A recap of UBT Journey’s Virtual Mystery Tour

August 15, 2021
Niagara Falls

On Tuesday, July 20, the UBT Journey Program boldly took its participants where none had previously traveled… because we went by Zoom! This was such a freeing trip, with no special health protocols, sensible shoes, or sunblock required, and no multiple trips on and off the coach — practically no limitations! Since we didn’t have to worry about getting there and back in a day, we crossed some otherwise unattainable items off our collective bucket list. What better time than July in Nebraska to visit the Eastern Seaboard? We traveled — mysteriously and virtually — to four distinct locations in that general vicinity, leaving only riddles and clues in our wake.

Our guide was fearless travel pioneer Ted Nelson, owner of Hospitality Tours. While Ted was born in Chicago and loves Midwesterners, his company specializes in a specific area (and does it exceedingly well). Most of our attendees jumped in without a lot of background on our friend Ted, but many were well-traveled — or at least really good guessers — as they did a great job determining the destinations based on Ted’s clues.

After a bit of good-natured banter, Ted jumped in. He created a separate sense of place for each destination, though we learned at the end of the presentation that they shared a common origin. Fascinatingly, the retreating of the glaciers in the last ice age 12,000 years ago created unique geologic features that are highlights of each of our mystery attractions. Ted’s narrative wove together history and geography with an almost lyrical semi-fictional prose, and we were captivated.

Lighthouse on rocks

Our first stop found us following the Great Lakes to the Niagara Falls area after “solving” Ted’s clues. We viewed Horseshoe Falls, the Great Whirlpools, Niagara Parks Floral Clock, Upper Canadian Rapids, and Queen Victoria Parks as well as other falls highlights before embarking on a Hornblower cruise (watch out for the spray!). The views from the hotel window, side trips, and other exquisite attractions only added to the enjoyment.

Next up, the beautiful mansions and historic landmarks of the Hudson River Valley — great job guessing that one! Then, it was on to the beautiful Berkshire Mountains (they’re hills, really, but they’re breathtaking) before we took an intimate glimpse of America’s most famous symbol of freedom, Lady Liberty. And of course, this tour wouldn’t be complete without pausing for contemplative reflection at the 9/11 Memorial.

Statue of Liberty and Hudson River

What do Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick have in common? If you guessed that they make up the Canadian Maritimes, you guessed correctly (but you’ll have to watch the video for the “real” clue because trust us, it’s much better). From Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse to a walk with Anne of Green Gables to the Bay of Fundy, we were feeling the Maritime breeze.

Our final stop was Cape Cod. From the picturesque summer homes at Martha’s Vineyard to the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port to Ted’s own residence, the Silver Cottage, this destination’s narrative was rich with history and interesting tales of family ties and determination. From whaling towns to a whale watch cruise to a New England dinner, we very much enjoyed our “stay.”

Highway by the sea in Cape Code

Our thanks to Ted for his excellent tour guidance and for all of our wonderful attendees. Sad you missed out? Embark on this delightful journey by tuning in to the entire virtual trip here. And visit the UBT Journey page to learn more about upcoming experiences and program updates.

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