The Travel Channel recently aired a special about the Everglades called “Park Secrets” in which they featured our popular Miccosukee Indian Heritage Airboat Tour. Appearing in the short clip is John Tigertail, a long time friend and partner of Dragonfly Expeditions. His family of the Miccosukee’s Panther Clan takes our guests via airboat to a hunting camp and a family camp. Participants explore the two tree islands, learn about the Miccosukee way of life, and have a chance to see and interact with the various animals (like alligators and turtles) kept on the islands for release. Charles Kropke, also speaking in this segment, brings up the little-known fact that the Everglades is not actually a swamp, but an immense, slow-flowing river. Click the image above to watch the Travel Channel clip!
With its prehistoric appearance, extraordinarily flying abilities, and intriguing name, the dragonfly has forever been a popular symbol in art and culture that has represented everything from courage, happiness, and summer (in Japanese culture) to swiftness and water (in Native American culture). In Europe’s Middle Ages, this dazzling insect was called the “devil’s darning needle” not only because of its long, slender shape but also because it was believed to be a servant of the devil. In Portugal, folks call it the “eye-snatcher” and in Wales, the “adder’s servant.” With its endless associations and meanings, it’s not surprising that many companies have included the word “dragonfly” in their titles or have used the creature as a mascot. In Dragonfly Expeditions’ younger days, we received occasional phone calls asking if we were related to or a part of similarly-named companies in Puerto Rico or South Africa. Although Dragonfly Expeditions does have several sister companies – for example, Green Heron Gifts and Windjammer Sailing Adventures – none of them have the word dragonfly in their title. The confused callers piqued our interest, so we did our homework on these other Dragonfly companies. And since I have been working with Dragonfly Expeditions, I have noticed even more dragonflies flitting about. Click below to unravel the mystery of the other dragonflies! (more…)
By April Kuhlman, January 22, 2013no responses
“What’s it like to work in an office inside the Biltmore Hotel?” is a question we are almost always asked by first-time visitors to our office. The Biltmore Hotel is a truly unique place to work. After all, the building appears on the National Register of Historic Places, boasts a spiraling Moorish Giralda tower, houses a pool that was unrivaled in size for many years, and is rumored to be haunted. Walking into the main lobby, visitors are greeted by amicable bell boys, two small aviaries, and soaring, barrel-vaulted ceilings complete with hand-painted frescos. The interior also features travertine floors, marble columns, elaborate leaded glass fixtures, and carved mahogany furnishings. As a company that believes strongly in preserving important Miami landmarks, it seems only fitting that Dragonfly Expeditions’ office should be located inside one of them. Below are some examples of what we and some of our neighbors think about walking into the Biltmore Hotel each morning for work.
As the Dragonfly Expeditions team sits around the table during our weekly meeting on Monday mornings, it’s not uncommon for us to feel something small brush past our ankles. It’s not a mouse. It’s the tail of a Chihuahua; or to be more specific – two Chihuahuas. We are proud to introduce the most recent additions to the Dragonfly Expeditions family: Cookie and Peaches. Our two newest friends wasted no time in making themselves at home in the Biltmore Hotel. When Stephanie, intern for our sister company Windjammer Sailing Adventures (located in the office next door), moved to Miami from Germany, she didn’t come alone. She arrived in the US with two little and loveable dogs in tow. It took some getting used to, but now we can’t imagine the workday without Cookie and Peaches frolicking between our two offices. Read more to find out which dog is a mother of five and which dog weighs less than six pounds! (more…)
By April Kuhlman, November 13, 2012no responses
Just last month, Margaritaville Travel AdventuresTM successfully ran its first excursion, the Lost Shaker of Salt AdventureTM. The week-long trip began with a bang in South Beach and took a group of Jimmy Buffett fans all the way south to Duval Street in Key West. This diverse and enthusiastic collection of Parrot Heads had the opportunity to live the iconic island lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett while exploring hidden corners of the Florida Keys, kayaking, participating in a scavenger hunt, making new friends, and of course, relaxing! Participant feedback included quotes like “Unless you’ve already found paradise – this is the next best thing – trying to find it with a great bunch of people!” “It was an adventure, not a tour, yet we experienced very interesting sites and also had a blast with the other members of the group. Group size was perfect and a great mix of personalities!” and “Parrot heads forever! The staff was incredible! Locations fun and funky and the group was the perfect blend of friendliness and crazy off-beat humor and fun!” But the journey wasn’t just enjoyable for the guests. Mo Fries, the Tour Director, had the experience of a lifetime; read more to find out why.
The year is 1966 and it’s about 4:00am on New Year’s morning. A magnificent schooner cuts through the waves off the coast of Florida, the moonlight reflecting off her polished teak deck and illuminating the name Mandalay painted in script on her side. Twenty-some passengers are on their way back from a luxurious cruise to the Bahamas – but everything was not shipshape on this ship. The sleeping passengers wouldn’t have guessed that someone’s miscalculation from the night before had put them more than 15 miles off course and on New Year’s Day 1966, the cruisers were rudely awakened as a violent shudder ran through the ship’s timbers. As the Mandalay ground to a halt and began to tilt precariously, pajama-clad passengers rushed out of their cabins to see what was happening. (more…)
By April Kuhlman, October 15, 20122 responses
Captain Mike Burke established Windjammer Barefoot Cruises over 60 years ago. For landlubbers everywhere, he offered a world of rekindled childhood, the spirit of carefree pirates, and the experience of sailing on a tall ship. The world of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises consisted of rescued schooners, salt spray, turquoise Caribbean seas, pristine anchorages, far-flung ports, and of course bare feet. But dreams are fragile things, and in September 2007, this Captain’s dream was on its way to Davy Jones’ locker. Windjammer Barefoot Cruises went bankrupt, its remaining assets were auctioned off, and all who were a part of that world mourned. But the unique world of Windjammer never really died. (more…)
Dragonfly Expeditions is always looking for new ways to support the local economy and convey the spirit and beauty of Florida to visitors. These sentiments were the genesis for the launch of our sister company, Green Heron Gifts. Established in 2009, Green Heron Gifts strives to represent the real Florida by offering volume quantities of unique, local products. By ensuring that each item for sale is original and made using a sustainable process, the company limits waste and presents gifts that will be meaningful to both buyer and recipient.
After watching craft industries and local offerings get wiped out by cheap, generic imports, we decided to launch Green Heron Gifts with the philosophy: “Achieving prosperity and sustainability through merchandising products that preserve an authentic sense of place.” All items that the company sells are eco-friendly reflections of Florida’s art, culture, and history. The ideal client is one who has a desire to make a difference in the world through his/her group spending choices.
Dragonfly Expeditions and ActionCoach Business Coaching have come together in an exciting joint venture to offer the perfect strategic planning day for small or large companies and organizations or institutions – either locally or from out of town. Any organization that wants to achieve its goals in 2013 and be best prepared for the opportunities that lie ahead will benefit from a strategic planning day moderated by a certified business coach. Results are being locked in with an engaging teambuilding activity facilitated by Dragonfly Expeditions. If desired, we can even arrange an inspiring and unique meeting location.
By Charles J. Kropke, August 1, 20122 responses
Several years of diligent planning are culminating in the very first departure for Margaritaville Travel Adventures. The first itinerary, ‘The Lost Shaker of Salt Adventure,’ launches in Miami on October 7th, 2012 and will explore a route from Miami Beach, through the mid Florida Keys to Key West and back. It was a lot of fun putting it all together and you can think of it as an explorer’s smorgasbord.