Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a Wrap!

Liz, Diann, and Nicole helped out with the Concierge gift wrap program on the ground floor of Pacific Place. They helped raise more than $1000 for the Forgotten Children's Fund. Great job (despite the fact that you weren't wearing yellow!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

In the Holiday Spirit?

If you are looking for a fun holiday activity, consider going to the Voices Northwest Holiday concert. It is in Everett, but why not make an adventure out of it. Everett has some great restaurants (be like Mark McCormick and start going to EVERY SINGLE ANTHONYS restaurant on the face of the earth; or 3/4 of the way there, stop in at Silver Lake and try the newly rebuilt Emorys); or come into my 'hood, Mill Creek and walk through the Towne Center and grab a bite on the way there.

Voices Northwest were a wonderful and fun support for us in October during our Sweet Week. Let's return a little of the LOVE and go give them a listen.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Today's the Day ... actually, MONDAY is THE day.

Kim is going to LA today to tape for the Ellen show to be shown on Monday at 3 PM. Mark your calenders!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our 2010 Mt. Rainier Guides

From the front office:

We just received a phone call from a Mr. Young that was on Rick’s Boeing tour on Thursday, November 4th. He was very complimentary, and couldn’t say enough nice things about Rick and the quality of the tour he received.
He said he has traveled quite extensively, and this is one of the best he’s been on.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yet another satisfied guest!

From: Eloise Larsen
Sent: Sunday, October 24, 2010 2:34 AM
Subject: my experience with NorthWest

Hi there, I went on a tour to Mt Rainier in August when I was in Seattle on
business. The Mt Rainier trip really was the highlight of my visit. Thanks
for your great service. Tom, our cheery guide, was full of interesting facts
and enthusiasm for the mountain & surrounds. Please pass on my appreciation
to him.

Eloise Larsen PhD | Environmental Microbiologist | Institute for Sustainable
Resources | Biogeosciences Discipline |

Queensland University of Technology | Gardens Point | R334, 2 George St,
Brisbane QLD 4000|

Can you spot him?

         Tours Northwest version of Where's Waldo: Discover Duane!

Thank you

Thank you for the e-card and the flowers sent for my mother's funeral. She died on the 18th of October after 97 years of living a full life. She had 5 children, 19 grandchildren and 41 great grandchildren and they all were there for the service. We have had 3 amazing days of family celebration.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wine Tour

During Sweet Week we ran two wines tours. The morning one went our to Woodinville with stops at St. Michelle, Columbia, and Brian Carter. Our afternoon tour, went to Fremont, north Lower Queen Anne and Ballard.

The "CRUSH" is going on right now, and we are developing a relationship which gets our guests in for a first hand look.

Smith Tower, a new look

Click here to see a great article in the New York Times about the inside of the pyramid on Smith Tower. Are you conveying all the facts about who lives there? Now you can. Thanks, Ann Peavey, head of Seattle Visitor's Center concierge desk for the heads up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stockholm City Voices

This is one of two Swedish choruses visiting Seattle. They performed on Sunday night and will be competing this week against large choruses of up to 120 voices. Go Sweden!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Last Company Standing!

Diann snapped this picture of No. 13 in the Paradise parking lot. We are, of course, the last company to take tours into the National Park. We go through Nov. 1st, and trust that our coach will be full of singing Sweet Adelines throughout this week.

Singing at St. Michelle Winery

Sweet Week Poses

Some sang at Kerry Park, some posed. ALL had fun. Here are some Sweet Adelines from Rick's tour.

Geoducks is a Dirty Job

This is a clip from Dirty Jobs when Mike visited Taylor Shellfish in Shelton a few years ago. When we go to Taylor on Chuckanut Drive on our Sea to Sky tour, there are great displays talking about oysters, clams and, yes, geoduck.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tours Northwest answers phones for KUOW Pledge Drive

On Oct. 13th eight of us answered phones at the KUOW offices for their pledge drive. While some wore yellow to show off our company colors, others realized this was a RADIO pledge drive and the yellow would not be too apparent to those calling in, or listening.

Liz, Steve and Dan sat with Bryan, Duane and several long time volunteers who taught us the ins and outs of Pledge Drive phone effectiveness.

Joy, Tom and Dustin held down the other end of the room. It was a fun and rewarding experience, and we'll do this again in the spring.

We even had street cred in the U District! Ok, well, TWO of us did.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sweet Adelines Press Release

Tulsa, OK (Top40 Charts/ Sweet Adelines International) - Seattle awaits Sweet Adelines International as nearly 7,000 a cappella vocalists from around the world prepare for the 2010 International Convention and Competition. Attendees will converge during the week of Oct. 19-23, 2010 at the Key Arena where from dawn to dusk each day will be jam-packed with the best in barbershop singing.

More than 70 quartets and 43 choruses are perking up their barbershop chords and will heat up the stage for five days of flavorful and rich competitions.

The convention commences on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 6:00 p.m., with Sweet Adelines International's Harmony Classic Contest, featuring the top small and mid-sized choruses, all competing for the international gold. The vibrant Young Women in Harmony Festival chorus will also take the stage that evening to entertain the audience with a lively performance.

The close-harmony international quartet semifinal competitions will open on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 10:45 a.m. The top 10 quartets return for the finals on Friday, Oct. 22, beginning at noon. The 2010 International Champion Quartet, Zing!, will relinquish their crowns to one winning quartet.

The chorus semifinal competitions open on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 10:45 a.m. and only the 10 best choruses will reach the finals on Saturday, Oct. 23, beginning at 3:00 p.m. The 2010 International Champion Chorus, Rich-Tone, will hand over the title to the 2011 champion.

On Friday morning, thousands of singers will assemble at the Key Arena Plaza for a spectacular Mass Sing performance in honor of the city of Seattle. In addition to the singing, a secret is brewing that has the potential to reach international recognition as soon as it is unveiled at the Mass Sing. Members of the community and media are invited to join Sweet Adelines International members, friends, family and fans for this unprecedented event. Mass Sing begins at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 22 at the Key Arena Plaza. This is a free event open to the general public.

The final day of competition features the youngest singers of Sweet Adelines International who are eager to let their voices soar in the 2010 Rising Star Quartet Contest scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23 at 9 a.m. This annual barbershop contest offers an avenue for members aged 25 years and younger to present their talents by competing among 20 Rising Star quartets who are harmonizing the world from Arizona, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Canada and New Zealand. The 2010 Rising Star Quartet Champion VOGUE, will relinquish its title to one winning quartet.

All competition sessions are open to the public. Tickets may be purchased at the Sweet Adelines International ticket office at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center beginning Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 9:00 a.m. Individual tickets range in price from $40-$45 per competition session. For more information on the Sweet Adelines International Convention, call 800.992.7464, 918.622.1444 or visit

Sweet Adelines International is a musical force in the United States and around the world. The organization is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., where it was founded in 1945. This nonprofit music education organization is one of the world's largest singing organizations for women encompassing nearly 25,000 members, 1,200 registered quartets and 600 choruses in most of the fifty United States, Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, The Netherlands and Wales.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shock(s) and Awe

The No. 10 has been a favorite coach in the past due to its spaciousness, but in recent months it has gotten to be a bit "stiff" and "bumpy".

We are in awe of Dustin's abilities around the shop, and he is again performing his magic by putting in new suspension for this coach. Soon, the No. 10 will go from worst to best!

Fall Color at Mt. Rainier

Encourage all those in city/Boeing guests to go up to Mt. Rainier with us and see the fall colors. Ask our guides: it is spectacular this year. Click here for more info.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Voices Northwest meets ... Seattle!

Voices Northwest and Tours Northwest Harmonize!

Today, Kim Ludvikson and Steve Powell will be taking Voices Northwest, a Sweet Adeline chorus from Everett, on a unique tour of Seattle: they will be part of the show! At Waterfall Garden Park, Fisherman's Memorial, the downtown Library, Theo Chocolate (a quartet) and maybe the top of Kite Hill Voices Northwest will offer up a song and remind everyone within ear shot that the Sweet Adelines International Convention is only two weeks away. We'll try to mesh with the 10 AM tours so our other guests will get an even more entertaining tour today.

During that convention, we'll be offering a discount if anyone, or everyone, will sing at a public place of the guide's choosing.

Take a look at this picture. Think Kim and Steve will be having any fun today?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

KUDOS to Tom Naabe

Tom recieved rave reviews several times in the past week. From the Carneys came this note on Sept. 30:

On Tuesday September 28th, we took your Mt. Rainier tour with your guide, Tom.

We can not praise him enough for the outstanding job he did taking care of us throughout the day and his expertise as a tour guide. We had a wonderful, fun day 0 mostly due to Tom. We even were lucky enough to see Mt. Rainier at least 3 different times during the day.

Tom, also gave us a great recommendation to a restaurant when we returned to the city.

Great job Tom! Great tour, Tours Northwest.
We will not hesitate to recommend your company to others.
Another day, Tom had a Boeing tour in the afternoon. At one point he had four guests, but three cancelled and he was asked to take one guest up on the tour. He did so without any protest.

Before he left, a competitor's bus broke down and the driver was befuddled about what to do about the situation. Tom called our office to discuss the situation; we contacted the other company to offer our help. Tom loaded 23 people up on his coach and brought them back to Seattle.

The interesting part of this story is that the following day one of the rescued guests called to compliment the "tour" Tom gave on the way back. This guest fully appreciated not only the extra effort we offered to our competitor, but the incredibly interesting and entertaining tour given by Tom to make everyone feel good about their trip despite the mechanical problems delaying their return. Tom dropped them off - as he would with any of our own guests - at several spots downtown.

That effort makes our company look great, and those 23 people will spread the word to friends as well as the concierge of their hotel.

Great work, Tom!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

MOHAI Minute on Smith Tower

Press Release

Sweet Adelines Convention Warm Up to Harmonize at Seattle Sights

In this day and age of Glee-mania and flash mobs, an Everett Sweet Adelines chorus and a Seattle tour company are hitting the streets of Seattle on Sunday, October 3rd as a warm-up to the Sweet Adelines International Convention from October 19th-23rd.

This musical-tour mashup will tour the City for three hours and simply break out in song when the mood strikes.

During the convention in October, every tour offered by Tours Northwest will be discounted if anyone, or hopefully everyone, on the bus sings a song at a public place selected by the tour guide. Pioneer Square, the Fremont Troll, Kerry Park and the Ballard Locks are likely venues. Keep your ears alert!

Tours Northwest is calling the convention week “Sweet Week”. Every city tour will stop at Theo’s Chocolate; every City tour is subject to the Discount for a Song theme. All tours are open to the public, but you may simply serendipitously bump into the melodious visitors throughout Seattle.

Voices Northwest is an Everett-based Sweet Adelines chorus and will not be competing during convention week because they are part of the Convention Center/Key Arena volunteer organization. They will, however, have an opportunity this Sunday that the later tour groups won’t: they can sing at every stop on the city tour.

During Sweet Week, Tours Northwest will be offering their popular Seattle City tour, Boeing Assembly Plant tour, and Mt. Rainier tour. The international singers will also have the benefit of several custom tours to see more of the Northwest.

The Sea to Sky tour will go north and visit La Conner, the bakeries of Edison, Taylor Oyster Farms, Mt Erie and Deception Pass.

The Tacoma tour will visit the City of Destiny and go not only to the Glass Museum, but will sightsee further: Old Town, Stadium High School, the gorgeous homes of the north-end, Point Defiance and the double suspension bridge (with video of Galloping Gertie).

One Winery tour will head east to Woodinville and the Eastside; another will visit Seattle wine tasting rooms and a few of the burgeoning number of breweries in the area.

Watch for this glee-filled collaboration this Sunday. In October, join in the fun, nail the scenic high notes and extend your Northwest range.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Northwest of the Northwest

Have you been to any of the three bakeries in Edison, WA? Shopped at Rhody Too in Bow. Slurped your lunch at Taylor Oyster Farms? Gotten dizzy looking over the bridge at Deception Pass or off the peak of Mt. Erie? Wandered in La Conner?

Get ready for our Sea to Sky tour, offered during SWEET WEEK.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mid-October bump: Sweet Adelines Convention

While our tours reduce after October 10, we expect a HUGE week of Oct. 19th. The Sweet Adelines International Convention will be in town with possibly 10,000 attendees. THIS IS OUR DEMOGRAPHIC (compare and contrast with ComiCom). Be prepared. I'll be modifying the blog calendar just for this event! There will be LOTS of tours available.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Nose on our Face

Do you point out and gush about Toulouse Petit as you drive by, on the corner of Mercer and Queen Anne? We go by it on every tour; it sits there as obvious as the nose on our face, but many of us fail to point it out. Have you been there yet? Guide Lance Miller has sent over 25 people there, and raves about the food. It has a stellar reputation, and a very, Very, VERY large creative menu!

Its brunches are especially notable, and reasonably priced: they have a brunch Happy Hour!

On Monday night it will make an appearance on the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

Visit soon so you can tell your guests all about it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Huskers in Town!

Remember the LSU visit last September? We had record numbers on our tours. Expect the same at the end of this week, and on Sunday because the Nebraska Cornhuskers (and many fans) are visiting to play the Huskies. Look at the schedule and sign up for tours on Thu, Fri and Sun. if you aren't already on. (Sat. isn't expected to be huge due to the early afternoon game.)

FYI, we are actually taking out an ad in the Omaha newspaper Tues. and Weds.

Remind us to get the Locker jersey(s) out there. Volunteer, suggest, grab it and show it off. The concierge are responding very positively (might the last victory have something to do with this?) Have fun with it. Be courteous and kind with Nebraska fans, BUT remind them who has the home field advantage! Take great pride in being a Husky fan, and an "ambassador" for the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kim wins Locker jersey

Liz decided that Kim earned the Locker jersey for her efforts on Sat., Aug. 29th. She fired up on short notice for a double on a very busy day. In a word, she demonstrated unflappability.

Did you know it was Locker for Heisman Awareness Week? Follow the campaign on Facebook!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And now for something totally different: a recipe

If you like tomatoes (and have lots of them in your garden); and if you like runny yoke poached eggs click on the above and put together this Tomato and Crouton gratin ... with poached egg on top! This is from food blog SmittenKitchen which I discovered in the Flipboard app on my iPad. It was my first attempt at using the iPad in the kitchen, and it worked well (despite the fact that I'm not the neatest cook in the world.)

Monday, August 23, 2010


We go to many networking events throughout the year. Here is a picture from a recent one called a Meet the Maven Tweetup. It occurred on the roof of the Hard Rock Cafe and was hosted by our friend Ann Peavey from the Convention and Visitor's Bureau who is known as Seattlemaven on Twitter.

Great Review re Bryan on Mt. Rainier Tour

We love seeing Reviews about our tours on Yelp or, but often we simply get a nice email or snail mail note about our guides.

Here's one:

I was in Seattle on vacation July 19th and had booked a tour with your company. My tour was to Mt. Rainier with Bryan. I am a retired school teacher and have traveled a lot in my life. Bryan was the best and most interesting tour guide I have ever had. He was very [well] versed on the area and made it such a great trip. He just had a good sense of how to handle the group and keep everyone on track. I appreciated it so. His expertise, professionalism, and personal skills were incredible. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed my tour.

I am writing this to let you know what an asset Bryan is to your company. He could very well train other tour guides to adapt some of his personal, professional skills, and enthusiasm for his job.

Thank him and praise him for his genuine and informative job that he is doing for your company. Great job by Bryan. Well done!!!


Nancy Maxwell

PS I'm the Texan that was willing to get out of my comfort zone and have some berry ice cream, instead of chocolate. That was a big stretch for me. Thanks, so much Bryan, for making my tour so great! Appreciate you so. You were awesome.

And here's a picture; Bryan is on the left next to Mark and Rick.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Who is who?

Jake Locker poses with John Jesse's daughter.

Liz' sister Vicki visits the office.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

2. Barry Barr - Locker jersey recipient 7/31/10

Barry Barr for his flexibility. Barry is one of several guides to always have season tickets for the Huskies football games and he will wear the Jake Locker jersey proudly. (He passed out Jake Locker handouts after we announced this program.) Barry does what needs to be done despite what he is scheduled for. Set for a City tour, he fluidly switches gears and dons his Boeing tour hat if the numbers require a second coach. Come in early, come in later, Barry provides a willing attitude and experience of many years (9+) as a Seattle Tours/Tours Northwest guide.

Jake Locker is known for his flexibility. Run, pass or all of the above. Tours Northwest took many visiting LSU fans on tours last year, and on the Sunday they expressed their awe and appreciation of the multiple skills of our magnificent quarterback.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Washington Wine Country

Are you ready to guide a wine tour soon?

The Tours Northwest Locker jersey program

Like Erastus Brainerd 103 years ago, we are promoters for all things Seattle and the Northwest! We crow about independent small coffee shops along with Starbucks; we point out Fran's and Theo as well as the hidden gem of Rosie's Chocolates in the Market. We love the new and small (Bad Monkey Bistro) as well as the experienced and fabled (Tom Douglas). We are hot on the leading edge of what is happening in South Lake Union (aka Allentown?) where Amazon is about to bring 10,000 employees/customers to the businesses in the area (the new Pearl District?).

And we will be touting the amazing story of Jake Locker, the UW Quarterback, as it unfolds this year. Jake is an underdog's underdog for the Heisman trophy. We will allude to him whenever we can on our tours to those people from across the country so they too will recognize his name, and pay attention to his exploits.

Each day a guide will be awarded the Locker jersey - No. 10 - to wear during his or her tours. It will be awarded for qualities that Jake undoubtedly has in spades as a Pac 10 quarterback and local boy made good: teamwork, flexibility, calmness under pressure, etc. WWJD?

Above is a picture of our Guide Gathering (at Bad Monkey Bistro) on July 29th. Dan Malmanger, the owner of Tours Northwest, is donning the purple jersey for this picture, but starting today there will be a new wearer each day. Stay tuned!

1. Bryan Dutt - Locker jersey recipient 7/30/10

Bryan Dutt for his teamwork. Two weeks ago after running a long, full Boeing tour in the AM Bryan stepped up to help his fellow Mt. Rainier guide who had mechanical problems ... at Box Canyon, the furthest point away from the shop. He drove around the Mountain to rescue the guests who greeted him, and thanked him later, with applause. Bryan himself runs two to three Mt. Rainier tours for us each week.

Jake Locker is the consumate team player. Consider his decision to play another year with the University of Washington despite the probability that he would have gone very high in the NFL draft.