In more than a decade of professional travel journalism, I’ve attended dozens if not 100 or more familiarization (FAM) tours of many varieties. In addition to individual FAMs, I’ve joined organized tours with other writers, as well as group leaders, tour operators, travel agents and other industry professionals. And although each tour is different, FAM…

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“Just try it,” said my mom, offering me a taste of her boiled cabbage. “It’s not like it’s going to hurt you to just try it.” I looked at the mushy, green cabbage she was offering and quietly disagreed. It must be admitted that boiled cabbage can look pretty scary no matter how you feel…

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The Restored Fox Theater

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

During my weekend in the Spokane area, I learned about the Expo ’74, which held one of the last World’s Fairs in America. The site of Expo ’74 remains today as the 100-acre Riverfront Park, tucked between the city center to the south and the Spokane River and cataracts of Spokane Falls on the north….

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Steptoe Butte State Park

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

Surprisingly, I think that there is no better place to experience our country’s “amber waves of grain” than Eastern Washington. The rolling hills, prevailing breezes and panoramic vistas here present a scenario of wheat fields that one wouldn’t normally expect to describe as beautiful, but here it most definitely is. One of the best places…

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A Day in Coeur d’Alene

Posted by Group Travel Leader in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

A quick road trip east of Spokane will bring the traveler to the handsome community of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as well as the storied body of water from which it gets its name. Included among the list of the “five most beautiful lakes in the world” compiled by National Geographic, sky-blue Lake Coeur d’Alene is…

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Magnificent Manito Park

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

Recently, I spent a thoroughly enjoyable weekend in the Spokane, Washington area. I’m sure that flower buffs in other parts of the country (and especially the South) might disagree, but I for one believe that the Pacific Northwest can make an honest claim of having the best total collection of beautiful floral gardens in North…

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Are there certain amenities that should be included on any group tour that happens anywhere in the world? I spent a lot of time on tours this summer and fall, and noticed some trends and amenities that I really enjoyed — and others that I missed. It made me wonder if it’s time for some…

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On March 30, for the first time ever, we assembled a group of about 150 travel planners for banks, chambers of commerce and alumni associations for face-to-face conversations at the Select Traveler Conference in Huntsville, Alabama. Our kickoff program at the conference was the popular breakout session where planners sit and share ideas in a…

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This spring, I drove my motor home north through Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Oregon to my destination for the summer in Southeastern Washington, where I arrived on May 2. At the Ice Harbor Lock and Dam on the Snake River, I’ll be volunteering in the Visitor Center until mid-September. Ice Harbor Dam Ice Harbor (photo…

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“What is a favorite view you remember from a trip?” People travel far and wide to take in a spectacular view. Our staff let us know some of their favorite panoramas they beheld during their travels.   “The incredible vistas from the top of Grinnell Glacier stay in my mind as some of the most…

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