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Courtesy Visit Savannah
These seasonal destinations offer significant savings during low-demand times.
Bring the Kids These family-friendly destinations help drive high attendance for meetings.
Innovation in Winston-Salem This North Carolina City is pushing the envelope in exciting ways.
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Tan-Tar-A Resort Discover the meetings opportunities at Central Missouriâ€™s premiere lakeside retreat.
Kansas Meeting Guide Meeting opportunities abound at museums and historic sites in the Sunflower State.
Courtesy Visit Winston-Salem
On the cover: Sunset at the iconic Point Reyes Cypress Tunnel in Marin County, California.
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New Accommodations and Meeting Space Opening at Pebble Beach
Courtesy Pebble Beach Company
Fairway One will add 28 guest rooms and golf cottages to the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
PEBBLE BEACH, California â€” The Pebble Beach Company has announced an August opening for Fairway One at Pebble Beach Resorts. As part of the Lodge at Pebble Beach, Fairway One will add 38 guest rooms, including 30 in three two-story buildings and eight in two four-bedroom golf cottages fronting the first fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. The Fairway One complex will also include a new meeting facility anchored by a 2,500-square-foot meeting room.
Situated on the arrival court of Fairway One, the Fairway One Meeting Facility will feature several meeting and event space options that can be booked individually or as a complete group buyout. The meeting facility will be suitable for everything from business events to weddings and social gatherings. Its centerpiece will be the 2,500-squarefoot Fairway One Meeting Room with a capacity of 225, featuring floor-to-ceiling views of the first fairway and looking out toward the first green. Other spaces will include the 700-square-foot Fairway One Board Room with 26 capacity, the 1,000-square-foot Fairway One Living Room with 80 capacity and the 2,250-square-foot Fairway One Terrace Patio with 250 capacity. Fairway One is part of a series of upgrade projects taking place at the resort property, among them the phased renovation of all 454 guest rooms at the Lodge, the Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero, and restorations to the Pebble Beach Golf Links. All these enhancements are being completed to prepare for hosting the 2018 U.S. Amateur and 2019 U.S. Open championships, as well as the celebra-
tion of the resortâ€™s 100th anniversary in 2019. Located on the left side of the first fairway, the Fairway One complex will offer oversized accommodations, all featuring ocean, garden and golf course views. The two Fairway One Cottages, which front the first fairway, each will have a 1,000-squarefoot living room, two king bedrooms, two queen/queen bedrooms and an outdoor terrace with fire pit. Each living room will be characterized by a 17-foot-high wood-beam ceiling, wood millwork and an authentic wood-burning floor-to-ceiling stacked stone fireplace. They will also each contain two 55-inch TVs, a wet bar, a dining area and oversized furniture in groupings that encourage communal experiences. The 30 Fairway One guest rooms will be located behind the cottages. Large picture windows and terraces create a panoramic connection with the golf course and nearby ocean. Open floor plans give the guest rooms a feeling of space and, starting at 660 square feet, will be significantly larger than a typical luxury hotel guest room. www.pebblebeach.com
JB Duke Hotel Opens in Durham, North Carolina DURHAM, North Carolina — JB Duke Hotel, North Carolina’s new contemporary lodging destination on the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has opened to guests. The hotel features the Thomas Executive Conference Center. With 25,000 square feet of meeting and event space designed with a focus on hospitality, the center offers flexible event setup and adheres to the quality standards set by the International Association of Conference Centers. The facility offers a 5,450-square-foot ballroom, several multipurpose spaces, two state-of-the art boardrooms, two fixed-tiered classrooms that seat 65 attendees, generous prefunction spaces and a business center. State-of-the-art systems in each room will assist its global and local clientele. Light-filled spaces abound throughout the hotel, offering views of the surrounding Duke Forest, landscaped courtyards, terraces and plazas, which connect guests with the outdoors. Local decor and furnishings invoke a sense of craftsmanship important to the history and community of North Carolina. “Travelers from near and far will experience the very best of Southern hospitality at the JB Duke Hotel, nestled in the heart of Duke’s iconic campus,” said Gregg Hilker, general manager of the JB Duke Hotel. “The hotel’s contemporary design, convenient conference room features and attentive staff offer the perfect backdrop for visitors of Durham’s flourishing cultural, culinary, athletic, academic and business scenes.” The hotel layout features guest-room and meeting-room wings intended for a variety of collaborative spaces and social functions, along with a full-service restaurant and two bars, all connected by a grand hall with a soaring two-story glass wall. The JB Duke Hotel has 198 guest rooms, including 11 unique suites. Design inspiration from natural settings extends into the guest rooms. The JB Duke Hotel represents a $62 million investment by Duke University in the Durham community, creating more than 120 career opportunities. The hotel and its conference facilities will be used by Duke’s MBA programs for working professionals and nondegree executive education courses hosted by the Fuqua School. The namesake of the hotel is James Buchanan “J.B.” Duke, the son of Washington Duke, for whom the university was named and one of the most successful industrialists of the 20th century. www.jbdukehotel.com
Howell Plans Powerful Personal Message for Conference Attendees b 26 28 2017 September 26-28, By Dan Dickson
hen it comes to managing life’s ups and downs, including family and work, some people may wonder whether they’re “being all in, all the time.” That’s the topic John Howell of a presentation keynote speaker John Howell plans to bring to the 2017 Small Market Meetings Conference in South Bend, Indiana, September 26-28. Howell knows it’s not easy to devote more energy than we think we can give, but life could be more rewarding if we invested in the things that matter.
By Dan Dickson
A 2016 Small Market Meetings Conference speaker takes a selfie with conference attendees from the stage. Howell will bring a story that conference delegates will likely never forget. By trade, Howell is a professional public accounting
expert and managing director of KPMG Management Consulting Services in Charlotte, North Carolina. His story takes place in 2009 while he was in New York City to assist a client during the monetary crisis. Specific details about that experience will be saved for his talk in the fall, but attendees can be assured, the wait will be worth it. Though the experience was harrowing, to say the least, Howell said for him personally, it was all positive. Howell’s takeaway from his experience that day changed him forever, and he wants to share what he learned from it. “I had to think about what I was doing from a home-life perspective, from a career perspective, and to get serious about why I was here,” he said in an interview with Small Market Meetings magazine. “That includes the journey itself, what I should be doing. If it were my last day on earth, what was I doing with my time?” Howell, who has been in the financial services industry for 20 years, is asked to address several large professional groups every year to share his remarkable story. “But I am not out there selling myself as a professional speaker,” he said. “This experience just came to me.” As for Howell’s main message, think of it in terms of personal values. He said the lesson he will share is about changing the way we view things around us. He also said that exactly how we choose to see things creates its own set of changes “in how you spend your time, in how you create daily focus, in how you declutter and, ultimately, in how you accomplish the things you really value,” said Howell. “A sudden impact doesn’t have to change what you do, but it may very well open your eyes to the beauty in what you do, and how you go about doing it.” Howell continues to devote his time to improving the financial conditions of his clients. But sooner or later, they hear about his story and ask him to share the details, and of course, he takes that as an opportunity to include the powerful insights that came from his experience.
Spellos Bringing Tech Savvy to Small Market Meetings Conference By Dan Dickson
hen technology expert James Spellos was asked to do a phone interview with Small Market Meetings magazine, he asked his AI to handle the arrangements: to check his calendar, suggest available James Spellos dates and times to the magazine writer, and ask the writer to respond. AI, or artificial intelligence, is a tech development that is rapidly spinning forward and becoming more commonplace. Spellos, who lectures about the tech world in college classrooms and corporate boardrooms through his company, Meeting U, will be a speaker at the 2017 Small Market Meetings Conference in South Bend Indiana, September 26-28. He has addressed the conference before and always brings fresh tech ideas to the group of delegates. After a few back-and-forths with the AI, whom Spellos nicknamed Amy Ingram, the phone conversation was scheduled and the interview completed. “AI is in the very early stages. It’s just starting,” Spellos said. “I have seen tools such as planning, transcription and language interpretation where artificial intelligence seems to be doing the job. It is permeating some of the needs that planners have to get services done for their events.” Some companies are learning about AI and trying it out, Spellos said. Individuals may be benefiting from it and not even know it. The tech guru said AI isn’t like asking your phone to dial someone by name or asking Google to look up information for you; that’s essentially voice recognition. AI does more complex things a person would normally do. It’s like a robot learning from a human being and improving outcomes for them. “At trade shows, it’s rare if I don’t see at least half a dozen hotels, convention centers or cities using virtually reality displays to show their properties,” said Spellos. “It helps clients get a more intimate view of what they might be booking in that city.” Another new tool is augmented reality. This is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, realworld environment. The elements in it are enhanced, or augmented, by computers that provide graphics, video, audio or GPS information.
Planners are using this tool, said Spellos. “They use it more in their marketing to push out content that is above and beyond what a regular catalog or brochure, for example, might show.” While planning meetings, mistakes are made because of the human element, but planners find ways to overcome them. They can use tools that allow them to make sure everything runs smoothly for their guests or attendees. Spellos warns that tech tools are good only if they allow those attendees to enjoy a better experience. By Dan Dickson “There is a fine line in the technology Conference Cash was a popular item during the new sponsor conversation between using a tool because auction at the 2016 Small Market Meetings Conference. it is new and cool and using something that best supports the bottom line of the developments and includes videos of company or organization,” he said. Spellos in action at various conferences. Spellos’ website, www.meeting-u.com, explains his take on the latest technology
Creative thinking helps shake up tired meeting traditions By Vickie Mitchell
illary Smith was tired of seeing the same-old, sameold at the meetings industry conferences she attends. So Smith and Koncept Events shook things up last fall by putting a new whirl on the annual SPIN [Senior Planners Industry Network] conference (SPINCon) in November at the Marriott Resort Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach. Smith, a partner in Koncept, was well acquainted with SPIN, whose members are meeting planners with 10 or more years of experience. When she heard the SPIN conference was coming to Koncept’s home base of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she offered to assist. “Because of budget, they were about to plan a typical conference,” she said. “I said, ‘No, no, no! That’s not who you are.’ These planners are not swimming in the same stream; they like to push the envelope.” Smith didn’t want the 200 planners at SPINCon to feel as she often does at meetings industry gatherings. “At most events put on for meeting planners, no one puts the love, the thought and the care into it, so the planners aren’t seeing anything new. We didn’t want it to be the same for SPIN; we wanted to give these planners something to talk about.” And boy, did they. Koncept and its suppliers donated hundreds of staff hours and thousands in materials to completely theme SPIN’s sixth annual conference. Koncept put its touch on every aspect, every event, “right down to the napkins at lunch,” said Catherine Jensen, SPIN’s vice president of operations. “I am still hearing the buzz.” The conference theme — Brain, Body, Being and Business — served as inspiration as each of four meeting rooms was styled to reflect one of the words through color, fragrance, music, seating and decor. To see each room and read about Koncept’s thought processes, visit www.konceptevents.com/planningplanners-used-psychology-design-decor-spincon-16/. Pulling off such an elaborate event isn’t something every organization can afford, yet some of Koncept’s ideas weren’t all that costly, and others would be doable with the help of a cooperative hotel and supportive suppliers. “Planners get really excited; then they say, ‘It’s great, but we don’t’ have any money.’ But you can still incorporate some of the little things,” said Smith. Here are some ideas.
— Use speaker quotes to reinforce a message. Koncept studied speakers’ presentations and turned presenters’ pithiest quotes into artwork for tabletops. “I saw women pointing at the quotes and a lot of planners taking pictures of the quotes,” said Smith. — Get on a roll with golf balls. In one session, planners were urged to unwind by slipping off their shoes and rolling their feet over golf balls that were supplied. It was an inexpensive way to provide a foot massage. Not as many planners participated as Smith had hoped, perhaps because the idea wasn’t explained clearly enough, she said. — Choose a sense or two. At SPINCon 2016, each meeting room was a multisensory experience thanks to varied lighting, textures, music and scents. Instead of employing all the senses, a planner could focus on one or two, switching up music styles or lighting from room to room. — Make one space do double duty. Using one space in two ways is a smart cost-saving measure, Smith pointed out. For example, instead of typical break tables, morning coffee and snacks could be set up in a “coffeehouse” area with couches, comfy chairs, coffee tables and perhaps an acoustic guitarist. In the evening, the same space could become a bar, shifting into a new gear with livelier music and libations. — Shake up seating. Adding unorthodox seating can lift attendees’ spirits. Jensen noted planners’ reactions to eight inflatable chairs in a meeting room at a SPIN conference two years ago. “They were fighting over them,” she said. Often a hotel or a meeting venue has sofas, ottomans, rocking chairs or other out-of-the-ordinary seating that can be moved from common areas into a meeting space. If the budget is available, special seating can be rented. For more information about SPIN or Koncept Events, visit www.spinplanners.com and www.Konceptevents.com. Vickie Mitchell is the former editor of Small Market Meetings. If you have ideas for future columns, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slow season for destinations can mean great deals on meetings Courtesy Visit Savannah
By Savannah Osbourn any travelers shy away from popular destinations during the offseason, often because of harsh weather conditions or the closing of seasonal attractions like water parks and ski resorts. But for meeting planners, offseason means substantial savings on hotel rooms, meetings space and transportation, making it worthwhile to work around a few small drawbacks. To gain insight on the subject, we spoke with city representatives from Scottsdale, Arizona; Savannah, Georgia; and Anchorage, Alaska, who provided several key incentives for why planners should skip the crowds and cash in on great deals next time they book a trip.
Take Advantage of Better Rates A better term for offseason might be “discount season,” since the diminished flow of traffic usually leads to reduced hotel and room rates, which is ideal for groups on a budget. “Temperatures may rise, but prices go down,” said Kelli Blubaum, vice president of sales and convention services at Experience Scottsdale. “Planners will find that most of the hotels offer really attractive meeting packages, which can include anything from waived resort fees to reduced room prices.” Some destinations, like Savannah, may not promote a particular peak season or offseason but still feature better prices at certain times.
Popular attractions, such as River Street, are making Savannah a year-round destination. “When people are specifically looking for offseason destinations, what they’re really saying is that budget is priority,” said Jeff Hewitt, senior vice president at Visit Savannah. According to Hewitt, the city shifted its focus from season to pattern after its offseason became virtually nonexistent. “We were very purposeful in developing festivals and events during shoulder season, and as the shoulder seasons got wider, the offseason got narrower,” he said. Now, the city works to provide clients with the best options to suit their needs, which are not always contingent on cost. “We ask people their preferred time of year, and if people say first week in March, we give them a few different options with better deals,” said Hewitt. “The best value proposition we have is a Sunday arrival and a midweek departure, but every city is different.” To find the most ideal time frame to visit a destination, Hewitt advised planners to communicate with local tourist organizations about their expectations and be willing to adjust the framework of the trip. “Flexibility is the key to finding your best price points,” he said.
Enjoy Different Seasonal Activities Offseason can carry a negative connotation, but in many cases, it is an opportunity for groups to experience unusual seasonal highlights,
as in Anchorage. Though Alaska is on many people’s bucket lists, it is a common misconception that travelers should only visit during the long daylight hours of cruise season between May and early September. “Many people are not aware of it, but Anchorage is a four-season destination,” said Julie Dodds, director of convention sales at Visit Anchorage. According to Dodds, outsiders often envision the Alaskan region as cold and dark during the winter season, with snow potentially limiting travel access; but it is not much different than a winter trip to Chicago or Seattle. “In 30 years, the Anchorage airport has never been closed for snow,” said Dodds. In addition, the cold weather provides many unique opportunities for after-hours entertainment. Groups can take a helicopter tour over glaciers or admire the breathtaking winter landscape from inside heated cabins on a wildlife cruise. “Getting to go out there in the wintertime is pretty spectacular,” said Dodds. Other offseason activities are skiing, riding snowmobiles, dogsledding and hiking, and the adventurous can try ice climbing on frozen waterfalls. “It’s so easy to get to places where you feel like no one has ever been before,” said Dodds. Of course, one of the most spectacular highlights of Alaska’s winter season is the aurora borealis, which is sometimes visible as often as four or five times a week.
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Extreme temperatures are usually the most discouraging factor for offseason travel, but there is a simple solution for meeting planners: Take it indoors. “There are a lot of properties that are completely indoors; so for groups that don’t want to deal with the elements, you really have plenty of options,” said Blubaum. In Arizona, the heat reaches its height in July and August, but there are still plenty of ways for planners to take advantage of this time frame. Since the desert experiences a 30-degree climate drop from day to night, most groups can sit comfortably within the airconditioned space of their meeting or conference during the day, then go out later in the evening to enjoy local sights. For an off-site activity or venue, groups can roam through the cool galleries of the OdySea Aquarium, which is the largest aquarium in the Southwest, or catch a breeze at the recently opened indoor skydiving facility iFly. Many attendees also gravitate toward the Topgolf indoor golf range and entertainment complex, which offers golfers a selection of nine different games that use interactive technology like touch screens and microchips to track each shot. The facility’s outdoor course provides an engaging night activity as well, featuring illuminated rings around each hole that change color in sync with music. Likewise, Dodds noted that if weather affects an outdoor event in Anchorage, it is simply moved inside to one of the city’s two convention centers in downtown. “The wintertime is actually easier to plan because you just assume that there’s going to be snow,” she said. “Like any meeting destination, you always have a plan B.”
Courtesy Experience Scottsdale
Camelback Golf Club is among the many golf destinations in Scottsdale.
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Bring the Kids!
These meeting destinations draw delegates and their families Courtesy Alcatraz East Crime Museum
By Savannah Osbourn ith the expense of travel, many meeting attendees keep an eye out for opportunities to turn a business trip into a family vacation, extending their stay a few extra days to enjoy the local sights with their spouse and kids. As a result, choosing a location with an eclectic offering of attractions can dramatically boost meeting attendance. To make sure your next meeting or conference appeals to these attendees, check out these family friendly cities.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee Few destinations cater to families quite like Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which attracts some of the country’s largest family-based conferences each year. With more than 20 meeting facilities, the most notable venue is the state-of-the-art LeConte Center, a 232,000-square-foot conference space named after the region’s famous mountain peak. Located along the city’s beautiful river walk, this nature-themed facility gives the impression of a grand mountain lodge, with breathtaking woodwork
The Alcatraz East Crime Museum is one of dozens of family attractions in Pigeon Forge. and forest-inspired carpeting. The Smoky Mountain Convention Center and the Music Road Resort Hotel each accommodate up to 1,000 guests, and properties like the Hilton Garden Inn and the Mainstay Suites Conference Center offer small yet elegant settings for meeting groups. Between conference sessions, groups can explore the network of retail shops at The Island, the city’s new outdoor shopping and entertainment complex, which features highlights like the Smoky Mountain Ferris Wheel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. For evening entertainment, groups have 15 theaters from which to choose, each program centering on clean family fun. Some of the most popular choices include the Comedy Barn, the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show, Lumberjack Adventure, the Dixie Stampede and the Smoky Mountain Opry. At the Titanic Museum, guests can dip their fingers into 30-degree waters, climb into a replicated lifeboat and watch real footage of the sunken Titanic. The Alcatraz East Crime Museum takes visitors through the complex history of crime in the United States, from pirates to train
Courtesy Wisconsin Dells VCB
Wisconsin Dells bills itself as the Waterpark Capital of the World. robbers and serial killers. A trip to the Smokies region would not be complete without stopping by the Smoky Mountain National Park, which is the most visited national park in the country. Though the area was damaged by fires last November, most of the lush trails and mountain vistas remain as stunning as ever. “It’s a big park,” said Leon Downey, director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “Out of 520,000 acres, around 11,000 burned, so only 2 percent of the park was affected. And with years of debris and accumulated clover leafs now burned away, we’re going to see a lot of spring flowers that we haven’t seen in a long time.” www.mypigeonforge.com
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin As the Waterpark Capital of the World, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, has been entertaining families for decades. “The entire concept of putting a roof over water parks started right here in Wisconsin Dells,” said Tifani Jones, director of sales and market-
ing at the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau. Of the city’s 20 parks, Noah’s Ark Waterpark takes the crown as the largest water park in the United States, followed by the African-themed Kalahari Resorts as the largest indoor water park. “In meeting market segments where attendance is optional, destinations like ours are ideal for driving attendance because people think, ‘This is great. I can bring the family and make it a vacation,’” said Jones. Many of the key meeting facilities in town are in these resort parks, so attendees never have to travel far to have a good time. In addition to featuring amenities like water parks, spas, restaurants and golf courses, Kalahari Resorts and the Chula Vista Resort each offer 100,000 square feet of meeting space, and the Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness and Ho-Chunk Gaming each provide 30,000 square feet of space. The Great Wolf Lodge has 7,900 square feet of space available. Outside the resorts, groups can take a Duck Tour, which serves as a “great multigenerational activity,” said Jones. During World War II, amphibious Army vehicles known as ducks were used to transport troops and supplies over land and water, and groups can enjoy an
Courtesy Virginia Beach CVB
Visitors enjoy the opportunities for aquatic activities in Virginia Beach.
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educational tour on one of these unusual crafts. Other local attractions are Circus World, the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater and the Wisconsin Opry. www.wisdells.com
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Virginia Beach, Virginia, attracts many visitors as a waterfront destination, but it has much more to offer meeting groups than just sunshine and coastal views. “We’re within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the country,” said Teresa Diaz, public relations specialist. Since many families travel by car, this easy access can make a huge difference, along with the city’s moderate price points. “We’ve always been really affordable,” said Todd Bertka, vice president of convention sales and marketing. “Some of the more Southern locations are more affluent and pricey, so we appeal to a nice cross section of diverse visitors.” Within walking distance of the beaches, attractions and restaurants, the LEED-certified Virginia Beach Convention Center features 500,000 square feet of space for meetings and conferences. Throughout the summer, groups can enjoy various concerts and events along the oceanfront or
encounter wildlife aboard a whale- or dolphin-watching cruise. For visitors strolling down the boardwalk, it is impossible to miss the city’s iconic, 34-foot King Neptune statue. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center immerses visitors in an aquatic adventure with 800,000 gallons of marine animal exhibits. The aquarium connects to the Adventure Park Ropes Course and Zipline, which accommodates all skill levels. “You can be a Navy SEAL or a family of four and still really enjoy some time out climbing,” said Bertka. During colder seasons, families can take advantage of the iFly indoor sky-diving facility or play one of the numerous games available inside Topgolf’s three-level golf and entertainment center. “You don’t have to be here from June to August,” said Bertka. “You can come year-round and have plenty to do when you’re not in your meeting.” www.visitvirginiabeach.com/spring
Colorado Springs, Colorado The breathtaking mountain vistas of Colorado Springs, Colorado, make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, but meeting groups will find plenty of other features to appreciate about the region. “We have more than 55 attractions,” said Chelsy Offutt, director of communications at Visit Colorado Springs, “so there’s certainly enough to keep everyone busy and satisfied.” Known as Olympic City USA, Colorado Springs is home to one of three Olympic training facilities in the United States. Groups can schedule a VIP tour of the building, host an after-hours event on the property or even dine with one of the athletes on occasion. “It’s a great way to go behind the scenes of Olympic hopefuls,” said Offutt. “You get this great sense of patriotic pride.” After meetings, families can take advantage of the water park inside the Great Wolf Lodge, which opened last January, as well as the indoor pool in the Hotel Eleganté Conference and Event Center. In addition to event space, the four-diamond Cheyenne Mountain Resort offers teambuilding activities like the Amazing Race challenge or Glow Golf. If attendees have time, they should plan a trip to Pikes Peak, one of the most famous summits in the Rocky Mountains, reachable by car or the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. At the top, groups can ward off the mountain chill with a steaming hot drink and doughnut from the Summit House as they soak in the view. Within a short drive of downtown, the Garden of the Gods is a free city park interspersed with red rock formations that tower over grassy plains. At the visitors center, groups can learn about the park’s unique geological history through a movie experience called Geo-Trekker. Afterward, they can explore the park’s beautiful trail system while keeping an eye out for different rock structures labeled on the map. Colorado Springs is also home to America’s only mountain zoo, which shelters one of the largest reticulated giraffe herds in captivity. On Saturdays, the zoo features a breakfast program for kids. www.visitcos.com
SQUARE FEET OF MEETING SPACE 5,600 meetings and conventions a year. 8,000 guest rooms. 90,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space. No matter how you break down the numbers, Wisconsin Dells is one of the Midwest’s top areas for your meeting or convention. With enough space for groups large and small, personalized planning, state-of-the-art facilities, and 16+ million gallons of fun in dozens of indoor and outdoor waterparks, there’s no reason business and pleasure can’t mix.
Concord, Massachusetts Just 30 minutes northwest of Boston, Concord provides a charming setting for family outings, without the headaches of big-city traffic and prices. “If people are looking for a less-expensive venue with a lot to do, Concord has restaurants, shops, museums, art galleries — there’s something for everyone,” said Jane Obbagy, executive director at the Concord Chamber of Commerce.
MEETINGS THAT ATTRACT ANY CROWD.
MeetInTheDells.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | (888) 339-3822, ext. 345
Courtesy Colorado Springs CVB
Families enjoy exploring Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. Many planners use the larger conference space available in Boston, then schedule after-hours events or receptions at one of Concord’s quaint venues, such as the Nashawtuc Country Club, the 51 Walden Performing Arts Center, the Concord Scout House or Concord’s Colonial Inn. Concord is most famous as the home of some of America’s most distinguished literary talents, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. Families can tour the Alcott Museum or stroll across the grounds at Walden Pond, where Thoreau penned his esteemed work “Walden.” Many travelers pay a visit to Authors’ Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where several of these great thinkers are buried. Adjacent to Emerson’s Old Manse home, the historic Old North Bridge marks the site of the “shot heard ‘round the world,” which ignited the American Revolution. Visitors can explore much of this history along Concord’s wooded bike trails. Each week, Verrill Farm hosts pancake breakfasts, food festivals and cooking classes. Groups can also grab a bite to eat at local shops like Main Streets Café, Concord Teacakes, the Cheese Shop, Saltbox Kitchen, 80 Thoreau and Bedford Farms Ice-Cream. www.concordnhchamber.com
Courtesy Concord COC
Walden Pond is one of the highlights of a literary-themed visit to Concord.
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‘CITY OF ARTS AND INNOVATION’
W on-S aleem Wins ins tton-Salem’s m’s rrenaissance e n aissa n ce ooffers f fe r s enaissance o p tions ggrea rea t op t io n s rea in g s ffor or mee mee ttings By Katherine Tandy Brown
A baker delivers fresh pastries at Old Salem Museum and Gardens.
“We’re adding prefunction space, as well, with lots of natural light. You can see the downtown activity and vibrancy from inside the center.”
n Winston-Salem, everything old is or is becoming new again. Two large upstairs ballrooms, each about 20,000 square feet, can Founded by Moravians from Eastern Europe in 1766, the North serve as individual spaces and breakouts or, if needed, can combine for Carolina town of Salem was all about religion, music, literacy and one large general session. traditional skills, like hearth cooking. Thanks to “We’re adding prefunction space, as well, with textiles and tobacco, the nearby town of lots of natural light,” Schroeder said. “You can Winston, circa 1851, was a thriving industrial see the downtown activity and vibrancy from center. In 1913, the two joined as Winstoninside the center.” Salem. An outdoor terrace hosts receptions and Embracing its heritage, this gem of fine arts, breaks from indoor meetings. theater, architecture, culinary arts and technoThe BCC is part of the 170,000-square-foot logical research, known as the City of Arts and Twin City Quarter (TCQ) complex, a hub for Innovation, is in the midst of an ongoing, citydowntown meetings that includes a 315-room wide “reinvention.” Public and private investMarriott hotel with an award-winning farm-toments of $1.5 billion are funding new retail, table restaurant and a 146-room Embassy Suites, entertainment and nightlife venues, conference all connected by a skywalk and all under one facilities, infrastructure and hotel upgrades. management company. “Winston-Salem is really good at taking “TCQ makes it easy for event planners with something and repurposing or reinventing it to one point of contact for all three entities,” said Foothills Brewing be more useful,” said Christian Schroeder, Richard Brooks, TCQ’s area director of sales and director of sales and services for Visit Winstonmarketing. “If things change at one of the two Salem. “Sixty to 80 years ago, eastern downtown All photos courtesy Visit Winston-Salem hotels or the complex, we can rectify it in a snap.” was totally Reynolds Tobacco. Now an old The hotels add a combined 70,000 square feet tobacco-drying facility houses Wake Forest of meeting space. The Marriott includes six Innovation Quarter, an urban research park suites, and its 5,390-square-foot ballroom welthat includes Biotech Place, a center for regencomes 600 for a reception. erative medicine and a 10,000-square-foot off“The complex is within a five-minute walk of LOCATION site group meeting space. A lot of historic build30-plus restaurants, bars, museums, retail outCentral North Carolina ings have become offices and condos because lets and the Downtown Arts District without more people want to live downtown. Brandhaving any additional transportation needs or ACCESS new Bailey Park is a popular community gathcosts,” Brooks said. “And the Winston-Salem Interstates 77, 40, 85 and 74; ering spot.” Dash minor league baseball team plays a walkPiedmont Triad International Airport Even the city’s old cigarette vending machines able mile away.” The team name refers to the have become art-o-mats that, via token or cash, dash between Winston and Salem. MAJOR MEETING SPACES dispense art-to-go. An Art Deco prototype of the Empire State Twin City Quarter, Benton Convention Building, the old Reynolds headquarters Center, Embassy Suites Winston-Salem, morphed into the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Revitalized Meeting Space Winston-Salem Marriott, April 2016. With 174 guest rooms, including 15 A 100,000-square-foot example of the city’s Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, Brookstown Inn, suites, the luxury boutique hotel features 6,375 reinvention is the downtown Benton Convention Graylyn International Conference Center square feet of space for smaller meetings. Center (BCC). The building’s $20 million reinHOTEL ROOMS Named after the wife of R.J. Reynolds, the vention from its 1960s and 1980s architecture 4,800 guest rooms Katharine Brasserie and Bar pampers with includes significant structural, design and techsteamed oysters and sweet tea. nological upgrades to its interior and exterior. OFFSITE VENUES “The property has a big-city feel that WinstonBegun in March 2016, the project is set for Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, Old Salem was looking for in this time of enormous completion this month. Salem Museums and Gardens, Stevens growth,” said John Esainko, general manger. Remarkably, the center has remained open Center, Wake Forest Biotech Place “There’s no hotel quite like it in the area.” during the entire phased construction. Conference Center, Millennium Center, Once cement floored, its downstairs, Foothills Brewing 46,000-square-foot exhibit hall is now carpeted, Off-site Options CONTACT INFO with air walls and a built-in stage, giving the Off-site venues in downtown Winston-Salem Visit Winston-Salem area more options for varied-size meetings and are plentiful and varied. 336-728-4218 exhibits, breakout rooms, banquets and the Located next to the Embassy Suites, the www.visitwinstonsalem.com capacity for hosting multiple groups. Stevens Center is the primary performance
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
The new Kimpton Cardinal features stylish meeting spaces, such as the boardroom in its Houndstooth Social Club. center for the highly acclaimed University of North Carolina School of the Arts. This lovingly restored, 1929 movie theater has seating for 1,380 and a 10th-floor reception hall for 130. The former Hanes Hosiery mill, the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts occupies a 100-plus-year-old building with two roomy event areas, one an impressive 3,300-square-foot multipurpose space. Once the town’s post office and federal building, the 72,000-square-foot Millennium Center, which took BCC overflow during its reinvention, can accommodate up to 1,500 guests in a variety of spaces. Wake Forest Biotech Conference Center offers 15 rooms, including an auditorium that seats 120, and a soaring 7,500-square-foot atrium for large receptions. Owned and managed by Wake Forest University, the Graylyn International Conference Center, a five-minute drive from town, is a return to 1930s and 1940s gentility on 55 explorable acres with beautifully tended gardens, lawns, woods and a quiet lake. Graylyn’s facilities feature four period dwellings, including the 46,000-square-foot 1932 Manor House, renovated in March, which offers meeting spaces from a 10-person boardroom to a conference room that seats 165. Rife with cutting-edge technology and stellar service, the center has 85 one-of-a-kind guest rooms for overnight retreats, including five suites. The Graylyn staff can tailor team-building activities to meet a group’s needs. The most popular of its 25 activity choices is the Cupcake and Gingerbread Challenge. Teams learn trust and communication skills when one member gets a peek at a bakery item and relays
info about its design back to a team that must then create and eat the goodie. Sure to cause laughs, Pirates of the Piedmont instructs a team to build a boat from limited resources and navigate it across the lake. “Graylyn is not a cookie-cutter conference center,” said Alyssa Armenta, marketing manager. “If a group wants to have a meeting set up in U-shape one day and switch to theater style the next, we can flip it within an hour, no matter the group size.”
Attractions and Activities Hearkening back to the city’s roots, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, with cobblestone sidewalks and 100-plus restored buildings, showcases the Moravian way of life with costumed interpreters performing Colonial tasks. Meeting spaces include the Horton Museum Center, home of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, with a 1,270-square-foot auditorium, a 490-seat classroom and lovely outdoor spaces. The Old Salem Visitor Center can hold up to 700. Based on a group’s goals, team building can transport corporate attendees to the past. Smaller numbers can try hearthside cooking of a meal, a dessert, an 18th-century chocolate or alcoholic beverages. “Often, men and women in a corporate situation don’t cook much at home,” said Dorlee Snyder, director of education and outreach programming. “Here, they’re all on a level playing field with something new. They’re cooking on coals, beating eggs with a stick-and-twig whisk without electricity. There’s lots of camaraderie trying to figure out how to do things.” Groups of up to 55 can take a hands-on history tour to experience
hearth cooking a small edible, learn a period craft and explore Old Salem behind the scenes. Another Winston-Salem team-building choice teaches West African drumming to meeting attendees, either to launch and underscore the intent of a gathering or to celebrate success at its close. Customizable according to a corporate group’s focus, Sewa Beats uses the metaphor of music to help audiences experience business skills such as leadership development, interpersonal communication, change management and conflict resolution in a new context. “Drumming provides a different way of breaking through,” said Glenn Gautier, executive producer for Sewa Beats. “Afterward, each person, no matter their company position, has a connection with all the others who experienced it. We often hear people saying, ‘I’m never going to forget this.’” A 20-minute drive from downtown, the lush Yadkin Valley is known for its wineries and vineyards. Groups of 20 to 50 attendees can enjoy an unforgettable team-building experience in the rolling hills surrounding Divine Llama Vineyards on a llama trek followed by a wine tasting. “Llamas have tons of personality,” said Dana Dalton, tasting room manager. “People bond with them.”
Beer and Doughnuts As the birthplace of North Carolina’s first microbrewery distillery — Single Brothers’ House in Old Salem — Winston-Salem knows a thing or two about suds. Groups can bond with beer at Foothills Brewing, makers of wildly popular Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout. Here, up to 35 people can learn how to make craft beer and, of course, sample it at its 45,000-square-foot main brewery and 28-tap tasting room. “We pride ourselves at being good community members,” said Ray Goodrich, marketing director. “We have an IPA series based on Winston-Salem’s charitable needs. Customers seem to appreciate that.” Attendees will appreciate Winston-Salem’s historic foodie roots as the 1937 birthplace of Krispy Kreme doughnuts on a downtown Tour de Food meeting chefs and tasting ginger cookies and butter sugar cakes on the Moravian Culinary Trail. Schroeder smiled as he summarized his city’s appeal: “Meeting planners that come to WinstonSalem for site visits and FAMs are surprised at all we have to offer. It’s part of our Southern Wake-Up Call. Not only do you get phenomenal Southern hospitality, but we have an amazing array of amenities at a great price point.”
Courtesy Old Salem Museum & Gardens
A costumed interpreter showcases traditional African American foods at Old Salem.
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A Bay Area Beauty By Savannah Osbourn
Photos courtesy Marin CVB
Above: A chef prepares a farmhouse pizza at a local establishment in Marin County, California. Left: The Marin area is known for its beautiful vistas and outdoor activities.
M A R I N C O U N T Y, C A L I F O R N I A LOCATION San Francisco Bay area ACCESS Oakland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, U.S. Highway 101 MAJOR MEETING SPACES Embassy Suites by Hilton San Rafael, Four Points by Sheraton San Rafael, Marin Civic Center HOTEL ROOMS 2,500 OFF-SITE VENUES Nick’s Cove and Cottages, Cowgirl Creamery, Farmstead Cheese Company, El Paseo Restaurant, Terrapin Crossroads, Acqua Hotel CONTACT INFO Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau 415-925-2060 www.visitmarin.org
hen travelers cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, they find themselves in the lush coastal region of Marin County, California, a nature lovers’ paradise with over 250 hiking trails and two national parks. “We’re known for outdoor adventure,” said Christine Bohlke, sales and marketing manager at Marin County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Marin County is also celebrated as the birthplace of mountain biking. The movement first took root during the 1970s on Mount Tamalpais, which was favored by bikers for its proximity to metropolitan areas as well as the varied terrain and magnificent views. With easy access from major cities like San Francisco and Oakland, meeting groups can reap all the benefits of this rich location during their event or conference, enjoying hook-to-table seafood, a thriving music scene and hikes along towering ocean cliffs. In addition to biking in Mount Tamalpais State Park, attendees can use their downtime to explore the bluffs and beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore, which attracts around 2.5 million visitors every year, or wander around the colossal trunks of redwood trees in Muir Woods National Monument. Though many people associate California with wine, Marin County is known for a different culinary product — artisan cheese — having once produced nearly 30 percent of the state’s dairy, and groups can follow the California Cheese Trail to several local manufacturers. This year, Marin County will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, which originally started in Marin, contrary to popular belief that it began in San Francisco. Throughout the summer, the region will host numerous events and festivals in honor of the anniversary, with renditions of songs from the Broadway musical “Hair.”
Wildflowers overlook the California coastline.
Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes As the last building designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright before his death, the Marin County Civic Center serves as both an event center and a National Historic Landmark, characterized by circular themes and a blue roof that seems to blend with the sky. Tours of the stunning facility are available every Wednesday morning, and event planners can use the 22,500-square-foot Exhibit Hall, the 2,001-seat Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, the 348-seat Showcase Theatre or one of the smaller meeting areas that hold between 20 and 150 guests.
Visitors to Marin County would be remiss not to stop by the region’s most popular cheesemaker, Cowgirl Creamery, which is in a renovated hay barn in the seaside town of Point Reyes Station. Founded by two former college friends during the 1990s, the creamery now sells its artisan cheeses in over 500 stores, with favorites like Mt. Tam, named after the nearby Mount Tamalpais, and the spicy Devil’s Gulch. For an unusual after-hours event, groups can schedule a tour and cheese tasting on Fridays, as well as pick up some savory souvenirs from the Cowgirl Cantina gift shop.
Acqua Hotel, Mill Valley
Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael
Located at the foot of Mount Tamalpais along the deep blue waters of Richardson Bay, the Acqua Hotel provides a tranquil and scenic event venue with 1,600 feet of meeting space. The hotel’s bayside terrace is a great setting for outdoor banquets and receptions, and the Richardson Room complements meetings and seminars with a sweeping view of the water through wall-length windows. After a meeting, attendees can stretch their legs along the bayside trail and bike paths. The hotel also provides guests a morning breakfast buffet and a complimentary wine-and-cheese reception in the evening.
Founded by Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh, Terrapin Crossroads features farm-to-table American cuisine and weekly live music. In the bar area, visitors can sip one of the unique brews on tap as seasoned musicians take the stage, with an occasional appearance by Lesh himself; the Grate Room provides a larger venue for concerts, trivia nights and special dinners. Groups can reserve a private section in any of four event spaces that accommodate from 20 to 150 guests, or they can buy out the entire restaurant.
Missouri’s Lakeside Retreat By Kristy Alpert
he Tan-Tar-A Resort was a place for relaxing and meeting with friends and family long before the first walls were constructed. In the 1950s, Burton Duenke traveled from St. Louis to the Lake of the Ozarks to meet his brother for a fishing getaway at his brother’s cabin at Mallard Point. While sitting around the lakefront one evening, the brothers came up with an idea to develop the land and share their fishing spot with others by purchasing 3,800 acres down a gravel road on Turkey Bend and constructing 12 picture-perfect cottages and an arrowhead-shaped pool overlooking the lakefront. Duenke chose to name the resort Tan-Tar-A, a Blackfoot Indian word that means “one who moves swiftly,” and as if to honor the namesake, he opened the resort in record time and welcomed his first guests on July 4, 1960. Today, the Tan-Tar-A Resort has grown into a popular gathering space for families and offers some of the most sought-after spaces for hosting small meetings in the region. The 420-acre resort offers more than 650 guest rooms,
Photos courtesy Tan-Tar-A Resort
including 125 suites; an indoor waterpark; a marina; and convention and conference venues with than 90,000 square feet of flexible indoor meeting space. The resort is split into two complexes: the Estates Complex and the Resort Complex. The Resort Complex comprises multiple interconnected buildings with guest rooms and suites within walking distance of the resort’s dining and recreation facilities. The Estates Complex, located 10 minutes from the main resort, is reminiscent of a quiet suburb, with houses of various floor plans, the largest of which offers six rooms in one building. Although Duenke passed away in 1994, his legacy at the Tan-Tar-A lives on through his five children who continue to own and manage the long-standing family business with Duenke Enterprises, LLC, including the Tan-Tar-A Estates. The family welcomes small groups to gather and unwind in the same way their father did many years ago, now in one of 32 meeting rooms with space for up to 3,500 guests.
Tan-Tar-A Resort Meeting Space Tan-Tar-A offers 90,000 square feet of flexible indoor meeting space, including the Grand Ballroom, with more than 23,000 square feet that holds up to 2,700 guests, and the 30,000-square-foot exhibit area called Windgate Hall that holds up to 3,300 guests. Although the resort’s large spaces are great for big gatherings, it’s the resort’s small meeting spaces that shine for more intimate events. The resort offers 28 small to medium-size meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of from 12 to 1,000. In addition to the traditional meeting space, Tan-Tar-A has many suites for meetings in a more casual setting.
Location Osage Beach, Missouri Size 700 rooms Meeting Space 90,000 square feet Access Approximately two and a half hours from Lambert-St. Louis International airport and approximately three hours from Kansas City International Airport
Along with a variety of on-site dining options from casual to upscale, Tan-Tar-A offers a wide variety of catered menus. Menus range from breakfast buffets with enhancements like European coffee bars and granola bars to hot hors d’oeuvres priced in 50-piece increments. Elaborate display stations provide a visual feast with international cheese and antipasto options. Although the menus cover most tastes and preferences, the dedicated culinary team specializes in crafting creative customized menus to satisfy all palates. Alcohol is allowed.
Contact Info 573-348-3131 www.tan-tar-a.com
Extras Tan-Tar-A has continued to grow and improve over the years; recent renovations have included new guest rooms in Building A, upgrades in the remaining guest rooms, new wall coverings and carpet in most of the meeting rooms and public space areas, and upgrades to the Oaks golf course. In addition, the resort continually upgrades the highspeed internet access to accommodate overnight and meeting guests’ needs. Meeting guests also have access to the 120-passenger Tropic Island Cruise Yacht, which is available for chartered cocktail or dinner cruises, as well as breakfast, brunch and lunch cruises.
After Events Left: Tan-Tar-A Resort’s Windrose on the Water offers elegant meals. Right: Guests can relax after meetings at Mr. D’s Lounge.
Opposite page: The resort’s Arrowhead Pool is an inviting place for meeting attendees to cool off.
Tan-Tar-A has multiple recreation activities for guests, each accepting group reservations so that meeting guests can continue to interact before and after events. The resort features 27 holes of championship golf, a full-service marina with boat and Wave Runner rentals, a bowling alley with eight lanes, a miniature golf course, horseback riding, an arcade for children of all ages and multiple shopping options on-site. The most popular attraction at the resort is the Timber Falls Indoor Waterpark, where visitors can play among 600 feet of waterslides, an oversize whirlpool and a lazy river beneath a threestory wilderness treehouse.
A Delaware Farm
By Kristy Alpert o call the quaint village and historic buildings that encompass the 10 acres of pristine farmland in Delawareâ€™s Delmarva Peninsula a museum seems a misnomer. No sterile walls or strict security system await visitors when they arrive; instead, guests are greeted by the rhythmic clucking of chickens, the grassy scent of freshly drawn milk and the beautiful sight of children playing on the lawn. Life is simple at the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village, and thatâ€™s all by design. The museum operates as Loockerman Landing village, a re-created 19th-century rural village with a farmstead, a oneroom schoolhouse, a church, a gristmill, a train station, a general store, a barber shop, a blacksmith shop and more, all tucked within the confines of this frozen-in-time town. The purpose of the museum is to give visitors a glimpse of what life was like before cellphones and Wi-Fi, and to leave behind a legacy for future generations. Though Loockerman Landing is a fictional town, visitors are surprised to learn that the outbuildings that line the streets are not reproductions, but actual historic buildings that were brought from elsewhere in the state to add to the authenticity of the village. The oldest one is the Cornhouse, dating back to 1825, when it was used to store dried, filed corn through winter. Visitors can step into the past by touring the exhibit buildings, where more than 12,000 artifacts are on display, including a 1700s log cabin, a mock milkable cow, a 1930s kitchen, a 1941 Steerman airplane crop sprayer, the first Broiler Chicken House, a soil exhibit and three galleries with rotating exhibits throughout the year. The exhibit build-
Photos courtesy DE Ag Museum and Village
Above: The historic church at the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village frequently hosts weddings.
Left: A conference room at the museum can be set for small events.
ings also act as some of the most popular venues for hosting meetings, with room for up to 300 people and plenty of breakout spaces and smaller venues for more intimate gatherings. The entire village can be rented out, as well as the farm grounds, which makes the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village an unusual venue for hosting celebrations and special events like weddings, cocktail parties, picnics, reunions, receptions, press conferences and political events.
Meeting Spaces The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village operates nine different meeting spaces ranging from informal to formal venues. The South End of the Great Hall, which holds up to 300 guests, is a Pole Barn without air conditioning, and guests renting the space can add on the Central Hall for extra seating. The South Gallery, for up to 175 guests; the Atrium, for up to 100 guests; and
the Conference Room, for up to 80 guests all have heating and air conditioning, and the Touch of History Room, for up to 42 guests, and the Church, for up to 80 guests, offer minimal heating and no air conditioning. The outdoor Loockerman Landing is a perfect space for outside church weddings, and Blacksmith Green, also outdoors, is in the heart of it all next to the pond.
Catering Although the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village does not offer catering for groups or events, meetings guests can hire a caterer, cook on-site or bring in their own food to cater events. Guests can use the small kitchen for an extra fee of $50 to gain access to the refrigerator, the
freezer, the sink, the microwave and the stovetop, or they can bring their own barbecue grills or cook camping style in fire pits along the property. Alcohol is not provided, but it is available with a permit from the local Alcohol and Beverage Commission.
Good to now
Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village
The museum provides groups with standard six-foot rectangular banquet tables for seating, eight-foot tables for food and/or beverages, or three food-andbeverage bars that range from 11 to 17 feet. Table covers are required for all tables, including the bar, and guests will need to bring their own chairs unless they want to use the museum’s
120 brown metal folding chairs. Though candles are permitted, they must be secured in candleholders, and balloons must be secured before entering the building. The museum does not rent past 10 p.m. and offers 134 parking spaces in the main lot, 25 on the tarmac, and another 75 along the fence. Wi-Fi is not available.
LOCATION Dover, Delaware
TYPE OF VENUE Off-site, museum
NEARBY ACCOMMODATIONS Holiday Inn Dover-Downtown
CONTACT INFO 302-734-1618 www.agriculturalmuseum.org
After Events If the event is during business hours, groups can tour the museum free of charge. Otherwise, they will need to pay a small fee to allow guests access to the entire museum after hours. The museum offers something for all age groups, but younger visitors enjoy the “mock” milkable cow,
the year-round chickens that they can feed and, in the late spring, summer and early fall, a miniature pot-belly pig that kids can pet and feed fruits and veggies. Kids will also enjoy playing in the Touch of History room, playing horseshoes and pushing a plow through dirt.
Kansas Museum Meetings By Rachel Carter Courtesy C.W. Parker Carousel Museum
Groups can ride a historic merry-go-round at the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth.
aving daytime or afterhours meetings at museums allows groups to gather in places that offer attendees all sorts of educational exhibits and hands-on activities.
In Kansas, groups can take a spin on a century-old carousel, explore a pollinator garden or go on a scavenger hunt — and see a shrunken head — at these museums that cater to meetings.
C.W. Parker Carousel Museum Leavenworth Carnival and carousel magnate C.W. Parker wanted to expand his factory in Abilene, so when city officials denied his proposal, Parker moved his factory to Leavenworth in 1911. Today, the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth houses three carousels, including a working 1913 Carry-Us-All model that came out of the Parker factory two years after it started operating in its new hometown. “It’s about 104 years old and running strong,” said Tony Baker, head of the steering committee for the museum, which is run by volunteers. The Parker Room can seat about 100 guests for a meal, and groups can also use the adjoining patio. The museum also hosts events with tables for up to 130 people arranged around the perimeter of the 1913 carousel. Another small room is most often used for birthday parties but could be used for a meeting for about 25 people. Groups can also reserve the museum during non-operating hours, either after-hours Thursday through Sunday or during off hours Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. A highlight of any event is a ride on the fully opera-
Kansas Meeting Guide
tional 1913 carousel, which has 31 unique, hand-carved wooden features, most of which are horses but also include two bunnies, a sleigh and a teacup. The museum also houses a primitive wooden carousel that dates to the 1850s that is too delicate to ride. www.firstcitymuseums.org/carousel
Flint Hills Discovery Center Manhattan Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America. Today, less than 4 percent remains and nearly all of it is in the Kansas Flint Hills. The mission of the Flint Hills Discovery Center in the town of Manhattan is to educate and promote the stewardship of the Flint Hills eco-region, including the remaining tallgrass prairie. “It’s a celebration of this very rare and very unique ecosystem,” said Jonathan Mertz, event supervisor for the Flint Hills Discovery Center as well as the cityowned Union Pacific Depot and Blue Earth Plaza. For smaller, daytime meetings, the center has two private rooms that can each accommodate 40 people and are only steps from the rooftop terrace. Groups of 150 can reserve the terrace, which has green-roof areas planted with wildflowers and grasses and offers views of downtown Manhattan and the Kansas River Valley. Larger gatherings or after-hours events move into the exhibit space, which can accommodate seated meals for 120 or receptions for up to 400 people. Guests will
Courtesy Flint Hills Discovery Center
have access to interactive exhibits, including one of the most popular displays of the tallgrass prairie root system, “showing how deep they go,” he said. Another favorite is the special-effects theater experience: Smoke rolls across the floor when the film discusses fire as part of the prairie ecosystem. Downtown Manhattan, Blue Earth Plaza park, the historic Union Pacific Depot and four hotels are all within a couple of blocks of the center. www.flinthillsdiscovery.org
Museum of World Treasures Wichita The Museum of World Treasures in Wichita is called that because it houses treasures from around the globe and across the ages. “I tend to call it the mini Smithsonian of the Midwest,” said Lon Smith, the museum’s chief development officer. “It’s a very eclectic collection; a little bit of something for everyone.” That eclectic collection is housed in a century-old former paper factory in downtown, and the surprising array of items goes back to the museum’s founders, John and Lorna Kardatzke, who donated much of their collection of historic artifacts to the museum. On the first floor, visitors are greeted by Ivan the Tyrannosaurus Rex, along with two other dinosaurs that are locked in battle. Groups can reserve the third-floor banquet hall for
daytime or after-hours events, although the space — which can seat about 170 for a meal — can’t be closed off to the public during operating hours. A small conference room works well for 16-person events. Groups can arrange tours, but most prefer to tackle the museum’s scavenger hunt, searching for answers to questions among the exhibits and artifacts, which include a piece of the Berlin Wall, a shrunken head and two mummies. An impressive Southeast Asia collection features huge hand-carved marble Buddha statues and Hindu sculptures, and the museum has signatures of every American president on original documents, as well as signatures of many royals, such as Queen Elizabeth I and Louis XVI. www.worldtreasures.org
The Flint Hills Discovery Center educates visitors on Kansas’ unique grassland ecosystem.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Abilene For meeting groups that want to work on strategy and planning, nothing is quite as inspiring as seeing the table around which Allied Forces planned Operation Overlord, the code name for the D-Day Battle of Normandy. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum sits on a 22-acre campus that features five buildings, including Eisenhower’s boyhood home, his burial site and a visitor center. Most of the event spaces are housed in the library, said communications director
Samantha Kenner. The library courtyard is often used for meetings, trainings and banquets and seats up to 130 people at round tables; the skylight roof sometimes makes light control a challenge, but staff can still set up a screen and projector. Groups can also reserve the 1,200-square-foot library lobby, the library training room and the library auditorium, with 132 fixed seats. The 2,880-square-foot visitors center auditorium can be divided into two spaces and was recently updated with new audiovisual equipment. Meeting groups often tour the museum’s five major galleries, as well as the white farmhouse where Ike grew up as the third of seven sons. The giant bronze statue of him is a visitor favorite, and the Place of Meditation is the final resting place of Eisenhower; his wife, Mamie; and their firstborn son. www.eisenhower.archives.gov
National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame Bonner Springs
Courtesy Eisenhower Presidential Library
Visitors can see Ike’s boyhood home at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene.
Kansas City Kansas
Race into your next adventure justin stine, meetings & sports sales manager 913.321.5800 | justin@ visitkansascityks.com visitkansasCitykS.com/ meetings
The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame covers 160 acres about 17 miles due west of Kansas City. While most of that is pastureland, about 70 acres are event grounds where the center can host gatherings for up to 10,000 people. The hall of fame also features six museums that house “one of the largest vintage implement collections in the area, with quite a few prototypes of different landmark inventions,” said executive director Dawn Gabel. The hall of fame itself “focuses on people who have had a national impact in the industry of agriculture,” including household names such as John Deere. Others are included and are less recognizable but even more important, such as Norman Borlaug, who led the Green Revolution and is credited with saving 1 billion people from starvation. The center’s event barn has a catering kitchen and can seat up to 200 for a dinner presentation or a lunch meeting. Next door, the hall of fame is attached to a 200-seat lecture theater. One corporate client recently hosted its product release at the center and used the grounds to display equipment, presented product information to dealers in the theater and then gathered in the barn for a meal, she said. Before or after a meeting, groups can take guided or self-guided tours or simply stroll the grounds, which include living-history displays as well as a vegetable garden, a pollinator garden, a nature trail and a conservation pond. www.aghalloffame.com
Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.
Kansas Meeting Guide
Meet the Past in Kansas By Rachel Carter
An interpreter leads a candlelight tour at Fort Scott National Historic Site.
hen you meet in Kansas, you have a great chance to meet the past.
Kansas has played a pivotal role in America’s history. In the early 1800s, it was the nation’s formative frontier, where Missouri ended and the “Great American Desert” began. When Kansas became a state in 1854, it also became the battleground over slavery. And it didn’t end there: Kansas originated the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case that ended segregation in public schools. Meeting planners can immerse attendees in the state’s influential history by meeting at these historic Kansas sites.
Fort Scott National Historic Site Fort Scott Fort Scott was established in 1842, one of a line of forts from Minnesota to Louisiana that acted as the frontier’s frontline. But when Kansas and Nebraska became states in 1854 and the federal government left it to a popular vote to decide whether to allow slavery, it sparked a border war between Kansas and Missouri known as Bleeding Kansas, which “was the fight over slavery leading up to the Civil War,” said Holly Baker, chief of interpretation and resource management for the Fort Scott National Historic Site in Fort Scott. Of the 20 buildings on the site that visitors can tour, 11 are original and the rest were rebuilt on original foundations. During a self-guided tour, guests can explore furnished interior spaces “that depict life on the
fort in 1848” — a mess hall, a bunkhouse and a jail — she said. The fort has limited event space; meetings with up to 12 people can use an open area upstairs in one of the historic barracks. Groups can also request a special guided tour at least three weeks in advance or join regularly scheduled tours and programs during the summer. New interactive exhibits include a series of video panels, each representing a different year, and guests can choose from six characters and hear about their lives during the period. Visitors can also watch a 22-minute film and read news articles from the period at touch panels to see how Northern and Southern newspapers reported on the same events. www.nps.gov/fosc
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Topeka Third-grader Linda Brown had to walk six blocks to the bus stop and ride a bus to Monroe Elementary School, a black school, although an all-white elementary school was only seven blocks from her home. Her father, Oliver Brown, was one of 13 parents who filed a class-action lawsuit against the Topeka Board of Education for operating segregated schools. The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 ruling in the case
The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site helps visitors understand the angst of the school desegregation struggle.
declared it unconstitutional for states to establish separate public schools for black and white students. Today, Monroe Elementary is the site of Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, where visitors can learn about the history of segregation in America, although “the heart of what we talk about is the ’50s, from 1950 to 1957, what our case did and the immediate aftermath,” said Enimini Ekong, chief of interpretation, education and cultural resources. Guests can watch a 30-minute film in the auditorium, which is available for events for up to 150. An upstairs classroom can hold 32, and a first-floor program room has capacity for 38. Two galleries tell of the barriers to education AfricanAmericans had to overcome and the civil rights movement following the Supreme Court ruling. In the Hall of Courage, screens showing historic footage flank visitors so they see and hear what was yelled at the first black students as they walked into Little Rock High School in 1957. Groups can reserve space during operating hours if the event fits the site’s mission of education or race and equity issues. For other uses, planners can request after-hours reservations. www.nps.gov/brvb
Shawnee Indian Mission Fairway The Shawnee Indian Mission school opened in October 1839 in what is now Fairway, and Native American children from many tribes were sent there to
Kansas Meeting Guide
learn academics, agriculture and manual arts. At its height, the mission boasted 2,000 acres, 16 buildings and nearly 200 enrolled Native American students. Today, three historic brick buildings remain on the 12-acre site: the East, West and North buildings. “The East and North buildings housed the Native American children that came to school here,” site director Jennifer Laughlin said. “It was essentially a boarding school; they had classes here as well as resided here.” The North Building houses exhibits that tell the story of emigrant Indians in Kansas and has a conference room that can seat up to 20 people. The East Building, which recently became available for event rentals, houses the mission’s visitor center, store and exhibit space. Galleries can be reserved for receptions for up to 100 people when the site isn’t open to the public, either after-hours Wednesday through Saturday or Sunday through Tuesday. Among the exhibits, visitors can see the original school bell from 1839 as well as “a beautiful walking cane” carved by the 19th-century Shawnee Chief Charles Bluejacket. The mission also has a large outdoor lawn space for events. www.kshs.org/shawnee_indian
Wellington Memorial Auditorium Wellington In December 1918, Wellington resident and attorney Ed Hackney launched efforts to construct a “building that will be of service to the people.” Three years later, construction began on what was then known as Liberty
Hall. The civic auditorium and gymnasium opened in 1922 in the Kansas town just 35 miles south of Wichita. Wellington Memorial Auditorium, as it’s known today, still serves the community as the town’s largest event venue and “the go-to place,” said Annarose White, facility director and director of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce/ Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s been the town’s community gathering place for years and years.” The main hall has a stage and a concrete floor that is larger than a basketball court. The hall is partially ringed by fixed theater seating, including seats in a second-level balcony. The open floor area makes it flexible for trade shows, fundraising banquets and awards ceremonies, and the hall can hold about 1,300 people. The 600-square-foot Veterans Room is also available for smaller events. The city, which owns the auditorium, recently invested about $500,000 into ADA-accessibility upgrades and renovations, and the adjacent Heritage Park, which is also city owned, has an outdoor stage and can be reserved for events. www.wellingtonkschamber.com/memorial-auditorium
Little Apple... BIG MEETINGS
McPherson Opera House McPherson The McPherson Opera House was destined for a date with a bulldozer and would have become a parking lot were it not for the efforts of dedicated volunteers in the 14,000-person town of McPherson. The three-story, 900-seat theater opened in 1889 to a full house. A 1913 remodel added a Western-themed mural over the stage. A late1920’s renovation removed the second balcony and reopened the opera house as a movie theater. When the last tenant moved out of the building in 1983, it sat vacant until it was nearly bulldozed to make way for a parking lot. But in 1986, volunteers launched efforts to save it from demolition, and over the next two decades, the McPherson Opera House Company raised money and restored the theater in stages, completing the work in 2010. The restoration rebuilt the auditorium’s second balcony and upgraded the seating to modern standards, so it now seats 488. In addition to reserving the auditorium, groups can also rent the theater’s 1,350-square-foot ballroom, which has a prep kitchen, and two 50-person community rooms on the lower level. Two 30-person-capacity rooms and the lobby in the Mary Anderson Arts Center work well for meetings, lunches, dinners and receptions before a show. www.mcphersonoperahouse.org
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The Small Market Meetings May 2017 issue features small meeting ideas for off-season meetings; family-friendly meetings; Marin County, Calif...
Published on May 1, 2017
The Small Market Meetings May 2017 issue features small meeting ideas for off-season meetings; family-friendly meetings; Marin County, Calif...