The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings.
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But who knows I may get sidetracked and pull off in some interesting towns or city along the way.
Springfield has the largest concentration of Lincoln related sites in Illinois and is in a central location which makes it a natural for a 3 or 4 day hub. As the state capital, Springfield also has a number of sites that relate to state Government as well as a world renowned Frank Lloyd Wright House. On a self guided walking tour I plan on viewing over 30 outdoor interpretive exhibits placed throughout the downtown area to experience Springfield as Abraham Lincoln knew it. Other sites on my list include Lincoln’s tomb, law office, presidential library and home that he owned with Mary Todd.
Located about 20 miles northwest of Springfield in the town of New Salem offers a reconstruction of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood. It appears that I’ll need a couple of hours to stroll the sites here than it’s time to head towards the Windy City and a weekend of daytime baseball.
After a day of touring in Lexington & Hodgenville KY my is to travel north cross the mighty Ohio and overnight in Spencer County, Indiana (http://www.in.gov/lincoln). I might actually spend the night in Santa Claus, IN
Southern Indiana is another location rich in early Lincoln history. Abraham Lincoln spent 14 of his most formative years-from age 7 to 21-in Southern Indiana.
Today this region of Indiana offers Lincoln attractions that include his boyhood home and some of the most extensive collections of his life and times found anywhere in the world. Energy permitting I hope to take in a live evening performance at the Lincoln Amphitheater. In honor of his 200th birthday they are debuting a new story about young Abe this summer.
For Cleveland Indians baseball fans this summer’s schedule offers up a inter league special. The north coast of Ohio boys’ of summer travel to Chicago’s Wrigley Field for the 1st time and play the beloved Cubs Jun 19th, 20th and 21st. It’s going to be daytime baseball at its best. You cannot beat the festive ballpark atmosphere complete with its ivy covered walls and pre and post game activities in the eclectic neighborhood termed Wrigleyville that surrounds the field.
My drive to the Windy City is going to be routed via Kentucky, southern Indiana and then Illinois.
Intermediate stops in the Bluegrass will be at the Mary Todd Lincoln house in Louisville, KY then over to Hodgenville KY for a visit to Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and boyhood home (http://www.kylincoln.org),
From here the plan is to travel north cross the mighty Ohio and overnight in Spencer County, Indiana (http://www.in.gov/lincoln) another location rich in early Lincoln history.
I've got some research to do on my lodging so I'll report back when this task is completed.
As hotel occupancy rates plummet some destinations along with their hoteliers and restaurants have reversed previous anti spring break postures and are now actively courting this crowd. They are storing the glass ware breaking out the plastic cups and placing kegs around the pool areas.
I just hope that these fine folks will remember the spring breakers in future years and continue to be receptive hosts.
I mentioned that I was heading up to Cleveland and planned on catching a Lake Erie Monsters hockey game. There was a nice crowd at Quicken Arena and plenty of action in the 1st period. Then the melt down started resulting in unplayable ice conditions. Maybe the dye, paint or whatever substance that was used to change the ice pink resulted in a chemical reaction that raided the freezing point. Who knows? Anyhow I enjoyed the pink ice and the shortened game.
I’m off for a weekend on Ohio’s North Shore and a visit for the self proclaimed “Best Destination in the Nation”.
One of the reasons for the road trip is to participate in the Lake Erie Monsters’ hockey teams “Paint the Rink Pink" night. In order to promote breast cancer awareness the ice at Quicken Loans Arena will be painted pink and Monsters players will wear special pink jerseys. The jerseys will be auctioned off at the end of the evening to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Northeast Ohio Affiliate.
I also need to replenish my stock of Bertram’s original stadium mustard the only type offered at Indians, Cavs and Browns games. A visit is planned to theWest 25thMarket and stock up on some homemade Polish kielbasa and sausages. The pantry, freezer and refrigerator will be reloaded and ready for the 2009 baseball season.
For Cleveland Indians baseball fans this summer’s schedule offers up a inter league special. The north coast of Ohio boys’ of summer travel to Chicago’s Wrigley Field for the 1st time and play the beloved Cubs Jun 19th, 20th and 21st. Day baseball at its best plus plenty of ball park fare and dining options are in the stadium and around the neighborhood termed Wrigleyville. The featherheads then head east for midweek games in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. I’m not sure if this may be the first time the Tribe will play at PNC Park but it will be my first visit. After enjoying the Steel City I’ll follow the Indians back to Cleveland where they’ll renew their rivalry with the Cincinnati Reds in a weekend series of June 26th, 27th and 28th.
It’s going to be an interesting road trip but it will filled with plenty of history, art, culture, and ethnic dining.
My drive to the Windy City is going to be routed via Kentucky, southern Indiana and then Illinois. Intermediate stops will be at the Mary Todd Lincoln house in Louisville, KY then over to Hodgenville for a visit to Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and boyhood home (http://www.kylincoln.org).
From here the plan is to travel north cross the might Ohio and overnight in Spencer County, Indiana (http://www.in.gov/lincoln) another location rich in early Lincoln history. The good news for Indians baseball fans is that opening day is only 17 days away! And being equitable the Reds open on April 6th.
It has been years since I traveled to the Heartland Travel Show’s host city Pittsburgh and honestly I was over whelmed by the changes. Most if not all of the updates were positive and really made this old rust belt steel city a great place to visit.
Pittsburgh was already on my radar for a summer trip as the Cleveland Indians were playing the Pirates for a mid June series so this was a definite reconnaissance trip. At the conference I was in sensory overload so I needed to regroup and reflect on my trip goals/objectives. This is a family trip so I’m trying to blend fun and education together for all parties and I’m convinced that it will not be problem.
My son wants to see the Pirates play and being a ketchup lover he also wants as much Heinz history as possible. Regrettably he also wants to visit Heinz Field home of the dreaded Steelers. Any self respecting Browns fan would not pay the $6.50 entrance fee but I’ll swallow my pride and succumb to my son’s wishes.
There is plenty more to see and do in the ‘Steel City”. We will ride the 130-year-old Duquesne Incline to the top of Pittsburgh's Mount Washington for a fantastic view of the city below. Dining plans will include a visit to Primanti's Restaurant where the fries and cole slaw come on the sandwich, not on the side.
Another downtown tour stop is the Fort Pitt Block House and Museum. The block house built in 1764 is Pittsburgh's oldest structure and the last vestige of the British Empire in Western Pennsylvania. The museum houses exhibits on the history of the 18th Century in what would become western Pennsylvania. They have a new exhibit follows the course of Colonial and Revolutionary conflicts from 1754-1803, examining the prominent role the "Forks of the Ohio" and its forts played in determining the course of American History.
On our drive we’ll be able to visit Falling Waters and Kentuck Knob famous designs of notable architect Frank Lloyd Wright. We’ll explore Forts Necessity and Ligonier and the early history of Colonel George Washington.
I’ve just scratched the surface of the many sights, sounds, smells and tastes available in this great location. For more information visit www.visitpittsburgh.com or call 800.359.0758 and start planning your getaway.
One of the reoccurring themes echoed throughout the conference was special “niche” travel markets. It seemed that every city, attraction and/or supplier had created special packages for certain travelers traveling either as a few individuals or a large group.
Girl friends or best friends’ forever packages were everywhere. Not wanting to leave out another audience I saw plenty of guys’ getaways’ too! These packages were very different from the past offerings of golf, hunting or fishing expeditions.
Another large group of vacation packages were aimed at the intergenerational market. My working definition of intergenerational travel is the old family vacation of the 1950’s, 60s and 70’s. Grandparents are now being added to the vacation mix and destinations are actively promoting these as “Grand Parents” getaways.
Another over worked phrase was “stimulus package”. But I have to admit that there were plenty of extremely attractively priced package offers for travel in 2009 and early 2010. I know that I will be taking advantage of a few of the offerings.
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the Heartland Travel showcase. Held last month in Pittsburgh PA this 4 day event brings together tour operators from across the nation and allows them to meet with representatives of attractions, museums, hotels and other travel and tourism related businesses and venues. The suppliers hail from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, plus Ontario, Canada.
During prescheduled meetings with the Midwest's top destinations for group tours I was able to uncover many authentic Heartland treasures and future group travel opportunities at this motor coach trade show. After 4 days packed full of educational programs and destination information my mind was spinning with all the new travel itineraries and possibilities. It is going to take me a couple of weeks to digest and process all the information.
I’ll share some of the interesting places that I discovered at Heartland. Some are fairly well known will others are off the much travelled path. Most if not all of the destinations are within an easy days drive and would make wonderful long weekend getaways for family, friends and evens romantics.
Steve Call gets paid to tell people where to go as the director of the Travel, Tourism and Hotel Management associate degree program at Ohio University-Ironton. Professionally, he's a certified travel consultant and accredited cruise counselor and holds two college degrees. He has visited all the continents with the exception of Australia and Antarctica.