Welcome to the US Coachways bus charter travel blog! Read on to find the latest bus charter travel tips and trends, top city events and special offers from US Coachways.

Scary Fun: Discover Houston Tours’ Ghost Walks At Donnellan Crypt

Posted by Ed • Friday, October 17. 2014 • Category: Houston

Scare yourself silly this year at Discover Houston Tours’ Ghost Walks, which will feature the historic Donnellan Crypt. The 90-minute tour through Houston's Downtown Historic District will guide visitors through urban legends and true tales of deceased Houstonians.

Photo Credit: Mike Kees

Sandra Lord, owner of Discover Houston Tours, shared the eerie story behind Donnellan Crypt’s alleged haunting with us-

“Shortly after Houston’s first bridge was built across Buffalo Bayou at Milam Street in October 1838, the Donnellan family immigrated from Ireland. They settled along the bayou near the intersection of Franklin and Louisiana. When the father Timothy, died in 1849, his wife, Emily, buried him in the family crypt, a large, underground room dug into the side of Buffalo Bayou, fashioned out of red brick and sealed by a small wooden door with an arched header.

“In 1856, Emily remarried and moved across Franklin Avenue. Her son, Henry, and his friend A. C. Richer boarded with the family. Emily’s husband died in January 1867. By this time, the bayou under Milam Street Bridge had become an accident waiting to happen. Ordnance had been dumped there in 1865 to prevent it from being used by the Union army. It was also home to a sunken ship and two abandoned barges. When the bayou water was low, the debris would reappear, tempting young men like Henry and A. C. to explore.

“On February 10, 1867, the pair retrieved a shell from under the bridge on their way home from work. As Henry worked on the detonator cap to defuse the shell, Emily, blissfully unaware of their activities, prepared their meal. Suddenly, the bomb exploded, tearing off Richer’s arms and legs, badly mutilating Henry’s left arm and elbow, wounding his abdomen, lacerating his left leg and tearing off several fingers. What remained was interred in the family vault. Poor Emily died later that year and was buried with them in the crypt.”

Though the tour isn’t specifically a paranormal tour, everyone will receive a copy of Sandra Lord's Short Guide to the Paranormal, and participants are encouraged to bring EMF meters and cameras to see if any spirits are present.

Castle Chicago: A Paranormal Favorite For Halloween Visitors

Posted by Ed • Thursday, October 16. 2014 • Category: Chicago

According to Neil Tobin, necromancer and the star of Supernatural Chicago, Castle Chicago, located at 623 N. Dearborn, is a must-see for any of Chicago’s tourists in October. He gave us the inside scoop on what makes this historic building-turned nightclub so spooky.

Tobin said, “Late-night guests of the club have reported seeing a repeating cast of spirits through the years. These include a tuxedo-clad man who haunts the upstairs bar, a beautiful woman in a Victorian dress and hat and a little girl who runs around the second-floor balcony.

“Much of the staff has reported inexplicable events as well,” he continued. “Some have felt cold spots in specific areas of the club, heard voices when nobody else was around and captured inexplicable surveillance footage.”

Photo courtesy of Neil Tobin.

Castle Chicago looks like a decommissioned cathedral that’s been awashed in colored lights and is practically bursting with riotous nightlife. The building has been featured on TV's Ghost Adventures and Dead Famous as well as on the DVD release of the Michael Keaton feature film White Noise.

Tobin said, “Why the building is haunted can be attributed to a number of events, including the Great Chicago Fire, which claimed the prior building on the site (and the guests trapped within it). The remains of murdered Chicago pioneer James Lalime were also housed on the site. And according to legend, some of the bodies drowned in the Eastland disaster were kept in this building for identification.”

Tobin is the star of a paranormally themed theatre show called Supernatural Chicago. The performance has been entertaining theatergoers for over a decade. As the show’s resident necromancer, Tobin blends local spirit lore with interactive psychic and magic demonstrations. He will be performing the show for only four weekends in October. Tickets can be bought online.

About Neil Tobin:

Neil Tobin, necromancer, is the star of Supernatural Chicago, which has recently completed its record-breaking 10th straight year of performances at the landmark (and reputedly haunted) Castle nightclub. He has been profiled in Time-Out Chicago and the Chicago Tribune and has performed on broadcasts for The Travel Channel, The Biography Channel, WCKG-FM, WBEZ-FM, KISS-FM, WGN-AM (with Jonathon Brandmeier) and WGN-TV (opposite Oscar-nominee Gary Sinise). He can also be seen on the DVD release of the Michael Keaton thriller, White Noise, and heard on CD as narrator of Peter and the Werewolf with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Neil Tobin serves on the Board of Directors for the Psychic Entertainers Association and is the recipient of a Presidential Citation from the Society of American Magicians.

Baltimore Celebrates A Chesapeake Bay Tradition With OysterFest 2014

Posted by Ed • Tuesday, October 14. 2014 • Category: Baltimore

The oyster has long been a symbol of Chesapeake Bay’s maritime culture. This year, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., just a short drive away from Baltimore, will be honoring this tasty, versatile seafood with OysterFest. The celebration is set to happen Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Oysters on the half shell.

Visitors can expect some oyster-themed events as well as some entertainment and other attractions. There will be live music on two stages from the Roadhouse Clams and Swamp Donkey, boat rides, children’s activities, Chesapeake-related documentary screenings, on oyster stew competition, oyster cooking demonstrations and more.

Attendees can also take a gander at the museum’s floating fleet of historic vessels. According to the official website, boats from the Talbot County Waterman’s Association will be dockside to help with oyster dredging, hand tonging, patent tonging and oyster diving traditions.

Of course, there will be plenty of oyster dishes to partake in! Freshly caught and shucked Chesapeake Bay oysters, steamed or raw on the half shell, will be available, along with aquaculture raw oysters, oyster fritters and fried oyster sandwiches. For those who’d rather celebrate oysters than eat them, pit beef, hot dogs and hamburgers, along with cold beer, warm apple cider and more will be offered.

Baltimore Lifts Spirits With Chilling Halloween Events

Posted by Ed • Monday, October 13. 2014 • Category: Baltimore

Baltimore is gearing up to have a spine-tingling Halloween this autumn with dozens of ghost walks, pub crawls, haunted spots, special and exhibitions fit for all ages.  

When the sun sets, visitors can take a trip to the other side by taking a haunted ghost walk. These Baltimore ghost tours will take participants through the historic maritime village of Fell's Point, Mount Vernon and other famous frightening places.

Mount Vernon, one of Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods.

Every Saturday until the end of November 2014, adults can lift their spirits at some of the dozens of haunted pubs visited during a Baltimore Wicked History Tours pub crawl. The tour takes guests through several of Baltimore’s most famous pubs, where you’ll hear a unique take on Baltimore’s history as well as its heroes and villains.

The Admiral Fell Inn, named one of the Top 10 Haunted Places in Baltimore by TripAdvisor, holds a ghost tour and reception every year that begins in the lobby and tours the seven historic buildings that make up the Admiral Fell Inn. The tour is included in the hotel’s $9.95-per-night destination fee.

For more family-friendly events, check out Maryland Zoo’s ZooBOOO! event, which will provide free trick-or-treating, AVAM’s Free Fall Halloween Celebration, Maryland Science Center’s Spooky Science or the Great Halloween Parade.

Salem Charms Visitors With Haunted Happenings 2014

Posted by Ed • Friday, October 10. 2014 • Category: Boston

Salem, known for its history of witchcraft and mystery, is the perfect setting for a Halloween celebration. Each year, the town, which is located only about 45 minutes away from Boston, honors the season with dozens of events, attractions and tours at Haunted Happenings.

Up for some scary stories with a bit of history? Try Bewitched After Dark Walking Tours. Led by a Salem native and modern witch, these day and evening tours will take you to around sites where the 1692 witch hysteria and trials occurred, past haunted buildings and landmarks and around some of the most historic locations in the city.

For more thrills, take a 3-D trip through time as you walk through Salem 3-D Haunted Adventure and Salem 3-D Haunted House. Tickets for these events are interchangeable and sold by date and time.

Families can catch some frightening fun at the Haunted Happenings Carnival on Derby Street. Tons of rides and games to test your skill will be available from Oct. 18-31, 2014.

Check out the Haunted Happenings website for more spooky events!

Boston’s Ghosts On The Banke: A Hidden Haunt Of Historic Note

Posted by Ed • Friday, October 10. 2014 • Category: Boston

Forget the big name Halloween attractions and stray off the beaten path this season with Ghosts on the Banke, a hidden gem of a haunt with a historic flair. The annual event is located at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth N.H., a day trip for Boston and its suburbs.

Stephanie Seacord, publicist for Strawbery Banke, said, “Imagine dirt lanes lined with real jack-o-lanterns and wooden candle boxes, costumed pirates ships' captains and widows waiting at the front doors of historic houses to greet trick or treaters. You can see smoke bubbles and colored lights among the trees in heirloom fruit orchards with roaming storytellers and improv skits around the bonfire. All of this is aimed to delighting young children and their parents in the not-too-scary, managed neighborhood of a living history museum. That's Ghosts on the Banke.”

According to Seacord, Halloween is a holiday based on horror and deeply scary productions, usually those that will get the most attention. Ghosts on the Banke, however, is designed for children to delight in their own imaginations of ghosts and witches, the perfect setting for their Halloween celebration.

Everything is only $8 a person a free for those one and under, and takes place Oct. 24 - 25 from 6 - 8 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.strawberybanke.org or at the door.

Party Bus Essentials For The Perfect Fall Tailgate

Posted by Ed • Tuesday, October 7. 2014 • Category: Leisures & Pleasures

If you want an awesome party bus tailgate experience, you’re going to need a few essentials. Marianne Gere, owner of ConshyGirls Catering, a catering and event planning company located in Conshohocken, Pa., shared some of her best tips.

Snack Attack!

When you're on a bus, eating large meals is often difficult, which is why I recommend lots of snacks. Not only do they last longer, they are also easier to eat. But that doesn't mean just grabbing a bag of chips! Instead, prepare snacks in advance and replace traditional chips and dip with tortilla chips and homemade guacamole. Just mash up some ripe avocados, diced onion, jalapeños, lime juice and cilantro. Add a little mayonnaise or sour cream and it’s done -- it's that easy. Or try homemade pita chips with store-bought hummus. Take pita bread, cut it into triangles, brush with olive oil and salt-and-pepper and bake in the oven until crisp, and done!

Get In The Spirit

And what is all this good food if you can’t wash it down with a nice cold beverage? To save time and money on costly cocktails try these seasonal spirits. A few days in advance, make some homemade sangria with seasonal fruit. This is a great way to stretch a budget as you do not need to use expensive wine. Here's the recipe for white sangria: four bottles of inexpensive Sauvignon blanc, a 1/2 bottle of Saint Germain, cut up apples and pears and, if you have a cinnamon stick in your spice cabinet, throw it in for fun (but not necessary) keep refrigerated. On game day, put in a self- dispensing canister, you can buy one of these at any home goods store, add a bottle of club soda and serve.

Another great beverage this time of the year is some apple cider with bourbon or really kick it up with a cinnamon flavored liquor, like Fireball. This will add a little heat on even the coldest game days!

Remember pre-planning is the key. So make sure you have enough cups, plates and utensils for everyone. This way, you can enjoy the game and not worry about the food!

The Great Halloween Lantern Parade Lights Up Baltimore

Posted by Ed • Monday, October 6. 2014 • Category: Baltimore

Glowing lights and fantastic sights light up Baltimore at the The Great Halloween Lantern Parade, held each October by the city’s Creative Alliance. This year’s celebration will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 25 at Patterson Park.

The festival begins with lantern workshops where lanterns can be purchased for $2 each, and continues with hayrides, family fun, crafts vendors, food trucks and musical entertainment.

Later, kids can participate in a costume contest before the parade lines up-bright with lanterns ranging from the beautiful to the eerie-including floats, stiltwalkers, dancers and marching bands.

“Thanks to new lanterns from the Creative Alliance, there will be no shortage of color and light at this year’s Great Halloween Lantern Parade,” said Leslie Cox, communications manager at the Maryland Office of Tourism. “Also, the parade route changed so that the lights can be seen from further away. It’s going to be beautiful.”

The parade route begins at the Boat Lake and crosses over to the high ridge in Annex Park, so that the parade can be seen on high. Lineup is at 6:30 p.m. and the parade starts at 7 p.m. Rain date is Sunday, Oct. 26.

Learn more about the parade or how you can volunteer.

Fun Frights & Haunted Sites Near The Big Apple

Posted by Ed • Friday, October 3. 2014 • Category: New York

According to Delfina Guemes, senior account executive at Finn Partners, no place does Halloween like New York.

Guemes said, “Although October 31 is more than a month away, the Halloween excitement is already in the air throughout the Empire State where frightful and fanciful goings-on begin in late September and continue right into November.”

She gave us some highlights from around the state below-

Headless Horseman Country

Some of the most frightful encounters are expected to occur in the Hudson Valley, where Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman is said to still prowl at night. One of his favorite haunts, beginning in late September, is the Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted House in Ulster Park. Here, the mile-long evening hayride through the woods, haunted houses and corn maze are so scary that children eight and under are not allowed.

Scared By The Sound

Adrenalin-pumping excitement beckons behind the gated walls of Historic Playland Amusement Park in Rye, where October brings Scared by the Sound Haunted House to life with terrifying scenarios that should not be seen by children under ten, or anyone faint of heart. The brave can also try to escape the Black Out Maze.

The Forest Of Fear

Called one of the scariest places in America by the Discovery Channel, The Forest of Fear in Tuxedo is filled with its own set of ghosts, ghouls and fiendish freaks who delight in terrifying visitors 12 and older on October weekends. Another fearsome place is the Pure Terror Scream Park, where over two miles of new haunted houses and trail attractions await adults and teens on the grounds of Museum Village in Monroe from September 26 to November 2, 2014.

Three Haunting Attractions To Give Yourself A Scream

Posted by Ed • Thursday, October 2. 2014 • Category: Leisures & Pleasures

We asked the experts to share the creepiest, scariest haunted houses in America, and we weren’t disappointed! Michael Ingberg, senior account executive at Marx Layne & Company, recommended three frightening attractions from America Haunts to give you chills-

Pennhurst Asylum

Located in Philadelphia, Pennhurst Asylum is said to actually be haunted. The building was originally the Pennhurst State School, a school for the mentally and physically disabled, and has a history riddled with accusations of torture, abuse and neglect. Participants can take part in a hospital-themed walk through, the Dungeon of Lost Souls, The Tunnel Terror, or, if they’re really brave, Ghost Hunt, which was featured on Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters television programs. Visitors to Ghost Hunt are allowed to wander through the building armed only with a flashlight.

Cutting Edge Haunted House

Cutting Edge, located near Dallas, is also said to be haunted and holds several national awards as well as the Guinness World Record for “World’s Largest Walk Through Haunted House.” Featuring over an hour of nonstop scares, this multi-level, multi-themed attraction includes live actors, special effects and monsters. Cutting Edge is located in a 100-year-old abandoned meat packaging plant that has been transformed into a human processing area with realistic human mannequins. The attraction prides itself on having established a reputation for being one of the best haunted houses in the nation.

Bennett’s Curse

Bennett’s Curse, located near Baltimore, was named one of America’s scariest haunted houses by the Travel Channel and one of the top 13 haunted houses in America by HauntWorld. At Bennett’s Curse, you’ll find three terrifying haunted houses, starting with Medieval Underworld, and ending with Inferno 3D and Sanctuary of Insanity. The official website describes it as, “an assault to the senses, packing more film quality props, sets, characters, unique theming and an over the top collection of more giant monsters than any other attraction around.”

Each of these attractions is a member of America Haunts. According to Ingberg, “America Haunts membership is exclusive and includes nearly 30 attractions in 20 U.S. markets. The criterion for membership is daunting and becoming a member is one of the greatest recognitions a haunted house can receive. The high-tech attractions in this association are committed to providing technical excellence, stunning set design, and Hollywood-quality make-up, costumes and creatures. Members’ enjoy nothing more than delivering a good old-fashioned scare to fright fans of all ages.”

US Coachways Announces A Scream Of A Sweepstakes For Fright Fest® at Six Flags®

Posted by Ed • Wednesday, October 1. 2014 • Category: US Coachways News

Bus charter company US Coachways announced an all-new, haunting sweepstakes just in time for Fright Fest at Six Flags theme parks! Participants can enter to win four free tickets to either Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, Md. near Washington, DC or Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J. The event features family-friendly “thrills by day,” while an amped-up “fright by night” will deliver more scare zones, terror trails and haunted mazes plus zombies and Halloween-themed shows and attractions!

The sweepstakes begins at noon CST on Sept. 29 and will run until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 29, 2014. To enter, all you need to do is like or comment on the weekly sweepstakes posts that appear each Monday. We’ll draw a winner at random and announce it each Friday during the sweepstakes period. The winner will be sent four free tickets to the park of his or her choice (either Six Flags America or Six Flags Great Adventure) by email.

Prize must be used by Nov. 2, 2014. Please read our official rules before entering.

Los Angeles’ Day Of The Dead Presents An Authentic Experience

Posted by Ed • Tuesday, September 30. 2014 • Category: Los Angeles

Los Angeles’ annual Day of the Dead festival prides itself on being one of the most authentic celebrations in the United States. Featuring everything from traditional Mexican cuisine to hundreds of Aztec ritual dancers in full costume, celebrate your departed loved ones at the 2014 Day of the Dead Nov. 1 from 12 p.m. until midnight.

The festivities take place under the stars at Hollywood Forever, one of the oldest, most famous cemeteries in the Los Angeles area. As the stars come out, you’ll see a vibrant traditional procession with traditional Aztec blessing and dance group dedications, hear musical performances by recording artists like Carla Morrison and La Santa Cecilia, taste authentic Mexican cuisine and show off in a costume contest for the best dressed “Calaca” (skeleton).

Also included is an art exhibition in the Cathedral Mausoleum, a children’s arts project area, arts and craft vendors and food vendors from around the area.

General admission tickets are $20, and free for children eight years and under and seniors 65 and over until 4 p.m.

Have A Howling Good Time At Boston’s Zoo Howl Event

Posted by Ed • Friday, September 26. 2014 • Category: Boston

Get ready for a wild time this Halloween at Zoo Howl at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. Take your children or class trick-or-treating with the animals as you enjoy chills, thrills and creepy crawly critters.

The fun begins on Saturday, Oct. 25 and will continue on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Presented by the Empire Loan Charitable Foundation, kids will learn about goodwill and enrichment at the event as they make trick-or-treat boxes with UNICEF, receive treats from companies including Honest Tea, Plum Organics and more and compete in a costume contest! There will even be a haunted maze for the daring!

Kids will also learn about generosity as they watch animals receive pumpkins kindly donated by Whole Foods Jamaica Plain.

Special Web Offer: Take up to 10 percent off your next charter bus rental to your school field trip with promo code “SCHOOL.” Midweek terms apply. Terms and conditions apply with a minimum of a $1,000 purchase and no more than $200 off any booking. Offer expires Nov. 1, 2014. Call 1-800-272-0633 or Request A Quote Now!

Get Lost In Chicago’s Biggest, Scariest Corn Mazes

Posted by Ed • Wednesday, September 24. 2014 • Category: Chicago

Whether you’re up for a family adventure or a scary, haunted corn maze experience at night, take a look at our list of the biggest corn mazes near Chicago-

Konow’s Corn Maze

Located in Homer Glen, Ill., you’ll find approximately 3.4 miles of twisty trails on 10 acres at Konow’s Corn Maze, plus a smaller maze for the kids! Konow’s opens Sept. 20, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and includes an animal barn, a straw playground, a jumping pillow, hay rides, mechanical bull rides, pony rides on Saturdays and Sundays and Oktoberfest celebrations during the weekend! Admission is $9 for those age three and older and free for those age two and under and those with a military ID.

Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm

Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm, which is located in Crest Hill, Ill., contains 15 acres of corn maze and five miles of paths to get lost in. The maze is open on weekends from Sept. 21 - Oct. 31, 2014 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., weather permitting. This year’s theme is centered on the 40th anniversary of Wrigley Field! Tickets are $12 per person.

If you’re looking for some more fun, try Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm Pumpkin Fest 2014, voted America’s Best Pumpkin Patch by MSN.

Richardson Farm

Richardson Farm, also known as the World’s Largest Corn Maze, is open from Aug. 30 - Nov. 3, 2014 and located in Spring Grove, Ill. Trek through 33 acres of live corn and play five separate maze games winding through the cornfields, from quiz questions to a hidden checkpoint search. Plus see pig races, go ziplining from a 50-foot tower, take a peek at the pumpkin patch or reserve a picnicking or campfire site. Admission is $13 for those ages 13 and up, $10 for those ages four to 12 and free for kids ages three and under.

Fall In Line At The New York City Village Halloween Parade

Posted by Ed • Tuesday, September 23. 2014 • Category: New York

For 40 years, ghosts, goblins, ghouls and more have marched down Sixth Avenue every Halloween. Now in its 41st year, the New York City Village Halloween Parade is inviting anybody and everybody in a costume to join in the spooky fun. This year’s theme? The Garden of Earthly Delights.

The 2014 Village Parade will take place on Friday, Oct. 31 from 7-10:30 p.m. Only those in costume are welcome to enter the line-up on Sixth Avenue at Canal Street at any time from 7-9 p.m.

In addition to thousands of costumed paraders, the event will feature hundreds of puppets, 53 bands from various genres of music and dancers and artists. Plus, as long as you show up in a costume, you’ll be entered into the parade’s costume contest for a chance to win prizes (prizes to be announced). If you don’t have a costume, you can volunteer to animate one of the incredible, creepy puppets!

Please note that the Village Parade is a zero percent tolerance for alcohol event.