Brand USA

The Brand USA Megafam celebrates in style at the grand finale

Last night, the Brand USA Megafam celebrated in style with an awesome Grand Finale in Austin, Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World®.

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Arriving on domestic flights with American Airlines, agents were treated to a tour of the Circuit of the Americas, home to Formula 1, Moto GP and the X Games. Then, it was time to don the Austin glad rags and head to the W Hotel for dinner and presentations.

TIP: Recommend a stay in one of Austin’s downtown hotels for easy access to the city’s lively music and entertainment districts, such as 6th Street and the Warehouse District.

Following presentations from Brand USA, British Airways, Visit Austin and, of course, our seven groups, who shared their fantastic experiences from across the USA, Austin had a surprise in store…

The group headed next door to The Moody Theater, home to Austin City Limits (the longest-running music series in U.S. television history), only to discover that all 100 agents had a ticket to that night’s Gypsy Kings gig – live music in the Live Music Capital of the World®, a true Austin experience!

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TIP: Visitors can also experience live music nightly in one of the city’s many bars, cafes, clubs and music venues (of which it has more than 250!).

Following a night soaking up the atmosphere on 4th Street, all agents rose early to live out their newly-discovered inner cowboy at a Texas-style breakfast, hosted by Texas Tourism at the Stephen F. Austin InterContinental Hotel. With more live music and great Texan food to fuel the groups for the day, it was time to wave goodbye to the USA and depart for the return to the UK and Ireland.

Thanks for sharing this journey with us – we hope you’ve discovered the USA, like never before! Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for an in-depth review of the trip in our post-Megafam supplement, coming soon with your copy of TTG.

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It’s sunshine and beaches in Florida

Today, the groups will make their way to Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World, for the Brand USA Megafam Grand Finale!

For the Fantastic Florida group, that means leaving the pristine beaches of Florida’s west coast following a tour that has led them from Miami to St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

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TIP: Recommend a stay in the luxurious Loews Don CeSar Hotel (the “Pink Palace”) for immediate access to St. Pete Beach, ranked one of the best beaches in the world.

On the final day, agents enjoyed a chartered boat trip with Dolphin Landings, which also provides public tours including dolphin watching and sunset sails, on the beautiful Tampa Bay. For those who prefer to explore beyond the beach, recommend the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, home to oil paintings, original drawings and sculptures from throughout Salvador Dali’s career.

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TIP: For more art in St. Petersburg, your customers can visit the Morean Arts Center, the Museum of Fine Arts or the Chihuly Collection (sponsored by the Morean Arts Center).

Naturally, no visit to Florida would be complete without a beachside cocktail and agents toasted farewell to the Sunshine State at Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest rooftop bar, overlooking Clearwater Beach, before heading to the Sheraton Sand Key Resort for an indulgent beach party!

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Now, it’s on to Austin to celebrate the week in the Live Music Capital of the World®!

Southern charm and soul food

It’s all southern charm and soul food for our next group as they tour North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Although it’s just a two hour drive between the delightful towns of Charleston and Savannah, there is plenty for visitors to explore beyond these two seaside gems. The coast features a wealth of beautiful barrier islands each offering a relaxing escape for holidaymakers and the Megafam has been checking them out!

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TIP: For customers looking for an island getaway on the route between Charleston and Savannah, recommend Hilton Head Island, which offers space to golf, shop and relax by the beach.

South of Savannah, the group stayed in St. Mary’s, the gateway to Cumberland Island National Seashore, which is Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island with pristine beaches, forests and marshes to explore. Nearby, Jekyll Island provides another family-friendly beach spot – it’s home to 10 miles of shoreline, wildlife fun at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and the Summer Waves water park.

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TIP: The Jekyll Island Club Hotel, once an exclusive private members club, is open to visitors looking for a historic and luxurious stay on the island.

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Agents returned to Savannah for their final day, touring the historic district with an Old Town Trolley Tour, enjoying cocktails on the Bohemian Hotel rooftop and catching a live musical production at the Savannah Theatre.

There’s just one day to go before the Grand Finale in Austin, Texas – you won’t want to miss it, so check back soon for our latest photos and updates!

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Cool coast and culinary culture

Warning: mouths may water at our latest update as we explore the cool coast, crab shacks and culinary culture of Chesapeake Bay with the Capital Coast Adventures group!

From Maryland’s biggest city, Baltimore, home to the National Aquarium and historic Fort McHenry (where the Battle of Baltimore became the inspiration for “The Star-Spangled Banner”) the group headed to the state’s capital, Annapolis. Known as America’s Sailing Capital, the city is poised on the edge of Chesapeake Bay offering plenty of opportunities to get out on the water.

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TIP: Annapolis is also rich in U.S. history – recommend a walking tour with Watermark (which also offers boat tours, cruises and charters) to those who wish to explore it.

Next, the agents’ journey took them across the Chesapeake Bay to St Michaels; here they sampled local crab, clams and oysters whilst sitting a stone’s throw from the water at The Crab Claw restaurant.

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To explore the full length of the bay, the group drove south to Virginia Beach, Virginia. Here, the famous three-mile boardwalk calls out to be cruised along by bike – visitors can also experience a unique dolphin encounter on the water with a Chesapean Outdoors kayak tour!

TIP: Holidaymakers can enjoy nightly entertainment during the summer months on four seaside stages along the Virginia Beach boardwalk – at 7th, 17th, 24th and 31st Streets.

Tomorrow, this group will be diving into the history books with a tour of colonial Williamsburg and a Segway tour of historic Richmond!

New York, New York, but not as you know it

Beyond the bright lights of New York City is a natural outdoor playground fit for any adventurous traveller. From the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont, the fourth Megafam group has arrived to explore the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.

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Staying in Lake Placid, agents enjoyed a variety of activities including a morning’s fly-fishing on the Ausable River, before heading to the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, an incredible attraction filled with wild and rare animals and a range of interactive exhibits.

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TIP: Lake Placid has excellent access to outdoor recreation including hiking the Adirondacks, kayaking the town’s lakes and rivers and experiencing a bobsled ride at one of the 1980 Winter Olympic sites!

However, New York State also offers plenty for the visitor who prefers a slower pace. Our next stop, the Finger Lakes Region, is home to quaint villages, beautiful scenery and more than 100 wineries. Recommend exploring the area from the water with a Mid Lakes Navigationdinner cruise.

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TIP: Base customers in Syracuse to explore the Finger Lakes Region– the town is just a one hour flight, a four hour drive or a five and a half hour train ride (with Amtrak) from New York City.

Don’t forget to stay up to date with all the latest from the Megafam at thebrandusa.com/Events/Megafams – this group will soon be sharing their snaps of Niagara Falls!

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