Courier April/May Courier - Page 44

COMPASS WEST SOUTH CENTRAL U.S. The Old West in western Arkansas Miss Laura’s Visitor Center is the typical starting place for a group visit to the western Arkansas city. The center is set in a century-old building that is the first former bordello to be listed on the National Register of History Places. With prior arrangements, Miss Laura—portrayed by Joyce—will greet the groups and recount the scandalous past of Miss Laura’s Social Club and the city’s red-light district, which thrived in the early 1900s. One of the city’s must-dos for groups is the Fort Smith National Historic Site. The attraction includes the courthouse, barracks, jail and restored gallows of the Federal Court of the Western District of Arkansas. During tours, groups can see the courtroom of Judge Isaac C. Parker, who sat on the bench for 21 years and sent 79 men to death by hanging. Joyce says another popular option is a tour featuring The Unexpected Project, a group of more than 30 murals in the downtown area. And, in September 2019, the city will welcome the U.S. Marshals Museum, which will trace the 230-year history of the U.S. Marshals Service. For more information, reach out to Joyce at Fort Smith National Historic Site or visit SMITH “Fort Smith, known as the Star of the Western Frontier, is an exciting destination where folks can bring a heart that loves history, and we’ll show them ways to fill it,” says Carolyn Joyce, tour and travel sales director for the Fort Smith CVB. “Arkansas’ second-largest city can provide several types of activities, and many of our museums and attractions reflect our rich Old West heritage.” Checking in with Cherokee Nation Tourism Travelers seeking to learn more about the Cherokee Nation should head to Catoosa, which is just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Courier spoke with Cheryl Trask, senior manager of Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, about what groups can experience during a visit to the reservation. Courier: Talk a little bit about the Cherokee Nation. Trask: Nestled in 66,000 acres of beautiful countryside in northeast Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation is the largest tribal nation in the U.S. We offer a variety of activities to provide visitors with an authentic experience that not only entertains them but also gives them with a better understanding and appreciation for the history and culture of the Cherokee people. Courier: What other benefits do you offer for groups? Trask: What truly makes us stand out is our knowledgeable and friendly guides. Whether you meet them at one of our four museums or during a bus tour, they all have a love for the Cherokee Nation that runs deep and a passion for sharing it with others. To learn more, contact Trask at or go to 40 April/May 2018 Courier: What interactive programs and tours are available? Trask: We do our best to provide an interactive and engaging experience at all of our locations. Our group tours are available year-round, and each is customizable and often includes hands-on cultural activities, such as bas- ketry, pottery and moccasin making. Featured tours include the Cherokee History Tour, the Will Rogers Tour and the Civil War Tour.