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Spring 2014: "Cool Summer Adventures" Newsletter

Latest Newsletter Now Available in Print and PDF

CTDSpr2014NewsletterCvrSmWe're pleased to introduce our spring 2014 newsletter, Cool Summer Adventures. This issue features an article by Ann Kaiser on attractions in Lake Superior & Wisconsin's North Woods, advice to help Travel Group Leaders prmoote their tours, remaining European Discoveries for 20014, feature summer tours, and more...

 

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Get Off the Beaten Path with a Group Tour

Yes, Even Today’s Independent Boomers Can Benefit from Professionally Organized Group Travel

riverlax.0792-1cMy in-laws are both in their 60’s and will retire later this year. After decades of the nine-to-five grind, they are eager to see the world and have adventures they’ve always dreamed of.

“We’re going to paint, rent an RV and head north to see the Northern Lights, visit all the National Parks, take dancing lessons, visit the shooting range, and even start a blog about our travels,” my father-in-law told me during a recent visit. “This is our time to try out all the things we’ve always been meaning to do.”

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Dry Lab: Germany, Switzerland & Austria

thumb Nuremberg Endlich

Tour Coordinator Travelogue

Country Travel DISCOVERIES' Tour Coordinator Eva Endlich, our international discoveries expert, traveled in Europe for two weeks in May. As time from her busy work schedule allowed, she shared her experience doing the "dry lab" for the Germany, Switzerland & Austria discovery, which will run Sep 9-20 in 2014.

A "dry lab" is a specific tool our tour coordinators use to personally walk through a planned itinerary, and ensure that it will run smoothly to give our customers the best possible travel experience. As they do this, they make frequent notes and adjustments, send messages back to colleagues at the office, and occasionally blog and photograph the experience.

We've posted short notes from Eva's trip here on this blog, and some of the fun pictures that this shutterbug sent home.

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Dry Lab: Our Iowa's Western Treasures

CTD President Visits Western Iowa, Adds to Popular Tour

Good morning!

Last week, Tour Coordinator Amber Davis and I completed our final “dry-run” of our brand-new “Our Iowa’s Western Treasures” tour. All I can say is Wow! We absolutely cannot wait to share this exciting experience with you.

thumb OIW firemen SUOur hosts are super friendly, and bubbling at the opportunity to show off this hidden corner of our country.   And did their enthusiasm come out during our 6 days traveling the back roads of Iowa? Here’s just a few (of many) highlights I thought I’d share…

First, an added bonus to the tour not previously announced: On the evening of Day 5, Harlan, Iowa Mayor Gene Gettys, Fire Chief Roger Bissen, and the crew of the local Fire Department have invited each of our groups (all seven tours—we started with two departures, and now are selling our seventh!) for dinner at their fire station. (Photo right)

As you know, firemen are some of the best cooks around—wait till you taste the scrumptious fare they’ll have out for us. But, it goes beyond that. I can’t begin to tell you how hospitable these folks were to us last week. While there, you’ll be invited to walk around the entire firehouse (yes, those of us who are still kids at heart can climb on the equipment), and after dinner, the crew will share their fascinating experiences.

thumb OIW Winnebago Bertha FactoryThen there was our visit to the Winnebago Factory in Forest City, where we’ll see first-hand these stunning motorhomes manufactured. The highlight is a stroll on the catwalk in “Big Bertha”, the facility’s flagship building. From that vantage point, we’ll see the developing motor homes move down three 1,032-foot-long assembly lines at 21 inches per minute. (Pictured to the left.) As we gazed down on the plant floor, I told Amber: “We’ll never get people out of here!”

As always, we feature the backbone of our destination. Carroll & El Etchen’s vintage John Deere Tractor collection (featured as a Prettiest Farm in Our Iowa) welcomes us near Clear Lake, Russ & Laura Hansen’s horse ranch (also a past Prettiest Farm) hosts us in the Loess Hills (Russ will share stories about his days as a horse jockey).

thumb OIW Eggs3 SUYou’ll love our exclusive visit to Rose Acres Egg Hatchery, where 1,000,000 eggs are laid each day. That’s Complex Manager Kevin White showing the plant to me in the photo on the right—excuse my hairdo!

We’ll also visit the colorful Reiman Gardens, the Surf Ballroom, Iowa’s World War II prison camp, the Grotto in West Bend, a working ranch where some of the country’s finest rodeo stock is raised, the historic Greenfield Hotel, and John Deere’s Des Moines works, where we’ll be some of the first to enter their new 300,000-square-foot product assembly building. We’ll have wonderful views during our night on the shores of Storm Lake, where we’ve arranged lakeside rooms.

Those are just some of the places we’ll visit on this brand new trip—but we encourage you to sign up now. As I mentioned, we’re on our seventh departure—and this will likely be it, as the ability to add dates is limited. Don’t miss out—western Iowa is truly a hidden gem!

Steve

CTD Highlighted in Milwaukee Biz Journal

Country Travel DISCOVERIES has been featured among the "Milwaukee-area Travel agencies that top the list" by the Milwaukee Business Journal.

In a field of larger, established and corporate-focused agencies, we're pleased to be noted for the second year as standing out for our unique, "off-the-beaten-path" leisure group tours.

"Destinations abound," writes MBJ research editor, Barb Zaferos, "but one leisure travel agency on the list has some off-the-beaten-path travel options within the United States, Canada and also overseas. At Country Travel Discoveries, Elm Grove, one of the most popular tours in 2013 was a weeklong program along the back roads of Iowa, according to president Steve Uelner."

Last year's online listing also featured a lead photo observing that "Country Travel Discoveries focuses on group tours to off-the-beaten-path locales including an old-world farming country destination," and showed a photo from a CTD exclusive group visit with a host Amish family.

This year's listing of top area travel companies canbe found in the Milwaukee Business Journal March 28 print edition.

Slideshow: What Is "The CTD Way"?

Click the image below to view some of our slides and learn about what makes Country Travel DISCOVERIES a different kind of tour operator!
Click on the images' arrow buttons or use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move through the slides.

01 CTD Autumn in Vermont

 

ANE 

Crater Lake

Rushmore

Alsace

Grand Canyon

Alaska

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Buffalo

Almabtrieb

Amish

Ballon

Stave Church

Logger

Windmills

Sugarcane

Bears

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Amadeus

Embera

Erie

CentralPark

Train

Minecar

gondola

Tractor

Mushers

Mayan

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Tortillas

Ireland

curling

greenland

gravewitch

frogmore

rockwell

Ozarks

lobster

rose

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10 Things I Love about Lake Superior & North Woods

aj apostle islands 564-smBy Ann Kaiser, Discoveries Director

1. The Largest Freshwater Lake in the World

Beautiful, powerful Lake Superior is awesome! So big it looks and feels like an ocean, this greatest of the Great Lakes stretches 350 miles…contains 3 quadrillion gallons of water…and has an average depth of nearly 500 feet. The Country Travel DISCOVERIES tour route along Lake Superior’s Minnesota and Wisconsin shores is super scenic and so rich in history. Learning about early French and English fur trade and growth of the area’s iron ore, lumber and fishing industries adds to the eye-opening experience.

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Tips for Travel Group Leaders

Planning, Selling and Running a Great Private Group Tour

KARL Group ALK Jack LindquistWe love working with groups of all sizes, whether providing special discounts for groups as small as 5-to-9, or hand-crafting a customized tour tailored to the needs of a larger private group or organization. After many decades in the business, we’ve helped travel group leaders, both amateur and professional, fill and run successful tours for their organizations.

Here are some tips for success.

 

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