiing, swimming or bicycling in

the Jura Mountains. These mountains are

dotted with caves—some of the largest in

Switzerland—and covered with forests and

unique geological formations. The area also

has the longest hiking season of any of

the country’s mountain regions, so it’s

great for a spring or fall trip.

Numerous groups come to Switzerland

each year to inhale the fresh air, test their

endurance and soak in the sights. You can

go from level plateaus to mid-range

mountains to on-top-of-the-world views

in a short period of time. An interconnected,

well-planned transportation system, from

trains and cable cars to chairlifts and

funiculars, can easily handle groups who

want to get to their jumping-off point

quickly and easily. Conveniently, major cities

are in close proximity to mountain resorts.

At the end of an active day you’ll find

some of the best cheese (like Vacherin

Mont d’O), chocolates and hospitality

awaiting you at the many hotels, bed and

breakfasts, and pensions. To carb-up for

the next day’s adventure, Swiss fondue,

raclette and rosti dishes await the hungry

adventurer, along with a good glass of

wine or beer. And the Swiss are known

also for their excellent spa facilities that

treat the weary traveler after a long,

hard day.

It’s no wonder then that the Adventure

Travel Trade Association has scheduled its

ninth annual Adventure Travel World Summit

for Oct. 8-11 at the Culture and Congress

Center in Lucerne. As many as 600 adventure

tourism professionals from more than 50

nations will gather in this supreme adventure

travel destination.

As Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years

from now you will be more disappointed

by the things you didn’t do than by the

ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines,

sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the

trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.

Discover.”

Switzerland is ready for the adventurer

in all of us. From rails to sails to trails, from

hikes to bikes, from skiing to snowshoeing,

this small country is the essence of big

adventure.

ZURICH AND LUCERNE

For many groups, Zurich’s airport

will be the gateway to Switzerland.

Christianity in Zurich, home of the Swiss

Reformation, began in the 4th century.

Zurich made a significant mark in

Christian history in the 16th century

when the city council voted to become a

Protestant city. Catching a train or other

convenient transportation from Zurich to

other historical faith sites is easy.

Lucerne, one hour by train from

Zurich, traces its roots to the St. Leodegar

monastery, a small 8th century

Benedictine cloister on the Reuss

River. For centuries people and goods

have passed this way to and from the

Gotthard Pass, and pilgrims have

followed St. Jacob’s Way to Santiago

through Lucerne. The stretch between

Schwarzenburg and Fribourg includes

the 600-year-old Frybourgstrass, a

path that leads through forests and

over streams, past castle ruins,

chapels and shrines.

Lucerne is the springboard for trips

to numerous lakeside communities and

attractions, all accessible via Lake

Lucerne Navigation Company’s 20

boats. Since 1837 these boats have

been a vital link in the area’s transportation

system, carrying passengers

in style and offering delicious meals

and snacks on board. The boats are

available for group charters.

Lucerne-area attractions accessible

by lake boats, trains or buses include:

• 6,995-foot-high Mt. Pilatus, home

of the world’s steepest cogwheel railway,

where you can get a 360-degree

view of Switzerland. A day excursion to

the “Dragon Mountain” can include a

spectacular ride down by aerial cableway

and panorama gondola.

• Mt. Rigi, “Queen of the Mountains,”

offers breathtaking views of the Swiss

Alps, 13 lakes and views as far away

as Germany and France. The railway

to the top features old-fashioned

24 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Lucerne’s trademark covered bridge on Lake Lucerne

steam trains, which can be chartered.

Numerous hiking paths thread the

mountainside.

SO MANY OPTIONS

Switzerland offers many other faith

travel options, such as a monastery or

abbey stay; the convent of St. Muestair

offers an overnight in a mountain hut.

The Abbey of Einsiedeln, an hour east

of Lucerne, is the home of the Black

Madonna and has attracted the devout

for 1,000 years.

In the Jura region west of Lucerne is

the Anabaptist Trail where Anabaptists

fled in the 17th century. Here you can

visit secret meeting places with early

The world’s steepest

cogwheel railway

climbs to the top

of Mt. Pilatus.

inscriptions, an Anabaptists Bridge and

even the Anabaptists Archives with

unpublished documents.

The Museum of the Reformation is a

must-see in Geneva. The building once

served as an apartment complex for

Huguenot refugees; it in turn is built on

the ruins of St. Peter’s cloister. Some of

the oldest French language Bibles in the

world, plus Calvin’s biblical commentaries,

are found here, as are caricatures

and pamphlets used to argue Protestant

or Catholic perspectives.

Switzerland provides numerous religious

travel possibilities, and the main

question will be: When does your group

want to go

For information on the 2012 Gallus

Anniversary and heritage tourism in

Switzerland, visit gallusjubilaeum.ch or

myswitzerland.com/heritage.

GETTING AROUND SWITZERLAND

Faith-based travel planners have a

number of good reasons to bring their

groups to St. Gallen and other historic

Swiss religious sites:

Zurich’s location in the heart of

Europe makes it a convenient entry

point (70 airlines fly into the airport). The

Zurich airport has been named on numerous

occasions as “Europe’s Leading

Airport.” Zurich offers easy access to a

number of Swiss attractions and other

countries.

The Swiss travel system is one of

the most advanced in the world, from

swift cross-country trains, to buses that

connect major cities with rural areas, to

lake boats, aerial cableways and mountain

railways that further make travel so

convenient in this country of eight million

people. Surprisingly, 97% of the Swiss

people live within two miles walking

distance of public transportation. A Swiss

Pass entitles groups to unlimited travel

on numerous modes of transport and

offers free entrance to 450 museums (including

the Abbey Library in St. Gallen).

The Swiss, while having four official

languages (German, French, Italian and

Romansch), for the most part also speak

English. LGT

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 25


on location: south ❖ dave bodle

SOUTHERN

Maymont, an example

of Gilded Age opulence

in Richmond, Va.,

boasts 33 rooms.

MANSIONS

Plantations, cabins and other

homes steeped in history

enhance itineraries in the

11 Travel South states

Savoring a taste of Old England

during Summer City Fest at

Agecroft Hall in Richmond, Va.

The South’s mountain ranges, endless plains, abundant

harbors and magnificent rivers can all tell stories of our

nation’s history. However, if walls in the historic homes

could talk, what wonderful tales they might spin. From palatial

plantations to humble cabins, so much of our culture can be

seen and experienced. Each home is unique for its residents,

its use and its place in our past.

VIRGINIA

Virginia’s presidential homes or its James River Plantations

may come to mind first, but just off I-95 in Richmond two special

houses welcome groups.

A visit to Agecroft Hall is a step into 15th century Europe.

Built in England during the late 1600s, Agecroft was the home

to the distinguished Langley and Dauntesey families. Upon

falling into disrepair it was purchased at auction in 1925 by

Richmonder Thomas C. Williams. He had it dismantled, crated,

shipped across the Atlantic and reassembled in a Richmond

neighborhood known as Windsor Farms. With authentic pieces

from as early as 1485 to 1660, the Tudor estate brims with history.

(agecrofthall.com)

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, often termed

America’s Gilded Age, vast fortunes were amassed. Maymont,

its 100 acres and 25 outbuildings are a testimony to the wealth

of James Dooley and his wife Sallie. The Dooleys’ gift of May-

26 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


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

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 27


on location: south ❖

mont to the City of Richmond is a tribute to their generosity.

Watch for the 24th annual Maymont Flower & Garden Show, a

spectacular event held in early February at the Richmond Convention

Center. (maymont.org)

WEST VIRGINIA

Today so much of West Virginia’s appeal is tied to its spectacular

mountains and outdoor recreation. Early settlers,

though, farmed a rich, fertile land and played an important role

in the Civil War.

In Philippi you’ll find Adaland Mansion and Historic Barn.

The barn was built in 1850 and the brick mansion followed in

1870. The original owners farmed, and emancipated slaves

from the farm worked on the construction of the house. In June

of 1861 the first land battle of the Civil War was fought in

Philippi. (adaland.org)

Although the most famous battles of the Civil War took

place in other states, West Virginia experienced its share of

tragedy. The Dr. Robert B. McNutt House was the only building

left standing in Princeton after the town was burned during

the Civil War. It was used as headquarters for Lt. Col. Rutherford

B. Hayes and Sgt. William McKinley, who both went on to

become U.S. presidents. (pmccc.com/mcnutt_history.htm)

NORTH CAROLINA

From the coast to the mountains the historic homes of North

Carolina reveal much about our culture and spirit. Two in particular

play to our creativity.

Affiliated with Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, the

Reynolda House Museum of American Art is the restored

19th century country home of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

founder. In addition to works by Mary Cassatt, Fredric

Church, Jacob Lawrence and Georgia O’Keeffe, the museum

features changing exhibits. (reynoldahouse.org)

The memory and literary insights of author Carl Sandburg

are on display at Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site,

located in Connemare (near Asheville and Henderson). The

National Park Service is the steward of this first historic site to

honor an American poet. Sandburg, an Illinois native, moved

there in 1945. More than one third of his works were penned in

this peaceful, 262-acre farm setting. (nps.gov/carl)

SOUTH CAROLINA

With Charleston’s colorful Rainbow Battery, the magnificent

rice plantations and the Upstate homes from the colonial

era, South Carolina is a treasure chest of history. South Carolinians,

an ingenious people, have put many of those great

homes to work.

The Franklin B. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum

in Myrtle Beach serves residents and visitors of Horry

and Georgetown counties. In 1924 textile mogul Eugene Cannon

built a large wood-frame, oceanfront cottage in what is

today Myrtle Beach. Twenty years later the house was sold to

another textile titan, Colonel Elliot White Springs. By 1975 the

house was being surrounded by high-rise condominium buildings

and the family traded the villa for a new home. Through

generous donations and community effort, the home by 1997

had been moved to its present location and established as a

wonderful art museum with expansive ocean views. (myrtlebeachartmuseum.org)

Just off I-95 in Yemassee sits the Frampton House, serving

as the Lowcountry Visitors Center and Museum. The house

was part of the original King’s Grant to the Frampton family in

the 1700s, but in 1865 the house was burned by General Sherman’s

troops. Rebuilt in 1868 in today’s location, the house

saw major renovations in 1930. In 1993 Wymann Boozer donated

the Frampton House for creation of the visitors center.

(southcarolinalowcountry.com)

GEORGIA

Few Southern states have cities matching the cosmopolitan

sizzle of Atlanta, but we often forget that Georgia is also a window

to our past.

Located on the Georgia College campus in Milledgeville,

the Old Governor’s Mansion was completed in 1839.

As the residence of Georgia’s chief executives from 1839-

1868, the National Historic Landmark showcases the

antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Slavery, the

difficulty of the social order and gender positions all shaped

the history of the building. On Nov. 22, 1864, Gen. William

T. Sherman claimed the mansion during his March to the

Sea. (gcsu.edu/mansion)

The Isaiah Davenport House in Savannah portrays an

appealing story of the American Dream both then and now.

The tale begins with a young New England carpenter

achieving success in his adopted city. A demonstration of

his building skills, Davenport’s fine home, noted “for the

simplicity of the exterior and the charm of the interior,”

housed his family and the enslaved people that worked for

him. In the mid-19th century the house passed out of the

Davenports’ hands and became a dilapidated tenement by

the mid-20th century. The work of seven Savannah women

coming together in 1955 saved the house and led to the

founding of the Historic Savannah Foundation. (davenporthousemuseum.org)

28 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


The art of COUNTRY, BLUES

and ROCK ’N’ ROLL.

Blues in Helena-West Helena

Entertainers Hall of Fame, Pine Bluff

Go on tour around The Natural State – cruise the Rock ’N’ Roll

Highway to visit the places where legends were made, explore

the musical birthplaces of the Delta, and pay respect to the

greats in the Entertainers Hall of Fame.


ArkansasGroupTravel.com

or call 1-800-872-1259

Johnny Cash Music Festival, Jonesboro

unique visits

DeGray Lake Resort State Park

888-AT-PARKS • ArkansasStateParks.com


Make the high point of Arkansas









2

March 3 – September 16, 2012

The St. Louis Cardinals

“Play Ball” will feature decades of memorabilia from one of our country’s

most storied franchises, the St. Louis Cardinals. This exhibition will feature

over 100 items such as the World Series trophies from 2006 and 2011 and

championship rings.

For A Limited Time Only!





being a baseball fan.

On loan from St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame & Museum


on location: south ❖

KENTUCKY

With the Civil War Sesquicentennial being commemorated

through 2015, it’s a good time to ponder Kentucky’s place in

that history. Although a Southern state that accepted slavery,

Kentucky refused to secede from the Union. Curiously, the

presidents of both the USA and Confederacy were born in Kentucky,

less than 100 miles apart.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in

Hodgenville focuses on Lincoln’s early childhood from his 1809

birth and portrays our 16th president’s humble beginnings. Situated

on 116 acres of Thomas Lincoln’s Sinking Spring Farm,

the birthplace features an early 19th century Kentucky cabin

symbolizing the one in which Lincoln was born. The cabin is

enshrined within the Memorial Building, the first building to

honor Abraham Lincoln. Events surrounding Lincoln’s time in

Kentucky helped mold his formative years. A land dispute

forced the family to move north when Lincoln was seven years

old. (nps.gov/abli)

Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site in Fairview

is a Kentucky state park preserving the 1808 birthplace of the

president of the Confederate States of America. The birthplace

home is no longer, but in 1924 construction of a magnificent

monument was completed. At the age of 3 young Jefferson and

his family moved to a Mississippi plantation, but by age 7 he

was attending schools back in Kentucky. Born just a year and

100 miles apart, Lincoln and Davis both strived to preserve the

Union. However, after South Carolina’s secession the latter felt

compelled to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives

and return to his Mississippi home. Soon after he was named

president of the CSA. (kentuckytourism.com)

TENNESSEE

Although many travelers are familiar with Elvis Presley’s

Graceland and Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, some are discovering

Tennessee’s less heralded historic homes.

The James K. Polk Ancestral Home in downtown Columbia

is the only surviving home of the 11th U.S. president (outside

the White House, of course). Built in 1816, it displays original

belongings of President and Mrs. Polk. The Polk family moved

from North Carolina to Tennessee when James was 10. Polk

was focused on politics his whole life and began his career in

1823 in the Tennessee House of Representatives. In 1844 the

Democrats were having difficulty nominating a candidate and finally

nominated Polk on the ninth ballot. He narrowly defeated

Henry Clay. During his term the United States extended its territory

from the Atlantic to the Pacific. (jameskpolk.com)

Called the “Boyhood Hero of the Confederacy,” Sam Davis

served in various combat roles in the Confederate Army during

the Civil War. As a courier, he was captured in November 1863,

and upon suspicion of espionage and failure to divulge information,

the Union Army executed him after a captivity of only seven

days. He died on his 21st birthday. Davis’ story, a rallying point for

the Southern cause in the closing days of the Confederacy, is revealed

at the Sam Davis Home in Smyrna. Southern clergy

often spoke of him in Christ-like terms. (samdavishome.org)

ARKANSAS

There are hundreds of ways to explore the beauty of

Arkansas. Part of that scenic attractiveness is the wealth of

magnificent Victorian-era homes.

The Victorian era, which corresponds with the reign of

Queen Victoria in England from 1837 to 1901, was noted for its

attention to high morals and modesty—with a few exceptions.

The prominent apple green-and-cream structure in Fort Smith,

Miss Laura’s, was a bordello in its earlier days. Originally built

as the luxurious Riverfront Hotel just before the 1900s, the

city’s premier bawdyhouse now serves as the town’s Visitor

Center. Completely restored, Miss Laura’s is the only former

house of prostitution listed on the National Register of Historic

Places. (fortsmith.org)

On a more genteel note, the entire town of Eureka Springs

is on the National Register of Historic Places as the Eureka

Springs Historic District. The city has steep winding streets filled

with Victorian-style cottages and manors. Built in Carthage in

1891, the Queen Anne Mansion was dismantled, moved to

Eureka Springs and reconstructed 100 years later. German and

Italian artisans carved classic Victorian oak and cherry fireplace

mantels as well as pocket doors. With more than $400,000 of

antique furnishings, it is considered an elegant place for weddings

and receptions. (thequeenannemansion.com)

ALABAMA

To the pleasure of many travelers this is the “Year of Alabama

Food.” Although groups are similar to armies and move

on their stomachs, you will need to take a break from the table

and explore an historic home. We’ll have you back for dinner.

On July 4, 1881 the Tuskegee Normal School was established

by the State of Alabama to educate newly freed slaves.

At the age of 26, Booker T. Washington became the first principal

of the newly formed school. His home, The Oaks, was built

in 1899 using bricks made by students. At the time it was the

only residence in the county with running water and electricity.

Today the home (with original furnishings) is part of Tuskegee

Institute National Historic Site, located on the campus of

Tuskegee University. The National Park Service site also includes

the George Washington Carver Museum. (nps.gov/tuin)

32 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Play

Well

With Others

On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, just east of New Orleans,

you’ll find a Tour Operator’s dream. A place of natural

beauty, boasting 62 miles of coastline graced by

centuries-old live oaks. Add the excitement of 11 casino

resorts and you’ve got a real winner!

Go to www.gulfcoast.org for all the information you

need to plan your next tour, including sample itineraries,

step-on guides, and tour friendly restaurants and

lodging properties.

Let our sales staff take care of everything, so you can play!

Play Your Way!

Convention & Visitors Bureau

www.gulfcoast.org

Call: Janet Harrington, Manager Leisure Sales

Group Travel at 888-467-4853 (Ext. 228)

Email: janeth@gulfcoast.org

Biloxi Historic Tours/Biloxi Tour Train

Contact: Carla Beaugez

Phone: 228-374-8687

Email: info@biloxitourtrain.com

Welcome to Biloxi. Celebrating 51 years, we

invite all aboard for this genuine adventure

through Biloxi’s cultural history! The original

Biloxi tour is like no other and guests love

it! Relive our colorful past and learn of our

spirit as only Carla can share them. Come

for history, for the fun, or just to enjoy the

ride!

Salute and Lookout Steakhouse

Contact: Rob Stinson

Phone: 228-343-1755

Email: RRS1@cableone.net

Whatever you need, you’ll find at Salute

and Lookout Steakhouse. Busloads of

hungry tourists can dine on the same

cuisine as Mississippi’s locals. Whether

your mouth waters for authentic Chicken

Parmesan from Salute or Lookout’s Shrimp

& Grits you can all sit down together to an

affordable meal served by the Gulf Coast’s

finest staff.

Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant Biloxi

Contact: Talia Simms

Email: taliacsimms@gmail.com

Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant Biloxi

is scheduled to open Summer 2012. The

resort will have a 26,000 sq. ft. casino, a

signature Margaritaville restaurant, a buffet

uniquely themed and a multi-purpose

events center. The marina will have

complete facilities for 12 vessels and tie-up

space for an additional 30-40 boats.

South Beach Biloxi Hotel & Suites

Contact: Sherry Queen

Phone: 228-388-2627

Email: squeen@sbbiloxihotel.com

Welcome to Biloxi’s only beachfront hotel

located on the sandy shores of the Gulf

Coast. Close to Casino Row and popular

Biloxi attractions, South Beach Biloxi Hotel

& Suites is a one-of-a-kind, ultra luxury, allsuite

hotel. Expect the best in guest suite

amenities, the best in scenic views, and personalized

service beyond your imagination.

Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum

Contact: Robin K. David

Phone: 228-435-6320

Email: schooner@maritimemuseum.org

Four Points by Sheraton Biloxi

Contact: Fallon McClain

Phone: 228-546-3111

Website: www.fourpointsbiloxi.com

Silver Slipper Casino

Contact: Aissa Wiggins

Phone: 1-866-SLIPPER

Email: a.wiggins@silverslipper-ms.com

Edgewater Mall

Contact: Michelle Rogers

Phone: 228-388-3424

Email: mrogers@edgewatermall.com

Take a step back in time! Sail the twomasted

Biloxi Oyster Schooners! Full-day,

Half-day, 2.5-hour charters and Walk-on

sails. Pier complex is available for special

events, reunions and weddings. Visit our

museum located at Edgewater Mall, Biloxi

for one of a kind artifacts.

Work or play, stay the way you like at the all

new Four Points by Sheraton, Biloxi Beach

Boulevard. Relax in one of 195 stylish

rooms featuring beautiful gulf views and

“four comfort” beds. From our Terrace you

can relax by our saltwater pool overlooking

the Gulf, or enjoy GT’s Restaurant & Bar.

Four Points has you covered.

30,000 sq. ft. of non-stop gaming action

with exciting new promotions and the best

Southern Hospitality on the Gulf Coast!

Group packages available: 1-866-Slipper,

228-469-2712 or a.wiggins@silverslipperms.com.

Website: www.silverslipper-ms.

com.

Great stores. Great style. Great all-weather

shopping. It’s all in the largest enclosed mall

on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You’ll find

us on the beach and you’ll find everything

you love!


on location: south ❖

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: For a sampling of great Southern

festivals, see the article at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/p=26866.

In 1820 Alabama became the nation’s 22nd state, and in Tuscumbia

a simple home was built and became known as Ivy

Green. Just east of the main home is the annex that became

Helen Keller’s birthplace. Later it became her residence along

with teacher Anne Sullivan, “The Miracle Worker.” The moving

story tells how a child living in darkness overcame blindness and

deafness. Helen Keller went on to become an extraordinary

woman, bringing courage and inspiration to millions. Decorated

with much of the family’s original furniture, the home and museum

display mementos, books and gifts accumulated during

Keller’s lifetime of travel and lectures. (helenkellerbirthplace.org)

MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi’s collection of historic homes is impressive.

From antebellum mansions and the home of a Nobel Prize

winner to the simple birthplace of “The King of Rock n’ Roll,”

Mississippi’s famous houses graciously welcome visitors.

Located between West Point and Columbus, Waverley Mansion

is considered one of America’s astonishing homes. Visitors

with an architectural interest marvel at its self-supporting, curved

staircases and octagonal cupola. The mid-19th century grandeur

of Waverley sat in ruins for years until purchased by Mr. and Mrs.

Robert Snow in 1962. (wpnet.org/waverley_mansion.htm)

Prior to the Civil War, when “cotton was king,” Natchez

boasted more millionaires per capita than New York City. Today

many of their palatial mansions are open for tours. Lyman

Harding, a Massachusetts transplant, acquired considerable

wealth in Natchez and had a young cabinetmaker, Levi Weeks,

design and build a plantation home. Auburn Museum & Historic

Home, the first built in Natchez utilizing an actual architectural

plan and a model for buildings that followed, features

an entirely unsupported spiral staircase. (auburnmuseum.org)

LOUISIANA

Louisiana portrays fullness for life in its food, music, culture

and recreation. The constant thread, though, is the state’s

incredible history as viewed though its antebellum plantations.

On the Great River Road near Vacherie, Oak Alley Plantation’s

magnificent, quarter-mile mile passageway formed by 300-

year-old live oaks exemplifies what many picture as the “Old

South.” The site for the plantation had its beginnings in the early

1700s when a French or Spanish settler planted the oaks that

would become the alley. The real history begins in 1836 when

Valcour Aime sold the plantation to J. T. Roman, his brother-inlaw

and dear friend. Construction on the

home began in 1837; its elegance reflected

the epitome of Creole society. Following the

Civil War and Reconstruction, the family was

forced to sell. Hard times continued and eventually

the property was boarded. In 1925 Andrew

and Josephine Stewart, the last resident

owners, purchased the plantation. Recognizing

its significance, Mrs. Stewart established

a non-profit foundation to keep the legacy

alive after her death. (oakalleyplantation.com)

Laura: A Creole Plantation, a short drive

form Oak Alley, shares a similar story of Creole

culture. A sugar farming complex, Laura

Plantation at one time encompassed more

than 12,000 acres. It had its beginnings when

Guillaume Duparc, a French naval veteran

petitioned Thomas Jefferson for land. It was

granted and in return Jefferson received Duparc’s

loyalty to the new United States. Construction

of the home began in 1804. From

the 1820s to the 1840s Laura Plantation saw

unprecedented profits due to the high demand

for sugar and cotton. The Civil War and

its aftermath saw the demise of Laura Plantation.

(lauraplantation.com) LGT

34 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 35


on location: west ❖ manny vega

Music in the

Mountains

Groups in Wyoming enjoy high-brow culture at high altitudes

Soon after the midsummer mark, musicians from all over the country flock to

Teton Village, Wyoming, an oasis of civilization amidst multiple national parks

and forests. Known as Jackson Hole, this valley houses the municipalities of

Jackson as well as Teton Village, the home of the Grand Teton Music Festival.

The Grand Teton Music Festival hosts orchestra and chamber concerts in the summer

festival and a short concert series in the winter. During the festival over 200 orchestra

musicians from all over the country assemble in Jackson Hole to make music together.

Many of them come from prestigious orchestras such as the Los Angeles Chamber

Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Some musicians

have been coming back every summer for over 25 years.

In addition to the impressive roster of musicians, the festival’s concert facility, Walk

Festival Hall, has been praised by both listeners and performers for its superior

acoustics and friendly atmosphere. Built in 1974, the hall has comfortable, amphitheaterstyle

seating with clear sightlines, a professional sound system, and enough space to

accommodate on-stage receptions and banquets. The hall had a grand re-opening

in 2007 after a 10-month, $4.85-million project to maintain its acoustics. The hall also

received additional soundproofing as well as functional and aesthetic upgrades.

If having renowned performers and an excellent concert hall were not enough, the

36 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Donald Runnicles directs the Grand

Teton Music Festival Orchestra as it

performs a Mahler symphony during

a 50th anniversary performance.

The Festival’s Music in the Hole event on the

Fourth of July draws 8,000 people.

Grand Teton Music Festival is also proud to have Music Director Donald Runnicles

leading the charge.

“The festival is very lucky to have him as its music director,” says Mike Swanson,

co-director of marketing. “He oversees everything dealing with artistic direction including

programming, musician and guest artist selection, and all commercial releases.”

Originally from Scotland, Runnicles has achieved international fame in the fine music

industry and is consistently acclaimed as a conductor of opera and symphonic music.

“He is a renowned opera conductor and has been slowly introducing this genre to

Jackson Hole,” says Swanson. “We are the only place that offers The Met: Live in HD in

Wyoming, and this summer he will be leading the Festival Orchestra in excerpts from

Wagner’s most famous opera, Die Walküre, with three guest vocalists.”

Along with the work he does with the GTMF, Runnicles is also the general music

director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony

and principal guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

The Grand Teton Music Festival is an active member of the Jackson Hole community

and spreads the joy of music through educational programs as well as performances.

The festival puts on various programs that expose young adults to classical music. As

part of its community outreach, the GTMF offers pre-concert talks, open rehearsals and

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 37


on location: west ❖

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Read about the Buffalo Bill Historical Center

in Cody, Wyoming at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/p=26819

the option to download music from

past seasons.

The Grand Teton Music Festival

has come a long way since its humble

beginnings in 1962. The festival was

originally produced by the Fine Arts

Guild as part of the Jackson Hole Fine

Arts Festival. Local volunteers gave

time, money and energy to put it all together.

The first few seasons included

dance, film, visual art and music; venues

included gyms, lodges and lawns.

The festival moved to Teton Village

in 1967, when it was given a rent-free

site for a concert tent, but it soon became

clear the program would need

a permanent hall and a full-time music

director. In 1968 the festival hired Ling

Tung, a prominent violinist turned conductor,

as music director, and Walk

Festival Hall was built six years later.

Last year the festival observed its 50th

anniversary with special dedications

and celebrations.

The festival’s summer season begins

in July and runs well into August

with events scheduled most days of

the week. The festival offers many

discounts and special deals. Groups

of 12 or more to a single concert receive

a 20% discount off single-ticket

prices. The festival also offers dinner-and-concert

packages.

When not attending festival performances,

visitors to the Jackson

Hole area will find plenty to do. The

festival is located in the heart of Teton

Village and within walking distance of

lodging, restaurants and shops.

Those interested in the history

of fur trapping, mountaineering and

Obtain Wyoming visitor guides and itineraries

and contact group-friendly suppliers directly

at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info

The festival orchestra at Walk Festival Hall

pioneer settlements in the West can

visit the Jackson Hole Museum in

Jackson. Guided walking tours of the

GRAND TETON MUSIC FESTIVAL historic downtown area are available.

The town square, accented with wooden sidewalks and elk

antler arches, abounds with retail activity. The Jackson Hole

Playhouse, a block from the square, offers dinner theater fare.

This summer’s production is The Ballad of Cat Ballou.

The National Museum of Wildlife Art boasts more than

3,000 paintings, sculptures and photos of wildlife. For upclose

views of the real thing, groups can embark on half, fulland

multi-day trips with companies like Wildlife Expeditions.

Guided by wildlife biologists, eight-passenger safari-style vehicles

explore Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

JULY 4 – AUGUST 18, 2012

Grand Teton Music Festival has developed a reputation as

one of the nation’s most important summer music festivals.

Located in Teton Village at the base of Rendezvous

The gate to Grand Teton National Park, open year round,

is right outside Teton Village; admission is valid in both Grand

Teton and Yellowstone. Grand Teton itself has over 200

miles of trails, game fishing, mountain climbing, horseback

Mountain, concerts in Walk Festival Hall allow

riding, wagon rides, and boat and canoe rentals. Yellowstone,

visitors to hike all day and enjoy a world-class

the world’s first national park, features the iconic hot water

concert at night. Dress is casual and groups are welcome!

geysers and other geological wonders. It is about two hours

Tues: Free Chamber Music

Wed: Spotlight Concerts—Various Genres

north of Teton Village.

For the best in serious music and mountain majesty,

Thur: Musicians’ Choice Chamber Music

groups should give serious consideration to a rhapsodic

Fri/Sat: Festival Orchestra Concerts with Special Guests

adventure in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

20% GROUP DISCOUNT FOR 12 OR MORE!


For information on the Grand Teton Music Festival, call

307-733-1128 or log on to gtmf.org. LGT

38 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 39


on location: midwest ❖ randy mink

It’s hard to believe that Mall of America is 20 years old this

year. To many of us, the mega-mall seems just as fresh as

when it opened in 1992. Twenty years is a real milestone.

A look at some other tourist favorites in Minnesota also reveals

milestones worth observing. Here are some of the most

noteworthy:

SPAM at 75. The Southern Minnesota town of Austin,

home of the Hormel Foods meat-packing plant, will be in a

festive frame of mind this year as it celebrates 75 years of the

SPAM brand. Much of the hoopla will be across the street

from the factory at the free-admission SPAM Museum, and

Hormel will stage a community festival in July. In animated TV

MINNESOTA

MILESTONES

Group-friendly

attractions throughout

the state mark

special anniversaries

in 2012

The Pepsi Orange Streak careens

through Nickelodeon Universe, the

amusement park in Bloomington’s

Mall of America, now in its 20th year.

40 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


commercials you’ll see the brand’s first spokescharacter,

Sir Can-A-Lot, as he crusades to “rescue the world from

routine meals.”

Manufactured in Austin since 1937, SPAM consists of pork

shoulder, ham trimmings and spices, all cooked and neatly

packaged in that familiar blue-and-yellow pull-tab can. In 1989

SPAM discontinued the attached key for twisting off the lid, one

of many facts a museum visitor learns from a self-guided tour

or a “SPAMbassador” guide (often a retired Hormel employee).

And did you know that Hawaii residents are the most ardent

SPAM fans, annually consuming 11 cans per capita

The SPAM Museum is a wonderland of memorabilia, from

radio jingles and TV commercials to a Monty Python tribute

and a letter from General Dwight Eisenhower recognizing the

importance of SPAM to his troops during World War II. On a

make-believe production line, you can don a white butcher coat

and race against the clock. A 15-minute video chronicles the

history of SPAM.

The gift shop sells all SPAM varieties, including ones that

might not be in your local store, plus cookbooks, oven mitts, T-

shirts, mouse pads and other SPAM logo items. The Wall of

SPAM at the museum entrance, a great photo backdrop, contains

3,390 empty cans. (spam.com)

Minnesota History Center at 20. This great repository of

all things Minnesota had its grand opening in 1992, the same

year as Mall of America. An impressive building located near

the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, the museum captures

the essence of the state in interactive displays and videos.

Popular permanent exhibits include Minnesota’s Greatest

Generation, a look at those who grew up during the Depression,

came of age during World War II and participated in the post-war

boom. Visitors view classic film clips in a 1930s-style movie theater,

get behind the counter of a soda fountain from the era,

watch a re-creation of a WWII combat flight and join a Rosie the

Riveter-style assembly line packing ammunition shells.

A temporary exhibit on Depression-era art that adorned

public buildings showcases 56 paintings produced under the

auspices of the federal government’s Public Works of Art Project

for unemployed artists. Organized by the Smithsonian’s

American Art Museum, 1934: A New Deal for Artists runs from

June 2 to Sept. 30.

Don’t miss the museum’s Weather Permitting exhibit, which

covers ice fishing, snow shoveling, skiing and dog sledding; a

six-minute show, complete with howling winds, sounds of

breaking glass and recollections of victims, recreates living

through a tornado. (minnesotahistorycenter.org)

Mall of America at 20. After 20 years, the nation’s largest

retail and entertainment complex under one roof still reigns

supreme as one of the Midwest’s blockbuster attractions. Last

year was a record-setter for the Bloomington mall, which reported

a sales increase of 10 percent and welcomed 26 new

tenants; traffic rose by 3.5 percent. Renovations in the area

being vacated by long-time anchor Bloomingdale’s and more

new stores are on tap for 2012, not to mention a full slate of

20th anniversary events.

The mall’s Nickelodeon Universe, America’s largest indoor

amusement park, welcomes two new rides that will up the

scream quotient. On Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shell

Shock, guests are able to control their seat, which can rotate

wildly like a plane propeller or a gentle teeter-totter, making

no two ride experiences the same. The ride is based on the

new animated television series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,

which will premier later this year on Nickelodeon. Other MOA

fun options include SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, Moose

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 41


on location: midwest ❖

Spoonbridge and Cherry, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Source of the Mississippi River, Itasca State Park

Explore Minnesota Tourism Photos

Mountain Adventure Golf and a 14-screen movie theater.

Mall of America, located 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis

and St. Paul, features 520-plus shops that annually

draw more than 42 million visitors, including some four million

international guests. The mall’s Phase II plan calls for up an

additional 5.6 million square feet, with high-end hotel, retail and

medical facilities, including a Radisson Blu hotel opening in

2013. (mallofamerica.com)

Walker Art Center at 85. Established in 1927, the Walker

Art Center became the first public art gallery in the Upper Midwest

and began its focus on contemporary art in the 1940s. A

major expansion opened in 2005, and today the Walker is one

of the nation’s five most-visited modern/contemporary art museums

in the U.S. Besides featuring the works of major 20th

and 21st century artists, the museum is revered for the vitality

of its performing arts, film and education programs.

A vital force for bringing new visitors into the Walker has

been the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which

opened in 1988. Its centerpiece is Claes Oldenburg and Coosje

van Brugen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry, a whimsical symbol of

the Twin Cities. Together the garden and Walker Art Center attract

more than 600,000 visitors a year. (walkerart.org)

MSP Airport’s Terminal 1-Lindbergh at 50. Minneapolis-

St. Paul (MSP) International Airport has come a long way since

opening in 1962 with 24 aircraft gates on two concourses, or

“piers.” Today it has 117 gates on seven concourses. Airlines

carried about 33 million passengers to and from MSP last year,

compared to fewer than 2 million in 1962. On average, some

80,000 people a day now fly through Terminal 1-Lindbergh.

Of the seven airlines that served MSP when the terminal

opened, only United Airlines still exists. The others – Braniff,

Eastern, North Central, Northwest, Ozark and Western – succumbed

to acquisition, merger or liquidation. MSP became a

major hub in 1986 with the merger of the two largest carriers at

the airport, Northwest and Republic, creating the world’s fourth

largest airline. Although Delta Air Lines didn’t begin serving the

Twin Cities until 1984, it became the dominant carrier in 2008

when it acquired Northwest Airlines.

Because it was the only active terminal at MSP when it

opened for business in 1962, Terminal 1-Lindbergh wasn’t actually

named until 1985, when it was rededicated to famous

Minnesota aviator Charles A. Lindbergh. Naming the terminal

had become necessary with the introduction of a second terminal

in 1986, the Hubert H. Humphrey International Charter

Terminal. A numeric designator was added to both terminal

names in 2010 in an effort to win approval from state and federal

highway officials for signs directing drivers to the correct

terminal for their airline. (mspairport.com)

42 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Fun: ®

Family : Mall of America

has the widest variety of entertainment tainment options under one roof,

including the largest indoor Nickelodeon ®

theme park – Nickelodeon Universe. ®

World-Class Shopping: : 520 stores all in one location with no sales tax on clothing and shoes!

For more information, contact Millie Philipp in Mall of America Tourism at

952.883.8843, mphilipp@mallofamerica.com or visit www.mallofamerica.com

Photo: Mario Testino

Diana:

A Celebration

February 4 - June 10, 2012

An award-winning

exhibition

celebrating the

life and work of Diana, Princess s of Wales.

Mall of America, Level 4

/MallofAmerica

@MallofAmerica


on location: midwest ❖

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, a Bemidji must-see

Hjemkomst replica Viking ship in Moorhead, Minnesota

Explore Minnesota Tourism Photos

Paul Bunyan and Babe at 75. On the shores of Lake Bemidji

in downtown Bemidji, the Bemidji Tourist Information Center

greets guests with the colorful statues of Paul Bunyan and

Babe the Blue Ox, a photo opportunity if there ever was one.

Reflecting the state’s northwoods heritage, the iconic cultural

figures have awed millions of vacationers since 1937

and were added to the National Register of Historic Places

in 1988. Made of steel, cement and wood, the giant, painted

statues (designed on a three-to-one scale) are touched up

each year before the summer tourism season begins. Four

blocks west of the mythical lumberjack and his ox is the Bemidji

Woolen Mills outlet store, which brims with the warm

clothes it’s made for loggers and outdoorsmen since 1920.

The fourth-generation family company makes the signature

cotton sweater vests worn by Republican presidential candidate

Rick Santorum. (visitbemidji.com/bemidji/paulbabe.html)

Discovery of Mississippi River Headwaters, 180th anniversary.

For decades European explorers were on the quest

to find the headwaters of the Mississippi River, the “Father of

Waters.” It was not until 1832 that Anishinabe Indian guide Ozawindib

led British explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft to the

source of the river at Lake Itasca in Northern Minnesota. The

source was disputed until the late 1800s when land surveyor

Jacob Brower proved the source and led efforts to preserve the

remaining pine forest at the site through creation of Minnesota’s

first state park, Itasca State Park, in 1891.

Today tourists make pilgrimages to the Mississippi River

Headquarters site, where the mighty river begins as a humble

stream flowing out of Lake Itasca on its 2,552-mile journey

to the Gulf of Mexico. A trail leads from the Mary Gibbs Headwaters

Visitor Center to the Headwaters Post, a tree trunk

sign that signifies the river’s source. Some people wade

across; others negotiate the neatly placed stepping stones.

(http://dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/itasca/narrative.html)

Hjemkomst Viking Ship Voyage 30th Reunion. The

Hjemkomst, a replica Viking ship, was built by local history

teacher Robert Asp and his family to prove the Vikings could

have sailed to the center of the North American continent. The

77-foot ship and its story, including a documentary movie about

the harrowing 1982 journey from Duluth, Minn. to Bergen, Norway,

are on display at Hjemkomst Center, in Moorhead.

At a 30th reunion celebration on July 21, the captain and

crew will discuss their historic voyage. The museum on that

day launches a special exhibit on the event that will run

through 2012. A platform allows visitors to look down into the

massive oak vessel with 32 sets of oars. Also on the grounds

is a full-scale replica of a 12th century Norwegian stave church.

(hjemkomstcenter.com) LGT

44 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


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on location: northeast ❖ coley nelson

Curtain

Call

Classics like Hamlet take

the stage every summer

at the Pennsylvania

Shakespeare Festival.

Dinner shows,

historic theaters and

big-time concert venues

provide special evening

options, setting the

stage for can’t-miss

itineraries

In

Pennsylvania

Lee A. Butz

When it comes to Pennsylvania, most visitors

think immediately about the historic sites of

Gettysburg or Philadelphia or the chocolate-flavored

attractions Hershey has to offer, but groups

should not rule out the Keystone State as a hotspot for entertainment.

With curtains rising in theaters across the state

for musicals, concerts and dinner shows, tour planners have

countless opportunities to add some razzle-dazzle to their

itineraries. National headliners, classic Broadway hits, religious

dramas and the grandeur of old-time architecture spark

interest among travelers of all ages.

The American Music Theatre in Lancaster features a variety

of original shows and touring concerts in its 1,600-seat

venue. Since opening in 1997, the theater has welcomed

Grammy, CMA, Tony and Oscar winners to its stage. Upcoming

shows include Country Classics (May 2-June 30), Frankie

Valli and The Four Seasons (May 17) and The 50’s Dance

Party (July 13). (800-648-4102, amtshows.com)

Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster is the nation’s largest

faith-based live theater group and hosts nearly 800,000 visi-

46 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Choices range from concerts at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh to shows like 9 to 5 The Musical at Lancaster’s Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre.

tors each year between its Lancaster and Branson, Mo.

locations. On its impressive 300-foot wrap-around stage, the

company has performed shows such as Daniel and the Lion’s

Den, In the Beginning, Ruth and Voices of Christmas. Jonah,

the current production, will be running through December. The

story of Jonah features larger-than-life props and an inspiring

musical score. Behind-the-scenes tours of the theater are

available through October. (800-377-1277, sight-sound.com)

Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster opened its

curtains in 1987 and has been performing classic Broadway

shows like A Chorus Line and Cats ever since. The menu

varies depending on the show but includes a buffet of traditional

American cuisine featuring items such as prime rib,

turkey breast and a plethora of desserts. The 2012 season includes

9 to 5 The Musical (through April 28), Annie Get Your

Gun (May 3-June 17), Legally Blonde the Musical (June 21-

Aug. 4), A Second Helping: Church Basement Ladies 2 (Sept.

27-Nov. 10) and A Swingin’ Christmas (Nov. 15-Dec. 23). (717-

898-1546, dutchapple.com)

Hershey Theatre in Hershey is a must-see for theater

goers and chocolate lovers in the “Sweetest Place on Earth.”

Completed in 1933, the theater is rich in history and beautifully

designed. The lobby’s Italian lava rock floors, marble walls and

art-covered ceiling enhance the stunning architecture. The

Venice-themed auditorium presents shows like Memphis (April

10-15), Mamma Mia (June 26-July 1) and Beauty and the

Beast (July 24-29). Go behind the scenes on the “Spotlight

Tour” to see the dazzling improvements completed in its recent

restoration. (717-534-3405, hersheytheatre.com)

Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,

accommodates nearly half a million visitors per year. The

building, originally completed in 1927 as a movie theater

called Loew’s Penn, was renovated and dedicated as Heinz

Hall in 1971. Today the theater is used for symphony concerts,

pops concerts, touring Broadway shows and children’s shows.

Its dramatic architecture, sparkling chandeliers and gold-leaf

decoration make it a historical gem. Tours are available by appointment

for groups of 10 or more. (412-392-4900, pittsburghsymphony.org)

Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater and Innovation Studios together

make up the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

in Philadelphia. What began as two separate projects under

the direction of the Philadelphia Orchestra and former Mayor

Ed Rendell merged to create a vision for a center hosting orchestra

concerts, ballets and theater productions. To celebrate

its 10th anniversary, the Kimmel Center has added several

Groups can take a behind-the-scenes tour at historic Hershey Theatre and enjoy biblical epics at Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster.


on location: northeast ❖

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Hershey Gardens in ChocolateTown U.S.A. is celebrating

its 75th anniversary. Read about it at http://leisuregrouptravel.comp=26723.

new features including dinner and a show. Groups can dine

on-site and enjoy cuisine catered by renowned chef Wolfgang

Puck. (215-790-5800, kimmelcenter.org)

A theater company from DeSales University performs the

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival on the campus in Center

Valley each year. The summer festival runs from the end of

May to the beginning of August and produces Shakespeare

shows plus mainstream musical theater productions and children’s

shows. Productions this season include: Snow White

and the Seven Dwarfs (June 1-Aug. 4), Sweeney Todd (June

Lancaster’s Sight & Sound presents the best in Christian theater.

Book Group Tickets NOW for the 2012–2013 Season.

Giselle

Balanchine / Wheeldon / Tharp

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Carnival of the Animals with Ballo Della Regina

and Stravinsky Violin Concerto

Forsythe & Kylián

Call today for the BEST seats at the BEST price!

215.587.6921 or abackman@paballet.org

13-July 1) and Much Ado about Nothing (July 11-Aug. 5).

Performances take place in one of the two indoor theaters,

but the company recommends your group come early to enjoy

fresh air and music on the green. (610-282-9455, pashakespeare.org)

Nestled in the mountaintops of the Poconos resort town

of Jim Thorpe, Penn’s Peak is an ideal spot for all types of

concerts. The venue overlooks the Appalachian Mountains,

and on-site Roadie’s restaurant serves classic American

cuisine. Musical groups coming to Penn’s Peak this season

include Beatlemania Now (May 3-4), the Harry James

Orchestra (May 23-24), The Diamonds (June 6-7) and The

Swing Dolls (October 23-24). The venue hosts luncheon

shows, evening concerts and special themed nights for concert-goers.

(866-605-7325, pennspeak.com)

The Station Dinner Theatre, originally a 1922 train car, is

located in Erie. It is home of the original Canterbury Festival,

the longest-running medieval dinner theater in the country

and features a wide array of musical comedies themed

around Wild West, Roaring ’20s and ’50s

Jukebox Hop. Performances for 2012

include: The Chicago Speakeasy (May),

Not Now, Darling! (June) and The Carol

Burnett Show (July). (814-864-2022,

canterburyfeast.com)

Whether the audience ends up laughing,

crying or singing along, Pennsylvania’s

theater scene is sure to impress your

group. LGT

Obtain Pennsylvania visitor guides and itineraries

and contact group-friendly suppliers directly

at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info

48 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


0Top

Iconic Sights of New York City

New York City abounds with all kinds of

nooks and crannies that entice the

curious. From offbeat museums,

unusual tours and vestpocket parks to ethnic

enclaves and neighborhood pizza joints, the

streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn and other

boroughs beckon the inquisitive wayfarer with

hidden gems. For the city lover, New York is an

endless feast, a place with countless pleasures,

enough to last a lifetime.

But if you’re taking a group of fledging travelers

to the Big Apple, you have to concentrate on

the obvious—those iconic, must-see sights

known around the world, locales that are part of

our national vocabulary, the stuff of travel posters

and calendars. There’s nothing like that initial

glimpse of the Statue of Liberty or plugging in to

the electricity of Times Square for the first time.

Here we offer a sampling of popular sights

that define New York City for the wide-eyed

tourist.

By Randy Mink

EMPIRE

STATE

BUILDING

The mighty 102-story

landmark reigns supreme on

the Manhattan skyline 81

years after its completion.

Enjoy 360-degree views from

the outdoor promenade of

the 86th floor observatory.

(esbnyc.com)

RADIO CITY

MUSIC HALL

The 6,200-seat Art Deco theater

is the home of the high-kicking

Rockettes and The Christmas

Spectacular. Take the one-hour

“Stage Door Tour” for a behindthe-scenes

peek of the 1932

landmark. (radiocity.com)

50 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


GRAND CENTRAL

TERMINAL

A beehive of activity in midtown

Manhattan for almost a century,

the world’s largest train station

is one of New York’s grandest

public spaces. Self-guided

audio tours are available.

(grandcentralterminal.com)

NATIONAL

SEPTEMBER11

MEMORIAL

An eight-acre expanse of trees

and water, New York’s newest

must-see occupies the site of

the World Trade Center towers

that collapsed after the terrorist

attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

(national911memorial.org)

TIMES

SQUARE

CENTRAL

PARK

The throbbing pulse of New

York is most evident amid the

sea of electric billboards here

at the “Crossroads of the

World.” To many visitors,

Times Square is New York.

(timessquarenyc.org)

A cherished resource, this

escape hatch in the middle

of Manhattan encompasses

more than 800 acres of woods,

lawns and meandering paths.

Walk, bike, hop a horse

carriage or rent a rowboat.

(centralparknyc.org)

ROCKEFELLER

CENTER

CONEY

ISLAND

Take the NBC Studios tour, watch

The Today Show from Rockefeller

Plaza and ascend 70 floors to

Top of the Rock in the 70-story

GE Building. Magical winter highlights:

the Christmas tree and ice

rink. (rockefellercenter.com)

Soak in beach, boardwalk and

amusement park nostalgia at

this Brooklyn crowd-pleaser.

Enjoy classic rides like the

Cyclone coaster and Wonder

Wheel. Have a hot dog at the

original Nathan’s Famous.

(lunaparknyc.com,

wonderwheel.com,

nathansfamous.com)

STATUE

OF LIBERTY

BROOKLYN

BRIDGE

A beacon of freedom for

generations of immigrants who

arrived in New York Harbor, this

colossal figure remains a symbol

not only of New York but of

America. Liberty Island ferries

depart from Lower Manhattan’s

Battery Park. (nps.gov.stli)

A walk across this 19th

century engineering marvel

spanning the East River is a

quintessential New York

experience affording views of

harbor traffic, Liberty Island

and Manhattan’s financial

district.

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 51


on location: northeast ❖ randy mink

As warmer weather hits the streets of little old New York,

the Broadway theater scene promises to be red-hot, offering

tour groups a dizzying array of choices.

This spring, in fact, will be “the busiest season I ever could

have imagined,” said Dennis Martin, director, group sales programs,

Broadway.com/Groups. “When one show closes, no

more than a day and half goes by before another moves in.”

Martin said not a single theater—Broadway has 40 of

’em—will be empty by the end of April, the deadline for shows

to open if they want to be considered for a Tony Award this

June. At least seven new musicals, plus revivals and some

exciting plays with big-name stars, are in the mix.

Martin says the musicals to watch are:

Jesus Christ Superstar. The Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s

new interpretation of the classic rock opera by Andrew

Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, one of the most popular musicals

of all time, just opened at the Neil Simon Theatre.

Evita. A new production of Webber and Rice’s legendary

show won critical acclaim when it premiered in London in 2006.

Superstar Ricky Martin and its London original star, Argentine

actress Elena Roger, head up a cast that includes Tony Award

winner Michael Cerveris. The first-ever Broadway revival of Evita

From cutting-edge

productions to

revivals of old

favorites, New York

City stages offer

groups a tempting

spring and summer

calendar

BROADWAYBOOM

52 April 2012

Spider-Man Turn Off the

Dark, a mind-blowing

theatrical adventure,

continues to create buzz

on Broadway.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: See the article on Manhattan’s budget-friendly

Apple Core Hotels at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/p=26095.

All 40 Broadway

theaters, most

of them on streets

off Times Square,

will have tenants

this spring.

Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen and Eric McCormack of television’s

Will and Grace.

Other Martin recommendations opening in April are End of

the Rainbow, a drama with music about the final months of

Judy Garland, and for younger audiences, Peter and the Starcatcher,

a prequel to the tale of Peter Pan.

Disney Theatrical Group’s The Lion King, the seventh

longest-running musical in Broadway history, opened in

opens April 5 at the Marquis Theatre.

Ghost The Musical. Bruce Joel Rubin

has adapted his Academy Award-winning

original screenplay for the stage. The score

includes the iconic song “Unchained

Melody,” performed in the 1990 film by The

Righteous Brothers. The new musical opens

April 23 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

Nice Work If You Can Get It. Two-time

Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick

(The Producers) and three-time Tony nominee

Kelli O’Hara (South Pacific) star in

this brand-new Gershwin musical comedy,

a song-and-dance spectacular set in the

Roaring ’20s. Songs include “But Not for

Me,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” and

“I’ve Got a Crush on You.” It opens April 24

at the Imperial Theatre.

Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, Priscilla

Queen of the Desert and Sister Act—hot

new musicals that opened last spring—continue

to pack in the crowds, Martin said.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really

Trying, which debuted last spring with

Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame), now

stars Nick Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers) and

Beau Bridges.

The must-see new comedy, Martin said,

is One Man, Two Guvnors. The National

Theatre of Great Britain’s production, laced

with low-brow British humor, is “wet-yourpants

funny.” It opens April 18 at the Music

Box Theatre.

Revivals of three classic plays also are

creating Broadway buzz, according to Martin.

They are Death of a Salesman, starring

Philip Seymour Hoffman; A Streetcar Named

Desire; and Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, a

political drama starring James Earl Jones,

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 53


Hot tickets this summer: Cirque du Soleil’s surreal Zarkana at Radio City Music Hall and the wild musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Jeremy Daniel, Richard Termine Costume:

Alan Hranitelj ©2011 Cirque du Soleil

on location: northeast ❖

November of 1997 and is still going strong. Only Phantom of

the Opera, which opened in 1988, and Chicago (1996) have

been on Broadway longer than The Lion King. Other long-running

current shows: Mamma Mia (2001), Wicked (2003) and

Jersey Boys (2005). Disney’s Mary Poppins, now in its sixth

year, also continues to be a group favorite.

One of New York’s hottest tickets this summer will be Cirque

du Soleil’s Zarkana. Running from June 6 through Sept. 2, the

acrobatic spectacle returns to Radio City Music Hall after a triumphant

2011 premiere season that drew more than 500,000

people. With a cast of 75 international artists, the rock opera

blends circus arts with the surreal to create a world where

physical virtuosity rubs shoulders with the bizarre, a slightly

twisted fantasy universe where, little by little, chaos and craziness

give way to festivity and love.

The story follows Zark, a magician who has lost his powers—and

the love of his life—in an abandoned theater populated

by a motley collection of off-the-wall characters and

incomparable acrobats. He runs into the Mutants, four sirens

as sinister as they are fabulous, who are determined to divert

him from his quest. Zarkana has been playing Moscow’s Kremlin

State Palace Theatre and moves to Las Vegas this fall.

Blue Man Group, the long-running Off-

Broadway hit, continues to dazzle groups

at New York’s Astor Palace Theatre and

just introduced new material in March. New

passages include Blue Men interacting with

“GiPads,” a perceptive look at contemporary

communication vehicles, and a pulsating

new finale featuring an original music

score. Much of the new content is from the

company’s larger-scale productions,

adapted for use in the intimate venues.

“We like to call it ‘alternative Broadway’—

a synthesis of our intimate Off-Broadway

roots with the spectacle we created for our

larger shows,” said Chris Wink, who cofounded

Blue Man Group with Phil Stanton

and Matt Goldman.

Stanton said, “Many of our audience’s

favorite passages, including ‘Paint Drumming’

and ‘Gum Balls/Marshmallows’, will

continue to be a part of the production. And

yes, the first few rows still will need to wear

ponchos.” LGT

NEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO LAS VEGAS ORLANDO NATIONAL TOUR

1.800.BLUEMAN BLUEMAN.COM

Appearing exclusively at sea onboard

Obtain New York visitor guides and itineraries

and contact group-friendly suppliers directly

at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info

54 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


on location: west ❖ marty sarbey de souto, ctc

California may be known for lots of things—Hollywood

and the movies, the Gold Rush, Golden Gate Bridge,

beaches and breathtaking Pacific views, Silicon Valley, the intellectual

centers of Stanford and Berkeley, and much more.

But perhaps it is not as well known as it should be for its wealth

of historic homes and gardens. These sites reflect the rich history

of the state and unique tastes of former owners, whether

they were community leaders, gold prospectors or an occasional

bordello madam.

Let’s take a look at a handful of the many possible visits that

could be included in the next itinerary you develop to California.

It might be a garden here or an unusual home there, sprinkled

in a standard tour. Or, it could be a specialty tour featuring

a number of homes and gardens for your local garden club or

women’s group looking for an entire trip designed around this

focus. Here are a few of the many possibilities:

FILOLI, Woodside. If you remember the ‘80s, you may remember

this house as the Carrington Mansion in the popular

TV series Dynasty. Home for nearly 20 years to William Bowers

Bourn II, owner of one of California’s richest gold mines, the estate

got its name by combining the first two letters from his credo:

“Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”

Located about 25 miles south of San Francisco, it’s set in 16

acres of formal gardens surrounded by a 654-acre estate. The

gardens were laid out in 1917-1922 by horticulturist Isabella

Worn, who designed the plantings and fixed the original color

scheme, supervising the garden’s maintenance for 35 years.

Following the death of the Bourns in 1936, it was bought by

Matson Navigation heir Lurline Matson Roth. Her contribution

was the impressive collection of camellias, rhododendrons

and azaleas as well as the screened-in teahouse and serene

swimming pool.

Homes&

Historic

Gardens

of california

Architectural gems spotlight the Golden State’s glorious past

Formal gardens grace

Filoli, south of San Francisco.

Inset photo: Hearst Castle

at San Simeon.


on location: west ❖

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Check out the attractions in Orange

County, Calif. Log on to http://leisuregrouptravel.comp=26672.

A visit might be paired with other sites south of San Francisco

such as Stanford University in Palo Alto or even further

south to the Carmel/Monterey area. (filoli.org)

MARSTON HOUSE MUSEUM AND GARDENS, San Diego.

This house is known as one of California’s best examples of

the Arts and Crafts movement, built in 1905 for local civic leaders

George and Anne Marston. The movement denoted a style

of architecture, interior design and decorative arts prevalent in

the period 1910-1925.

Inspired by the writings of John Ruskin, the Arts and

Crafts movement expressed a reaction to the mechanization

of the Industrial Revolution with its speedy assembly line

construction. It idealized the craftsman taking pride in his

personal handiwork and often featured rooms and furniture

deliberately rustic, unfinished and referred to as “cottagey.”

Surface texture was admired in ordinary materials such as

stone and tiles. The house is surrounded by five acres of

rolling lawns, manicured formal gardens and rustic canyon

gardens. (marstonhouse.org)

McELROY OCTAGON HOUSE, San

Francisco. A unique eight-sided, cupolatopped

house dating back to 1861, it’s one

of 68 octagon houses built in the United

States before the Civil War and included

on the U.S. National Register of Historic

Places. Those who chose to build a

house in this shape believed that living in

an octagonal home resulted in a longer,

healthier life.

Now a museum under the auspices of

the National Society of Colonial Dames of

America, it contains a variety of documents

from Colonial and early American history,

including one signed by 54 of the 56

signers of the Declaration of Independence.

It also showcases decorative arts from the

Colonial and Federal periods. (Phone: 415-

441-7512)

KIMBERLY CREST HOUSE AND

GARDENS, Redlands. Built in 1897, this is

a three-story French chateau-style Victorian

mansion. John Kimberly, co-founder of Kimberly-Clark

paper company, purchased the

home to escape Wisconsin winters. The

surrounding gardens were created in 1909,

complete with statuary and koi ponds, are

examples of the Italian style, so popular at

the turn of the 20th century.

The home has a French Revival parlor

with gilt furniture and silk damask wall coverings.

Lily ponds feature radiant koi as well

as vivid red, pink and yellow lilies.

Kimberly’s daughter challenged the city

to raise the funds to purchase 39 acres surrounding

the property and turned it into a

botanical park, which she bequeathed as

today’s Prospect Park. (kimberlycrest.org)

56 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Rooms like the library at Hearst Castle and kitchen of the Marston House in San Diego offer intimate peeks into the California’s past.

California Travel and Tourism Commission/Blaise

HEARST CASTLE, San Simeon. If the phrase “A man’s

home is his castle” ever had meaning, Hearst Castle must be the

ultimate example in the United States. And 36 million visitors

since it first opened to the public in 1958 will attest to its grandeur

and unique contribution to America’s house and garden scene.

Located high on a hill overlooking the Pacific midway between

San Francisco and Los Angeles, it was the brainchild of

publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst and the work of

prolific Berkeley architect Julia Morgan.

The Hearst Castle project developed over years as Hearst’s

palace where he and his mistress, Marion Davies, entertained

vacationing guests such as Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill

and a young John F. Kennedy. The hillside complex includes 41

fireplaces, 25 grand guestrooms, 25 upstairs suites, 25 cottages

and kitchens, a 4,000-book library and entire

rooms of artwork from European castles. But

the centers of attraction are the two stunning

swimming pools: the outdoor Neptune pool

and indoor tiled Roman pool decorated with

eight statues of Roman gods.

First-time visitors are well advised to take

the “Grand Rooms Museum Tour” as it has

the least stairs to climb up and down (106).

There are three other tours including an unusual

evening tour offered at times. Tour

planners should be sure to check with management

regarding walking and steps.

(hearstcastle.org)

LACHRYMA MONTIS, Sonoma State

Historic Park. This was the home of General

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, commander of

the northern Mexico frontier, founder of the

Pueblo of Sonoma and a member of the first

Constitutional Convention of California.

Built in 1850-51, it was known as Chiucuyem

(Crying Mountain) by the local Indians,

which Vallejo renamed to the rough

Latin equivalent “Tears of the Mountain.” Its

name was derived from the springs that

now are the source of Sonoma’s water

supply. The two-story wood frame home, built in historic

Carpenter Gothic Victorian style, features twin porches,

dormer windows, a marble fireplace and European crystal

chandeliers.

A visit may be combined into an interesting day with a tasting

at one or more of Sonoma’s well-known wineries and time

to browse the attractive shops surrounding the downtown

plaza. Also include a visit to the Mission San Francisco Solano

de Sonoma, the last and most northern of the 21 Franciscan

missions, located on the northeast corner of the plaza. A second

day could be added to include Jack London country, nearby

Napa with its tony restaurants and perhaps adjoining Yountville

and St. Helena for elegant shopping. (parks.ca.gov/page_id

=22773) LGT

Sande Lollis

LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2012 57


On Marketing

Enhance Your Business

With the Newest Technology

This columN iN ThE February

2012 issue kicked off the New Year

with a few simple, cost-effective, technology-based

travel marketing ideas.

It was determined a good website is

essential if you’re going to keep up with

today’s tech-savvy traveler. Realizing

that web search engines like fresh,

new content it was determined regular

additions to your site are indispensable.

And thoughts were shared on how to

have your website visitors interact

through video views and e-newsletter

sign-ups.

There certainly was a ton of good

business done “back in the day” with

catalogs, flyers and brochures. Continue

those tried-and-proven methods

if they are working for you. However,

keep the toolbox unlocked and look at

Spring Ahead to Our

JUNE ISSUE

• Washington State

• North Dakota

• Washington, DC

• West Virginia

• Montana

• Iowa

• Delaware

• Sightseeing Cruises

• Scenic Railroads

• Canada/South Pacific

Group Itinerary Planning Guide

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

the newer technology. Some will work

handsomely with what you are already

doing. Here are a few to consider:

1marry your marketing materials

and QR codes. Here’s a great

way to combine the new with the tried

and true. QR codes are those little

squares with all the squiggly black

designs. It’s barcode technology and

can easily be added to any marketing

piece. Most printers, graphic designers

and video producers can handle the

task. Potential clients with a smartphone

can scan the code and link to

your web page with offer details, an

informative video or a testimonial. That

web page can provide considerably

more information than a single-sheet

flyer. Of course, the video has that

wonderful ability to demonstrate.

2

mobile marketing is coming to

tour & travel. There’s more to

mobile marketing than presenting a QR

Code and driving customer/prospect

traffic to an online spot of your choice.

The United States is moving towards

having as many mobile phone subscriptions

as there is population. In most

major cities there are more households

without landlines than there are with

the traditional telephone service. The

opportunities in the travel business are

endless. Consider Bluetooth proximity

marketing. Suppliers at a tradeshow/

marketplace blast a message to all

Bluetooth-enabled phones promoting

a special at their booth or seminar. At

that same marketplace a tour operator

looking to partner with another operator

may send out that very message.

❖ dave bodle

3

leverage suppliers wisely.

One of the biggest assets that

tour operators can add to their toolbox

is a supplier that can help market a

tour to their destination. The majority

of CVBs and tourism offices will have

footage that they can edit to fit just

about any possible visit to their area.

That’s exactly what you’ll need on

the QR Code-to-website video link. Of

course, one of the best assets a supplier

can have in the marketing toolbox

is just such a video. Photographs

will always have a place, but video is

becoming increasingly important.

You can sense my excitement for

the new technology and how it will

impact the tour & travel segment. I’m

all about partnerships and programs

that blend the proven with something

new that will enhance results. New

technology offers just such an opportunity.

On the other hand, some of the

new technology-based opportunities

simply do not work for me and I wonder

about their return on investment. If

you’re not a writer, why waste your

time maintaining a blog What good is

Twitter if you’re limited to a set number

of characters Who hasn’t lost interest

in Facebook and the absolute drivel

that’s mixed with a few posts of

substance

The simplest way of looking at the

new marketing technologies is remembering

who brought you to the dance,

but realizing a look around the dance

hall really doesn’t hurt.

Contact Dave at 843-712-1140

or email dbodle@sc.rr.com.

58 April 2012 LeisureGroupTravel.com


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