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MID-ATLANTIC

EVENTS March | April 2021

Fresh air with a taste of outdoor adventure

The Wildwoods, NJ continues to be a top destination for business, sports groups and leisure travelers


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. NOT A SALES PERSON TRY TO BE A LEADER STAND OUT. TRY SOMETHING NEW.

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CONTENTS March z April 2021

MID-ATLANTIC

EVENTS March | April 2021

The Wildwoods, NJ offers a blend of beachfront convention and meeting space, hotels and motels, along with dining, recreation and festivals.

Fresh air with a taste of outdoor adventure

Page 20

PAGE 8 - Breakers Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, PA

FEATURES

8

es to be a top destination for

The Wildwoods, NJ continu

Ample Space at Casino Resorts All-in-One Venues Boasting Plenty of Space for Groups

20

Drive-To Waterfront Destinations Places and Spaces by the Water to Visit or Meet

30

Weekend Getaways Some Short Stay and Daytrip Adventures in the Region

40

Guest Experiences Offerings of Museums, Theaters, Attractions and More

48 PAGE 20 - Annapolis, MD, known as "America's Sailing Capital," is a popular waterfront destination in the region; photo credit: Schooner Woodwind; courtesy: Visit Annapolis

Biggest 2021 Trend: Peace of Mind Constellation Culinary Group Looks Ahead

52

The Borscht Belt A Nostalgic Taste of the Catskills in Stockton, NJ

EVENTS EXTRAS 4

Publisher’s Letter Featured Location: Maryland 54 60 62 64 66

Ocean City Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Prince George's County & National Harbor Montgomery County Baltimore

Featured Location: Delaware 68 Greater Wilmington 71 Kent County 72 Southern Delaware PAGE 30 - The Catacombs restaurant at Bube's Brewery; photo courtesy: DiscoverLancaster.com

6

March z April 2021

75 76

EventMakers Around The Region

business, sports groups and

leisure travelers


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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Morgan Bedore, Mandee Kuenzle Hammerstein

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

EDITORIAL OFFICES 1800 Byberry Rd Ste 901, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006 215-947-8600, ext. 110 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.3

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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7


AMPLE SPA AT CASI

­8

March­z April­2021


ACE

NO RESORTS

These days, just about everyone is looking for venues with plenty of space to allow for physical distancing of attendees and guests. Casino resort properties are ideal options, as they have a wide range of offerings to pair with on-site venues of all shapes and sizes. Throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Region, casino resorts abound and feature an array of on-site enticements, such as abundant amenities and delectable dining options that are complemented by spacious settings for group functions. Equally important, too, is their ability to communicate effectively and work in unison with planners to navigate these challenging times. Photo courtesy: Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­9


The following is a closer look at several of the casino resorts situated throughout the region, along with highlights of their available function space and some of their on-site offerings. ROCKY GAP CASINO RESORT FLINTSTONE, MD Rocky Gap Casino Resort, recipient of the AAA Four-Diamond Award for 20 consecutive years along with many awards from meeting, gaming and golf publications, features a variety of state-of-the-art, high-tech and versatile meeting spaces. Its Jack Nicklaus Golf Course is the only one in the state that offers two very different settings between the front and back 9 and a variety of tee boxes to fit the needs of any golfer. Chipping and putting greens as well as a driving range are available, too. A 243-acre lake on property provides for a variety of activities, from fishing and swimming to boat rentals. There also are hiking trails, a terrace area, and a bar that offers fit pits and social areas. “We are excited about the renovation of Lakeside Grill coming in early 2021,” notes Wanda Holtschneider, director of marketing and hotel operations for Rocky Gap Casino Resort. “Also, our 198-room hotel has been recently renovated.” She adds that, at Rocky Gap, their sales team has maintained open communication with contacts. Calls and emails are made on a daily basis where they check in and provide updates on current Maryland COVID-19 guidelines as well as those of Golden Commitment. All of Rocky Gap’s meeting spaces currently are available, though group capacities are limited to no more than 10 people. Meeting spaces are set up to be physically distanced and sanitized, and hand sanitizing stations are placed in each room. Additionally, the casino is open daily from 8 am until 2 am with reduced table seating and machines turned off or barriers installed to ensure proper distancing. Restaurants are open at 50 percent capacity, and the spa is open Wednesday through Sunday at 50 percent occupancy with limited services. “We will welcome all groups back with offers for meeting space, golf, spa, dining, casino or additional outside activities based on their needs,” asserts Holtschneider. ­10 March­z April­2021


THE PERFEC T MEETING PL ACE

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CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT ATLANTIC CITY, NJ The 100,000-square foot Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah’s Atlantic City by the marina is the largest hotel-conference complex from Baltimore to Boston with two large ballrooms providing groups with plenty of space and flexibility. Caesars and Tropicana both are situated on the boardwalk, just steps from the beach. “All of our properties in Atlantic City offer ample outdoor venues, from opening parties on the beach to food festivals nearby Harrah’s on the Baywalk to tented tournaments on the parking lot of the Waterfront Conference Center – even outdoor concerts! There truly is something for everyone,” proclaims Steve van der Molen, vice president, meeting operations, Atlantic City - Caesars Entertainment. Caesars casino properties offer many amenities, and everything is under one roof and easily accessible, from celebrity restaurants such as Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill, the Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s, and unique indoor venues like The Pool at Harrah’s - ideal for a kick-off celebration or closing reception. “When planning a conference with Caesars Entertainment, be it in Las Vegas or in Atlantic City, you can mix-and-match the best of each property and provide an integrated experience all under one food and beverage minimum, giving attendees a really robust sampling of the best of our distinctive brand,” van der Molen adds.

In the beginning of January, Caesars hosted a PCMA CL 2021 Hub three-day conference in Las Vegas with 50 planners in attendance from around the country. The program included livestreamed PCMA content, and Caesars showcased how to plan and hold a safe meeting while providing planners with a variety of physically distanced experiences. “Planners are most interested in the COVID protocols that are in place and how other planners are currently executing safe meetings,” explains van der Molen. “We hosted Conference Direct APM last October at CAESARS FORUM and now PCMA CL ’21, so we have a great foundational playbook of what to do and how to do it. Our catering and convention services teams are available to walk through different scenarios and our chefs have come up with creative options for showcasing flavorful, colorful and dynamic food and beverage safely. Our most important message is that we are ready to start planning meetings again.” He adds that, as the industry moves toward recovery, hybrid meetings will be the norm in the short-term. “We are ready for this. Encore Productions, our in-house audio-visual provider, has become an expert in live-streaming and broadcasting content. Communicating to attendees how meetings will be executed and what a safe meeting looks like will be key.” HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO ATLANTIC CITY, NJ

Throughout the pandemic, Caesars has been very engaged in the marketplace through interactive Zoom events to stay connected with clients – everything from cooking demos from their executive chefs to hosting holiday “Cocoa with Caesars Entertainment” calls. “It’s been great spending time with clients virtually, but nothing replaces in-person meetings,” explains van der Molen. “We also have had some clients who have been coming for site tours and planning visits. It’s the perfect time to be planning for the future.” “With our sales people located in-market, it is easier for us to meet with customers as we’ll meet with them where they live and work,” he notes. “Our more than 100 sales people across the country represent the entire Caesars Entertainment portfolio from Atlantic City to Las Vegas. They can check availability, quote and negotiate rates, provide answer and write contracts.” ­12 March­z April­2021

To accommodate groups as they ease back into business and jumpstart the recovery phase, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City is offering its Sound Waves Studio Hybrid concept, which allows clients to vet their preference based on need and fit, and then Hard Rock connects them with the on-site production team to deliver on that vision. “We've already seen interest in hybrid meeting options with many clients scheduling for Q2 of 2021, but we really see this doing well once New Jersey restrictions are lifted and the capacity of the meeting can allow for more than 10 peo-


ple,” says Shelley Williams, vice president of sales for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City. In addition to the Sound Waves Studio Hybrid concept, Hard Rock Atlantic City has more than 150,000-square feet of meeting and event space designed to accommodate groups of all sizes, from intimate board meetings to large-scale events and conferences. For the largest of gatherings, Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena has the capacity to stage general sessions for 7,000 people or 300-plus booth trade shows. Apart from a variety of different event spaces which each feature Wi-Fi, expert A/V and technological integration, gourmet catering, and easy access to hotel accommodations, groups also have access to casino excitement. Additionally, full or partial buyouts can be arranged in

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many of the restaurants to further amplify group experiences. “Our team has stayed focused on relationships and building our brand awareness,” says Williams. “Our sales team pivoted to a business development team, where client interaction and engagement is paramount. We have hosted our own Virtual Events for our customers to entertain and educate them on some of the great brand experiences Hard Rock International offers… The team also reaches out to new customers and connects with existing customers to let them know we are flexible and ready when they are to plan their next event.”

as have the property’s on-site restaurants. The Outdoor Lobby Bar has remained open, and the open-air Sky Garden, which debuted last summer, is expected to become a permanent addition this spring. “We are offering extremely flexible attrition and cancellation policies. This allows the groups to adjust attendees, if needed,” notes Peter Ciccone, senior vice president of hotel sales for Ocean Casino, who stresses that keeping open communication with clients is of the utmost importance, especially now. RESORTS CASINO HOTEL ATLANTIC CITY, NJ

“We have hosted four live FAM trips since September to those that are interested in seeing our Safe + Sound protocols, as an example of our recovery,” she continues. “These are called ‘Back to Business’ client experiences, where we guide our customers with a more relaxed and customized agenda to see the property and experience the region. Each experience has left the customers feeling safe and content with how we are preparing and demonstrating how their meeting can be executed.” “We are uniquely located in the Northeast region with over 1/3 of all U.S. business addresses within a four- to six-hour drive,” she adds. “This is a unique advantage for us since air travel and travel in general will be limited as the economy begins to recover. The property has plenty of space both for large and small meetings and therefore offers the unique ability to be flexible with physical distancing mandates and new meeting setups, which will include hybrid opportunities with our updated network infrastructure.” “Meetings will recover, and Hard Rock Atlantic City is prepared… to bring them back safely and responsibly,” she concludes. OCEAN CASINO RESORT ATLANTIC CITY, NJ Situated on 6.3-million square feet, the size of Ocean Casino affords it a great deal of flexibility in terms of function space, both indoors and outside. For example, once restrictions are lifted, its Ovation Hall has the capacity to accommodate as many as 5,000 attendees. In the meantime, Ocean Casino has gotten creative with regard to its event spaces during the pandemic, having carpeted and enclosed a section of its parking lot for outdoor functions. Topgolf has remained a popular choice for groups, ­14 March­z April­2021

Resorts Casino Hotel offers top-notch business facilities situated along the Atlantic City boardwalk with views of the ocean. They regularly host a variety of events, from meetings and conventions to weddings and everything in between. Options for group functions include: Resorts Conference Center, a multi-faceted 12,200-square foot facility equipped with superior bandwidth capable of handling more than 1,000 meeting attendees using their devices simultaneously, as well as screen-sharing with colleagues in remote locations; Ocean Ballroom, the property’s largest, with floorto-ceiling windows facing the boardwalk and ocean; and Superstar Theater, a show-stopping performance venue. Additional options include Horizon Ballroom, several conference rooms and more. Resorts boasts 942 guest rooms and suites in two hotel towers, casino gaming, two entertainment theaters, ten restaurants, a food court, two VIP player lounges, three bars on the gaming floor, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, a health club and spa, a salon, retail shops, 64,000 total square feet of meeting space, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, plus a new DraftKings Sportsbook. Over the past few years,


Resorts Casino Hotel, a Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment property, has undergone $130-million in renovations. As Ritambra Verma, director of sales and revenue management for Resorts Casino Hotel explains, “Consistent, transparent and informative communication is key during such a difficult time. We are able to execute this by reaching out by phone and email as frequently as possible to check-in and give updates, sending planners FAQ pages and links to our ‘Play Safe, Work Safe’ plan, and setting up Zoom video calls and video tours that show the updates and investments throughout the property.” “The strongest message we are conveying to them is ‘We will get through this together.’ We are here, we are ready, and we look forward to seeing you again soon. It is important to stay optimistic and positive each and every time we speak to planners,” she adds. MOHEGAN SUN POCONO WILKES-BARRE, PA Mohegan Sun Pocono has over 20,000-square feet of function space and the flexibility to meet any group’s needs. Its convention center features 10 breakout spaces, and the inhouse AV team is ready to accommodate any request and assist in the transition to hybrid and virtual components as in-person meetings gradually return. Specialized floor plans for optimal physical distancing and property-wide safety and sanitizing measures give planners the confidence to host functions here safely. A large outdoor patio available for events of up to 250 guests overlooks its race track. Mohegan Sun Pocono’s group dining selections include an array of customizable catering menus that feature everything from individual packaged items to themed, served buffets and formal plated entrées. The property also features over 15 restaurants and bars, gaming, live harness racing, live entertainment, shopping and a spa - truly something for everyone. According to Sarah Farrell, director of sales and catering for Mohegan Sun Pocono, “The meeting industry is evolving, and reconnecting on a personal level with planners has been our greatest priority. We are speaking with our planners often and working together to formulate plans for future event... We all have been challenged in the last year, and having a partnership that you can trust is essential.”

Together with the planner, they review property safety protocols and coordinate event plans and details based on statewide restrictions. The property also has enhanced its food and beverage offerings to allow for safe, physically distanced events. This includes prepared floor plans and service standards. “We also are happy to develop customized contingency plans for events, including variations on seating, catering capabilities and event design,” Farrell notes. MOUNT AIRY CASINO RESORT MT. POCONO, PA Mount Airy Casino Resort boasts 20,000-square feet of multi-functional, state-of-the-art meeting, event and entertainment space. The deck at the club house of Mount Airy’s nationally recognized golf course is ideal for outdoor events, dinners and receptions. Overlooking the picturesque Pocono Mountains, the patio is perfect for seated groups up to 50 people. In addition, Mount Airy also boasts a 15,000-square foot tented area for hosting a variety of larger gatherings. Pennsylvania’s first AAA Four-Diamond rated casino, Mount Airy Casino Resort features nearly 300 upscale guest rooms and suites and a variety of restaurant options like Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen and the award-winning Bistecca by Il Mulino. This full-service resort is a destination for both outdoor and gaming enthusiasts alike, featuring a lakefront 18hole golf course; a spa, salon and exercise facility; a luxury, indoor/outdoor swimming pool and entertainment complex; and a covered outdoor pavilion that hosts summer concert series. “Over the last few months, we have faced a variety of challenges, but we… continue to give our customers the fivestar service for which Mount Airy is known,” asserts Glenn Cademartori, Mount Airy Casino Resort’s VP of marketing. “We are continuously adjusting our offerings and finding new ways to cater to our guests every need. Whether it is being overly flexible with timelines, contracts or group size, we will do whatever it takes to ensure that our clients are happy.” “There is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our most valued guests and employees,” adds Cademartori. “We worked with state and local officials to institute various new policies and procedures designed to ensure that guests have the safest and most enjoyable experience possible.” Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­15


WIND CREEK BETHLEHEM BETHLEHEM, PA The Wind Creek Event Center is able to accommodate larger groups while simultaneously ensuring proper physical distancing. At 14,000-square feet, it boasts a large stage and can host between 200-250 guests. An integrated resort, it has everything needed under one roof - meeting space, luxurious hotel accommodations, restaurants, shopping and more. In addition, Wind Creek’s sales team serves as the main contact for everything, meaning that - from start to finish - they coordinate everything and reduce stress for planners. “When quarantine started last year, we created a newsletter to engage and stay in touch with our clients, virtually,” notes Alyssa Lippincott, CHSP, national sales manager, Wind Creek Bethlehem. “To date, we have sent several editions that focused on industry-related material, like educational opportunities, as well as leisure content, including recipes, stay-at-home projects and binge-worthy television suggestions. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.” To ensure that the venue has all of the necessary safety protocols in place and to understand needs from their clients’ perspective, the Wind Creek sales team also has completed the Pandemic Compliance Advisor program.

erage offerings, including our premier steakhouse, Revolution Chophouse, as well as the casino, provide a fun oasis post-meeting and further enhance the value of the event.” The sales team has participated in networking and virtual meeting calls with the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board, Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, NACE, ILEA, as well as team building events with Eventive Productions. These virtual events have been an effective way to stay in touch with meeting planners and industry leaders. During this time, the Valley Forge Casino Resort has remained flexible with its meeting spaces, F&B minimums, space rentals and group room attrition clauses. The sales team also has been communicating creative ways to utilize larger spaces, menus and services to enhance the customer experience, while at the same time adhering to current COVID guidelines. “Additionally,” says Hughes, “we are sending out our Montco 360 virtual tour of the hotel and meeting space to clients so they can easily tour our property, see our meeting space and property layout, as well as the protocols we have in place - all from the comfort of their own home.” RIVERS CASINO PHILADELPHIA, PA

“As we look toward the future, Wind Creek Bethlehem will have more to offer guests,” asserts Lippincott. “In 2022, our Tower 2 expansion will open and feature an additional 35,000-square feet of meeting space, ballrooms, spacious pool areas, a high-end lobby bar and more.” VALLEY FORGE CASINO RESORT KING OF PRUSSIA, PA Guests of Valley Forge Casino Resort currently can enjoy the casino, Casino Tower sleeping rooms, the property’s Micro Restaurants, along with Revolution Chop House. The Parkview and Laurel ballrooms also are available for social gatherings and small meetings with virtual capabilities. Lastly, the Event Center provides ample space for weddings, sporting and dance groups. According to Terri Hughes, director of catering for Valley Forge Casino Resort, “Having your event at our casino property allows for a ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ atmosphere. Our meeting spaces give way to comradery and fun, and a productive day of collaboration. Additionally, our food and bev­16 March­z April­2021

The Event Center at Rivers Casino Philadelphia is a 10,000square foot configurable space well suited to meet a wide variety of needs. It boasts views of the Delaware River and catering by Gibsons Restaurant Group, which operates the casino’s high-end steakhouse, Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House. With floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the ballroom is column-less, allowing it to hold large celebrations or be configured for intimate gatherings. It features a private boardroom for smaller meetings, too, while private lounge areas add still another option.


According to Dominique Frio, director of catering and sales for The Event Center, Rivers Casino Philadelphia, “We will customize our first-class amenities to fit every occasion. Our dedicated team will work hand-inhand with your coordinator to ensure success, from the big picture to the smallest detail.” Rivers is a destination with something for everyone, all in one location. Its flexibility allows the property to meet the needs of groups and guests and offers a complete experience. Guests can enjoy delectable meals and then try their luck in the casino. There is free, on-site parking, and Rivers is easily accessible from major interstates, Philadelphia International Airport and 30th Street Station. “In addition to helping us staying upto-date on economic trends, webinars have allowed us to engage with planners in virtual breakout sessions,” explains Frio. “It's been helpful to learn about the struggles that event planners are experiencing… We're all in this together, so brainstorming with planners and vendors is helping the industry stay active and well positioned to succeed when we return to a more normal routine.” LIVE! CASINO & HOTEL PHILADELPHIA, PA The opening of Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia transforms the city’s Stadium District into an integrated sports, entertainment and casino-resort destination and establishes the area as the only place in the country to experience big league action from four major professional sports teams, plus dining and entertainment, world-class gaming and luxury hotel accommodations. This 510,000-square foot property features: casino gaming; the luxury

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

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­17


Live! has developed a comprehensive Play It Safe plan, an enhanced health and sanitation program that allows for physical distancing, reduced occupancies, and vigorous hygiene and health measures for all guests and team members. The Play It Safe plan also includes a state-of-the-art Atmos Air Bi-Polar Air Purification System within the HVAC system to treat and clean the air in the facility, including any virus particulates. The system is designed to perform 12 air changes per hour throughout the casino floor - more than twice the frequency of most commercial buildings. In addition, the one-of-a-kind Reel Clear slot management system guarantees that every customer who plays a slot machine is sitting down at a freshly sanitized machine and also has the capability to automatically physically distance the customer from the nearest guest. The newly-developed system can automatically shut down a slot after it has been played and can only be reactivated by an attendant after it has been sanitized. Also, once a player starts to play a newly sanitized machine, the system will lock down the machines on either side to enforce distancing in areas not protected by plexiglass barriers. It also allows for a patron to request their machine be cleaned at any time. 208-room Live! Hotel; a variety of dining and entertainment options; FanDuel® Sportsbook; an Event Center with 15,000-square feet of customizable meeting space; plus attached parking. Spirited nightlife includes: Center Bar, offering 360° views of the gaming action in the heart of the casino; and R Bar, a unique, interactive bar, featuring electronic table games and a 40-foot long video screen. Dining and entertainment opportunities include: The Prime Rib steakhouse; Sports & Social Philly, a one-of-a-kind sports restaurant; Luk Fu with traditional dishes that span generations, a private dining room and private Karaoke rooms; 10th Street Market, a unique food hall; Lorenzo and Sons Pizza; Sang Kee Noodle Bar and Kitchen; and Termini Brothers Bakery. Joining them in the Market are two new venues from Chef and TV personality Guy Fieri: Guy’s Burger Joint and Guy Fieri’s Taco Joint. “As a family-owned business for over 100 years, this is an incredibly special day for my family and The Cordish Companies as we expand our Live! Casino brand into the great City of Philadelphia,” said Reed Cordish, principal, The Cordish Companies at the recent ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the casino's opening.. ­18 March­z April­2021

MOHEGAN SUN UNCASVILLE, CT Mohegan Sun is a 5.5-million square foot casino, resort and entertainment destination in Mystic Country, Connecticut. Across Mohegan Sun’s Sky Convention Center, where the 38,000-square foot Uncas Ballroom resides, and the Earth Expo and Convention Center, there is 275,000-square feet of flexible meeting and event space. “We have been busy at work planning and prepping events for a variety of clients in these incredible spaces,” states John Washko, VP of exhibition and convention sales for Mohegan Sun. “As the weather warms, too, we have a gorgeous wrap-around outdoor terrace at the Earth Expo and Convention Center… the opportunities for buy-outs across Mohegan Sun’s dining and entertainment venues are one of our key differentiators, as well.” Just a short drive away is Mohegan Sun Golf Club, home to an 18-hole award-winning championship golf course, clubhouse and bar and grill. Led by Head Golf Pro Michel Painchaud, PGA and VP of Golf, Philip Krick Jr., it not only of-


REIMAGINE | REINVENT RECONNECT

Events

fers great golfing experiences, but can create memorable banquet experiences, too, when it opens for the season in late winter/early spring. Mohegan Sun is home to thrilling gaming, exceptional dining and premium shopping. Relaxation at a swimming pool, terrace, spa, or golf course is always an option after a meeting or event, as are entertainment performances and live sports alongside 1,600 elegant and spacious hotel rooms, and two largescale and world-class convention centers.

PL ANNING

DESIGN

DECOR

2 1 5. 886. 0202 e ve ntr i city. n e t

“Mohegan Sun stayed busy throughout 2020, even with the immense challenges that surfaced as a result of the pandemic,” observed Washko. “Through that period, and what is still in place currently, we developed a comprehensive and immersive COVID-19 Resource Center.” “In these new uncharted waters, this resource center is one of the most important sources of information providing protocols and strategies we share with current and prospective meetings and convention clients,” he continues. “Moving forward, as the business environment improves and vaccination rates increase, we’re really excited about Mohegan Sun’s continued ability to attract and fulfill the needs of so many different types of shows and group events.” Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­19


DRIVE-TO DEST PLACES AND SPAC

With spring and summer fast approaching, people are looking to get out and enjoy nature, fresh air and some outdoor adventure. Warmer weather also invites opportunities to head to the beach, lake or river and enjoy the views and wide range of activities that these scenic locales provide. Currently, most people are looking for places to visit and gather that are close to home, and that’s perfect for the Mid-Atlantic Region, because the area is replete with destinations by the water, from coastal beach towns to lakefront resorts to charming settings by riverbanks, along bays, and by estuaries, tributaries, creeks and streams. Due to COVID restrictions, some activities may be limited or unavailable, so it’s best to check with individual venues or service providers directly for the most current information. ­20 March­z April­2021


Breakwater Pavilion at Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, MD

TINATIONS

ES BY THE WATER

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­21


Annapolis, MD Annapolis is the gateway to North America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay. At a time when travelers are looking for activities in the great outdoors, getting out on the water is more appealing than ever before. Fresh air, bay breezes, and a host of healthy, wholesome, fun-in-the-sun activities are what many are seeking as they plan for reconnecting in-person once again. Known as America’s Sailing Capital, Annapolis features a host of possibilities. Boasting 520-miles of Chesapeake Bay shoreline, Annapolis and the surrounding Anne Arundel County countryside offer a host of possibilities for getting out on the water, from 40-minute cruises of the Annapolis Harbor or Spa Creek aboard Watermark’s Harbor Queen or Miss Anne, to two-hour cruises aboard twin 74-foot wooden schooners, Woodwind and Woodwind II, or two-hour cruises aboard the newly refurbished 75-foot historic 1940 skipjack, the Wilma Lee, and everything in between. Tours range from heritage to Chesapeake Bay ecology, to front row seats for Wednesday Night Sailboat Races. For those who prefer to blaze their own trail, a host of charter boat companies offer rentals with or without a captain. Thinking green? Annapolis Electric Boat Rentals can offer a Duffy electric boat. Looking for more of a workout? A host of canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard opportunities beckon. Or make like a local and hop aboard a water taxi as a fun, relaxing way to get around this destination where creeks and waterways are as abundant as streets. City Dock is a great place on land for watching all the boating action. It’s the heart and soul of Annapolis, a place to ­22 March­z April­2021

see and be seen. Grab an ice cream cone or a takeout lunch from one of the dozens of nearby restaurants and find a favorite spot along the seawall to sit and relax. Just steps away is the main entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy. Contingent on circumstances relating to the pandemic, it’s hoped that the academy will be able to resume public tours this summer. Eastport is home of Annapolis’ Restaurant Row and the Annapolis Maritime Museum. Housed in the last surviving historic oyster packing plants in Annapolis, the McNasby Oyster Company, the newly renovated museum is slated to open in April 2021. The Naval Academy Museum, home of the famous Gallery of Ships, one of the world’s finest collections of warship models from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The Rogers Ship Model Collection is another not-to-be missed display with 108 ship and boat models of the sailing ship era from 1650 to 1850. Alternatively, hit the brick-lined streets of historic downtown Annapolis as Colonial Tours of Annapolis and Watermark’s Four Centuries Tours of Annapolis offer guided walking tours around town, or enjoy a Discover Annapolis Trolley Tour. Next, visit the oldest State House in continuous legislative use in the nation. The Maryland State House is also the only State House that has also once served as U.S. Capitol. Called a “Museum without Walls,” historic Annapolis boasts the former Mt. Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the Banneker-Douglass Museum is Maryland’s official museum of African American heritage with over 12,000 items in its collection. COVID19 conditions allowing, the museum plans to reopen in August 2021.

Tour the home of Declaration of Independence signer William Paca, a 1763 Georgian Mansion with its reconstructed two-acre 18th-century pleasure garden that provides insight into the life and times of colonial America. For those looking for the excitement of gaming, Live! Casino & Hotel is located in Anne Arundel County’s BWI/Arundel Mills region. Visitors can then walk across a promenade and head to Maryland’s largest outlet and value retail shopping, dining, and entertainment destination, Arundel Mills Mall. Be sure also to check out some of the one-of-a-kind shops and galleries along Main and West Streets, State Circle and Maryland Avenue. The shops of West Annapolis are a 20-minute walk from downtown, while Westfield Annapolis Mall and the Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole are a short car ride away. Hyatt Chesapeake, Cambridge, MD Situated on 342-acres of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina is an ideal destination for both leisure and group travelers seeking an outdoor-inspired destination away from crowds. It is home to 85,000-square feet of outdoor function space and several venues providing direct views of the water. A few of the resort’s most popular options include: Regatta Pavilion, an open-air covered pavilion with a woodburning fireplace; Breakwater Pavilion, located at the end of a private dock; and Manor Lawn, which runs adjacent to River Marsh Golf Club’s 18th hole. Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay features several waterfront activities for


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guests to enjoy year-round. During the summer, they partner with Blackwater Adventures to provide watersport rentals from kayaks and paddleboards to catamarans and jet skis. Guests also can enjoy outdoor swimming pools and an adults-only hot tub with direct views of the Choptank River. In the fall, winter and spring, travelers can explore several paths that line the shore, search for the famous Great Blue Heron and other local waterfowl, or enjoy a round of championship golf at River Marsh Golf Club. Guests can even arrive to the resort by boat and enjoy a premier docking experience at River Marsh Marina with both fixed and floating docks of varying sizes. For those who wish to tie water-related activities into their program or itinerary, Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay partners with several local companies and organizations that provide off-site activities like kayaking, birding, and bicycle tours at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, which features 28,000-acres of tidal marsh land designated as a refuge for migratory waterfowl. Groups also can arrange culinary experiences inspired by the resort’s Eastern Shore location, including tours of the historic J.M. Clayton Seafood Company, which has been in operation for more 126 years. Although the resort is based in the idyllic town of Cambridge, travelers will feel like they are worlds away from the hustle and bustle of city life at this waterfront retreat. The property features a 1/2-mile entry drive that helps guests to disconnect and step away from everyday stresses while embracing a relaxing and tranquil escape. Ocean City, MD Whether headed to Ocean City, Maryland for a meeting, event, youth sports ­24 March­z April­2021

tournament or just to enjoy the beach and recreation, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces, activities, dining options, amusements, shops and attractions to enjoy.

and Restaurants, “and utilizing our oceanfront properties for your event or retreat and taking advantage of such a powerful backdrop is a treasured value add for attendees.”

The meeting, event and convention hub in Ocean City is the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, which boasts newly renovated function spaces, panoramic views, a bayfront promenade, state-ofthe-art Performing Arts Center and more. In the process of an expansion, it will add even more options in 2022, including an additional 30,000-square feet of exhibit space, a new 15,000square foot gallery overlooking the bay, as well as more restrooms and meeting rooms.

Hold team building activities on Ocean City’s vast beaches with plenty of room to physically distance and relax. Play volleyball, have a cornhole competition, take part in beach yoga, enjoy painting experiences, scavenger hunts, meals and receptions - the options are plentiful. “Giving your group the chance to engage together in a safe and playful manor is incredibly important to employee wellbeing and team performance,” notes Simon.

Throughout this walkable beach town, there are 30 hotels that offer meeting space of their own, as well, from ballrooms to boardrooms to outdoor options. When it’s time to relax, the area boasts 10-miles of free beaches, a three-mile boardwalk, more than 200 restaurants, 17 championship golf courses, water activities, amusements, cultural arts, shopping, sightseeing and charter boat fishing trips, plus plenty of free, family-friendly activities and entertainment. Harrison Group Hotels Ocean City, MD The ocean has always been synonymous with relaxation. It brings a sense of peace to the mind and soul. This isn’t just a seasonal feeling. Being able to enjoy the serenity of wide-open beaches and crashing waves when attending a meeting or event adds an extra element of “wellness” to a conference, regardless of the time of year. “We all can use an opportunity to feel at ease and release our worries,” expresses Sara Sabia Simon, senior sales manager, Harrison Group Resort Hotels

Ocean City specializes in water activities, from kayaking amongst the wild ponies at Assateague National Seashore and boating along the Assawoman Bay, attendees can play in the water however and for as long as they like. For those who prefer to stay on land, local golf courses feature stunning bay views. “All of these options are just a stone’s throw from our hotels, and we partner with the best professionals in the area to ensure that you have both a safe and exceptional experience,” Simon asserts. “Our sales team builds these into your package, and creates an easy transition from our locations to the activity.” Virginia Beach, VA Virginia Beach is known for its pristine beaches and family-friendly attractions. Beyond the beach, it boasts an exciting arts and culture scene, a flourishing culinary community, and an influx of craft breweries. As the town continues its evolution to appeal to the ever-changing tastes of today’s traveler, new experiences continue to offer more ways to create unforgettable memories.


For meetings, Virginia Beach offers a variety of choices, including resort, uptown and retreat-type settings, and closely follows safety guidelines for both indoor and outdoor experiences. The Delta Hotels Virginia Beach Bayfront Suites is the destination’s newest offering and the only beachfront hotel on the Chesapeake Bay. Having opened in February of 2021, it has 295 spacious suites and is situated on its own private beach. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool and lounge, kayak and bike rentals, and a restaurant that features an expansive outdoor patio with bay views. A multi-level, 84,000-square foot family entertainment complex is now open in Town Center. Apex Entertainment boasts myriad attractions suitable for all ages, as well as full-service dining. After a $25 million renovation, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center’s South Building is scheduled to reopen this summer. The revamped building will debut with several all-new exhibits. Purveyors of private ecotours exploring Virginia Beach’s biodiverse waterways, Moore to See Photo Expeditions is shoring up a seafood lover’s delight with its River Crab Feast. Visitors can relish in the beauty of nature while sailing along North Landing River before arriving at a secluded dock for fresh, locally caught and steamed blue crabs. Guided kayak nature and dolphin tours are available out of Rudee Inlet and First Landing State Park, as well. From the oceanfront to Chesapeake Bay to Pungo and everywhere in between, the craft beer scene is exploding with an eclectic mix of flavorful suds. The Virginia Beach Beer Trail is a new downloadable guide to local breweries and taprooms. Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­25


With more than 200 miles of trails, Virginia Beach is a haven for bikers of all ages and skill levels. Each trail has a downloadable map that allows riders to see the city at their own pace and discover hidden gems off the beaten path. For sports enthusiasts, Virginia Beach Sports Center is the East Coast’s newest and largest indoor sports complex, which opened in the fall of 2020. With 285,000-square feet of space, it is home to 12 basketball courts, 24 volleyball courts, a 200-meter hydraulically banked track, and seating for up to 5,000 spectators. In addition, Virginia Beach’s premier surfing event is now the longest-running continuous surf competition in the world. The 59th annual East Coast Surfing Championship takes place in August 2021. Otesaga Resort Hotel Cooperstown, NY The Otesaga Resort Hotel is situated on the shores of picturesque Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, nicknamed “America’s Most Perfect Village.” Activities abound both on-site at The Otesaga and also nearby, including biking along scenic paths around Otsego Lake, boating, and swimming at the resort’s outdoor heated pool. Also on property is the resort’s highly-rated Leatherstocking Golf Course, tennis at two all-weather courts, and Hawkeye Spa. Filled with history and nostalgic charm, Cooperstown is home to the worldrenowned National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but offers so much more that even non-baseball fans will love to discover. During the spring, summer and early fall, visitors enjoy strolling Main Street, which is lined with boutiques, galleries and various restaurants, bars and coffee shops. For art and culture aficiona­26 March­z April­2021

dos, The Otesaga can arrange for groups and visitors to enjoy guided tours and activities at the outdoor Farmers’ Museum, which recreates what life was like on a farm here in the early 19th century. Across the street is the Fenimore Art Museum, home to a rich collection of artwork that includes American folk art, Hudson River School paintings, and one of the nation’s best selections of Native American art. Picturesque Otsego Lake is just under nine miles long and offers guests of The Otesaga Resort some of the best views in town from the property’s wraparound porch. Even better is the resort’s lakefront Fire Bar, where guests can enjoy sunsets with a cocktail and small bite. For those who prefer getting into the water instead of simply admiring it, there’s swimming, kayaking, canoeing, row boating, paddle boarding and fishing available. In addition, the resort offers a lot of outdoor dining and meeting area possibilities. For example, The Otesaga held a cooking class for a recent group outside on their east lawn. Receptions and/or dinners outside on the Pro Shop’s patio or the Pool Patio (all of which overlook Otsego Lake) are additional options.

glass walls that lead out to a sprawling veranda overlooking the Delaware River and is an ideal indoor/outdoor event space for celebrations and corporate retreats of up to 200 guests. “We always have special overnight packages that offer well-rounded experiences geared to the season, community happenings, and exploration,” notes Ron Gorodesky, founder and CEO of Refined Hospitality. “This year, we have focused our packages on health, wellness and nature experiences to promote outdoor adventures such as biking excursions using our custom branded River House fleet, as well as hiking and other outdoor activities arranged by our concierge team.” The River House has adaptable outdoor spaces that can accommodate guests in any type of weather. For example, Roof, its members-only club (which also is available to overnight hotel guests) as well as Odette’s Restaurant both offer coverings for inclement weather, as well as fireplaces and heaters for cooler evenings. Blankets and spiked hot chocolate are available, too, as part of an ultimate outdoor dining experience.

River House at Odette's New Hope, PA

“There are many benefits to al fresco dining and meeting outdoors,” explains Gorodesky. “Fresh air helps to create a positive mood by decreasing stress levels and increasing concentration. The peacefulness of the river and nature directly outside of our open-concept ballroom inspires creativity and the flow of ideas. The right atmosphere is key to making people feel good in the moment, leading to open and confident conversation.”

Inspired by its surroundings, event spaces at the River House offer stunning views, most with open concept configurations. The Rhapsody Ballroom features floor-to-ceiling retractable

At River House, he says, high design marries beautifully with the serenity of this waterfront location to create safe, vibrant spaces that speak to today’s consumers.

The property’s Kingfisher Tower Room opens directly to the outdoor Fire Bar, and the resort has contracted with The Glimmerglass Queen so guests can sail around the lake while enjoying a meal.


The Reeds at Shelter Haven Stone Harbor, NJ The Reeds at Shelter Haven is a year-round luxury boutique hotel and resort located directly on the bay and just steps from the beach in Stone Harbor. With 58 distinctively designed guestrooms and suites with decor inspired by nature and the sea, The Reeds boasts seaside views, five unique and mouthwatering dining options, a world-class spa, exclusive resort amenities (including seasonal bay activities), as well as boat docking and beach services. For meetings and events, it is home to flexible function spaces, on-site catering and event planning assistance, as well as a seasonal outdoor dining experience that overlooks the bay. In addition, The Reeds Roof Garden Sundeck is available for outdoor relaxation and entertaining and features two hot tubs and a plunge pool. Seasonal activities include kayaking and paddle boarding, daily yoga by the bay, and pass-through golf membership with Stone Harbor Golf Club is available.

In addition, Stone Harbor is a quaint community that’s home to a downtown shopping district with one-of-a-kind boutiques, family-owned dining destinations, miles of beaches, as well as numerous offerings to enjoy and adventures to explore along the shore and on the bay. Hotel LBI Ship Bottom, NJ Liz Santoro, area director of sales for Hotel LBI, notes that guests want to travel to a location by the water where they feel safe and can enjoy the outdoors, and that is what Hotel LBI can offer to them. “Our suites are oversized, starting at approximately 600-square feet. The beach is open all year and is a great place to walk and get fresh air.” Hotel LBI also has been able to offer plenty of outdoor dining for its Salt Kitchen Restaurant. “Our best option for groups is our 3,700-square foot Conservatory with its vaulted ceiling and gas fireplace,” asserts Santoro. “Our Conservatory can accommodate guests with physical distancing guidelines in place. We have a tropical indoor pool with a retractable roof

WHEN YOU'RE READY,

meet by the ocean.

PLAN A MEETING WITH A VIEW •

Bayside Roland E. Powell Convention Center with 214,000 sq. ft. and expanding in 2022

30 hotels with modern meeting spaces for 10 to 1,000 people

10 miles of beautifully maintained beach and famous 3-mile Boardwalk

17 nearby golf courses

Comfortable 3-hour drive from major Mid-Atlantic areas and 30-minute drive from regional airport

Roland E. Powell Convention Center, expanding in Jan. 2022

START PLANNING TODAY!

Visit OCMDCONVENTIONCENTER.COM or call 1.800.OC.OCEAN.

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2/12/21 3:55 PM 2/12/21 Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­27


and glass doors that open to the outside. This area makes you feel like you are in the Caribbean.” An all-leisure resort property, Hotel LBI has been concentrating its efforts on social media, and has created several promotions to help attract guests. It also is developing a new concierge service that will be in place by the summer season. This will give added attention to guests. The hotel also opened The Boatyard and Marina last spring, which is just a short bike ride away, and offers boat rentals for fishing, crabbing or just enjoying the bay. In addition, guests can enjoy two food trucks, a bar and plenty of recreational activities, such as basketball, cornhole, Jenga games and more. Atlantic City, NJ The wide-open space of the beaches and boardwalk are a huge advantage for Atlantic City, allowing visitors to feel comfortable and safe, while maintaining the proper physical distance. The culinary scene here offers a wide range of opportunities and diverse budget appeal. These days, al fresco dining is highly sought after and local restaurant owners have been extremely creative while maintaining a focus on safety. Groups are increasingly attracted to area golf courses and other outdoor activities, too, such as fishing and boating, while the beach and boardwalk provides opportunities to stroll, bike or go for a run while taking in scenic views. Atlantic City Cruises offers a range of exclusive tours: a morning skyline tour; dolphin watching; afternoon or happy hour cruises and more. Additional op­28 March­z April­2021

portunities include parasailing, jet ski rentals, AC Surf School, the Steel Pier and The Wheel overlooking the ocean, plus fishing charters and more. Atlantic City’s convenient location allows for visitors and meeting attendees to safely travel by car, though air travel is convenient, as well, from both Atlantic City International Airport, just 12miles away, and Philadelphia International, located within about an hour’s drive. The Grand Hotel Cape May, NJ The Grand Hotel of Cape May is a waterfront destination resort with much to offer for business or pleasure, from its Olympic-sized indoor and outdoor swimming pools and seasonal outdoor tiki bar to its seasonally available complimentary beach chairs for guests to new cabanas available for rental. The Grand Hotel also boasts more than 17,000-square feet of meeting and event space with recently upgraded and complimentary wi-fi throughout, ideal for accommodating hybrid functions. The hotel also has renovated its 172 guestrooms along with its Grand Ballroom to a modern beach chic aesthetic. An enclosed porch off of the ballroom overlooks the property’s outdoor swimming pool and beach, while its Penthouse Ballroom overlooks the ocean. In addition, its oceanfront sundeck is available for team building, outdoor breakouts, meal functions and more. “It is so wonderful to be able to break away from the ‘norm’ of a meeting, and enjoy the fresh ocean air,” observes Katlyn Mogavero, director of sales and marketing for The Grand Hotel.

The surrounding Cape May community offers a very attractive setting that is home to wineries, breweries and distilleries, shops and restaurants, a historic lighthouse and Victorian architecture, the Cape May County Zoo, Cape May-Lewes Ferry and more. The Wildwoods, NJ The Wildwoods Convention Center is located directly on the Wildwoods’ award-winning, free and spacious white sand beaches, offering the unique opportunity between meetings, trade shows, sporting events, and other functions to take in breathtaking views from its outside deck, main exhibit hall, and lobby. In addition, the center’s magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows and Teflon coated translucent fabric roof allow the entire building to be flooded in natural sunlight during the day. To the east is an unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean. To the north and south, the excitement of the boardwalk. The convention center’s prime location is central to over 8,000 hotel/motel rooms and 3,000 vacation rentals on the five-mile island. The skilled team at the Wildwoods Convention Center is ready to host all events at its award-winning facility and is taking extensive measures to ensure that groups will enjoy a safe, comfortable and unforgettable experience throughout their stay. In addition to following all state and federally recommended guidelines and protocols, the convention center has implemented advanced sanitization protocols, such as setting up sanitizing stations in key traffic areas and having designated employees assigned to sanitize high traffic areas throughout the building. Before and after all events, a professional cleaning team


deep cleans the areas with commercial grade disinfecting materials and restocks all hand sanitizing stations. 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.” Sun, sand and salt air does the body and mind good, and it’s a wonderful way to recharge attendees. The Wildwoods is home to many opportunities for fun and unique activities, making it easy to keep meetings fresh and interesting. The beach and boardwalk provide an everchanging meeting experience and long-lasting memories – all in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. A perfect spot for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, body surfing, whale and dolphin watching, or just relaxing and soaking up the summer sun, the ocean also is ideal for surfing, boogie boarding, power boating, jet skiing, sailing and more. Numerous events take place in the Wildwoods throughout the summer season, and the beaches are an ideal venue for concerts, festivals, youth sporting events, monster truck beach races, and vintage car and motorcycle beach drag races. Fishing, a favorite seashore pastime, is a great way to have some fun and enjoy the island environment. Crabbing is another beloved shore activity commonplace along the tidal marsh areas. Convention-goers can step outside and grab a Tram Car to make their way down the neon-lit slice of Americana, the Wildwoods boardwalk. This wooden way stretches for 2.5-miles, boasting 38 blocks of fun with over 100-amusement rides and attractions, shopping, carnival games and arcades, plus dining and nightlife. Each of these waterfront destinations offer unique settings, amazing offerings and a connection with nature that is highly sought after with the return of warmer weather. Providing safe options for indoor and outdoor meetings and events, these waterfront locales stand ready to welcome the return of group business.

Chill or Thrill! Lazy or Crazy! Mild or Wild! In the Wildwoods, you can do as much, or as little, as you like. There’s 5-miles of FREE white-sand beaches and 38 blocks of boardwalk fun with over 100-amusement rides and attractions, 3beachfront Waterparks, shopping, carnival games and arcades, plus great dining, and nightlife. Everything you could ever want in a family vacation is right here in the Wildwoods. The sparkling, clean and safe beaches stretch for five-miles across the shores of the Wildwoods and are unlike most seashore resorts in that they are spaciously wide and completely FREE! There’s plenty of room to stretch out and social distance safely. And they are the perfect spot for swimming and soaking up the sun or just relaxing on a hot summer day. For those looking for some adventure, the Wildwoods’ beaches also serve as an ideal location for surfing, boogie boarding, power boating, jet skiing, sailing, kayaking and paddle-boarding. Overlooking the pristine beaches of the Wildwoods is the world-famous Wildwoods Boardwalk, offering a unique experience for anyone vacationing in New Jersey. Famous for being one of the liveliest stretches of fun and excitement on the East Coast, the Wildwoods Boardwalk offers a pure sensory overload of sights, sounds and smells to visitors, with 3-spectacular amusement piers featuring world-class roller coasters, wet and wild Waterparks carnival-style midway games, flashing arcades and a myriad of retail shops and over 200-eateries. The Wildwoods Boardwalk is listed as one of Sherman’s Travel’s “Top Ten American Boardwalks” and also was named one of Time.com’s “50 Authentic American Experiences.” In addition to its beautiful beaches and one-of-a-kind Boardwalk, the Wildwoods also offer over 160 events and festivals throughout the year – and most of them are FREE! Enjoy a fun-filled festival or event almost every weekend throughout the spring, summer and fall! Whatever you are looking for in a vacation experience, you will find it right here in the Wildwoods. With FREE Events, FREE Beaches, FREE Fireworks and FREE Live Music throughout the summer; the Wildwoods are the best family vacation value at the Jersey shore!

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­29


Downtown Jim Thorpe, PA; photo credit: Dorothea Schaefer; courtesy: Pocono Mountains CVB

­30 March­z April­2021


WEEKEND GETAWAYS The arrival of spring brings with it a strong desire to go out and get away – even if the destination is close to home and time is short. Despite the pandemic, throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Region there are still plenty of opportunities to explore, from day trip adventures to weekend escapes.

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­31


Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes Region, NY; photo credit: Marcia Klue of Buttonwood Grove Winery

BUFFALO-NIAGARA, NY Visitors and locals alike will find a wide range of things to see and do in the Buffalo-Niagara region, from enjoying impressive architecture to marveling at nature to shopping, dining, tours and more. East Aurora, founded in 1804, boasts a delightful blend of historical preservation, natural beauty and iconic character while also acknowledging that times have changed. It’s so iconic, in fact, that movie productions – both local and national – use it as a stand-in for “Small Town, USA.” It’s a great spot for a weekend jaunt and is just 30-minutes from Buffalo. Another place to visit in the area is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House, the largest Prairie-style house that Wright ever designed, meticulously restored and a crown jewel of American architecture. Grab lunch at Lloyd Taco Factory and then do a little shopping. Head over to Canalside, Buffalo’s newly revitalized waterfront, where there is plenty to do for those traveling with children. Enjoy dinner at the restored H.H. Richardson-designed Hotel Henry. Visit the Rose Garden in the Rumsey Woods section of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park, then head over to Burchfield-Penney Art Center, home to the largest collection of work by the great American artist (and Buffalonian) Charles E. Burchfield. For lunch, pick a stop on the Buffalo ­32 March­z April­2021

Wing Trail like Anchor Bar, where the famous wings were invented back in 1964. History buffs will appreciate Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, the restored mansion where Roosevelt took the oath of office after the assassination of President McKinley in 1901. Founding Fathers Pub is a great place to grab some refreshments and The Terrace overlooking Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park is an excellent choice for a meal. Currently, 17 Buffalo hotels are offering special packages to incentivize overnight stays in the region. Ranging from the Saturday Night Bubbles and Brunch package at the Curtiss Hotel to the Pamper Your Palate Package at the Mansion on Delaware to the Hideaway Package at the Reikart House, Buffalo hotels have a package for every taste. In 2021, Buffalo will offer visitors three new attractions: Buffalo Heritage Carrousel, made locally by the Herschell-Spillman Carousel Factory in 1924, debuting in May at Canalside; celebrating the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Erie Canal, Buffalo's Maritime Center, over the next two years, will be constructing a replica of the boat that then Governor DeWitt Clinton traveled on to open the canal; and the Buffalo Presidential History Center, which will feature permanent and rotating exhibits highlighting the Presidents, presidential candidates, First Ladies, and other personalities who have called the Buffalo region home.


FINGER LAKES, NY A perfect escape, the Finger Lakes Region of New York is known for producing excellent wine, but it also boasts a number of breweries, distilleries and hard-cider producers. Not just for the 21 and over crowd, there are plenty of activities here for all ages. Visitors will find museums, historic sites, hiking, biking, boating and fishing, as well as state parks, including the gorge trail at Watkins Glen State Park with 19 waterfalls! Also available are wine tours, boat tours, food tours and more. According to Carrie M. Mann, director of sales and marketing, Seasons on Keuka Lake and the Hampton Inn Penn Yan, some fun things to check out during a day-trip to the Finger Lakes area are “visiting Del Lago Resort and Casino and the Corning Museum of

Glass, or taking advantage of hiking and biking trails.” She adds that Seasons on Keuka Lake offers a selection of packages available to conference planners that include day excursions to area attractions. “The Hampton Inn also offers overnight stay packages throughout the year.”

charcoal grill. The winery's tasting room is steps away, and complimentary tastings are included in the cabin rental fee (cabins are available for nightly rental from mid-April through mid-November).

The camping cabins situated on the grounds of Buttonwood Grove Winery in nearby Romulus, NY, are another great location from which to explore the Finger Lakes. With well over 100 wineries in an area encompassing 14 counties, the property is centrally located in the heart of wine country, with sweeping views of the vineyards and Cayuga Lake.

Travelers can visit a multitude of award-winning wineries within a short drive of Buttonwood Grove. “Our award-winning wines are handcrafted from our family-owned estate vineyards,” notes Marcia Klue, marketing and wine club director for Buttonwood Grove Winery. “Many other wineries along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail can be accessed within 5-10 minutes, while the Seneca Lake Wine Trail is only 20 minutes away.”

Outdoors, guests can relax in front of a campfire while dinner sizzles on the

Kim Seward, CLM, general manager for the newly renovated Comfort Inn

Gather your team safely in the heart of Upstate New York. Find inspiration in our stunning lake views and experience the difference of our charming accommodations, versatile meeting spaces, and gracious hospitality. When you’re ready to reconnect, discover the elegance and sophistication of The Otesaga.

OTESAGA.COM | 800.348.6222 The Otesaga is taking COVID-19 very seriously and following strict guidelines for the health and safety of our guests. For details visit Otesaga.com/otesaga-care.

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­33


and Suites Farmington-Victor in Farmington, NY points out a few more great day trips options in the Finger Lakes Region. “Rich in Mormon history is ‘Hill Cumorah;’ we’re just a 10-minute ride to John Smith's Farm, Sacred Grove and so much more! Or spend the day touring the local wineries or breweries. Crush Tours will take care of everything - including the driving! Relaxation at Canandaigua Lake is only 7-miles away.” Dinner choices abound, from Route 96 BBQ to Nashville Hot Chicken to Mama at Otto Tomotto's, just one-mile from the hotel. Shopping enthusiasts will enjoy bargain hunting at the Outlet Mall in Waterloo. “Tourists can take advantage of short-stay and day-trip options, as the Finger Lakes area has so much to offer for a few hours, or just a day or two,” notes Scott Mackey, lodging manager, Belhurst Castle in Geneva, NY. “Enjoy a day spent at along Seneca Lake at our local vineyards, breweries and cider houses. Sample their latest offerings while enjoying beautiful views of the vineyards. Our front desk staff will happily assist you in planning your day and suggest hidden gems for a quick bite to eat or a leisurely lunch. End your day with a complimentary wine tasting at Belhurst in our Wine and Gift Shop, and dinner in either of our two restaurants - Stonecutters Tavern or Edgar’s Restaurant in the Castle.” POCONO MOUNTAINS, PA

Downtown Jim Thorpe, PA; photo courtesy: Pocono Mountains CVB

The Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania are an ideal getaway destination for nature lovers. Bushkill Falls, known as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” has accessible, well-kept walkways and stairs for visitors of all ages to catch great vantage points of the falls its surroundings. There are several more waterfalls in national and state parks, such as Raymondskill Falls (the state’s tallest waterfall) and Dingmans Falls in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Or, visit some of the eclectic, historic downtowns in the Poconos, like Milford, the “Birthplace of the Conservation Movement” and home to Grey Towers National Historic Site. Honesdale, the “Birthplace of the American Railroad” is home to the excursion train Stourbridge Line. Jim Thorpe

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Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mt. Pocono, Pa.

is known as the “Switzerland of Pennsylvania,” and Stroudsburg, “Gateway to the Pocono Mountains” is close to numerous ski resorts, outlet shops and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Tour wineries in Stroudsburg along the Pocono Beverage Trail, visit Stroud Mansion, home to the Monroe County Historical Association, and then go for a hike up Mount Minsi on the Appalachian Trail. Head to iconic Pocono Raceway on race weekend (a NASCAR doubleheader is slated for June 2021) and stop over at Pocono Organics to sample some fresh food. Head to the shops at The Crossings Premium Outlets and then wrap up the day playing at Mount Airy Casino Resort and dining at one of its outstanding restaurants.

At Camelback Resort, go skiing by day and jump into the wave pool at the indoor waterpark Aquatopia by night. The resort also boasts a mountain rollercoaster and ziplines in addition to ropes courses and delicious cuisine. In winter, Camelback features the biggest snow tubing operation in the country, which includes Galactic Tubing at night with lights and music.

Enjoy a stay at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, home to restaurants, spas and the largest indoor waterpark in the U.S. There’s outdoor mini golf and ropes courses, as well, and Kalahari is near to Pocono Manor Golf Course along with ATV and Slingshot rentals.

The Poconos also is home to numerous annual festivals, fairs, and events that bring people together for music, food and fun. From the annual Wally Lake Fest at Lake Wallenpaupack to Fall Foliage Festival in Jim Thorpe, these events are part of what make visiting the Poconos so special.

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 sales@poconos.org to learn more.

#MeetThePoconos

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­35


LANCASTER, PA The verdant soil in Lancaster County provides for some of the state’s best winemaking, where visitors to the area can enjoy unique tastings and tours at venues like Waltz Vineyards in Manheim. Delicious sights, sounds, smells and eats await at Lancaster Central Market, America’s oldest continuously-operating farmers market. Check out Lancaster City’s eclectic arts scene with galleries throughout downtown or head to Adamstown in search of antiques and treasures. Culinary options range from distinctive local cafés and craft breweries to famous Pennsylvania Dutch dining, award-winning gourmet cuisine, a variety of ethnic eateries, as well as homemade sweets and treats. Spend some time on the links at local golf courses that range in skill level from beginner to experienced. Enjoy a buggy ride for an up-close, authentic tour at a relaxing pace through Amish farmland. Learn about the Plain community with interactive tours and exhibits at venues like the Amish Village, the Amish Experience, or the Amish Farm and House.

For outdoor activities, there’s kayaking on or hiking along the Susquehanna River, biking, ziplining and horseback riding. Follow one or more of Lancaster County’s covered bridge trails and enjoy stops in some of the charming towns and villages for shopping finds and interesting local history along the way. Or experience Lancaster County from the air with the U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team of Bird-in-Hand. Stay at one of the county’s hotels or motels, historic inns, bed-and-breakfasts, working farms, or picturesque campgrounds, while the Lancaster County Convention Center offers plenty of state-of-the-art space for meetings, conventions, events and more. Strasburg Rail Road offers steam train excursions through the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, a 45-minute, fullynarrated ride through 2,500-acres of farmland dotted by Amish homesteads, a one-room schoolhouse, and farmers tending to their fields. Shop tours and Hostling tours are very popular, offering a unique behind-the-scenes look into a real working railroad.

Pennsylvania

We’ve always been known for our wide open countryside and our vibrant downtown. It’s what makes Lancaster County the perfect destination to hold your next meeting. When the time is right for your group to get back together, we’re here to help you plan for success safely in one of our large indoor or outdoor venues.

meet • plan • discover • explore • relax discoverlancaster.com/meetings

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The railroad has a new, exclusive package offered exclusively to tour operators. The Victorian Lancaster Package, in partnership with Fulton Steamboat Inn, offers a steam train ride in Victorian splendor aboard First-Class cars and an overnight stay in a Victorian-themed stateroom at the Fulton Steamboat Inn, plus a Victorian Tea and Tour at Mount Hope Estates and Winery.

Strasburg Railroad, Lancaster County, PA

VALLEY FORGE/MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA Enjoy a weekend getaway in the Valley Forge/Montgomery County area, which boasts exquisite dining, shopping, and entertainment options along with popular parks, museums, and a host of attractions. Families can stay at one of the county’s well-equipped extended stay properties, providing them with a kitchenette to help prepare some of their meals. While visiting, they can experience attractions such as LEGOLAND Discovery Center or Elmwood Park Zoo. The county is home to over 1,600 restaurants, including many family-friendly options. Alternatively, visitors can try their luck at Valley Forge Casino Resort, book an overnight stay at one of the area hotels, inn or bed-and-breakfasts, throw off some stress by visiting Bury the Hatchet in King of Prussia, or head over to Nirvana Float in Collegeville. They can enjoy a top-notch meal at Creeds Seafood and Steakhouse or at Firebirds Wood Fire Grill. “When out of town guests come to stay in Montco and book the #MakeItMontco Experience, they receive access to exclusive deals and offers on our VisitValleyForge App,” explains Christine Dunn, sales manager for the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board. “The free app becomes your hand-held guide to all things in Montco. It has everything you Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­37


Delaware-Raritan Canal or at Mercer County Park. Go hiking, boating, or picnicking. Rent bicycles and explore historic trails, or take advantage of rentals at Princeton Canoe and Kayak Rental to utilize on the canal. THE WILDWOODS, NJ

need to know about where to stay, play, eat, and shop in the area.” PRINCETON/MERCER, NJ The Princeton-Mercer Region in New Jersey is great for a day trip or weekend getaway. Visit Grounds for Sculpture and take in its more than 40-acre outdoor sculpture park, or stroll the Princeton University Campus and Palmer Square in downtown Princeton. Also, Mercer County sits along the Delaware River, where hiking and water activities abound. Have lunch at Rats Restaurant, Mediterra, or Olives for a classic outdoor Princeton-Mercer experience. Shop at Palmer Square’s world-class stores and boutiques. For dinner, try The Peacock Inn or Yankee Doodle Tap Room. After dark, stroll through the illuminated fountains of Palmer Square and Scudder Plaza, where the monumental Fountain of Freedom sculpture lives. Stay at a picturesque boutique hotel in the area, like The Peacock Inn or Nassau Inn, for a quintessential Princeton experience. Discover the historical grounds and beautiful gardens of Princeton University along with its jawdropping architecture, and the topnotch Princeton Art Museum. Spend some time outdoors on the ­38 March­z April­2021

The Wildwoods, New Jersey are welcoming new and returning visitors to the resort destination, where there’s an abundance of activities to safely discover, or rediscover, for the 2021 summer season. The Wildwoods' wide and spacious beaches allow visitors to spread out and enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating day on its five-miles of free and clean white-sand beaches. There are 38 blocks of outdoor boardwalk fun and thrills with over 100 amusement rides and attractions, three beachfront waterparks, shopping, carnival games and arcades, and more than 300 eateries offering one-of-a-kind dining experiences. Or traverse all two-plus miles of the boardwalk with a ride on the famous Wildwoods Boardwalk “Sightseer” Tram Cars. The Wildwoods have over 11,000 room accommodations, including 8,000 hotel and motel rooms, and over 3,000 vacation rentals – so there’s plenty of space for everyone to spread out and physically distance. Mid-century themed hotels/motels, as well as other businesses, can be found throughout the island that reflect their original predecessor buildings from the 1950s and ‘60s in architecture, décor and color – an architectural style known as “Doo Wop.” Plastic palm trees tower over kidney-shaped pools, jutted roof angles, and wrought-iron balconies; and whimsical names and flamboyant themes give these buildings individual character.

Enjoy a scenic, leisurely 12-mile round-trip bike route with fresh air and breathtaking views. There are plenty of bike rentals shops located on the boardwalk and throughout town. History buffs will enjoy the Hereford Lighthouse, an 18th century landmark that’s open to the public to experience the fascinating history of the Wildwoods. SUSSEX COUNTY, DE Southern Delaware offers many great options for short stay visitors. With more than a dozen breweries, wineries, distilleries and a meadery, it is a popular destination for “spirited” travelers. There are some great (and flat) trails and scenic routes for hiking and biking here, plus miles of sparkling ocean beaches, bays and waterways for paddling excursions, fishing charters, boat tours, and beach bumming. Enjoy tax-free shopping in boutiquefilled downtowns and over 140 outlet stores, along with centuries of history and more than two dozen museums, as well as an impressive visual and performing arts scene. “Also, with the recent opening of the Delaware Botanic Gardens in Dagsboro and other long standing garden tours and events and fabulous nurseries, Southern Delaware is an up-and-coming garden tourism destination, as well,” observes Tina Coleman, communications manager, Southern Delaware Tourism. “And you just can’t beat the dining along our Culinary Coast™!” Visit historic Lewes, the First Town in the First State. Start the day at Nottingham Coffee Roastery and Lewes Bake Shoppe downtown, then explore the historic downtown shopping area, and head over to the Lewes Museum to learn about the history of this charming


town. Join one of the many fascinating tours led by the Lewes Historical Society. Spend the afternoon on a paddle tour of Delaware Bay with Quest Adventures or on a pontoon boat tour with Cape Water Tours and Taxi. Check out Cape Henlopen State Park, tour the Fort Miles Museum, take a bike ride or hike on the Gordons Pond or Junction and Breakwater trails where, depending on which trail, hikers and bikers will be treated to views of Atlantic coastline, coastal marsh and forest, farm fields, or local flora and fauna. Along the Junction and Breakwater Trail, make a pit stop at Revelation Craft Brewing in Rehoboth Beach or at Big Oyster Brewery in Lewes. Speaking of Rehoboth Beach, enjoy an early morning walk along its mile-long boardwalk. Relax on the beach or explore the downtown shops (or do both) and then head to Dewey Beach for a late lunch at one of the town’s iconic eateries. Head south to the Indian River Life Saving Station Museum and learn the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service that eventually became the U.S. Coast Guard. Enjoy dinner at one of the many Rehoboth Beach area Culinary Coast™ restaurants, grab a scoop of ice cream downtown, and then enjoy an evening stroll. Or acquaint yourself with the town, beach, and boardwalk at Bethany Beach and enjoy a sailing nature tour of the back bays with Fenwick Island’s Coastal Kayak.

These are just some of the options available throughout the region for fun, safe and enjoyable day trips and weekend getaways. With the warm weather fast approaching, it’s a great time to get out and explore destinations throughout the region.

Enjoy country elegance at the Golden Plough Inn with shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.

GoldenPloughInn.com

|

5 miles from New Hope

Meet in Chester County’s Brandywine Valley Discover a variety of venues, from national brand hotels and modern meeting spaces to historic landmarks and Victorian mansions. Wherever you host a meeting or special event in Chester County’s Brandywine Valley, you can rely on:

Adherence to all CDC Guidelines

Enhanced Cleaning Protocols

Distanced Arrangements

To learn more about PA COVID-19 Guidelines, view our

Chester County Safety Commitment Contact Courtney Babcock for planning assistance: Courtney Babcock, Director of Sales Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau (484) 840-7213 Courtney@BrandywineValley.com | MeetinCC

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­39


The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC; photo courtesy: The Biltmore Company

GUEST EXPERIENCES: MUSEUMS, THEATERS & ATTRACTIONS Museums, theaters, attractions, zoos, aquariums, ships, tours and trails throughout the region are featuring special programs and exclusive offerings. Here is a sampling of what is available or being planned for individuals and groups.

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BILTMORE Asheville, NC

Located in a storybook setting, Biltmore sits on 8,000-acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering tours of Biltmore House, historic gardens, a winery, and access to numerous restaurants that serve select products raised on the estate’s own farmland. A number of unique private facilities and non-traditional venues on its expansive grounds help to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. “Wellness experiences and outdoor adventures that provide a connection with nature have always been a draw, and we’ve even been adding to Biltmore’s slate of outdoor activities,” notes Marissa Jamison, public relations manager for the Biltmore. “The Outdoor Adventure Center is a one-stop-shop for helping groups explore and for team building activities. Excursions offered include biking, the ancient art of falconry, horseback trail rides, carriage rides, float trips along the French Broad River, sporting clay shooting, and more.” Health and safety protocols are in place for activities and in dynamic venues with physical distancing that also can accommodate hybrid meetings. The estate also boasts a range of seasonal events, such as an annual summer concert series, their Biltmore Blooms celebration with an outdoor sculpture installation by artist Patrick Dougherty on view beginning April 1, and the Biltmore Gardens Railway that will bring a large-scale model railroad and handmade buildings to the property’s conservatory from April 1 through September 26, 2021.

TALL SHIP PROVIDENCE Alexandria, VA

Alexandria’s newest waterfront attraction, tall ship Providence, will continue to set sail with expanded educational programs and cruise schedules in 2021. 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. This year, the Tall Ship Providence Foundation will build a new pier and visitor center at Waterfront Park.

BLACK HISTORY EXPERIENCES Alexandria, VA

In 2020, new Black history experiences in Alexandria included 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. Black history and culture experiences are expanding even more in 2021. In the summer, Freedom House Museum plans to reopen, following the City of Alexandria’s purchase of Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­41


Tall Ship Providence in Alexandria, VA; photo credit: Carol Jean Stalun Photography; courtesy: Visit Alexandria

the museum in 2020 and a series of renovations and COVID closures, to tell the story of the thousands of men, women and children who passed through the slave trading firm. Upon reopening, and through the end of the year, the museum will feature a traveling exhibition from the Virginia Museum of History and Culture titled “Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality,” which features profiles of 30 individuals, more than 100 evocative objects and multimedia interpretive content.

NATIONAL AQUARIUM Baltimore, MD

For 40 years the National Aquarium has entertained millions while inspiring conservation of the world's aquatic treasures. Home to thousands of animals, including sharks, turtles, free-flying birds and more in award winning habitats, the aquarium is open and ready to welcome visitors to a world of ­42 March­z April­2021

aquatic adventure while taking appropriate precautions that prioritize the safety and wellbeing of guests, staff and animals.

DELAWARE ART MUSEUM

“We have been busy developing and launching new digital and in-person experiences and are continually considering more,” explains Nora Campbell, director of sales, National Aquarium in Baltimore. “Our Tours and Experiences team has modified in-person tours so they are now semi-private experiences in addition to developing virtual tours, which allow for a tour of the National Aquarium from the comfort of your home.”

The Delaware Art Museum is reimagining its eight main floor art galleries. The existing galleries of American art and illustration and the Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art will close this spring. When they reopen in summer 2021, the art will tell new stories shaped by feedback from 100 members of the local community.

The events team also has created private Touring Nights, an after-hours experience away from the crowds, and has developed packages for elopements and micro-weddings, creating an intimate destination experience in Baltimore.

Wilmington, DE

"There are new works to show and new stories to tell,” says chief curator, Heather Campbell Coyle. “Entire collections are being relocated to improve visitor experience, and artworks have been conserved for future generations.” This will be the first comprehensive museum rehanging in 16 years. In the years since, thanks to new research


and audience input, the collections have grown to include significant pieces by women and black artists that tell a more inclusive story of the visual arts. The series of gallery reopenings kicked off this past fall. The museum will remain open during the changes, with galleries closing and reopening on a rolling basis from March into September.

BARNES FOUNDATION Philadelphia, PA

The Barnes Foundation has made changes to its operations to prioritize the health and safety of visitors and staff, following recommendations from federal, state, and city health officials, along with colleagues at cultural institutions across Pennsylvania and around the world. With one of Philadelphia's largest covered outdoor spaces, the Barnes has been able to host micro weddings and events as restrictions were lifted throughout the year. The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Court opens onto an expansive terrace, creating a unique indoor-outdoor venue overlooking the lush landscape along the Parkway. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a leafy courtyard, the Frances M. Maguire Garden Pavilion offers another flexible indoor-outdoor setting. The Barnes Foundation also began offering more online opportunities, including customized one-hour long docent-led tours that use high-definition “deep zoom” technology. BARNES LIVE boasts a number of additional virtual tour themes, including Post-Impressionism, Renoir or Cezanne in the Barnes, and American Artists of the Barnes. Special exhibition programs continue with the opening of Soutine/de Koon-

ing: Conversations in Paint on March 7. For those not yet ready to visit this spring, but plan to be back in the building this year, groups may book a virtual tour of the current special exhibition during the first three months of the show and receive discounted admission for an in-person visit during the second half of the show.

“We are excited to offer experiences that visitors haven’t been able to utilize for over a year. For example, we would love to be able to offer again guided tours aboard Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna for groups,” notes Alexis Furlong, director of marketing and communications at Independence Seaport Museum.

Coming in June 2021, visitors can combine a visit to the Barnes with the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. The nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event moves outdoors with a theme of Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece. Visitors can enjoy a Barnes in Bloom tour during the month of June with a physically-distanced visit to the galleries. The specially-themed Masterpieces of Nature tour also will be available for virtual experiences during June.

PHILADELPHIA ZOO

Pop-up events are being planned throughout the spring and summer, too, primarily in the Restaurant Garden and West Terrace spaces, kicking off with Barnes in Bloom. Two ticketed events on June 8-9 celebrating Barnes in Bloom and the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show in the Annenberg Court will include a fresh, seasonal meal provided by Constellation Culinary Group followed by private tours.

INDEPENDENCE SEAPORT MUSEUM Philadelphia, PA

One thing that sets the Independence Seaport Museum apart from the other destinations in Philadelphia is its location and scenic views from its landing and also from its fourth-floor ballroom. Everyone is looking for outside experiences right now, which the museum can offer through the use of its terraces and on the decks of the Cruiser Olympia.

Philadelphia, PA

The Philadelphia Zoo recently announced “Big Time: Life in an Endangerous Age,” a new immersive multi-sensory experience featuring life-size, animatronic dinosaurs. Opening to the public on March 29, Big Time highlights some of history’s most powerful events, such as the volcanic eruptions and asteroid strikes that changed the atmosphere, the level of the seas, the temperature of the earth, even the amount of sunlight on the planet. Through evocative landscapes, realistic settings, immersive sounds and life-like giants, Big Time takes guests from the Age of Dinosaurs through to present day, showing what life was like and the challenges faced when these animals walked the planet. Attendance will be capped to ensure a safe experience.

MANN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Philadelphia, PA A storied, outdoor destination in the middle of Fairmount Park with sweeping views of Philadelphia’s city skyline and a full complement of amenities is ready to help performing arts ensembles, private events and all organizations turn their events “inside out.” Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­43


ZooBrew at Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA; photo credit: J. Miner meet-and-greets with an ambassador animal (including the Philadelphia Eagles live mascot), riding a vintage carousel, or having a team building event at the zoo’s Treetop Adventures Ziplining and Obstacle Course.

MICHENER ART MUSEUM Doylestown, PA

The Mann has long presented worldclass musical entertainment, but it has also been a sought-after location for corporate entertaining and events. Amid concerns arising from the pandemic, the Mann provided alternative solutions for organizations to mount physically distant, open-air performances and events of varying sizes across its 22-acre park-like campus through the fall. “The outdoor experience at the Mann is beloved, and now because of the pandemic’s impact, the venue experience is becoming a lifeline for performing arts companies, corporate events, businesses, non-profit fundraisers, weddings, colleges and universities, and a whole host of other organizations that have understandably had to put their events on hold for the last year,” says Catherine M. Cahill, president and CEO of the Mann. “With a variety of distinct outdoor spaces across our campus, including our stages, the Mann is in a position to help organizations resume and reimagine their event schedules.” Expansive tented spaces, a terrace and garden, pavilion, great lawn, and picnic grove are among the many options available here. In addition, the campus is equipped to observe best practices such as timed entry, multiple ingress ­44 March­z April­2021

and egress points, enhanced cleaning procedures, COVID-19 related protocols and more.

ELMWOOD PARK ZOO Norristown, PA Elmwood Park Zoo offers the option of renting the entire zoo for an event. Guests are able to enjoy all of the animal exhibits in the 16-acre venue while choosing from multiple locations for food and beverage, which include two large covered picnic areas, the Zoo Brew Beer Garden, and the premier indoor-outdoor Canopy Gardens Hall. Each of these spaces also can be rented individually depending on the group’s size and event style. The zoo put a significant number of upgrades into its facility in 2020, including expanding and covering the Canopy Gardens Hall patio, as well as a new heating and air conditioning system. All of this complements the existing space, which has floor-to-ceiling doors and windows to maximize airflow and comfort. Outdoor events here allow for the safest possible gatherings while still offering all of the upscale elements of an indoor event. Special guests experiences are available, as well, like giraffe feedings,

The Michener Museum hosts a variety of events, art classes and tours, but its collection of Pennsylvania Impressionism is what truly makes it so unique. Open once again and welcoming visitors back into its galleries, throughout its closure due to the pandemic the museum posted images of Impressionist paintings on social media and held virtual events that examined certain works in its collection. Their popular Art of Stillness program, which was successful in-person prepandemic, has been filled to capacity each week in a new virtual format. With more people now aware of the program, the museum plans to offer it on-site once again when conditions permit. Michener art classes and camps for all ages are a perennial favorite, both virtual and in-person. Virtual events and art classes likely will continue to be offered for the foreseeable future, and the museum is working to tailor virtual experiences to individual groups by offering customizable programming, including docentled programs or a private art making parties. As the weather continues to warm, the Michener also plans to reinstate activities in its Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden.

PEDDLER’S VILLAGE Lahaska, PA Peddler’s Village offers an open-air shopping experience and exceptional


Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­45


Photo courtesy: Peddler's Village, Lahaska, PA

cally made shopping and brand name merchandise, outdoor live music (weather permitting), seasonal events and more.

dining options, including outdoors. Both have remained strong during the pandemic and are expected to draw even more visitors in 2021 as the weather turns warmer. “As of now, we are planning to begin our monthly weekend festivals in August this year, when we are hoping the virus situation will have improved significantly and restrictions will be lifted,” explains Brian Shields, director of sales at Peddler’s Village. “Until then, we will continue our longer themed events like Strawberry Month and Bluegrass and Blueberries Month. We’ve been hosting outdoor murder mystery walking tours since last summer, and they’ve been very popular. We will have Food Truck Evenings, outdoor movies, and comedy nights this summer as well - and also outdoor tented, fairy tale-quality weddings by our beautifully landscaped gardens.” The Golden Plough Inn at Peddler’s Village currently is offering Winter Romance packages for couples and new Family Fun packages that include admission to the Giggleberry Fair indoor entertainment center for families with young children.

KITCHEN KETTLE VILLAGE Lancaster, PA Kitchen Kettle Village, in business since 1954, has long been a popular destination because of its open spaces and picturesque views, friendly faces and service, combination of lo-

Fun and flavorful self-guided Tasting Tours are scheduled throughout the year that allow guests to sip, snack and stroll their way through the Village while picking up interesting facts about Kitchen Kettle Village and its foods along the way. In addition, groups that visit now have the option to customize their experience by exploring the "Make It Yours" option. Group leaders can choose from a menu of unique, safe experiences based on their passenger count, group interests, and the duration of their visit.

AMISH EXPERIENCE Lancaster, PA People enjoy visiting Amish Country in Lancaster because it evokes feelings of nostalgia, togetherness, family, community spirit, and relaxation. The guided tours at the Amish Experience help visitors to better understand who the Amish are, and provide the opportunity to meet with their community members to learn more about them and why they do what they do. “In response to the pandemic, we created a ‘Contactless Amish Farmlands Tour,’” explains Clinton Martin CTIS, president, Amish Experience at Plain & Fancy Farm. “By installing a small FM radio transmitter on our mini bus’s PA system, we can provide guided tours to people who are not comfortable boarding a bus with strangers. They simply follow our 14-passenger minibus in the comfort of their own car, tune their FM radio to our bus’s frequency, and hear everything

The Bailey Family; photo courtesy: Amish Experience at Plain & Fancy Farm, Lancaster, PA ­46 March­z April­2021


our guide is saying right through their car’s speakers.” The tours traverse scenic back roads through Amish farmland and take 90-minutes, including a stop along the way at one of a number of Amish farms that make foods, crafts, baked goods, cheese, butter and more available for sale right off the farm.

SIGHT & SOUND THEATRES Lancaster, PA Sight & Sound Theatres has been bringing the Bible to life on stage for nearly 45 years. Known for massive sets, live animals, and spectacular special effects, its shows are designed with audiences of all ages in mind. QUEEN ESTHER, a story of courage and faith in the midst of uncertainty, is now playing on the Lancaster stage for the 2021 season. This original production is performed by 55 professional cast members. “We have the gift of space in our theater,” observes Katie Miller, communications manager for Sight and Sound. “With over 180,000-square feet of public areas, we are grateful to welcome guests in this season while having enhanced safety measures in place.”

American Chocolate Bar.” But before the world fell in love with his chocolate, Milton S. Hershey was a struggling entrepreneur determined to make a difference. The Hershey Story presents his fascinating legacy through artifacts, animation and interactive activities. Currently, virtual experiences from chocolate tasting and truffle-making to the history of Hershey are available, and sessions can vary based on the needs of the individual or group.

HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE WORLD HERSHEY, PA & NEW YORK, NY Hershey’s Chocolate World is home to a free tour ride that allows guests to experience the chocolate making process from bean to bar. It can be paired with four paid attractions, including Create Your Own Candy Bar, Hershey’s Unwrapped, 4D Chocolate Movie, and Hershey Trolley Works. Hershey’s Chocolate World, Times Square is a unique retail experience with New York-inspired merchandise and sweet bakery treats and s’mores. Located in the heart of Times Square, it’s the perfect place to unwrap a sweet experience.

HERSHEY STORY MUSEUM Hershey, PA The Hershey Story Museum is operated by The M.S. Hershey Foundation, a separate entity from Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. For well over 100 years, the name Hershey has been synonymous with the “Great

“We have limited capacity and made necessary changes to accommodate guests safely and sweetly! We are creating new programs for FIT segments, as well as more localized programs for scouts and camps,” notes Julie Payne, CTP, CTIS, group sales consultant, Hershey's Chocolate World.

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THE BIGGEST TREND IN EVENTS FOR 2021: PEACE OF MIND by Morgan Bedore

Event planning can feel daunting in the face of uncertainty. Luckily, Constellation Culinary Group is here to share insight to some things you should be considering while planning in 2021 and beyond to keep your deposit, your event, (and your sanity!) intact. In 2021, planning events can feel incredibly overwhelming - if not sometimes impossible. Even if you have brilliant ideas for future events, conferences and meetings, the ambiguity of whether you’ll be allowed to host something or not can make planning ahead for 3-, 6- or even 10-months from now feel like a giant question mark. Throughout the pandemic, Constellation Culinary Group has used this opportunity to get creative, be nimble, and above all - find innovative new ways to offer flexibility for our partners.

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THE PLANNING PROCESS As in-person walk-throughs of event spaces became a risky impossibility in 2020, our property catering directors found new ways to allow planners to get a look and feel for the space. For example, at Curtis Atrium, senior director of sales Leila Miller was able to speak with clients via Zoom while allowing them to virtually tour the property’s event spaces. “Although I couldn’t stand with them in the space, we worked together via Zoom to discuss how the layout could function with a variety of different crowd sizes, and how the flow could work to ensure everyone’s safety,” Leila explained. In addition to showing the space virtually, Constellation also works one-onone with event planners to

walk-through the food and drink offerings, including detailed virtual look books that explain the dish and show the presentation. “We did everything we could to make the event-planning process happen as it normally does, but without having to meet face-to-face,” Leila noted. For those who were still looking for a tactile experience, Constellation hosted planners or couples at Rat’s Restaurant, the restaurant that the brand operates out of Hamilton, NJ. Although the menus weren’t exactly the same, it allowed for a physical showcase of Constellation’s quality, presentation, service and attention to detail. We recommend keeping the physical touchpoints in place as much as possible by working with your venue and caterer to find a way to experience what your guests will be experiencing before you book.

HYBRID EVENTS It’s a phrase that has been on everyone’s brain over the last 12-months hybrid events. That’s because they’re able to accommodate both in-person and at-home guests. Even as capacity numbers change, it’s going to be important to be mindful of your guests’ varying levels of comfort with regard to being in-person. It’s important not only to be ready to embrace this approach toward events, but to work creatively to keep our guests engaged, whether they’re 6-feet from us or tuning in via livestream. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, but one thing you can keep fresh and interesting is the tactile experiences you are providing that will accompany the program. Since many guests won’t be able to come to the event, you need to bring the event to them. And what Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­49


which includes properties across the East Coast. Rat’s Restaurant, for example, was able to stay open during many of the months where events and gatherings were banned by the city of Philadelphia. Out of respect for city and state guidelines, small micro-weddings and events were possible in New Jersey when they were not in Philadelphia. When selecting a venue partner for 2021, we recommend having an insurance policy is in place in the event of a worst-case-event scenario. By discussing this with your event manager ahead of time, you’ll eliminate the need to worry about your event location potentially being unavailable, and instead be able to focus on other, more pressing aspects in planning your event.

THE MAIN DISH Prior to the pandemic, event programming was becoming more creative than ever. Gone were the days of balloon artists and caricature portraits, with event planners opting instead for cutting-edge tech, world-famous musical acts, and even thrill-seeking experiences.

better way to do that than through stellar food and beverage? Last year, Constellation launched Prepped, a direct-to-consumer at-home event menu program. With Prepped Virtual Events, we developed a variety of unique, custom-branded boxed and bagged menus, ranging from reception snacks to multi-course meals and more – all freshly delivered direct to small gatherings or virtual event guests in separate locations.

SELECTING A VENUE The mounting challenges of scheduling events throughout mandatory closures caused for many logistical nightmares. Rescheduling events more than one time often becomes a major burden. This can be especially concerning for planners who have already submitted deposits or planned events at locations, but the fate of their event is now in limbo. Constellation Culinary Group remained flexible with clients by providing venue options through their expansive portfolio, ­50 March­z April­2021

In planning ahead these days, the programming must be safe and physically distant, yet still engaging. That’s where food comes in. Constellation Culinary Group has entirely revamped our menus that truly help to be a driver for your event. One aspect in particular that we have always provided, but really got to sharpen our knives with recently, has been bringing in more unique flavors from around the world in order to provide an authentic and personal dining experience for all kinds of different cultures and backgrounds. From India to Cuba, Italy to New Orleans, our menus take inspiration from around the world. We’ve taken this time and used it to refine and expand our offerings in a way for which the hustle and bustle of daily business doesn’t typically allow. By not just serving a meal, but also serving a wine pairing with a sommelier to explain the different flavors, or a special menu that nods to cultural or religious traditions, Constellation is able to bring to life the spirit of a shared meal.

SAFETY ABOVE ALL Perhaps the most important trend to keep in mind is that, regardless of what the future holds, rigorous safety and sanitation is here to stay. This year, Constellation launched its Safe Café initiative, which ensures enhanced sanitation procedures, physical distancing, service modifications, personal


c health modifications, supply chain continuity and more. Constellation continues to offer the high level of service we always have, but is adapting traditional event food and beverage operations and flow to better suit the safety of our team and guests. When planning ahead, you should always ensure there are iron-clad safety procedures in place for the catering company and venue.

LOOKING AHEAD It’s no secret that 2020 has changed the world forever, so what can we expect when things open back up again? It’s safe to say that sanitation measures will remain essential. Even as restrictions loosen, food safety likely will continue to be top-of-mind, and will see food and beverage served by individuals in protective gear. Food and beverage will continue to include untouched offerings, such as canned cocktails and creative “boxed” bento-style meals. We also expect that micro-events will continue, as the rise of more intimate, but personal, guest lists have proven to be successful. For larger-scale conferences and meetings, we anticipate the continued rise of more creative and non-traditional venues that can offer more of an experience to guests, such as museums, theaters and even aquariums.

Constellation Culinary Group is dedicated to providing best-in-class dining experiences for one-of-a-kind events, cultural centers, professional settings, restaurants and cafes. www.constellationculinary.com

IT’S

WORTH MEETING With over 45,000 sf of exceptional meeting space, complemented by award-winning cuisine, and 100 spacious well appointed guest rooms,

Drexelbrook takes the work out of meetings.

DREXELBROOK

TheDrexelbrook.com

610.259.7000

Located in Delaware County, PA – 20 minutes from the Philadelphia International Airport. Easily accessible by major interstates and highways.

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­51


Prior to the emergence of the novel coronavirus, he was saving restaurants around the world in the Netflix series "Restaurants on the Edge." Today, Nick Liberato, restaurateur, celebrity chef and entrepreneur, has set his sights on creating a pandemic panacea for dining-in or out through his latest concept, The Borscht Belt. The Borscht Belt, in Nick's brave, new "soon to open during a COVID-19” world is an old school delicatessen with a naturally savory and contemporary twist. Prioritizing an immediate need for public safety and ultra-convenience, The Borscht Belt will offer a new take on a diminishing deli palette for connoisseurs spanning the length of the Foodie spectrum.

THE BORSCHT BELT OFFERING A NOSTALGIC TASTE OF THE CATSKILLS IN STOCKTON, NJ

Its name is a nostalgic salute to the memorable days of the entertainment-loving, Jewish summering-community resorts of the Catskills in the mid20th century, affectionately known at the time as the “Borscht Belt.” For any restaurateur, opening a new restaurant during a pandemic may be considered bold, to say the least. Still, with humility and courage, Liberato and his team are diving-in head-first after months of detailed research and analysis. With a loaded menu that will appeal to diners with wallets of varying sizes, he confidently and enthusiastically concluded that the perfect location for his new venture is the Stockton Market in Stockton, NJ. The Market is a charming venue, just steps from the river and canal. An idyllic spot, it felt intrinsically right to Liberato – just like returning home. According to Cindy Kunnas, executive director of the Delaware River Towns Chamber of Commerce, “I'm excited that Nick Liberato is back in the area! His deli truly will be a fantastic addition to the

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Stockton Market and certainly will be a draw for locals and visitors who recreate on the towpath. What a treat to have someone of his caliber serving up good eats, coupled with such a creative vibe.” Unfortunately, all restaurants are on the "edge" right now. Liberato remains passionate about helping fellow restaurateurs to rise above current challenges facing the industry, doing so through his consulting group, 618 Hospitality, alongside his business partner, Michael Dalewitz. The Borscht Belt is being launched as an exclusive concept of this consulting group, inspired by and infused with some of Dalewitz own experiences having grown up Jewish in New York with fond memories stemming from his own trips to those Catskills resorts. Though Dalewitz laments this lost era, he appreciates what it truly represented - community, family, lots of laughter and entertainment, and of course, mouth-watering mounds of NYC-style, Jewish cuisine. Dalewitz brings a great deal of business acumen and passion to his partnership with Liberato, and it's easy to understand the harmonious balance between the two, particularly as it relates to the development of this truly unique dining venture.

Signature dishes for dine-in, take-out and catering will include Bubby Bell's Matzah Ball Soup; Borscht Beet Salad; Piled-High Pastrami Sandwiches; plus, fresh lox, spreads, bagels and pickles. Their custom-built pastrami machine, a newly prized addition to the Borscht Belt kitchen, has been designed and delivered directly from New York. Passersby on the lookout for fast and incredible coffee will be thrilled to know about the Borscht Belt’s arrangement with Paper Plane coffee, allowing patrons to grab a cup that's ready to go as early as 7 o’clock every morning. Though he grew up in Bucks County, Liberato is returning to the area after living in Los Angeles for more than 20-years. He has expressed his excitement for the opportunity to come home and get reacquainted with the community that has always been so special to him.

TheBorschtBelt.com Mandee Kuenzle Hammerstein, BFA, MA, MkHammerstein.com Public Relations & Launching Firm, Specializing in the Arts & New Business. 908-246-0882.

With bold, vintage colors and textures, the décor of the Borscht Belt harkens back to the era from which it takes its name and inspiration, including neon lights, vintage apothecary jars filled with colorful candies, branded staff attire peppered with black and white checkered accents, along with face-coverings - as necessitated by current circumstances - and black gloves always on-hand. For those who crave the days of live-music while dining, Dalewitz and Liberato, who share a life-long appreciation and study of live performance, plan for such performance acts to take the Stockton Market stage (once COVID-19 regulations will allow). This will serve as an homage to the restaurant's energy and its culturally significant name, as well as a way to further engage Stockton’s artistic community. Current plans are for the Borscht Belt to be open 7-days a week, with a soft launch aimed for the end of March 2021, entirely operated on-site by Liberato and a team that includes other seasoned restaurant partners, such as Steve Lau (The Salt House of New Hope). Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­53


LocationReport

MARYLAND

Rendering of the expanding and renovated Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD

OCEAN CITY, MD OCOcean.com OVERVIEW Ocean City is a popular destination for all ages and has truly become a multigenerational favorite. Roland E. Powell Convention Center is situated right on the bay offering great views and meeting spaces. A convention attendee can always make a family vacation out of their event and bring friends or family along; or, enjoy some downtime by themselves. Some local hotels have taken the work-from-home concept to another level, too. Doing work from a luxury hotel room with floor-to-ceiling windows on the ocean or bay is certainly a concept many would not have envisioned just a year ago. ­54 March­z April­2021


Photo courtesy: Ocean City, MD CVB

WHAT’S NEW According to Larry Noccolino, Roland E. Powell Convention Center director, “The convention center is in the middle of a $37-million renovation that will increase exhibit space by a little over 30,000-square feet and a bayfront gallery of over 15,000square feet. The addition of two restrooms on the upper level will make it more user-friendly for those booking our beautiful bayfront ballroom. Completion is set for this January and it is already being booked.” Many local hotels and restaurants not only have taken physical structure measures to make their property COVID-safe during the pandemic, but they have taken this “downtime” opportunity to do renovations and upgrades to their properties, as well. Gathering places are becoming more intimate and lobbies are undergoing facelifts. Spaces are becoming sleeker and more modern.

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­55


Ocean City Beach; photo credit: Rachel Smith Photography; courtesy: Ocean City, MD CVB

COMMUNITY The Marketing and Communications Division of the Town of Ocean City, as well as the Convention and Visitors Bureau, have teamed up to provide the latest information on restrictions to CVB marketing partners (members) and town businesses in general. Further, “Tool Kits” with signage, talking points, tips and reminders that are ready to use have been developed and distributed to CVB partners – all for the greater good of the overall community. CVB partners also have been notified whenever a convention center event has cancelled or postponed, but, more importantly, the CVB has worked immediately to reschedule that client in a future year. The effort has helped to move business forward and aided clients in finding new dates that work for them and their attendees. This time also has been valuable in the development of meeting and convention resources. A short new video will showcase Ocean City as a great place both to visit and meet. Enhancements online at ococean.com include a new meeting and convention landing page at the suggestion of the local business community who provided valued input. The CVB notes that its agency, MGH, was able to execute the new site quickly. Meeting hotels are listed and can be sorted by need. They can offer deals tailormade to meeting groups. Planners can submit RFPs and use the resources to target hotels that may suit their meeting needs and learn more about the expanding convention center. Lastly, the hotel community is developing a by invitation-only FAM program where meeting planners may contact the CVB’s Hospitality Sales Marketing Partnership chair, Kim Mueller, of Harrison Group Hotels and Restaurants, and she will match them with a one-night stay at a property in Ocean City. They may be looking for a specific meeting need or just exploring the possibilities of Ocean City for their meeting destination. The convention center and Ocean City CVB applaud and support this effort to move business forward and will be providing a gift card to each planner for dining in Ocean City. ­56 March­z April­2021


LOOKING AHEAD With the convention center expansion less than a year away, sports groups such as volleyball, basketball, wrestling, cheer and dance, will be able to expand not only their teams, but attendees, as well. Regina Brittingham, Roland E. Powell Convention Center sales manager, is optimistic. “As far as the future of meetings, events, conventions and tourism, I believe that everyone will slowly and cautiously return to essential business, as it is necessary,” she explained. “However, more importantly, after being more or less quarantined for the better part of the year, I feel that it is human nature to want to see our colleagues and reconnect with one another. We want to once again experience the events and places that make this industry so dynamic and rewarding.”

Ocean City Boardwalk; photo credit: Rachel Smith Photography; courtesy: Ocean City, MD CVB

A Drive to Destination IN OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND

“Road trip time... enjoy a scenic 2.5 hour drive to the Atlantic Coast from Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD & Philadelphia, PA”

Planning a meeting, conference, retreat, group block or social event? Why not consider Ocean City, Maryland! We would love to host you at one of our oceanfront locations. Our experienced sales team is right here to partner in the planning process and execute your vision. Our process is simple, one point person for all of your needs, and we give it 110% of our attention with one goal... to make our clients shine.

VISIT US AT www.harrisongroupsales.com 11 OCEANFRONT HOTELS | DINING | CONFERENCE CENTER | MEETING SPACES FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL 800-399-6820

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­57


THE BEST OF Experience

the most convenient and accessible destination in the Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington, D.C. area. Whether you’re in the area for business or pleasure, or simply looking to get away with the family, the BWI Region has everything you need. Discover hotels, entertainment, dining options, group space, and so much more. Find all of this just minutes from Amtrak stations and the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, a Southwest Airlines hub. When it is time for business events to move back from video calls to in-person get togethers, the BWI region of Anne Arundel County is ready. Area businesses have come up with creative solutions to ensure every travelers’ safety. With your mind at ease it’ll be easy to enjoy top attractions like the Guinness Open Gate Brewery, Live! Casino & Hotel and Maryland’s largest premium outlet center, Arundel Mills Mall.


Both Worlds But the fun doesn’t stop there. Just a short 15-minute drive away is the Sailing Capital of America and home to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. In this quaint, historic, waterfront town you will find modern amenities with all of the charm of a centuries old city. Discover a variety of unique venues, that deliver anything from on-the-water experiences to an artsy blank canvas, perfect for your imagination. Commonly referred to as a Museum Without Walls, this destination will leave your attendees in awe from the day into the night. While you’re here, be sure to taste the Chesapeake cuisine the area is known for. From trendy oyster bars to waterfront crabhouses, everyone will feel like a local. Explore all the two regions have to offer at www.visitbwi.org and www.visitannapolis.org.


Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, Annapolis, MD; photo Courtesy: Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County

WHAT’S NEW

ANNAPOLIS & ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD www.VisitAnnapolis.org OVERVIEW Annapolis is the gateway to North America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay. Its central location along the Mid-Atlantic coast makes it just a short drive from several major metro areas. World renowned as America’s Sailing Capital and one of the top waterfront destinations in the country, lovers of all things nautical head to this home of the U.S. Naval Academy every year to enjoy sailing, cruising, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and more. Founded in the 1600s, the city has an intimate, personal, European feel with brick-lined streets in a Historic District boasting four centuries of architecture. Called a Museum without Walls, Annapolis is recognized for having the greatest collection of 18th-century grand mansions in America. Color-coded historic markers affixed to hundreds of downtown properties make it possible for visitors to enjoy an architectural field day.

UNIQUE PLACES Located next to the National Security Agency in the BWI/Arundel Mills region, the National Cryptologic Museum provides insight into the people who devoted their lives to cryptology and national defense, the machines and devices they developed, the techniques they used, and more. Nearby, the National Electronics Museum is dedicated to educating and inspiring the next generation of electrical and electronics engineers. It is the only museum in the nation featuring electronic warfare systems. While these two museums currently are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, both offer virtual experiences.

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The Hall at Live! is a new 75,000-square foot, 4,000-seat, multi-use concert and event venue featuring some of the nation’s best touring acts. Located at Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, the Hall at Live! is adjacent to Maryland’s largest outlet retail shopping destination, Arundel Mills. Live! Lofts has converted to a Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn Arundel Mills. Based at the same, single address, the hotels are adjacent to both the mall and the casino. Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, a member of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, completed a multi-million-dollar renovation project in August 2020. A maritime-inspired design has been infused throughout the property. Enhancing the existing water and vibrant city views, each of the 150 guest rooms and the signature Waterfront Harbor Suite boast thoughtful details, warm tones and textures inspired by elements of a sailboat. For meetings, events, and weddings, the hotel’s 9 newly renovated event rooms adjoin with outdoor event space and offer stunning harbor views. The property also is participating in Hersha Hotels and Resorts Rest Assured Program™, outlined in their COVID-19 updates. This 5-point program ensures that guests and staff are safe while on property and includes increased cleaning and sanitation measures, reimagined guest services, innovative accommodations, and proactive communication between staff and guests. In April 2020, the Westin Annapolis Hotel completed renovations and upgrades to its 225 guest rooms, elevator landings and corridors. The upscale, pet-friendly hotel also offers a full-service fitness center, Azure Restaurant and Lounge, access to the Varuna Aveda SalonSpa, the only heated indoor pool located downtown, and over 15,000-square feet of flexible function space, including the largest ballroom in Annapolis. The Westin also launched Marriott’s “Commitment to Clean” plan in response to COVID-19.


COMMUNITY In March 2020, Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (VAAAC) stopped all invoicing of partners, understanding that some businesses were closing their doors, laying off staff or struggling to stay open. Rather than add to their financial burdens, VAAAC stopped billing, did not cancel any partners who hadn’t paid leading up to the pandemic, and kept all businesses on its websites. In April 2020, Visit Annapolis added COVID-19 amenities filters to its websites where businesses could indicate if they were open or temporarily closed, if they required masks, had hand-washing stations, physically distanced seating, etc. This made it easy for site visitors to see at a glance what protocols, procedures, and safety guidelines were in place. In January 2021, VAAAC launched three newly designed websites to make it easier than ever for individuals to research, plan, and visit the destination. The enhanced visitannpolis.org, visitannpolis.org/experience-bwi, and visitannpolis.org/blog sites each have their own unique look, but all are seamlessly connected, making for easy navigation and mapping out travel plans. To incorporate the most up-to-date information into the 2021 Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Visitors Guide in an ever-changing environment, VAAAC is creating two different guides this year. The first debuts in March, while an updated version will be released in the fall. For the most current information, however, visitors should access VAAAC’s websites. In October 2020, Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County unveiled a new monthly blog, “The Concierge Desk,”

which introduces online visitors to a different hotel or bed and breakfast each month. In each of the blogs, the general manager or owner shares what makes his/her hotel special and why someone might want to stay there, along with their personal recommendations on fun things to do in the area. In February, VAAAC began producing a series of 60-second virtual site tours of its partner hotels and eblasting a new site tour video per month to meeting planners. The new site tours also will be promoted via their websites and social media platforms. Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County also has been hosting virtual events with hoteliers and meeting planners within driving distance. In December 2020, VAAAC launched a new bi-weekly podcast, Destination Annapolis that focuses on the people, places, and events that make Annapolis a destination of choice for discerning travelers. They also have launched informal weekly virtual “Office Hours” via Zoom as an additional way of keeping in touch with partners during rapidly changing times. In March 2021, Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County will be launching a new mobile visitor information center, the “Arundel Ambassador.” Wrapped with images promoting the entire destination, the trailer features two 65-inch televisions and a sound system that will enable VAAAC to showcase its partners via videos and live streamed performances. In addition to making appearances at events and festivals within the county, the Arundel Ambassador will take the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County message to trade shows, conventions, sporting events, and high traffic consumer outlets across Maryland and beyond.

LOOKING AHEAD While keeping attendees engaged can be more challenging in a virtual environment, event organizers are becoming more creative with their virtual environments and in their marketing of virtual events. Many travelers are still opting for destinations that are a short drive away. Annapolis and Anne Arundel County is ideally situated to reap the benefits of travel from major metropolitan areas. Full-service hotels are exploring ways of how to best monetize hybrid events so the properties can stay relevant during this period of recovery. More relaxed cancellation clauses have helped to ease the anxiety of signing agreements in this environment. Right now, the sports market is a bright spot in the group travel market. It’s ready and willing to come back. Outdoor sporting events like fishing, lacrosse, and soccer are booking in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County for spring and beyond. Social events continue to generate business for local hotels. Weddings are a big draw, but are smaller due to required protocols. Visit Annapolis anticipates an increase in leisure travel in the coming months. Phase II of recovery is expected to show a growth in small and mediumsize events. Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­61


National Harbor Water Taxi; photo courtesy: Visit National Harbor

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY & NATIONAL HARBOR, MD ExperiencePrinceGeorges.com NationalHarbor.com/Meet

George’s African American Museum, great wine along the Legacy Wine Trail, rounds of golf and delectable dining. It's the perfect setting in which to connect.

OVERVIEW

WHAT’S NEW

Prince George’s County is an ideal destination uniquely positioned in the Capital Region across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. It is home to more than 12,000 guestrooms and over 1,000,000-square feet of meeting and exhibit space, including a 180,000-square foot exhibit hall.

Prince George's County continues to offer some of the best accommodations and meeting facilities in the region through developments and new incentives that are ongoing. In spring of 2021, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center will reopen with newly renovated guestrooms.

Convention and meeting venues provide varying degrees of aesthetics and highlights, including Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, The HOTEL at University of Maryland, MGM National Harbor Resort and Casino, College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Crowne Plaza, and Harborside Hotel, among others. The county also is home to the hottest attractions, such as National Harbor, which has been voted one of the Top 50 U.S. destinations for meetings, placing attendees in the epicenter of excitement and entertainment at a waterfront retreat. This lively hub is dotted with outdoor cafes and music, water activities, shopping at Tanger Outlets, the MGM casino, and the 180-foot Capital Wheel. Visitors also can enjoy Topgolf, performances at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Centre, exhibits at the Prince ­62 March­z April­2021

COMMUNITY The Prince George’s County Conference and Visitors Bureau has been very keen to address the disruptions that occurred to the tourism and hospitality industry due to COVID-19 by remaining vigilant in their messaging and communications with members in the county. To keep businesses engaged, the bureau amplified their monthly newsletters, introduced a “News You Can Use” digital mailer, conducted virtual marketing meetings, and increased their social media presence. Prince George’s County CVB also has been able to extend additional support by partnering with local county officials, sharing updates across partner websites, and promoting the importance of sustaining the local economy through incentives such as “Buy Local,” “Foodie-Fabulous - To-Go,” and launching a Brand Ambassador to highlight open businesses.


Newton White Mansion; photo courtesy: Experience Prince George's

THINGS TO DO UNIQUE PLACES Mount Vernon has created The George Washington Leadership Institute with a variety of programs that include historical case study discussions, interactive decision-making scenarios, computer-assisted live action role playing seminars, conference facilities and more - all designed to make meetings and conferences experiential and more memorable. Nearby Piscataway Park, overseen by the Accokeek Foundation, has a variety of team building activities in and around its colonial farm. Oxon Hill Manor is a historic property serving as an option for smaller meetings and off-site events. National Harbor has 64 slips and marina amenities like private changing facilities, dock side power stations and concierge services. SPECIAL SERVICES AND INITIATIVES Booking meetings, events and conventions at National Harbor can be easily done through the local convention and visitor association. Visit National Harbor can provide meeting and event planners with information and one-stop booking. In light of COVID-19, National Harbor has introduced its STARTS initiative, highlighting the extensive actions taken using Sanitizing, Touchpoints, Advanced technology, Reenforced physical distancing, Teaching and education, and Security (STARTS).

National Harbor’s Waterfront District features unique shops and boutiques, as well as outdoor art by national and internationally renowned artists. A promenade here, known as American Way, has everything from murals to sculptures. Waterfront activities include: Monumental Boat tours’ CraigCats; the Float Boat 360; pedal boats; paddle boards; yacht charters; the Capital Wheel; a carousel; movies or sporting events on National Harbor’s big waterfront screen and more. Water taxis offer convenient transportation to Washington, DC, Old Town Alexandria, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. PLACES TO MEET With the 2020 opening of Hyatt Place at National Harbor, the attraction’s eighth hotel, National Harbor grew its meeting and event space to more than 1,135,800-square feet. National Harbor now boasts a total of 3,400 sleeping rooms, 40 restaurants, and 160 shops. Take advantage of outdoor flex space where attendees can enjoy unobstructed sunset views. The 6,000-square foot Capital Canopy is adjacent to National Harbor’s two 700-foot piers that provide prime waterfront reception spaces. Flight Deck, located beneath the iconic Capital Wheel, offers picturesque views of DC monuments, Alexandria, and beyond. National Harbor also is home to Gaylord National Resort along with MGM National Harbor, two of Maryland’s nine Four Diamond rated hotels. For smaller meetings, National Harbor’s portfolio includes a Westin, AC Hotel, and Hyatt Place.

Pier at National Harbor, MD; photo courtesy: Visit National Harbor

In recognition of the crippling impact the pandemic has had on the restaurant industry, National Harbor, OtherSide Beverage and Aslin Brewing collaborated to create a new brew with National Harbor Restaurant workers in mind. Rising Tides Raise All will not only help to increase traffic and sales at National Harbor, but OtherSide Beverage and National Harbor will donate a portion of the proceeds from Rising Tides Raise All directly back to participating restaurant’s staff. Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­63


Approach to the Pavilions at Glenstone Museum; photo credit: Iwan Baan; courtesy: Visit Montgomery County, MD

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD www.VisitMontgomery.com OVERVIEW Montgomery County consists of several popular locations, including: Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Rockville, and Bethesda. It also is home to an extensive array of wide-open spaces, unique venues and walkable town centers. Attendees can expect a unique blend of outdoor experiences when they visit, such as more than 400 parks and trails, a 93,000acre Agricultural Reserve, C&O Canal National Historical Park, Sugarloaf Mountain, historic sites, wineries, breweries and more.

UNIQUE PLACES & SPACES A museum of modern and contemporary art, Glenstone is integrated into nearly 300-acres of rolling pasture and unspoiled woodland in Potomac. Established by the not-for-profit Glenstone Foundation, the museum provides a contemplative, intimate setting for experiencing iconic works of art and architecture within a natural environment. Spanning almost 185-miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD, ­64 March­z April­2021

the C&O Canal National Historical Park is a nature lovers dream. In January 2021, the park celebrated its 50th anniversary of becoming a U.S. National Park. Biking the canal towpath, hiking Billy Goat Trail, watching the Potomac River rapids at the Great Falls Overlook, and staying in a fully restored historic lockhouse are among the options here. Montgomery County also is home to a number of rural areas. In 1980, the Montgomery County Council created an Agricultural Reserve that has been heralded as one of the best examples of land conservation policies in the country. It has become one of the largest open-air tourism attractions in the nation, where travelers can enjoy scenic byways, wineries, breweries, historic attractions, pick-your-own farms, plus hiking at Sugarloaf Mountain. Montgomery County’s Tastemakers Trail is a self-guided craft beverage trail features 20-plus craft beverage producers offering an array of local beer, wine, cider, coffee and spirits.

Next door is the Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park and Underground Railroad Experience Trail, a cultural park, museum and trail.

PLACES TO MEET The Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel and Executive Meeting Center in Rockville houses 315 guest rooms, 14 meeting rooms and 35,000-square feet of dedicated meeting and event space. The Atrium is its largest space, and has the capacity to accommodate up to 800 guests. The Millennium Trail, a 10.6-mile loop around Rockville, runs directly behind the property. Situated on 43-acres of manicured grounds, lush gardens and country trails is the historic William F. Bolger Center Conference Hotel. The property can accommodate almost any type of event with 431 rooms and 70,000square feet of meeting space. Attendees can mingle and relax at the Junior Olympic swimming pool or network in its abundant outdoor space and two on-site dining options.

WHAT’S NEW For an ultimate ziplining and climbing experience, Adventure Park at Sandy Spring Friends School features 13 trails varying in levels of difficulty that create over 190 unique challenges.

TopGolf in Germantown is Montgomery County’s newest entertainment venue with flexible meeting and entertainment space. Rain or shine, day or


Rio Lakefront shopping center in Gaithersburg, MD; photo courtesy: Visit Montgomery County, MD

night, the state-of-the-art facility can accommodate a variety of group sizes in climate-controlled hitting bays or versatile event spaces, including a signature room, conference room, lowerlevel lounge, and rooftop terrace. Newly transformed, the 301-room, fullservice DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC North-Gaithersburg has undergone a $15-million renovation that included remodeled guest rooms, a new lobby, restaurant and bar, refreshed ballrooms and meeting spaces, plus a new swimming pool and fitness center. The Rio Lakefront in Gaithersburg recently completed a $30-million facelift. This 716,000-square foot shopping and entertainment complex features a slate of new restaurants, including Silver Diner, a renovated AMC movie theater, Dave & Busters, additional outdoor seating areas, and an expanded boardwalk surrounding the property's 9-acre lake. Located along the lake and within walking distance are the Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center and Courtyard by Marriott Gaithersburg Washingtonian Center. Round House Theatre in Bethesda completed a $9-million renovation that included an expanded lobby bar and acoustic improvements to the theater.

COMMUNITY Visit Montgomery is focused on promoting Montgomery County’s road trip itineraries, wide-open spaces, and agricultural experiences. Three popular programs that were created in the past year include: MoCo Eats, MoCo Stay, and the Tastemakers Trail. MoCo Eats features an online restaurant directory showcasing over 900 restaurants - a food lover’s guide to food and drink establishments with offerings such as outdoor dining, takeout, delivery, reservations, and deals. MoCo Stay is an online directory featuring lodging options for all interests – for that perfect staycation, road trip or weekend getaway. Featuring 20-plus local craft beverage producers, Tastemakers Trail is a self-guided experience for those interested in local beer, wine, spirits, coffee, mead and more. Visit Montgomery also has partnered with the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and the Montgomery County Government to launch a #MaskUpMoCo campaign that educates residents and visitors as to proper mask requirements in the county.

Tapestry Collection by Hilton welcomed The Bethesdan Hotel to its portfolio of upscale, original hotels as the brand’s first property in Maryland. Early last year, Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center celebrated the completion of its $25-million renovations and additions, which included upgrading all 455 guest rooms, revamped venue space highlighted by a 23,000-square foot Grand Ballroom, as well as a flexible, 4,000-square foot Junior Ballroom. The renovations also added a M Club Lounge and The Corby Kitchen restaurant.

Roundhouse Theater in Bethesda, MD; photo courtesy: Visit Montgomery County, MD Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­65


Rawlings Conservatory; photo credit: Justin Tsucalas; courtesy: Visit Baltimore

BALTIMORE, MD Baltimore.org OVERVIEW No other city will surprise like Baltimore - from the largest public holding of Henri Matisse in the world and the nation’s largest museum dedicated to self-taught artists to beloved attractions like the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor to a craft brewery located in the sanctuary of a historic church and Four-Star hotels with incredible views.

WHAT’S NEW Hilton opened Canopy Baltimore at Harbor Point in October 2020. Targeting vibrant, culturally rich neighborhoods in select cities across the U.S., this hotel brand showcases Baltimore as a colorful, diverse waterfront destination. Business travelers will find secure meeting spaces for up to 100 people, including a private restaurant space and an outdoor terrace. The hotel offers groups choices for both indoor and outdoor entertainment and their public spaces double as galleries with original pieces curated from celebrated local artists.

COMMUNITY Visit Baltimore has partnered with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council to bring its GBAC STAR Accreditation program to local hotels, meeting centers and attractions. GBAC STAR is the cleaning industry’s only outbreak pre­66 March­z April­2021


vention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities. This performance-based accreditation program helps facilities demonstrate they have the work practices, procedures and protocols to prepare, respond and recover from outbreaks and pandemics to instill confidence in customers, staff and key stakeholders.

Faidley's at Lexington Market; photo credit: John Lehr; courtesy: Visit Baltimore

GBAC is a division of the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA), the worldwide cleaning industry association. The Baltimore Convention Center already has completed the program and is an accredited facility.

LOOKING AHEAD Outdoor or hybrid indoor-outdoor venues will be more popular than ever as more professionals begin participating in face-to-face meetings again. Baltimore is lucky to have a wide variety of outdoor dining and event spaces along the scenic and walkable Inner Harbor waterfront. The city even has a water taxi, which makes safer open-air transportation a reality for meeting attendees who want to explore downtown and historic neighborhoods while doing business in Baltimore. Star-Spangled Sailabration, Inner Harbor of Baltimore, MD; photo courtesy: Visit Baltimore

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LocationReport

DELAWARE

The Riverfront of Wilmington, DE; photo credit: Leslie Kipp; courtesy: Greater Wilmington, DE CVB

GREATER WILMINGTON, DE www.VisitWilmingtonDE.com OVERVIEW: Greater Wilmington Delaware caters to a lot of different interests. Great shopping, hip arts and entertainment to grand estates and gardens such as Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library; Hagley Museum; Nemours; and Mt. Cuba Center, named America’s Best Botanical Garden in USA Today’s 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards. The area’s rich history is another strong point, and a visit to historic New Castle makes for a nice side trip for meeting goers. Area hotels tend to be smaller, and that has always been an attractive feature for those looking to buyout an entire space. This has become an even greater incentive in the age of COVID-19. Similarly, many outdoor spaces appeal to those who want to escape the crowds of larger cities and take in some fresh air during meeting down times.

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Le Cavalier at HOTEL DU PONT in Wilmington, DE; photo courtesy: Le Cavalier “I can’t fail to mention the impact President Joe Biden has had on our area,” explained Jessica Bittman, director of sales for the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Wilmington is his home city. We’ve seen a significant increase in interest in our destination all around since the election.” WHAT’S NEW: PM Hotel Group and The Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc. introduced a new concept to Wilmington’s storied HOTEL DU PONT in spring of 2020, a progressive, French brasserie helmed by Chef-Partner Tyler Akin, a Wilmington native and the acclaimed restaurateur behind Philadelphia concepts Stock and Res Ipsa Cafe. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch seven days a week, 365 days a year. Its cuisine pulls influences from Provençe and North Africa along with nods to cherished Green Room classics, all served up in an approachable atmosphere that is at once contempo-

rary and nostalgic. The restaurant, designed by Stokes Architecture & Design, boasts 125 seats with an intimate 14 seat bar, a private dining room and seasonal outdoor patio seating on Rodney Square. For the project, The Buccini/Pollin Group has partnered with Christina River Exchange, LLC, a full-service FF&E procurement company based in Wilmington that serves the hospitality industry nationwide. HOTEL DU PONT took the honors for “Best Historic Restaurant” from Historic Hotels of America for 2020. No small feat, given the hotel opened Le Cavalier at the Green Room in the midst of the pandemic. A Four-Diamond rated hotel, it also is home to 25,000-square feet of meeting and conference space, including its iconic Gold Ballroom; and 217 guest rooms and suites. Other additions to the hotel included DE.CO, a gourmet food court, and Currie Salon and Spa, a full-service day spa recognized by numerous trade and beauty magazines as one of the best.

“The hotel and Le Cavalier have developed a series of leisure packages featuring dining options from a food and drink credit to a full, in-suite private dining experience for 2-10 persons,” noted Greg Kavanagh, managing director of the HOTEL DU PONT. “There are additional private dining venues within the hotel that include menu and service from Le Cavalier.” Flexibility is the key, he noted. “Rebuilding the services that have been reduced during the past year takes careful planning, and the team at HOTEL DU PONT is ready to earn the confidence of loyal return clients, as well as new guests who may be coming to Wilmington.” The Wilmington Riverfront continues to expand its offerings, as well. In addition to two new hotels that opened in 2019, the European-style Riverfront Bakery and the Juice Joint juice bar opened in 2020. Across the river is the new 76ers Fieldhouse, an exciting addition for the sports scene. This 161,000-square Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­69


Chase Center hosting Biden / Harris Presidential Election Photo Credit: Joe del Tufo – Moonloop Photography

foot facility features three full-size NBA regulated basketball courts, seating capacity for up to 2,500 people, and both indoor and outdoor turf fields.

Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware. “Remote meetings using our excellent Internet service also have enabled us to serve our guests.”

The newly renovated Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware is located on the northern portion of the university’s campus, just minutes from Newark’s Main Street, and its meeting space is fully equipped with the latest technology. The hotel just recently completed a full renovation and updated all of its guest rooms, meeting spaces, and public areas. A full and creative banquet menu can be tailored to suit a wide variety of needs, including “Best of Delaware” crab cakes that remain as a signature item.

“With the COVID-19 vaccine being more widely available, and changes in the state of Delaware protocols for meetings capacity, we are looking forward to seeing more events and meetings in the coming months,” added Sullivan. “We remain focused on guest and staff safety, great food and service, and the return of our loyal and new customers.”

In addition to this renovation, the Courtyard Newark also has implemented CDC, Marriott, and State of Delaware protocols for the safety of its guests and staff. “We worked directly with the State to create the operations plans for safe hotel, dining, and meeting operations - not just in our hotel, but for the entire state,” noted William A. Sullivan, CHTP+, MS, CHIA, CHE, managing director and faculty UD Hospitality Business Management for ­70 March­z April­2021

THINGS TO DO Offering interactive outdoor art, neverbefore-seen and exclusive to the state, the Delaware Discoveries Trail is adding its 10th and newest mural to the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. This art-focused trail was launched in September 2020 by Delaware’s Tourism Office with the goal of creating Insta-worthy moments with interactive street art painted by Delaware artists to highlight and bring attention to the great destinations found throughout the state. The immersive art adds even more

brightness to an already vibrant scene at Riverfront Wilmington, joining the colorful Delaware Children’s Museum’s mural that was designed and painted by Terrance Vann, another artist who hails from the state in celebration of recent historic moments with Delaware-centric balloons adorning the recently nationally spotlighted Chase Center, the location of President-Elect Joe Biden’s acceptance speech in November. While exploring these unique locations in search of the perfect photo for their Instagram feeds, travelers can submit four #DelawareDiscoveries of the artwork at DelawareDiscoveries.com for a chance to receive a limited-edition prize. COMMUNITY “I have been here as a support person for our hotels and the meetings and conventions community overall,” stated Bittman. “I regularly check in with my network and have been there to empathize when they’ve had to lay off team members or, in worse cases, close. I’ve also been working hard to keep up with the near constant


changes: who is now where, what meetings have rescheduled, which have cancelled. I’ve made it a priority to share this information so they can re-bid and also take advantage of few pieces of business that have come through in the last year.”

KENT COUNTY, DE www.VisitDelawareVillages.com WHAT’S NEW

The entire bureau has been working continuously to support local attractions, hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses in every way possible. To meet people’s desires to remain outside and in the open, they have promoted outdoor events and experiences across all of their communications and marketing channels. The bureau also has launched a new 360-degree virtual video tour program. “We were able to negotiate a significant discount for members to participate,” said Bittman. “We are working with hotels now and soon will extend the offer to attractions and additional event spaces.” This past fall, the bureau kicked off its “3-21 Getaway” initiative with member hotels. As part of this initiative, they purchased tickets to three of their core attractions (Winterthur, Hagley and Mt. Cuba) and provided them to member hotels for free. With a two-night stay, guests received free admission to these attractions. “We are planning on launching an expanded version of the same program this spring,” Bittman asserted.

Several exciting new restaurants are slated to open this year in Kent County. One of the most entertaining eateries to open is the Sugar Factory American Brasserie located inside Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. This family-friendly restaurant boasts milkshakes, a floor-to-ceiling candy wall, carousel themed bar, smoking candy goblets and more. Kent County also will be home to the newest Microtel concept opening in spring of 2021 in Milford. The new hotel will feature design elements never seen before in Microtels. COMMUNITY OUTREACH Kent County Tourism has maintained open communication with tourism partners, stake holders and potential visitors looking to explore the area. Their website offers a dedicated section covering current guidelines and restrictions to help in planning for a safe trip. In tandem with the Delaware State Tourism Office, Kent County Tourism is working to streamline all messaging so that visitors can get the information they need. Kent County Tourism also has launched a Tourism Grants program to help ease the financial burden the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. During the year, they distributed twenty $500 grants to tourism-related member businesses that are the heart of the local community.

LOOKING AHEAD Meetings are expected to return slowly, and will look different in future, Bittman explained. “I see a lot more discussion around the size of meeting rooms and contract details than existed before COVID. Room setups will be more spacious. Smaller hotels will have the advantage because they can offer exclusivity to groups. Full buyouts of smaller properties will become commonplace. Smaller cities will come back first due to planners’ reluctance to ‘go big’ because of the concentrations of people.”

Kayaking at Killens Pond State Park; photo courtesy: Kent County Tourism Corporation

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Garden Patio at the Bellmoor in Rehoboth Beach, DE; photo courtesy: Southern Delaware Tourism

SOUTHERN DELAWARE www.VisitSouthernDelaware.com OVERVIEW Southern Delaware offers Five-Star beaches, bays, waterways, hiking and biking trails, and incredible scenic beauty. It’s full of meeting-friendly venues suited to groups of 25-500, a range of accommodations from oceanfront luxury to budget-friendly, and everything from boardwalk fries to fine dining, plus a vibrant winery, brewery and distillery scene along its famed Culinary Coast™. Visiting groups will find team building activities that include outdoor adventure, eight signature golf courses, watersports, indoor activities, entertainment, tax-free shopping, dining, and meeting space. WHAT’S NEW Southern Delaware recently welcomed four new hotels to its accommodations profile, including: Fenwick Shores, Tapestry Collection by Hilton in Fenwick Island; Residence Inn by Marriott in Rehoboth Beach; Home 2 Suites by Hilton in Lewes; and the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Rehoboth Beach. Additionally, the Bellmoor Inn and Spa in downtown Rehoboth Beach is building a new bar and restaurant that will feature its own cuisine and bar menu for the first time since the days when the property was The Dinner Bell Inn. Greater Good Events, based out of Children’s Beach House in Lewes, is the new catering arm of the organization and provides quality food, space and event planning for events and more. The venue offers an educational program of professional development courses in leadership, communication, conflict resolution, cultural competency and even customized training. A portion of the cost benefits the nonprofit Children’s Beach House. Another new, unique event venue overlooking the ocean is Great Dune Overlook Events at Fort Miles in Cape Henlopen State Park. ­72 March­z April­2021


Fire Pit at Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn by Marriott, Bethany Beach, DE; UNIQUE PLACES

photo courtesy: Southern Delaware Tourism

The Freeman Stage in Selbyville has changed its name to the Freeman Arts Pavilion for its 2021 season. Future plans include building a $27-million venue with seating capacity for 4,000 (1,100 under roof). The new venue will provide state-of-the-art sound, lighting and video, an expanded dining area and production space. Phase One, the 2021 season, will accommodate over 2,000 patrons in pods of 4 with current physical distancing guidelines in place. Delaware Botanic Gardens in Dagsboro will reopen on March 18 with new trails and will feature the Meadow Garden, which showcases 70,000 native plants. This year, a new observation deck overlooks Pepper Creek for close views of wildlife, "Living Shoreline" plantings, and natural, innovative erosion protection. The town of Milton is home to a lavender farm and features a number of seasonal offerings. A spring visit boasts hundreds of blooming bulbs, such as tulips, allium and daffodils while a trip here in June showcases row after row of lavender blooming.

FOOD & DRINK Revelation Craft Brewing offers tents that are 90 percent air tight, which means the heaters bring in fresh air from the outside while the air inside is pushed out.

At Holts Landing State Park, Dagsboro, visitors can hike the shoreline, intertidal zone, salt marsh, maritime forest and borrow pits along its newly updated ADA-accessible Sea Hawk Trail, which takes visitors over marshland and through the woods off the coast of Indian River Bay.

Run by local oyster farmers, Rehoboth Bay Oyster Company recently opened just north of Dewey Beach; Good Earth Market in Ocean View has renovated its dining patio overlooking a garden; Beaches Seafood has opened a second location in Milton; while DiFebo’s Market opened in February in Bethany Beach.

Visit Barn Hill Preserve in Frankford and try out kangaroo yoga, enjoy an up-close and personal sloth encounter, or attend a Sippin’ with Sloths event in collaboration with Salted Vines Vineyard and Winery.

Square One in downtown Rehoboth Beach opened in February and Milton’s Dough Bar now has its own stand-alone location with both indoor and outdoor seating available.

Cape Water Tours in Lewes is in the planning and scheduling stages of offering water taxi service from Lewes to the new Grove Park Canal Dock in downtown Rehoboth Beach. They are expecting to offer this service once a week in 2021 due to COVID restrictions. They are also hoping to run select tours from the Rehoboth Canal Dock. These new offerings will be in addition to their seven day a week schedule of tours in Lewes. Coastal Kayak, Fenwick Island, will offer new sunset sailing tours for up to six participants. The Rehoboth Art League and the City of Rehoboth will present the Rehoboth Arts Festival on May 22 at Grove Park, where artists will showcase and sell their work.

Photo courtesy: Southern Delaware Tourism Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­73


Heritage Shores Golf Tournament; SPECIAL OFFERS photo courtesy: Southern Delaware Tourism

Southern Delaware Tourism (SDT) offers a $300 for 30 incentive to groups booking 30 or more Sussex County hotel room nights for a single event. Eligible groups will receive a $300 rebate from SDT upon proof of payment following their event. SDT also features an extensive list of team building activities online at visitsoutherndelaware.com/teambuilding to assist planners. Southern Delaware Tourism has introduced a Bike and Stay package on its Sidekick App, as well. Stay at a participating hotel and bike Southern Delaware's scenic trails while receiving exclusive offers from restaurants, breweries, distilleries and shops, plus get access to an interactive trail map. In addition, now through March 31, select hotels are offering special discounts on extended stays. COMMUNITY Southern Delaware Tourism has worked diligently during the pandemic to encourage safe, responsible visitation while also assisting and promoting its tourism partners and local businesses. Some initiatives have included: creating a dedicated web page for tourism partners containing federal, state and industry updates on emergency declaration amendments, safety guidance, loan and grant programs and more, along with an email distribution list to inform them of updates; and creating a web page for consumers containing updates on cancellations, postponements, and reopening information, which also was heavily promoted on social media. For visitors and potential visitors, SDT is highlighting opportunities to “visit” or “revisit” Southern Delaware virtually by highlighting partners who have created virtual opportunities. This includes art classes, concerts, virtual tours, web cams, chef demos, virtual museum and art gallery exhibits and more, and this content has been regularly promoted via social media. SDT has partnered with the Sussex County Economic Development Office, too, to create a county-specific “Buy Local” program to encourage county residents to support neighbor businesses and organizations during the pandemic. Working with local restaurant partners, Southern Delaware Tourism highlighted chef recipe videos on social media platforms to entice travelers to visit their eateries when they return, as well. And SDT has worked with accommodations partners to promote gift card sales for future visits and to create promotions for instate travelers and those interested in extended stays. Scott Thomas, executive director for Southern Delaware Tourism, said, “SDT has been working hard to keep Sussex County a destination of choice in the minds of visitors throughout this crisis. We know that there is much pent-up travel demand, especially for drive-to, road trip destinations like Southern Delaware.” ­74 March­z April­2021


EvEntM ­ AkErs DELAWARE Wilmington - Elaine Leies has been named Business Development Manager for the HOTEL DU PONT.

MARYLAND Annapolis - Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County recently announced the appointment of Kristen Pironisa as its next Executive Director, effective April 19, 2021. For the past 16 years, Kristen has worked with the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation, serving most recently as its executive vice president of marketing and communications.

NEW JERSEY Mount Laurel - Stephanie Ritter has been named Meeting Manager for the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI).

Philadelphia - Di Bruno Bros. announced that Nick Thomas has been named Director of Operations, Catering & Events. Most recently, Nick with the Garces Group operations at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Academy of Music, Chubb Hotel & Conference Center, and ACE Club golf course. Philadelphia - Lisa Cheresnowsky was promoted to Senior Manager Firm Events and Alumni Programming at Ballard Spahr LLP. Philadelphia - Greg DeShields, Executive Director of PHL Diversity, will now be holding a dual role as he has been named Tourism Diversity Matters Executive Director. Tourism Diversity Matters seeks to move Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategies forward throughout the tourism and events industry to achieve a collective impact.

PENNSYLVANIA Allentown - Mike Slivka has been promoted to General Manager of the Renaissance Allentown hotel. King of Prussia - John Sechrist has been named Director of Catering for the Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel. Malvern - A new association management and planning company, Premier Association Management Group, has been formed by Kyle Fernley, President. Media - Jesse Ridgeway has been named Events Director for both The Towne House and the Ridley House.

Leies

Pironisa

Philadelphia - The historic Reading Terminal Market has hired Annie Allman as its new General Manager. Annie previously served as senior director of marketing for Comcast and has held marketing roles at the Harrah's Atlantic City and Harrah’s Philadelphia casinos.

East Coast - A select group of meeting and event industry professionals have come together under the new brand, Etherio Group. Eric J. Altschul of ABC Global Services, has joined forces with other well-known leaders, including: Steve Goodman of MeetingAdvice; Eli Sananes, Global Meetings & Incentives; Katie Harvill, Matchstick Creative; and Michael Shannon, a veteran of meeting sales management. Eric now serves as the President/CEO of the newly formed group. By uniting their businesses as Etherio Group, these industry players have created a leading meeting and event company focused on corporate clients, life sciences, associations, incentives and site selection. Anne Madden also has joined Etherio Group as Account Executive. Anne most recently served as senior sales manager for Omni Orlando at Champions Gate, managing pharmaceutical, northeast corporate and association business. Previously, she worked at American Express in procurement and at Maritz Travel as operations manager, leading a sourcing team for a global pharmaceutical account.

White Haven - Charlotte Horowitz has been appointed Director of Sales and Marketing for Mountain Laurel Resort. York - Honey Run Golf Club has announced the appointment of Mark Beran as its Head Professional and General Manager.

slivka

Horowitz

Madden

thomas

Deshields

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Around Th “Our strategy allows us to test all guests prior to an event, thus mitigating the risks involved and helps guests feel comfortable at their event knowing that you’ve provided the safest experience possible,” explained Clayre Cardi, the company’s co-founder. COVID-19 Antigen Testing for Events Planning to have a special event, but worried about the potential risk for exposure to COVID-19? A new on-site testing model has been developed to provide an extra layer of comfort and security for planners and event attendees. 15 Minute On-Site Response is a mobile rapid COVID19 antigen testing company specializing in setting up temporary testing sites for events.

Custom set-up for each event, they are Pennsylvania State healthcare licensed professionals offering CLIA certified laboratory results in under 15 minutes with 93 percent Specificity Accuracy and Results sent directly to each guest's phone. To use this service, guests must be notified prior to attending the event that there will be rapid testing onsite. Attendees must pre-register and sign a waiver of acknowledgement. 15minuteonsiteresponse.com

Chef Jose Garces Debuts Two New Ghost Kitchens

sulting services and a wine partnership, these two new ghost kitchen concepts further solidify Garces’s longstanding career as a notable innovator within the culinary community.

Philadelphia, PA - Livy’s Plant Based Foods and Rustika will mark the latest in a series of exciting new initiatives from acclaimed chef and restaurateur Jose Garces in response to an evolving restaurant landscape. Iron Chef, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur and food innovator, Chef Garces announced the introduction of Livy’s Plant Based Foods, a vegan concept featuring fresh, locally-sourced plant-based ingredients, along with Rustika, which is centered around Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken, a concept drawing on Garces’ expertise as one of the nation’s foremost experts in Latin cuisine along with his culinary travels and South American roots. Coming after the successful launch of Garces’ new personal brand that features virtual cooking series, con­76 March­z April­2021

From the Spanish tapas at Amada, his first restaurant, to the playful Japanese street food at Okatshe in Atlantic City, Chef Garces continually pushes the boundaries of culinary excellence. While he maintains his successful career owning and operating full-service restaurants, he also is looking toward the future with an increased focus on bringing restaurant-quality experiences to the homes and businesses of culinary enthusiasts in new and interesting ways. www.chefgarces.com


he Region The Family Reunion” - A Multi-Day Event Middleburg, VA - Meredith Corporation’s FOOD & WINE and Sheila Johnson’s Salamander Hotels & Resorts have announced the debut of “The Family Reunion,” presented by Chef Kwame Onwuachi, a multi-day event to celebrate diversity in the hospitality community through cooking classes and demonstrations, wine tastings and dinners, and thought-provoking panel discussions with world-class chefs, sommeliers and industry leaders, including: Carla Hall; Edouardo Jordan; Nina Compton; Carlton McCoy; Gregory Gourdet; Mashama Bailey; Rodney Scott; Tavel Bristol-Joseph; Pierre Thiam and more. “Our remarkable, constantly renewing and evolving industry is as diverse as any other,” noted Johnson. “But, we can - and should - do more. Therefore, I’m immensely proud to partner with FOOD & WINE and Kwame, and delighted that Salamander Resort & Spa can provide a platform for thoughtful discussion about inclusion.” The Family Reunion will take place August 19-22, 2021 at the Five-Star-rated Salamander Resort & Spa. Event tickets go on sale in April. www.SalamanderHotels.com/FamilyReunion

A Mobile Ambassador Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, MD (VAAAC) launched a new mobile visitor information center, the Arundel Ambassador. Wrapped with images promoting the entire destination, the 8.5-foot by 20-foot trailer features two 65-inch televisions and a sound system that will enable VAAAC to showcase its partners via videos and live streamed performances. In addition to making appearances at events and festivals within the destination, the Arundel Ambassador will take the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County message to trade shows, conventions, sporting events, and high traffic consumer outlets across Maryland and beyond. www.Visitannapolis.org

Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­77


Around Th Restaurant News at Camelback Resort Tannersville, PA - Camelback Resort has announced the reopening of local favorite Berrelli’s as Berrelli’s Italian Chophouse, situated at the base of Camelback Mountain. Open for lunch and dinner year-round, it offers indoor dining in its A-frame rustic woodbeamed dining room with floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows or seating on its expansive heated patios with stunning mountain views. The “new” Berrelli’s has revamped its menu and an impressive global wine list. Downstairs from the restaurant is a speakeasyvibe game room for playing pool, darts and shuffleboard. Camelback also recently refreshed Graffiti Pizza located in the Lodge – and partnered with former NFL running back Baron Batch, turned artist. Graffiti is fun and arty with Batch’s custom graffiti art, based on the street style of the 70s and 80s. The resort also added the new Sugar Shack and new food trucks and a drinks trailer strategically set-up near snow activity sights. www.CamelBackResort.com

Dairy Market Serves Up Diverse Flavors in Iconic Landmark Charlottesville, VA - Stony Point Development Group announced the debut of Dairy Market, the South’s newest market hall. Located in the historic Monticello Dairy building in downtown Charlottesville and just steps from the University of Virginia, Dairy Market is reviving a local community treasure and hometown favorite by bringing together a diverse variety of food and beverage, agriculture, Southern culture, history and arts, all under one roof. Featuring a variety of different globally inspired cuisines with authentic flavors, Dairy Market’s merchants showcase the best of what Charlottesville’s expansive culinary scene has to offer. Several merchants are currently open and ready to welcome guests to Dairy Market, followed by staggered openings of the remaining merchants in Spring 2021. With 12 food stalls, one full-service restaurant, a brewery, four retail stalls and a bar, the market is almost at full capacity. www.dairymarketcville.com ­78 March­z April­2021


he Region Dog Days & Yappy Hours Norristown, PA - Elmwood Park Zoo is excited to announce its new "Dog Friendly" series of select dates and events that will allow guests to bring their pet dogs with them to the zoo. While permitting dogs in zoos is a more common practice in other countries, Elmwood Park Zoo would be the first zoo in the United States to create regularly scheduled access for nonservice animal dogs and their owners.

Beginning in March, the zoo's "Dog Days" will welcome guests and their furry friends to visit the zoo together. The zoo also is planning a series of "Yappy Hours," evening events that will feature food and drink specials for guests and their dogs to enjoy at EPZ's Zoo Brew Beer Garden. "Dog Days" and "Yappy Hours" are presented by Metropolitan Veterinary Associates. www.elmwoodparkzoo.org/dog-friendly

Photo Credit: Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia

Another Major Milestone for Cordish Companies as Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia opened in February. Philadelphia, PA - The opening of Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia transforms the Philadelphia Stadium District into an integrated sports, entertainment and casino-resort destination and establishes the area as the only place in the country to experience big league action from four major professional sports teams, bestin-class dining and entertainment, world-class gaming and luxury hotel accommodations. “As a family-owned business for over 100 years, this is an incredibly special day for my family and The Cordish Companies as we expand our Live! Casino brand into the great City of Philadelphia,” said Reed Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies. The Cordish Companies’ Principal Reed Cordish, Cordish Gaming Group President Rob Norton,

and Executive Vice President Joe Billhimer, were joined at a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson along with Philadelphia fan favorites and former Philadelphia Eagles Ron Jaworski and Vince Papale; Philadelphia 76ers Basketball Hall-of-Famer, Julius “Dr. J” Erving; former Philadelphia Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel; reigning Mummers champions, the South Philadelphia String Band and numerous business, tourism and community leaders from the region. philadelphia.livecasinohotel.com Mid-Atlantic­EvEnts­Magazine ­79


Around The Region tion and innovative technologies,” stated Karina Anthony, Meet AC’s marketing director.

Meet AC Revamps Virtual Reality Experience Atlantic City, NJ - In partnership with EAB's YouVisit, Meet AC’s newest additions to its Atlantic City Virtual Reality (VR) Experience, now split into two mini-tours, feature everything convention attendees need under Meetings and Conventions on its website, while the bleisure (business +leisure) traveler will find unique hotel experiences among beach, boardwalk and shopping information under the site’s Destination category. “It is so important now more than ever to be able to represent our destination virtually, and the enhancements that we’ve done to our VR experience show Meet AC’s dedication to the destina-

The VR experience will continue to assist the Meet AC sales team to meet their yearly room night goals, while focusing on bookings at the Atlantic City Convention Center, newly opened properties and re-branded products. “In our latest round of enhancements to Meet AC's virtual tour, we expanded our use of ‘digital presence’ to bring Atlantic City and its visitors closer together. By giving potential travelers even more opportunities to explore the best of what AC has to offer, we aim to drive more meaningful engagements, both digitally and physically. There's something for everybody in AC, and now visitors can truly get a feel for the city's dynamic atmosphere in their updated virtual experience,” added PJ Morreale, managing director of YouVisit Studios at EAB.

www.meetac.com/#virtualtour ence in hosting successful hybrid events. Plus, Montgomery County, PA is also an ideal location to host the in-person portion of hybrid meetings with convenient drivable access for attendees, and plenty of space to spread out at our 300-plus venues.”

Montco Hotels Host Hybrid Events To meet the increasing pent-up demand for smaller hybrid meetings, many Montgomery County, PA hotels are prepared with upgraded technology, enhanced cleaning procedures, and redesigned event spaces. “Hybrid events allow organizations to expand their reach, yet still provide the in-person experience for those that are looking for it,” said Scott Higgins, associate director of sales and business development for the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board. “Many of our Montco hotels have already gained valuable experi­80 March­z April­2021

The trend, plus hotels’ flexibility in providing shorter booking time frames, has proven effective for several regional segments including area corporate, government associations, Life Sciences, and training programs. Visitors can take an immersive 360-degree virtual tour of some Montco hotels with the VFTCB’s Montco 360 and use an interactive mapping feature to show what’s nearby. To ensure an even cleaner and safer overnight stay, information on cleanliness programs for all Montco hotels can be found on the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board’s Montco Wellness for Events page. www.ValleyForge.org


Open Spaces and other

Happy Trails to Meet With plenty of open spaces, parks, and trails to explore, Delaware County, PA makes it easy to upgrade your next Virtual Meeting.

visitdelcopa.com/trails


Incentives

E X P E R I E N C E AT L A N T I C C I T Y ’ S

2021-2025 New Group or Convention Bookings

Highly-competitive Room and Meeting Cost Incentives Special Midweek Bonus Incentive Programs Meet AC Booking & Professional Planning Support

Contact us to learn more about Meet AC’s attractive Convention Center & city-wide incentive plans! Call 1-844-855-6338 or visit meetac.com today!

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March/April 2021 Mid Atlantic Events Magazine Issue  

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