Courier July Courier - Page 25

Motor City majesty The Detroit Experience Factory, the site of one of the city’s welcome centers, has designed a set of public tours to con- nect visitors to its places, projects and people. The Art & Architecture—Downtown Walking Tour leads groups through downtown buildings, many bursting with history and housing trendy restaurants, shops and residences. “It’s a wonderful tour for an introduction to Detroit’s history and an easy way to learn more about our beautiful historic buildings and see some of the vibrant public art throughout downtown,” says Matt Chung, Detroit Experience Factory’s deputy director, who adds that Detroit is also the only U.S. city to receive UNESCO’s City of Design designation. Sites included on the two-hour tour are The Belt, the Spirit of Detroit, One Campus Martius and the Guardian Building. The latter, which is one of the most significant art deco sky- scrapers in the world, was completed in 1929 and housed the Union Guardian Trust Company. Visitors step inside a Guardian Building kaleidoscope of colors, learn about its unique materials like the tangerine brick later marketed by the manufacturer as “Guardian brick,” and check out Aztec- and Native American- inspired designs. The Detroit Experience Factory staff can plan custom tours for groups. For more information, visit detroitexperience factory.org or call +1.313.962.4590. —K.F. Oh boy, it’s St. Croix Wisconsin’s St. Croix National Scenic Riverway provides travelers with access to more than 200 miles of pristine water and thousands of acres of forested landscape. Located in the northwestern corner of the state along the Minnesota border, the National Park Service site includes both the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers. The best way to experience the park is to get out on the water, and the best options are kayaking, fishing and pad- dling tours. Ranger-led programs, including guided paddles, take place at the visitors centers in the cities of St. Croix Falls and Trego. Another popular activity is bird watching. The area is home to more than 250 species, ranging from bald eagles and red-billed hawks to Baltimore orioles and blue herons. Hiking trails or paddling routes offer the best access to view- ing areas, depending on what birds visitors want to see. In the winter, many of the park’s trails double as paths for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. To learn more, call +1.715.483.2274 or go to nps.gov/sacn. —P.H. When the city’s not bustling with summertime tourists, Myrtle Beach is home to the dazzling Dickens Christmas Show and Festivals. Marking its 36th anniversary this year, the event features a Victorian holiday marketplace and is held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Myra Starnes, president of Leisure Time Unlimited Inc. and the event’s mastermind, sought to attract groups to Myrtle Beach during the off-season. She says it’s not your common- place arts and crafts show; it’s constantly changing, yet con- sistently unique—like an authentic Victorian marketplace. Visitors can find an array of gourmet foods, jewelry, cloth- ing, plants, antiques, imported gifts, crafts and décor, all while vendors and performers don Victorian-era attire. They can learn holiday traditions from around the world, talk with characters from a “A Christmas Carol” and, of course, see Santa. The event also offers a high tea and luncheon tea for groups in a Victorian holiday setting that features music and period-clad wait staff. Holiday tours are slated each year for the show, and the 2017 tours are still in the works. The Dickens Christmas Show and Festivals will be Nov. 9–12. The event has free bus parking as well as group discounts. For more information, visit dickenschristmasshow.com or call +1.843.448.9483. —K.F. I’ll be [in Myrtle Beach] for Christmas NTAonline.com 23