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Louisiana’s capital offers lively and scenic experiences

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Baton Rouge
Louisiana State Capitol. Credit: Jordan Hefler

Along the Mississippi River lies Baton Rouge — Louisiana’s capital that dates back over 300 years.

“Baton Rouge is the go-to destination for group-friendly activities,” said Geraldine Bordelon, CMP, director of destination sales and experience at Visit Baton Rouge. “Electric Depot, located in our Mid-City neighborhood, houses some of the most popular spots in town, including a new Japanese-inspired ice cream shop, Sweet Society, and Red Stick Social, where you can eat food, enjoy live music and even bowl all at the same location.”

Downtown is energetic and historic, with abundant nightlife activities, multiple hotels perfect for groups and landmark attractions.

“For groups staying in downtown Baton Rouge, they’re within walking distance of various restaurants, nightlife and attractions, which really allows for them to get a taste of our local southern flair,” Bordelon said.

Baton Rouge Perkins Row
Perkins Row. Credit: Courtesy of Visit Baton Rouge

Enjoy easy access to the Mississippi River and explore Louisiana’s Old State Capitol with a guided tour. Looking for art and culture experiences in the heart of downtown? The Louisiana Art & Science Museum and the LSU Museum of Art provide group options and exhibits highlighting regional, national and international works.

Shopping is always lively and entertaining, with the popular Perkins Rowe boasting dozens of stores. After shopping, book a group experience at Main Event or Top Golf.

“Play the holes at Top Golf during the day or wait until the evening to have the glow-in-the-dark experience with a multi-floor view of the venue,” Bordelon said. “Stop by Tin-Roof brewing to get an official tour of the historical facility, with beer crafted locally in Baton Rouge.”

Outdoor adventures like a swamp tour of the bayou are offered by several outfitters located in the region. Kayaking and paddle boarding are popular on the Louisiana State University Lakes.

Baton Rouge paddle boarding
Credit: MESH

“Groups can take a leisurely stroll through botanical gardens in Baton Rouge like the Burden Gardens and Independence Botanical Gardens that showcase the flora of our region,” Bordelon said.

Visit Baton Rouge has several resources for groups planning a trip to Louisiana’s capital; from sample itineraries to group-friendly restaurant listings, the city is accessible for any kind of group.

“Year-round, attendees also have an endless list of activities to keep them engaged across the city, including annual festivals, concert series and other events,” Bordelon said. “That’s where our staff comes in and offers creative itineraries and incentives that we can customize based on the participants requests to help meet and exceed their interests and needs while they’re in Baton Rouge.”

For more information call 225-382-3587 or go to visitbatonrouge.com. •

Wyoming Office of Tourism

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Wyoming Office of Tourism

5611 High Plains Rd.
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82007
Phone: 307-777-7777
Fax: 307-777-2877
E-Mail: amy.larsen@wyo.gov
Web: travelwyoming.com

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Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

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Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

Type of Attraction: Museum, Historic Site, Gift Shop (on site)

Nearby attractions: South Carolina Aquarium, City Market, Rainbow Row, Fort Sumter

Group rates and bus parking is available!

Business Hours: Open year round 9 am to 6:30 pm daily.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Closes at 3:30 pm on New Year’s Eve.

photo of the USS Yorktown
photo of Patriots Point USS Yorktown & Kids On Deck
photo of a class on the USS Yorktown
photo of Patriots Point USS Yorktown Sleepover

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
40 Patriots Point Rd
Mt Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
Phone: 843-881-5924
E-mail: alengsas@patriotspoint.org
Web: patriotspoint.org

Patriot Point FlipKey Award

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Escape California’s busy southern and central cities with a trip north

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North of Ordinary
Mendocino County, Calif. Credit: Visit Mendocino County

Consisting of over 10,000 miles of coastline, the North of Ordinary region refers to four northern California counties, being Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino counties. Redwoods sprawl the inland forests; waves crash along the coastal cliffs; vast wine regions draw in those escaping the city; and abundant day and nighttime activities make for great multi-day itineraries for groups.

Del Norte County

Begin a journey through the region at the very top with Del Norte County. Crescent Trail Rides offers horseback riding tours through the old-growth Redwood forests. Beach rides along the coast are also offered.

Redwood Rides Adventure Outfitters, Del Norte County, Calif.
Credit: Nate Wyeth/Visit Del Norte County

“The beach ride takes [groups] through ancient tribal lands — including the historic Yontocket Indian Memorial Site — as well as the 4,000-acre Tolowa Dunes State Park,” said Lynnette Braillard, CEO and founder of LuLish — the destination marketing agency for Visit Del Norte County.

While on the coast, take advantage of Del Norte’s year-round whale watching with Stella’s Adventures, providing tours from the Crescent City Harbor. Indigenous owned, Klamath Jet Boat Tours operates tours to the mouth of the Klamath River on the Pacific, followed by an upriver adventure to see wildlife, historic cabins and more. Whitewater rafting and kayaking are available through Redwood Rides Adventure Outfitters.

Del Norte County is also teeming with nightlife and entertainment activities.

“With three casinos open 24 hours per day within Del Norte County, each offers much more than just Vegas-style gaming,” Braillard said.

Lucky 7 Casino & Hotel is perched on the Pacific Coast, boasting a geothermal pool and hot tub in addition to its spacious rooms and vast gaming options. Nestled in the state’s Redwood National & State Parks, The Redwood Hotel & Casino is also a top option for groups.  

Coming spring 2022, the Elk Valley Casino will grace a new location along with new entertainment opportunities, in addition to its 300-plus slots and bingo.

Humboldt County

Head down to Humboldt County — also home to Redwood National Park — and discover several outfitters offering thrilling tours like kayaking, hiking, whitewater rafting and much more.

Humboldt is brimming with history, too. Groups can see several products being made with 19th-century craft techniques at Blue Ox Historic Village. Large group guided tours are available, and offer an up-close look into woodworking, printing, pottery and more. The village features several structures like a blacksmith and millwork shop.

Fort Humboldt State Historic Park is always a great addition to an itinerary, sitting on a bluff overlooking Humboldt Bay and offering stunning views.

Mendocino County

Able to encompass Washington, D.C., Rhode Island and Delaware, Mendocino County boasts over 110 wineries and 12 designated wine growing regions.

Mendocino County, Calif.
Credit: Visit Mendocino County

“The destination offers a wealth of adventures, depending on clientele,” said Koleen Hamblin, spokesperson for Visit Mendocino County. “Mendocino County has a designated beer trek, inland and sea kayaking, the legendary Skunk Train and rail bikes, Michelin dining and a dedicated wellness focus with forest bathing at the top of the list.”

Combine history and nature with a ride on the world-famous Skunk Train, trekking through the old-growth redwoods since 1885. A member of ABA, NTA and many others, Skunk Train offers packages for groups.

Mendocino County is well known for being a “green” county, being the first county to ban the production of GMOs and having the reputation as “America’s Greenest Wine Region.”

Get a taste — literally and figuratively — for Mendocino’s several local brands using sustainable practices, including Parducci Wine Cellars, Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Pennyroyal Farm and many others.

“Key points of interest include the region’s top lighthouses, offbeat adventures including B. Bryan Preserve, vintage inns with llamas, retro lodges, and world-class stays at Harbor House Inn or The Inn at Newport Ranch, which are ideal full buy-outs for small groups,” Hamblin said.

Find one-of-a-kind experiences at B. Bryan Preserve, home to several species of zebra, giraffe and antelope. On a guided tour, get up-close to the animals and learn about these endangered species.

Lake County

Tucked on the west inland side on Mendocino County lies Lake County, the smallest of the four North of Ordinary counties but with a vast history; it is home to the oldest lake in North America, Clear Lake. A popular vacation destination, Lake County brought in several celebrities during the golden era of Hollywood, including Charlie Chaplin, Jimmy Durantie, Jackie Gleason and others.

Visit Clear Lake State Park for water recreation and hiking trails. The on-site Visitors Center features displays on the area’s natural and cultural history, as well as an aquarium exhibit.

North of Ordinary
Lake County, Calif.
Credit: Karen Pavone, InkFarmCreative

On the south shore of the lake lies Mount Konocti, a dormant volcano with 1,500 acres of stunning views and several hiking trails.

With high elevation and rich volcanic soil, Lake County is a fast-growing wine region. Multiple Napa Valley wineries grow their grapes in Lake County — a testament to its ideal growing climate.

Book a tasting at Brassfield Estate Winery and enjoy award-wining wines along with charcuterie boards and other snacks. Groups larger than six are treated to the winery’s outdoor picnic area.

northofordinaryca.com

Museum of the American Revolution’s special exhibition pairs paintings, artifacts

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Liberty
“Brave Men as Ever Fought” by Don Trojani Credit: Don Troiani

The Museum of the American Revolution’s special exhibition, “Liberty: Don Troiani’s Paintings of the Revolutionary War” brings together — for the first time in public — more than 45 original paintings by nationally renowned historical artist Don Troiani.

The special exhibition is on view at the museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, through Sept. 5, 2022.

Liberty
Artist Don Troiani with “Brave Men as Ever Fought”
Credit: Museum of the American Revolution

“We are thrilled to be able to present this exhibition of the extraordinary, research-based works of Don Troiani,” said Matthew Skic, curator of exhibitions for the museum. “Troiani’s paintings capture the raw emotions of the women and men caught up in war, allowing us an authentic and dramatic glimpse into the past and helping us grasp the human struggle of the American Revolution. The exhibition continues the museum’s ongoing effort to make the compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events of the American Revolution real for modern-day audiences.”

Featured in the exhibition is Troiani’s recent painting, “Brave Men as Ever Fought,” commissioned by the museum and funded by the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail of the National Park Service. This painting captures the moment when 15-year-old African American sailor and Philadelphian James Forten witnesses Black and Native American troops in the ranks of the Continental Army as they marched past Independence Hall on their way to eventual victory at Yorktown, Virginia. Forten later called those soldiers “as brave Men as ever fought.”

Liberty
Rhode Island officer’s sword, detail
Credit: Courtesy of Brian and Barbara Hendelson

The special exhibition pairs Troiani’s works of art with artifacts that inspired or appear in his paintings and illuminate the story of each scene. The 40 objects on display include weapons, military equipment, textiles, manuscripts and more, which are on loan from Troiani’s personal collection, the museum’s collection and other lenders. These pairings plunge visitors into some of the most pivotal moments of America’s fight for independence.

“The Oneida at the Battle of Oriskany, August 6, 1777”
Credit: Don Troiani

“It is my hope that my paintings help people today grasp the significance of the Revolutionary struggles of the people who lived 250 years ago, whose brave actions continue to shape our lives,” Troiani said. “I cannot think of a better institution than the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia to partner with to publicly display, for the first time, my original paintings of the Revolutionary War.”

Troiani, based in Connecticut, has dedicated much of his artistic career to imagining and re-creating what the Revolutionary War truly looked like. His use of primary sources, archaeology, original artifacts and other research methods imbues his paintings with an almost photographic-quality realism.

“Victory or Death, Advance on Trenton”
Credit: Don Troiani

Group tickets are available at a discounted price. Thirty-minute guided tours are available through group sales for private bookings. To book or for more information, contact groups@amrevmuseum.org or call 215-579-3623.

The Museum of the American Revolution is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with enhanced health and safety protocols. Masks are required for all visitors ages 5 and up, regardless of vaccination status. The 5,000-square-foot special exhibition of “Liberty” is located in the museum’s first-floor Patriots Gallery.

22 things to do in Texas in 2022

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Texas group travel guide 2022
The 2022 Texas Group Travel Guide is available online

The 2022 Texas Group Travel Guide is available online.

Content includes itineraries on the following destinations:

Grapevine

Lubbock

Galveston

Group travel planners qualify for a 100% free subscription to Group Tour magazine.  Subscribe Today!

Ford House, Home of Edsel & Eleanor

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Ford House, Home of Edsel & Eleanor

The historic former home of auto pioneer Edsel Ford and his family, this breathtaking site offers guided tours of the nationally recognized 60-room estate, designed by Albert Kahn, and 87-acres of lakefront gardens and grounds, designed by Jens Jensen. Plus tour the miniature Play House and the new Garage Exhibit featuring the story of Edsel Ford as an automotive designer and the creation of his dream car, the Lincoln Continental.


Member: Circle MI, OMCA


Attraction Type: Historic Site
Group Rates: $5-$10
Special Rates: Seniors $1 off.

Seasonal Dates: Open year round.

Bus Parking: Yes
Bus Parking Fee: No fee.
Driver Rate: Complimentary.
Escort Rate: One per bus free (minimum of 20 people).


Nearby Attractions that Influence Group Travel:

  • Henry Ford & Greenfield Village

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

1100 Lake Shore Rd.
Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan 48236
Phone: 313-884-4222
Fax: 313-884-4437
E-mail: dbuchanan@fordhouse.org
Web: www.Fordhouse.org

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Omaha itinerary: Christmas around the world

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Omaha comes to life in a magical way during the holiday season. Shop at an authentic German market. Watch poinsettias grow 20-feet tall in a botanical world filled with color. Explore Greek holiday traditions under stunning gold décor. And let Scrooge be your guide on a fanciful theatrical journey.

“This year, we all faced new challenges and gained a greater appreciation for the little things that make life sweet,” said Jessica Settje, sales manager at Visit Omaha Tourism. “In Omaha, that’s what we do. We make the holidays a little sweeter with unique experiences that warm your soul and fill your heart with cheer. Groups always enjoy this tour because it allows them to observe traditions from around the world while also getting to sample Omaha’s festive entertainment.”

Jessica-Settje
Photo: Visit Omaha

Create enchanted memories with holiday tours in a city that twinkles with more than a million holiday lights.

Visit Omaha
Jessica Settje, sales manager
402-444-1760
jweishahn@visitomaha.com
visitomaha.com

Stop 1 – Christmas in Germany

German American Society
Photo: Visit Omaha

Come celebrate a German Christmas at the German American Society Center. Enjoy a holiday program of dancing, singing and food! Listen to traditional German holiday favorites by the Men’s Choir. Shop for crafts & items imported from Germany at the Christmas Market! Experience the German dancers as they perform various holiday dances from various regions of Germany. The evening ends with a sing-a-long of the song “Silent Night.” 

Stop 2 – A Christmas Carol

“A Christmas Carol”
Photo: Visit Omaha

This evening see the traditional A Christmas Carol performance. For over 35 years, the Omaha Community Playhouse has been offering this quality holiday performance. It has become an Omaha family holiday tradition! Enjoy a professional production of Dickens’ classic tale with musical score, special effects and elaborate costumes.

Stop 3 – Christmas in Greece

St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church
Photo: Visit Omaha

This evening visit the St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church for dinner and tour of the Byzantine Style church. Groups are amazed by the décor of gold and traditional icons. Tour includes a presentation of the meaning of the décor and the history of the Greek Orthodox Church. After tour, travel downstairs via elevator where members of the congregation will join your group for dinner and holiday program. Learn about how Christmas is celebrated in Greece. Listen to Christmas carols in the Greek language.

Stop 4 – Holiday poinsettias at botanical gardens

Lauritzen Gardens
Photo: Visit Omaha

View hundreds of poinsettias on display including trees consisting of 700 poinsettias at Lauritzen Gardens. Miniature trains travel across the display which includes replicas of famous Omaha Landmarks. Visit includes short presentation on poinsettias. Enjoy the holiday poinsettias or do a little shopping in the extensive gift shop.


Value your expertise

Karan Morrow, owner of Where2Next? Travel, LLC, endorses consultant retainer model 

Karan Morrow, Where2Next? Travel, LLC
Photo: Photography by Kelley Raye

Karan Morrow, owner of Where2Next? Travel, LLC, has a favorite saying, “This is a great big world — get out and see some of it!” Morrow built her Atlanta, Georgia-based business to help African American clients discover that luxury travel is not out of reach or a dream that can’t be realized. She inspires travelers to see the world past social media moments, instead returning with both photographs and lifetime stories. Morrow shares insight into what has made her successful in building a loyal client base.   

Q. Your business model includes a non-refundable Consultant Retainer; how did you determine to use that model?   

A. I instituted the non-refundable Consultant Retainer business model after two things happened. First, I had worked exceptionally hard on a complicated, detailed custom itinerary that included pricing and presented it to a potential client — then never heard from that person again. Later I found out they booked it with someone else. Needless to say, I was upset and hurt. It hit me that I gave away all that investment of my time and expertise. I instituted the fee structure immediately after that.   

Second, while working with my current marketing coach, it was reiterated that as a travel professional, I should charge a fee for the work I do, without rebating, discounting or applying it toward travel. This is especially true since all my itineraries are tailored and not based on any set price point. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into what we all do as travel advisors, honing a travel plan until we develop what the client wants. There is no other profession that gives away their time and labor. That practice should stop, especially in the wake of what it now takes to travel.   

Where2Next? Travel, LLC flagship group on private yacht sail, Gulf Shores, Ala.
Photo: Where2Next? Travel, LLC

Q. Do clients embrace this practice?   

A. All my current clients do embrace the practice, some even asking what took me so long! Some potential clients do not, and that is perfectly fine. I determine this during the qualifying process helping a potential client understand what I bring to the table in the travel planning process. I don’t want all the clients — I want the right clients — those who appreciate and value what I do as a travel professional.  

Q. Would you recommend this practice to advisors starting out?   

A. I absolutely recommend this practice to advisors starting out. I ask them to think of it this way: If you hire a financial planner to assist you with your monetary future, you compensate them for their time, research and putting that financial plan together. Think of yourself as the financial advisor for your clients’ travel spend — working to get them the best value for their hard-earned vacation dollars, no matter how much that spend is.  

Where2Next? Travel, LLC flagship group learning about weaving process at the Turker Ministry of Education Weaving School, Ephesus, Turkey
Photo: Where2Next? Travel, LLC

Q. How would you describe today’s group travelers?   

A. Today’s group travelers are internet savvy! They come to the table with lots of ideas and information. What they don’t always understand is what a travel advisor does or has access to. Many travelers think advisors only see the consumer sites on the internet and question why they should use a travel advisor. That’s when we take the time to teach them that consumer sites are not all we have access to; we bring value and expertise to the planning of a group travel experience. I remind clients that the internet is for looking — your travel advisor will take care of the booking and get you more than meets the eye.  

“Give Back” day, working with the children at the BasadiPele creche (nursery school), Kagiso, South Africa
Photo: Where2Next? Travel, LLC

Q. What is your best travel tip for your clients?   

A. Travel is a privilege, and the places we visit are someone else’s home. My best travel tips for my clients are: 1) Learn what makes your destination unique and truly enjoy that; 2) Absorb a little from the people and the culture of your destination; 3) Find one way to give back to the locals if you can; and 4) Be open to experiences — those experiences will be your lifetime stories from your travels. 

Karan Morrow
Owner & travel consultant
Where2Next? Travel, LLC
470-480-9007
where2nexttravel.co

Natchitoches CVB

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Natchitoches CVB
Downtown Natchitoches Overlooking River
Downtown Natchitoches Overlooking River

Natchitoches, established in 1714, is the original French Colony in Louisiana.  Celebrate its history and visit Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, or the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum. Explore the National Historic Landmark District, a historic hub with French Creole architecture, historic homes, and much more! Discover the Cane River Heritage Trail that explores cultural legacies and traditions through historic landmarks and plantations like Melrose Plantation and Cane River Creole National Historic Park. Enjoy savory Creole soul , Cajun and Southern dishes, like the Natchitoches Famous MeatPie. Plan to stay in one of 11 national brand hotels or one of two inns/boutique hotel in the historic district.  Natchitoches is known as the Bed and Breakfast capitol of Louisiana with over 25 options.  Plan your trip today! www.natchitoches.com

Immaculate Conception Church in Natchitoches
Immaculate Conception Church in Natchitoches
  • Special services offered to tour planners/operators
    • Itineraries
    • Welcome Bags
    • Accommodation Assistance
    • Step on Guide Assistance
    • Parking Assistance
  • Restrictions to watch for
    • Motor Coach permits to the Cane River Creole National Historical Park
  • Memberships
    • Louisiana Travel Association
    • Southeast Tourism Society

Natchitoches CVB

780 Front St Ste 100
Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457
Phone: 1-800-259-1714
Fax: (318) 352-2415
E-mail: groups@natchitoches.com
Web: www.natchitoches.com

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