Company plans excursion trips
HUTTONSVILLE — A well-known, recently retired band director — who led students on many school band trips to various locales — is now working to provide excursion trips from the local area for all ages.
Jeff Caplinger was ready to ramp up the trips through his business, All About Destinations, just before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country in 2020.
“I first started All About Destinations in 2016,” he told The Inter-Mountain. “It originally began as a group travel company, where groups came to me and we put together their trips. And we still do that. When I knew I was moving back to West Virginia, in talking with some folks at the CVB in Elkins, and also knowing that there was a need for excursions trips from the area, the company took on a new aspect.
“We were all geared up and ready to go in late 2019, and then the pandemic hit and that was that. We’ve been pretty shuttered for about two and a half years,” he said.
The beginning of the pandemic made excursion trips temporarily impossible.
“My last trip was to New York with a group from George Washington High School in Charleston,” Caplinger said. “Once we got there, that’s when they were closing New York City down. Once we got out of New York, they pretty much shut the door behind us, and the COVID pandemic was on.
“Now we’re relaunching, and we’re still doing group tours, but also doing excursion trips out of this area as well,” he said.
Caplinger, an Elkins native, retired this summer after being a teacher since 1988, and serving as a band director at several area schools, including Tygart Valley High/Middle School, where he lead the band up to the end of the 2021-22 school year.
“I’ve been taking my band on group trips for years,” he said. “I taught at Philip Barbour, we were always on the road. At Elkins High, we actually took bigger trips every other year. We want to New York, we went to Disney several times. The last trip I took at Elkins High we went to Montreal.”
Caplinger has worked in the travel business for more than 15 years, in both West Virginia and South Carolina, and believes the time is right to offer the excursion trips locally.
“The cost of travel has gone up significantly since the beginning of the pandemic,” he said. “If you want to take your family on a trip, it’s very expensive to go. An excursion trip is still the cheapest way to go somewhere. And it can be a lot of fun.”
All About Destinations has several trips scheduled for the coming months, including:
Ohio Amish Country Experience on Sept. 24, and again on April 29;
Fallingwater/Flight 93 Memorial excursion trip on Oct. 14;
Baltimore Inner Harbor on Oct. 22;
Ark Encounter/Creation Museum on Nov. 4-5;
Dickens Victorian Village on Nov. 19;
Holiday Magic in Pittsburg on Dec. 3;
Christmas in New York City on Dec. 9-10;
and a Discover Italy Tour on April 15-22.
Caplinger is teaming up with a local business to provide those who go on the excursion trips a tasty breakfast.
“We’ve partnered with Great Harvest Bakery in Elkins,” he said. “They’re providing what we call ‘Breakfast and Go’ for every trip, because we leave so early. Instead of stopping for breakfast along the way and losing an hour, they’re providing a breakfast for the trip.”
For more information, go to allaboutdestinationstravel.com.