Posted by: marymarthatours | July 28, 2012

Pre-trip Meeting for England in Miniature Tour

Before every one of the Mary and Martha tours, we hold a get-together for our tour participants. Well, actually, we hold two get-togethers, as Mary hosts one in Minnesota, and Martha hosts the second one in Washington. These meetings are a great way for people to get to know each other, learn more about their trip, and most importantly, ask lots and lots of questions.

At our recent England in Miniature Tour pre-trip meeting in Rochester, MN, we had travelers from many parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin attending. There were folks here from northern and central Minnesota as well as the Twin Cities and Rochester, and three travelers from northern and western Wisconsin.

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Mary and Barb getting ready for the pre-trip meeting

Before the folks arrived, my friend Barb helped me put together the refreshments table. I was aiming for an “English Tea” theme, although the only tea was iced due to the very hot weather. We served cucumber, ham, and salmon tea sandwiches, “mini” scones with clotted cream and jam, brownies and, of course, M&M candies. Beverages consisted of iced tea, lemonade, and two kinds of sangria, red & white.

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The pre-trip meeting refreshments

Jeff and Ann Hoag from Journeys with Jeff, the company that handles all the plane, coach, and hotel bookings for our tours, were here to facilitate the informational part of the meeting. Ann brought folders full of useful information for everyone, and Jeff conducted the meeting.

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Jeff Hoag describing the tour folder contents

The introduction time gave folks a chance to mention what they were most excited about seeing or doing on the tour. I was amazed at how many are making their very first trip to the UK. It will be so much fun for Martha and me to introduce them to this marvelous part of the world. Since many of the travelers are miniaturists and members of the Midwest Miniature Guild, the number one attraction will be the Birmingham Miniatura Show, but Hill Top Farm and the James Herriot Museum were also high on the list.

Some of the topics covered at the meeting included:

  • Money: use credit cards for purchases, debit cards for cash
  • Luggage: Size matters – go small and lightweight
  • Carry-on bag: What to take with you on the plane
  • Security: Get a passport pouch and wear it at all times
  • Electrical info: Adapter plugs and voltage converters
  • Itinerary review and daily routines

We also got a quick head count of people planning to take part in some special activities — a performance of “The Comedy of Errors” at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon; an opportunity to meet with the York Miniature Club in York; and, of course, the Birmingham Miniatura Show.

The number one question was, “How do we get our miniature purchases home safely?” Answer: bring bubble-wrap; pack a small study container with sox and underwear and use it for minis on the way home; pack a study cardboard tube that fits your suitcase. Or pack zip-lock bags and a straw for the Martha Liska air-pack technique — simply insert your item in the bag, zip it closed up to the straw, blow into the straw to fill the bag with air, then remove the straw and finish zipping. Voila!! Air-pack.

This is going to be another great group of travelers for Mary and Martha. We are really looking forward to our time together. For anyone who would like to join us on this adventure — there are still three places left. Contact me soon, as we’d love to have you with us.

(by Mary)

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