Going on Faith

Summer 2017

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] Courtesy Dodge City CVB Courtesy Visit Savannah A Dodge City cattle drive A fountain outside Savannah's Cathedral of St. John the Baptist [ ELKO, NEVADA ] Whether they were searching for land, gold or a fresh start, an estimated 250,000 people made their way to California between 1841 and 1869, and the California Trail led them through what is today Elko, Nevada. At the California Trail Interpretive Center, groups can see covered wag- ons, learn about pioneer life and hike the nature trails surrounding the museum to take in views of the Ruby Mountains, "which are gorgeous and beautiful," said Tom Lester, tourism and convention manager for the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority. Lester recently arranged for a group to go hiking in the mountains and then enjoy a Dutch-oven-cooked lunch. For the annual Trail Days at the center, visitors can experience live re- enactments of pioneer life at an 1850s-era wagon encampment and re- created Shoshone summer camp. The Western Folklife Center is the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering's headquarters. Although the annual festival is a busy time for groups to visit, the city is a year-round home to cowboy artists and poets that per- form at events. Housed in the historic Pioneer Hotel in downtown, the center displays pieces from its permanent collection, rotates temporary exhibits and has a historic bar and dance floor for groups and events. Across the street at J.M. Capriola Co., groups can watch custom saddles being made. The Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum, in the former home of G.S. Garcia Saddle Co., is being renovated to its 1800s appearance and is slated to reopen November 1. During the remodel, groups can work with the museum director to schedule a leather-tooling class at J.M. Capriola. The Northeastern Nevada Museum houses extensive collections of Western art and exhibits of Nevada's history and wildlife. www.exploreelko.com [ ST. CHARLES, MISSOURI ] In 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition first made camp on the Missouri River in St. Charles, Missouri, launching into the unknown. Today, the city takes pride in its Lewis and Clark history. The Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center museum, which sits on the riverbank, offers groups tours of exhibits that include diora- mas of the expedition, native prairie replicas, and keelboats and pirogues like those the Corps of Discovery used. The museum is on Bishop's Landing on the river, which is just a block east of the city's crown jewel: its 10-block restored historic district. The neigh- borhood dates to the 1800s, and more than 100 specialty shops and restau- rants line its gas-lamp-lit, brick-paved streets. The CVB offers walking tours with guides wearing historic attire showing off the Main Street district, where buildings date back to the 1700s. Also downtown, next door to the visitor center, is the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site, where groups can tour the building that served as the capitol from 1821 to 1826. A few blocks north, the Foundry Arts Centre is a working art facility with 20 artist studios upstairs and gallery space on the ground floor, housed in a 1920s train-car factory. Just a five-minute walk away, groups can tour the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. Docents lead groups through the shrine and talk about the French missionary who brought formalized education for girls to the Missouri frontier in 1818. About 30 miles west of St. Charles is the Historic Daniel Boone Home at Lindenwood Park. At this 300-acre site, groups can tour Boone's home and the adjacent Boonesfield Village, with a blacksmith shop, a log cabin and a chapel. www.historicstcharles.com [ SAVANNAH, GEORGIA ] The original charter for the Georgia Trustees, granted in 1732, said all colonists "shall have a free exercise of their religion." Because of that religious freedom, "what has happened over the centuries, it's really become a beautiful tapestry of different denominations," said Mindy Shea, director of tour, travel and international sales for Visit Savannah. Total religious freedom wasn't the case. The charter specifically denied Catholics the right to worship in the colony, and the Georgia Trustees also originally banned Judaism, according to the Georgia Historical Society. But when a ship with Jewish passengers docked, Gen. James Oglethorpe allowed them to stay and even allowed them to own land. The Jewish set- tlers founded the Congregation Mickve Israel, the third-oldest Jewish congregation in America and the oldest in the South. The Gothic-style synagogue sits on Monterey Square, and groups can take guided tours of both its sanctuary and its museum, where they'll see the two oldest Torahs in North America and the congregation's collection of letters from 13 presidents, including George Washington. Christ Church, built in 1733, was the first church formed in Savannah and still rings the bell hung by Revere and Son from Boston. The First African Baptist Church congregation was organized in 1773, but the building was completed in 1859. After working all day on plantations and in fields, slaves walked to the site and "built this church brick by brick in the dead of night," Shea said. The church subsequently became a stop on the Underground Railroad. Although it got a later start in Savannah than other religions, Catholicism took root in Georgia after the American Revolution. Groups can visit the late-1800s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist during self- guided or docent-led tours, and they can also attend daily mass there. www.visitsavannah.com

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