Where work feels like less work.
Trade in the hustle and bustle of big cities and give your team a chance to kick back on the coast, get inspired and get to work. Just a short drive away for most of the Mid-Atlantic Region, over 10,000 accommodations and more than 250,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space await. Not to mention one of America’s Top 10 Beaches. Plan your next unforgettable event in Ocean City, Maryland – Somewhere to Smile About.
416 Guest Rooms 90,000 sq. ft. Exhibit Space
EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES
While planning your next big event, don’t settle for anything less than everything.
Conveniently located in the heart of the historical city of Lancaster, the Lancaster County Convention Center allows visitors to explore everything downtown Lancaster has to offer.
From local shops, museums, and art galleries to a diverse culinary scene—enjoy big city culture at a small town pace.
TEAM BUILDING UNLIKE ANY OTHER
bring out your strengths that have been hiding behind a desk all along. custom, adventurous, and unique offerings are our forte. our exceptional tech options paired with an unbeatable mountain setting will make this a retreat your team will never forget.
Mid-Atlantic E vents Staf f
PUBLISHER & EDITOR
DESIGN & PRODUCTION
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TRAVEL EDITOR Ken Alan
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Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine is the bi-monthly, Mid-Atlantic publication, bringing information about the Hospitality and Meeting Industry to Meeting, Seminar, Trade Show, Overnight Accommodation, Special Event, Conference, Convention, for Association, Corporate, Group and Individual Planners along with Hotel, Resort, Conference Center, Attraction, Banquet Facility General Managers, Directors of Sales, Catering and Conference Services.
Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine (ISSN 0896-3967), is published bi-monthly by Tri-State
Summertime Fun & Adventure
The summer season is almost here, and destinations and venues th seasonal offerings, fun activities, amazing adventures and more to e
On July 14 in Kennett Square, PA, Longwood Gardens’ new Festive Friday theme, "It’s a Philly Thing," shows love for the City of Brotherly Love. Talk with Senior Manager of Education and Training for Victory Brewing Company, Max Finnance - one of only 22 Master Cicerones in the world – in Longwood’s Beer Garden
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ
Atlantic City is an ideal destination for summertime fun and adventure, says Larry Sieg, president and CEO, Visit Atlantic City. “Our seaside destination boasts five-miles of beautiful beaches, our iconic boardwalk, and a wide range of outdoor activities, including swimming, surfing, and kayaking. Atlantic City is famously recognized for its numerous casino and non-gaming properties, providing exciting entertainment for visitors of all ages.”
But the city also offers many attractions, such as museums, unique shopping outlets, and an array of dining options. With its panoramic coastal views, Atlantic City is a must-visit summer destination. “Groups can elevate their Atlantic City visit with the city’s many summertime experiences, ranging from family-friendly activities to outdoor celebrations,” says Sieg.
Bask in the sun, partake in beach activities from surfing lessons to parasailing, or spend the day at an exciting beach bar. Atlantic City Cruises is a great summer activity, too, offering exclusive tours for daily sightseeing of the city’s island and ecosystem.
"This summer, Atlantic City is welcoming a variety of new attractions and sites for groups and visitors,” Sieg notes. “Set to open Memorial Day weekend, groups can look forward to Showboat Atlantic City’s Island Waterpark, a $100-million indoor/outdoor beachfront waterpark. New and returning entertainment options continue to emerge in Atlantic City with the Adjacent Music Festival, Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival, Tidal Wave Festival, and Spiegelworld’s The Hook, the city’s first permanent live entertainment production.”
Here is a sampling of what is in store for travelers, vacationers, meeting and convention goers and more.
roughout the region have enjoy and explore.
Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City boasts 21 oceanfront acres along the famed boardwalk, an array of guest rooms and suites in two historic hotel towers, world class casino action, two theaters, 10 restaurants plus a food court, lounges, bars, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, health club and spa, salon, and retail shops. Resorts AC also is home to LandShark Bar & Grill, the only full-service bar and restaurant open all year long on the sand side of the boardwalk.
This year, Resorts is celebrating its 45th anniversary with festivities starting on May 26th, when Mayor Marty Small Sr. and actor Kelsey Grammer are set to host the annual Opening of the Sea Ceremony followed by Resorts Casino Hotel’s annual Beach Ball Drop on the boardwalk. Other anniversary celebrations include live entertainment and up to $100,000 in cash and prize giveaways.
Resorts has a jam-packed summer entertainment schedule, too, including: the NY Bee Gees (May 26); Remember Jones (June 10); The 5th Dimension (June 23); Disco Inferno (starting June 25); The Doo Wop Project (July 21); and The Blooze Brothers (August 5). AC Jokes offers a comedy club seven nights a week, or end the night with a cocktail at Resorts’ newest retro themed pop-up bar, Lounge 78.
“Disco Inferno is a ‘70s themed tribute show running every Sunday from June 25 - October 29,” explains Jamie Hoagland, director of advertising and public relations for Resorts Casino Hotel. “The tribute features an accomplished cast of singers, dancers and musicians, eye-catching costumes, and stunning choreography from the Disco era.”
Finally, Golden Girls Do Atlantic City is the area’s most popular murder mystery show. Sophia, Blanche, Rose, and Dorothy have worked long and hard to throw the perfect celebration, but will they still be celebrating when they discover that one of their party guests has murderous intentions? Be part of the fun and try to solve the mystery.
A five-mile island with expansive, clean, and safe beaches voted among the “Best Beaches in New Jersey” and “Top 10 Beaches in the U.S.,” The Wildwoods beaches are free for all visitors – no beach tags required. Here, visitors can enjoy the calming benefits of “Beach Therapy” on this award-winning, spacious stretch of tranquility for relaxing, recharging, and reuniting with friends and family. The beach also offers the thrill of exciting watersports for the more adventurous.
Wildwoods’ boardwalk is a neon-lit slice of Americana offering a unique summertime experience. Famous for being one of the liveliest
38-blocks of fun and excitement on the East Coast, it is home to amusement piers featuring world-class roller coasters, waterparks, carnival-style midway games, arcades, myriad retail shops, and over 200 eateries.
Whether fine dining by candlelight, Italian cuisine, freshly caught seafood, casual fare served alongside stunning ocean or bay views, or family-style restaurants and buffets, there is a host of tempting eateries in the Wildwoods. The young and young-at-heart will love the boardwalk fare that includes burgers, fries, pizza, freshly made fudge, funnel cakes, and ice cream.
The Wildwoods also offers a variety of Doo-Wop-themed diners complete with retro jukeboxes, mid-century exterior architecture, waitresses in poodle skirts, and black-and-white checkered floors.
The Northeast’s largest outdoor country music fest on the beach returns to the Wildwoods in 2023 with the Barefoot Country Music Fest June 16-18, plus a special kick-off concert on June 15. The four-day event will host over 40 of country music's biggest stars and upand-comers on multiple stages on the beach. There also will be interactive games and exhibits, food and beverage, and more.
Other favorite pastimes in the Wildwoods include: fishing, crabbing, and boat rides, as well as renting and riding bicycles along special paths, along the boardwalk, and around the island. Another fun way to get around on the boardwalk is the famous Sightseer Tram Cars, celebrating their 75th anniversary this summer. “Watch the Tram Car, please!”
MEETINGS WITH A SIDE OF VITAMIN SEA
From corporate retreats to big time concerts to antique car shows, and everything in between, it’s no wonder year after year meeting and event planners choose the Wildwoods Convention Center!
• 75K square foot exhibit arena, a 12K square foot Ballroom and 10-Meeting Rooms
• 380 – 10’ x 10’ exhibit booth space or seating for up to 7,500
• Modern amenities / State-of-the-art communication systems
• Full in-house Catering/Concession services
• Adjacent to the world-famous Wildwoods Boardwalk and 5 miles of FREE white sand beaches
• On-site parking for over 700 vehicles
• 30K square feet of pre-function space
• Free Wi-Fi for attendees
To schedule your next meeting or event, 800-992-9732 | WildwoodsCC.com
Byrne Plaza in downtown Wildwood hosts events throughout the summer, including: farmer’s markets; concerts and stage performances; arts and craft shows; specialty wine, craft beer and unique food events; health and fitness expos; and private events, too.
Summer in the Wildwoods also means fireworks every Friday night, visible from almost anywhere on the boardwalk and throughout the island.
The National Marbles Tournament, a Wildwoods tradition since 1922, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023 - attracting “Mibsters” (boys and girls ages 8 to 14) from across the country to play more than 1,200 games of marbles. Grand prize winners receive a trophy, commemorative plaque, official tournament watch, a $2,000 college scholarship, and will have their names inducted into the Marbles Hall of Fame.
Wildlife is abundant in the Wildwoods, too, and nature-lovers can witness shore birds as well as lots of local marine life. Nearby, Cape May Point also is full of local wildlife and nature walks. Additionally, the Cape May County Park and Zoo is a short drive away.
SOUTHERN DELAWARE BEACHES
Rehoboth Beach, known as “The Nation’s Summer Capital,” offers plenty of summer activities to explore and enjoy. Just a mile away is Hyatt Place Dewey Beach, where guests can visit the Lighthouse Bar Restaurant with its open-air concept overlooking Rehoboth Bay. “Indulge in our casual coastal fare and sip on a famous Lighthouse Dewey Crush,” urges Ashlee Martinelli, regional director of sales and marketing for the Hyatt Place Dewey Beach in Dewey Beach, DE.
“The Hyatt Place Dewey Beach sits on the Rehoboth Bay and Bay Beach, perfect for summer water activities,” Martinelli continues. “Travelers can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and jet skis, as well as book a parasail or banana boat ride. Directly across the street from the hotel, you can visit the Oceanside beach and take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.”
The famous Jolley Trolley has a stop at the Hyatt Place Dewey Beach, which will take travelers to downtown Rehoboth Beach where they can enjoy shopping and sampling boardwalk fare.
“The Hyatt Place Dewey Beach encourages a fun environment,” declares Martinelli. “From a calming sunrise beach yoga to a heart-pumping outdoor spin class, we can start off the day with a wellness component. Next, you can host a lively sunset boat cruise on the Rehoboth Bay with your team... End the day sitting by a beach bonfire complete with custom s'mores kits. Our team can facilitate these and other opportunities.”
Dewey Beach and the surrounding area play host to many summer events that enhance the travelers’ experience, too. On the Fridays of each of the major summer holiday weekends, Hyatt hosts a 40-year tra ditional event called “Taco Toss” that includes live music, Lighthouse tacos, and those Lighthouse Dewey Crushes while enjoying Southern Delaware sunsets.
OCEAN CITY, MD
Ocean City is known for its pristine beaches and three-mile boardwalk that features nearly endless entertainment options and free weekly events. Want to experience spectacular views while out on the Atlantic Ocean? Check out kayak, paddleboard, or boating rentals by the hour or the day. Just minutes away is Assateague Island National Seashore with its hiking trails, boardwalks, and beach, as well.
“Ocean City hosts an abundance of events and activities during the sum mer,” notes Kim Mueller, director of sales, Town of Ocean City Maryland. “Kick off the summer at the Cruisin’
“Indulge in our casual coastal fare and sip on a famous Lighthouse Dewey Cr ush,” urges Ashlee Martinelli, regional director of sales and marketing for the Hyatt Place Dewey Beach in Dewey Beach, DE
Ocean City car show in May to see over 3,000 hotrods, customs, classics, and trucks. Or, look to the skies for the OC Air Show to see the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flying over the beach and boardwalk in June.”
The summer fun continues with the OC Beach Dance Party and Sunset Party Park Nights hosted weekly with live music and food vendors from July through August. Lastly, the annual Marlin Fest is a top activity for groups and families. Watch the weigh-ins of the Marlin Open with food and drink, entertainment, vendors, and a variety of beach activities.
“What better way to celebrate summer in September than with the 2023 Ocean’s Calling Festival,” asserts Mueller. “The three-day music festival features artists such as Jack Johnson, Alanis Morissette, John Mayer, and The Lumineers - all performing on the iconic boardwalk for the first time this year.”
POCONO MOUNTAINS, PA
Camelback Resort is a popular Pocono Mountains escape offering year-round fun and excitement, and this year Camelbeach – Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor waterpark – is celebrating its 25th anniversary. “Our guests love to come summer after summer because there are activities for every generation, adventure skills, and comfort level,” asserts Angela Lustig, director of sales for Camelback Resort in Tannersville, PA. “Our guests never run out of things to do inside or outside. And our season passes allow for multiple visits all summer long.”
The staff at Camelback Resort are happy to help plan group activities where everyone works together while having a fun and memorable time, from splashing around at one of the property’s waterparks as part of a private after-hours event to maneuvering through Tree Top Adventures and ropes courses to throwing axes and driving UTVs through the forest.
For a more lowkey experience, try wine and spirit tastings, enjoy outdoor barbecues, s’mores making, or charcuterie workshops. These activities are perfect for winding down after an adrenaline-fueled day.
“Keeping up our reputation for providing thrills, chills, challenges, and excitement all while celebrating Camelbeach’s 25th anniversary, on June 16th we are debuting the new Rival Racer water slide, created for two sliders to race to the finish line of a 400-foot slide with a vertical drop of 54-feet of eight twisting, closed individual chutes," says Lustig. "And on the weekend of May 27, two new Sky Flyer 4,000-foot ziplines – the longest in the state – open at Camelback Mountain Adventures.”
Another exciting Pocono Mountains resort, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is home to America’s Largest Indoor Waterparks, and summer is the perfect time to stay and enjoy the indoor and outdoor slides and pools. Stay in one of the fully-appointed rooms or suites to enjoy the waterpark and other resort amenities, as admission to the waterpark is included for all registered guests.
There is something for everyone in the waterpark, from extreme slides for the thrill seeker to little slides and pool areas for children. The waterpark also features FlowRider, where one can learn to surf, a Wave Pool Experience, a Lazy River, and an adult swim-up bar. Guests also can rent private cabanas to create their own oasis in the waterpark.
Kalahari has many scenic trails around the resort for groups to hike and take in nature, as well. The resort also features Gorilla Grove Adventure Park, where adventurous groups can test their skills on six different aerial ropes courses ranging from beginner to expert. The adventure park also features zip lines, laser tag and mini golf.
Eleven on-site dining outlets include signature restaurants, a buffet experience, and quick-bite options. The resort’s four signature dining experiences give guests a variety of options from which to choose, including Double Cut steakhouse, and Cinco Niños - a modern Mexican and tequila bar that features the largest tequila and mezcal menu in the Poconos.
Spa Kalahari and Salon boasts many amenities, such as body treatments, luxurious massages, skin care, and nail care services. The spa also includes a hy-
drotherapy treatment area with a jacuzzi, dry sauna, and an herbal-infused steam room, as well as a Halotherapy Salt room to detoxify the body from the inside out.
CHESTER COUNTY & BRANDYWINE VALLEY, PA
Chester County is in the heart of America’s Garden Capital, as Greater Philadelphia offers over 35 public gardens within 30-miles, including Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. A world-class horticultural treasure, Longwood is situated on more than 1,000acres and features 20 outdoor gardens, a conservatory, and the most significant fountain collection in North America. The majestic Main Fountain Garden features a mix of grand architecture, horti-
cultural artistry, and soaring fountains. Enjoy the Festival of Fountains now through September 24th, where water dances and soars up to 175-feet in the air with daily shows. Illuminated Fountain Performances take place Thursday through Saturday evenings.
Other gardens in the region include Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Wilmington, DE with antique collections indoors and a 60-acre garden outside - a narrated garden tram ride is a great way to experience them. Nearby, Nemours Estate is a 77-room mansion with antiques, famous works of art, and tapestries. The grounds include some of the finest examples of French-style gardens in the U.S., which host Nemours’ Summer Third Thursdays with live music, beer, wine, and food trucks.
Explore the valley along the water and make dinner an adventure with Canoe and Dine at Northbrook Canoe. On select summer evenings, take a leisurely paddle down the Brandywine River, then enjoy a catered picnic dinner under the stars, plus live music, a bonfire, and s’mores.
Summer is the season for festivals and fairs, too, with the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair - one of the nation’s leading equestrian events – from May 25 to June 3. The Country Fair offers food, shops, and special event days.
Celebrate Independence Day at the Philly Balloon and Music Festival in Chester County, July 2-3 at Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds. The Chester County skies will come alive with over 20 balloons launching daily, tethered balloon rides, a beer garden, and familyfriendly adventures. On July 3rd there will be fireworks, as well.
The annual Blobfest is a quirky festival that pays homage to the 1950s cult classic film – The Blob. For over two-decades, cult movie geeks have flocked to the historic Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, which served as a backdrop for scenes in the iconic sci-fi classic. Blobfest is a campy, family-friendly weekend-long street party featuring a costume contest, live re-enactments from the movie, and an amateur filmmaking competition from July 14-16.
Kennett Square is known as the Mushroom Capital, supplying over 60 percent of the nation’s mushroom crop and is home to the annual Mushroom Festivalvoted one of the 10 best festivals in the state. The event, celebrated for 37 years, takes place each September on the weekend after Labor Day. Celebrate mushrooms with great food, music, rides, and entertainment.
The Creamery of Kennett Square has opened a new event space - The Retreat at the Creamery, a blend of business and pleasure, games and relaxation, comfort and style.
Nearby Chaddsford Winery has a new VIP Festival Pass, which includes an exclusive hour-long behind-thescenes experience and a unique glimpse into the wines and highlights of the winery. Festival dates include: May 27-28, July 1-2, and September 2-3.
Outdoor brew events pop up all around the Brandywine Valley at a variety of locations. ChesLen Preserve partners with East Branch Brewing Company for Pints on the Preserve in the Lenfest Center Pavilion on June 10 and July 8. Levante Brewing pours outdoors at two locales on summer weekends: Highland Orchards beginning May 27, and Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds starting June 2. Historic Sugartown hosts three Pop Up Summer Biergartens (June 15, July 27, and August 24) with brews by Locust Lane Craft Brewery and wines by Chaddsford Winery. Food trucks will cook up delicious fare while music fills the air.
Less than half an hour outside of Philadelphia, Elmwood Park Zoo offers a convenient and wild adventure this summer for the whole family.
“Our facility houses over 300 animals across our campus, with unique attractions and experiences offered daily,” says James Sheard, assistant director of guest experience, Elmwood Park Zoo. “From hand-feeding our giraffes to getting face-to-face with our new alpacas, you are always in for a wild adventure when visiting.”
Elmwood Park Zoo offers fun experiences for the whole family, with high ropes and zipline courses, including the high-adventure Expedition Elk course that is 30feet off the ground as part of a two-hour zipline tour. The zoo also features daily giraffe feedings providing visitors with the opportunity to get up close to these gentle giants. Zoo Brew and Oasis beverage stands boast a full selection of cool beverages for both adults and kids, and Twisted Cones serves up ice cream and water ice.
“Our new Dog Days offer the opportunity to bring your favorite four-legged family members to the zoo,” notes Sheard. “These days do require pre-registration, which can be completed on our website in advance.”
“Back by popular demand, we will see the return of our Breakfast with the Giraffes this summer, offering more dates than ever before,” Sheard continues. “Take advantage of early access into the zoo, a unique giraffe feeding experience, and a full breakfast spread before the zoo opens to the public.”
Zoo Snooze overnight campouts provide an inside look into what happens after the zoo gates close, with fun games, special animal programs, and more.
“Make this summer one to remember with a wild adventure at the Elmwood Park Zoo," Sheard exclaims.
GLEN MILLS, PA
“With a rich history, delicious food, and quality wine, the Inn at Grace Winery is a perfect escape from the city,” declares Rachel Rougeaux-Testerman, assistant general manager, Inn at Grace Winery.
Dating back to 1734, the property's microclimate and limestone soil make exceptional white and red wines. Its tasting room is in the property’s remodeled barn, which is over 250-years-old.
“Enjoy options such as a glass of our estate Chardonnay, our locally sourced Rosé, or our bold flagship red blend, 1734,” urges Rougeaux-Testerman. “Each wine is its own wholly unique experience and is enjoyed with our fantastic food options created by our executive chef.”
In addition to opportunities for tastings and tours, the Inn at Grace Winery offers several workshops, as well.
These are just some of the destinations and venues offering opportunities to enjoy summer fun in the region. Individuals and groups alike will find plenty to see and do both close to home and a short drive away.
Golf & Group Outings
heightened camaraderie and stronger relationships. Whether golfing with colle
Not just for foursomes, golf has become a fun team event, too. The scramble fo
According to Timothy Quirk, director of golf, the Leatherstocking Golf Course a scramble is still the most popular format for golf outings at Leatherstocking Go and scrambles are great for promoting team camaraderie, as it doesn’t matter simply by making a putt or two at our course.”
asual conversation and friendly competition while "hitting the links" often leads to eagues or clients, this sport has proven immensely valuable in the world of business. ormat has many benefits to fostering good feelings among participants.
at The Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, NY, “We’ve found that the traditional olf Course... Our course is considered one of the most challenging on the East Coast, what skillset someone has. A higher handicap golfer can contribute to the team
“Seeing the smile on a higher handicap golfer when they make an eagle putt on a par-five because the lower handicap golfers got the team to the green in two shots is priceless,” Quirk adds.
Leatherstocking Golf Course, which has been rated consistently as one of the top golf courses in New York state, is well-versed in hosting group golf events and outings. The resort offers golf instruction by certified PGA professionals, and has a golf pro, sales managers, and catering sales managers who work with planners to ensure a first-rate golf group experience.
“Groups also can take advantage of customized golf clinics,” notes Quirk. “Whether it’s a short golf clinic or a half-day golf school, we’ll tailor the experience based on the group’s team building goals. Additionally, putting contests have become more popular, as they are a fun way to start a golf event. We’ve also seen a growing trend for air cannons that can launch a ball over 400 yards.”
Quirk recommends that planners work directly with the golf professional staff and food and beverage staff, as it is important to have clear communication with the golf pro well in advance of the program to ensure that every detail is covered prior to arrival so there won’t be any confusion for attendees on the day of the tournament.
Situated in the scenic Allegheny Mountains, The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA, boasts more than 250 years of experience in hosting conferences and events with a dedicated team of hospitality professionals, plus more than 40 recreational activities, from axe throwing to zip lining to an expansive and luxurious spa. In addition, the Warm Springs Pools, located a few miles away, feature mineral rich warm springs for an authentic historic spa experience.
PLAN YOUR NEXT EVENT
Just steps away from the Stadium District Meeting Rooms & Event Spaces | Award-winning Restaurants | Luxury Rooms & Accomodations
The Cascades, one of the resort’s two golf courses, consistently ranks among the finest Virginia golf courses with impeccably manicured greens set against the serene backdrop of the surrounding landscape. Players can practice their swing on a driving range before heading to one of the two historic golf courses at The Omni Homestead. Both courses feature a clubhouse and offer shortgame practice facilities and driving ranges.
“Captains Choice or Scramble is great for a team competition among players of different abilities. Each player hits a drive, and the captain chooses the best drive. Each team member hits their next shot from that location. The team continues this until they complete the hole. The team with the lowest 18-hole score wins,” explains Joe Barrow, director
of sales, The Omni Homestead Resort. “Tournament play may include two-person teams or matches between individuals with a point system in place to add up each team’s score, like the Ryder Cup.”
Two-person team formats could be either “Best Ball” or “Alternate Shot,” says Barrow. For Best Ball, each team member plays their own ball. The lowest score of each team member is counted for each hole. For Alternate Shot, a team of two plays the same ball. One team member hits the drive, and the next team member plays the ball from that drive. This alternate shot format continues until the team completes the hole. One player drives on even number holes and the other player drives on odd number holes.
For one-person team formats, there is Match Play, where the lowest score on a hole wins that hole and the match is over when one person leads by more holes than there are left to play. The other is Stroke
Play, where the entire score is counted and the golfer with the lowest score (number of strokes) wins the match.
"Captain’s Choice is best for charity events or different skill levels seeking to have a fun outing,” says Barrow. “Handicaps are used to even the playing field with other teams. Tournament play formats are used for more serious, competitive play.”
Longest drive and closest to the pin are typical activities that are included as part of tournaments. Prizes are normally awarded for each male and female golfer who win each of these categories. “Putting and chipping contests after the tournament are fun events that bring everyone together, and there are typically prizes awarded for these, as well,” Barrow adds.
Challenge the Pro is another fun activity that can be incorporated during a scramble format tournament.
A resident pro will hit a drive with each group. The group can use their drive or the pro’s drive for that hole, and play in from there.
“The Omni Homestead Resort’s golf staff are professionals at incorporating fun activities into tournaments. They can customize fun and memorable experiences to fit any group,” says Barrow. “If the group is not highly competitive, keep it simple and fun. If the group is competitive, ensure you are organizing an event that will challenge everyone fairly.”
In addition, Barrow advises to talk with the golf staff and collaborate on the best ideas. Share the goals of the event with them, find out what they do best, and ask for their advice. Choose locations that provide many other activities that non-golf playing spouses or significant others can enjoy during the golf events, too.
“Choose locations that have unique and memorable venues for evening social events,” Barrow continues. “Finally, choose locations that have very desirable golf courses that are ranked and score very high in customer satisfaction. Ensure that the staff is experienced and friendly.”
The Ocean City, MD area is home to 17 championship courses that have been recognized by Golfweek, Golf
Digest, and golfers of all skill levels - a perfect weekend road trip destination.
“A stand-out option for group golf outings is Eagle’s Landing Golf Course, located minutes from the boardwalk,” notes Tom Perlozzo, director of tourism and business development for Ocean City Maryland Tourism. “This 18-hole, seaside course overlooks the Sinepuxent Bay and the Assateague Island National Seashore.”
Another course replete with natural beauty is Links at Lighthouse Sound, which runs along the river, marsh, and bay. River Run Golf Club & Community, designed by legendary golfer Gary Player, boasts a Scottish-links feel and is a perfect place to relax and unwind, as well.
“For those looking to get a jump start on planning their Ocean City golf getaway, look no further than oceancitygolf.com,” says Perlozzo. “Designed to take the hassle out of planning, travelers can choose from all-inclusive packages that include hotels, golf packages, condominiums, restaurants, golf schools and courses and entertainment.”
Be sure to consult with the experts of Ocean City courses to help with booking the perfect tee times, best deals, accommodations, cart rentals, group rates,
and more, says Perlozzo. “The professional staff are available to help you with everything from planning to putting.”
Select a course that caters to the skill levels of all players, too. Also, having club rentals and tee times reserved ahead of time will be helpful in getting a group onto the green quickly, Perlozzo adds.
Working closely with the course and resort professionals will help to ensure a smooth-running event for all attendees and participants. Sharing in a fun and enjoyable day on the links will undoubtedly help bring everyone together.
For those seeking additional opportunities to forge strong team bonds, the wide range of team building activities and programs offered by TeamBonding can assist in building relationships and strengthening skills in a variety of ways.
Team Building Activities
Gatherings and group activities of all kinds have resumed, including team building. Excited by the opportunity to get together face-to-face once again, many are eagerly attending and happy to be able to enjoy each other’s company.
But while in-person team building has seen a triumphant return in 2023, many companies still are working remotely or in hybrid setups, as well, observes David Goldstein, COO (creator of opportunities), TeamBonding, proving that virtual events are here to stay, too.
“Culinary events also continue to be a crowd-pleaser…”
“Our charitable programs are proving to be a popular choice among groups, as many companies are looking for ways to give back to their communities and make a positive impact,” Goldstein observes. “Companies continue to love old staples like the Charity Bike Build and Operation Cancer Care, as well as the new additions to our roster of charitable programs such as Build-A-Birthday, Clean Water Connection, and Wheels Around the World."
Culinary events also continue to be a crowd-pleaser, and it isn’t hard to understand why. Not only do these functions provide teams with an opportunity to bond over tasty food, but they also help in developing essential skills like communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.
TeamBonding’s Food Truck Challenge and TeamCuisine are just two examples of their popular culinary events.
“As the weather warms up, we’re also seeing more teams eager to get outside and have some old-fashioned fun,” asserts Goldstein. “Events like Corporate Survivor, Summer Camp Throwback, and Outrageous Games are all the rage, providing a chance for teams to let loose, connect with each other, and channel their inner child. After all, that is what spring and summer are all about.”
TeamBonding always is adding new and innovative programs to their ever-expanding list of offerings, while also making sure that every program is tailored specifically to meet the unique needs and goals of each team.
The Mystery Bus offered by TeamBonding is a thrilling adventure to unknown destinations carefully selected to fit a team’s interests, timeframe, and budget. This turnkey event is designed to take the hassle out of planning and give a team an unforgettable experience to talk about for years to come.
“We’ve taken teams to the NASCAR Hall of Fame to do a 'race car building' competition in Charlotte, a songwriting workshop in Nashville, a Surrey scavenger hunt in Long Beach, a private winery cave tour in Napa, and the list just keeps on growing,” Goldstein explains.
For a hands-on challenge that combines creativity and teamwork, Team Bonding’s Ice Sculpting workshop is as unique as it gets. Led by a professional ice sculptor, teams work together to carve ice blocks into impressive designs. Some ambitious teams will sculpt their company logos or other branding elements. “Ironically, this event is great for spreading warmth,” Goldstein adds, “with lots of smiles, laughter, and camaraderie along the way.”
Once the team building activity has been completed, it requires an ongoing effort on the part of companies and their team participants to keep the lines of communication open, promote collaboration, and create a shared sense of purpose among team members when they have returned to the workplace.
“To sustain momentum, regular check-ins should be scheduled to allow team members to touch base on their progress, to discuss chal-
lenges, and to share ideas in a safe and supportive environment,” advises Goldstein. “In addition, using team collaboration tools can help to facilitate communication and connection, even when your group can’t physically be in the same location. Using Slack, our team has created a variety of channels for different purposes, including fun ones like daily inspiration or weekend recaps that help keep the relationships strong beyond work-related projects.”
It is important, too, to continue to recognize and celebrate team and individual achievements, no matter the size, Goldstein asserts. Celebrating successes together helps to build a sense of team identity and reinforces bonds that were formed while participating in the team building activity.
Finally, consider scheduling a follow-up team building activity. “Giving teams something to look forward to is not only a way to keep them engaged and connected, but it helps to reinforce the skills and relationships built during the initial activity,” Goldstein adds.
In addition to professional development programs offered by TeamBonding, they also offer a variety of activities designed to strengthen different areas of a team, such as cooperation, communication, leadership, and more.
For example, Leadership Stories is designed to cultivate a team’s leadership skills. Through board game-style scenarios, teams are challenged to make smart leadership decisions and start important conversations that have a truly meaningful impact.
A TeamBonding program that focuses on effective communication and cross-functional cooperation is called Integrity. In this activity, participants are presented with a series of integrity problem-solving challenges. In an engaging and fun atmosphere, participants can showcase their communication skills and work on team development.
For those looking to hone strategic planning and time management skills, Chain Reaction is a great option, Goldstein suggests. “In this program, each team designs, builds, and tests several simple machines, which ultimately must work together as part of a greater whole within the allotted time. Animate, our new stop-motion animation team building event, is another unique option that highlights time management and strategic planning. Our expert facilitators guide groups through the process of how to make a stop-motion video and manipulate figures frame-by-frame to bring the story to life.”
Lastly, Shark Teams, based on the popular TV show Shark Tank, is a helpful program for product development, presentation, process improvement, or marketing. While fun, it also offers important, powerful lessons for both business and teamwork.
Warm, soft sand, cool ocean bre boardwalk attractions, entertain venues, Victorian hotels and reso
Warm, soft sand, cool ocean bre boardwalk attractions, entertain venues, Victorian hotels and reso
eezes, activities on the water, nment, meeting and convention orts, historic sites and more.
eezes, activities on the water, nment, meeting and convention orts, historic sites and more.
Cape May County, NJ has so much to offer, and it has been an alluring destination for vacationers and meeting goers alike for generations.“Cape May County offers unique settings for meetings that can accommodate 10 to as many as 10,000 attendees in one location,” explains Diane Wieland, director of tourism, Cape May County Tourism. “Anyone looking to get away from a corporate center into a setting that can lend itself to the meeting’s mission or simply offer a view away from the traditional should explore the possibilities offered in our premier seaside locations.”
The selection of Cape May County’s meeting properties runs the gamut, and meeting planners can offer their attendees the resort’s natural environment, exciting attractions, and its uniqueness – all of which provide value along with vacation amenities – adding up to much more than mere meeting space.
When it comes to meeting and convention venues, however, Cape May County has great options. Conventions centers in both the Wildwoods and in Cape May are situated right along the beachfront, giving attendees the opportunity to enjoy ocean views at both facilities, and allowing them to incorporate the beach environment into the day’s activities.
“The Wildwoods Convention Center is a modern, multipurpose 260,000-square foot facility located on the Wildwoods boardwalk overlooking the city’s mammoth beachfront,” notes Wieland. The convention center offers spectacular beach, boardwalk and ocean views and access, and features an award-winning culinary team, a host of services, plenty of natural light, and a wide variety of flexible spaces for hosting meetings, sporting events, competitions, trade shows and conventions both large and small.
"Cape May Convention Hall is situated directly on the beach offering a wraparound deck and a multi-purpose atrium with an unparalleled view of the beach and the ocean,” says Wieland. “The 20,000-square foot facility features two event halls, a catering kitchen, and a meeting room.”
The Historic Landmark City of Cape May is pedestrianand cyclist-friendly, and the layout of the town makes it an attractive alternative to busy urban areas. The nation’s oldest seaside resort is known for its charming bed-and-breakfast inns, some of which can host small meetings. One example is Congress Hall in Cape May, a historic hotel that once served as the summer White House to U.S. Presidents. Congress Hall has meeting
Delaware County, PA
The perfect location for meetings, events, and team activities
Scranton, PA Delaware County
New York, NY Atlantic City, NJ
Located just outside of Philadelphia, Delaware County is easily accessible from Philadelphia International Airport, major interstates I-95, I-276 and I-476 and public transit systems such as SEPTA and Amtrak.
With more than 4,200 rooms, Delaware County offers a complete range of accommodations from full-service hotels to charming Bed & Breakfasts.
Washington, D.C.Lou Marrocco, Director of Meetings & Events
NEW NEW NEW ROOMS NEW NEW NEW RESTAURANTS
rooms, spas, shops, a nightclub, and banquet facilities, including its grand ballroom.
In addition, several larger-scale meetings and events have utilized the U.S. Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) at the Cape May County Airport. “The airplane hangar at the airport that is home to NASW is large enough to hold hundreds of attendees amid World War II memorabilia and serve as a venue for social events,” Wieland observes. “Naval Air Station Wildwood Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that works to restore the hangar into an aircraft museum honoring the 38 Naval airmen who perished while training there during World War II. Hangar # 1 was listed onto the National Register of Historic Places in September 1997.”
offer the technology needed to host the most sophisticated meeting requests and they are flexible enough to include offerings like varied menus and room setups to accommodate most types of meetings, Wieland explains.
“Attendees can treat the meeting location as part business travel and part leisure travel, which provides plenty of reasons to bring the family. It is an opportunity to have an extended vacation before, during and after the work event,” Wieland adds.
A new indoor/outdoor meeting space with a retractable roof is available all year long!
Accommodates over 1400 attendees.
MEETING ROOM LEVEL
80,000 square feet of meeting space including:
• 53,337 square feet of exhibit space
• 25,162 square feet of meeting space
33 meeting rooms available
Meeting and dining space is located on one level.
When it is time for fun, Morey’s Piers offers the biggest amusement piers and water parks in the Wildwoods, and can host outdoor corporate outings in the warmer weather. Team building or company picnics are popular at Morey’s Piers, which can accommodate thousands of guests at a time.
"A meeting venue for team building programs is Tree to Tree Cape May, a premier ariel adventure course featuring zip lines, Tarzan swings, and fun, challenging obstacle courses... in the Cape May County Zoo,” Wieland adds. “As participants navigate through each obstacle, they learn the importance of working together for better results."
Many of the meeting and event facilities throughout the county can
For dining, a diverse choice of venues helps to enhance any group outing in Cape May County. “The view from the dining table is part of the tie-in if you want it to be, including a winery, brewery or distillery, a working farm and a fisherman’s wharf,” says Wieland. “The proliferation of beverage attractions over the last decade has given planners the opportunity to tie-in one of six wineries, 12 breweries, and three distilleries.”
These beverage attractions are open year-round, offering tours, tastings, unique dining menus, and a full calendar of special events, such as harvest festivities, comedy shows, concerts, and holiday shopping. Many have outside facilities such as beer gardens, firepits, casual seating and more.
“If you want a close look at life on a farm, tour Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May and enjoy breakfast or lunch outside as farm workers hoe, weed and harvest around you,” Wieland suggests. “The hundred or
more varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs grown on the 62acre farm eventually end up on the tables of local restaurants where chefs develop menus around the wide variety of fresh farm produce.”
At Fisherman’s Wharf at the Lobster House, observe scallopers and fisherman unloading their catch of the day. Cape May and the Wildwoods combine to serve as one of the largest ports on the East Coast - and many of the seafood choices are delivered to restaurants within hours of being caught.
Getting around is easy for groups in Cape May County, too, as Jitney service is available in many of the seaside resorts. Jitneys also are available for private hire by groups who want to link their meeting venue with a local attraction.
“Touring the City of Cape May by Trolley is both entertaining and educational,” adds Wieland. “A fleet of shiny, comfortable trolleys crisscross the historic district complete with onboard guides hosted and managed by the Cape May MAC (Museums. Arts. Culture).”
Finally, the calendar of events in the county is very robust for much of the year, as well. Linking a meeting with a special event provides another opportunity to entertain attendees. From multi-stage beach concerts, an international kite festival, birding festivals, moonlight lighthouse climbs, to an annual holiday celebration that starts in November, these special events can be used as incentive and enhancement to meetings in Cape May County.
Where Business Meets Adventure
“Anne Arundel County is well known for its location on the Chesapeake Bay, but its historic downtown and rolling countryside help to set it apart. And getting here is easy - accessible by plane, train, or boat.”
Along the Miles River in historic St. Michaels, MD, Inn at Perry Cabin is a boutique, luxury, full destination resort and a "gem" on the Chesapeake that boasts a wide range of amenities. Part of the Legend Collection with Preferred Hotels and Resorts, the hotel was built in 1816, giving it a cool, historic vibe anchored by its nautical heritage.
Located within walking distance of boutique shops, restaurants and cafes, a winery, brewery and a distillery in St. Michaels, as well as the adjacent Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, groups can enjoy plenty to do in town.
“Our own fleet of luxury sailboats and our stunning 45foot Hinckley Yacht, plus kayaks and paddleboards - all offered through our waterfront activities program - are customizable for your group’s next team building event,” notes Joann Jacobs, national sales manager, Inn at Perry Cabin.
Catering to executive level meetings and retreats, incentive programs, and social celebrations, Inn at Perry Cabin is the perfect fit for parties of 10 attendees up to a full property buyout of all 78 guest rooms (156 people). The property is offering the opportunity to buyout
the resort in 2024 from late January through March for as little as 40 rooms per night.
Group activities can include a competitive sailing regatta or one of the hottest new 18-hole golf courses on the East Coast - The Links at Perry Cabin, Pete Dye’s final masterpiece course design. The property also features eight high-definition golf simulators, three HarTru tennis courts, and a tennis program. The Spa at Perry Cabin is focused on the botanical art of wellness, and offers therapeutic treatments for restoration and healing.
A full-property renovation completed in late 2019 included all 78 guest rooms, meeting space, and indoor and outdoor space with constant refurbishment taking place, as well.
“The Cove! is the newest addition to our exclusive list of scenic outdoor venue spaces,” asserts Jacobs. “The Cove is located within a secluded corner of the inn’s lush gardens - conveniently set adjacent to the pool. This sought-after area is surrounded by a wall of mature seasoned arborvitae overlooking Foggy Cove. The space is accentuated with footing of blue stone and features a custom designed tent.”
Complete with an award-winning culinary team, a waterfront restaurant and cozy pub (each with its own wood burning fireplace), unique meeting space, public spaces in which to “escape,” 25-acres of unique and open waterfront property, and exciting and unique group activities and team building options, Inn at Perry Cabin can deliver a memorable experience for any group.
Southern Delaware is “a short drive to a far-awayseeming destination,” says Tina Coleman, communications manager, Southern Delaware Tourism, where attendees can mix, mingle, and meet in a relaxed, laidback atmosphere conducive to creativity and collaboration without the stress of extensive travel.
Southern Delaware’s beaches, bays, and rural landscapes offer outdoor adventure opportunities like trails, signature golf courses, and lots of watersports for team activities. The area’s Culinary Coast™ dining is
“big-city amazing,” featuring menus created with fresh-from-the-farm-and-sea ingredients by innovative chefs. “Our area has been a resort for over a century, so top-notch hospitality is baked into every aspect of their stay,” says Coleman.
Tours of every type are available in Southern Delaware, too, from brewery and distillery tours and tastings and dining tours to sunset, music, and eco-tours on local waterways, to history tours, farm tours, and many more.
Southern Delaware’s event calendar is full of arts and entertainment events, themed festivals, exhibitions, and more that serve as great tie-ins for meeting and event attendees.
Sussex County, Delaware provides an opportunity to hold business meetings, retreats, and events in a destination that offers all the requisite amenities along with
a seaside vibe and a menu of optional team or individual activities for after-hours. Southern Delaware’s family-friendliness, pet-friendliness, and tax-free shopping also make it a natural destination for those who want to combine business with pleasure.
In addition, Coleman adds, “Southern Delaware Tourism offers an incentive to businesses booking 30 or more room nights who are eligible to receive a $300 rebate. And shopping, dining, entertainment, and meeting space are all tax free.”
The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA is a true meetings destination with 76,000-square feet of flexible indoor meeting space, all of which has been renovated this year. It boasts natural light in 11 of its 28 meeting rooms, and six provide direct access to outdoor space.
“The resort has more than 250 years of hosting conferences and events and a dedicated team of hospitality professionals, many of whom have more than 25 years of experience or multiple generational ties to the resort,” notes John Hess, director of sales and marketing, the Omni Homestead Resort. “In addition, the resort offers more than 40 recreational activities from axe throwing to zip lining, including The Cascades, annually ranked among the top 100 golf courses in the country and an expansive and luxurious spa.
Nestled in the scenic Allegheny Mountains, The Omni Homestead offers picturesque views and an appealing
respite from city life for attendees. With almost no light pollution, the starry skies are a sight to behold, as well.
“The Warm Springs Pools, located a few miles from the resort, feature mineral rich warm springs for an authentic historic spa experience,” explains Hess. “The stone basin of the Gentlemen’s Bathhouse was built in 1761, making it the first spa structure in the country. Another nearby attraction is the Garth Newel Music Center, a world-renowned chamber music venue. Other local attractions include the Jackson River, Falling Spring Falls, and Dan Ingalls Overlook.”
For those who hold a meeting or event at The Omni Homestead Resort, Hess says they benefit from “the halo effect” of the iconic resort property. “From the resort’s rich history to its award-winning facilities and amenities, The Omni Homestead is one of America’s most distinguished resorts. The resort’s reputation provides a very favorable reflection on groups who meet here. Lastly, for every room night booked at the resort, a donation is made to our local food bank through Omni’s ‘Say Goodnight to Hunger’ program.”
Each of these destination resorts and properties are enticing to planners and their attendees of meetings and events for the wide range of services, spaces, activities, and offerings they can provide. Unique settings, relaxing environments, great food, and fun experiences add up to enjoyable and memorable meetings within these appealing and attractive places and spaces.
With over 1,600 restaurants, Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA will satisfy meeting goers, whatever their taste. Meet.ValleyForge.org
It is that time of year again! Warmer weather has returned. Soon summer officially will be here. People are anxious and excited to enjoy the great outdoors once again. This does not apply only to the weekends. Many planners are looking for wide open spaces under sunlit skies in which their attendees can be entertained, educated, relaxed, and inspired.
Oftentimes, planners can get even more creative in outdoor settings, too. Outside there is plenty of space for setting up a variety of activity stations and dining areas without the need to heavily decorate with Mother Nature as their backdrop. Attendees also may be more relaxed in an outdoor atmosphere where they can breathe in fresh air and enjoy the sunshine.
There are lots of places that provide planners with the option to take their events outside in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Pocono Organics, for example, is one of North America’s largest Regenerative Organic Certified Farms. It has tented outdoor spaces and features fresh organic catering created by Chef Lindsay McClain, winner on the Food Network’s hit show - Chopped.
Wallenpaupack Creek Farm in the Pocono Mountains Region is a historic farm that dates to 1829. It has outdoor spaces and an impressive 200-year-old renovated barn. Trout Lake, situated on 500-acres with a private lake, is a versatile property offering water and land sports, athletic facilities, and on-site overnight accommodations.
Poconos Park is the area’s largest outdoor entertainment venue. Newly renovated and situated on 200acres, it has a 10,000-seat amphitheater with additional seating on the grass lawn and at its Lakeside Theatre, a 10,000-square foot banquet hall alongside a 90-acre lake.
Of course, back-up plans are important when it comes to outdoor events. Tenting outdoor areas can provide relief from rain or offer shade from the sun. Renting portable heaters or fans help in regulating temperatures and keeping guests comfortable. And some venues offer versatile indoor/outdoor spaces so that attendees easily can move indoors or outside depending on the weather.
The Pocono Mountains is home to lakes, rivers, mountains, farms and thriving woodlands, offering every type of outdoor location imaginable. The Pocono Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau recommends those planning outdoor events should ensure that guests are aware of any weather contingencies ahead of time so they will be prepared for any changes to the event environment.
The bureau also advises to think ahead in anticipation of what guests might need, such as sunscreen, bug spray, umbrellas, or blankets, and have those items on hand and stationed around the event so that guests
can access them easily, if needed. Finally, they ask that attendees and organizers please follow “Leave No Trace” principles while enjoying their time in the Pocono Mountains.
“The popularity of outdoor events isn’t something new,” observes Scott Higgins, director of sales for the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board, “however, it’s been highlighted since the impacts of the pandemic. Yes, it is better for airflow circulation, but it also helps create a unique experience for attendees. By moving outside, attendees get to experience a change of scenery from what has likely been a meeting room for the past number of hours. They are able to soak in the sun, take in the fresh air, and experience the destination in a new way.”
“In Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA, we’ve always been proud of our offerings that allow groups to move outdoors,” Higgins adds. “We celebrate the nature that’s in our destination.”
For meetings, the county is home to venues like Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center in Blue Bell, and the Joseph Ambler Inn in North Wales, both of which offer ample outdoor options. For off-site activities, groups can enjoy the 3,500-acres at the Valley Forge National Historical Park or take-in a round of golf at one of the more than 50 golf courses located here.
Holding an event outdoors became increasingly popular during the pandemic, and continues today for many reasons, explains Domenick Savino, CPCE, managing partner, The Drexelbrook in Drexel Hill, PA. For one, outdoor venues and spaces can offer tremendous versatility. Often blank canvases just waiting to be created, there are no walls to limit a planner’s creativity. Natural settings are another advantage. “Taking advantage of a sunrise, bright afternoon, or sunset is something that all guests can enjoy while mingling or being entertained.”
Drexelbrook Catering, the off-site division of The Drexelbrook, offers many dining options for outdoor group events. “Our most popular is the 'You Chill… We Grill' menu,” says Savino. “A planner will be able to customize a complete interactive Grill Station where guests can enjoy 'grilled to order' food such as lamb chops, steak, vegetable kebobs or fish. Even the basic 'All-American BBQ' is perfect for outdoor lunch for your team. We will come to your office parking lot complete with grill, staff, food, beverages, dessert and pop-up tent with tables and chairs. Now that is a great way to treat your team.”
Of course, whenever dining outdoors, certain precautions need to be in place such as food temperature, placing all food under cover of a tent, and the need for an adequate water supply. Simple guidelines such as keeping hot food hot and cold food cold goes a long way in making sure guests stay safe, Savino explains. Also, ensure that all equipment is in top working condition prior to any outdoor event, especially refrigerators.
Planning is one of the most important aspects in creating an enjoyable and memorable event for all, Savino adds. Having a “Plan A” and a “Plan B” is necessary in this region due to temperature variations. “Tend to the details of parking, restrooms, power sources, tents, mosquito control and, finally, don’t get caught up in what you cannot control. Focus on what a great event it will be.”
Speaking of golf, coming soon will be a new TopGolf facility in King of Prussia with simulated golf and other sports challenges.
“When it comes time to groups meals, we have that covered, as well,” notes Higgins. “The very popular King of Prussia Town Center offers numerous options such as Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Paladar Latin Rum Bar, and Fogo de Chao.”
Higgins adds that there are too many outdoor options to list, but the Valley Forge TCB invites planners to connect with them to learn about options that can help create a memorable event in Montgomery County, PA. “With the options built into the destination, you won’t find your event is placed in a parking lot or in the street with areas blocked off. We have true outdoor venues and feel these options will create a better overall environment for your attendees.”
Holding an event outdoors is a great way to offer a unique experience for guests, especially after a long day spent in meetings, asserts Hans Schreiber, director of sales and marketing, Lancaster County Convention Center and the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square in Lancaster, PA. Having an outdoor option for guests presents a great opportunity for them to get some air and unwind.
“At the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Lancaster County Convention Center, our meeting rooms are entirely indoors. However, The Exchange Rooftop, Lancaster’s tallest rooftop bar, is located on-property
and is just a short elevator ride up,” says Schreiber. “So, after a day spent in meetings, groups can enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of downtown Lancaster and the surrounding countryside from The Exchange, while enjoying delicious shared plates and wood-fired pizza, sipping hand-crafted cocktails, wine, beer, and more.”
Watching the sunset from the roof is an experience guests surely will remember. “We’re also lucky to be located right in the heart of beautiful, historic, and walkable downtown Lancaster, with shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes for meeting goers to enjoy,” Schreiber adds.
The Exchange Rooftop is ideal because it is both indoors and outdoors. Guests can enjoy the scenic rooftop views, even while they are within the covered inside lounge area – a great option in the event of inclement weather. There also are heat lamps and firetop tables on the outdoor roof deck allowing guests to
enjoy cocktails and a bite to eat when it is on the chillier side.
“Outdoor events offer a refreshing and exciting alternative to traditional indoor events, providing a range of benefits and unique opportunities for planners and attendees alike,” asserts Larry Sieg, president and CEO of Visit Atlantic City. “Being surrounded by Atlantic City’s bodies of water and diverse ecosystem can promote mental health and overall well-being, helping attendees to feel relaxed and rejuvenated.”
Atlantic City, NJ’s natural elements serve as the backdrop for outdoor spaces and create an inviting and memorable ambiance. “Meeting comfortably and freely is always promised in Atlantic City, with a variety of outdoor meeting options found throughout the destination,” notes Sieg. “From the beach to the world-famous boardwalk, attendees can experience new heights from each casino resort, enjoy the shore life on the Atlantic City beach, or connect over the Atlantic Ocean at
Tents & Rentals
It is impossible for any venue to replicate the true beauty of nature, observes Melani Kodikian, CERP, president, A to Z Party Rental and Benchmark Event Services. “It is more than how it looks; it’s how a person feels - the air they breathe. Most people spend too much time indoors and a break from HVAC is good for the body and mind. There are so many options when it comes to designing an event outside. Each property contributes to the event in its own way, and no two events will ever be the same.”
Tents provide clients with variety, options, and custom design. The size of the tent is only limited by the available space of the location, assures Kodikian. “So, regardless of how large or small your event is, what type of event it is, or the date of the event, there always is a variety of tent sizes available to meet your needs.”
In addition to tenting, A to Z Party Rental can provide planners of outdoor events with portable bleachers, stages, flooring, games, concession equipment, cooking equipment, restroom trailers, and so much more.
When it comes to dealing with Mother Nature, Kodikian says outdoor events should always include an evacuation plan in the event of severe weather. “Better to be prepared than caught off guard with panicked - or worse - injured guests. Know what alternative space is available where guests will be safe. Determine who will make the decision to evacuate and what the conditions would be to direct your guests to a safe location. Tents are temporary structures - not shelters in storms.”
A great deal of planning needs to be done for any outdoor event. Kodikian says it is important to prepare for a wide range of possible challenges. “Do not put your head in the sand and think ‘that won’t happen to me,’ or ‘it’s going to be a beautiful day.’ Be prepared for all scenarios. Work with reputable companies that have decades of experience in outdoor events and quality equipment, vendors who ask you the hard questions and who assist you in preparing for multiple situations. You want to make sure your event will be memorable for positive reasons.”
the thrilling Steel Pier amusement park.”
In addition, meeting in Atlantic City’s Marina District provides panoramic views of the Back Bays from each casino resort for a sophisticated and upscale setting.
"Whether an event is hosted indoors or outdoors, our team is well-prepared for any weather-related situation… equipped to swiftly transition your event to one of the many indoor venues nearby,” notes Sieg. “These venues are carefully organized and equipped with amenities to provide a comfortable and convenient alternative for your event.”
Atlantic City is an ideal choice for outdoor functions due to its combination of natural beauty, diverse event spaces, and favorable weather. The city’s beachfront views, sandy beaches, and world-famous boardwalk provide an atmosphere that enhances the ambiance of any event.
"Outdoor events are typically more relaxed and laid-back,” says Sieg. “An event outdoors in a natural environment can lower stress and improve people's overall moods. It also gives the planner a unique space to bring people together for enjoying the destination.”
Atlantic City’s versatile event spaces, ranging from casino resorts to waterfront venues, offer the flexibility to create an unforgettable experience. The city’s mild climate and long summers make it ideal for hosting outdoor functions, along with its variety of activities and amenities that can be tailored for each event.
“With numerous outdoor event spaces, incorporating Atlantic City’s panoramic backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and the city’s skyline is a unique feature that can enhance the ambiance of your event,” explains Sieg. “Consider adding local cuisine or seafood specialties to showcase the many diverse flavors of Atlantic City. As part of our commitment to the environment, we encourage all event planners to embrace regenerative tourism by incorporating sustainable and eco-friendly products.”
Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, MD is home to over 500-miles of scenic Chesapeake Bay shoreline, making it an ideal destination in which to gather for an outdoor party, convention, or corporate event.
For exploring the county’s waterways by boat, consider a cruise by Watermark or book a private charter on the Schooner Woodwind or Schooner Liberté. Whitehall Manor is a grand venue with stunning views along Whitehall Creek's shores. Or see why Annapolis is known as America's Sailing Capital with a bespoke event at the Annapolis Maritime Museum and its waterfront event space looking out toward the Chesapeake Bay.
Choose a historic home of one of the nation’s founding fathers, like the William Paca House and Gardens. Venture to the countryside for bucolic views and scenic waterways at Historic London Town and Gardens and Herrington on the Bay. North of Annapolis in Pasadena is Kurt's Beach, a popular venue with water views, gazebos, and plenty of outdoor meeting space.
Farms also provide a fantastic backdrop where meeting planners can create a memorable event. Pemberton Farm Events offers rolling hills, alpacas, and a party barn, while Hidden View Farm in Crownsville offers historic charm on over 100 woodland acres just outside the city.
Restaurants like The Choptank Annapolis provide guests with banquet and meeting space and fine dining while taking advantage of historic views of Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay on their outdoor patios and decks.
Anne Arundel County is well known for its location on the Chesapeake Bay, but its historic downtown and rolling countryside help to set it apart. And getting here is easy - accessible by plane, train, or boat.
Many venues here offer both indoor and outdoor space at the same venue, so planners can talk with the host site to see about incorporating both areas into their event. It adds cover in case of inclement weather, while also offering variety for attendees.
Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County suggests preparing guests for their outdoor experience by recommending appropriate attire and footwear. Keep an eye on the weather, too, of course, and have a contingency plan in place. But above all, be creative. Hosting an event outdoors allows guests to take in the beauty of their surroundings and enhances their experience.
Amanda Metzger, marketing director, Lake George, NY Regional Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau suggests gathering attendees and planning a meeting or event on a boat. “There are several options from private charters to large cruise ships that sail Lake George.”
Alternatively, there are many lakeside locations at which to hold group functions both large and small. There also are outdoor team building options with adventure courses that traverse tree tops, embark on rafting adventures on rivers, or provide the opportunity to explore a historic fort.
Groups in the Lake George Region can enjoy hikes, rent mountain bikes or fat bikes, or snowshoe in winter while choosing from a variety of terrain to suit different abilities. Another option is to visit a rodeo with open air covered seating at the country’s longest running family-run weekly rodeo in the summer.
“If you don’t like the weather, wait five-minutes,” exclaims Metzger. “Even when rain is in the forecast, we rarely have washouts. Just after the rain can be the perfect time to spot rainbows outside, too. In the event of a washout - or a whiteout in the winter - there are many beautiful meeting spaces with incredible views so your attendees can still feel inspired as you bring the outdoors in, so be sure to have a backup meeting place or a tent. Many venues offer both indoor and outdoor spaces.”
Enjoy restorative, scenic settings in Lake George, “the Queen of American Lakes,” which Thomas Jefferson wrote was “the most beautiful water” he ever saw. “In addition to the natural beauty, we also offer beautiful indoor locations that provide views of the outdoors,” says Metzger. “Many venues have invested millions of dollars into renovating spaces over the past couple of years to specifically bring the outdoors in, so you’ll experience the latest improvements and technology while enjoying the outdoors and excellent hospitality.”
“The outdoors offers a meeting space without boundaries,” says Metzger. “The possibilities for inspiration
are limitless. Sunshine, the sound of water, and the scent of mountain air can elevate senses and make attendees more receptive, offering a restorative experience they will never forget.”
Outdoor destinations provide more than the chance to bask in the sun and play in the park. Planners can create unique, memorable, and fun functions in a wide range of settings. Whether out on the water, up in the mountains, out on the golf course, or enjoying the view from a rooftop space, there are so many options and opportunities for attendees to experience the outdoors in a whole new way.
Looking for a New Way to Engage with Event Guests? Try a Wine Tasting Experience.
One of the biggest challenges that event planners face is needing to come up with new, creative ways to connect with attendees. And when the event is online, it is an especially tricky endeavor. How do you keep it original, interesting, and entertaining?
One idea - plan an online or in-person wine tasting.
One company that has settled comfortably into this niche is Philadelphia-based Sommsation. The company offers virtual and in-person wine tastings, as well as hybrid events where attendees can choose to attend either in-person or online. Sommsation pours only premium wines produced by independent wineries that fall outside the mainstream, so they can offer even the most seasoned wine connoisseur a new, exciting taste experience.
But these events involve a lot more than just the tastings. Each is facilitated by one or more world-class sommeliers who share their knowledge about each vineyard, winemaker, and wine with guests. Even more importantly, the “somms” make these events enjoyable for everyone, from guests who know next to nothing about wine to connoisseurs or collectors.
Host organizations enlist Sommsation to curate wine experiences for just about every occasion, such as celebrating positive sales numbers or recognizing a hard-working team. They are a vital solution for companies that are desperately trying to connect with employees, customers, and investors in a way that will make guests feel appreciated.
Sommsation’s digital platform is uniquely built for virtual events, and the company handles all details, including making sure that the wines and food pairings are sent to guests in advance.
For in-person events, the company partners with chefs and caterers to create unique pairing options for any occasion. Recently, they teamed up with the award winning BYOB At the Table in West Chester, PA, where guests mingled with sommeliers and learned about wines from several wineries. What made the event even more delectable was the fact that each wine was paired with “heavy bites” created by At the Table’s chefs Alex Hardy and Tara Buzan.
Sommsation has established a traveling Lounge that pops ups at prestigious destinations, including: Park City during the Sundance Film Festival; Art Basel Miami; and high-profile Super Bowl parties. If guests fall in love with a wine that they have tasted, they can order the label at Sommsation’s online Marketplace and have bottles delivered directly to their homes.
For event planners searching for memorable ways to engage with guests - whether virtually or in-person - a Sommsation wine experience offers an educational, fun, and meaningful way for attendees to discover new wines, connect, and feel like they have been treated to something special.
Sommsation is a West Chester-based wine-experience technology platform that connects independent wineries, sommeliers, and customers through tastings to help people discover lesserknown wines, as well as the histories and stories behind them. www.sommsation.com
WHO IS THE CUSTOMER, ANYWAY?
In the airline industry, many people get frustrated when traveling. Even when the weather is to blame, and passengers take out their frustrations on the frontline agents. While customer service should be #1 on their list, these agents have tolerated increased stress from attrition in the industry and difficulty in receiving operational support. Such circumstances make for a turbulent experience.
For the last several years, I worked with a major global airline managing a program around the customer experience for their passenger services teams in North America. The customer centric initiative was based on several specific behaviors and was inspired by collective practices found in the hotel industry where “true hospitality” is enhancing the customer interaction from a service to a positive unforgettable moment.
Several years ago, I also became an EQ practitioner and professional coach. EQ means “emotional intelligence.” Companies have come to the realization that a person’s EQ is just as important, if not more so, than one’s IQ.
So… why mention this?
The objective I had with customer service teams was, through the demonstration and training in emotional intelligence and empathy, for people to work in tune with each other – in tune with each other’s thoughts (what to do) and their emotions (why to do it).
The goal? To strengthen staff’s abilities to demonstrate passion, commitment, and deeper concern for customers and their colleagues while also building relationships with them where they feel recognized, relaxed, and delighted following the interaction.
Who is the customer, anyway? Notice the inclusion of “their colleagues” in the focus of building relationships. Simon Sinek says, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” In any customer service training or professional development, it is crucial to address one’s “internal customer” as well as the external customer. Not additionally, but literally, as well. The employee experience should mirror that of the customer experience.
In previous years, I have interfaced heavily with the customer service and hospitality industry, from working with corporate businesses to entertainers to hotels, venues, and event production professionals. A mindset strongly held or the mantra often repeated by many has been that “customer service is an attitude.”
To that end, emotional intelligence is self-awareness and empathic understanding. Through self-mastery, individuals can create attuned relationships and drive their emotions in the right direction. By including EQ in customer service training, the ambition is to provide support and enrichment for everyone.
Every individual will be able to cultivate skills and practices that make their stressful roles easier by becoming more self-aware of what their emotions are, improving their social skills, and detecting more of what motivates them. Customer service becomes innate, because it is based on what truly drives them as individuals and as customers themselves.
In defining what makes a customer experience a good one or a bad one, based on their own experiences and feelings, this helps the customer service professional
to better relate to a customer who may be experiencing stress or is not receiving the kind of response that they need. If they were in the same position, what would they need at that time? This realization will steer their response to the customer.
However, this is not to be confused with the golden rule expectation of “do unto others as you want done unto you.” What you expect and what you need can manifest quite differently, and it cannot be absent of empathy. Customers expect quick answers and being addressed promptly with sensitivity to their feelings. However, an expected quick answer can be a policy rattled off by a frontline employee, which can be insensitive and that does not address the actual problem the customer needs resolved.
During and post-pandemic, operational challenges have been heightened by a more intense focus on quality of life and the human side of things. This is not just in customer demands for further attention, but also in retention issues with employees.
The customer journey and the employee journey run side by side. Companies who help their staff to be selfaware and assist them in mastering interpersonal relationships and their stress tolerance have recognized their frontline service professionals as internal customers.
This approach helps them to enjoy self-satisfaction acting in their roles resulting in interactions that lead to the same end - delight for their customers.Stacy James, CX/EX Coaching Specialist: www.coachstacyjames.com
Information for the Location Reports has been provided by the Convention and Visitors Bureaus, associations, organizations and properties listed (denoted by website) along with additional sources.
POCONO MOUNTAINS, PA
The Pocono Mountains offers four seasons of endless fun, luxurious resorts, outdoor adventures, natural scenic beauty, and historic towns. The varied landscape inspires a range of experiences, from the private and peaceful to the bold and exhilarating. Resort and hotel properties boast technologically advanced meeting spaces and services complemented by a full spectrum of amenities, including fine dining, spas, golf, recreation, waterparks and more.
Great Wolf Lodge currently is building a new tower with 200 guestrooms, 30 ten-room villas, and expanding their indoor waterpark and outdoor facilities. They also are adding new a new restaurant concept opening this summer.
A new boutique, high-end property called the Swiftwater of the Pocono Mountains is coming in early 2024. Serenity in the Poconos is growing, too - a new take on vacation rental homes. New restaurants are opening in the region’s small towns, as well, each representing different cuisines and cultures.
More exciting news will be coming later in 2023 that will move the Pocono Mountains to new heights in 2024, 2025… even into 2028!
THINGS TO DO
There are a wide variety of attractions for attendees to enjoy in the Pocono Mountains, such as whitewater rafting, UTV adventures, ropes courses, ziplines, kayaking tours, and more. For those seeking a more
relaxed pace, there is yoga, spas, golf, and even forest bathing.
PLACES TO MEET
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions offers first-class service, nearly 1,000 guest rooms, premium dining, 215,000-square feet of customizable meeting spaces, spa treatments, waterparks and more, plus dedicated teams, amenities, services and more.
Mount Airy Casino Resort is the state’s first AAA FourDiamond Casino Resort, and has kept the distinction for more than a decade. This premier boutique mountain resort offers fully-customizable itineraries, including gaming, dining outlets, ample meeting space, a full-service spa, luxurious guestrooms, and picturesque hiking trails on-site.
Camelback Resort offers Camelback Mountain for skiing, snowboarding, and snowtubing; Camelback Mountain Adventures for ziplining, a treetop obstacle course, and alpine mountain coaster; Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark, the state’s biggest outdoor waterpark; and Camelback Lodge & Aquatopia Indoor
IMAGINE YOUR NEXT MEETING IN THE POCONOS
Plan your next meeting or event with a view! The Pocono Mountains makes the perfect backdrop for any occasion, plus our facilities come fully equipped to handle everything you have planned for an amazing meeting with state-of-the-art technology and up-to-date amenities. Get excited for your next event and email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Waterpark; along with 453 suites, numerous dining choices, flexible conference and meeting venues, plus indoor entertainment space.
The AAA Four Diamond-rated Skytop Lodge has been a premier resort for over 90 years offering a unique selection of lodging that includes its grand, historic lodge or the privacy of deluxe
cottages, while the Inn offers luxury accommodations on the golf course. Fine dining and outdoor activities abound with sport courts and courses, nature trails, water features and more.
Woodloch Resort consists of The Lodge at Woodloch, a world-class destination spa and wellness retreat, Woodloch Pines Resort, and Woodloch Springs Community, together boasting first-rate hospitality and accommodations, meeting space, exciting team building programs, a variety of dining choices, championship golf, renowned spa services, a dedicated personal coordinator and more.
Settlers Hospitality is a boutique multi-concept hospitality in Hawley, PA that consists of The Settlers Inn, Ledges Hotel, Silver Birches Resort, Hotel Anthracite, Sayre Mansion, The Dock on Wallenpaupack, Glasswine.bar.kitchen, Kōl Steakhouse, Cocoon Coffeehouse and Bakery, Lake Region Fitness, Gorgeous Floral, and Art on the Edge.
The Stroudsmoor Country Inn is a resort, restaurant, and spa in the Pocono Mountains.
The French Manor Inn and Spa in Newfoundland, PA features 19 premium rooms, Le Spa Foret services, an indoor saltwater pool, an elegant dining room, casual dining on the Terrace or in Hanna’s Café, as well as Chef Garden Tours.
FOOD & DRINK
Those wanting to awaken their inner gourmetor perhaps learn something new in the kitchen - Culinary Exploration is a step in the right direction. The Lodge at Woodloch features cooking demonstrations in their fully equipped demo kitchen, and classes such as Chef’s Kitchen, Wine Tasting, Wine Pairing, Wine & Chocolate Pairing and more.
Learn new cooking techniques, healthy and surprising immune-boosting ingredients, and elegant presentations. Join the property’s sommelier for an in-depth look into the various characteristics of wine varietals from around
the world, and learn how they pair tastefully with delicious foods and chocolates.
LUZERNE COUNTY, PA luzernecounty.org
Mohegan Pennsylvania changed its name from Mohegan Pocono in October of 2022, while also adding new restaurants, new skill games, and a gaming floor renovation. This refreshed name change follows the rollout of Project Starlight, which included a $10-million renovation to Mohegan Pennsylvania’s 237-room hotel. Other property enhancements included the new Embers Terrace, The Hive Taphouse, and Topgolf Swing Suites.
Embers Terrace, located near Rustic Kitchen Bistro & Bar, features a 25-person outdoor bar and a partially covered dining area with a lite fare menu and hand-built fire pits, plus acoustic entertainment and an area with outdoor lawn games and activities.
The Hive Taphouse boasts 20 beers on tap, the most at Mohegan Pennsylvania. Home to a live music stage, this new venue has more than 12 high-definition TV screens playing all major sporting events. A full dining menu features a wide variety of dishes. Inside The Hive Taphouse is Topgolf Swing Suites with two Full Swing simulators. This simulated golfing experience features a massive screen with a variety of multi-sport games, as well as HDTVs, lounge seating and food and beverage offerings.
Also at Mohegan Pennsylvania, enjoy free live shows and musical performances during the Party on the Patio outdoor concert series this summer.
THINGS TO DO
Luzerne County boasts hiking and biking trails, Ricketts Glen State Park with its 22 named waterfalls, places for swimming and fishing, as well as camping and horseback riding. There are more than 25,000-acres of state forests here to explore, along with 40-miles of the Susquehanna River running through the heart of the county, plus the thousands of
The Imperial Terrace is open! Host your special event or meeting outdoors, indoors, or both! Our expansive, partially-covered outdoor Terrace venue seats over 100 people and features spectacular views overlooking the Lancaster City skyline. At the re-imagined Holiday Inn Lancaster, a Full-Service Hotel centrally located in downtown Lancaster, we offer everything you need in one location, from wedding and event planning to the Terrace, gorgeous Ballrooms and Atrium venues, onsite catering, room accommodations, parking, and more!
Give your next meeting world-class inspiration with over 20,000 square feet of convertible meeting space tucked away in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Mount Airy Casino Resort offers a AAA Four-Diamond experience for groups of 10 to 1,000. When the work is done, guests can explore non-stop gaming action, award winning dining, exciting entertainment and luxurious accommodations, all in one place!
For more information, visit mountairycasino.com/meetings-weddings or call 570-243-5125.
A HOTEL WITH A PURPOSE
Albert Boscov had one vision in building the DoubleTree by Hilton in troubled downtown Reading, PA. Create a business that puts community first to help move a city and its residents forward. The team at this hotel fulfills this mission through a culture that requires that employees, 75% of whom walk to work, are treated with the same hospitality, care and respect as the guests who stay there. Because of this, they’ve won the “Connie Award”, the highest Hilton honor, an unprecedented four times since opening in 2015.
Craig Poole, the President and culture bearer of Reading Hospitality, LLC who owns and manages the property, will tell any business their success formula. “It takes an unwavering commitment to put people over profit. Something we call ‘humanizing profit’. A belief that the mental, physical and financial wellness of its staff comes first. It makes for happy employees who are then highly empowered to take care of our guests. It creates less turn-over, less absenteeism, we have close to zero workers compensation claims and we have no post-pandemic hiring struggles. Our business thrives because we invest dollars in our employees, give them dignity and an opportunity for personal growth.”
So, what does this investment look like? DoubleTree by Hilton, Reading offers living wages and benefits above industry standards with 700 healthy meals a week are served to employees and clothing and household goods are available through their in-house thrift “Care Closet”. A full-time employee development counselor helps balance work and family and classes with a local banking institution provides courses on financial wellness. With Habitat for Humanity, the hotel helps employees find the path to home ownership. Second chance employees, the formerly incarcerated, reintegrate here and are welcomed as part of this team that delivers award-winning hospitality. Joy is found by guests who experience the 4% of hotel employees who have special needs and who are empowered, some for the first time, to not only take care of themselves but also others.
“If humanizing profit is working in this City, it can work anywhere. It’s purposeful work and that’s the difference that makes the success”, says Poole. What is certain is that, when you stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Reading, you will experience a different kind of hospitality. One that is driven to success by the employees who embrace Albert Boscov’s purpose of moving a community forward.
There is also a documentary on YouTube about the hotel and Craig Poole“Follow Me and I Will Be Behind You”. Follow Me and I Will Be Behind You FULL DOCUMENTARY - YouTube
miles of freshwater streams for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, boating and more.
There also is a thriving local art scene, a growing and diverse culinary community, local music, exciting sports, festivals, and a Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail.
PLACES TO MEET
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza has more than 8,000 permanent seats for large events and shows, while Mohegan Pennsylvania offers 20,000-square feet of flexible meeting space.
Luzerne County also is home to many institutions of higher learning with meeting and event space. Penn State WilkesBarre, Wilkes University, Misericordia University, King's College, and Luzerne County Community College are great options.
The historic Luzerne County Courthouse also is available for events, as are other unique venues.
FOOD & DRINK
The culinary scene in Luzerne County is as varied as it is delicious. Authentic, homemade pierogi, fresh kielbasa, handmade pasta, delicious tacos, delectable sweets, and the pizza that has put this region on the map means dining out here is always a highlight.
LEHIGH VALLEY, PA
“We have a lot of revitalization and new builds happening here in Bethlehem,” observes Tammy Wendling, senior vice
president, Bethlehem Initiatives, Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. “To name a few, Wind Creek is putting the finishing touches on their new facility space, which includes the Foundry Ballroom. This venue has 22,000square feet of meeting space that can be used to host conferences, trade shows and more for up to 1,900 guests.”
Wind Creek Bethlehem soon will debut its expansion tower in June. Once complete, the property will boast over 550 hotel rooms, a high-end lobby bar, art installations, a new luxury spa with a relaxation pool, and a total of 60,000square feet of meeting and event space, including three allnew ballrooms. The new ballrooms can accommodate intimate events or groups of up to 2,200 guests, establishing Wind Creek Bethlehem as a regional competitor when attracting larger group functions.
The Wilbur Mansion recently opened their new event space, as well, which includes an event center and boutique hotel that offers a charming atmosphere, modern amenities and handcrafted cuisine at their premier restaurant.
In addition, Bethlehem consistently welcomes new dining opportunities, including the recent additions of Steak ‘n’ Steel Hibachi, Inc., Wonder Kitchen, plus new fast, yet elevated, eateries like Casa del Sangwich, Toastique, Birriaholic, Lu Taqueria, and Steel City Bistro.
THINGS TO DO
Bethlehem is in the center of the Lehigh Valley and boasts some of the top regional attractions. Visitors can experience history and heritage throughout downtown’s historic footprint. Tours are available through Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites.
Across the Lehigh River at ArtsQuest, take in a movie at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas or listen to live music at the SteelStacks, Levitt Pavillion, or the Musikfest Café - all at
Wind Creek Bethlehem is a top destination for group events in the Lehigh Valley, PA
ArtsQuest. The property overlooks the former site of Bethlehem Steel.
At Wind Creek Bethlehem, guests can play at the casino, shop, enjoy a live performance at the Event Center, and more.
A few miles west of Bethlehem, enjoy a baseball game at Coca Cola Park – home of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Thrill seekers can visit Dorney Park, which boasts over 60 rides, attractions, shows, and a waterpark - Wild Water Kingdom.
PLACES TO MEET
The City of Bethlehem’s meeting spaces are all unique and each offers something special. Some of the mainstay properties, also boutique hotels, include Historic Hotel Bethlehem, Sayre Mansion, and The Wilbur Mansion.
At Historic Hotel Bethlehem, guests are welcomed with world-class hospitality. Special features include the Grand Ballroom and The Mural Ballroom with hand painted murals dating back to 1936.
On the city’s Southside are both Sayre Mansion and The Wilbur Mansion. Sayre Mansion has a unique meeting space in its lower level called the Asa Packer Room, which is both intimate and elegant by design. The property currently is in the process of building a permanent outdoor fixture for a larger event space. This boutique hotel also has guestrooms that are all unique.
Next door at The Wilbur Mansion, which once was the historic Masonic Temple, renovations are complete and the mansion now offers an event space with a 250-person capacity, a restaurant, overnight rooms, and more. The mansion overlooks the Steel Stacks and has a very modern-meets-historic feel.
DISCOVER AN EVENTS VENUE THAT GIVES YOU MORE
At Mohegan Pennsylvania, we make every event shine a little brighter. Featuring state-of-the-art meeting and event facilities, our accommodations are built to host groups, meetings, banquets, and functions ranging from 10 to 1,600. With 20,000-square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space and customizable catering menus, our world-class event service experts have all the tools you need to help craft an event that surpasses your expectations.
Mohegan Pennsylvania also boasts a wide variety of dining, gaming, and entertainment options, which add an extra level of fun to every event. And our seven-story hotel with more than 230 rooms, including a spa and fitness center, takes the experience beyond what’s on the agenda.
Located on 400 beautiful acres in Wilkes-Barre, Mohegan Pennsylvania is one of the largest and most distinctive entertainment destinations in Northeastern Pennsylvania within easy reach of New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware.
Make your next event a first-class, in-person experience like never before.
BIG CITY EXPERIENCE, SMALL TOWN PRICE
LANCASTER COUNTY, PA
“Unlike most traditional Mid-Atlantic meeting and group locations, Lancaster County is easily accessible via Amtrak and four regional and local airports, yet offers a wonderful blend of urban style and rural splendor,” notes Chris Ackerman, our director of sales for Discover Lancaster. “The area boasts almost 9,000 overnight rooms and approximately one-million total square feet of modern event space in its meeting and conference facilities, with a wide range of venues to meet needs large and small.”
Exciting new food and beverage offerings in Lancaster City include the distinctive bar and small-plates of Proof Lancaster, the upscale dining of 401 Prime, and the Tequila Flight Experience at Decades. Enjoy the freshly-opened Bistro 2two2 at the Eden Resort and Suites. Magic & Wonder recently has fully transitioned to a dinner theater. Finally, deliciously explore the past with the new Founding Fathers offerings at White Chimneys Estate.
Groups can test their inner lumberjack in the new outdoor axe-throwing range at Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center.
THINGS TO DO
The Fulton Theatre in Lancaster City is the oldest continuously-operating the-
A favorite among locals and tourists alike, specialty jams and preserves at Kitchen Kettle Village in Lancaster, PA
ater in the country, creates all its productions in-house, and completed a massive renovation and expansion in late 2021.
The Strasburg Rail Road features a picturesque 45-minute ride through Amish farmlands to Paradise, PA and back again on America’s oldest short-line railroad. They also offer many special events, themed rides, and distinctive food excursions.
Atlantic League of Professional Baseball defending champions, the Lancaster Barnstormers play at the top-notch environs of Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster City - voted the best ballpark of its class three years in a row by BallparkDigest.com.
Take part in a scenic and relaxing water-based activity by heading to Sickman’s Mill and tubing down Pequea Creek. After returning to the mill, enjoy food and entertainment at Jimmy’s Place on-site.
PLACES TO MEET
The Lancaster County Convention Center and adjoining Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square in Lancaster City seamlessly incorporate the 110-year-old Beaux Arts façade of the landmark former Watt & Shand department store and offer a combined 90,000-square feet of meeting space.
The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton - Lancaster (just outside of Lancaster City) provides guests with a full range of amenities, including more than 25,000 total square feet of flexible conference space and 185 guest rooms. The 93-room Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster City, comprised of buildings that once housed the historic Armstrong Cork and Kerr Glass companies, boasts nearly 10,000-square feet of function space, a catering kitchen and covered outdoor veranda.
The AAA Four Diamond-rated Inn at Leola Village in Leola has 9,600-square feet of space along with 62 guest rooms. Unique heritage venues perfect for creating memorable events include: Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (just outside Lancaster City), which provides an authentic immersion in early Pennsylvania German life (1740-1940); and the picturesque grounds and mansion of President James Buchanan’s Wheatland in Lancaster City.
FOOD & DRINK
Some unique dining options in the area include: LUCA in Lancaster City, which features a wood-burning Italian kitchen; the Log Cabin in Leola for fine dining in what originally was a speakeasy; the Bulls Head Public House in Lititz offers an authentic British pub atmosphere; and the locally- and historically-inspired Railroad House Inn in Marietta.
HERSHEY-HARRISBURG AREA, PA
Hershey’s Chocolate World is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. The iconic destination is serving up special treats and events all year long and unveiling its new attraction on May 19 – Hershey’s Great Candy Expedition, the first fully-immersive, interactive experience of its kind in North America with 270-degree 4K projection mapping.
Guests can continue to enjoy the free Chocolate Tour Ride, create their own candy bar, and find their favorite treats, as well. In addition to interactive attractions and retail shopping, Chocolate World also features unique meeting space in its Nineteen73 room for smaller groups.
The Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, managed by PM Hotel Group, is undergoing a total makeover to its 365 guestrooms and all public spaces. The Sheraton also features 15,000square feet of meeting space - all within 15 minutes of Harrisburg International Airport, downtown Harrisburg, and Hershey.
Best Western Premier, the Central Hotel and Conference Center, is in the final stages of an update to its guestrooms and public corridors. The property’s open concept lobby with bar and flexible event space just steps from the meeting rooms are popular amenities.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse is an entertainment complex featuring gaming, live horse racing, live music, and restaurant options. Added in 202 is a 5,000+ seat outdoor performance venue hosting summer concerts under the stars.
THINGS TO DO
Visit Hershey Harrisburg has launched several new trails and experiences that meeting attendees can explore with themes like craft beer, adventure, or sweet treats. The trails easily connect travelers to attractions or experiences with similar or complimentary themes.
The Brew Barons Beer Trail (mobile passport) highlights more than 30 craft brewery locations. The Chocolate & More Sweet Treat Trail reminds that, while Milton is the heart of Hershey, there are many small businesses and corner stores with tasty treats that should not be missed. The Adventure Trail maps out hiking, biking, and kayaking opportunities.
The Black Travel Experience connects travelers to black-owned businesses, events, and unique cultural experiences. The Murals & More Walk of Art is an audio tour featuring murals, public art, museums, and architecture along two, mile-long suggested routes in Harrisburg. Adventure Explorations, headquartered on the grounds of The Hotel Hershey, is one of the goto outfits in the Hershey Harrisburg Region for team building and outdoor adventure.
PLACES TO MEET
Hershey Lodge offers a resort setting with more than 100,000-square feet of flexible meeting space and state-of-the-art services.
Hilton Harrisburg is a top destination for premier city-centered meeting space with on-site lodging and access to downtown Harrisburg’s retail, attractions, and nightlife.
The State Museum of PA in Harrisburg is an iconic structure located adjacent to the PA Capitol Complex. Its halls and exhibit space flex to unique meeting space for groups large and small. Alternatively, consider a reception in Memorial Hall with an 18-foot-tall statue of William Penn as the backdrop.
Historic King Mansion in Harrisburg, built in the 1920s, is an architectural gem offering regal accommodations, flexible event space, and views of Susquehanna River sunsets.
FOOD & DRINK
The Chocolatier at Hersheypark is a year-round dining destination with a rotating menu of dishes inspired by chocolate and other Hershey’s flavors, amusement park views, and delicious desserts.
The Englewood in Hershey is an all-inone destination with seasonal menus, an on-site brewery, and live entertainment from the indoor stage area or the outdoor deck and patio. The Millworks in Harrisburg features indoor and outdoor dining, a biergarten, on-site brewery, artist retail area, and more.
There are over 30 breweries and tasting locations featured on the Hershey Harrisburg Brew Barons Beer Trail, and many stops feature full restaurants. Meeting attendees who enjoy craft beer can use a free mobile passport to find locations nearby and check out what is on tap. The Brewery Tour at Troeg’s Independent Brewing often receives “Best Brewery Tour” accolades in local and national publications.
MILLION 9,200 sleeping rooms
The World War II American Experience opened in November 2022 as a one-of-a-kind museum featuring a unique variety of World War II vehicles, equipment, memorabilia, and artifacts. The facility also offers both indoor and outdoor meeting and event space.
In April 2023, the Adams County’s Historical Society’s Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum opened to tell the story of the community’s own townspeople before, during and after the Civil War.
Savorhood Gettysburg, a food hall featuring a variety of food vendors, a brewery and dessert bars, opened in early May 2023. This venue sits near the southern edge of the Gettysburg Battlefield.
THINGS TO DO
The Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP), as well as the GNMP Museum and Visitor Center both feature classrooms and event spaces to explore and learn about the nation’s history, and present the opportunity to connect with that history through leadership development.
Meeting attendees also can explore the town of Gettysburg and enjoy after-hours dining, shopping, craft breweries, wineries, historic attractions and more.
PLACES TO MEET
Gateway Gettysburg, which includes both Wyndham and Courtyard hotels, the Gettysburg Hotel on Lincoln Square, and the Eisenhower Hotel/Aspire Hotel Complex are among the top choices in the area for group gatherings.
Each of these hotels offers sizeable meeting space for a third-tier meeting destination, and all are located close to the Gettysburg Battlefield, local restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.
FOOD & DRINK
A few of the top restaurants in the Gettysburg area include: GarryOwen Irish Pub, once voted among the very best Irish pubs outside of Ireland; Savorhood Gettysburg; the Dobbin House Tavern, a favorite of travelers for 50 years; and Farnsworth House Inn, popular as part of dine-arounds or after-hours drinks.
YORK COUNTY, PA
Considered the “Cornerstone of York” since 1925, The Yorktowne Hotel re-opened in January 2023 after closing for six years for major renovations. In the heart of downtown, this one-of-a-kind restored hotel blends its rich history with the contemporary, accommodating visitors, art and history lovers, and event attendees alike. Its ballroom can host up to 400 people and is one of the most unique spaces in the area.
Unique artwork adds to the visually stimulating environment, courtesy of locally-commissioned artists. Embracing the artistry and culture of the city, The Yorktowne Hotel offers all the amenities of the Hilton family of brands, and so much more.
ONE South boutique hotel and event space boasts historic charm with big original windows and views of York’s Continental Square downtown. Function space features an open floor plan for a variety of event layouts, and the property is within walking distance to attractions, murals, bars, restaurants and more. Catering is available from ONE Hospitality’s suite of restaurants.
THINGS TO DO
Explore York County’s Cultural Trails for an inspiring experience celebrating strength, diversity, perseverance, and the entrepreneurial “makers spirit” that defines the area. The first two trails in the series are designed to bring historical accounts of local, legendary heroes to life and to interactively share the stories of powerful black- and womenowned businesses.
The York Revolution and their Atlantic League of Professional Baseball opponents boast rosters full of MLB veterans and rising stars, and PeoplesBank Park offers group options ranging from discounted seats in the stadium seating bowl to exclusive seating and dining options in a dedicated outdoor area or skybox-level rental suites. Enjoy the ultimate group experience featuring everything from guided tours before the game to first pitch opportunities and more.
Stroll through downtown York and see public art that has evolved over the past few years from the story-telling murals and bronze war memorials to second-glance-inducing trash cans and larger-than-life, yellow, metal cats. From the concrete bench outside Central Market to the old motor bike at the corner of North and George Streets, and all the pieces in between, this open-air gallery tells York’s story of an economy built on manufacturing.
Visit Heritage Rail Trail County Park to enjoy year-round activities amid rural landscapes, historic sites, and urban attractions over approximately 30-miles. The trail weaves through 11 municipalities and connects to the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail in Maryland.
Heart of Hanover Trails is the best way to learn more about Hanover’s history in an interactive and informative walking tour.
Explore the Susquehanna River aboard the Chief Uncas. Built in 1912, this electric-powered boat cruised Otsego Lake, the headwaters of the Susquehanna, for over a century. Today, it cruises the Susquehanna 400-miles downstream as the flagship for Susquehanna National Heritage Area’s River Discovery Tours from Memorial Day through mid-October.
New York Wire Works in York is the most expansive innovative hub for entrepreneurs and artists, as well as home to The York Merchant and The Wireworks Exchange and Flea, two expansive marketplaces celebrating all things handcrafted and vintage.
Northern Central Railway of York is an excursion railroad where riders can meet presidents and generals, experience the Wild West, and enjoy the spirit of the season any time of the year.
PLACES TO MEET
The Ballroom on Broadway in Hanover offers flexible event space along with staged productions by Event Services.
Through art, coaching, yoga, aerial fitness and group retreats, Artemis provides an enriched sanctuary to individuals as they find peace and purpose. The property includes The Barn and Terrapin Station. The Barn is a spacious, secluded outdoor venue overlooking the Susquehanna River. Terrapin Station is a one-of-a-kind historical building remodeled from an old tobacco warehouse built in 1910.
1741 Club at WellSpan Park is available for nightly events for groups up to 100, based on availability.
The GIRLKIN Experience in York offers a luxury space, hospitality suites and more in a setting designed to be inclusive for all.
FOOD & DRINK
Revival Social Club is a fun, inviting take on globally inspired cuisines served in an engaging and comfortable atmosphere.
Presto Fast Italian is a fast casual Italian restaurant proudly serving Tutoni's Flour Shop fresh pasta - two ingredients, never dried, and vegan friendly with no additives or preservatives.
Archetype Pizza serves pizza, sandwiches, GearHouse Brewing Co. beer, and specialty cocktails.
York County has a growing number of brewpubs with tastings and outdoor seating. Be sure to check in on the Good Libations Trails Digital Passport to earn prizes along the way. The county also is home to a variety of ethnic restaurants, as well.
BLAIR COUNTY, PA
“Our destination offers a variety of cost-effective meeting and event venues - from the state-of-the-art Blair County Convention Center and the multi-purpose Jaffa Shrine Center to the unique White Oak Hall located at Fort Roberdeau, the western-most Revolutionary War site in America,” says Mark Ickes, executive director of Explore Altoona.
Altoona is located on the eastern slope of the Allegheny Mountains and is proud of its unique history. Established in 1849 by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as headquarters for building and repairing locomotives, the city became a valuable economic player from the Civil War through the Industrial Revolution and on into the years of World War II.
Today, Altoona’s industrial heritage, history, culture, and its outstanding natural resources have helped position it as a thriving 21st century business community and an emerging leisure and business travel destination with a proud legacy.
The Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, the country’s only interactive railroaders museum, commemorates and celebrates the significant contributions of the city’s railroaders and their families to American culture and industrial heritage. The museum offers six event spaces, including a lobby, theater, bar, and museum railyard.
The world-famous Horseshoe Curve opened in 1854 as one of the world’s most significant engineering marvels at the eastern base of the Allegheny Mountains as a more efficient method of moving trains in America’s westward expansion. Now a National Historic Landmark, the Horseshoe Curve can accommodate up to 150 guests for a courtyard reception and up to 75 for an event in the visitors center.
Lakemont Park, celebrating its 125th anniversary, has re-opened after a major transformation as a gathering place with a selection of traditional amusements, newly designed mini golf courses, paddle boats, picnic pavilions, and new facilities for team building. The Casino at Lakemont Park, with its own unique parklike ambiance, offers three flexible event spaces, on-site catering, and audio-visual services.
The sleekly designed and beautifully appointed Blair County Convention Center offers 15,000-square feet of flexible ballroom space, 24,000-square feet of exhibit hall space, 11 versatile meeting rooms, and common areas ideal for multiple pre- and post-function purposes. A Courtyard by Marriott, adjoining the convention center, provides 105 guestrooms and meeting space for small groups.
“From the $12.5-million expansion of Laguna Splash at DelGrosso’s Park as the country’s only Italian-themed water park to expanded steam locomotive excursions on the Everett Railroad and the stellar outdoor experience of the September 11th National Memorial Trail, this is an exciting time for groups to explore a small destination with big adventures in Greater Blair County,” says Ickes.
cuisine, to Allegheny Crepes and Creamery with its eclectic menu and a tranquil courtyard for outdoor seating, to numerous newer brewpubs such as Levity Brewing on two levels of a restored historic downtown building.
The Altoona Grand Hotel, Blair County’s only full-service hotel, features on-site dining, six meeting rooms and a courtyard. Its grand ballroom holds up to 550 people and offers multiple configurations.
Two of the county’s six new hotel properties, Marriott International’s dualbranded Fairfield Inn and Suites and TownePlace Suites, offer a combined 197 guestrooms and suites, meeting space for up to 80 people, a shared indoor swimming pool, and a shared outdoor patio with fireplace and barbecue grills.
CENTRE COUNTY, PA
“We are excited in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, due to the numerous new hotel concepts slated for the Bellefonte area, as well as the lodging construction in and around State College. Several other projects include significant renovations for landmark properties such as Nittany Lion Inn, Toftrees Resort, and The Penn Stater Hotel. We expect inventory and improvements to increase by 20 percent over the next 3-5 years, indicating the improved awareness and demand for Happy Valley. We are more than a small college town,” proclaims Dave Gerdes, vicepresident sales and marketing, The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau.
PLACES TO MEET
Happy Valley is home to Penn State University, award-winning hotels, meeting and conference centers, and it boasts one of the largest adventure-
based team building courses on the East Coast.
After the meeting, downtown State College offers a vibrant nightlife, theaters, shopping, museums, attractions, and concerts. Historic walking tours are available in the small town of Bellefonte, too. Enjoy nearby cycling trails, running trails, golf courses, some of the best hiking trails in the state, plus there are fishing and kayaking streams, as well.
Local bed-and-breakfasts are ideal places to rest after a day of exploring vintage shops, hiking through state forests, and perusing aviation, transportation, military, sports, and other museums.
THINGS TO DO
Located in Centre County, Happy Valley is a collection of towns in the heart of Pennsylvania surrounded by state forests and near the Appalachian Mountains. Perhaps the most famous spot is State College, home of Pennsylvania State University and the Nittany Lions, but the county also is home to many towns with antiquing, shopping, museums, and craft beverages.
Unique tour stops include Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park, The Arboretum at Penn State, the Central Pennsylvania Tasting Trail.
The towns of Bellefonte and Boalsburg feature Victorian and Colonial architecture on tree-lined streets, as well as plenty of interesting attractions. The permanent exhibit at the Bellefonte Art Museum, A Journey to Freedom, centers on the town’s role in the Underground Railroad.
Explore the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg. Wander the charming main streets of Aaronsburg and Millheim to find unique shops and
restaurants, and in Phillipsburg, visit the historic Rowland Theatre, John Henry Simler House, and the Moshannon Valley Heritage Center.
Explore Penn State’s campus and visit alumni favorites like the Nittany Lion Shrine and The Arboretum at Penn State. Tour Beaver Stadium and the Penn State All-Sports Museum, then visit the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum & Art Gallery and Matson Museum of Anthropology on campus.
Be sure also to check out the Central PA Tasting Trail for a mix of craft beer, distilleries, wineries and cideries, sample field-to-fork dining establishments like RE Farm Cafe and Pine Grove Hall, and enjoy ag-centric tourism experiences, such as farmers markets, farm stands, driving tours, and Amish culture.
“VisitPITTSBURGH’s recent rebranding is a proof point to the significant growth and innovation of Pittsburgh over the past few years,” asserts Andrew Ortale, chief sales officer at VisitPITTSBURGH. “The colorful new graphic system is the first substantial branding update the organization has introduced in more than two decades to demonstrate the innumerable cultural, sports, dining and recreational attractions the city has to offer.”
Pittsburgh International Airport currently is undergoing a Terminal Modernization Program with plans to reveal new airport facilities in 2025 that will aim to comply with LEED® Silver certification, better reflect and serve the community, inspire the industry, and advance the region’s role as a leader in innovation.
Housed in the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Station, the Grand Concourse restaurant at Station Square in Pittsurgh, PA; photo credit: Jin Wu; courtesy: VisitPITTSBURGH
David L. Lawrence Convention Center opened its newly renovated Rooftop Terrace for parties, meetings and more in 2022. The completely refurbished space offers riverfront and city views, expansive walkways, curated rooftop gardens and flexible seating pods.
Live! Casino Pittsburgh is a $150-million gaming and entertainment destination located in Hempfield Township, approximately 30-miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The facility features a hotel, gaming, restaurants, and live entertainment venues, including Sports & Social Steel City and Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen + Bar.
Last summer, Live! opened its new 7,000-square foot event and entertainment space, The Venue at Live! Casino, with adjustable layouts and state-of-the-art audio-visual that has become one of the most sought-after venues in the region. It includes a private event entrance and covered parking garage.
The Landing Hotel at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh boasts 210 guestrooms overlooking the Ohio River, Mt. Washington, and the city skyline. It is centrally located along the North Shore and is within walking distance of attractions like Carnegie Science Center, Moonshot Museum, and the sports stadiums.
Joinery Hotel opened last summer as part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. The 85-room boutique hotel features an experiential lobby with refreshments, a library, board games, records, and bikes to rent. The property also boasts a 10th-floor terrace and a new, unique dining concept.
The Industrialist Hotel - an Autograph Collection landmark hotel, has 124 rooms, views of the Monongahela River, a vibrant social lounge, and a restaurant - all just steps away
from attractions like Market Square and Point Park University, restaurants, shops, and the city’s light rail system.
Newly opened in the Strip District, Cadence+ is a historical venue that doubles as a modern-day speakeasy, featuring scratch cooking, craft beverages and live music performances. It also features luxurious event spaces and a restaurant.
The Andy Warhol Museum recently announced a major expansion that will see the museum grow into six blocks of the North Shore, transforming the space into the “Pop District.” In 2024, construction begins on a multi-level venue that will be able to host up to 1,000 guests for corporate events.
City Winery, a national chain offering food and wine experiences paired with intimate live performances, will open a location in the Strip District later this fall, offering intimate concerts, upscale dining, private event spaces and a fullyfunctioning winery.
THINGS TO DO
The Inclines are unique modes of transportation leading to the top of Mt. Washington, offering views of the downtown skyline, the famous three rivers (Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio) - and several city neighborhoods.
Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District has rapidly expanded over the past few years with numerous markets, shops, bars, restaurants and more.
Heinz History Center is the state’s largest history museum where Smithsonian artifacts are on view daily. With six floors of exhibits and activities, the center is home to the
Neighborhood of Make-Believe and features the original set, puppets, and other iconic objects from the beloved children’s television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
The Strip District soon will be home to two immersive, upscale mini-golf venues, too. The now-open Puttery offers three themed, nine-hole courses and course-exclusive cocktails, while Puttshack at The Terminal will offer an upscale, hi-tech experience along with food and drinks.
The Clemente Museum is widely known for housing the largest collection of Roberto Clemente memorabilia, but many might not know that the 19th-century firehouse also is the home of an urban wine cellar - both developed by executive director and wine maker Duane Rieder through a passion for making good wine and preserving the memory of his childhood hero, offering a unique experience to blend the best of both worlds with a tour and tasting.
Experience two world-renowned museums in one place. Carnegie Museum of Art is an artistic legacy connecting people to art, ideas, and creativity, while Carnegie Museum of Natural History houses one of the world’s best original dinosaur displays, a hall of minerals and gems, and Paleolab, a working paleontology lab for all to see.
PLACES TO MEET
Pittsburgh offers a selection of unique venues for every type and size event. Centrally located downtown, the Platinum LEED®-Certified David L. Lawrence Convention Center boasts approximately 1.5-million square feet of meeting and exhibition space.
Options on the North Shore include: the Carnegie Science Center, which offers
an array of event spaces; Acrisure Stadium and PNC Park, home to Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates, respectively; or Shorty’s Pins x Pints, which offers up to 15,500-square feet of meeting space in a fun atmosphere.
Many area hotels also offer premier meeting spaces, such as the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square, the historic Omni William Penn Hotel, and more.
Four VisitPITTSBURGH-booked citywide business events slated for this summer at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center are expected to produce an estimated $18.7-million in visitor spend for Allegheny County. Combined, these events – standouts in a schedule that includes 15 VisitPITTSBURGHbooked business events between April and August – could bring more than 14,000 visitors into the region: American Public Transportation Association 2023 Rail Conference (June 11-14); Unitarian Universalist Association 2023 UUA General Assembly (June 21-25); Anthrocon 2023 Annual Convention (June 29 - July 2); and International Association of Venue Managers 2023 VenueConnect (July 31 – August 3).
FOOD & DRINK
Pittsburgh’s award-winning food and craft beverage scenes are a huge draw to the city. Dating back to the infamous Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, craft bever-
ages have been part of Pittsburgh and the surrounding area’s history, and it remains a premier craft beverage destination today.
When it comes to food, Pittsburgh is known for its chef-driven fare, home to more than a dozen James Beard Award semifinalists, most recently Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski of Apteka in Bloomfield; Wei Zhu of Chengdu Gourmet in Squirrel Hill; and Bethany
Zozula of 40 North at Alphabet City.
New restaurants in the area include Moonlit Burgers and Gi-jin to Margaux, the recently-reimagined Pusadee’s Garden, Doughbar, Ritual House, the highly anticipated Novo Asian Food Hall, to name a few.
Wisteria at Nemacolin, developed in partnership with 84 Lumber and Martik Brothers, Inc., opens May 20th as one of the nation's largest associate communities. It will include housing, dining, a recreation center, and The Market.
This August, Nemacolin also is set to debut The Grand Lodge, a reimagination of the property's iconic The Lodge accommodation - with suites-only lodging that will include either a Juliet or walk-out balcony. The new lobby will be transformed with a split staircase, fireplace, new furnishings, and upscale decor.
What You Might Want to Know Featuring
Choice Party Linens
THINK LINENS FIRST
Linens and accessories play a major part in setting the atmosphere at your events. They are such an important detail and can change the overall ambiance of any event or event space. There is no other surface in any event space that is as easily changed with such little effort, time, and expense as linens. The results can be as dramatic or subtle as you want. You can glam it up with sequins or create a more textural feel with tone on tone in different textures.
LOOK FOR A PARTNER, NOT A VENDORMichelle Harris, Business Development Manager, Choice Party Linens.
We have designed our business model so that we can respond to ideas and even issues that our customers have in order to learn and grow together.
Look for a partner that can work with your specific needs. The special event industry and be full of creativity and fabulous results, but you don’t get there alone. Look for a partner with no contracts or hidden costs that you find out about after your event. A strong partnership with your vendor lets you be a one-stop shop for your clients which takes stress off them and in turn strengthens your relationship with them.
SUB-RENTING LINENS IS HIGH ON PROFIT
Sub-renting linens puts you in the driver’s seat. You can have the linens you want for an event without needing to store, launder and process the linens on the backend. No worries about repairs or inventory. All the headaches associated with linens are on someone else!
In addition to less time and effort on your part, you can mark up the rental prices you charge to suit your areathat could be a 20-100% markup. You can have an even higher markup on specialty cloths. Hassle-free and added revenue, yes please!
Find a partner that supports you beyond renting linens and accessories. They should provide you with the tools you need to help service your clients.
Free samples for specific event or showroom samples for your venue or showroom make YOU the Linen Rental expert for your clients. We know every client has different needs, so we've developed "We Rent Linens", a customizable marketing program that lets you pick a la carte the materials that you need to promote your business and provide better services to your clients. The most important piece is our white label website - you can take your existing “linens” button and link it to our white label website and your customer will have access to view the depth and breadth of our inventory. This website does not show our logo or pricing, so everything shown just becomes one more thing you are able to offer your customers.
ORDER EARLY AND COMMUNICATE!
We know, we know – much of what we do in the special event industry is fast-paced and last minute. So when you do have information early, act on it. Order the pieces that you need even if the order may change as you get closer to the event. The
extra time you give your linen rental partner provides them the opportunity to plan for your event and have the best possible options available to you. We expect changes and allow for them up to the business day before the order leaves our facility.
Have an open and honest conversation with your linen sub-rental partner. This open conversation lets them understand your needs and the certain constraints that you are under for a certain event. This conversation also needs to extend to issues with an order - either you ordered incorrectly, or something arrived to you with an issue. Telling your partner that there is an issue, before the event lets them, in most cases, provide you with what you need before the event or if that is not possible, provide you with a solution quickly after the event.
What You Might Want to Know Featuring Kalahari
1 - Menus are customizable! Our culinary team loves to work with clients to come up with unique and themed meals! Menus should be looked at as a guide rather than what you must select from.
2 - Share as much information with us as possible when it comes to your vision and goals for the event. We love to work with clients in bringing a vision to life and helping them achieve their goals.Stephani Bann, Assistant Director of Sales,
3 - Allow your attendees to have some leisure time. Whether it be a few hours between afternoon sessions and dinner or an entire evening, a little down time goes a long way! Our resort has so much to offer and when you build leisure time into your agenda so attendees can enjoy the amenities it actually boosts attendance in sessions and at planned meals.
4 - Advertise your event early! This helps when it comes to gauging registrations and room block pickup well before your cutoff date and deadlines. So when you start working on details several months prior to the event you have a gauge of where you stand with attendance.
5 - If you’re looking to plan something offsite, a local CVB (like Pocono Mountains CVB) is always a great resource! Whether it be a trip to Poconos Raceway, a brewery or touring a local organic farm, the CVB is always available to help with details and planning!
GUEST EXPERIENCES: Food & Drink Offerings at Casino Resorts
GUEST EXPERIENCES: Food & Drink Offerings at Casino Resorts
Restaurants, clubs, bars, and lounges at casino resorts are featuring some special offers, new additions, celebrations, outstanding services and more.
Harrah’s, Caesars, and Tropicana Atlantic City, NJ
Debuting this spring at Caesars Atlantic City is Nobu Atlantic City, an iconic restaurant serving as the first of its kind in the region and offering a multi-sensory journey transporting guests to a chic and glamorous setting overlooking the beach and ocean. A Nobu Hotel within Caesars complements the signature Nobu dining experience.
The first Gordon Ramsay HELL’S KITCHEN on the East Coast also has opened at Caesars Atlantic City, joining his two other restaurants, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Harrah’s Resort, and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Atlantic City.
Caesars Entertainment is in the process of a $400-million reinvestment into its Atlantic City locations, bringing new dining options to the area, adding attractions, renovating over 700 rooms and suites, adding a new rooftop pool experience and more. The iconic Warner Theatre by Spiegelworld, producers of ground-breaking shows, is opening in June at Caesars Atlantic City, too, as the city’s only permanent live entertainment destination: The Hook.
Bally’s Casino Atlantic City, NJ
The Carousel Bar features 360-degree views of the casino and hotel lobby, an immersive experience with an elevated 24-seat rotating bar - it is the first venue of its kind in New Jersey.
Located at Bally’s courtyard just steps off the boardwalk, The Yard is a beer garden-style venue that is a must-experience Atlantic City nightlife attraction offering live entertainment, a gastro-pub style menu, a curated tap list featuring local brewers, Bally’s signature beers, national brewers, and craft cocktails. Adding to the experience are '90s themed arcade games, loungestyle seating, and an indoor and outdoor stage for live entertainment.
Enjoy food, fun, and entertainment at The Beach Bar opening weekends starting May 19th and seven days a week beginning June 16th with live entertainment Friday through Monday.
Sundays in July and August, enjoy The Backyard Boozy Brunch or come out for a BBQ at the Pig Roast at The Yard (there will be one on July 4th, too), which will feature live entertainment and beer specials.
Here are a few examples of what is happening and available to groups and individuals.
Resorts Casino & Hotel • Atlantic City, NJ
No trip to Atlantic City is truly complete without enjoying a meal at Capriccio Italian Restaurant, Resorts Casino & Hotel’s signature, award-winning restaurant. From excellent service, a mouthwatering menu, and spectacular views of Atlantic City and beyond, it should come as no surprise that Capriccio has been lauded by dining critics and guests for years. Sunday Supper is the perfect way to cap off the weekend, featuring a range of delectable dishes for the whole family to enjoy.
Mohegan Pennsylvania Wilkes-Barre, PA
The Rustic Kitchen Live Cooking Show takes place at Mohegan’s new Bistro & Bar with an Italian Mediterranean-influenced menu that features a Bar Café, main dining room, and wine cellar for private events. The authentic interior displays handcrafted relics and artifacts representing a Tuscan villa, which allows guests the option of an intimate dining experience in one of the main dining room's private booths or a quick pizza from the wood-burning oven in the Bar Café. Rustic Kitchen has received numerous honors, including recognition as Boston Magazine's "Best of Boston" and designation of the "Award of Excellence" by Wine Spectator for the last three years.
Its most innovative component is a state-of-the-art, broadcast-ready television studio-kitchen located in the main dining room. This area serves as the setting for "In The Kitchen," a weekly cooking show starring celebrity chef Kim McLendon. Guests of the show enjoy a truly memorable and unique experience that
features delicious food, exclusive cooking tips and plenty of fun.
Embers Terrace at Mohegan Pennsylvania, located near Rustic Kitchen Bistro & Bar, offers the ultimate outdoor dining experience. The venue features a 25-person outdoor bar and a partially covered dining area with a light fare menu and enjoyable hand-built fire pits. Embers Terrace presents acoustic entertainment and an area with various outdoor lawn games and activities. The outdoor terrace bar serves as a hotspot for all types of outings during the warmer seasons where guests can select from a drink menu that features the best wine in the region, a range of mixed drinks, and local, domestic, and imported beers.
Finally, enjoy 16 weeks of free live shows during Mohegan’s Party On The Patio summer outdoor concert series. Stop by the Mohegan Pennsylvania food tent or visit a featured local food truck each week. Beer, Patio Punch, and a variety of seltzer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.
Wind Creek Bethlehem, PA
Meeting planners have the option to host group dining events on select dates at Wind Creek Bethlehem's signature restaurants, Chop House at Wind Creek, and Urban Table. Planners also can rent a private lounge in the property's newest cocktail bar, Mixx.
Post-meeting, planners and their attendees have full access to Wind Creek Bethlehem's dining scene, including the property's signature restaurants, quick-service eats, a buffet, bars, and more.
Maryland Live! Hanover, MD
David’s Restaurant & Bar features a new drink menu "G&T Your Way," in which guests can choose from an expansive selection of gin, tonic, bitters and garnish to create their own gin and tonic with 40,000 possible combinations.
Sports and Social Maryland has adopted the scratch kitchen method, preparing more foods with fresh ingredients and less preservatives and additives.
Beginning this summer, support a local business while enjoying the largest tourist destination in the state. Local chef and restauranteur Nick Son brings KOHO Korea BBQ House to Live! guests this July, offering a variety of traditional Korean dishes and a full bar, outdoor seating, a private party room, and take-out options.
A new private dining experience is now available at Luk Fu Chef’s Table this summer - a personal chefcatered dinner. Savor the bold flavors of various Asian cuisines with multiple courses and drink pairings.
Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, PA
Enjoy Phillies Specials at Sports & Social while watching the games on a 52-foot TV and enjoying specialty player-inspired cocktails and mocktails, and autographed memorabilia, plus giveaways.
Enjoy live music from Dan Kulisek (song and piano), one of The Prime Rib’s head bartenders, or visit the Karaoke Club at Luk Fu to host a Karaoke Party and sign up for the casino's Karaoke Club and its exclusive offers, including a loyalty programs, refer a friend program, birthday specials and more.
MGM National Harbor National Harbor, MD
Thursdays are Latin Night at Diablo’s Cantina, where guests can enjoy complimentary dance lessons, a live DJ, and a special food and drink menu. Also, visit Diablo’s Cantina on Wednesdays for a Tequila Tour - a dinner and tequila pairing with five new courses and cocktails each month, allowing guests to explore a variety of Mexican flavors and ingredients. Guests can mark their experience with a Tequila Tour passport, which will collect stamps for each dinner that is attended. In December, Diablo’s Cantina will host a grand drawing where guests will drop the passport into one of three drawing drums, depending on the number of stamps received. Prizes will include gift baskets, food and beverage credits, and more.
MGM National Harbor features five one-of-a-kind restaurants offering world-class dining options suited for group events from 15 people to a full buyout. Select from group dining menus, or create a custom menu. The beverage team can provide custom cocktails based on themes such as seasons, DC-centered concepts like cherry blossoms, custom logo colors and more.
MGM National Harbor has opened a new vibrant conservatory, too, packed with vivid florals and picturesque elements that illustrate Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia’s dynamic spring and summer seasons. The 15,000-square foot space features butterflies and blooming flowers cascading across the 85-foot atrium, with the natural elements offering a sense of calmness.
Bally's Twin River Providence, RI
Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort recently opened new gaming space as well as a new food hall at the property. “Our expanded gaming floor, combined with other property improvements, represents a $100 million investment in Rhode Island to generate much needed revenue for our home state,” notes Craig Eaton, head of Bally’s Rhode Island Operations. “A new, comfortable, and contemporary food hall provides seating for 150 guests, including an exclusive private dining area with exterior views. Finally, adjacent to the new 16-seat casino bar is Plume & Proof, a cigar lounge with access to an outdoor smoking patio.”
Earlier, this year, Bally’s opened Spa Light, which features a dedicated dining area for spa customers features Korean cuisine.
At the Lighthouse Bar, every Friday entertainment is provided by a live DJ, while every Saturday a live band performs. At the property's Blackstone Bar, there is a DJ every Friday and Saturday night, as well.
At Bally's Tiverton Casino & Hotel in nearby Tiverton, Rhode Island, guests can visit Center Bar to enjoy a live DJ every Friday, and live acoustic performances every Saturday night.
A COHNversation with JimJim Cohn, publisher of Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine, talks to people. Tara Justice Sales & Marketing Manager Hard Rock Cafe Philadelphia
The Hard Rock Cafe Philadelphia just celebrated its 25th Anniversary featuring a blowout celebration and concert with Boyz II Men! What’s new that guests can expect this year?
Jim, as part of our 25th anniversary, the cafe localized the memorabilia on display to highlight some of our amazing local Philadelphia artists. We brought on a new Executive Chef, who is focused on bringing local flavor to our menus, and we now feature a local menu that will rotate quarterly to highlight new flavors of Philadelphia. We recently featured Hope’s Cookies, a small 100% natural bakery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, in one of our desserts. Guests can expect more local purveyors on our menu and local talent on-stage.
What makes the Hard Rock Café in Philadelphia stand out? What makes it special for travelers and group bookings?
Hard Rock Cafe is an iconic destination worldwide that spans generations as a place to create memories. It’s the perfect spot for groups to enjoy a quick bite or just to stop in for drinks. Here in Philadelphia, we feature live music every Friday night, and for sports lovers, our dining room is the best place to catch one of the
teams. In addition to broadcasting all the local sports teams, we have a partnership with Oracle Red Bull Racing and will be streaming all the races this season. During the games and races, we will feature our special Game Day Menu including food and drink specials exclusively available during these events.
What can you do at Hard Rock Café Philadelphia for a group function that no other restaurants can do?
For corporate events we can help you book a Grammy-nominated artist to play at your function. For milestone birthdays you can get one of our Brownie Hot Fudge Sundaes with a special shout out for your big day. For groups, a breakfast buy out is great as our spaces are so versatile and flexible even up to 500 people.
With Hard Rock Café being such a beloved international brand, you must have some guests who make it their mission to visit as many as possible. Have you hosted any Hard Rock obsessed guests or groups lately?
Every year, Hard Rockers all over the world gather for special pin trading events where they purchase and trade specialty pins, they have collected from various Hard Rock Cafe’s around the globe. As a Hard Rock employee, we’re given the opportunity to design a unique pin that can be produced for our location exclusively. This year Hard Rock Cafe Philadelphia will be featuring a special “Philadelphia Pride” Pin that was designed by one of our employees. The special pin will be available for purchase in June, and we plan to host a pin trading event later this year. Another fun insider only secret: If you’re hosting an event at a Hard Rock property, you can get an exclusive pin designed and produced just for your event.
Have you heard what guests say about the Philadelphia, or even the Atlantic City location compared to other destinations?
Being adjacent to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, we see hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. One thing that guests always remark on is our amazing location right next to the iconic Reading Terminal Market and you can’t beat being down the shore when in Atlantic City!
Does the Hard Rock Café brand have any exciting new programming or happenings this spring?
This year we have our continued partnership with Lionel Messi and will be featuring the return of the hit Messi Burger again in our cafe. This specialty burger features Chorizo, Provolone Cheese, and Caramelized Red Onions, with the option to make it “Messi Style” with a Fried Egg and our Seasoned Fries. Here in Philadelphia, June comes jam packed with a soon-to-be-announced all-star partnership to celebrate Pride Month and month-long Pride-focused events and specials.
That’s cool Tara, a pin designed and produced just for my event!
March 14, 2023 – Philadelphia, PA – Around 20 hospitality industry professionals descended upon La Cucina at the Market for a fun evening featuring an exclusive, interactive culinary experience. Hosted by Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, MD and their Hotel and Attraction Partners including The Hotel at Arundel Preserve, Live! Casino and Hotel Maryland, Maritime Conference Center, and Graduate Annapolis. Attendees enjoyed the Old School Philly Menu which included Tomato Bruschetta, Handmade 3 Cheese Ravioli with Vodka Blush, and Chicken Parmigiana.
“Philadelphia is a feeder market for our destination for both leisure and group business. Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County saw the value of hosting a planner event in-market to help grow and strengthen relationships. As events are back in full swing, we really wanted to host something unique, engaging, and memorable. La Cucina at the Market was the perfect choice for us, the food, staff, and overall experience exceeded expectations. Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine did an amazing job planning this client event and their relationships with Philadelphia planners was what helped make the event a success.” Elizabeth Joyner, Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County.
"The Visit Annapolis team was so eager to be there, and excited to tell us about the Annapolis area. You could tell immediately upon arrival," stated Carolyn Muldoon Sfirakis, Director of Operations & Events, Training Camp.
Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County CVB and their partners: Bethe Brekke, Maritime Conference Center, Becky Porzillo of Watermark, Elizabeth Joyner and Dan Cook of Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, Jeffrey Clark, Graduate Annapolis, Kristen Pironis, Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, Sahsha Deochand, Live! Maryland Casino and Hotel, Matthew Jones, The Hotel at Arundel Preserve and host location La Cucina at the Market Philadelphia's owner Anna Maria Florio
March 30, 2023 – Philadelphia, PA – The hospitality and meetings industries celebrated its resiliency as Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) was held around the US. The event focused on the importance of meetings, future trends, timely issues, and practical solutions. The PCMA Philadelphia hosted GMID event was held at the PA Convention Center and boasted record breaking numbers.
Speakers came from all corners of the industry, and spoke on topics such as: travel trends, changes in trajectory of meetings, staffing and workforce issues, sustainability, social justice issues, and more.
Speakers Included: Scott Higgins, Director of Sales, Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board (panel moderator); Gregg Caren, President and CEO, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau; Nan Marchand Beauvois, Senior VP of Membership and Industry Relations/GM, Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations, U.S. Travel Association; Beth Mauro, Senior Director of Client Services, AH; John McNichol, President & CEO, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority; Kellie Mayrides, Client Success Manager, Event Strategy Group and Lee-Jung Kim, Service Design Experience Lead, Pfizer Biopharma Group.
PENNSYLVANIA ASSOCIATION PROFESSIONALS MEET IN LANCASTER FOR ANNUAL CONNECTIONS CONFERENCE
March 30 -31, 2023 – Lancaster, PA – Over 100 attendees gathered at the Pennsylvania Society of Association Excellence (PASAE) 2023 Connections Conference this year held at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Lancaster.
PASAE Chair Diana Ewert kicked off conference with a warm welcome and a recognition of PASAE’s leadership. Attendees heard from industry thought leaders on a variety of topics, including workplace challenges, managing teams and volunteers, adapting to change, and finding new ways to achieve member success.
“The Connections Conference is always a great way to reconnect with other association peers and learn about the latest trends. I already have my calendar marked for next year,” said Heather Leach, Pennsylvania Recreational Vehicle and Camping Association.
Attendees enjoyed visiting the Exhibit Hall, featuring over 35 exhibitors from across the state. A new dine-around experience allowed attendees to enjoy an evening of good food with fellow members at local eateries.
Becky Cubakovic, Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square, was excited to meet with association professionals from across Pennsylvania. “It was so great to be in a room full of clients and friends! The energy and ambiance were amazing! Events are back! We are back!”
First-time conference attendee, Ken Willis with the Genetti Hotel & Suites Williamsport concurs. “I believe the PASAE hit a home run this year with an informative and interesting mix of speakers and topics, and some much-welcomed time for engagement between attendees and exhibitors,” said Willis.
PASAE.org • Photo Credit: J. Ryan
Megan Posey, Waterford Hotel Group, Lindsay Methlie of Destination Gettysburg, Rebecca Kim, Wind Creek Bethlehem and Courtney Babcock, Chester County CVB along with Jenny McConnell, Visit Hershey & Harrisburg, Christine Stuart, Lancaster County Convention Center & Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Cyndy Cosner, Hershey Resorts.
MPI-NJ 3RD ANNUAL MEETS CONFERENCE
April 3-4, 2023 – Atlantic City, NJ – Meeting Professionals International, New Jersey Chapter hosted its 3rd Annual MEETS Conference at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. The MEETS Conference is a premier gathering covering the Meetings, Events, Education, Travel and Sales areas of the meetings industry. With the support of 28 sponsors, 136 professionals came together to network, learn industry trends, and met with industry suppliers over the span of one and one-half days. The event provided multiple business, association, and social meetings opportunities for attendees. Some topics included: Cultivating Inclusive Workplace Interactions, The Blueprint for a Healthy Meeting, Navigating Corporate Moral Responsibility in Meetings Today and The Essentials of Empathy: Changing Culture, Building Trust & Cultivating Leaders.
Pocono Mountains well represented by Shannan Ierovnte of Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Pocono Mountains, Leigh Velez, Pocono Mountains CVB and Lauren Kautz also of the Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Pocono Mountains
VALLEY FORGE TOURISM ANNOUNCES
May 8, 2023 – Horsham, PA – Valley Forge Tourism's 7th annual Travel Rally, themed “Travel Forward” this year, drew roughly 200 guests to Commonwealth National Golf Club during National Travel & Tourism Week.
“Here in Montco, we’re beyond proud to see how tourism continues to move forward,” noted Mike Bowman, President & CEO of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board. “This industry remains a huge positive economic driver in Montgomery County, PA. In 2022, we’re estimating that hospitality contributed more than $1.5 billion, and more than 25,000 jobs. And, we’re forecasting that by the end of this year, we’ll exceed 2019 levels for tourism spend!”
Also noted, the Valley Forge Sports team is having a record summer with nine USA events coming to Montgomery County.
Valley Forge Tourism announced the return of their Montco Jazz Fest, which will be incorporated in the organization’s third annual Arts Montco Week, September 20th – October 1st, and include a Women in Jazz theme. The festival will feature dozens of performances at iconic Montgomery County venues.
It was also shared that Cirque du Soleil's BAZZAR will make its North American debut under the Big Top at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center from September 26th - October 22nd.
Additionally, the third annual Crave Montco Month will return in July, a robust, four-week campaign to highlight Montgomery County’s over 1,850 restaurants and Montco Makers. The promotion will feature a dining passport using Bandwango and include social media influencer takeovers, consumer activations, a dine-around FAM, Crave box drops and content featuring towns, chefs, and recipes.
Uncasville - Mohegan Sun announced the appointment of David Fausel as Director of Advertising. David brings over 20 years of experience to Mohegan’s flagship property, having utilized his expertise to produce large-scale initiatives for notable brands such as Cisco, Nike, American Express, Microsoft, Intel, T-Mobile and more.
Jacksonville - Hosts Global recently announced that Tina Gaccetta has joined the company as Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing. With over 20 years of experience in event marketing and production, Tina brings a wealth of expertise to Hosts Global's executive leadership team.
Baltimore - The Baltimore Convention Center has appointed Mac Campbell as their new Executive Director.
Ocean City - Harrison Group Sales has promoted Sara Simon to Corporate Director of Sales and 39-year veteran of the company, Ruth Waters, has been promoted to Director of Business and Public Relations. In their new roles, Sara will be responsible for overseeing the sales efforts and will manage the team in soliciting new accounts and directing efforts to grow group sales throughout the company; Ruth will initiate strategic goals to identify business opportunities for the company and will focus on relationships with local and national organizations.
Atlantic City - Visit Atlantic City has announced that Gary Musich has been named Vice President of Sales, once again leading the sales team for the organization. Gary previously held executive positions within the sales departments at Visit Atlantic City (formerly Meet AC), the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, and at casino resorts for more than 25 years. “We are excited to welcome Gary back,” said Larry Sieg, President and CEO of Visit Atlantic City. “His previous 25 years of leadership as Vice President of Convention Sales afford him a wealth of experience and knowledge of the destination, expertise in sales management, and a strong track record of building and managing relationships that will continue to bring leading conventions and events to Atlantic City.”
“I have had a wonderful sabbatical spending time with my family, helping my son launch his company and serving as Harbor Master at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, FL,” said Musich. “I’m excited to continue building and promoting Atlantic City as a top destination for events large and small.”
Sandi Harvey held the Vice President of Sales role at Visit Atlantic City prior to Gary and she officially retired in April after over 25 years in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Atlantic City - Michael Hochman has rejoined Caesars Entertainment as Property Sales Manager for their three Atlantic City properties: Harrah's Resort & Casino, Caesars Atlantic City, and Tropicana.
Collingswood - Lindsay Oster has been promoted to the new position of Team Leader at American Express Global Business Travel.
Hamburg - Crystal Springs Resort has promoted Kevin Haggerty to Assistant Director of Sales.
Mount Laurel - Topgolf has hired Fred Hoelsworth as their new Director of Sales. Most recently, Fred was with City Experiences in Philadelphia.
North Branch - Michael Shannon has taken a new position as Senior Director, National Accounts at The Watergate Hotel.
Princeton - DeAnna Lucas is now the Compliance, Alliance and Program Manager for Axiom Healthcare Strategies.
Lake George - Tyler Poitras has joined the Lake George Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau team as their new Senior Sales Manager.
New York City - Noho Hospitality has announced that Claire Smith will be the new Director of Events for The William Vale.
Bala Cynwyd - Lauren Curtolo recently announced her new role as Director of Meetings and Events in her return to The Jack Miller Center.
Essington - Metropolis Passenger Logistics has hired Lisa Bass as their Regional Sales Manager. Most recently, Lisa was at BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY planning trade shows and training classes, and prior to that was the marketing director for 20 years of the Food Court at The Bourse.
Lancaster - The Holiday Inn Lancaster has named Paul Kremp as their new General Manager, and Judy Bagrowski as their new Director of Sales.
Mount Pocono - Mount Airy Casino Resort has hired Tracy Lynn Pagán as their new Director of Hotel Sales.
Norristown - Catherine Pawlowicz is now Senior Meeting Manager at BCI.
Philadelphia - ASM Global has appointed industry veteran Tony Hodgins as General Manager of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Tony was a 30-year executive of Freeman. As the Center’s new General Manager, he will be responsible for the successful operations of the Center, including programs such as the recently launched Hospitality Industry Advancement Trust (HIAT) Fund, an industry leading partnership between the Center’s management and its trade show labor partners.
Philadelphia - The Kimmel Cultural Campus has hired Carrie Reynolds as their new Director of Facility Sales.
Philadelphia - Andre Walker Sr. has been named Senior National Accounts Director for the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. In this role, he will support the bureau’s efforts to attract and book citywide business from the Washington, DC metro area.
Philadelphia - Kathryn Ott Lovell will be transitioning into the role of President and CEO for the Philadelphia Visitor Center Corporation. Kathryn will oversee the Independence Visitor Center, in cooperation with the National Park Service, as well as the LOVE Park Visitor Center and the City Hall Visitor Center. The Independence Visitor Center also operates the Liberty View, a private event space at the Independence Visitor Center. Previously, Kathryn was commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.
Philadelphia - The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus has announced Mandie Curtis Banks as their new Executive Director.
Philadelphia - Nadège Toth has been hired by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia as Senior Meeting Planner.
Philadelphia - Garces Events has named Stephanie Perez as their new Director, Catering Sales.
Philadelphia - Rush Street Gaming has announced that casino industry veteran Eric Althaus has been promoted from assistant general manager to General Manager at Rivers Casino Philadelphia.
West Chester - Maryann Santitoro has joined HotelPlanner.com as their Hotel Meeting Planning Manager.
The Conrad Washington, DC announced Adam Heffron as the new General Manager of this luxury 360-room property.simon Campbell Musich Gaccetta
RENDEZVOUS AT PENN'S LANDING
Philadelphia, PA – City Cruises Philadelphia welcomed their newest charter yacht, the Rendezvous, to the Penn's Landing and Delaware River Waterfront. This 140-passenger, two-level yacht is a perfect venue for corporate parties and special events.
“City Cruises Philadelphia is proud to be a part of the local tourism industry, and we are thrilled to introduce the Philadelphia Rendezvous and once again create amazing experiences on the water for our guests,”said Ryan O’Connor, General Manager, City Cruises Philadelphia.
City Experiences represents Hornblower Group’s expansive portfolio of water- and land-based experience companies and includes two sub-brands: City Cruises and City Ferry. City Cruises companies operate dining, sightseeing and private events across 22 destinations in the U.S., Canada, and the UK.
Photo courtesy of City Experiences cityexperiences.com/philadelphia
Norristown, PA - Elmwood Park Zoo's future is going to be grand, and to kick-start the multi-milliondollar Master Plan into action, officials, staff, and board members recently broke ground on the allnew Frank & Paige Engro Veterinary Hospital and Welcome Center.
"We couldn't be more excited to share our plans with you. The next 100 years of Elmwood Park Zoo starts today, so join us on this amazing journey," exclaimed Jen Conti, Development Director for the Elmwood Park Zoo.
Kennett Square, PA – Longwood Gardens recently celebrated several milestones in their Longwood Reimagined project. Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience is a sweeping reimagination of 17 acres of their Conservatory and grounds, opening in fall 2024.
The project also includes the creation of a 6,100square-foot restaurant that will become the new home of 1906, Longwood Gardens' current full-service dining. Additionally, it will include a bar and lounge area, chef’s table, and private dining room. The restaurant will have views overlooking the Main Fountain Garden. Capacity for the restaurant is expected to be 185.
The new 5,600-square-foot private event space with views of the Main Fountain Garden is expected to begin taking inquiries for bookings in late spring or early summer of 2024 for events in spring 2025 and beyond. The private event space will have capacity for 300 for a seated dinner.
Resorts AC is Celebrating 45 Years
Atlantic City, NJ – Get ready for a sizzling summer with Resorts Casino Hotel as the first casino hotel in Atlantic City celebrates its 45th anniversary on Memorial Day weekend. Kicking off the festivities, Kelsey Grammer and Mayor Marty Small, Sr. will host the annual Opening of the Sea Ceremony followed by boardwalk entertainment and the annual Beach Ball Drop over the Atlantic City boardwalk.
“Being the first Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, it’s a huge accomplishment to celebrate 45 years of operation,” said Mark Giannantonio, President and CEO at Resorts Casino Hotel. “This wonderful milestone is a testament to the culture at our hotel, the hard work and dedication of our team members and the loyalty of our guests. We look forward to continued growth and success as Resorts Casino Hotel embarks on its next 45 years and beyond.”
Guests will be invited to the Margaritaville Lobby for a free pull on the very first slot machine that went live in Atlantic City in 1978 at Resorts Casino Hotel - just the beginning of this yearlong anniversary celebration.
WILDWOODS’ ISLAND SHUTTLE SERVICE RETURNS
Wildwoods, NJ - The Wildwoods Island Shuttle Service returns for the 2023 summer season starting May 26th. Visitors will be able to hop aboard the convenient Jitneys to be transported to the Wildwoods Boardwalk or bars and nightclubs in the North Wildwood Entertainment District and everywhere in between. The shuttles are provided by the AC Jitney Association.
ASHORE RESORT IN MARYLAND
Ocean City, MD – Certares and its partners have announced the opening of Ashore Resort & Beach Club, a newly reimagined upscale resort set on prime beachfront location in Ocean City. Following a property-wide renovation to be completed this spring of the previously known Fontainebleau Resort, Ashore defines a new standard of destination travel on the Maryland coast, offering an exceptional beachfront resort. Ashore features panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the tranquil Assawoman Bay, oceanside food and beverage service and amenities, a new 3,000-square foot deck, a state-of-theart, 40,000-square foot conference center with flexible facilities and 16 conference rooms, exciting new restaurant concepts, and lively beachfront entertainment.
Visit Baltimore’s Updated JEDI Resource
Baltimore, MD - Visit Baltimore has announced the launch of a new resource expanding on race and unconscious bias as part of its ‘Warm Welcome Program.’ The new training covers topics including intersectionality, bloom’s taxonomy, and the ally continuum, and walks participants through what they can do as the next step in expanding on the areas of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion (JEDI). Once an organization completes the training, Visit Baltimore will provide a Warm Welcome kit that includes a window cling and other display items to show visitors they are seen and respected in that place of business.
NOMO SOHO INTRODUCES NEW EVENT SPACES
New York, NY – NoMo SoHo has announced extensive enhancements including the appointment of Executive Chef Evan Bergman at the hotel’s NoMo Kitchen and the introduction of two new event spaces: the Penthouse and Nina’s. NoMo Kitchen will continue to serve rustic American cuisine with global influences in a vibrant greenhouse. Last year NoMo SoHo introduced its newest dining experience: the Rose Garden, a serene terrace set just outside of NoMo Kitchen.
CONVENTIONPLANIT.COM ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP
Washington, DC – ConventionPlanit.com has formed a strategic partnership with the Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals (AIMP).
“The Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals recognizes the wide exposure that ConventionPlanit.com offers us throughout the meetings industry,” says AIMP founder, David N Bruce, MMP, HTS. “We see strong synergies between our two organizations to increase awareness with both meeting planner and supplier professionals.”
ConventionPlanit.com Co-Founder and Principal David B. Markham adds, “The Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals is home to many top independent meeting planners who will benefit from the complimentary services that ConventionPlanit.com offers.”
KSL RESORTS NEW SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM
Irvine, CA – KSL Resorts has launched a new sustainability program – “On Purpose” – to be rolled out amongst its portfolio of 11 destination hotels and resorts, including Camelback Resort in the Pocono Mountains, PA. While the name and framework are new, the program reinforces existing companywide sustainability initiatives.
“All of our properties have increasingly adapted green practices in recent years – making dramatic improvements – but we are thrilled to make it official by introducing this forward-thinking new platform,” said Ian Pullan, EVP of asset management west, who is leading the charge. “Focused on reducing KSL Resorts’ overall carbon footprint, On Purpose was carefully designed to drive positive change and reduce carbon emissions –by both guests and staff – via four core initiatives.”
Additionally, said Pullan, each KSL Resorts property will form – or has formed – an on-site sustainability committee and will identify a suitable local nature conservation partner. While the official On Purpose program is new, sustainability efforts have been underway at all KSL Resorts properties for several years.
NORMANDY FARM SERIES
Blue Bell, PA - Starting with the Terrace Party on May 18, Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center kicks off its Beer & BBQ Series with an exclusive cocktail party featuring a buffet to soak in the first warm breezes of another outdoor dining season on ‘the farmer’s daughter’ terrace while listening to live music. On June 15 is the Pig Roast, Normandy Farm’s Signature event. Victory Brewing Company will provide the perfect all-you-can-drink beer to pair with a succulent spit-roasted whole pig. The series continues with a Clam Bake on July 13, and wraps up with Crab Fest on September 14.
www.NormandyFarm.com • cityexperiences.com/philadelphia
Face-to-Face Meetings Grow Revenue
Washington, DC — Face-to-face meetings and business travel creates measurable benefits for companies and organizations, from increased revenue to lasting and effective professional relationships. This is the message the U.S. travel industry — and meetings professionals around the world — shared on March 30th on Global Meetings Industry Day, the annual international day of advocacy showcasing the value business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences, and conventions bring to people, businesses, and the economy. “Business leaders know the most persuasive communication does not happen through a screen — it happens when you meet face-to-face,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO, Geoff Freeman. “Even in a tight economy, face-to-face meetings matter for businesses and workers.”
NYC & COMPANY IS NOW NEW YORK CITY TOURISM + CONVENTIONS
New York, NY — A new name and brand identity debuted, New York City Tourism + Conventions for the City’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City. The launch was in conjunction with a social campaign, #WHATSGOODNYC,harnessing the “opinion power” of the City’s 8.5-million New Yorkers, offering them a chance to share their points of view on “what’s good” and what to experience across the City’s five boroughs. Tapping into travelers’ desire for authentic experiences, the foundation and strength of the new branding comes from its genuine, enthusiastic perspectives shared by a diverse mix of locals, highlighting New York City Tourism + Conventions’ role in amplifying these opinions to help travelers have a richer experience in NYC.
IN CELEBRATION OF EARTH MONTH
Philadelphia, PA – The Pennsylvania Convention Center released its annual sustainability report and highlighted in the report, the building automation upgrade to the DESIGO software system, done in partnership with Siemens, was completed in 2022 and has improved the facility’s efficiency and HVAC operations. Additionally, several phases of the facility’s restroom renovations, escalator modernization, and other upgrades were completed during the year. As part of their sustainability drive, all capital project contractors are required to recycle their construction and demolition materials. Other sustainability goals that were accomplished included the increase of the Center’s daily purchase of renewable energy certificates to 50 percent, the achievement of a 60 percent waste diversion rate, and the reduction of single-use plastics in the venue.
WILDWOODS TRAM CARS CELEBRATE 75 YEARS OF SERVICE
The Wildwoods, NJ – The Wildwoods Boardwalk Sightseer Tram Cars are rolling into their 75th consecutive summer. 2023 marks the Diamond Jubilee anniversary that these electric peoplemovers will traverse the Wildwoods boardwalk, announcing their iconic audible warning, “Watch the Tram Cars Please!” Each year, they take hundreds of thousands of visitors on a journey of discovery, gliding along the boardwalk’s array of sights, sounds, and delicious smells. The original Tram Cars were custom built for the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing, NY, first introduced on the Wildwoods boardwalk in 1949.
Savor the Flavor
Manheim, PA - Flavorfest at Mount Hope Estate & Winery, held on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire on May 27-28, is a perfect kick-off to the summer season. Twenty-seven wineries will provide samples and sales of many of their varietals. Eight distilleries will be on hand to sample and sell their craft spirits as well as something for beer and cider lovers. A host of artisans will sell their crafts and unique businesses will showcase their goods and services, as well.