Going on Faith

AUG-SEP 2016

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] [ G A H A N N A , O H I O ] Travelers can enjoy the heavenly scents of lavender, rosemary and hyssop while learning about these herbs' spiritual roots in a Sacred Herbs of the Bible class in Gahanna, Ohio. Deemed the "Herb Capital of Ohio" by the state Legislature in 1972, the town offers both sweet-smelling gardens and access to the busyness of Columbus. Gahanna has embraced its herbal identity with the 2012 creation of the Herbal Trail, which showcases the town's herbal shopping venues, herb gardens, eco- learning options and wellness points of interest. "The Herbal Trail has 40 different businesses, attractions and gardens we can pull from and create itineraries specific to a group's needs," said Mary Szymkowiak, communications and tourism manager for the Gahanna Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Not only are you not paying for parking here, but we also have hotel partners that really understand groups and their needs." Hotels can organize complimentary gift bags of local herbal products for groups as well as shuttle service to many of the Herbal Trail stops. Many attrac- tions in the area are walkable, such as the city's Creekside District, which features trails past waterfalls and herb gardens. The Ohio Herb Education Center connects visitors with the history of herbs with workshops that inform; they also provide a hands-on project that partici- pants can take home. Groups can choose from class topics such as biblical herbs, cooking with herbs and brewing herbal teas. The Gahanna CVB will also orchestrate a visit with a local farm, such as Shepherd's Corner Farm. This 160-acre ecological mission run by the Dominican Sisters of the Peace welcomes tours of the farm's sustainable produce, animals, a meditation trail and a labyrinth. www.visitgahanna.com Photos courtesy Cabarrus Co. CVB [ C A BA R R U S CO U N T Y, N O RT H C A RO L I N A ] Fans can grab the wheel of a 600-horsepower NASCAR racecar for an adrena- line rush they will always remember at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Cabarrus County. The track's driving experiences allow participants to zoom around the legendary speedway with a professional driver at speeds of up to 165 miles per hour. The excitement doesn't end there in Cabarrus County, which lives up to its tagline of "Where Racing Lives." Just minutes from Charlotte, the North Carolina suburb thrives on its racing heritage as well as its other attractions. "We like to say that we have small-town charm with big-city adventure," said Julie Hinson, communications manager for the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "There is definitely an energy to Cabarrus County. Even outside of motor sports, there is a lot to see and do that still keeps that energy up." Whether diehard NASCAR fans or not, most visitors stop by the 1960 Charlotte Motor Speedway for a driving school experience, a racing event or a behind-the- scenes tour of the 140,000-seat facility. Within a 50-mile radius of Charlotte Motor Speedway, groups can tour almost every driver's racing shop, since Race Shop Tours allows groups to get up close to the everyday lives of the racing community. Sport enthusiasts also enjoy visiting Dale Earnhardt's hometown of Kannapolis, which features the Dale Trail and Dale Earnhardt Plaza. However, one of the most popular visitor attractions in the state that lies in Cabarrus County has little to do with cars. The Concord Mills Mall features more than 200 stores, among them retail outlets, restaurants and interactive stores like Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and the Sea Life Aquarium. www.visitcabarrus.com Photos courtesy Visit Gahana Groups can pick fresh herbs and taste handmade food products in Gahanna, the "Herb Capital of Ohio." Sea Life Aquarium outside Charlotte Charlotte Motor Speedway is in Cabarrus County.

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