THE BIG LEAGUE TOURS BLOG

We Flipped for Flip Burger Boutique

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 08:00 AM

April 8, 2011 - On the first of our baseball spring trips, we ventured up to Buckhead, a northern suburb of "Flipped" booths at the boutiqueAtlanta, to visit the original Flip Burger Boutique. Flip Burger is the creation of Richard Blais, the most recent winner of Bravo's Top Chef (see my earlier blog).

The first thing you notice when walking in is that the "flip" theme is carried throughout the restaurant. You can see this in the picture to the left where the booths have an upside down set of seats and tables above the booth as part of the fixtures.

While this location was described as the more family oriented of the two locations and the other location as more electric, more for a younger crowd, the original location was plenty electric with club style music playing and flat panel tv's playing music videos.

The food didn't disappoint us. The burgers lived up to the billing of a "boutique." They were inventive creations with on top of very tasty beef burgers. I personally had the mushroom and swiss burger with carmelizedCandycane beet salad onions, horseradish mayo, and swiss cheese foam (which elicited the question from one person of, "what the flip is that?!").

My daughter and I decided to split some of the sides so that we could try a few different things. We ordered the fried pickles with buttermilk sriracha (which were amazing) and a portion of the candycane beet salad. The beet salad had lots of interesting flavors combined with it including licorice and goat cheese. It was a light complement to our burgers and (fried) pickles.

If you watched Richard on Top Chef at all, you've probably seen him use liquid nitrogen when making milk shakes. They use that method at Flip and make some really interesting shakes. We had two, the Cap'n Crunch shake and the Applie Pie shake. Easily the Cap'n Crunch was the better of the two.

Tonight, our MLB road trip takes us to the Opening night game between the Braves and Phillies at Turner Field. We're excited to see the match up between Cliff Lee and Tim Hudson.

If you are interested in joining us on one of our small group tours and experience great baseball with a lot of fun extras like Flip Burger Boutique, check out our 2011 offerings and sign up today!

Tags: Opening day, Atlanta, Braves, Phillies, group tours, MLB road trips, Baseball

Book Your Baseball Vacations Today

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 07:45 AM

Tour participants at PNC ParkApril 5, 2011 - Don't you love to head out on vacation? You get time to explore a new destination, take in new sites, and enjoy the company of your friends and family without all the pressures of being at home or work. That's especially true when you allow someone else to handle all of the details for you when you purchase a baseball vacation package!

You can rest assured that our baseball road trip planners will assemble a vacation for you that won't just be a trip, it will be an experience! We'll make sure you stay in great hotels, sit in great seats, take behind the scenes baseball stadium tours, and get up close and personal to the game we all love so much.

The baseball season has arrived and our tour vacations are filling up - so don't wait too long to sign up for the premier sports travel package that you've always wanted!

Tags: explore, group travel, baseball vacations, baseball road trips, baseball tours, baseball vacation package, big league tours, sports vacation, group tours, MLB road trips

Midwest 3 Tour Kicks Off This Friday

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 02:15 AM

August 3, 2010 - Where has the summer gone? I can't believe that the last of our small group tours is going to kick off this Friday. It should be a fantastic trip. We'll start in Detroit on Friday, catching the Angels at Comerica Park against the Tigers. We'll then load up the bus on Saturday and make our way to Cleveland. Once in Cleveland we'll take a private stadium tour of Progressive Field before seeing the division rivalry of the Twins and the Indians.

Sunday involves a short hop over to PNC Park in Pittsburgh for an afternoDave "The Cobra" Parkeron game between the Rockies and Pirates. For our travelers who haven't been to this stadium, it's a fantastic place to catch a game, especially a day game with the view of the river, bridges and downtown Pittsburgh as the backdrop. After the game, the group will make its way to Cincinnati for the next two nights.

Monday will be the perfect ending to the tour. We'll take a tour of Great American Ball Park and be joined by Mr. Dave Parker. As most of you will recall, The Cobra was the MVP in 1978, appeared in six All Star Games, won three Gold Glove Awards, and was an instrumental member of the 1979 World Series Championship team with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cobra will share stories from his playing days, talk baseball with our guests, and take pictures with the group. Here's a picture from his appearance with our group in 2008. Looks like he could still play, doesn't it?

We'll finish the tour with the heated division rivalry between the Cardinals and the Reds with a game and series that couldn't be hotter or mean more for these two teams.

Stay posted for up to the minute posts from the final tour of our 2010 sports travel packages.

Tags: Rockies, Comerica Park, Tigers, Indians, Progressive Field, Detroit, sports travel and tours, Cleveland, PNC Park, Pirates, group tours, Cardinals, Reds, Great American Ball Park

Behind the Scenes Tour at Wrigley Field

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 01:45 AM

July 23, 2010 - Whenever our schedules allow, we try to include baseball stadium tours on our sports vacation packages. They are a great way for fans to see the stadiums in depth and get closer to the game they love.

Cubs clubhouse - photo taken on a stadium tour on a Big League Tours baseball roadtripOne tough ticket is a stadium tour at Wrigley Field. They don't typically offer tours when the team is in town, which is troublesome for us since we're typically there to see a game. However, it worked out for us on our latest of small group tours that we were able to get tickets.

People love Wrigley for its charm, the history, the ivy, the easy-going Cubs fans, and that your team has a better than average shot of winning when there... (Okay, sorry Cubs fans...)

Going behind-the-scenes only makes things more interesting for a fan. For instance, here's a shot from the Cubs clubhouse. In the days of over-sized everything in sports - from paychecks to hat sizes to forearms and biceps and to clubhouses - this is obviously one modest facility. No room for double lockers (or four for Mr. Bonds and his recliner). It's similar to the clubhouse at the old Yankee Stadium.

Pretty interesting to see their digs, isn't it?

Tags: stadium tours, baseball stadiums, Wrigley Field, sports vacation, group tours, Yankee Stadium, Cubs

Loving the Unexepected Connections

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 01:00 AM

May 28, 2010 - As much as we fancy ourselves on being great trip planners and including really cool features on our trips, there's always the opportunity for the unexpected to happen, too. And in this case, I'm talking about the unexpected in a really good way.

We always plan to be at the baseball stadiums early so that we can explore the ballparks, take in batting practice, and have the chance of getting a baseball or autograph in the process. Our recent road trip to Atlanta was no different - except for the unexpected.

The event occured during the Reds' batting practice. Several of the players had stopped by to sign autographs for fans around their dugout. One of the local kids in a Braves t-shirt asked Jonny Gomes if he could have his batting gloves. Jonny's off-handed response was, "yeah, right."

Jonny hit the batting cage, took the obligatory jog around the bases, and then headed back towards the dugout and where we were sitting. We're assuming that since my son was wearing a Reds jersey (or it could have been that he just hadn't hounded Jonny or the other players), Jonny walked back over to our section and handed his batting gloves to him. He was thrilled to say the least.

Our hope is always to provide an experience that you'll never forget, gifts for baseball fans, if you will, so we package a lot of fun stuff into our group travel tours. But like Woody Allen said, "95% of life is showing up." Being at the games early gives you a greater chance to get closer to the game that we all love so much. So the next time you head out on one of your baseball road trips, allow time for the unexpected and maybe you'll be given a gift of your own!

Tags: group travel, Atlanta, baseball road trips, baseball trips, baseball stadiums, group tours, Reds

Road Tripping with the Family

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 12:30 AM

May 22, 2010 - I just returned home from our Atlanta Tour - a three-day, two-night trip that featured two baseball games at Turner Field. We had fantastic weather, the hotel was great, our seats were even better (pictured on the left), Dad and Son at Turner Fieldand both games ended with walk-off hits or homers. They don't get much more exciting!

But as I reflect on the tour, I'm reminded of the things that caused me to want to start Big League Tours in the first place.

I really love the game of baseball and want to experience it in a unique way every time I take a trip. That's why we get to the park early, sit in great seats, and arrange for meet and greets with MLB players.

I also really enjoy getting to spend quality time with my family. On this tour, I was accompanied by my dad and son, the two folks who inspired me the most to start this business. Our small group tours provide you with the advantage of having things included that I mentioned before and also giving you the flexibility to do things on your own. And when taking family tours, we think it's important that you get that time so we make it available to you.

And finally, traveling can be difficult or at least a challenge, especially if the mode of transportation isn't great or the locations of your stay are suspect. We make sure that all of the logistics are top notch and take care of all the details so that you can just show up and enjoy a premier sports travel tour.

Those things sound simple but they are what make us different from the other guys. It's what got me in this business and it's what we love to do.

Tags: Atlanta, Turner Field, sports travel and tours, big league tours, group tours, family tours

After a Long Offseason, We're Back on the Road!

Posted by Big League Tours on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 12:00 AM

It felt great to finally get out on the road for the first of our baseball road trips of the 2010 baseball season. Yesterday we headed out to Atlanta to see the Braves and Reds in a two game series at Turner Field.

The Braves jumped out to an early lead but let the Reds get back into the game and tie it up in the top of the ninth. That just setup the scenario for Heyward to hit a walk off double driving in Prado for the winning run. Click here for the full box score.

Today we're headed out early to the Ted to explore the park, get some photos and hopefully a few autographs and baseballs. More from our small group tours later!

Tags: Atlanta, Braves, Turner Field, group tours, Reds

Eating Our Way Around the MLB

Posted by Big League Tours on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 08:45 PM

January 26, 2010 - I was talking today to one of our customers who commented about some references that I made to food in a previous blog. She professed to be, like all of us at our house, a Food Network junkie. Admittedly, the dark side of the channel is that it's hard to watch your weight when you are watching great chefs prepare awesome meals that end up making you crave something from the kitchen. For me, it's always Guy Fieri's fault because it seems like Diners Drive In's and Dives is the show that makes me the hungriest.

But one of the best parts about the network is that it exposes us to restaurants, bakeries, and hangouts all over the U.S. that we would likely not know about any other way. It's become a passion of ours while on our package tours to seek out these establishments that usually are only known by the locals.

Take, for instance, The Stand. Here's a burger joint on 12th Street just a few minutes away from our hotel, that a typically traveler would never know about. It was featured on Food Network for one of their milkshakes, a toasted marshmallow milkshake (pictured to the right). They were incredible. It was like a creamy campfire. In addition, their burgers were out of this world. And in a city that can easily be an expensive place to visit, this was one of the most reasonable meals we've had on any of our MLB Tours and one of the best!

So if you enjoy food the way that we do, I would suggest catching up on some programming from Food Network and laying out your plans to visit some great establishments - whether you are traveling on your own family tours or taking group travel tours. The other option is to join us on our baseball vacation packages and we'll lead the way!

Tags: group travel, baseball vacation package, MLB tours, group tours, family tours

We're Half Way Through the Season - Still Time for a Baseball Road Trip

Posted by Big League Tours on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 03:45 PM

July 15, 2009 - The completion of the All Star Game signals that we're half way through the 2009 MLB season. Teams in contention start looking for the missing puzzle pieces that will keep them in contention and possibly help them go all the way. Teams that are out of the race start looking towards the future and planning for '10 and beyond.

Whether your team is a buyer or seller at this point doesn't really matter. There is still time to book family tours or group tours to your favorite baseball stadiums or to a city that you've always wanted to visit. Start planning your MLB vacation today or call one of our baseball trip planners to assist you with the process!

Tags: baseball road trips, baseball trips, baseball stadiums, group tours, family tours

East Coast 1 Tour - Part Five

Posted by Big League Tours on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 03:00 PM

May 9, 2009, Boston - Today we left Cooperstown and headed on the Mass Turnpike to Boston to hang out for several hours on Yawkey Way. Of all the places we go on our group travel tours, this is one of, if not my favorite place to visit. The atmosphere around Fenway is so hard to beat. It's one of the best places for family vacation tours or vacation group tours of all sizes.

We arrived at the ballpark in time to do some shopping and take in the noon tour of Fenway. This baseball stadium tour is one of the best. Maybe because Fenway isn't a stadium at all. It's a ballpark. The oldest ballpark in the major leagues at that.

I was surprised to learn that a few sections of the ballpark had new seats installed in the off season making them a little roomier (a little, mind you...) and a little more comfortable than their wooden predecessors. You are guaranteed to be close to the action at Fenway but you'll always be closer to the fans sitting next to you!

Tags: group travel, stadium tours, Boston, Yawkey Way, ballpark tours, Fenway Park, group tours