courtesy Shenandoah Tours
Published November 14, 2018
When a travel planner adds holiday lights, compelling sports events, historic anniversaries or world-famous parades to an itinerary, customers respond with increased interest. Travelers who might have put off visiting a destination are more likely to go when there’s an exclusive event or special occasion involved.
These Travel Alliance Partners tours are built around exciting events to create memorable experiences.
Nashville Country Christmas
Guests enter a fantasy world made entirely of ice at the Ice! experience at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. DeNure Tours’ clients rave about the castles, tunnels and intricate figures carved with 2 million pounds of ice by 40 artisans during their Nashville Country Christmas tour.
This five-night trip is a best seller for the Ontario-based tour company. Many customers remark on how much they appreciate the tour’s included Christmas shows and the three-night stay at the Gaylord Opryland.
The four-star hotel immerses guest in the holiday spirit with its Country Christmas, which includes the Ice! experience, decorated Christmas tree displays and 2 million twinkling lights. Performances at the resort and the nearby Ryman Auditorium showcase legendary country music singers such as Trace Adkins, Amy Grant and Vince Gill.
The itinerary also leaves plenty of time for shopping at the Opry Mills Mall and the Treasure for the Holidays craft show. Guided tours of Nashville showcase the interesting history and culture of the town.
Nashville’s Historic RCA Studio B is also a favorite stop on the tour. Visitors learn about the art of recording with hands-on exhibits and see artifacts from artists who have recorded there, such as Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton.
Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend
Baseball fans often include the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York, among their bucket list events. Sports Travel and Tours allows groups to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event on its Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend tours each year.
Based in Hatfield, Massachusetts, Sports Travel and Tours offers five different spending packages for customers. The Base Hit package is the basic value rate. At higher price points, packages include the Legends of the Game Round Table event at Doubleday Field, better seating, autographed baseballs and a hotel closer to Cooperstown.
Participants love the excitement of attending the special weekend event, which draws about 45,000 baseball fans each year. The three-day tour starts with downtime in Albany, New York, for shopping and dining. The next day, guests immerse themselves in the history of the sport at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Parade of Legends brings more than 50 Hall of Fame members to walk on a route that ends at the front steps of the museum for the Red Carpet Arrival Ceremony. The next day, groups watch the nearly three-hour ceremony from reserved seats.
Grand Illumination and 100 Miles of Lights
Dramatic fireworks, caroling, dancing and historic presentations impress guests looking for holiday cheer on the Grand Illumination and 100 Miles of Lights tour from Mid Atlantic Receptive Services. The Stephens City, Virginia, company crafted the tour to take advantage of the nightly holiday lights and events that take place in the Virginia Beach area.
Historic homes, military museums and historic attractions highlight this trip to Virginia destinations such as Yorktown, Newport News, Williamsburg and Richmond. The tour begins with a driving tour of the holiday lights at the Virginia Beach boardwalk.
The hub-and-spoke tour explores the military history of the region at the Yorktown Victory Center and the Mariners’ Museum and Park. Virginia’s history and old-fashioned Christmas traditions come alive at Berkeley Plantation and Maymont Mansion.
Each night, groups see Christmas lights in a different location, such as Christmas Town at Busch Gardens, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Jamestown Christmas. Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination stands out as the most elaborate celebration, with fireworks, music and period-dressed historical interpreters. The Colonial-era Christmas decorations are handmade with natural materials.
Rose Parade Platinum Experience
Color, whimsy and spectacle make a trip to the Rose Parade an unforgettable experience. Groups can see the flower-covered floats up close on Main Street Experiences’ Rose Parade Platinum Experience tour. Guests stay at one hotel for the entire six-day tour, exploring Southern California and partaking in Rose Parade-related events. Among the favorites is the Showcase of Floats, which allows guests to examine the impressive floats almost close enough to touch after the parade.
The New Year’s Eve Gala features a champagne toast, a live band and a casino. The next day, the group watches the Rose Parade before heading to the Southern California Backyard Barbecue on the hotel lawn. The luncheon allows guests to relax after the thrilling parade. In the evening, the group gathers on the hotel’s lawn again for an outdoor movie.
Based in Lakewood, California, Main Street Experiences has been sending groups to the Rose Parade for over 30 years. The tour operator credits the tours’ success to the added experiences, such as shuttles to the beach so guests can enjoy the Pacific Ocean. The tour also builds in time for members to decide their own activities.
HGTV’s Fixer Upper Tour
After five seasons of renovating houses in Waco, Texas, celebrity remodelers Chip and Joanna Gaines ended their hit television show “Fixer Upper” in April. But fans of the show can continue to enjoy its highlights on a Texas tour with Advance Tour and Travel.
The company, based in Ozark, Missouri, decided to create the tour after hearing from group clients who loved the show. The HGTV’s Fixer Upper Tour spends six days in Waco and Dallas to explore the area and relive moments from the hit program.
Groups start with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. After a tour of Dallas, participants depart for Waco and dine at hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines’ new restaurant, Magnolia Table. Afterward, guests can shop for home decor handpicked by Joanna at Magnolia Market.
The “Fixer Upper” theme continues the next day with a driving tour past some of the homes featured on the show, as well as Harp Studio and Baylor University. That evening, groups tour Homestead Traditional Crafts Village to learn about the attraction’s handcrafted items.
The next day, visitors discover the backstory behind JDH Iron Designs, a company featured several times on the show. Groups spend the rest of the day in Dallas before heading home.
Myrtle Beach Christmas Special
Groups can combine the warm feeling of the holidays with the beauty of the beach during Shenandoah Tours’ Myrtle Beach Christmas Special. The Staunton, Virginia, company crafted this four-day tour for a quick seaside escape during the hectic holiday season.
The oceanfront Caribbean Resort provides a comfortable place to access the beach, swim in an indoor pool or sit on the balcony to listen to the waves. The itinerary offers the chance to relax at the beach or venture out for a shopping excursion at Tanger Outlets.
“The South’s Grandest Christmas Show” at the Alabama Theatre is the tour’s first structured outing. The performance explores Christmas history and traditions with characters, costumes and songs.
After a free morning at the beach, visitors attend another show, “The Carolina Opry Christmas Special.” The show features festive music and dancing by a talented cast. The tour ends with a seafood dinner and time to walk along the beach before departing the next morning.
Hippies and Honeymoons
In 1969, 400,000 people overran a dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York for a music festival now considered a pivotal moment in music history. To celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, Twin Travel Concepts has developed the Hippies and Honeymoons tour.
The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts now sits where the music festival once took place and will honor the anniversary with special events taking place in 2019. Tour participants explore this museum for a dramatic depiction of not just Woodstock, but the entire cultural movement of the 1960s. A VW bus, art from the era, concert footage from the festival and other interactive exhibits provide the background history of the decade.
The five-day tour goes beyond Woodstock with stops throughout central New York. The Villa Roma showcases the quaintness of the Catskills resort era with elegant rooms and scenes familiar from the film “Dirty Dancing.” Other attractions in the area include the Turning Stone Casino, the Erie Canal Cruise, the George Eastman Museum and the Jell-O Gallery Museum.
Twin Travel Concepts, based in Kinderhook, New York, also includes Niagara Falls, a popular honeymoon destination, on the fourth day of the tour. Travelers marvel at the powerful natural beauty of the falls and enjoy the evening Illumination of the Falls light display.
The final day includes stops at Niagara attractions such as the Cave of the Winds, the Maid of the Mist cruise and the Niagara Power Vista Center.