Monthly Archives: July 2008

Memphis Music and Heritage Festival Offers Cultural Fun in Tennessee

Memphis is ringing in the fall season this Labor Day Weekend by celebrating its culture with the now 20th annual Memphis Music and Heritage Festival. Held in downtown Memphis across five stages, the festival is set to feature over one hundred performers as they showcase everything from rockabilly to drill teams, the blues to gospel: there’s even set to be a variety of storytellers to help pass on the folklore of the area. Of course, it just wouldn’t be a Memphis celebration without barbecue, and the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival certainly knows this to be true. Along with the wide range of artists and genres featured at the festival, guests will also find a healthy helping of barbecue and other traditional, Memphis favorites.

Those looking to completely submerse themselves in a time of Memphis culture will definitely want to make their way towards Beale Street to check out the Blues City Cafe. Taking up two storefronts directly on Beale Street, Blues City Cafe offer a varied assortment of Memphis favorites ranging from their time-honored barbecue to fried catfish. Aside from the great dining and authentic atmosphere, Blues City Cafe also has ties to the stars from being featured in such Hollywood blockbusters as “The Firm.”

Of course, it’s hard to mention music in Memphis without turning the topic towards its favorite son, Elvis Presley. And while you may no longer be able to take in an authentic Elvis performance, you can still become close to the man by touring his actual home and learning of the legacy he left behind. With Elvis Presley’s Graceland Platinum Experience you’ll be able to take a tour through eight rooms of his distinctly unique mansion, Graceland, browse Elvis’ two custom airplanes, and even pay your respects at The King’s final resting place.

Outdoor Excitement in Chattanooga, TN

Located southwest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just on the border of Georgia, Chattanooga is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Tennessee and Georgia area. Raging rivers and secluded caves can be found scattered throughout the surrounding of the city for a vacation experience that can all at once be accommodating and rugged. In fact, it takes no more than a few minutes to be transported from the heart of downtown Chattanooga to the Tennessee River, offering a wide range of flexibility in your vacation plans. Below, you’ll find a variety of outdoor activities within the Chattanooga area to help add a touch of adventure to your next stay in Tennessee.

Crystal Palace Cave Tour

You’ll explore over a quarter-mile of underground paths and geological beauty with a guided tour through Crystal Palace Cave. As you uncover a variety of stalactites, stalagmites, fossils and other geological gems, your knowledgeable guide will be right on hand to help provide in-depth meaning to all that is discovered throughout your journey. And the best part is that you won’t have to be a professional spelunker or get down on your hands and knees to experience the awe-inspiring sights of Crystal Palace Cave – there’s a walkway throughout the entirety of the tour!

Ocoee River Rafting

Whether you’re an avid rafter or have never even seen a river before, the Ocoee River Rafting is an experience that professional and novice alike can enjoy. Along this journey you’ll raft your choice of the upper or middle Ocoee, with rapids ranging between level 3 and level 5. Your entire experience will be led by a knowledgeable area guide, and provide picturesque views of the Smoky Mountains region. From the excitement experienced to the peaceful sights seen, this is an all-around activity that should suit most any visitor.

Chattanooga Nature Center

Those looking for a more controlled time of natural exploration in Chattanooga should find the Chattanooga Nature Center to be just the ticket. Over 30 native species call the Chattanooga Nature Center home, with each living in a natural habitat throughout the center. A trail leads guests past trickling streams and lush countryside with a variety of owls, snakes, turtles, wolves and other Tennessee natives going about their day. The Chattanooga Nature Center also features a varied of flora through numerous garden settings for a botanical experience of Tennessee as well.

Experience the Culture and Fun of Sturgis in South Dakota!

It’s turned into an international phenomenon for the biking community, and once again Sturgis will be holding its annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is set to be held from August 4th through 10th with, again, an estimate of roughly a half-million people showing up for the grand celebration. Along with the general gathering of hundreds of thousands of like-minded individuals, Sturgis offers a variety of events both related and non-related to motorcycles.

And while there are numerous activities taking place in conjunction with Sturgis, there are also numerous general activities in the area that can highlight your visit. Mount Rushmore, of course, is always a popular attraction when visiting South Dakota. And with our Mount Rushmore Tour you’ll not only get a glimpse of the Mount Rushmore monument, but also of the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Sylvan Lake and many other notable sights of the area.

Those looking to stick with the theme of vehicles during their visit to Sturgis may be interested in visiting the Pioneer Auto Show & Antique Town. Featuring over 250 vehicles ranging from cars to motorcycles, and even classic tractors, there’s a sight for every car enthusiast at the Pioneer Auto Show & Antique Town. Just a small sample of what to expect includes The General Lee and Elvis’ personal Harley Davidson.

Experience the Bay in San Diego, CA

With stunning views of both the expansive Pacific Ocean and sprawling San Diego skyline, the San Diego Harbor is a great point of sightseeing for those visiting San Diego. And just as the Harbor itself can provide a variety of different views, there are a number of ways to go about exploring those sights. From elegant dinner cruises to captivating nature cruises, there’s an experience for nearly everyone waiting in the San Diego Harbor. Below, we’ve highlighted just a few of the Harbor’s many different cruise options to help you start planning your next visit to San Diego today.

San Diego Harbor Excursions Dinner Cruise

The San Diego Harbor Excursions Dinner Cruise offers visitors a full night in the Harbor with dining and entertainment. Dinner consists of salad, bread, choice of entre and dessert for a meal that is sure to tantalize the taste buds and sustain the body. And you’ll need all the energy you can get with a live band taking to the stage after the meal for a time of dancing and entertainment. If you’re looking for an active way to experience the San Diego Harbor, then the San Diego Harbor Excursions Dinner Cruise is for you.

San Diego Harbor Excursions

If you’re looking for an intense time of sightseeing, then the basic San Diego Harbor Excursions should deliver. Along the tour you’ll see a variety of sights including the Harbor and Shelter Islands, Point Loma, Coronado Bridge, North Island Naval Station and numerous other points of interest in the San Diego Harbor. And with the option to choose between the North Bay Cruise, South Bay Cruise or Full Bay Cruise, you’ll find a time of sightseeing just right for you.

San Diego Harbor Whale Watch

The San Diego Harbor Whale Watch offers a time of sightseeing geared more towards nature as you explore the near mystical sight of whales interacting in the wild. The San Diego Harbor is home to the California gray whale, and offers an abundance of opportunity to see these massive animals in their natural habitat. Of course, whales aren’t the only animals to call the Harbor home, and there’s always the chance of running into other marine friends including dolphins, sea lions and a variety of bird species.

Family Vacation Ideas in Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas may be stuck with the stigma of gambling and debauchery, but that’s not to say that Sin City can’t be a perfect vacation spot for the family. In fact, amidst the glamour of the bright lights and quick cash, travelers will find an area teeming with family attractions that are sure to be the highlight of any vacation to the area. Sensationalism may help the casinos, but the truth of the matter is that Vegas is for the family. Below, we’ve highlighted a few ideas to help get your vacation plans in motion, and your family in Las Vegas.

Power Pass Las Vegas

The Power Pass can be purchased in 1, 2, 3 or 5-day increments, and offers travelers admission to numerous Las Vegas activities for one price! Star Trek: The Experience, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Manhattan Express roller coaster, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art and the Stratosphere Tower are just some of the many activities offered with the Power Pass, as well as a guidebook and special offers at various restaurants and shops throughout Vegas. If you’d like to sample a little of everything in Las Vegas, then the Power Pass Las Vegas is a great way to get it done.

Las Vegas Mini City Tour

The name may mention mini, but you’ll find a comprehensive view of Las Vegas with the Las Vegas Mini City Tour. From touring the glitz of The Strip to exquisite neighborhoods the border the city, you’ll see the full range of Las Vegas along this tour. And best of all, your knowledgeable driver will share numerous stories and anecdotes in regards to Vegas’ start as the gaming capital it has become.

Grand Ole Opry Schedule of Performers For August 1 & 2, 2008

Please Note: The Grand Ole Opry does not release final lineups until the Wednesday prior to each performance. This list will be updated weekly as new performers are confirmed and added to the lineup.

Friday, August 1 – Order Tickets

Jeannie Seely
Connie Smith
Mark Wills
Jimmy C. Newman
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
Jean Shepard
David Ball
Raul Malo
Jim Ed Brown
Buddy Jewell
Mandy Barnett

Saturday, August 2 – Order Tickets

7:00 pm performance

Jeannie Seely
Jimmy C. Newman
Randy Houser
Jim Ed Brown
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
Jamey Johnson
Jean Shepard
Stu Phillips
Raul Malo
Opry Square Dancers
John Conlee
Connie Smith
The Grascals

9:30 pm performance

Jeannie Seely
Jimmy C. Newman
Randy Houser
Jim Ed Brown
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
Jamey Johnson
Jean Shepard
Jan Howard
Raul Malo
Opry Square Dancers
John Conlee
Connie Smith
The Grascals

Celebrate Jazz Culture in The Windy City

Chicago is gearing up to once again present an entire weekend of excellent jazz with the Chicago Jazz Festival at Grant Park. Each year the Chicago Jazz Festival brings in a variety of jazz styles as the biggest names in the business perform for The Windy City, and this year is certainly no exception. Beginning on August 28 and running through August 31, this year’s Chicago Jazz Fest is set to once again be held at Grant Park, and will include Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Alison Ruble and Vijay Lyer, amongst others. Along with the great weekend of jazz, visitors will also find a variety of crafts and food vendors on-hand to offer a complete day of entertainment.

It may seem like a lot to ask for more than a full weekend of great jazz, but the city of Chicago does provide alternate opportunities for those looking to completely submerse themselves in the sounds of Chi-town. With the Blues by Night Tour Experience you can experience the homegrown sounds of Chicago as you explore The Windy City nightlife. Along this tour you’ll visit hot spots such as Buddy Guys Legends and Rosa’s Lounge, and experience the authentic feel of the Chicago nightlife.

Explore the Historic Architecture in Savannah, GA

The city of Savannah is seen by many as a true gem of the South, and for good reason. From the tales of the city’s past to the visual remembrances seen through the lush gardens and stunning architecture, Southern gentility can still be found in nearly every step through the streets of Savannah. From sightseeing tours to hotel accommodations, you can completely immerse yourself in the old world feel of Savannah for a stay that will not only be informative, but immersive as well. Below, we’ve highlighted a few vacation ideas for those interested in the unique architecture of Savannah, GA.

Savannah Homes Walking Tour

One of Savannah’s most praised aspects is its pristine collection of antebellum architecture, and with the Savannah Homes Tour you’ll have the opportunity to visit two of the city’s more distinct examples for an interesting time of architectural sightseeing. Both the interior and exterior of the Davenport House and Owens-Thomas House, built in 1820 and 1819 respectively, are featured along the tour for a complete look into the romantic architecture of the period. And whether you’re an admirer of architectural design or simply looking to experience the lost grandeur of the South, the Savannah Homes Tour can prove to be a great experience.

Mansion on Forsyth Park

The Mansion on Forsyth Park is a restored Victorian mansion transformed into one of Savannah’s more trendy hotel offerings. Located in the ever popular Historic District, Mansion on Forsyth Park completely immerses visitors in the original feel of Savannah, GA while offering a cutting edge stay as well. Inside the pristine Victorian shell of Mansion on Forsyth Park visitors will find onyx marble lobby, spa services, fine dining and more for a ritzy stay in the old world.

Celebrate Southern Gospel at Branson’s Silver Dollar City!

Starting this August 28, and running through September 7, the Southern Gospel Picnic Days will be returning to Silver Dollar City. During the extended festival you’ll find all of the classic charm and draw of Silver Dollar City on display, alongside a hearty helping of Southern picnic favorites and some of the top gospel performers from around the nation. Throughout the day park-goers will find musicians performing throughout the park, with the special dining options offered throughout the park as well. What’s more, there will also be numerous, special nighttime concerts to cap off the active day of thrill rides and picnic dining. Just a few of the names featured at this year’s festival include The Isaacs, The Kingsmen, and Jeff & Sherri Easter.

Aside from the great dining and musical options that will be featured throughout Silver Dollar City during Southern Gospel Picnic Days, guests will also be able to enjoy all of the traditional sights, sounds and excitement of Silver Dollar City during the festival. From thrilling rides such as Wildfire and Powderkeg to family-friendly shows that include McHaffie’s Homestead and This Country’s Rockin’, there are a variety of activities taking place in Silver Dollar City for a scene that can offer something for the entire family.

Celebrate Smoky Mountain Culture With Gatlinburg MountainFest

This August Gatlinburg will celebrate its culture and heritage on the 17th and 18th with the Gatlinburg MountainFest. Throughout the two days visitors will find a wide spread of classic Appalachian music and craft demonstrations. In addition to the events typical activities, this year’s MountainFest will also rekindle the past with Old Timer’s Day celebration complete with storytelling, pig calling and even round-table discussions with some of the area’s elder citizens in regards to the history of Gatlinburg.

On Friday, August 17 the festivities will run from noon to 10 p.m. with Saturday’s festivities taking place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Whether visiting to celebrate Gatlinburg’s Bicentennial or simply wanting to immerse yourself in the culture of the Smokies, Gatlinburg MountainFest is sure to offer both an educational and entertaining look at the history of Gatlinburg.

Continuing with Smoky Mountains culture, Dollywood offers visitors a complete theme of the Smokies surrounded by thrill rides, great dining, live entertainment and much more. So whether you’re looking for an extreme time of excitement or a casual day of being entertained, Dollywood can offer a full-day of wonder for the entire family.