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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2 0 1 7 T R A V E L S O U T H T O U R P L A N N E R 26 taken place," said Hester Eby, who has worked at the home for more than 30 years. Some of the most common encounters include taps on the shoulder, sounds of children laughing, unfamiliar fi gures in photographs and faces peep- ing out of windows. In the Fanny Williams room, nicknamed "The Doll Room," many people swear that the doll on the mantle sings or changes positions. "It's nothing to harm you," said Eby, who enjoys the stories of children the most. "You might hear footsteps in one of the cot- tages that sound like children running across the room; but at one time, that was probably their playground." Eby recalled how a group of old college friends recently sent her a photo they took by one of the fountains on the grounds. A young man was standing beside them in the picture, though none of them remembered seeing him at the time. "His face was as clear as the rest of them," she said. "Nothing smoky like you see in the movies." On the weekend, visitors can take a 40-minute evening tour of the house, during which both the history of the home and mystery stories are discussed. They are encouraged to stop by the restaurant and enjoy a Southern-style meal, such as the catfi sh po'boy, the shrimp plat- ter, Louisiana oysters or bread pudding. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. WWW.MYRTLESPLANTATION.COM For many people, evening is a special time to laugh with friends and make unforgettable memories. There's an abundance of opportunity to do so in the Southern states. From stargazing to haunted tours and live music shows, here are some of the re- gion's best venues for an evening of entertainment. Include these on your itinerary next time your group travels to this iconic part of the country. FL ORA -BAMA Orange Beach, Alabama Along the Gulf Coast, there are few places as festive and fun- loving as Flora-Bama Lounge and Oyster Bar, which rests directly over the Florida and Alabama state lines. Since its opening in 1964, the bar has attracted a col- orful mix of patrons, including a few celebrities. Former Oakland Raiders and Alabama quarter- back Kenny Stabler once called Flora-Bama "the best watering hole in the country," and Jimmy Buffet's song "Bama Breeze" was inspired by the bar. Claiming the title of Amer- ica's Last Great Roadhouse, this beachfront bar and grill invites people of all backgrounds to gather and relax with a glass of its legendary drink, the Bushwacker, a creamy, frozen cocktail made with chocolate and coffee li- queurs. Other menu favorites in- clude the Bamaburger, coconut shrimp and oysters served raw or baked with Gouda cheese. Featuring daily live music from two outdoor stages, the bar frequently plays host to birthday parties, wedding parties, senior groups and more. "It's a bar for everyone," said Jenifer Surface, marketing and public and community relations director for the bar. "You can have a millionaire sitting next to a biker." The bar hosts a variety of local events throughout the year, but the most popular is the famous Interstate Mullet Toss, when thousands of locals and tourists alike gather on the beach to partake in the tradition of throwing a mullet, a type of ray-fi nned fi sh, over state lines. Prizes are offered to those who toss it the farthest. Throughout the weekend event each spring, friends and families celebrate with music, food and many oth- er activities. WWW.FLORABAMA.COM MYRTLES PLANTATION St. Francisville, Louisiana A trip to Myrtles Plantation is a journey back in time. With more than 220 years of history, this antebellum house holds more than just elegant furnishings and Southern charm; it also happens to be one of the most haunted places in the United States. The plantation now functions as a bed-and-breakfast, and visitors come from far and wide to tour the property, which includes the original manor, a restaurant and several cottages. "You get to stay where many of the ghostly encounters have WITH GLITTERING LIGHTS AND VIBRANT SOCIAL GATHERINGS, the South can seem like a different place after dark. Photos cour tesy Flora-bama FLORA-BAMA BEFORE DARK

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