Monthly Archives: August 2009

Enjoy Southern Heritage in Memphis, TN

Doubletree Hotel Memphis DowntownMemphis, Tennessee is home to a rich Southern culture. From classic southern cuisine to jazz and gospel music history, Memphis offers the full Southern experience.

2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the Southern Heritage Classic. This year’s event takes place on Sept. 9 through 13 at various sites is Memphis. The event began as a way to celebrate Memphis’ history and the football rivalry of Tennessee State and Jackson State, two historically black universities in the Memphis area.

Different events of the weekend include several concerts of different genres, including Gospel, R & B, comedy, and the Blues. Some of these concerts will take place at the legendary Orpheum Theater in Memphis. The highlight of the weekend is the football game between Tennessee State and Jackson State, which takes place on Saturday, Sept. 12. Saturday kicks off early with a tailgate party at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Also on Saturday the Ed “Too Tall” Jones Golf Classic will take place, as well as a parade, battle of the bands, and fashion show. The event wraps up on Sunday with a Diversity Walk and Classic Catwalk and Hair Show.

We can also take care of all of your lodging needs in Memphis for the entire weekend, including hotels near the Orpheum Theater and the Liberty Bowl. The Holiday Inn Express is close to the Liberty Bowl as well as downtown Memphis attractions, including the Memphis Zoo. The Doubletree Hotel Memphis Downtown is a lodging option close to the Orpheum. This hotel features upscale amenities and services, including an on-site restaurant and spacious rooms and suites. Other nearby attractions include Peabody Place and Beale Street.

Deadwood Jam Offers Lively Reason for Visiting the Black Hills

Chuckwagon Dinner and Western Music Show at Circle B RanchThis September 11 – 12, Deadwood will be hosting the annual Deadwood Jam on historic Main Street for a lively time of country, blues, bluegrass, general songwriters and more for a varied look into the sounds of the Black Hills. Just some of the names set to appear at this year’s festival include Mat Kearney, Rocco DeLuca and The Burden, Randy McAllister with the Brandon Sprague Blues Band, The Outlaws, Sarah Pierce, Savage Henry, and more.

Those interested in attending the Deadwood Jam can find a variety of lodging options throughout the Mount Rushmore area online.

Of course, you can’t stop by the Mount Rushmore area without visiting the monument itself, and along the Mount Rushmore Tour you will see the iconic landmark and more! The Mount Rushmore Tour begins with Mount Rushmore and its visitor’s center. From there, you will explore the area’s other famed sculpture-in-process, the Crazy Horse Memorial. You will then pass through Custer State Park on your way to the Big Thunder Gold Mine for an authentic gold panning experience from the 19th century.

Reserve your Mount Rushmore Tour online.

Aside from sightseeing, the entire family can delight in the down home sounds and tastes with the Chuckwagon Dinner and Western Music Show at Circle B Ranch. The night will feature a hearty meal consisting of tender roast beef, barbecue chicken, biscuits, and more. As for the entertainment, you will be treated to traditional country songs as the house band performs hits from Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Sons of the Pioneers, and more.

Book tickets to the Chuckwagon Dinner and Western Music Show at Circle B Ranch online.

Downtown Chattanooga Offers Great Attractions, Dining

Hilton Garden Inn Chattanooga Downtown When planning your next trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee, make plans to stay or spend an evening exploring all that the rejuvenated downtown area has to offer. With plenty of excellent dining options and sightseeing options, a trip downtown offers activities for both adults and children.

Coolidge Park

This park located in the downtown area is an attraction that everyone can enjoy. Children will love playing in the fountains, and children of all ages will be drawn to the large antique carousel for a ride. The carousel is over 100 years old and still operates. Coolidge Park also hosts community events from time to time. A perfect spot for a relaxing picnic or an afternoon enjoying the sun, Coolidge Park is well worth adding to your Chattanooga itinerary.

Downtown Chattanooga

Occupying a prime spot on the riverfront, downtown Chattanooga has many restaurants and shops available. A number of art and jewelry galleries are located downtown, as well as many locally owned businesses. Dining options from vary from upscale local establishments to quaint cafes perfect for breakfast or lunch. A number of dessert shops are also available downtown for those with sweet tooths. Downtown Chattanooga is also the embarkation point for most Chattanooga riverboat tours, including the Chattanooga Riverboat. Downtown Chattanooga is also home to attractions like the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

We also offer many nice hotels that will let you stay in this beautiful part of the city, keeping you close to a variety of attractions, dining, and shopping options. The Hilton Garden Inn Chattanooga Downtown is located in the Riverfront area and is just minutes away from a range of attractions. This hotel also has upscale amenities, including a fitness center and swimming pool. The Chattanoogan hotel is a classic establishment in downtown that offers upscale amenities and services, including an on-site restaurant and full-service spa. This hotel is close to a variety of Chattanooga attractions, including the Prime Outlets at Warehouse Row.

Turn Winter into a Summer Romp Through Australia & New Zealand

Grand TourCome January, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere will be in the heart of winter with the warmth of the holidays left well behind. However, those looking to heat up 2010 from day one will find just such an option with the extended New Zealand & Australia Grand Tour 2010. Set to depart on January 6, 2010, and covering both Australia and New Zealand over the course of 31 relaxing days, this month-long escape is the perfect way to heat up the last leg of winter and begin your new year with adventure and tropical beauty.

Throughout the month-long journey, you will visit over a dozen popular cities and areas including Christchurch, Queenstown, Auckland, Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne and more with lodging, activities, and 51 meals covered as you explore the land down under alongside a knowledgeable area guide and the rest of your travel party. Along the way, you will experience sheep dog demonstrations, visit Fjordlands National Park, take part in a Maori feast, peruse the big cities of the countries, wonder at the Great Barrier Reef, gain an aerial view of a rain forest, interact with kangaroos, and truly immerse yourself in the area culture by staying overnight with a host family for three nights of your travel!

Those interested in being a part of the New Zealand & Australia Grand Tour 2010 can learn more about the experience and make reservations online.

And for those that simply can not devote an entire month to travel, you can find other exciting Australia and New Zealand vacation ideas online.

Celebrate with Dollywood During the Uplifting National Gospel & Harvest Celebration

DollywoodThis October 2 – 31, the natural wonder of the Smoky Mountains will be coupled with the graceful beauty of hymns as the National Gospel & Harvest Celebration returns to Dollywood theme park. Throughout the nearly month long festival, numerous nationally known acts including The Isaacs, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Riders in the Sky, The Kingsmen and more will bring praise to the already inviting setting that is Dollywood. Aside from daily concerts, the National Gospel & Harvest Celebration will also bring a variety of artisans and craftsmen to the park to work their trades; showcase Rusty’s Chuckwagon, offering Dutch oven demonstrations and campfire cooking; and host the Woodcarving Showcase & Competition (October 2 – 4).

Those from out of town that interested in attending the National Gospel & Harvest Celebration can find a variety of lodging options in the Gatlinburg – Pigeon Forge area online.

Of course, those visiting Dollywood for the National Gospel & Harvest Celebration will still find all of the traditional attractions and activities that Dollywood is noted for. Whether your perfect day at the park includes exploring Mystery Mine and braving Timber Tower, playing with the kids in the Dreamland Forest Treehouse and watching them ride the Busy Bees, settling in to live performances such as Dreamland Drive-In and Country Crossroads, or enjoying traditional Smoky Mountains cuisine at Granny Ogle’s Ham n’ Beans or Miss Lillian’s Chicken House, there is something for one and all at Dollywood!

Visit the New York State Fair over Labor Day Weekend

New York State FairIf you are still looking for vacation ideas for Labor Day weekend, make plans to head up to New York to join in the fun at the annual New York State Fair.

Although New York is known for its many attractions and big-city entertainment, it also attracts almost one million visitors each year to enjoy the annual New York State Fair. This year’s state fair is taking place August 27 through September 7, providing you with 12 days of opportunities to visit the fair and have a great time.

Attractions at this year’s fair include Agricultural and Carriage Museums, Agriculture and Livestock competitions, Art and Craft exhibits, a culinary competition, a daily parade, a Guitar Hero tournament, an International Food Pavilion, and much more. The fair offers plenty of kid-friendly attractions too, including the Kiddieland Midway, duck races, a circus tent, Bwana Jim’s Wildlife Show, and a puppet parade. Of course, the fair features a Midway complete with food vendors, games, and rides. One highlight of the fair that should not be missed is a giant butter sculpture, which is a tradition at this annual fair.

In addition to the activities available daily, the New York State Fair also has live music performances. At the Mohegan Grand Stand, performers scheduled to appear include Kelly Clarkson, Gavin Degraw, Kenny Chesney, Motley Crue, and the Fray. In the Chevrolet Court, Chuck Wicks, Sara Evans, Darius Rucker, the Afters, M.C. Hammar, and Drake Bell are schedule to perform. All of the shows in Chevrolet Court are free to fairgoers.

The New York State Fair is truly an event that the whole family will enjoy, and because it takes place over Labor Day weekend, it is the perfect activity to enjoy during the long weekend. The New York State Fair is located at the Empire State Fairgrounds, which is in Syracuse, New York.

We offer plenty of lodging options in Syracuse, New York that will keep you close to all of the action of the state fair. Our selection includes hotels in a range of price ranges and amenities, so you will be sure to find the right option for your visit.

Pack Your Boots for the Tennessee State Fair

Gaylord Opryland HotelEvery fall, Nashville hosts the Tennessee State Fair at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. This year’s fair will take place from September 11 to 20. The fair is chock-full of activities and exhibits for the whole family, and it is one of Nashville’s must-attend events.

The theme of this year’s fair is “My State Fair.” The fair is open each day from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., except for the opening day of the fair on Sept. 11 when the fair opens at 5 p.m. and closes at 10:30 p.m. Hours of different exhibits may vary from day to day. The fair includes an Agricultural Hall, an Exhibit Hall, a Midway, and Kids Country and Volunteer Village.

The Midway features classic carnival rides and food items, including funnel cakes, corn dogs, cotton candy, and candy apples. In the Agricultural Hall, visitors can see entries of different livestock and animals, including steer, goats, pigs, and more. Another unique aspect of this year’s fair is Kids Country, which features kid friendly activities appropriate for children ages 3 to 8. Also, this year’s fair has incorporated many environmentally friendly practices. Live music during the fair includes Billy Block’s Locals Only Stage, Festival of the Nations, and nightly karaoke contests.

Vacations Made Easy can take care of all of your lodging needs for your time in Nashville. With everything from lodging at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel to downtown near the Riverfront, we have all of the lodging options you need for your Nashville vacation.

Enjoy Family-Friendly Labor Day Activities in Las Vegas

Blue Man GroupLabor Day is a great time to take the family and enjoy one last trip together before summer ends. Although Las Vegas has a reputation as a wild party destination, there are really many friendly-friendly activities that are appropriate for a range of ages.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

The Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Las Vegas is home to dozens of stars—all waxen, of course. The museum features life-size replicas of movie stars, TV stars, musicians, and more that are so life-like, you will have to look twice. Recent additions to this museum include wax figures of Kathy Griffin, Snoop Dogg, and Criss Angel. Madame Tussauds is located at the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino.

Blue Man Group

For families with older children, this activity is perfect. The Blue Man Group has been entertaining audiences of all ages for the past few years with their dynamic performances that combine music, multimedia, and more. The Blue Man Group has become well known for its inventive use of PVC pipe and audio-visual techniques to create music and unforgettable performances that offer music, comedy, and artistic displays.

Back to School Shopping in Las Vegas

Labor Day also means that kids will be returning to school soon, and if you still have not found all of your back to school clothes, Las Vegas offers many options for shopping. The Fashion Outlets Shopping Tours include shuttle transportation to the Fashion Outlets in Las Vegas, which has over 100 stores and factory outlet shops from brands like Nike, Ralph Lauren, and Versace. The Fashion Outlets has something for everyone, and there may even be some Labor Day sales going on.

Last Chance Labor Day Activities in Branson

Moscow CircusLabor Day in the Ozarks provides the perfect time to spend a long weekend going to entertaining shows, shopping, and enjoying the last days of summer. Labor Day is also the last weekend to enjoy many of Branson’s activities and attractions.

Yakov’s Moscow Circus

Produced by legendary Branson entertainer Yakov Smirnoff, this circus show is made to entertain both adults and children. The show was inspired by the original Moscow Circus and follows the love story of Andrei the Clown and Marina the Ballerina. The show includes dancing, acrobatics, fire juggling, and animal acts. A highlight of the show is the unicycle performance of unicycle champion Anthony Soumiatin. In addition to the amazing acts, the show is filled with the humor you expect from Smirnoff. The Moscow Circus’ last performance is Monday, September 7 at 3 p.m.

White Water

Labor Day also brings the last opportunity to enjoy Branson’s largest water park: White Water. The park offers 12 acres of wet and wild fun. Young children will find plenty to do in the fountains and water attractions made just for them at Raintree Island and Splash Island. For more adventurous visitors, the Tropical Twister, Surfquake Wave Pool, Caribbean Plunge, and the Bermuda Triangle. Labor Day is the last day that White Water will be open for the season. Splash and Play tickets for both Silver Dollar City and White Water are also available.

Table Rock Lake

A day at the lake is the perfect way to spend a lazy Labor Day. Guests can bring a picnic lunch or cook out at many of the beach access areas to Table Rock Lake. Moonshine Beach is a popular beach access area that is located near the Tablerock Dam. This access point also offers a boat launch if you want to spend the day on the lake fishing or waterskiing. The beach also features restrooms, a playground, showers, and a picnic area.

Grand Ole Opry Schedule for August 28-29

Grand Ole OpryNote: The Grand Ole Opry does not release upcoming schedules until the Wednesday before. Performances are subject to change without notice.

Performances for Friday, August 28–Buy Tickets

7:00 – 7:30
John Conlee
Jimmy C. Newman
Riders In The Sky

7:30 – 8:00
Jimmy Dickens
Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
Jamie O’Neal

8:00 – 8:30

Mike Snider
Stonewall Jackson
Jean Shepard
The Whites

8:30 – 9:00
Marty Stuart
Connie Smith
Ralph Stanley

Performances for Saturday, August 29–Buy Tickets

7:00 – 7:30
Jimmy Dickens
Jim Ed Brown
Daryle Singletary

7:30 – 8:00
Riders In The Sky
Jack Greene
Jean Shepard
Ralph Stanley

8:00 – 8:30
Mike Snider
Jan Howard
Clay Walker
Opry Square Dancers

8:30 – 9:00
Marty Stuart
John Conlee
Connie Smith

Performances for Tuesday, September 1–Buy Tickets

7:00 – 7:30

Jeannie Seely
Del McCoury Band

7:30 – 8:00
John Conlee
Hal Ketchum

8:00 – 8:30
Jack Greene
The Bellamy Brothers
with special guests
The Bacon Brothers

8:30 – 9:00
Jimmy Dickens
Gretchen Wilson