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MID-ATLANTIC

EVENTS September | October 2021

Adding Fresh Air to Meetings Post conference cocktail reception in the African inspired Boma at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Pocono Mountains, PA


Visit Delco, PA

N I G I D TINGS TO

E E M

N I A G A

Scranton, PA New York, NY

Delaware County

DELAWARE COUNTY, PA Philadelphia, PA

Harrisburg, PA Baltimore, MD

Atlantic City, NJ

Washington, D.C.

Driving Distances to Delaware County Atlantic City, NJ 77 mi Baltimore, MD 96 mi Harrisburg, PA 109 mi

The perfect location for meetings, events,

Located just outside of Philadelphia, Delaware Cou from Philadelphia International Airport, major inte and public transit systems such as SEPTA and Am

With more than 4,200 rooms, Delaware County offe accommodations from full-service hotels to charm

Located in the heart of America’s Garden Capital, D arboretums, world-renowned gardens, county park provide plenty of places to relax, explore and enjoy

Centrally located to world-class attractions such a Museum of Art, Longwood Gardens, Brandywine B King of Prussia Mall, Simeone Foundation Automo

New York, NY 113 mi Scranton, PA 125 mi Washington, D.C. 130 mi

LEARN MORE! Contact Lou Marrocco, Director o


Meet me in

TUESDAY

October 26, 2021 The Inn at Villanova University 601 County Line Rd, Radnor, PA 19087

4:00PM – 7:30PM

and team activities

unty is easily accessible rstates I-95, I-276 and I-476 trak.

ers a complete range of ming Bed & Breakfasts.

We are pleased to announce a premier event showcasing its finest venues, hotels, caterers and restaurants. Meeting planners looking for unique venues, meeting space and team building offerings will be invited to network with up-and-coming and established hospitality professionals from the Main Line to the Brandywine. Discover the many reasons Delaware County is the first choice for successful meetings, events, and gatherings.

Delaware County’s ks and private preserves the outdoors year-round.

s: Brandywine River Battlefield, Subaru Park, otive Museum…and more!

4:00PM – 5:00PM DON’T MISS

Industry Panel Discussion on “Planning in a New World”

f Meetings & Events at LMarrocco@visitdelcopa.com

VisitDelcoPA.com


REDEFINING BUSINESS

MAKE YOUR MEETING COUNT. MAKE YOUR MEETING HERE. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa provides the perfect creative environment to inspire and motivate your attendees. Our legendary luxury service and attention to detail begins with your very first consultation. Discover all the unique opportunities located all under one roof. Over 106,000 square feet of flexible meeting space less than an hour from Philadelphia International Airport.

For more information, visit theborgata.com/meetings or call 609.317.7729. ©2021 Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. All rights reserved.


FEATURING 416 Integrated Guest Rooms 90,000 sq. ft. of Exhibit Space

EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES

While planning your next big event, don’t settle for anything less than the best of both worlds. Located in the historic heart of downtown Lancaster City, the Lancaster County Convention Center allows visitors to have their cake and eat it too—where big city culture can be savored at a small town pace.

Jacyn H Thompson

JACYN.THOMPSON@AIMHOSP.COM

DIRECTOR OF CONVENTION SALES

PHONE (717) 207-4045

25 S. QUEEN STREET, LANCASTER, PA 17603-3918

MOBILE (717) 344-7367

LancasterConventionCenter.com


300+ VENUES

80+ WORLD CLASS HOTELS

1600+ RESTAURANTS EXPLORE

VIRTUALLY WITH MONTCO360

50+ GOLF COURSES

BOOK YOUR NEXT MEETING: valleyforge.org/meetings SCOTT HIGGINS Director of Sales shiggins@valleyforge.org

STEPHANIE KILROY Sales Manager kilroy@valleyforge.org


THE PERFEC T MEETING PL ACE

Mount Airy Casino Resort offers a AAA Four-Diamond experience in the pristine scenery of the Pocono Mountains. With 30,000 square feet of meeting space, over 1,000 acres of resort amenities, and the most exciting dining and entertainment in Northeast Pennsylvania, we’ve got everything you need to make your next meeting extraordinAIRY. For more information, visit mountairycasino.com/meetings-weddings or call 570-243-5173.

YOUR GETAWAY C ASINO | HOTEL | DINING | ENTERTAINMENT | SPA | GOLF

MOUNTAIRYC A SINO.COM ∙ 1- 877- MTAIRY-1

Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.


CONTENTS Sept z Oct 2021

MID-ATLANTIC

EVENTS September | October 2021

Post conference cocktail reception in the African inspired Boma at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Pocono Mountains, PA

Adding Fresh Air to Meetings

PAGE 30 PAGE 10 - HQ2 Pool at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, NJ, one of many offerings for recreation on-site.

FEATURES

10

Post conference cocktail

reception in the African inspired

Boma at Kalahari Resorts

s, PA

& Conventions Pocono Mountain

Entertainment at Casino Resorts: Beyond Gaming Offering everything from spas to golf to live performances

26

Let's Meet in Atlantic City What to do, where to meet and new initiatives in AC

30

Drive-To Destinations: Mountain Meetings These settings provide serene settings and unique opportunities

40

Museums and Attractions for Events Group events amid works of art, animal exhibits, history, & memorabilia

48

Fall and Winter Adventures Exploring and enjoying destinations and attractions in the coming months

PAGE 10 - Dining space at the Mount Airy Golf Club, Mount Airy Resort and Casino in Mt. Pocono PA; photo credit: J.C.Getz Creative.

EVENTS EXTRAS

56 Guest Experiences: Resorts, Conference and Convention Centers 68 Healthy Eating for a Multi-Day Conference LOCATiON REpORTS 70 Location Report: Washington, DC 74 Location Report: Virginia Alexandria; Fairfax County; Norfolk; portsmouth; Richmond; Roanoke; Shenandoah Valley; Virginia Beach; Williamsburg

EVENTSWORTHy 82 Mpi pHL All Team Meeting / Mpi Mp Annual Mixer 83 pA Flavor 84 EventMakers 86 Around The Region

PAGE 48 - Outdoor event space at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. 8

September z October 2021


Mid-Atlantic Events Staff PUBLISHER & EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jim Cohn MANAGING EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rich Kupka DESIGN & PRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . .Dana Kurtbek-MME Media FEATURES EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Lydia Young TRAVEL EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ken Alan EVENTS DIRECTOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jennifer Johnson CONTROLLER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Robert Conrad CONTRIBUTING WRITERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sharon DeFelices, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wendy Dickerman

ADVERTISING & SALES 215-947-8600 ad-sales@eventsmagazine.com

EDITORIAL OFFICES 1800 Byberry Rd Ste 901, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006 215-947-8600 editor@eventsmagazine.com Opinions expressed in editorial submissions contributed to Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine are those of the individual authors exclusively and do not represent the opinions of Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine, its staff, its advertisers, or its readership. Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine and Tri-State Events Magazine, Inc. assume no liability or responsibility for independently contributed editorial submissions or any typographical errors, mistakes, misprints, or missing information within advertising copy.

- Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau - Discover Lancaster - Green Meetings Industry Council - Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association

Vol. 34, No.6

International – Greater Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware - International Live Events Association – Greater Philadelphia, North Jersey & Washington DC - Meeting Professionals International – Middle Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Philadelphia & Potomac - Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives - National Association of Catering Executives – Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey - Ocean City, MD Convention and Visitors Bureau - Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association - Pennsylvania Society of Association Executives - PHL CVB - Pocono Mountains Convention & Visitors Bureau

Connecticut Delaware Maryland New Jersey New York Pennsylvania Virginia West Virginia Washington, DC

- Professional Convention Management Association Greater Philadelphia - Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board - Visit Bucks County - Visit Delco, PA

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 Events Magazine, Inc. Copyright 2021 by Tri-State Events Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Mid-Atlantic EVENTS Magazine

9


Beach Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, NJ

Beyond Gaming: Ente

Casino resort properties boast many outstanding a function space to amazing dining experiences to lu attendees can enjoy the all-in-one-place convenie

When it comes time for entertainment, recreation a well, from world-class gaming, spas and swimmin is a sampling of what awaits at casino properties t floor.

Each of these properties continues to adhere to CO local authorities. Because of the fluid nature of the safety of guests and staff. Please check with each able. For the latest entertainment offerings, check each


ertainment at Casinos

amenities and accommodations, from ample meeting and uxurious guestrooms and more, so planners and their ence that these attractive venues have to offer.

and relaxation, casino resorts feature plenty to see and do, as g to concerts, comedians, magicians and more. The following throughout the region beyond the excitement of the gaming

OVID-19 guidance from the CDC, along with that of state and e pandemic, protocols may change and evolve to ensure the property directly for the most up-to-date information avail-

venue’s website for an updated lineup of performers. Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

11


Rocky Gap Casino Resort, Flintstone, MD Rocky Gap Casino Resort offers live entertainment in the form of both music and comedy. Bonkerz Comedy Club hosts a variety of local and wellknown comedians and the Rocky Gap Event Center regularly features tribute and cover bands along with well-known artists. Signatures Bar and Grill, the resort’s laid-back restaurant, also offers live, weekly entertainment. In addition, Rocky Gap boasts a tranquil spa, salon and fitness center, as well as a spacious indoor swimming pool that is open year-round. The Spa at Rocky Gap provides a variety of indulgent services, including Rocky Gap’s signature spa massage that uses warm stones and aromatherapy - perfect after a long day of adventure or golfing. Throughout much of the year, Rocky Gap Casino Resort is an outdoor playground, too, with its Rocky Gap Golf Course, an award-winning, 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, and a boathouse on the lake where guests can rent pedal boats, canoes,

kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Fishing is another popular activity here, as is bird watching. Rocky Gap’s spacious grounds offer oversized chairs and several fire pits for lounging, as well as bocce and cornhole games. “At Rocky Gap, there is something for everyone,” says Wanda Holtschneider, director of marketing and hotel operations, Rocky Gap Casino Resort. “The outdoorsy type may enjoy a day on the lake, the adventurous type may try their luck in the casino, the mellow type may enjoy a spa day, and so on. There are plenty of activities for groups to enjoy together, as well.” When guests stay at Rocky Gap, everything is at their fingertips without having to leave the resort. Award-winning restaurants, relaxing and adventurous outdoor activities, and a high-energy casino experience are set against the backdrop of Rocky Gap State Park's scenic, natural beauty.

Live! Hotel & Casino Maryland, Hanover, MD Entertainment is back at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland. Recently, the destination announced its 2021 entertainment lineup at The HALL at Live!, the on-site concert and event venue. Guests can enjoy a variety of premier show-stopping performances like comedians Gabriel Iglesias and Chelsea Handler, as well as musicians like Patti LaBelle. Companies and organizations also can leverage The HALL at Live!’s 40,000-square feet of customizable event space and a $10 million state-of-the-art AV system for corporate retreats, meetings and more. The HALL is designed to allow for full customization to meet the needs of any size group, and tickets to its premier event lineup can be purchased at a group rate. All of the property’s offerings are designed to serve groups, individuals and couples alike, ensuring experiences that fit a wide range of needs. This year, Live! opened Sports & Social Maryland, a unique restaurant, gaming venue and social lounge located in the heart of the casino floor. In addition to watching the latest action from massive HDTVs, including a giant 100-foot main screen, guests can try their hand at integrated casino and interactive social games like mini-bowling and oversized foosball. 12 september z October 2021

The most visited destination in the region, Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland offers luxurious accommodations and world-class dining options, too. To add to the lavish atmosphere, Live! Hotel features the Cordish Art Collection that includes a diverse contemporary collection of art curated by Suzi Cordish. The Collection includes world-renowned works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Jennifer Steinkamp, Charlie Ahn, Robert Indiana and Not Vital. Guests are welcome to enjoy a selfguided tour through the property to see the jaw-dropping art collection, complete with informative plaques that provide background information on each piece. Booking an event, retreat or outing at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland allows guests to make the most of their time with comprehensive offerings available under one roof, from its hotel to its casino to its event lineup, along with expansive dining and bar options. Enhancements are designed to provide guests with a memorable experience and to allow groups visiting for any occasion to enjoy a well-rounded, fun-for-everyone day out, night on the town, staycation or weekend away.


go live! t his

holiday season holiday Cross a festive holiday event off your wish list! Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland offers incredible spaces that will wow your guests. Sports & Social Maryland, The Prime Rib®, David’s Restaurant & Bar for an energetic atmosphere. Or go big with more than 40,000 square feet of customizable event space, including a large ballroom, The HALL at Live!, 10 breakout rooms and expansive pre-function space. 4,000 seating capacity, built-in performance stage and high-tech A/V and sound systems. To book your event, contact our sales team at 443-577-2953 or visit maryland.livecasinohotel.com for more information.

At Arundel Mills. Must be 21. Please play responsibly, for help visit mdgamblinghelp.org or call 1-800-GAMBLER. ©2021.


Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia is a premier entertainment destination located in the heart of the city’s Stadium District. Guests can experience new dining and entertainment options on-site, including Luk Fu with its private karaoke rooms, Sports & Social Philly, a unique sports restaurant, gaming venue and social lounge, and 10th Street Market, a unique food hall featuring a variety of food and beverage outposts, including local favorites.

Plan your next occasion at Philly’s newest event destination.

To plan your next event email: events@livecasinophilly.com or visit Philadelphia.livecasinohotel.com

14 september z October 2021


“Our live entertainment series will begin later this year, giving guests the opportunity to see a show and experience live music right here at Live! When guests are with us there is no need to leave the property – there is so much at Live! to occupy their time,” observes Kelley Maddox, vice president of sales at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia. In addition, hotel guests have access to Live! Philadelphia’s on-site state-ofthe-art exercise facility, which boasts the sought-after Peloton so guests can continue their rides while away from home. Recreational opportunities abound as the property is in the heart of the city’s professional sports action, just steps away from stadiums and arenas, and Live! can arrange a tour of any of them for guests. The property also is close to FDR Park, providing the opportunity to get out and experience nature. Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia can offer team building opportunities, too, such as learning black jack, craps or poker, going on an art walk throughout the building, arranging a Chef Tasting dinner or dine around, and more. The property’s fourth floor garage is available for private events on a rooftop overlooking the stadiums and the Walt Whitman bridge. "From the moment our guests step into Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, they are provided with a one-stop destination to enjoy the fast-paced action of four major professional sports teams, memorable entertainment, premier dining, well-appointed hotel accommodations and world-class gaming,” notes Maddox.

DELICIOUS. DECADENT. INSPIRED. Private Dining Room s, The Librar y, Piano Bar + Lounge or Full Restaurant Booking

Located at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia P r imeRibPhilly.com

900 Packer Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19148

215-682-7500 Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

15


Mohegan Sun Uncasville, CT Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), which currently manages and/or owns seven properties globally, including Mohegan Sun Pocono and Resorts Casino Hotel, features some of the top entertainment venues in the casino and resort industry. MGE’s flagship property in southeastern Connecticut, known as Mohegan Sun, is one of the largest integrated entertainment resorts in the U.S., and is home to the award-winning 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, which recently celebrated the return of publicly attended events and concerts. Highlighted performances this fall include Sebastian Maniscalco, Harry Styles, Blake Shelton, The Monkees, Old Dominion, Brett Eldredge, Dashboard Confessional, Daughtry and Earth Wind & Fire. Mohegan Sun also offers the always free Wolf Den, and the Comix Comedy Club inside Comix Roadhouse. Both of these entertainment venues feature live entertainment every weekend and have a capacity of around 300 people. Popular comedian, Godfrey, is set to perform three nights in a row at Comix beginning October 1st. Live entertainment can be enjoyed at Lansdowne Irish Pub and Music House, as well. Mohegan Sun’s Sky Tower is home to a large indoor swimming pool and an outdoor terrace with seasonal VIP cabanas and fire pits. A fullservice bar also is featured inside at the pool area. Steps from the pool and terrace is a fully renovated fitness center and a full-service spa and salon. A Mandara Spa is featured in both Mohegan Sun’s 1,200room Sky Tower and its 400-room Earth Tower. “At Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, guests have the opportunity to see the likes of Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springsteen, Logic, Dave Matthews Band, Fleetwood Mac and so many more chart-topping performers in the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena,” notes Ray Pineault, CEO of Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment. “We have more than 45 restaurants, bars and lounges… a shopping corridor with more than 30 outlets... and… annual festivals like Sun BBQ Fest… popular nightlife stops [like] Vista Lounge at Wombi Rock, Avalon Nightclub, and the ultra-lounge, novelle – which also features an eclectic dining menu that joins table games and live music.” Pineault adds. “Guests also can play more than 50 retro arcade games, bowl or play some billiards, or enjoy a burger and a beer while watching the big game at GAME ON, located near the entrance of the Earth Expo and Convention Center at Mohegan Sun. This is also a popular venue for group buyouts.” There is fun, relaxation, excitement and opportunities for lasting memories to be made at every turn at Mohegan Sun - all under one roof.

16 september z October 2021

Mohegan Sun Pocono Wilkes-Barre, PA Mohegan Sun Pocono in Northeastern PA is home to the Keystone Grand Ballroom, which features a lineup of entertainment and special events. Coming up on October 9th, Josh Gates of Discovery Channel’s “Expedition Unknown” will bring an evening of mystery and adventure to the casino property. During the summer, Mohegan Sun Pocono offers Party on the Patio with live tribute bands on the patio of the racetrack concourse every Thursday. More fall shows at the Keystone Grand Ballroom will be announced soon. Mohegan Sun Pocono also is home to Spa Sapphire as well as a fitness center. The spa and fitness center are temporarily closed, though they are expected to reopen soon. Located on 400-acres, Mohegan Sun Pocono is now home to a variety of retail outlets and more than 10 restaurants and quick-bite options. When it comes to nightlife and live entertainment, guests can stop by Bar Louie and Wise Crackers Comedy Club. Mohegan Sun Pocono also is the only Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment property that features live horse racing from spring to fall at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.


MAKE YOUR NEXT EVENT SHINE A LITTLE BRIGHTER. Mohegan Sun Pocono is excited to welcome you back and has ample space and resources to make your next event a huge success! With property-wide safety and wellness initiatives, customizable menus, and physical-distancing floorplans, your guests will enjoy a first-class, in-person experience like never before. Book your event today at mohegansunpocono.com or call 1-855-MEET-MSP.

CONVENTION CENTER | HOTEL | GREAT LOCATION


LandShark Bar & Grill at Resorts Atlantic City, NJ

Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City, NJ Resorts Casino Hotel’s signature entertainment venue is the Superstar Theater, which accommodates up to 1,300 for a concert or theater performance. Upcoming at this legendary venue is the Ultimate Queen Celebration, starring Marc Martel, on November 20th. Resorts Casino Hotel also is home to an indoor-outdoor swimming pool that boasts sweeping views of the ocean all year round. The nearby spa, health club and fitness center provide the opportunity for additional escapes. LandShark Bar and Grill is Atlantic City’s only year-round beach bar and offers a dining and drink menu and live entertainment throughout the year. In all, Resorts Casino Hotel is home to more than 20 restaurants, bars and quick bite eateries. The latest fine dining option to open at Resorts is Dougherty’s Steakhouse and Raw Bar, which features top-notch steak, seafood, and live entertainment. It is available for group buyout. Resorts Casino Hotel has a unique mix of live entertainment at the Superstar Theater, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Dougherty’s Steakhouse and more. For group outings, especially multi-day conventions or shows of varying styles, participants and planners can seamlessly transition into some much-needed fun or relaxation, and it’s all just steps away.

18 september z October 2021


FEATURED PANEL OF WOMEN LEADERS AT EAST COAST GAMING CONGRESS Five gaming industry leaders will be featured in the Women in Gaming panel at this year’s East Coast Gaming Congress & NexGen Gaming Forum, October 25-26 at the Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah's Atlantic City, NJ. Jane Chung, Market Vice President Business Development, East for SYSCO, will moderate the panel, which includes: Terry Glebocki, CEO, Ocean Casino Resort; Karen Worman, Regional VP of Finance, AC Region, Caesars Entertainment; Erin Chamberlin, Senior VP, Regional Operations, Penn National Gaming; and Brooke Fiumara, Co-Founder and COO for OPTX. The conference also features: keynote addresses from NJ Governor Phil Murphy and American Gaming Association President/CEO Bill Miller; presentations by gaming industry CEOs; panel discussions; special presentations; and an evening cocktail reception at The Pool at Harrah’s on October 25th. Earlybird registration is available until September 24th. eastcoastgamingcongress.com 20 september z October 2021

Mount Airy Casino Resort Mt. Pocono, PA Guests can expect award-winning service and amenities in every corner of Mount Airy Casino Resort. From banquets to corporate retreats, the property offers everything guests would expect from a high-end resort and the staff needed for an unforgettable event. This all-encompassing, full-service resort destination for outdoor and gaming enthusiasts features: signature restaurant options, including the brand-new Last Call, a one-stop-shop for drinks and snacks of all kinds, or Glass Bar, a perfect place to order a round of cocktails; a Sports Illustrated recognized lakefront 18-hole golf course; a spa, salon and exercise facility; a luxury, indoor-outdoor swimming pool; plus, a covered outdoor deck and tented area. The deck, located at the clubhouse of Mount Airy’s nationally recognized golf course, is well-suited for hosting outdoor corporate events and dinners overlooking the picturesque Pocono Mountains. The patio is a great choice for outdoor seating and group dining, while the 15,000square foot tented area is ideal for a variety of gatherings. “Guests are welcome to relax and indulge at Get Wet Ultra Pool, a generously heated four-season pool featuring an underwater passageway that allows visitors to swim continuously between adjoining indoor and outdoor spaces,” explains Glenn Cademartori, vice president of marketing for Mount Airy Casino Resort. “For a more lavish lounge, guests can enjoy daybeds and cabanas. And at the fullservice spa, guests can choose from a multitude of services ranging from pedicures to full body massages.” “While COVID-19 restrictions are everchanging, we are hopeful to see some of our concert lovers, theatergoers, and comedy clubbers back at Mount Airy for headline entertainment beginning in October,” Cademartori adds. Guest room at Mount Airy Casino Resort; photo credit: J.C.Getz Creative


Wind Creek Bethlehem Bethlehem, PA Wind Creek Bethlehem is currently undergoing an expansion that will add three new ballrooms, additional guest rooms, a high-end lobby bar, custom art installations, spacious swimming pool areas, a luxurious new spa, and additional meeting and event spaces that will add dynamic new experiences to the property in 2022. This expansion will complement a wide range of existing options for entertainment on-site, including the Wind Creek Event Center, which hosts top names in music, entertainment, comedy and sports.

“Integrated resorts afford meeting planners - and their guests - with conveniences and luxuries that extend beyond an event’s itinerary,” notes Amelia Tognoli, brand marketing coordinator for Wind Creek Hospitality. “When choosing to book at Wind Creek Bethlehem, groups have the option not only to experience premium meeting space, but also worldclass gaming, signature dining - including restaurants by Chef Emeril Lagasse, a spa, shopping at The Outlets at Wind Creek, and on-site entertainment.” “When the night is over, retreating to Wind Creek Bethlehem’s on-site, AAA Four-Diamond award-winning hotel is seamless,” Tognoli adds, “ensuring an elevated meeting experience from start to finish.”

Molten Lounge is one of the area’s hottest night spots and features free live entertainment to go along with expertly crafted cocktails. Additional nightlife includes Coil, situated near the center of the southern gaming floor, and Vision Nightclub (temporarily closed), which is just west of the Event Center. Shopping enthusiasts will enjoy The Outlets at Wind Creek, which boast two levels of upscale brands at affordable prices. Rendering of the Wind Creek Bethlehem expansion

COMING

2022

Excitement is building for our beautiful new hotel featuring 550 rooms and 60,000 square feet of meeting space. To book your next meeting, call Dan Mies at 484.777.7928 or email at Daniel.Mies@windcreek.com

Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City Atlantic City, NJ “At Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, we have music ingrained in our DNA and are touted as one of the first in the destination to safely bring back indoor headliner entertainment,” proclaims Shelley Williams, vice president of sales at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City. “With our 365-Live commitment of offering entertainment seven days a week throughout the year, Hard Rock Atlantic City consistently brings in an electric line-up of headliners, including Guns N’ Roses, Toby Keith and Alicia Keys, to its many venues, whether it’s a band playing popular covers at the Lobby Bar, a lively comedy show at Sound Waves, or a big country star performing at Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena,” Williams continues. ”Additionally, with a one-of-akind music memorabilia collection, our team is able to arrange unique music-centric activities for groups, from selfguided tours to trivia games.” The casino’s beachfront location on the Atlantic City boardwalk provides guests with plenty of opportunities to enjoy some outdoor activities, too, from getting some sun on the

Ocean Casino Resort Cabanas

22 september z October 2021

casino’s new beach chairs to grabbing a cocktail at Hard Rock’s Beach Bar. Stroll or run on the boardwalk before swimming at the property’s indoor pool, then enjoy a meal at one of its more than 15 culinary outlets. Or visit Rock Spa® and Salon for the Rhythm and Motion treatment - the world’s first fully music-centric spa menu utilizing vibrations, pressures and patterns as the foundation of its treatments. “Teams can book their events at our hotel confidently, while knowing they have access to some of the best entertainment options,” declares Williams. “Our Premier Group Experiences also amplify any group’s time on-site... Activities can include anything from an immersive memorabilia experience with our impressive collection to next-level musical lessons for your entire ensemble.” Whether a planner wants to arrange a private dinner or schedule a unique breakout session, such as a private blackjack lesson, Hard Rock Atlantic City can help create unforgettable events. With so many options for entertainment and dining as well as opportunities for recreation and relaxation, planners have plenty of great choices at a wide variety of casino resorts throughout the region.


Ocean Casino Resort Atlantic City, NJ Ocean Casino Resort is home to a wide array of entertainment offerings ranging from headlining artists such as Alice Cooper, The Beach Boys, and Jay Leno at the 4,500-seat Ovation Hall to mid-week bands and duos performing at outlets like Villain & Saint, 1927 Lounge, and The Park. The property’s high-energy restaurants, bars and lounges allow for entertainment to be presented on-site almost every day of the week. Ocean Casino also is home to the world’s largest Topgolf Swing Suite – an immersive social experience offering seven private bays to play virtual games including golf, baseball, football and hockey while enjoying fantastic food, beverages, and views of the ocean and boardwalk. Topgolf’s bar offers an all-day happy hour every Wednesday through Sunday.

and great cocktails. Finally, The Cabanas at Ocean offer stunning ocean views and an intimate poolside experience. Guests of The Cabanas have access to two private pools and a jacuzzi along with an imaginative food and beverage menu.” The Exhale Spa + Bathhouse provides therapeutic, results-oriented body and skin care services designed to promote ultimate inner and outer wellbeing. The Bathhouse area (including the jetted pool, jacuzzi, Himalayan Salt grotto and lounge area) is available for guests to enjoy after their treatment. The locker room, vanity area, showers and Zen lounges also are available for a day of ultimate relaxation. With something for every taste, “Ocean Casino Resort is the ideal location for a business or leisure customer,” proclaims Ciccone. “Everyone can take advantage of the newest and largest casino-resort in Atlantic City, with 1,399 guest rooms and suites, four upscale restaurants, 11 casual dining options, six signature day and nightlife experiences… gaming entertainment, the world’s largest Topgolf Swing Suite, Exhale Spa, fitness center, salon, shopping and more.”

Another entertainment option is HQ2 Beachclub and Nightclub, which features some of the most sought-after global DJs, performers and celebrity appearances in the world. Situated in a prime North Beach location adjacent to the Atlantic City boardwalk, the outdoor day club area features six bungalows with private pools, 12 daybeds, and more than 30 VIP sections on its lower and upper decks. “I believe some of Ocean’s greatest differentiators are our luxurious spa, pools and cabanas,” explains Peter Ciccone, senior vice president of hotel sales for Ocean Casino Resort. “Eclipse Indoor-Outdoor Pool is a family-friendly option offering a bite to eat or a refreshing cocktail while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Boardwalk Pool and Bar, located at HQ2 Beachclub, is an adults-only venue presenting a laidback poolside party vibe with a live DJ Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Let’s Meet by Sharon DeFelices

I recently spent a few days offer for groups, I found my

Atlantic City’s regenerative for the area in an effort to s

26 september z October 2021


t in Atlantic City!

s in Atlantic City to learn more about Meaningful Meetings. While AC has so much to yself captivated by the people and experiences that I encountered during my trip.

efforts are impressive, and there are some inspiring people doing amazing things spark the locals’ love and to draw tourists and groups to the area.

Aerial view of Atlantic City, beach and boardwalk Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Die, I want to...” and “Life is a Maze, Find Your Way.” Find Your Way was painted on what was then a threestory, vacant building. It contains a series of solvable mazes that represents the journey we all are taking, and it inspires onlookers to get where we want to be regardless of how many times we reach a “dead end.” But what makes this mural even more impressive is what it inspired after its creation. The building today houses a nonprofit organization that does, in fact, help people to find their way. The solvable mazes proved that there is hope and a way out of tough economic times. And with circumstances as they are, we absolutely need to hear that message as often as we can.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO On the first day, I was given a tour of the 48 Blocks Atlantic City murals by Zach Katzen, program manager of the Atlantic City Arts Foundation. Zach’s passion for the project was palpable and I learned so much about Atlantic City’s history on the tour. For the past four years, artists have been invited to create murals throughout the city. These murals are rich in detail and tell stories about several events and people of Atlantic City. I could pen this entire article on the murals alone, but it would be a shame to ruin the wonder of you seeing them for yourself. While they all bear mention, two that I am compelled to share are “Before I 28 september z October 2021

Before I Die sits across the street from a school. It is painted in the style of a chalkboard with the words “Before I die, I want to….” followed by a fill-inthe-blank line for the school children, local residents and visitors to contribute their own attestations and reflections on life. This particular mural is a global arts project and it is one of 2,000 such murals around the world. Be sure to bring a piece of chalk to add your own reflection while visiting AC. Creation continues among the murals of 48 Blocks AC, and if you’re visiting, download the map (https://bit.ly/3yMQBko) and explore the works of its amazing muralists. If you’re taking a group, be sure to schedule a tour with Zach, a lifelong devotee to his community. You will not be disappointed. A great option when it comes to getting around AC is the Atlantic City Jitney. The jitney service has been in use since 1915 and is truly the epitome of the concept of regeneration. The jitneys, now powered by compressed

natural gas, are a fitting example of the how the transit system can be woven into the societal fabric to strengthen it. Many jitneys are franchise owned and available for private hire. Wanting to capture the “buzz” of Atlantic City, I was introduced to Alveole, a company that has been connecting nature and cities since 2013. Alveole is the urban beekeeping company whose hives reside on top of Tanger Outlets. Home to over 50,000 bees, the rooftop hives provide educational opportunities as well as ecological awareness for the community, not to mention some really delicious honey! While salt-water taffy is the “go-to” treat at any outpost along the Jersey Shore, I was really excited to spend an evening at Bar 32, where house-made Tanzanian chocolate is crafted into delicious bars, desserts and cocktails. The vibe, like the rest of Tennessee Avenue, is cool and the bartender and chocolatier are ready to give you a chocolate experience you’ve never had before. Order a tasting of their chocolates and be sure to grab a bag of brownie mix to take home. Custom branded bars can be infused with the ingredients you request to create a favor or swag gift for your event, as well.

WHERE TO MEET Caesar’s Entertainment has invested in Atlantic City to create state-of-the-art meeting and conference spaces that are destined to please. The Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah’s Atlantic City is the largest conference center on the East Coast between Boston and Baltimore. Its column-less ballrooms allow for endless room configurations that can accommodate groups of all sizes. 100,000-square feet of meeting space, 50,000-square feet of pre-func-


tion space, and close to 2,600 beautifully appointed guestrooms combine to make Harrah’s an excellent option for your next meeting. Chef Louis Heckel and his talented culinary team are creating wonderful options at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center that are sure to please, as well. Bally’s Atlantic City has kicked off their Return to Glory, undergoing renovations to its 750 guestrooms and grand lobby. With ocean views, the VIP lounge is a great space for a corporate event. Bally’s AC has great dining options, too, and a few new ones on the horizon, making this property a flavorful option for your group. If you’re looking for a property where the energy is electric for your next event, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City might be just right for you. Any property that has a staff position called the “Vibe Manager” tells you that they truly are focused on the guest experience. The largest Hard Rock property, with 2,000 guestrooms and 150,000-square feet of meeting and event space, this hotel and casino has a lot to offer.

THE GREENING OF ATLANTIC CITY I had the opportunity to tour the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm with five 380-foot wind turbines. Impressive in stature, but even more impressive in function, each wind turbine creates approximately 1.5 megawatts of power. Solar panels at the site contribute energy to power the ACUA wastewater treatment plant. The wastewater treatment plant processes 29million gallons of waste water every day and is powered by both wind and sun.

Any excess energy from the turbines assists with the city’s power grid, providing electricity to local residences. This urban initiative is proof positive that sustainability efforts can make a tremendous impact in the way a city provides resources to its community. Speaking of going green, the Atlantic City Convention Center has been hard at work with sustainability initiatives since 2009. 13,000 Solar Photovoltaic panels cover 290,000square feet and provide approximately 26 percent of the energy needs of the convention center. Recycling efforts, green seal approved chemicals, and low-flow plumbing fixtures are just a few of the ways that the convention center is working to create a healthier environment for its guests and to reduce resource consumption. With 500,000-square feet of exhibit space and 45 meeting rooms, the center serves as a spacious option for your expo.

A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO BEER One of the last stops on my Atlantic City trip was a visit to The Seed: A Living Beer Project. Married owners, Sean Towers and Amanda Cardinali, take the concept of terroir to a new level, using local grain grown in Shiloh, NJ to produce unique and amazing brews for their taproom. With 9 taps there is a beer here for everyone! Don’t take my word for it, USA Today voted them as the #1 Best New Brewery (2021). The team at The Seed embrace the community and culture and want to help draw attention to undiscovered spots by doing partnered events. The space is warm, the décor, organic, and the beer is delicious. WITH ITS FOCUS ON THE FUTURE, ATLANTIC CITY HAS FRESH ENERGY AND IS WELL WORTH CONSIDERING FOR YOUR NEXT GROUP EVENT OR WEEKEND GETAWAY. Sharon DeFelices, CMP is the owner of Mosaic Meetings and Events, LLC, a comprehensive meeting management company with a division specializing in food and beverage management, as well as accommodating dietary preferences and restrictions for events.

sharon@mosaicmeetingsandevents.com

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DRIVE-TO DESTINATI MOUNTAIN MEETINGS

For groups in search of serene settings with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and team building along with lots of space and accommodations for meetings and retreats, heading to the mountains is a great choice. Fortunately, the Mid-Atlantic Region boasts several mountain settings, each with abundant and unique offerings.

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IONS:

Roanoke Star set against the Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke, VA; photo credit: Creative Dog Media; courtesy: Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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The Pocono Mountains Region, for example, has been a popular destination for generations with outdoor adventure and small-town charm having long been a draw for visitors. But the area offers so much more, such as four-diamond rated resorts, exciting attractions and state-of-the-art meeting facilities set amid 2,400-square miles of natural beauty. With plenty to see and do both indoors and outside, as well as venues and accommodations suited for every group size and budget, the Poconos strikes the perfect balance for both business and leisure. “There’s nothing like an escape to the great outdoors for bringing people together and inspiring bright ideas,” declares Valerie Case, meetings sales manager for the Pocono Mountains

Convention and Visitor Bureau. “After a morning seminar, groups can build team spirit while navigating a treetop ropes course, heading out on a canoe trip or hiking to a nearby waterfall. The long tradition of hospitality in the Pocono Mountains means that, whether you need assistance in the conference room or help finding trails with the best panoramic views, the guest experience is top notch.” One-of-a-kind opportunities for outdoor recreation abound in the Poconos, from whitewater rafting through Lehigh Gorge to rail-biking along the Lackawaxen River to hiking the famous Appalachian Trail for a view of Delaware Water Gap. The Pocono Mountains also are home to historic downtowns filled with unique shops and restaurants, scenic

EXPECT MORE THAN MOUNTAINS IN THE POCONOS.

Make your vision a reality in the Poconos, where you’ll find the space you need to collaborate with your team and build a successful future. Up to date amenities and all of the latest tech make hosting your next meeting or conference in the Poconos a breeze. Email meetings@poconos.org to learn more.

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#MeetThePoconos


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Camelback Lodge at Camelback Resort in the Pocono Mountains, PA

golf courses, and relaxation at world-class spas. Visitors also can enjoy a sampling of hand-crafted beverages at an atmospheric winery or brewery, hit the casino floor, or taking in a concert or live musical performance. “Local businesses, from meeting venues and resorts to shops and restaurants continue to uphold the ‘Pocono Promise,’ pledging to follow public health guidelines and maintain enhanced health and safety measures to protect the wellbeing of our guests, employees and residents,” notes Case. “Events have returned to the Poconos this summer, and we have lots of fall festivals coming up for visitors to enjoy amidst the crisp mountain air and colorful leaves throughout our wide-open spaces this autumn.” Camelback Resort is one Pocono Mountains property with wide variety of offerings for groups and guests. “Our location, within a 90-minute drive from New York City and twohour drive from Philadelphia, makes Camelback a natural for meeting planners looking to avoid air travel or who are interested in accommodating a regional program,” explains Robin Lattinville, director of sales, Camelback Resort. “Our ability to customize team building programs that incorporate our beautiful mountain setting allows planners to drive home their primary objectives in a fun and exciting way.” Another feature that planners find appealing at Camelback is its variety of unique dining venues. Summit House, located at the top of Camelback Mountain, features an expan34 september z October 2021

sive outdoor deck with views of the surrounding Pocono Mountains. A casual cocktail reception or dinner event in this setting can be a terrific way to kick-off a program. Also causal, but offering plenty of outdoor space for lawn games during dinner, is the Trails End Bar and Grille at Camelback Resort. “Groups love being able to hang out around the fire pits, listen to great music, enjoy food off the BBQ, and relax and reconnect with colleagues,” asserts Lattinville. For a more elevated dining experience, an evening at Berrelli’s Italian Chop house is a must. This charming restaurant, nestled into the base of the ski slopes, is an easy stroll from Camelback Lodge. Groups can be accommodated either on the newly expanded covered deck and patio or with an indoor-outdoor casual experience. An option for an after-party following a day of meetings at Camelback is its lush indoor waterpark that is maintained at 84-degrees year-round. Its Oasis swim-up bar overlooking the Wave Pool is a favorite “downtime” hang out, as well. Camelback Resort boasts a wide variety of activities that appeal to every age, from the property’s waterparks (both indoor and outdoor) to zip lining, to a mountain roller coaster or an aerial ropes course. In the colder months, there’s skiing, snowboarding, and snowtubing, too. With 37 trails, a ski and ride academy, and an expansive rental shop, winter


TOGETHER IS A GREAT PLACE TO BE.

Try Woodloch’s new team building activity: The Food Truck Challenge Test your design and marketing strategy skills in this timed event to win over a panel of judges. Each team will receive a food basket, a secret ingredient and access to a pantry to create a delicious dish for everyone to sample. It’s not all about the food however- you will create and design a food truck, business name, marketing plan and menu. Are you ready? Let the challenge begin!

“When it was time to leave the resort, it felt like I was leaving home, and I really didn’t want to go!” -Danielle, Google “I can’t say enough great things about my experience with Woodloch. Each year, our company plans an annual retreat to escape the day-to-day for a few days and enjoy activities and bond with our colleagues.” -Erin, SeatGeek WOODLOCHMEETINGS.COM | 800.453.8263 Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Fall in downtown Jim Thorpe, PA; photo courtesy: Pocono Mountains CVB

quarters 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.

groups can incorporate a group lesson and full or partial day lift tickets into their program. “In addition to our on-site attractions, Camelback Resort hosts a bevy of entertaining events and activities all yearlong for guests to enjoy,” explains Lattinville. “From balloon twisting and donut decorating to magic shows and movie nights, guests are treated to fun at every turn. New this year are nearby excursions to allow guests to immerse themselves in all that the Pocono Mountains have to offer, including horseback riding, whitewater rafting and winery tours.” Also available are guided hikes, the resort’s Euro-Bungie, Vertical Climbing Challenge and new UTV tours. An afterhours Galactic Snow Tubing experience is “the perfect winter team bonding event. Groups enjoy the thrill of racing one another downhill on tubes after dark, then warming up by the fire pits with a steaming cup of hot cocoa or a spirited libation. And our Tacos and More food truck serves up delicious street tacos at the tubing hill,” Lattinville notes. “Corporate event planners have expressed an overwhelming need to get their teams reconnected,” observes Lattinville. “After working remotely and connecting solely via Zoom or Teams, companies are looking for ways to re36 september z October 2021

establish corporate culture and connect employees on a deeper, more meaningful level. In many cases, the social aspect of the program has become more important than ever. Camelback Resort checks off all the boxes. With beautiful meeting space featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and mountain views, a wide variety of indoor and outdoor dining options, and year-round unique team building and team bonding activities - Camelback has it all.” Altoona is situated in the heart of Central Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains between I-80 and I-99, making it an easily accessible drive-to destination. “Not only can the market draw from the potential of seven-million attendees from within a three-hour drive radius, but the destination also offers a variety of cost-effective meeting and event venues – from the state-of-theart 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. The city is located on the eastern slope of the Allegheny Mountains and is proud of its unique history as a railroad hub. Established in 1849 by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as head-

Today, Altoona’s industrial heritage, history, culture and outstanding natural resources have helped position it as a thriving 21st century business community and an emerging leisure and business travel destination. 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 railroad yard. The 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 within its visitor center. Lakemont Park, celebrating its 125th anniversary, has reopened 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 sessions. The Casino at Lakemont Park, with its own unique park-like ambiance, offers flexible banquet, meeting and event space.


The sleekly designed and well-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, as well as common areas for pre- and post-function purposes. With 550 new or newly renovated hotel rooms within the past two-years having been added to the Altoona market, Blair County is well-positioned to greet leisure and business travelers. “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,” asserts Ickes. Altoona and Blair County also offer vast green spaces full of outdoor recreational opportunities. From bicycling and hiking to water-based recreation and more endeavors, there are a multitude of choices within the Allegheny Mountains. Meeting and event venues provide outdoor team building opportunities, as well. As one example, Lakemont Park offers volleyball courts, basketball courts, miniature golf courses and several green lawns for numerous activities. Or visit Canoe Creek State Park and explore its iconic Blair Limestone Kilns, lake, trails, wetlands, fields, forests and education center. Picnicking, beach swimming, hiking, enjoying

educational programs and staying overnight in a modern cabin are popular activities. Blue Knob All Seasons Resort boasts a nine-hole mountain top golf course along with the highest skiable mountain in Pennsylvania that also has the most challenging slopes and an authentic Alpine feel. The resort offers mountain biking, swimming, tennis and condo lodging, too. Situated in Flintstone, Maryland, the peacefulness and tranquility of Rocky Gap Casino Resort’s location is among its main attractions. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains with lakeside views, the resort feels like a destination getaway, while being only two hours from major cities like Baltimore, Washington, DC and Pittsburgh.

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Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in the Pocono Mountains, PA; photo courtesy: Pocono Mountains CVB

Set in Rocky Gap State Park, the resort is home to a golf course, spa, lake activities, swimming pool and a host of amenities. The park includes 3,000acres of land with dozens of scenic hiking and mountain biking trails, plus a 243-acre lake. Rocky Gap Casino Resort offers boat and stand-up paddle board rentals, opportunities for fishing and more. “Rocky Gap Golf Course is Maryland’s only Jack Nicklaus designed course,” notes Wanda Holtschneider, director of marketing and hotel operations for Rocky Gap Resort and Casino. “The front nine is carved from mountainous, tree lined terrain with numerous dramatic elevation changes, while the back nine is spread across expansive, gently rolling meadows.” Located within a day’s drive of twothirds of the nation’s population, the 38 september z October 2021

Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge provides guests with a unique metro mountain experience, offering an exciting blend of natural beauty with a variety of urban and outdoor adventures. Virginia’s Blue Ridge boasts over 650,000-square feet of flexible meeting space and over 1,000-miles of outdoor trails, with affordable amenities and mountain views in every direction. Fascinating arts and cultural attractions, such as the Center in the Square and Taubman Museum of Art, double as unique meeting facilities and are within minutes of miles of hiking, biking and paddling trails. Offering a wide selection of local flavors, with more restaurants per capita than any other destination in Virginia, the Roanoke Valley’s restaurants feature ingredients grown on local farms and put a new twist on Southern cuisine.


“Guests are never far from a relaxing view of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains,” says Debora Wright, VP of sales and marketing for Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge. “Whether you’re on the golf course, in a unique outdoor space, or at a convention center, mountains serve as the perfect scenic backdrop for any meeting. Attendees can relax amid peaceful scenery or find an outdoor leisure activity only moments away.” “Our hospitality partners will continue going above and beyond to accommodate meetings and ensure a safe experience for all guests,” notes Wright. “A wide variety of unique, spacious meeting facilities offer opportunities to gather inside or outdoors in a socially distant manner.” Virginia’s Blue Ridge has an array of unique meeting facilities with both indoor and outdoor experiences. The region also features a wide variety of outdoor activities for all comfort levels. With easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, and Upper James River, anyone can pick up a hiking, biking, or water trail for team building events or just to enjoy the scenic beauty and peaceful surroundings during downtime. Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Explore Park has 14-miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking and pad-

dling, as well as aerial adventure course called Treetop Quest. For the craft beverage enthusiast, the VBR Cheers Trail features two-dozen stops for local craft beer, wine and moonshine. History buffs will enjoy the nationally acclaimed Booker T. Washington National Monument, and the National D-Day Memorial. Just 15 minutes from the heart of downtown Roanoke, Explore Park is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway and offers unique opportunities for recreation and relaxation. Secluded meeting locations, like the Preserve at Crooked Run, provide relaxing settings devoid of city noise and enveloped by scenic mountains, while offering exciting on-site recreational activities like clay shooting and fly fishing.

Each of these mountain destinations has so much to offer, from ample meeting space to plenty of recreation and team building to delectable dining, history, culture, nature and more. Groups will find that outdoor experiences and opportunities abound in these drive-to destinations along with scenic views and serene surroundings. A perfect escape that’s only a short car ride away.

Golf course at Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone, MD

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Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Museums and Attractions for Events Unique venues such as museums and attractions provide groups with more than just enhanced surroundings. They serve as a conversation piece and an escape from the everyday while also offering exposure to works of art, special exhibits or even the chance to get closer to wildlife. Even more importantly, however, these spaces provide opportunities to come closer together as a group in a setting that leaves a long-lasting impression.

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The National Constitution Center also can work with clients to create hybrid event options offered in-house through Advanced Staging Productions. “We are all here to assist our clients from day one and ensure a successful event experience for your guests"

Events at and visits to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA are always memorable. The venue features: a dramatic cobblestone courtyard; floor-to-ceiling glass windows with scenic views of the Brandywine River along its three-story atrium and in the Millstone Café; unique native plant gardens; and six galleries of internationally renowned art with an option for docentled tours. Surrounded by natural beauty, the outdoor campus boasts five-miles of trails along the river and on conserved lands with site-specific art installations that allow for a fully-immersive Brandywine experience. What’s more, the Brandywine River Museum offers flexible spaces for events of all sizes, accommodating everything from day meetings and corporate retreats to evening receptions, award dinners and weddings in spaces like its courtyard, river room, café and atrium. “Having access to the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s collection - featuring renowned works of art by three generations of the Wyeth family, early American portraits, landscapes and still-life paintings, along with temporary exhibitions ranging from 19th century to contemporary art - sets us apart from other venues,” states Donna Gormel, director of volunteers and events for the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art. “Being located along the scenic Brandywine River in an historic mill building with glass-walled additions also is a plus.” “Guests can expect thoughtful staging of each event by a designated event planner - with capacity limits and adherence to recommendations from the CDC and federal, state and local governments - to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for all,” Gormel adds. “Brandywine’s in-house catering staff,

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REIMAGINE | REINVENT RECONNECT led by the executive chef, have been trained in ServeSafe® protocols.” The National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD offers corporate groups and leisure travelers a one-of-a-kind experience by providing exclusive access to award-winning habitats featuring thousands of animal species from all over the world. One of Baltimore’s most unique event venues, it provides groups and travelers alike with a chance to journey from reefs to rainforest amid thousands of animals. “From the close-up animal encounters of the Blacktip Reef underwater viewing area to the iconic bubble tubes at the exhibit’s entrance, guests can make incredible photo memories at our spacious venue,” explains Nora Campbell, director of sales, National

Aquarium. “For corporate groups, no other venue can offer the exclusivity we’re offering, and for leisure travelers, we have a range of tour options to customize and elevate your experience to suit your interests. Corporate groups can have access to the building after hours - after the public has left for the day. Travelers can opt to explore our awe-inspiring habitats without the crowds, allowing them to get up close and personal to some of the world’s most unique animals.” National Aquarium event guests can enjoy a strolling cocktail hour through the award-winning exhibits in Blue Wonders, dine and dance in the company of dolphins and jellies in the property’s Pier 4 event space, or enjoy sweeping views of Baltimore's Inner Harbor from the Harbor View Room

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On September 18, 2021 museums across the nation will adopt the policy of the Smithsonian, opening their doors for free to visitors with a Museum Day ticket. With many public spaces being shut down for a year or more, Museum Day 2021 celebrates the reopening of museums after long closures due to the pandemic. This year’s theme, Experience America, represents the return to, and resurgence of, the nation's diverse cultural experiences. While tickets will be free of charge, participating museums will have safety precautions in place for this year’s event so that guests can safely and comfortably enjoy their experience. This year’s event is sponsored by The Quaker Oats Company who seeks to further enhance the event’s mission of making cultural and educational experiences accessible to all. Each ticket provides free admission for the ticket holder and one guest, with one ticket permitted per valid email address. For the full list of participating museums and to download a ticket, visit: www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/museum-day-2021

and outdoor event space. During events in Pier 4, guests also have access to the underwater Dolphin Discovery viewing area until 10:00 pm, where they can watch the dolphins in their habitat. More than a venue, National Aquarium truly is a destination, Campbell asserts. “No other venue offers guests the beautiful backdrop of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the chance to get acquainted with thousands of animals from around the world. As guests explore the building after-hours, the human connection to water invokes a sense of serenity unparalleled by any other venue. With conservation at the heart of our mission, the National Aquarium is a venue that groups can feel good about supporting. A portion of the expense to hold an event at the Aquarium goes directly toward advancing life-saving animal rescue operations, critical conservation initiatives, and protection for our ocean planet.” Depending on the event space chosen there are different capacity restrictions and seating arrangements that are available to allow for a safe and enjoyable event experience. Event spaces also are thoroughly cleaned before and after each event. Protocols are followed in accordance with federal, state and local guidelines, and extra precautions are in place to protect guests, staff and volunteers. Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA offers the option of renting the entire zoo for a private after-hours event. Guests can enjoy all of the animal exhibits in this 16-acre venue while choosing from multiple locations for their food and beverage. Easily accessible via major highways, attendees will appreciate its convenience and the free parking onsite. “Our locations include our beautiful Canopy Gardens Hall, two large covered

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picnic pavilions, Zoo Brew Beer Garden, and our Trail of Jaguar exhibit space,” notes Jane B. Dempsey, director of sales for Elmwood Park Zoo. “We offer a variety of options to meet any type of event a client is looking to host - meetings, trade shows, cocktail parties, elegant dinners or family nights.” Elmwood Park Zoo is able to offer a number of unique experiences for groups. Guests can head to the giraffe feeding deck and hand-feed the zoo’s three giraffes, or enjoy a meet-andgreet with one of the zoo’s ambassador animals, such as the Philadelphia Eagles’ live mascot. “If you are looking for a great team building event, we offer our Treetop Adventures Ziplining and Obstacle Course,” Dempsey suggests. “Our vintage carousel, percussion garden and playground create a family-friendly event to satisfy adults and kids.” As an outdoor venue, Elmwood Park Zoo offers plenty of open space to maintain physical distancing, and provides a fun and safe environment for organizations who are looking to reward employees or attendees after a long year of working remotely and meeting virtually. The National Constitution Center, located in the heart of historic Philadelphia, PA, offers an ideal setting for any occasion. With 60-foot-high ceilings and sweeping window views, including of Independence Hall from the Grand Hall Overlook, its event spaces can accommodate groups small or large and boast stateof-the-art conference and meeting rooms that are available for both day and evening functions. “Beyond gorgeous open event spaces, we offer unique elements of a worldclass interactive museum,” explains Jennifer Kniele, senior director of events for the National Constitution Center. Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Riverside view of the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA; photo credit: Mark Gormel “Visitors and guests will be inspired by our 17-minute multimedia theatrical experience, Freedom Rising, as it brings the Constitution to life through 360-degree projection, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and a dynamic live actor who illuminates the American quest for freedom. Signers’ Hall offers guests the chance to sign the Constitution alongside 42 life-size bronze statues of the Founding Fathers, and we offer several other exhibits for guests to explore and enjoy.” Spaces and options for events include both indoor and outdoor options, such as: Grand Hall Overlook, Grand Hall Lobby, Rooftop Terrace, John C. Bogle Chairman’s Room, F.M. Kirby Auditorium, Delegates’ Café, a private dining room, and Freedom Classroom. Among the exhibitions groups can enjoy while on-site are: The Story of We the People in The Richard and Helen DeVos Exhibition Hall; Freedom Rising in the Kimmel Theater; the stat46 september z October 2021

ues of Founding Fathers in Signers’ Hall; Constituting Liberty: From the Declaration to the Bill of Rights in the George H.W. Bush Gallery; Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality; The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote; and American Treasures: Documenting the Nation's Founding. “The National Constitution Center offers event space in a unique shape, which allows us to host everything from an intimate 20-person dinner to a 2,800-person reception throughout the building,” explains Mike Boris, general manager for Brûlée Catering, exclusive caterer for the venue. “The spacious Rooftop Terrace, located just off the Grand Hall Overlook and perched above historic Independence Mall, it is a great outside space to host both elegant and relaxed outdoor receptions.” “Our expert team provides exceptional customer service throughout the planning process and on the day of the

event,” Kniele adds. “We have a seasoned team on-site in all areas; from the National Constitution Center’s event team to Brûlée Catering, our exclusive on-site caterer, as well as Advanced Staging Productions, our exclusive audio-visual vendor. These team members can create custom floor plans to complement the flow and needs for your specific event.” The National Constitution Center also can work with clients to create hybrid event options offered in-house through Advanced Staging Productions. “We are all here to assist our clients from day one and ensure a successful event experience for your guests,” asserts Kniele. As a GBAC Star accredited venue, the National Constitution Center has performance-based third-party validation of its cleaning practices, procedures, and systems. The policies enacted by the venue are guided by the most upto-date health information and recom-


mendations by the CDC, state and local authorities, and are discussed with each client on an event-by-event basis to help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

ing arts centers in nearby Oneonta to the permanent and rotating exhibitions at the Fenimore Art Museum, celebrating the best of American art, Cooperstown has so much to offer.

Nicknamed the Village of Museums, Cooperstown is well suited to hosting both corporate groups and the leisure travelers. Anchored by the sophisticated Otesaga Resort Hotel, attendees enjoy visiting this one-stoplight village to experience arts and culture, as well as checking the baseball mecca off their bucket list by heading to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. These venues are accessible via the Village Trolley loop, so guests can experience it all without having to worry about driving and parking while here.

Proximity to these attractions from the Otesaga Resort Hotel makes for a convenient and luxurious stay. The overall group experience is relaxed, since there is very little travel involved once in Cooperstown. Arrangements can be made in advance with the Leatherstocking Trolley for groups to move about more easily to additional attractions, such as the Hyde Hall mansion tour. Ghost tours in the area can be a lot of fun, as well.

Cooperstown is home to captivating history, impressive art collections, and scenic views. The nation’s largest collections of American Indian art and other seasonal exhibits (April - October) await at the Fenimore Art Museum, which boasts lake views from its outdoor terrace. Enjoy the fresh air at the Farmers’ Museum and its Country Village, visit with farm animals, and learn about rural life in the 1800s from knowledgeable interpreters.

“Guests can expect a peaceful retreat with the highest of cleanliness standards while staying at the Otesaga,” notes Jacqueline White, travel trade manager for This Is Cooperstown, the

destination marketing corporation serving Otsego County, NY. “Reservations may be required in advance for some attractions. Best practice is to call in advance for individuals and always for groups.”

Each of these museums and destinations provide planners with so much to see and do on-site as well as unique and interesting spaces to pair with scenic views. Whatever the event, there are spaces at each of these museums and attractions that can provide the perfect setting.

Tour Hyde Hall, an elegant historic mansion located within Glimmerglass State Park. Or visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the ultimate stop for baseball fans of all ages with artifacts and historic representations of America’s favorite pastime. Learn about the fascinating history of train transportation in the area at the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad experience and enjoy a relaxing and scenic train ride through the countryside. From the internationally renowned Glimmerglass Festival to two performMid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Ropes course adventure at Camelback Resort in the Pocono Mountains, PA 48 september z October 2021


FALL Winter Adventures

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With cooler weather fast approaching and the holiday season not far behind outstanding opportunities around the region await, from fall foliage to skiing and snowtubing to holiday light displays to boardwalks, beaches and more! Here are a few destinations within easy driving distance that can be explored safely by meeting goers, those traveling with family, or as part of a group tour this coming fall and winter.

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Woodloch, located in Hawley, PA in the Pocono Mountains, boasts three diverse properties, each of them offering unique opportunities to create a memorable experience, whether all business, strictly social or a combination of both.

The Lodge at Woodloch: A Destination Spa offers an ideal setting for small corporate meetings that want to add a wellness component. It also is ideal for bringing spouses along who want to take advantage of a spa experience. Woodloch Pines Resort features a blend of rooms and homes along with ample meeting space and a full list of activities and amenities.

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• Ample meeting space • Elegant 66-room inn • 60+ shops • Multiple restaurants & eateries • Beverage tasting rooms • 14-passenger shuttle • Indoor entertainment center 50 september z October 2021

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There is something for everyone at Woodloch, from go karts and bumper cars to athletic and game show contests, plus nature trails, live music and more. A number of the on-site activities here are a natural fit when it comes to team building, as well, and inclusive packages make for a seamless guest experience by tying together accommodations and meals with nonstop activities, amenities and entertainment.

“We pride ourselves on understanding the specific needs of each group and providing a detailed and inclusive package,” asserts Lisa Hugaboom, corporate sales director for Woodloch. “Our Vacation Home concept - at Woodloch Pines and Woodloch Springs - is very popular for keeping attendees together. Small meetings can take place in the comfort of the Vacation Home, with catered meals delivered to the home, opportunities for building team camaraderie, and relaxing at the end of the day by the fireplace.”

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WOODLOCH RESORT Pocono Mountains, PA

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For inquiries, contact Brian Shields at 215-794-4062 or bshields@peddlersvillage.com PeddlersVillage.com

Bucks County, PA

Most of the activities on-site are available year-round, and there is no shortage of things to do during any season. Fall is a great time to enjoy boat rides on the lake and admire the changing foliage, and the crisp cooler air makes other outdoor activities - like hiking and fishing - even more appealing. “Our Halloween-themed programming is some of the most popular of the year and features our signature haunted hayrides, pumpkin painting, trick or treating and costume parties,” notes Matt Butler, corporate sales manager for Woodloch. “Winter at Woodloch makes for a picture-perfect wonderland, and guest favorites include snow tubing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ‘Winter Olympics’ contests, and ice skating on the resort’s lake or under the canopy-covered, synthetic rink.” “During the holidays, our Festival of Lights is very popular,” Butler adds, “guests enjoy a picturesque wagon ride set to music through an illuminated trail celebrating the spirit of the season.” When it comes to dining, guests can enjoy fresh American fare served in a family-style setting within two large dining rooms on the main property in addition to various bar, deli and snack options at small eateries across the resort. “Just two-miles away at our golf course community, Woodloch Springs, The Clubhouse is home to two restaurants and bars,” notes Hugaboom. “The gorgeous views of our golf course can’t be beat, and The Clubhouse is a popular spot for meetings.” Popular team building activities on-site include: campfire with s’mores and acoustic music; Family Feud; Food Truck Challenge; Silent DJ; Ultimate Game Night; wine tasting; hiking; ice


skating; snow tubing; and the resort’s Mixology Class. In addition to all of these experiences and activities, fall and winter also represent some of the best rates of the year with special winter package pricing.

PEDDLER’S VILLAGE Bucks County, PA Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, PA has long been attractive and appealing to both business and leisure travelers for its open-air shopping and exceptional dining options. The Golden Plough Inn offers easy access to all the fun, food and festivities of the Village year-round, as well. This fall, Peddler’s Village will be presenting a wide variety of events and entertainment, including: its annual Scarecrows in the Village display from September 6 through October 30; an OctoberFeast celebration on October 1617; Apple Weekend on November 6-7; the annual Gingerbread Display and Competition from November 19 through January 8; and Holly Jolly Weekend on December 4-5. “Additionally, we have weekend comedy shows, murder mystery events, and, of course, year-round weddings and private events both indoors and outside on our beautifully landscaped property,” explains Brian Shields, director of sales for Peddler’s Village. “Our most popular choices for dining are the Cock ’n Bull Restaurant, the flagship restaurant of Peddler’s Village, Earl’s New American, Buttonwood Grill, Hart’s Tavern, and Peddler’s Pub,” Shields continues. “Additional locations within the Village offering excellent food and beverage are Mama Hawk’s, FresCafe, and Moku Bowls. All of our restaurants offer a variety of specials and change their menus with the seasons.” Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Winterfest in Ocean City, MD; photo courtesy: Ocean City MD CVB

Team building events at Peddler’s Village include murder mystery shows, Village-wide scavenger hunts, as well as beer or wine tastings. “We at Peddler’s Village are hoping fall and winter travel continues to stay strong through the end of the year, as these two seasons are typically our busiest,” says Shields. “The Golden Plough Inn had a strong spring and summer, with leisure travelers and group business staying local. Bucks County has a lot to offer, including many outdoor spaces, such as Peddler’s Village, that showcase the seasonal beauty of the region.”

OCEAN CITY, MD Ocean City is, of course, best known as a premier leisure market destination in the summer, as its beaches and boardwalk have consistently been named among the best on the east coast. In the off-season, however, corporate and association groups find great value in the surrounding natural resources, affordability of hotels and venues, and the ease of navigating the 10-mile resort at a slower pace. At Dunes Manor Hotel, conference and leisure guests will enjoy all oceanfront 52 september z October 2021

accommodations with private balconies, daily afternoon tea-time (a nice surprise for visitors), and many combinations of indoor and outdoor spaces in which to meet, network or simply take in the sights and sounds of the surf. “The fall and early winter are still seasonably enjoyable for day trips to Assateague to catch a glimpse of the island’s wild ponies, along with kayaking eco-tours, fishing, crabbing,” as well as warm fall days spent at the beach, explains Judy Wilbur, director of sales for Dunes Manor. “Our many championship golf courses will work with groups and tournaments alike. Runners and cyclists will find miles of open lanes to traverse coastal highway.” Many restaurants, bars and amusements remain open after Labor Day in Ocean City, and the Dunes Manor team can assist with coordinating off-site activities. They also work with several local charities for groups who want to make an impact through philanthropic activities as part of their conferences. The Victorian Room restaurant at Dunes Manor provides oceanfront dining and traditional coastal fare. The

hotel can provide a crab feast utilizing its lower deck picnic tables, or make recommendations for a variety of restaurants in the area, as well. “Team building depends on the group,” says Wilbur, noting that some clients are more adventurous and interested in activities like “Beach Olympics,” while others are more comfortable with a destination scavenger hunt. “Evening sing-alongs with Miss Shirley at the piano should be making a full return post-COVID. Fall and winter are special times at the beach for winery visits, Winterfest of Lights, brewery and distillery tours, and health and wellness retreats.” Dunes Manor can provide extensive value to groups during the off-season and can afford additional flexibility with rooms-to-space ratios, creative breaks, area bar and restaurant promotions, and fun activities to strengthen a team’s mission and vision. As one of the East Coast’s most familyfriendly resorts, many convention attendees bring their families along to enjoy the Ocean City beach and resort offerings. In the late summer and fall seasons, the temperature is comfortable and the ocean is still warm.


“Roland E. Powell Convention Center goes strong all year long. Our exciting expansion will be unveiled in the new year, offering more opportunities to enjoy our beautiful bay vistas while holding an event here. Planners can be among the first to experience the glorious views and comfortable, modern event space,” exclaims Norma Dobrowolski, destination sales manager for the Ocean City MD Convention and Visitors Bureau. Ocean City offers festivals year-round, including many in the fall. “We have our fall festival, Sunfest, in late September and early October, and our annual Winterfest takes place from mid-November to New Year’s,” Dobrowolski states. “Winterfest has become a walking event and people are loving it. The family can take time to pause by favorite lighted displays as excitement for the holiday season builds. Ocean City is twinkling in its finest, as private home owners as well as business establishments dress buildings in holiday light displays.” Crisp air and stirring sunrises in the fall lend well to early morning beach walks or strolls and biking on the resort’s vintage boardwalk. Ocean City restaurants such as The Shark offer not only farmto-table, but sea-to-table dining. Located right on the commercial harbor, they offer an intimate space with select fresh offerings. Harborside Grill boasts a fun marina atmosphere with music and their famous Orange Crushes. Some of Ocean City’s year-round hotels offer sought-after dining, as well. The Doubletree houses the Marlin Moon Grille, a favorite for celebrating holiday feasts. The Clarion is home to Horizons, and Dunes Manor’s iconic Victorian Room are wonderful oceanfront dining spots for special holiday meals or events.

om o R e v a H We Room to Meet

We Have Room in Chester County’s Brandywine Valley, an ideal destination for corporate meetings, retreats, and social events. Discover a variety of venues, from national brand hotels and modern meeting spaces to historic landmarks and mansions. Enjoy plenty of Room to Meet, Room to Stay, and Room to Play at attractions unique to the Brandywine Valley, like world renowned Longwood Gardens.

Chester County Booking Bonus New meetings and events booked in a Chester County lodging property with 25 or more room nights will receive a $500 signing bonus.

Contact Courtney Babcock for more information. (484) 840-7213 | Courtney@BrandywineValley.com |

MeetinCC

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National Harbor Tree Lighting Ceremony in National Harbor, MD; photo credit: Eli Meir Kaplan

tertain convention attendees with unobstructed sunsets as the backdrop. National Harbor’s two 700foot piers provide prime waterfront reception locations, and there is a 6,000-square foot Capital Canopy, which is attached to the Capital Pier.

Of course, golf outings know no season in Ocean City. “It can be part of any event as a team outing. Informally organized morning walks on the boardwalk are an invigorating way to bring everyone together at their own pace to set the tone for the day. Ocean City also offers mini-golf indoors and bowling. These are great wintertime team or informal gathering activities,” observes Dobrowolski. “Traveling in the fall shoulder season means less traffic and more availability for hotels in our beach town,” she adds. “Groups may find more attractive rates for planning either a leisure or business event… With Ocean City as a predominantly drive-to destination, fall travel is much less stressful than planning flights. Our temperate climate makes a great outdoor destination for meetings. Our convention center and our 30 hotels with meeting space are sure to find availability for your meeting or event in the fall and winter.”

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD Although the entire destination is relatively new (development began less than 15 years ago), National Harbor has become a premier waterfront destination in the Washington, DC region. National Harbor is unlike any other destination in that the entire property was built by one developer with groups and meetings in mind. It holds eight hotels with 3,400 hotel rooms, more than 40 restaurants, multiple event and entertainment venues, and over 1,100,000-square feet of meeting and event space. Signature hotels include MGM National Harbor and the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. National Harbor offers a variety of after-meeting gathering locations, too. Take advantage of outdoor flex space and en54 september z October 2021

Flight Deck, located beneath the iconic 180-foot Capital Wheel, provides picturesque views of DC monuments, Alexandria, VA, and beyond. Attendees also can visit Fleet Street, the entertainment area within the Waterfront District that has everything from bull riding at Cadillac Ranch to dueling pianos at Bobby McKey’s. The street also serves as the perfect location for meeting and event block parties. Oxon Hill Manor is a historic property option for smaller meetings and off-site events overlooking the Waterfront District at National Harbor. During winter months, this 350-acre resort destination transforms into a winter wonderland with more than two million lights, a 56-foot outdoor tree located at the waterfront with a host of activities including movies on a big outdoor screen. Tree lightings take place nightly from November 13 through January 2. Gaylord National’s holiday celebration, Christmas On The Potomac, features ICE! (a 9-degree walk-through attraction with more than two-million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures). Guests can warm up afterward at the resort's Relache Spa. MGM National Harbor’s Conservatory features is own winter holiday display, or attendees can try their luck in its on-site casino. Waterfront boutique shopping is complemented by Tanger Outlets’ 85 premium brands - great for holiday shopping and yet another off-site venue option for groups. Topgolf National Harbor provides a seamless venue for corporate outings and has two event spaces alongside its hitting bays with event catering packages available. Take in all that this waterfront destination has to offer with the Show Your Badge Pass. Enjoy discounts and promotions from local boutiques, top-rated restaurants and renowned


attractions. Get this mobile pass of offers via text or email (no apps to download). Redeem deals by simply presenting the digital coupon at the point of purchase. Find out more at www.nationalharbor.com. Nearby Mount Vernon (home of George Washington) has created The George Washington Leadership Institute with a variety of programs and also offers private group holiday tours. Nearby Piscataway Park, overseen by the Accokeek Foundation, has several team building activities, too. While National Harbor enjoys year-round visitors, the groups meetings market is slower in winter months, allowing for increased opportunities to book hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues.

LAKE GEORGE, NY The Lake George Area provides more than 200,000-square feet of combined indoor and outdoor meeting space with options for every season. No matter what time of year, there is something to enjoy after meeting hours whether that’s kayaking through the glistening reflection of fall foliage on a lake or enjoying winter sports for all ages and abilities. The Adirondack Craft Beverage Trail features the unique flavors of a thriving local craft beverage scene and includes award-winning beer, wine, spirits, hard seltzer, hard cider, and soft drinks. No matter the weather or season, a seat by the lake is great for unwinding after a day of hard work. Business and leisure travelers will find the area to be a lesscrowded option, off the beaten path, but with a variety of amenities including luxury travel options. Think more wooded trails, less carpeted convention hallways. More scenic byways, less traffic on highways and just a few hours’ drive from New York, Boston and Montreal. Once here, there are walkable downtowns from lakeside communities to historic Glens Falls, NY.

The Lake George Area offers indoor and outdoor entertainment in the fall and winter months. The fall is a great time to get out on the lake whether that’s by cruise ship, private boat tour, canoe or kayak. Hiking and biking remain popular activities, as well. There also are adventure courses, scenic gondola rides, a Six Flags Theme Park that’s open through October, plus shopping at both factory outlets and unique boutiques. Museums, theaters, live music and a thriving arts and culture scene are available year-round, too. Immersive experiences at historical museums provide education and entertainment. In the winter, there are a variety of snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, two ski mountains, snowmobile tours, winter festivals and more. There are even opportunities to rent fat bikes to ride the trails in the winter. Waterside dining in the autumn and outdoor igloo dining in the winter are memorable experiences. A thriving culinary scene provides fresh takes on dining, with restaurants offering the flavors of fall in Upstate NY. There are many opportunities for team building, including indoor escape rooms, themed laser tag, outdoor adventure courses to name just a few. Sometimes just going for a group bike ride, hike or private boat tour can bring a team closer together. Teams also can enroll in classes at various businesses and make something tangible to take home, like their own candles or other projects. There are several seasonal events in the fall and winter, too, such as Oktoberfests, Lake George Winter Carnival, and this year Ice Castles will come to Lake George for the first time an experience built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. January is typically Ice Bar season with multiple venues opening lounges carved from ice. Fall and winter are ideal times for groups to travel because it’s generally less crowded than summer. This provides a more relaxing experience for groups with less wait times and ease of booking room blocks or banquet rooms. Experience each season for the magic and different experiences and scenery it provides. There’s nothing like the painted mountains of autumn or that first step onto a fresh snowfall.

Aerial view of Lake George and The Sagamore Hotel in autumn; photo courtesy: The Sagamore Hotel

Traveling in any season can provide enrichment to people’s lives, broaden their experiences and outlooks, all while helping to lift spirits and boost morale. Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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The Event Center at Rivers Casino Philadelphia, PA

GUEST EXPERIENCES

Resorts, Conference and Convention Cente 56 september z October 2021


ers

Resort hotels, conference centers, convention centers, and casino resort properties throughout the region are featuring special programs and plenty of offerings. Here is a sampling of what is available or being planned for individuals and groups.

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Blair County Convention Center Altoona, PA

Caesars Entertainment Properties Atlantic City, NJ

Located along I-99 and nestled in the mountains between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, the sleekly designed Blair County Convention Center boasts a 15,000-square foot flexible ballroom space, 24,000-square foot exhibit hall, eleven breakout rooms, two outdoor patios overlooking the mountains, and two multi-use lobbies. Parking is always free and includes over 700 combined outdoor and garage spaces.

Caesars Entertainment and Resorts features three properties in Atlantic City - Caesars and Tropicana on the boardwalk and Harrah’s in the Marina District - that combine to offer more than 250,000-square feet of meeting space and over 5,000 guest rooms just steps away from celebrity-chef inspired restaurants and an exciting lineup of live entertainment.

Services and features include in-house catering, complimentary guest Wi-Fi, a dedicated event planner, event set up and tear down, and an adjoining Courtyard by Marriott. Blair County also is home to over 1,400 hotel rooms in all. Having celebrated its 20th anniversary in May, the center is planning a rebranding project in the near future.

Between the three properties, there are unique spaces that include beachside settings and The Pool at Harrah’s, an indoor year-round tropical oasis available for a special reception. Planners can elect to shake up their group’s keynote presentations by meeting in a Broadway-style theater, or in a flexible 50,000-square foot ballroom.

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“Our meeting planners have been telling us for a while that they are absolutely ready to return to in-person meetings,” notes Peter Cancila, Caesars Entertainment director of sales, Atlantic City Region. “Meeting face-to-face is how business is closed, learning is done and achievements are celebrated. While our partners are ready to meet, we understand that every organization has distinct needs, and we are ready to accommodate whatever our clients’ duty of care wishes are. We are ready when you are, and are willing to work right alongside of you to ensure we execute a safe and productive in-person meeting.” Caesars Entertainment just embarked on a $400-million investment into its AC properties. Over the next three years, plans include remodeling room towers, incorporating fresh, new restaurant concepts and amenities, and a focus on revitalizing the company’s namesake resort, Caesars Atlantic City. Having already completed a $170-million guestroom remodel of 600 rooms at Caesars AC and 450 rooms at Harrah’s AC, in the fall, a renovation of 950 rooms will take place at Harrah’s Waterfront Tower.

Cape May Convention Hall Cape May, NJ Cape May Convention Hall is situated directly on the beach, a state-of-the-art 20,000-square foot facility that features two event halls, a catering kitchen, meeting room, wraparound deck, and a multi-purpose atrium with views of the beach and the ocean. Cape May is an upscale resort, so there is always a variety of accommodations available, and the pedestrian and cyclist friendly layout of the town makes it an attractive alternative to busy urban areas.

Dunes Manor Hotel Ocean City, MD Dunes Manor boasts all oceanfront rooms with private balconies overlooking the Atlantic, afternoon tea-time served in its lobby daily, and morning yoga. “With less air travel and more drive-to meetings gaining in popularity, we developed a plan to both build on customer confidence with cleaning and safety protocols, but to also provide flexible contract terms,” explains Judy Wilbur, director of sales for Dunes Manor. “In partnership with HSMP (the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Partnership of Ocean City), we hosted a meeting planner invitational to drive-distance planners to spend a night with us – complimentary. It was a 60 september z October 2021

success and generated additional interest in the resort as a meetings destination. Future plans will include extending our Dunes Circle Loyalty Program benefits to groups – enhanced value-added amenities include food and beverage discounts and complimentary nightly social hour.” As an independent hotel, planners enjoy the property’s flexibility coupled with the endless natural resources of the island. “Curating programs specific to our customers’ needs is where we excel,” notes Wilbur. “Our planners can take advantage of as much or as little as their agendas will allow – scavenger hunts, cornhole games, trivia, wine education breaks, and many off-site activities for team building. November and December are currently months where planners will find the best values and can stretch their conference budgets a little further. In addition, we… will be offering a number of incentives for multi-year commitments.”

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center National Harbor, MD Gaylord National, a waterfront hotel along the Potomac River, recently completed a $64-million guest room renovation and features over 600,000-square feet of flexible meeting and event space, including 65,000-square feet of outdoor function space, and 1,996 total guestrooms. There is no shortage of entertainment and dining options. Attendees can enjoy Gaylord National’s 19-story glass atrium and view of the Potomac River with a cocktail at the Belvedere Lobby Bar. For a more refined dining experience, planners can host attendees at Old Hickory Steakhouse. Replay, Gaylord National’s ‘80s-themed pop-up rooftop lounge, is perfect for networking or private events. During downtime, attendees can check out the junior-Olympic size swimming pool and pool bar. Gaylord National is situated in National Harbor, a walkable waterfront community, so planners have the option to organize various activities outside of the resort without needing to arrange for transportation. Everything from an outdoor block party and a cruise down the Potomac to The Capital Wheel or a casino night at MGM. Gaylord National also offers a free shuttle service. For planners looking to have attendees explore the Capital region, Old Town Alexandria and Washington, DC are just minutes away. Gaylord National’s on-site culinary professionals can create regional menus, while event experience managers specializ-


ing in helping planners to create extraordinary events can design a variety of room setups for physical distancing, based on the desires of the group. Additional services include individually packaged meals, assisted buffets, contactless service and more. As a part of Marriott International’s family, the property meets health and safety protocols as outlined in Marriott’s Commitment to Clean. Over the last year, Gaylord National has undergone a $64-million renovation and currently is renovating its Atrium marketplace with unique areas including an outdoor terrace with fire pits, Les Spirituex for cocktails, wine, beer and charcuterie, plus a coffee bar.

Holiday Inn Oceanfront Ocean City, MD The Holiday Inn Oceanfront, part of Harrison Group Resort Hotels and Restaurants, is located directly on the beach. With its central location on the island, it boasts a full-service resort complete with a conference center that is 8,200square feet of flexible function space, including six breakout rooms and 216 sleeping rooms (all efficiencies). The conference center is catered by the award-winning Touch of Italy group and features the Touch of Italy restaurant and the Boiler Room bar.

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

The outdoor pool area features a swim up pool bar and the Original Pool Bar and Grill that overlooks the beach. Complete with a tennis court, fitness center and game room, this 100 percent nonsmoking IHG resort property appoints award points for meeting planners. “We pride ourselves on cleanliness and have put measures in place to ensure that a meeting safe environment ensues. Our capable staff of conference services managers and AV techs make

To schedule your next meeting or event,

800-992-9732 | WildwoodsCC.com

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Bonfire on the beach at the Hyatt Place Dewey Beach and Lighthouse Cove Event Center in Dewey Beach, DE

Event Center,” Martinelli adds. “From beach bonfires, boat rides and Dewey Crush Crawls to interactive items in our meeting space, we can help to add a twist to your traditional meeting, and ensure that your event will be one your group will never forget.”

for a smooth conference planned to the details you specify,” explains Ruth Waters, CHSP, director of sales, Harrison Group Resort Hotels and Restaurants. The Holiday Inn Oceanfront is planning to redevelop the outside green space to include a fire pit and bar area, making it an exciting venue for group activities and food and beverage in the next year.

Hyatt Place Dewey Beach and the Lighthouse Cove Event Center Dewey Beach, DE The Hyatt Place Dewey Beach and Lighthouse Cove Event Center is a premier event location in Delaware, offering over 19,000 total square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space. Enjoy views of the Rehoboth Bay and sunsets in the heart of Dewey Beach, just steps away from the ocean. Its experienced sales team, exceptional service and coastal elegance combine to create an unforgettable experience for events. Hyatt Place Dewey Beach hotel offers 144 guestrooms that include 14 condominiums with 2-, 3- and 4bedroom options.

The property recently opened an on-site full-service restaurant called the Lighthouse, which boasts views of the Rehoboth Bay and is directly adjacent to the bayside beach, a great spot for a post-meeting happy hour or dinner. Try the original Dewey Orange Crushes and snack on crab cakes while taking in a sunset view.

Kalahari Resort and Convention Center Pocono Mountains, PA Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in the Pocono Mountains boasts 977 sleeping rooms and over 100,000-square feet of meeting space. With event spaces of all sizes, the property has the capability to host everything from small board meetings to events for over 5,000 people. In addition, Kalahari provides in-house AV, catering and convention planning, along with a culinary department made up of a team of chefs who have experience from all around the world and can create custom menus to fit within client budgets. Attendees also have a variety of on property activities from which to choose, including Spa Kalahari, Gorilla Grove Outdoor Adventure Course, zip-lining, 36 holes of miniature golf, a Family Entertainment Center, hiking trails, on-site restaurants and more.

“We create a full-service experience in addition to a oneshop stop for your group,” explains Ashlee Martinelli, regional director of sales and marketing for Hyatt Place Dewey Beach and Lighthouse Cove Event Center. “At our property, we can host your guestrooms, conduct your meeting with many flexible space and options, create an exquisite culinary experience with our knowledgeable food and beverage team, as well as plan team building and after-hours activities to make your event one-of-a-kind.”

Kalahari continues to specialize in customizing events to meet the needs of each program. Everyone's comfort level in how events are presented these days is different, and the team at Kalahari is always happy to work with each client to create the experience they want to provide. Whether it be unique room setups, different ways meals are served, flows of meeting space, or any other detail, the Kalahari team will work to make it happen.

“We have combined meetings and our concept of fun to create a unique experience for events at the Lighthouse Cove

Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in the Pocono Mountains recently (January 2020) opened a massive expansion

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to their convention center that added a 38,000-square foot ballroom, a 12,000square foot ballroom, sundrenched prefunction space and more. Coming soon (December 2021), Kalahari will be adding to its already stellar list of on-site dining options with the opening of a new restaurant called Cinco Ninos - a modern Mexican dining experience and tequila bar.

Lansdowne Resort Leesburg, VA Lansdowne Resort features 55,000square feet of meeting space, including a state-of-the-art Thinking Center, immersive outdoor pavilion and a distraction-free environment just 45-miles from Washington, DC. This 500-acre property along the Potomac River offers AAA Four-Diamond accommodations and 305 guestrooms. Meeting attendees can enjoy 45 holes of championship golf, innovative wellness and an award-winning spa, as well as culinary options that promote balance and well-being. There also are opportunities for one-of-a-kind team building exercises complemented by a seasoned and award-winning sales team to ensure personalized service. Lansdowne Resort is on the cuttingedge of health and wellness, combining elements of Eastern and Western wellness to offer unique activities and “healthy” breaks, like tai chi, chair yoga in meeting rooms, and specialized tea lines. With a primary goal of maintaining the health and safety of visitors, Lansdowne has found ways to transition activities and meeting spaces outdoors, and continues to evolve its alfresco offerings. They also are in the process of creating tailored packages for groups. In 2019, the property completed a full renovation of its grand ballroom and conference center. Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Maritime Conference Center Linthicum Heights, MD Maritime Conference Center (MCC) on the campus of the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS-MCC) is just minutes from Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and features the assistance of its professional staff and value-added package pricing. Day packages include general session meeting space, essential AV, access to centralized break areas, and lunch served in the center’s dining room. Overnight packages include guestroom accommodations, dinner and breakfast, access to the indoor heated swimming pool, recreation room and fitness center. With 100,000-square feet of meeting space, the property provides plenty of breakout spaces, a tiered auditorium, and tabletop exhibitor space. The conference center has 232 onsite guestrooms, provides complimentary parking, ample Wi-Fi, business centers, a snack shop, and a lounge for after-conference gatherings. Meeting planners also appreciate the freedom to make use of the abundant outdoor space and utilize the unique maritime memorabilia room for receptions. Many planners also appreciate that the revenues generated at MCC directly support its non-profit 501c3 MITAGS maritime training school. MCC works closely with meeting planners to incorporate COVID-19 policies and procedures within their own organizations’ comfort levels and continues to offer flexible contracting language to include relaxed attrition and cancellation policies. The property’s IT department has worked to create a hybrid-ready room and is equipped to assist with hybrid and virtual meetings with help from outside partners when needed.

In addition to meetings, MITAGS-MCC has been safely quarantining mariners prior to boarding their ships on assignment. These important restriction of movement events have kept over 1,800 individuals safely working throughout the pandemic. “We’ve also partnered with outside rental companies to provide tents and unique outdoor offerings. MCC’s team is excited to continue partnering with organizations for planning and executing successful in-person training, meetings and events,” says Jill Porter, director of sales for the Maritime Conference Center.

Mohonk Mountain House New Paltz, NY A Victorian Castle in the sky, Mohonk Mountain House offers 259 well-appointed rooms, most with balconies overlooking Lake Mohonk or the surrounding mountains, over 10,000square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space with natural light and scenic views of acres of natural beauty, and over 85-miles of hiking trails. Inside, a sense of history fills this 150-year-old resort, where guests can walk the same halls as past U.S. presidents. “We specialize in creative group recreation and team building events with over 40 different options, from our Cardboard Regatta constructing crafts to launch on the lake, to Human Ice Bowling at our Winter Skating Pavilion. Your team will work together and create bonds while solving problems and puzzles and having a fantastic time,” asserts Kristie Prantil, MBA, CHDM, director of marketing for Mohonk Mountain House. Complete Meeting Packages with meeting space and meals included help to provide a successful meeting and a memorable experience. With a daily activity schedule, spa, golf course, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming, disc golf, stables, a winter skating pavilion, and miles of hiking trails, there are plenty of options for guests during their free time. “We change our food and beverage menus seasonally, so we are always offering new and delicious items,” notes Prantil. “We completed a multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art kitchen wing that allows us to continue to promote new food and beverage offerings.”

Chesapeake Dining Room at the Maritime Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, MD 64 september z October 2021

The property constantly adds new group recreation offerings, and can custom design events to suit a variety of


The Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, NJ

needs, from rock climbing to archery to a campfire with s’mores – there are unique experiences available here. Many of these activities take place outdoors, providing a more comfortable environment for a return to on-site meetings and interactions together. Private meeting space is available both within and outside Mohonk Mountain House, as well as opportunities for private dining.

Roland E. Powell Convention Center Ocean City, MD The Roland E. Powell Convention Center has expanded into the largest waterfront Mid-Atlantic meeting center. Its seasoned convention center staff provide excellent service and are on a first name basis with clients who enjoy hosting meetings at this premier seaside resort. A drive-to destination, Ocean City is popular with attendees of both conventions and competitions who bring along families for a working beach vacation. The Salisbury-Ocean City regional airport is just 30 minutes away, perfect for flying in guest speakers or board members. Guests enjoy the convention center’s 1,200-seat Performing Arts Center with its state-of-the-art sound system and free parking for up to 1,275 cars.

“We’ll be doing more outreach while offering excellent Sunday-Thursday booking event pattern incentives. With 11,000 hotel rooms and 28,000 condos, Ocean City accommodates large events. For smaller groups, our 30 hotels with event space are an inviting and effective option,” observes Regina Brittingham, regional sales manager for the Ocean City MD CVB and the Roland E. Powell Convention Center. “Most of our hotels are waterfront properties. Guests and clients can enjoy the beach, boardwalk and some outdoor time between sessions. We welcome and encourage the return of our valued meeting and convention attendees and will continue to observe and offer all guidelines for health and safety as we all navigate future events.” “During the past year we grew,” Brittingham added. “Roland E. Powell’s new waterfront promenade gallery will add refreshing, scenic ambiance to your pre- or post-function event. Add in our new additional exhibit space, refreshed meeting rooms and the bayfront ballroom with panoramic views, and you have 250,000-square feet of exciting, inviting event space.”

Rivers Casino Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA When it comes to events and meetings, Rivers Philadelphia has something for everyone, all in one location. Its flexibility allows for meeting the needs Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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of groups and guests alike and offers the complete Rivers gaming experience. Guests also can enjoy delectable meals while trying their luck at one of the many slots, table games and poker tables. Rivers presents a great opportunity to take advantage of built-in entertainment and dining options, while free, on-site parking alleviates parking hassles groups might encounter elsewhere in the city. The parking garage also offers direct access to The Event Center on the second floor. Rivers is located along the picturesque Delaware River, easily accessible from I-95 and I-76, and is a short cab ride from both the Philadelphia International Airport and 30th Street Station. Rivers Casino Philadelphia continues to follow all city, state and CDC health and safety protocols, and aims to keep the casino continuously safe and sanitized for all guests and Team Members. Its air filtration technology from airPHX® and AtmosAir™ runs 24/7 property-wide, continuously disinfecting surfaces and indoor air. Rivers Casino Philadelphia has a variety of new offerings, including seating arrangements for physical distancing events and meetings, individually wrapped personal grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options, along with an array of new menu items and custom packages. Guests who book a wedding at Rivers will receive 15 percent off their rehearsal dinner at Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House. With floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the casino’s 30,000square foot Event Center’s spacious ballroom is column-less, allowing it to hold large celebrations or be config66 september z October 2021

ured for small, intimate gatherings. The Event Center features a private boardroom for smaller meetings and private lounge areas as another option. Rivers Casino offers a variety of event spaces so that each event can be customized to the group’s needs and preferences.

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA Rivers Casino Pittsburgh is one of Western Pennsylvania’s premier gaming and entertainment destinations, offering visitors a unique “Pittsburgh Experience” when it comes to meetings and events. Located on the North Shore next to Heinz Field, PNC Park, the Carnegie Science Center, and just steps away from the T station, Rivers Casino offers walking-distance proximity to other attractions along with panoramic views of the Fountain at Point State Park, where the three rivers famously meet. With flexible conference and meeting space and a vast array of customizable catering - food is prepared on-site (even pastries!) - so there’s a venue and menu for groups of all sizes. Just an escalator ride away from the banquet level, attendees will find thousands of slot machines, table games, and a live poker room. At the center of the gaming floor, BetRivers Sportsbook is taking wagers on sporting events. A variety of restaurants and lounges, including the recently opened Martorano’s Prime Italian-American Steakhouse, add to the diverse dining options. The Event Center at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh offers ongoing concerts and performances, such as Kool & The Gang, “I Love The ‘90s Tour” featuring Vanilla Ice, and Larry the Cable Guy.

The Landing Hotel Pittsburgh will open at Rivers Casino in 2022. Until then, a variety of nearby hotels are within walking distance or a short ride from the casino.

The Wildwoods Convention Center Wildwood, NJ The Wildwoods Convention Center offers 260,000-square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 75,000square foot exhibit hall (configurable into two separate areas); a 7,500-seat concert arena; 30,000-square feet of lobby and pre-function space; 10 meeting rooms, state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems; free Wi-Fi and amazing ocean views from nearly every angle, plus a team of experienced support personnel and service professionals to provide assistance every step of the way. The convention center offers ocean views from its outside deck, main exhibit hall, and lobby area – floor-toceiling windows along with a Teflon coated translucent fabric roof that allows the entire building to be flooded in natural sunlight. The center also offers dining options for all groups and events with an executive chef and expert catering staff presenting an array of catering, food service and concession services, as well as décor and theme consultations. The Wildwoods Convention Center is located directly on the boardwalk and free white sand beach, where attendees can enjoy swimming, kayaking, fishing, body surfing, power boating, jet skiing, sailing, whale watching or just relaxing. Home to numerous events throughout the summer season, the beaches are ideal for concerts, festivals, youth


Rivers Casino Philadelphia, PA

sporting events, monster truck beach races, vintage cars and motorcycles beach drag races. In fact, the Wildwoods hosts 160 annual planned events and festivals, so guests are almost assured of experiencing the fun and excitement of some of them during their visit. The boardwalk is home to over 100 rides and attractions ranging from world-class roller coasters and waterparks to carnival-style midway games, arcades, retail shops and eateries. For overnight accommodations, the Wildwoods features more than 8,000 hotel and motel rooms and 3,000 vacation rentals on the fivemile island. Enjoy the fresh air while biking along bike paths, Wildwood’s streets on special “bikes only” lanes, or on the boardwalk during designated hours. Explore historic attractions, museums and Doo Wop Architecture, or honor fallen heroes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, an exact half-size replica of the Washington, DC Memorial. Having so many opportunities for fun and unique activities makes changing up any

event extremely easy and accommodating. Hosting annual events in the Wildwoods provides a variety of options to keep meetings fresh and to create an ever-changing meeting experience and long lasting memories in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. The convention center takes extensive measures to ensure the safety of guests and employees, including implementing advanced sanitization protocols throughout the building while also abiding by all state and federal regulations. Especially now, it is important for destinations to provide fun and unique activities for event goers to enjoy that encourage a mental and physical wind-down after the day’s meetings or events. The Wildwoods are an ideal location to break from the daily grind and enjoy the calming benefits of “Beach Therapy.” Gather with colleagues, friends and family, and enjoy the chance to rest, relax, recharge and escape the outside world. Conventiongoers can step outside and grab a Tram Car ride and make their way down the neon-lit boardwalk. Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Healthy Eating Before and During a Multiday Con by Wendy Dickerman

So, your next conference is coming up in two weeks? There is no better time than the present to start preparing your body from a nutrition standpoint. It’s true that good health is a cumulative process (as is poor health and disease like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol). Benjamin Franklin knew what he was talking about when he said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Instead, let’s make a plan to succeed! 68 september z October 2021


HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO STAY ON A HEALTHY PATH DURING A MULTIDAY CONFERENCE: • Go into the conference on healthy footing. Try to eat healthy, balanced meals (prepared at home if possible) for the week leading up to the conference. • Fuel up with a healthy breakfast (or lunch/dinner) before your trip. Consider a jar of overnight oatmeal (1/2-cup old fashioned oats, 1 cup milk of your choice, 1/4-cup nuts like heart healthy walnuts, a tablespoon of ground flax seeds, and a dash of spice like cinnamon or nutmeg in a 12-ounce mason jar). You make this ahead the night before. Planning! Add piece of fruit and you are good to go. • At the conference think about how many days you will be there. Plan your calories wisely. If having cocktails, you may want to skip the appetizer (or vice versa). • Start each day with a healthy breakfast. Everybody loves bagels, but not the slump you feel an hour or two after eating them. A better choice would be to choose the yogurt and fruit and maybe half of a bagel, if you must. • At lunch, think about keeping your energy up for the rest of the day. Choose a salad if it is available. One idea is to choose a salad with tuna on top instead of a tuna sandwich. If salad is not available, make sure to get some vegetables in. Eat them off the plate first (this way, if you fill up before finishing your plate, at least you ate your veggies).

nference

• If you are on your own for dinner, aim to eat a real meal as opposed to greasy bar food. Strive for balance. A balanced plate looks like this: half the plate consists of vegetables (or salad), and the other half is split 1/4 protein (chicken or fish are healthy options) and 1/4 starch (brown rice, quinoa or potato). Then have fruit for dessert. • Always choose water to drink, this way you will stay hydrated without any added calories when you are sitting all day.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MORE TIPS TO COME! Wendy Dickerman, RD, LDN Advanced Nutrition Consultants, LLC advancednutritionconsultants.com Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Information for the Location Reports has been provided by the Convention and Visitors Bureaus and properties listed (denoted by website) along with additional sources. For the most up-to-date information available with regard to local COVID-19 policies and protocols, please visit the websites listed for each destination.

LocationReport

WASHINGTON DC

View of the Capitol in Washington, DC as part of the Big Bus tour; photo courtesy: washington.org

WASHINGTON, DC washington.org OVERVIEW Washington, DC is home to over 2,400 restaurants (including 23 that have earned prestigious Michelin stars) and more than 70 museums that are collectively reflective of the diverse cultures and histories that make up the DC community. Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers exciting and impactful experiences as the owner and opera-

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DC Jazz Festival; photo courtesy: washington.org tor of 12 premier facilities across the District, leveraging the power of a world-class destination to create amazing attendee experiences through business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. “With tech-friendly venues, new flight and hotel inventory, a billion-dollar upgrade to the closest airport, world-class dining scene and captivating free museums, there are endless reasons not only to visit Washington, DC but to bring your meeting or convention to the nation’s capital,” asserts Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO for Destination DC. “Meeting in Washington, DC provides access to thriving industries, including technology, biotech/pharma, transportation, sustainability and advocacy,” Ferguson adds. “The city and surrounding area also are ripe with experts and standouts in these fields, allowing for unparalleled access to the best and brightest at your next meeting or event.” The city’s configuration also allows planners to expand the footprint of their event by easily tapping additional exciting event spaces, most of which are within walking distance of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

WHAT’S NEW Due to challenges created by the pandemic, Events DC developed GATHER by Events DC, a multiplatform venue designed for customized hybrid and fully virtual environments through TV-grade production and capabilities to produce, host, stream and record. The platform is geared toward integrating in-person and virtual events that are inviting and engaging. Visitors will notice exciting improvements both on the interior and exterior of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. In July, Mayor Muriel Bowser, John Falcicchio, deputy mayor of planning and economic development, Greg O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC, and the Aramark Corporation celebrated the grand opening of new food, beverage, and retail amenities at the venue. New additions to its Uptown Food District include local favorites, Ben’s Chili Bowl and Shop Made in DC. Events DC also has planned a new Streetscape project at the convention center to enhance the building’s exterior features.

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Outdoor event at the Newseum Residences in Washington, DC; photo courtesy: washington.org

With the support of Destination DC, the Hotel Association of Washington, DC, and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, Washington, DC is committed to connecting visitors with resources to make their visits to the city as exciting and successful as possible. A number of new attractions recently were added to the local landscape, including: the MLK Library; Planet Word Museum; National Children’s Museum; Swingers Crazy Golf; Puttery DC; HiLawn at Union Market; Victura Park at the REACH; Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial; National Native American Veterans Memorial; and the National World War I Memorial. Several hotels have changed flags or brands or have undergone renovations in recent months, too. Properties under new flags or brands in DC include: Hotel Zena; Viceroy Washington DC; Yotel; The Ven at Embassy Row; Hotel Madera; Hilton Washington DC Capitol Hill; Lyle; Courtyard by Marriott Washington, DC Dupont Circle; and the Kimpton Banneker, which also recently remodeled. Rosewood - Townhouses completed a renovation in December of 2020, while the property’s hotel underwent a renovation in 2019. New construction over the last several months in Washington, DC includes hotels such as citizenM, Cambria Hotel Washington DC Capitol Riverfront, and Holiday Inn Express Washington DC Downtown. 72 september z October 2021


WORKING TOGETHER At the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Events DC has implemented guidelines and protocols to best protect the health and safety of all guests. As part of this initiative, advanced medical technology is placed strategically in and around the facility, including thermal scanners, thorough sanitization processes, and air purification systems. Washington, DC looks forward to welcoming groups in the coming months, including the United States Army (October 11-13), the Association for Financial Professionals (November 7-10), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (November 18-20). In 2022, the city anticipates hosting 20 citywide meetings at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and other venues. “As we have done the whole pandemic, we follow Mayor Bowser’s lead to keep the city safe and communicate everything a visitor needs to know on our website,” notes Ferguson. “We’re so thankful she has made it very clear that DC remains open for business and… we’re eager to continue to welcome visitors back for meetings events and leisure travel. Our ultimate goal is to inform those travelers of what to expect and see and do while they are here. We remain in constant communication with potential visitors, but also with our members, stakeholders and customers communicating the latest updates to public health and safety as well as all of the amazing things to see and do in Washington, DC. It’s been great to see the community band together to welcome groups back, while prioritizing safety for all.”

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LocationReport

VIRGINIA

"Be Washington" program at George Washington's Mount Vernon in Alexandria, VA; photo credit: Dan Chung; courtesy: Visit Alexandria, VA

ALEXANDRIA, VA visitalexandriava.com OVERVIEW Alexandria is an ideal spot for small- to mid-size meetings, offering a relaxed, walkable setting with a small town feel and the amenities of a cosmopolitan city. The transformed waterfront is the largest draw for meetings and leisure travel with plenty of dining, arts, history, on-the-water experiences and more. A nationally designated historic district founded in 1749, Old Town Alexandria, is home to more than 200 independent restaurants and boutiques alongside intimate historic museums and experiences. “One of the programs that really sets us apart from any other destination is The Leadership Collection at Alexandria™, an exclusive collection of three nationally recognized executive leadership and team building opportunities,” notes Patricia Washington, president and CEO, Visit Alexandria. “This collection focuses on the future of leading-edge programs with access to groundbreaking content, high-level facilitators and one-of-a-kind venues with the George Washington Leadership Institute at Mount Vernon, McChrystal Group and Building Momentum.” 74 september z October 2021


Space Shuttle Discovery at The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a Smithsonian museum located in Chantilly, VA; photo courtesy: Visit Fairfax, VA

WHAT’S NEW The waterfront dining scene continues to grow with two concepts from Alexandria Restaurant Partners: Ada’s on the River and BARCA Pier and Wine Bar, both or which include private dining opportunities. The town’s newest waterfront attraction, tall ship Providence, opened in early 2020 and set sail this year with expanded educational programs and cruise schedules. This celebrity tall ship, which appeared in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, is a full-scale reproduction of one of the most renowned ships in the Continental Navy. Providence offers private events and charters, including exclusive dinners for eight in the Captain’s Cabin. Alexandria’ hotel offerings continue to expand with an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation of the Sheraton Suites Old Town Alexandria in June 2020. Work is underway throughout 2021 to restore the historic George Mason Hotel. The building, considered one of the best examples of Colonial Revival architecture in the city, served as office space for decades and is expected to open as a hotel, operated by Aparium Hotel Group, in 2022. The hotel will feature two restaurants, rooftop dining and outdoor dining. Also under construction is a five-story Holiday Inn Express that will replace the former 1955 Towne Motel in Old Town North. The Hilton Mark Center will begin a $10-million renovation in late November 2021 with a target opening in early January 2022. Since 2020, new Black history experiences in the area include: the Duke Street Black History Trail; Courageous Journey: Alexandria’s Black History Driving Tour; a waterfront African American Heritage Trail; and an Underground Railroad-themed tour from Manumission Tour Company. These outdoor tours can enhance a unique experience for attendees. WORKING TOGETHER “Small meetings aren’t new to us,” says Washington, “we were able to adjust quickly to manage flexible contracts and find creative solutions for meeting planners during COVID19 and will continue to support meeting organizers and attendees responsibly by effectively incorporating seamless

hybrid meeting solutions and events as travel intent continues to rise.” “We’ve continued to work closely with hospitality and tourism partners to provide one-of-a-kind experiences like The Leadership Collection at Alexandria™ and innovative solutions like a timely educational webinar series, Meeting Planner’s Destination Checklist, a Virtual Tours and Experiences Library and more, all which point to our strengths in increasing productivity and profitability, while driving innovation and strengthening relationships,” Washington adds.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA fxva.com OVERVIEW Fairfax County is a unique place to meet, visit and live – with cultural attractions and activities, world-class hotels, and an outstanding culinary scene. While in the area, visitors and event attendees will want to see the home of George Washington, Mount Vernon; a major Smithsonian museum that houses one of only four Space Shuttles in America; the only National Park in America dedicated to the performing arts; and access to Virginia’s scenic wine country. www.eventsmagazine.com

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WHAT’S NEW The National Museum of the U.S. Army made its debut in June of 2021 and tells the comprehensive story of America’s oldest military service through the eyes of the U.S. soldier in a series of innovative, immersive exhibits and technology. The museum also offers premier meeting and event space in a variety of sizes, on-site catering and immersive group experiences. Capital One Center, Capital One’s sprawling headquarters complex, is adding a mixed-use entertainment epicenter featuring a hotel, performing arts venue, retail, and 1.2-acre skypark that brings green space, a biergarten anchored by Starr Hill Brewery, a dog park, public art, and a pop-up food truck experience to Fairfax County. Capital One Hall, a 1,600-seat performing arts center and 225-seat black box theater, will be available to groups when not hosting 200 live performances throughout the year.

2022. Smaller corporate and association groups are meeting again, especially as travel restrictions are loosening up.” “Individuals and families will be drawn to our new attractions, like the Army Museum, Capital One Hall, and the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, as well as our beautiful parks, trails, unique outdoor spaces, breweries and wineries,” Morris adds. “And in the coming year, it will be easier than ever to get around Fairfax County and into the nation’s capital with the opening of additional Silver Line Metrorail stations, including one at Washington Dulles International Airport.”

The Watermark Hotel at Capital One Center will open in October 2021 and will feature a variety of culinary experiences, meeting spaces and will be connected to The Perch, a rooftop urban green space. The River View at the Jean R. Packard Center at Occoquan Regional Park boasts a large indoor event space, as well as two outdoor spaces that overlook the Occoquan River. In May of 2021, the park opened the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, a new tourism attraction that tells the story of the women’s suffrage movement in America in a serene and walkable setting. Coming in the fall of 2021, Archer Hotel is a new boutique hotel in Tysons, which will greet guests with a spirit of casual elegance - lofted ceilings, exposed brick and industrialchic design. The hotel will offer luxe guestrooms and suites, AKB (its hotel bar), and event space. In addition, many of the larger Fairfax County meeting hotels have undergone major renovations in the past year or so, including: Sheraton Reston; Hyatt Regency Dulles; Tysons Corner Marriott; and Westin Tysons Corner. WORKING TOGETHER “We’re looking ahead here in Fairfax County and have many things to look forward to,” says Ali Morris, destination marketing manager for Visit Fairfax, the official DMO of Fairfax County, VA. “We’re seeing that reunion groups - especially military and family reunions - are scheduling events in 76 september z October 2021

The restaurant within the Glass Light Hotel in Norfolk, VA featuring glass art objects; photo courtesy: Glass Light Hotel and Gallery

Norfolk, VA visitnorfolk.com OVERVIEW Norfolk is a walkable waterfront downtown with a thriving arts scene, over 600 independently owned restaurants serving up local flavor, 5,000 hotel rooms and more than 500,000-square feet of total meeting space providing plenty of options. Many of Norfolk’s celebrated cultural centers and arts facilities, including Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin, Virginia Zoo, Chrysler Museum of Art, and Norfolk Botanical Garden also double as alternative venues for events and include both interior and outdoor function spaces. WHAT’S NEW The Glass Light Hotel and Gallery, Autograph Collection opened in the heart of downtown Norfolk in 2020 just steps away from the waterfront. Set in a reimagined 1912 building, this “intellectually curious” boutique hotel is filled with glass art from renowned artists such as Dale Chihuly and


The Children's Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth, VA;

photo courtesy: Visit Portsmouth – Virginia’s Historic Seaport

Peter Bremers, giving the space a modern artist’s studio vibe. With the opening of the Gallery portion of the Glass Light Hotel in late summer, the city of Norfolk will have the largest free, public glass art collection in the world across its multiple art venues. Norfolk also has seen multiple businesses open in recent months, such as Norfolk Kayak, which offers single and tandem kayaking along the Lafayette River. A New Orleans-inspired restaurant, Lil Bit Nola, opened its second location in Norfolk, and COVA Brewing Company, already in construction during 2020, restructured its existing business model to meet the needs of the community. WORKING TOGETHER Local hotels also have rolled out enhanced technologies, including electrostatic sprayers to sanitize surfaces, digital check-in, and one is even using a robot to undertake tasks like delivering room service. All hotels are able to create customized offerings to address the concerns or needs of any client, such as physically distanced meeting configurations, individualized meal choices and hybrid conference options.

PORTSMOUTH, VA visitportsva.com OVERVIEW Portsmouth' Olde Towne Historic District has long been a draw for history enthusiasts as well as those who enjoy the aesthetic of this quaint historic seaport. The Portsmouth waterfront showcases an actual working harbor with a variety of ships passing daily. From naval air-

craft carriers and submarines to U.S. Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters, the military presence cannot be missed. Portsmouth is a walkable city, too. Within easy access of the town’s convention hotel are bars, restaurants, shops, museums and more. Guests also have easy access to Norfolk by way of the Elizabeth River Ferry. Portsmouth is a small town, ideal for those looking for something off the beaten path and without large crowds. WHAT’S NEW The guestroom renovation of the Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel is nearing completion, with the refurbishment of the convention hotel’s public areas slated to begin soon.

WORKING TOGETHER “As meetings and events slowly return to Portsmouth, the tourism office is working with hotels and meeting planners to provide information designed to move attendees about the city during their leisure time,” explains Keith Toler, assistant director for the City of Portsmouth - Parks, Recreation and Tourism. “We work with the local business association to make sure shopkeepers and restauranteurs are aware when larger groups are meeting in our city. The usual welcome bags and onsite presence are provided when requested by either the planner or the hotel.”

Richmond, VA visitrichmondva.com OVERVIEW

The River Walk Inn, a limited-service hotel, has undergone a renovation, as well. Portsmouth has approved zoning for a new 20,000-square foot casino that is expected to break ground by the end of 2021. A planned hotel will follow shortly after the casino opens. Adjoining tracts of land have been approved as a new entertainment district, as well, so additional hospitality industry growth is anticipated that will help to further support the casino and surrounding area.

The Greater Richmond Convention Center is the largest exhibition and meeting facility in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with a 700,000-square foot, multi-purpose complex. The Richmond Region is home to more than 18,000 hotel rooms and there is plenty to do in the area. The Virginia Capital Trail is a 52-mile dedicated multi-use trail connecting Richmond and Williamsburg along historic Route 5. www.eventsmagazine.com

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Art enthusiasts will enjoy the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or the Institute for Contemporary Art. Or walk around and view some of Richmond’s 100-plus public street art murals. Mending Walls is an art project that brings together public artists from different cultures and backgrounds to create murals that address current circumstances within society, and how to move forward together through understanding and collaboration. The Richmond Region is home to an award-winning and diverse food scene, too. Check out Mama J’s Kitchen, Lehja, Alewife, Perch, Brenner Pass or the new Lillie Pearl, and the Richmond Beer Trail is comprised of almost 40 regional breweries. WHAT’S NEW The Richmond Marriott, connected via skywalk to the Greater Richmond Convention Center, recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation. It was the intent of the design for the Richmond Marriott to reflect the heart of the city, the James River. The renovations echo the river and provide the guest with a unique sense of place and décor that reflects the city’s sense of culture and adventure. Henrico County opened its newest hotel in April of 2021, the Hampton Inn Richmond West, which is located a short distance from Short Pump Town Center. Ashland recently opened a brand new Tru by Hilton hotel convenient to Interstate-95, Randolph-Macon College, the Ashland Amtrak Station, and Kings Dominion. WORKING TOGETHER “Richmond Region Tourism is committed to providing authentic experiences to all visitors, and the first step to delivering these opportunities is to provide participants with updated, accurate information,” proclaims Matthew Robinette, vice president of visitor experience at Richmond Region Tourism. “The team has compiled updated information providing accurate hours of operation, protocols, and new and unique ways to… distance while delivering enhanced learning experiences.” “The plan is to work with meeting planners to contribute to the success of their event, support their associations’ and boards’ commitment to member benefits, and deliver a safe and authentic Richmond region experience to all participants,” says Robinette. “The plan’s success will be determined by effective communication with the planner, true 78 september z October 2021

collaboration with destination partners, and a collective commitment to safety. The team at Richmond Region Tourism is innovative and creative, and will deliver successful services that provide value to the planner, the organization, and the participant.”

ROANOKE, VA visitvbr.com OVERVIEW Roanoke is the largest metropolitan area along Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway and frequently has been voted “Top Adventure Town” by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors. Roanoke offers a metro mountain mix with outdoor recreation that comes with proximity to the Appalachian Trail, multiple waterways, and the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, while also boasting the cultural attractions, culinary scene and amenities of a major city. WHAT’S NEW Last year, The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center completed a multi-million-dollar renovation that included the Pine Room Restaurant, 1882 Lobby Bar, a new outdoor eating space overlooking downtown Roanoke and the railroad, and new hybrid meeting capabilities for use during the recovery phases of the pandemic and beyond. “While the entire world has been impacted by the pandemic, the event and meeting industry has found itself in a particularly difficult spot. Hybrid meetings and events allow organizations to come back together in-person safely, while simultaneously being able reach a larger audience virtually,” explains Brian Wells, general manager of The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. The Liberty Trust Boutique Hotel is slated to open in November 2021. It will include an upscale food and beverage concept within its marble-filled lobby space, as well as a tasting room converted from the building’s original walk-in safe. The Preserve at Crooked Run opened in mid-2021. Located in Botetourt County, it boasts 475-acres of recreation that includes an Orvis-designed sporting clays course, a fiveacre lake for fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding, as well as an infinity pool and overlook pavilion. Its Grand Lodge provides indoor and outdoor seating and is fully-equipped for multi-day corporate retreats and meet-


Lobby of Hotel 24 South in downtown Staunton, VA in the Shenandoah Valley, part of the Historic Hotels of America

ings with a full kitchen and variety of cabins and cottages for on-site accommodations. WORKING TOGETHER “Last year many hotels and meeting facilities successfully implemented the Visit VBR Stay Safe Pledge as commitment to keep one another safe and healthy. Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge remains in conversation with our members as restrictions continue to ease. Visit VBR and many of our partners are committed to maintaining a safe environment for attendees, and to assure planners the confidence in holding their next meeting,” asserts Debora Wright, VP of sales and marketing, Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge. “With the easing of official Virginia health recommendations, Virginia’s Blue Ridge has started to host many in-person meetings and gatherings safely and successfully.”

SHENANDOAH VALLEY, VA visitshenandoah.org visitskylinedrive.org OVERVIEW The Shenandoah Valley Region offers lots of outdoor recreation and adventure, including national parks, as well as authentic “Main Street” destinations, caverns and other geological attractions, cultural and heritage tourism, as well as a robust culinary, wine and craft beer scene. WHAT’S NEW The Blackburn Inn and Conference Center is a historic boutique hotel that sits on 80-acres of manicured grounds in the historic district of Staunton. This Shenandoah Valley hotel recently added a Conference Center and Spa facility in the fall of 2020. The property is home to both indoor and outdoor spaces, including Second Draft Bar and Bistro, the hotel’s onsite restaurant and patio. Originally built in 1924, reopened and reimagined with an extensive renovation back in 2005, Hotel 24 South, a Virginia Destination and Conference Center in Staunton, recently was renamed and rebranded. The ownership has remained committed to retaining the historic nature of the hotel, spending millions of dollars to preserve and refurbished it to its landmark status. “The hotel’s ownership selected a name which reflects a new generation of excellence and respects our community, our

guests, and our history while being forward looking and all-inclusive,” says Damon Strickland, Hotel 24 South’s general manager. “We have a new name, but what has not changed is our commitment to service, guest satisfaction, and our respect for the Staunton and greater Shenandoah Valley community.” Guests can enjoy dining in the Lobby Lounge or the Magnolia South restaurant. The hotel also is within walking distance to quaint cafes and fine dining restaurants, along with myriad art galleries, fine antique stores, artisan shops, Mary Baldwin University, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, American Shakespeare Center, and is just a short drive to the Frontier Culture Museum. The Shenandoah Valley also is home to a number of wineries and breweries, Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway and plenty of U.S. history. Staunton is the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson and is a scenic 45-minute drive from Thomas Jefferson's estate Monticello and the University of Virginia. WORKING TOGETHER "We are seeing the return of meetings and conventions and most of our events have returned for summer and fall 2021... Our strategy is to stay attuned to advice from public health authorities and our local tourism community needs and plan accordingly," explains Sheryl Wagner, director of tourism for the City of Staunton. "People are looking for smaller, lesser-known destinations with plenty of opportunities for outdoor events and dining, and the Harrisonburg area is perfectly positioned for this trend. Not only do we have easy access to numerous outdoor recreation opportunities; we have numerous restaurants with patio and roof top dining, as well as a craft brewery, which can accommodate group events," says Jennifer E. Bell, tourism manager for the City of Harrisonburg. www.eventsmagazine.com

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Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia Beach, VA; photo courtesy: Virginia Beach CVB

"At Delaware North at Shenandoah National Park (Skyland and Big Meadows Lodge), we are focused on creating an experience that delights every guest. Our comprehensive Rest Assured program has introduced new health and safety standards aimed at helping to keep guests and employees safe," notes Helen Morton, director of sales and marketing for Delaware North at Shenandoah National Park.

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA visitvirginiabeach.com OVERVIEW Virginia Beach is a laid back and welcoming coastal city that boasts sun-drenched boardwalk strolls and bike rides, lively entertainment, outdoor adventures, fresh-caught seafood, wildlife excursions, historic sites and a vibrant arts scene. WHAT’S NEW Earlier this year, Virginia Beach’s first and only hotel on the Chesapeake Bay re-debuted: the Delta Hotel Virginia Beach Bayfront Suites. This renovated venue is situated on its own private beach and offers amenities such as a sunset ballroom attached to an outdoor deck, kayak and bike rentals and more. 80 september z October 2021

Another exciting hospitality-related offering that came on board this year in the uptown section of the city is Apex Entertainment, a multi-level, 84,000-square foot family entertainment complex that is the first of its kind in Virginia Beach. It boasts a myriad of attractions, including mini-golf, bowling, indoor go karting, laser tag, ropes courses and more. Great for team building, it is convenient to hotels, restaurants and cultural arts, as well as free parking all year long. WORKING TOGETHER “Throughout the pandemic, our team continued to engage with meeting and event planners via traditional communication channels, delivering destination news, updates and special incentives to book group business when possible. For all travelers, we used a mix of social media and marketing communications,” explains Sally Noona, part of the sales team for Visit Virginia Beach. “A key priority was visitor safety and that led us to launch the VB Smarter program, which involved universal adoption of [WHO and CDC] guidelines by our industry partners. We also leveraged Virginia Beach Convention Center’s LEED Gold certification with improved technology capabilities, including touchless ticketing systems, touchless restrooms, and air filtration systems featuring MERV14 filters, all of which made adhering to new protocols seamless,” Noona contin-


Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA

ues. “We are excited to welcome back visitors, groups, meetings and conventions to ‘live the life’ that we enjoy year-round in Virginia Beach, while also continuing to highlight the ability to provide ‘coastal distancing’ in our seaside city.” While safety remains paramount, Virginia Beach’s flexibility in offering a range of venues and appealing outdoor amenities and attractions provides inspired interest as travel rebounds. “We have capitalized on our meetings experience with flexible space and schedules at the new state-of-the-art Sports Center and Convention Center, expanded our incentive to include enhanced programs for multi-year commitments, and we have become more creative with ways to maximize live and remote attendee engagement for desirable hybrid meeting options,” notes Noona.

WILLIAMSBURG, VA visitwilliamsburg.com OVERVIEW One of North America’s most popular destinations, nestled between the James and York Rivers, the region is home to approximately 15,000 sleeping rooms from a wide range of brands, 200,000-square feet of meeting space, along with unique team building opportunities. It is ideal for small- to mid-size meetings and events, and boasts a plethora of group dining options and menus, as well as a combination of attractions and activities that will delight delegates and families. Named "Best Small Town in the South" by Travel + Leisure’s readers, Williamsburg offers ample accommodation options to satisfy every traveler and budget. WHAT'S NEW The restaurant scene in Williamsburg is booming, and this year has seen the addition of locally-owned eateries such as Masala Craft, K’Bola Cuban Restaurant, Downstairs at the Fat Canary, and The Bake Shop. The destination also recently unveiled The Edge District, an “Eatertainment” district that began taking shape in 2019 as a joint initiative between the three localities - the City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County - to help

revitalize and grow the area along Second Street and Merrimac Trail, where James City, Williamsburg and York County meet. On the lodging front, The Duke of York Hotel in Yorktown, the only waterfront hotel on the peninsula, will undergo renovations and rebrand as Yorktown Beach Hotel. Its new owners plan to upgrade the property and add more guest amenities. The hotel will remain open during the renovation project, which is expected to last six months. WORKING TOGETHER “Communicating new procedures aimed at safe travel quickly became an important function. New pages were created on the Visit Williamsburg website to serve as a clearinghouse of COVID-related information and resources,” explains Miranda Jarrell, communications director for Visit Williamsburg, “a weekly industry email was launched to communicate new additions to COVID-19 resource pages, a new portal was created to communicate safety measures employed by the hospitality industry. Additionally, Visit Williamsburg’s sales director is a certified Pandemic Compliance Advisor, ensuring safe practices are implemented and effectively carried out at every meeting or event.” “Occupancy in the Historic Triangle is on-par with 2019 levels with hotel rates at an all-time high. Considering group, business, and international travel has yet to rebound, this is a very positive indicator, and Visit Williamsburg is cautiously optimistic for a strong fall and holiday season,” Jarrell adds. Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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EventsWorthy MPI PHILADELPHIA August 18, 2021 Norristown, PA - The MPI Philadelphia All Team meeting, an annual event encouraging chapter members to meet the new Board, discover Volunteer Opportunities, learn about the Goals and Objectives of the chapter and Network with colleagues and peers was held at the Elmwood Park Zoo. The Zoo was the perfect backdrop for a fun, engaging and informative scavenger hunt activity. Attendees had the opportunity to solve clues that led them to various chapter committee tables spread throughout the Zoo. After the meet and greet, all attendees gathered in the Canopy Gardens event space to hear from the MPI PHL President and break-out into smaller discussions.

David Jackson, KKD Tourism Advisors with Anne Madden, Etherio Group and Allen Anderson, Anderson Hospitality Services.

MPI MIDDLE PA ANNUAL MIXER August 19, 2021 Lancaster, PA - MPI Middle Pennsylvania held their annual New Member Summer Mixer event at the Cork Factory Hotel. The chapter welcomed new, returning, and future members with an evening of networking, delicious food, raffle prizes donated from sponsors and local venues, and even a fun wine swap.

(Right) Dan Mies, Wind Creek Bethlehem along with Lauren Kautz, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Poconos; (Far Right) Teri Jakob of UPMC Pinnacle Foundation; Alexandra Arp, Kimber Pierich, PASBO 82 september z October 2021

Alicia Armento, Advanced Staging Productions


EventsWorthy PA FLAVOR August 21,2021 Harrisburg, PA- PA Flavor: the ultimate beer & food pairing was held in the Expo Hall at the State Farm Show Complex. PA Flavor is a Beer and Food Expo, presented jointly by the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, the Brewers of PA, and the American Culinary Federation Harrisburg Chapter and is designed to showcase the many unique beer and food offerings in Pennsylvania. Focusing on the distinct regions of Pennsylvania, PA Flavor brought together 60vendors including craft breweries, restaurants, distilleries from around Pennsylvania to entice the 800 attendees who sampled their products. The ACF Harrisburg Chapter prepared food stations with grab and go farm totable delights along with chef pairing demos that ran throughout the event. www.paflavor.com Photo Credit: Wendy Adams Photography

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EvEntMAkErs CONNECTICUT Uncasville - Mohegan Sun announced that Stephanie Zapata will join its meetings and conventions sales team as Director of Business Development. Stephanie will be dedicated to the Northeast Market, driving business opportunities to the property.

FLORIDA Hollywood - Hard Rock International announced the selection of Shelley Williams for the role of Director of Global Sales for Meetings and Events. In this new role, Shelley will draw upon more than 25 years of experience in global hospitality, including tenure with Caesars Entertainment and, most recently, with Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City.

MARYLAND National Harbor - Jamie Rice has been appointed Director of Sales and Tourism at the National Harbor Convention and Visitors Association. Ocean City - Tom Perlozzo will now be heading the Ocean City Tourism Team as their new Director of Tourism and Business Development. With an extensive background in marketing, sports and recreation management, business development and executive management, Tom will be coordinating many of the town’s departments and invest in research and data to help expand targeting marketing in the area of meetings and conventions as well as sports marketing.

NEW YORK New York - Constellation Culinary Group announced the appointment of Josa Chesa as Executive Chef at New York Botanical Garden and spearheads the menu at Hudson Garden Grill. He joins Hudson Garden Grill with several James Beard award nominations and experience throughout the past 20

Williams 84 september z October 2021

Perlozzo

years working in several Michelin starred restaurants in Spain, Paris, New York City and Portland.

PENNSYLVANIA Allentown - Terry Abell has been named Director of Sales at the Renaissance Allentown. Terry’s career began at Walt Disney World's event planning, international marketing and public relations offices. He has since held roles in sales for hotels in and around the greater Philadelphia area. Altoona - With over 40 years of experience in the food service industry, and as the Executive Chef since 2013 at the Blair County Convention Center, Chef Tom Shilling was named Interim Director in November 2020 and in July 2021 was elevated to Executive Director for the Center. Prior to serving as the Executive Chef, Chef Tom worked at The Nittany Lion Inn and The Penn Stater. Bensalem - Jenna (Worrell) Giuliani has returned to Visit Bucks County as their Business Development and Events Manager. Camp Hill - Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) announced Brett Mayer as their new Vice President of Development. PCN is launching a new development initiative and beginning new fundraising efforts. Drexel Hill - Sharon Goodspeed has been named Director of Sales for the Holiday Inn and Suites Philadelphia West - Drexel Hill. King of Prussia - The Sheraton Valley Forge has named new team members: Diana Almada as Director of Catering; Elizabeth Lotz as Senior Catering Sales Manager; James Madera as Front Office Manager; and Michael Luongo, Executive Chef.

Chesa

Abell

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Lancaster - The Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Lancaster County Convention Center announced Hans Schreiber as their new Director of Sales and Marketing, leading strategic sales and marketing endeavors while supporting the property’s mission to cultivate standout experiences for convention, leisure and business travelers. Hans brings more than 20 years of experience, having worked with several hotel groups in the Northeast. Prior to joining the Lancaster team, Hans was at the Wyndham and Courtyard Marriott Gettysburg and, during his tenure, also served as Chairman of the Board for Destination Gettysburg. “Given our deep connection to downtown and the greater region, Hans is a perfect person to step into this role. In his prior experience, he has not only excelled as a hospitality leader, but has been recognized for championing his community and destination,” said Josh Nowak, General Manager of Lancaster County Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. Philadelphia - Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia announced the appointment of Kelley Maddox as Vice President of Sales. In this new role, Kelley will lead the development and implementation of strategic sales and marketing initiatives for the hotel and newly opened Event Center. Kelley is also responsible for the planning and day-to-day operations of the sales department and will work with the food and beverage team to advise on event execution and strategy.

Philadelphia - Matt Brogan has been named Event Sales Manager for the Sofitel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square. Philadelphia - Kristi Fogarino has been promoted to Director of Events and Catering for The Franklin Institute. Philadelphia - ASM Global announced that Mary Ann Torres has been promoted to the Director of Event Management and Business Analysis, Dominique Bonds has been elevated to Director of Engagement, and Dwight Bazemore has been promoted to Assistant Information Technology Director. Philadelphia - Soroptimist International of the Americas has hired Shelly Tsipori as their new Director, Global Events. Shelly has a strong background and extensive experience in global corporate meeting and event planning in the association and corporate sectors. Most recently, she held a similar role at Project Management Institute. Pittsburgh - VisitPITTSBURGH announced that Andrew Ortale has been named their new Chief Sales Officer. Andrew's appointment marks a return to Pittsburgh as he previously served from 2000-03. Radnor - The Inn at Villanova has hired Kiara Greenidge as their new Director of Sales and Marketing.

Philadelphia - Jen Howard has been named Director of Member Experience for the Pyramid Club. Philadelphia - Brûlée Catering has welcomed Mike Boris back to the team as General Manager of the National Constitution Center. Mike has over 20 years' experience in the catering and food service industry, including a previous stint at the NCC and most recently with Frog Commissary at The Franklin Institute.

Giuliani

Goodspeed

Brogan

Fogarino

Ortale

schreiber

Maddox

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Around Th ASAE’s First-Ever Hybrid Annual Meeting American Society of Association Executives wrapped up a first-ever hybrid 2021 ASAE Annual Meeting with nearly 3,200 association professionals, consultants and industry partners accessing learning content and business solutions through the Intrado virtual platform, as well as through additional, half-day ASAE Community Pop-UPs that took place face-to-face in 10 cities across the nation. More than 500 attendees participated in the in-person PopUPs, hosted by the Atlanta CVB; Visit Charlotte; Choose Chicago; Destination Cleveland; Experience Columbus; Visit Dallas; Destination DC; Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB: Discover The Palm Beaches; and Discover Puerto Rico. “ASAE is proud to have debuted a meeting model for its 2021 Annual Meeting that was all about creating more choices for our members, partners and other stakeholders,” said ASAE president and CEO, Susan Robertson, CAE. “With

the uncertainty of COVID-19 and its variants, we’ve learned to be very adaptive and creative in how we present our learning and networking opportunities. Hopefully the 2021 ASAE Annual Meeting can serve as a model for other associations working in the midst of this uncertainty and change to serve their members and advance their own industries and professions.” Next year’s ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition is scheduled for August 20-23, 2022 at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN.

asaecenter.org

Ocean Casino's New Live Music & Nightlife Experience Arts Montco Week The Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board recently announced the first ever Arts Montco Week, a weeklong event highlighting Montgomery County’s more than 200 arts and culture venues from September 17-26, 2021. The arts are a vital part of what makes Montgomery County an amazing travel destination. Participants can join in the celebration of this first-ever Arts Montco Week by sharing why the arts are important to them, how the arts impact their lives, and anything they love about the arts. This event is free to those able to participate.

www.valleyforge.org/arts-montco-week

Ocean Casino Resort is adding an all-new nightlife experience, Nola’s Bar and Lounge, a $2.5-million venue set to debut this fall. It joins Ocean’s other nightlife offerings, including the recently reimagined Blush Bar and Lounge; 1927 Lounge; and the renowned HQ2 Beachclub and Nightclub. “Over the last several months, Ocean has reinvested more than $15 million in our resort, team members, and local community, including a completely reimagined gaming experience. Our vision for the future of Ocean Casino Resort is clear – to present a premier gaming destination that offers something for everyone,” said Terry Glebocki, chief executive officer for Ocean Casino Resort. Just steps from the casino floor, Nola’s will bring an energetic atmosphere to Ocean’s evolving resort experience. The live entertainment venue will feature a 35-foot bar, elevated premium seating in view of the stage, and a custom-built deejay booth. “Nola’s will introduce a true Las Vegas-style lounge to Atlantic City,” said Warren Richards, senior vice president of food and beverage for Ocean Casino Resort.

theoceanac.com 86 september z October 2021


he Region Destinations International & PCMA: Destination Celebration Destinations International and PCMA will be hosting Destination Celebration on October 6, 2021 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. The former Destination Showcase event has been transformed into an evening reception to celebrate that “we are better together.” “We know that nothing truly replaces face-to-face meetings,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “We look forward to bringing together PCMA and Destinations International members to safely celebrate the power [that] business events bring to communities around the world.” “This is our time, and we are ready because we are more than an industry - we are a movement,” said Sherrif Karamat, CAE PCMA president and CEO. “We are in the business of bringing people together – convening with purpose to deliver the human connections that help enrich community quality of life, advancing industries and social change.” Destinations International and PCMA entered into a joint venture for Destination Showcase in 2019 and hosted the 2020 event in Washington, DC.

www.pcma.org/destination-showcase

New Initiative Connects Businesses with Students/Athletes in Happy Valley The Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County, PA (CBICC) and The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB) recently unveiled HappyValleyTalent.com, a new initiative to connect businesses with students/athletes in the new era of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL). The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s rule update allowing students/athletes to personally profit from their name, image and likeness became a reality in Pennsylvania this summer. “Happy Valley Talent is a business community-driven effort to encourage engagement between businesses – both local and out of area – with students and student athletes, as allowed under Pennsylvania’s NIL law,” explained Happy Valley Adventure Bureau president and CEO, Fritz Smith. Smith added that he is confident Penn State’s far-reaching alumni and fanbase will enjoy the platform, however, he stressed that Happy Valley Talent is not connected or affiliated with, or specifically endorsed by, Penn State University or any other university. The CBICC and the HVAB are developing a comprehensive marketing campaign focused on encouraging businesses to register on the platform, garner interest from student athletes, and inform the public to visit the site’s calendar to check for upcoming appearances by their favorite student-athletes and athletic alumni stars. “This initiative is one that can be a true win-win-win for the business community, students and our local economy,” said CBICC president and CEO Vern Squier. “It is meaningful to our community’s success now and in the future.”

happyvalleytalent.com

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Around The Region Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival When fall approaches the music in Rehoboth Beach, DE is just starting to heat up as the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival will take place on October 14-17, 2021. Established in 1989, the festival helps to raise money for the Beebe Medical Foundation fund and the Tunnell Cancer Center at Beebe Hospital. The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival features global performances on "Main Stages," including: Rehoboth Beach Convention Center; Cape Henlopen Performing Arts Theater; Rusty Rudder; and Epworth Church. Additional performances also take place in many restaurants and smaller venues throughout Sussex County.

www.rehobothjazz.com

Temple University & Destinations International Form Partnership Destinations International and Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) announced an education partnership that guarantees Destinations International members admitted into the Master of Science in Travel and Tourism a $4,000 scholarship toward their tuition, in addition to other potential scholarships. Destinations International is the global trade association for convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) that provides research, education, advocacy and best practices to its members. “By partnering with Temple STHM, Destinations International is able to provide cutting-edge professional development opportunities for our members,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “This partnership demonstrates our commitment to empowering destination organization professionals with the skills and knowledge that are critical for advancing their communities.” Destinations International and Temple University have a long-standing relationship. The school first collaborated with Destinations International in 2012, to expand the reach of Temple STHM students within the national and global tourism industry. That same year, the association helped the school create a course focused on destination marketing organizations.

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Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine September/October 2021 Issue  

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