The Group Travel Leader

JAN 2017

The online home of The Group Travel Leader, America's leading publication for the group travel industry. Articles on hot destinations, attractions, news and travel trends from across the country and around the world.

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T H E 2 4 GROUP G R R O U P TRAVEL LE ADER T H E originated from the Firelands region of north-central Ohio, allotted to Connecticut citizens whose homes were burned by the British during the Revolutionary War. As they resettled, they brought with them their winemaking heritage. Firelands' winemaker for 30 years, Claudio Salvador, hails from Italy. His 2014 Firelands Gewurztraminer won best white wine in the state at the Director's Choice awards. Grapes are grown on-site and obtained from New York and Pennsylvania, since demand far exceeds the winery's acreage. The winery also stocks home winemaking supplies. Tasting flights feature four one-ounce samples plus a bonus round, usually an Italian import. Salvador imports Italian wines; one label is from his wife's family, who are winemakers in Italy. Hourlong group tastings in a cozy upstairs room accommodate up to 60 people. Tastings include a tour that overlooks the wine production area: stainless tanks, riddling racks for champagne and the bottling line. Each person takes home a glass stamped with the winery's name. H O C K I N G H I L L S S TAT E PA R K , L O G A N Ohio's diverse geography offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. In the heart of the state, approximately an hour south of Columbus, I looped back to visit Hocking Hills State Park. This spot is like no other in Ohio with its dramatic rock formations, waterfalls and caves. Old Man's Cave Trail leads hikers to its upper, middle and lower falls amid sandstone cliffs and steep hills. The trail is accessed by stairways and paths built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Zip lining, kayaking and fish- ing round out the park's outdoor activities. According to locals, spring rains cre- ate picturesque waterfalls, and the autumn leaves are spectacular. Hocking Hills Lodge serves renowned bris- ket, pulled pork, smoked chicken and ribs for groups. Chef Matt Rapposseli, a New England Culinary Institute graduate and vet- eran chef, uses a wood-fired smoker, whose mouthwa- tering aroma lures diners in from the parking lot. He cooks meats overnight for fall-off-the-bone tender- ness. Except for the ketchup and barbecue sauce, every- thing on the outstanding menu is made from scratch, down to the salad dressings, potato rolls and pizza crust. Next time, I'll plan a return visit for the lodge's popular Sunday brunch. Courtesy Hocking Hills Tourism Assoc. Courtesy Lake Erie Shores and Islands WINE TASTING AT FIRELANDS WINERY A SECLUDED WATERFALL IN THE HOCKING HILLS T O U I O H I O W W W.O H IO .O RG

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