The Tour Marm

Friday, March 30, 2007

Thanks to a comment on one of my previous posts, I've discovered a fun new blog and a new-found friend, the Educational Tour Marm. The Marm's career is "Professional Educational Tour Planner and Guide." Wow! What a job! Imagine- traveling all across the country, studying and teaching history-- and getting paid to do it!!

The Tour Marm's itinerary plan includes a school bus tour of New York State (she's from Virginia, but the school kids are coming from California). The Marm, a gaggle of schoolteachers, and two bus loads of schoolchildren (yes, two) plan "a special tour of the Troy area to learn about the Industrial Revolution (which is part of their curriculum) and will be visiting the arsenal." Sounds like a 'blast,' heh heh. They also hope to see more of the state, including the City and Niagara Falls.

Of course, scheduling events and squeezing in multitudes of kids and teachers must be quite a feat. One problem the Marm has run into is trying to find places that will hold the California masses.

May I be so bold as to recommend the following:

Fort Stanwix in Rome, NY: Admission is FREEEE and the educational quality of the site is unsurpassed, IMHO. An outstanding visit. My blog version of our visit is here.

Herkimer Home in Little Falls, NY: I first visited this beautiful historic site on a school bus tour in 7th grade (we called them "field trips" back then). I was awed by the place. The tour guides gave my group a first-hand experience of Colonial life in Upstate NY by baking old-style pancakes, making beer with hops, and cooking colonial soup. Visiting this place remains one of my fondest memories as a kid.

Old Stone Fort and Museum in Schoharie, NY: Oh my goodness, we loved this place. You could spend hours looking at the heaps of stuff they have here. It is impossible for me to summarize our visit in brief-- check out the details here. Fun!!

Howe Caverns in Howes Cave, NY: Another place I visited as a kid, and as an adult. I have never taken my own children here-- not yet, anyway. It is a truly amazing place, and its sensational discovery, establishment, decline, and rediscovery are a history-lesson goldmine.

Fort Ontario in Oswego, NY: I don't know if they do large tour groups, but the place could certainly hold it. We absolutely loved the Lake views and the underground stockade. Check out our visit here.

You cannot visit New York State without seeing the Adirondacks. There is so much to do in this massive "forever wild" forest of New York... but if you cannot hike, fish, go birding, ski, bike, camp, or take the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, at least drive through this glorious forest of mountains. You will not regret it. Here are some helpful links about visiting the Adirondacks:

Adirondack Park Agency
Adirondack Museum
Central Park for the World
Visit the Adirondacks
Adirondack Base Camp (a fellow Upstate blogger who has a wealth of information and links)

A visit to the Adirondacks can also enhance Industrial Revolution studies. The Adirondacks were a prime source for the mining and logging industries of the Northeast during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The Adirondack Museum has more information on this.

As fellow New Yorkers realize, I have only scratched the surface of the historic sites and events our state sponsors. You can take a peek at my own itinerary this year for even more places to visit.

I'll look forward to blogging the Marm's updates as she and her group tour the Empire State. Stay tuned!

4 remarks
Apple said...

All of your suggestions are great and I totally agree that Adirondacks are a must. It sounds like they plan a long tour down the Thruway. On the way to The Falls they might want to stop off at Letchworth State Park and the Genesee Country Museum. Maybe a mid-tour day at the beach and a detour to one of the many beaches along Lake Ontario if they come late enough for the water to have warmed up.

10:04 PM  
Susie Q said...

Great suggestions. We were stationed in Rome, NY for 3 1/2 years in the mid 1990s. We visited everywhere we could and saw all your suggestions. Great fun.

We always loved Coopestown too, even just to walk around in the Spring and Fall.

The Adirondacks are a must. Just take off driving on a lovely day. So many places to see and putter about.

What a nice blog to visit. I will be back!

1:54 AM  
The Tour Marm said...

Wow!

It's wonderful to be appreciated!

And I loved the suggestions for the future! (I'm expecting to design a few more tours to market to California groups.)

The weather and the early travel date was a challenge. Many places were either closed or so short-staffed they could not accommodate such a large group. (The William Seward Home was one of them.) There is just so much one can do in seven days!

The biggest setback was the flight. Buffalo is both expensive and the airplanes were not large enough to keep the entire group together. We've had to fly into Cleveland and I found the Erie Maritime Museum to break up the journey. The folks at the EMM have also been wonderful - and have great curriculum materials!

I did want to visit Lake Placid and the John Brown Home, but again, there is just so much...

One very big correction...I am a native New Yorker! Yes! I'm from Queens, but I had spent several years guiding tours for some major commercial adult tour companies throughout New York State, New England and Eastern Canada.

I look forward to seeing you all at Roads Scholars!

Until then,

Excelsior!

2:56 AM  

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