Kempf - Destinations to consider

Friday, October 15, 2004

Every year I get numerous emails and calls with various questions. A frequent one is: Where is the best place to have a family reunion or a group meeting?

With groups and families having a variety of activities, room is the most important feature to look for. I have several favorite places I ask the group or family leader to consider. Of course first you must take the time to learn about their family and what would best fit their needs and budgets. All of these are within driving distance:

GATLINBURG/PIGEON FORGE

We have beautiful homes, up to seven to 10 bedrooms that will sleep up to 40 to 50 people. Often the cost of these homes when split among families run less than $50 per night with their own bedroom and bath. And the amenities are wonderful -- swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and great community rooms to hold a pot luck, catered meal and, depending on the year, fireplaces great to surround with a cup of hot chocolate. Of course lakes, rivers, hiking, wild life, bike riding, amusement parks and shopping are only 10 to 15 minutes away.

BRANSON/TABLE ROCK LAKE

Don't curl your nose and say "I don't want to go to Branson." Branson often gets the "sneer" because it is in our own back yard. People travel from all over the world to visit this wonderful destination. With the beautiful lake and scenery, you really have a lot of choices of shows, dinners, amusement parks including golf. There really is something for everyone if you look.

They have some new children's shows, which are really new and exciting especially the Acrobats of China. Want to know more? Visit www.elitetravelinc.com All the shows of Branson and new homes and resorts are listed with virtual tours.

GULFSHORES

We have homes, condos and villas both on and off the beach to fit any budget. There are boardwalks, shopping, tennis, Jacuzzis, pool and everything you could need right at your finger tips.

SEAFARING FAMILIES

With the introduction of several new ships in the New Orleans area, which is an easy drive from our area, for a family of 10 or a group of 100, this may be the best. Family reunions and groups have one thing in common -- they seek accommodations to use as a base for dining, sightseeing and socializing together.

They want good children's programs, great entertainment and a variety of activities to meet everyone's taste. We also have private yachts that can be rented or space on mega liners. The great thing about cruises is the kids' programs are free and there is babysitting offered in a safe and secure environment.

For those who are willing to drive a little farther:

LAKE POWELL

It's in Arizona. What a fun adventure. This scenic place like no other offers houseboats fun and adventure. In the Colorado Mountains there are lots of homes and condos, and in the summer the pricing is rock bottom.

You only go around on this Earth once, so spend time with your family, and relationships are always worth investing in.

Carolyn Kempf is president of Elite Travel in Cape Girardeau. (334-1234, 1-800-999-6003 or elitetravelinc.com)

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