The Group Travel Leader

MAR 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 1 GROUP TRAVEL LE ADER T H E WAC O Waco has created the Magnolia Trail for fans of the popular HGTV program" Fixer Upper." All shops, restaurants and attractions on the trail have been mentioned on the TV show or are included in Chip and Joanna Gaines' blogs or website. A good place to start your visit is at the distinguished Magnolia Silos, just off the highway. At these grain silos, now attractions in themselves, visitors can browse the Market, play games on the lawn, check out the garden and dine at food trucks. Newest additions are Magnolia Seed and Supply and the Silos Baking Co. Next up, groups can stop at the Little Shop on Bosque, which housed the original Magnolia Market. The shop moved to the Silos in late November 2015, but the stop makes a good photo op. An exciting development this spring is that the 1910 Mailander House, featured on the first season of "Fixer Upper," will be opening to group tours by appointment during the week. The tour accommodates 10 to 25 people, takes about 30 minutes and costs $10 per person. Larger groups can divide into two. Group leaders interested in touring the house should contact owner Dave Morrow directly at mailander.house@gmail.com. The now-closed Elite Café was purchased by the Gaines family in 2016. The cafe opened in 1919 and was Waco's first restaurant to use refrigeration in 1923. It was often frequented by Elvis Presley when he was stationed as a private at Fort Hood. Future episodes of "Fixer Upper" will reveal how the dynamic duo will transform this historic property. The Gaines family donated the proceeds from an auction of the cafe's contents to Mission Waco for a nonprofit grocery store, the Jubilee Food Market, in an older neighborhood. T Y L ER Tyler lives up to its moniker as "America's Rose Capital." At the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden, the nation's largest rose garden, growers develop new varieties that are evaluated over a two-year period. Fourteen acres grow more than 450 rose species, from lovely tree roses to antique varieties. The Rose Garden hosts the annual Texas Rose Festival in mid-October. Visitors can meet the Rose Queen in this spectacular outdoor setting during the popular Queen's Tea. "The roses bloom two times annually, from late April into early May and from mid to late October," said Holli Fourniquet, assistant vice president of marketing for Visit Tyler. "The garden is a great place to visit year-round because of its other plantings, including camellias, azaleas and the autumn leaves. Some years, the rose and azalea bloom times overlap." The history of the Texas Rose Festival and the rose industry are chronicled T A O U I — W W W.T R A V E LT E X A S . C O M — Artwork by Donia Simmons in the garden's museum. The gowns worn by Texas Rose Festival queens are also displayed. Rose aficionados won't want to miss the gift shop, with its rose-themed offerings. In spring, Tyler's 10-mile Azalea Trail explodes with color. The 58th Annual Azalea and Spring Flower Trail spans three weekends, March 24 to April 9. First introduced to the city in 1929 by a local nurseryman who shipped azaleas by boxcar from Georgia, they now grow profusely within three districts that are listed on the National Historic Register. An open-air shuttle takes groups along the Azalea Trail for great picture taking and a leisurely pace. Step-on tours are another option and feature homes along the trail in the Azalea District. The district encompasses about 950 homes, with many built during the 1930s as a result of the oil boom. Courtesy Tyler CVB AZALEAS ON DISPLAY IN TYLER AZALEAS ON DISPLAY IN TYLER Courtesy Dallas CVB DALLAS' REUNION TOWER Courtesy Grapevine CVB LIVE MUSIC AT A GRAPEVINE FESTIVAL

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