Chelsea Flower Show Marketing - Huron Tours

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Our Chelsea Flower Show brochure packet takes a lot of work to put together every year. When we are done with the design, we want it to be a package that shows our pride in our English Garden tours, and give our potential clients a feel for what kind of quality, care, planning and treatment they can expect if they decide to join us on a trip. We always receive a lot of nice comments on the packet, which is great feedback to get! 

A few years ago I almost gave my Dentist a heart-attack. He asked why I'd waited so long to schedule my appointment, and hadn't I received the helpful reminder postcard his office sent out? I said "I think I saw something from you guys but I just threw it in the trash without reading it." He said "Do you know how long it took us to pick out that postcard? We argued about it for 3 hours!"

We at HTT also want to avoid the "I think I saw it, but I might have thrown it in the trash without reading it" comments that are endemic of any marketing by mail campaign (even though we are only sending brochures to people who have requested them!) So like Dr. Mark DDS, we put a lot of effort into creating a package that you might just possibly want to open (unfortunately I can't figure out a cost effective way to include a mini bag of M&Ms with every brochure we send out).

Elements of the Chelsea Brochure Packet

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We have a few different elements to the Chelsea packet. 

We have an outer "shell" that outlines the highlights of the Chelsea in Style tour, gives our explanation of why we think it's the best tour, a brief history of our company, some feedback from past travelers, and some nice pictures. This is an expensive piece to create and print because it has a custom fold, and is printed on the type of paper stock a folder is made from. We try to print a lot of these each time we need them, and reuse them for several years. 

This year we are changing some elements of the "Chelsea Flower Show Tour" shell. The last change we made was about 2 years ago. We don't have anything drastic to change, but wanted to update some of the pictures, and change the color scheme a little. We know that people will request this brochure sometimes 3 or 4 years in a row before they are ready and able to join us - we want to give them something new to look at!

Then, inside the shell we have the individual brochures for each of the three English garden trips we run each spring (Gorgeous Gardens of the Cotswolds, Chelsea Flower Show in Style, Rye English Garden Extension.) Since each of these trips can be taken individually, or dovetailed nicely together, we include all three trips in the packet. 

Finally we include information on our travel insurance product, and our reservation form.

The whole packet arrives in a special envelope that I won't describe here so we can keep some of the magic alive!

25 Years of Chelsea Trips!

This year is a special year for Huron Tours as it is our 25th Chelsea in Style tour. We feel like that is a pretty important milestone. It is hard work year after year to arrange, market, sell, and then lead a tour that people rave about when we send the follow up questionnaire upon returning home (and come on again, and recommend to their friends, and are upset when it is over). There have been lots of companies who have tried to create their own Chelsea trip who are no longer around. And we have several last minute calls each year from people who have picked a different company for whatever reason, only to have the tour cancelled at the last minute. 
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What's the best way to relay all these feelings of pride and hard work, quality, care and 25 years of expertise to a stranger with whom you've at most exchanged an email? Why, with a shiny gold sticker of course!

If you've requested a brochure, it is on its way. If you haven't requested one yet, the button below will take you to our "Chelsea in Style" website, where you can request a packet, as well as get other details on this fabulous trip.

Happy Travels!

-John
 
 

Great Dixter - Chelsea Flower Show Tour

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Great Dixter Creator Christopher Lloyd's Writing Chair
I know - it's a picture of a chair. But, I think pretty much even the most casual of landscape design fans, or gardeners, or people who have though about garden travel in their lives have heard of the very influential Christopher Lloyd, and have either visited, or planned to visit his creation: Great Dixter, in East Sussex England. 
Huron Tours brings our clients to Great Dixter on our "English Garden Extension" at the end of May (following the Chelsea Flower Show). We enjoy a private tour of the Great Dixter house, followed by a private tour of the amazing gardens famous for the mixed long border, meadow/orchard, and sunk and walled gardens. On these garden tours, we are often accompanied by one of the garden cats, or Connie, one of two dachshunds on site (this year we didn't have a dachshund on the tour with us, but we heard the new puppy barking.) 
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Connie keeps watch at Great Dixter
So, what about this chair at the top of the page? That's kind of a weird picture for a garden tour website to have - especially on a blog post that's about one of the most famous gardens in the world. Well - in addition to gardening, the late Christopher Lloyd was also a dedicated garden writer with an elegant and lovely writing style - not what one would expect when reading a book called "Exotic Planting for Adventurous Gardeners." He preferred to write in longhand, with his notebook resting on his lap, in that very chair pictured above. The chair, His chair, is in the home at Great Dixter where Christo, as he is called by those who knew him, spent many hours perfecting his weekly garden column over the 42 years he contributed to England's "Country Life Magazine," and his twenty five gardening books. On touring the house, upstairs in an antique bookcase, you will found bound hardback copies of Country Life magazine. Shelves and shelves of them - all containing contributions from Christo. 

The chair sits in front of a fire hearth. In winter, when the fire was lit, in additional to warmth, the fire would often fill the room with smoke. It has been reported that Christo didn't seem to mind, or even notice the smoke, and often one would have to walk right up next to the chair to see if Christo was there, writing in his notebook.

Happy Travels!

-John
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Just a taste of the beginning of the Great Dixter Long Border.
Read More about Christopher Lloyd and Great Dixter:

Obituary at The Guardian Newspaper Website
Wikipedia page
Great Dixter website

Learn more about Chelsea Flower Show Tours by Huron Tours and Travel by visiting our website:
www.ChelseaFlowerShowTour.com
 
 
I've been to the Westminster dog show a few times (about 9 to be exact.) It is a great time for dog lovers, and for people who love to visit cities, and to learn about and experience New York. Of course, on our Westminster Dog Show trip, we have a very good private tour of Manhattan which will give you a nice feel for the city if you've never been there before. And, since each guide brings their own unique take on things, it's fun to do these tours again, even if you've done one previously (or 4 times, as is the case with some of our Westminster clients).

Like our good canine friends, we spend a lot of time thinking about eating (though probably not as much as they do.)

New York has so many wonderful restaurants it's hard to go wrong. But here are a few of our favorites, that we'll revisit year after year, when we are looking for something familiar, and that we know will be fabulous.

One recommendation I can make to anyone joining us on our Westminster Dog Show tour is to pick up a copy of the New Yorker magazine a week or so before you join us. You may not agree with everything they have to say politically, but they are a great resource for what to do, where to eat, what play to see, and what art galleries to visit. And it's cheap, and it's available nationally, 

On to the food!

Pizza
Of course, countless hours have been spent arguing over which pizza joint is the best in New York. We aren't going to weigh in with any proclamations on that point. But – here are three that we recommend, where you absolutely can not go wrong.

1a) John's Pizzeria – In the West Village at 278 Bleeker Street (easy subway from Penn Station and a great area to explore). This is my favorite as it is old, funky, a bit cramped, and on a great street. Just a wonderful place to take a break, and have a great pizza. 

1bonus) John's Pizzeria Times Square - More modern than the Bleeker Street location, but the pizza is just as good. This is a fairly easy walk from the New Yorker hotel to 260 W. 44th Street, and is a good option for before/after a Broadway performance.

2) Grimaldi's Pizzeria – OK, so many people will tell you this is the best there is! For a wonderful day, take the subway to Grimaldi's in the morning for an early lunch (helps you avoid the lines.) Then, walk back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. Awesome! Grimaldi's has this to say about their hand-built 25 ton pizza oven “Designed and built by hand, the coal-fired oven at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria delivers a unique flavor and consistency that is just not possible from wood or gas ovens. If you've got some time to kill, and want to read more about the politics of New York pizza, thisNona Brooklyn article is fascinating!

3) Angelo's Pizza – When you're tired from shopping along 5th Ave. (or visiting Rockefeller Center, or St. Patrick's Cathedral), you're lucky to be near one of New York's top 10 pizzas! Angelo's is a two story restaurant at 1043 2nd Ave. 


Steak
Keens Steakhouse – OMG! I'm seriously thinking about getting a plane to New York tonight just so I can go to Keens! 72 West 36th Street. The setting is a fabulous old building comprised of individual rooms with a wonderful cozy bar, decorated with antique churchwarden pipes, accolades and interesting artwork. But you aren't here for that. The steak is dry-aged and absolutely wonderful. Katie and I will get the Chateaubriand for two which comes with a nice assortment of roasted vegetables. That way she can have the medium parts, and I can have the medium-rare to rare. Make a reservation.
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Italian
Everyone knows you can get great Italian food in New York and we've already covered pizza. About 10 years ago, Katie and I were visiting New York in October to go see the annual Halloween parade in Greenwich Village. I highly recommend attending this parade if you ever have the opportunity! Eventually we got hungry, and found what is probably our favorite Italian restaurant ever:

Lupa Osteria Roman – So, we found Lupa, and ended up sitting at a communal picnic table with a bunch of other Halloween parade attendees, and a foodie from somewhere in Canada (I've forgotten his name.) “The Foodie” ended up ordering for all of us, and it was just wonderful. We used the glossary/translations on the back of the menu to figure out what we were eating, and have been back many times since. Located at 170 Thompson Street, this restaurant is part of the Mario Batali family of restaurants, and is definitely worth a visit. They have normal non-communal tables as well.

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Pub Food
Stout – Stout is located right across from Madison Square Garden. When the day session of the Westminster Dog Show still took place at MSG, this is where you'd probably find me for lunch. It's pretty much a sports bar, but with a little more class. And they have an excellent draught and bottle beer selection if that's your thing. The food is descent, and this is just a comfortable place to relax, have lunch, and see what's happening. 133 West 33rd Street.

Tir Na Nog – This Irish Pub is in the same neighborhood as Stout, literally in respect to location, and food. But, TNN is a bit calmer, a bit more charming (with fewer televisions), has better food, and is bit more expensive. If it is really cold in New York, or snowing, TNN at 5 Penn Plaza is a nice short 1 block away from the New Yorker hotel.

Last but not least...

Thai
The new location of the Westminster Dog Show day sessions is Piers 92 and 94 located at 55th street and the West Side Highway. This is better for the dog show and the Westminster Kennel Club, as there is more space for the dogs and for judging, grooming, benching and etc. It's a little worse for the tourists, as the food offerings at the actual facility aren't great, and you aren't as close to restaurants as we were when the day session was at Madison Square Garden. 

If it isn't too cold, or you're up for a stroll anyway, I can highly recommend Pure Thai Cookhouse in Hell's kitchen at 766 9th Ave (between 51st and 52nd streets). This tiny spot is just loaded with charm, and offers wonderful vegetarian options, a fabulous spicy mango salad, and many other great Thai dishes. Well worth the .6 mile walk!
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Small and excellent!
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The menu - click for a larger view.

Join us at the Westminster Dog Show in New York City

Want to learn more about our annual trip to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York city? Please visit our Westminster website at www.Go2Westminster.com for more details, or to request a free brochure.

Happy Travels!
-John
The End - Westminster Dog Show Huron Tours
The End.
 
 
Oktoberfest grounds photo from Deanna Brown
We had a fantastic time in Munich and Amsterdam this year on our Affordable Oktoberfest series of tours.

Pictured left (from left to right) is Kevin, our Oktoberfest grounds guide, Deanna Brown, Katie Kosta and myself, John Kosta.

Behind us, you can see some of the rides that are on the "country fair" portion of Oktoberfest. My favorite ride is the "Cyber Space" which basically flip you upside-down, then launches you at the ground head-first at about 60 miles per hour. If you've ever wanted to see the Munich skyline from an inverted perspective, I can highly recommend this ride! Here's a video, for those so included (not taken by me). I highly recommend you join us next year though, and experience it for yourself. Katie won't even go near it - she prefers the very slow moving, though lovely, giant ferris wheel.

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But what about the beer? The beer tents are on the other half of the grounds (Wiesn as the Bavarians call it). I love this picture on the right - that's empty 1 liter beer steins, in a single stein washing area, in a single beer tent. You can click the picture to see it larger. By my rough counting, those rows go back 4 steins deep x 7 rows x 6 shelves x 6 shelving units = 1008 clean beer steins. If I took this in the Hofbräu-Festzelt, which I think I did but may have had a "Mass" (1 "measure" of beer, or a liter, as called by the Bavarians) or two - that would be about 1/6 the steins they would need at any given moment. This is in just one of the tents 14 beer tents. 

Prost!

-John
www.go2oktoberfest.com