• Meetings With a View: The State's Top Waterscapes

     
    POSTED June 12, 2014
     
  • Meetings With a View: The State's Top Waterscapes

     
    POSTED June 12, 2014
     
  • Meetings With a View: The State's Top Waterscapes

     
    POSTED June 12, 2014
     
  • Meetings With a View: The State's Top Waterscapes

     
    POSTED June 12, 2014
     

Aside from the views, many of these facilities are also finding ways for their meeting attendees to make use of the water through water-based activities and boat rides catered to the corporate worker.

Lisa Marie Hugaboom, director of corporate sales at Woodloch Resort says the facility offers 12 indoor meeting spaces varying in size from its York Room at 1,100 square feet to its Heritage Theater at 8,000 square feet.

"While they all offer great views of Lake Teedyuskung, it’s really the venue’s utilization of the water that makes the spot ideal for meetings and corporate events," she says. "We have 3,500 feet of lakefront on a 3-mile lake and make available paddleboards, waterskiing and other water-based activities."

The lake also comes into play with teambuilding, such as in the resort’s signature boatbuilding activity. Companies divide their teams into two groups for some friendly competition to see who will build the best boat out of cardboard, tape and other products. The activity ends with a race using the constructed boats.

The resort also offers a Meetings are a Beach option, in which lounge chairs are set up by the lake and meeting participants can put their feet in the sand and enjoy the outdoors.

"We offer a boardroom boat ride on one of our four pontoon boats, which can hold about 14 people," Hugaboom says. "We have team leaders who will navigate around the lake so meetings can take place right on the water. It’s a great way for people to get outside a stuffy hall and let the creative juices flow."

Another place that makes great use of its water is Lake Raystown Resort, an RVC Outdoor Destination, nestled next to the 8,000-acre Raystown Lake, which is operated and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers.

"We have our Proud Mary Showboat, a Mississippi-style paddle boat, and business groups will go out for a meal on a twohour cruise with full catering provided," says Samantha Kozak, co-owner and operator of the Lake Raystown Resort Lodge & Conference Center. "It gives them a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle for a bit and do something unique with their co-workers."

There’s also boat rentals and an on-site fishing guide available to guests. As far as traditional meeting space, it offers a 22,000-squarefoot conference center with flexible space that can be custom-fitted to groups as small as 10 and as large as 500. Corporate meetings and company retreats are welcomed year-round and full catering is available.

The River Birch Ballroom is two rooms in one, with screens, overhead projectors and a production booth. Meanwhile, the Blue Spruce four-in-one meeting space seats up to 90 for a seminar, each with its own projection screen, private entrance and access to the Treetops Terrace.

"The Blue Spruce Room has an outdoor serpentine-styled terrace with nice shade and a lakeside view through the trees," Kozak says. "It’s different than looking out the window and seeing a city; it’s quiet and peaceful and can add a lot to the atmosphere of a meeting."

Additionally, the property has a large tent for catered dinners and five picnic pavilions, so meeting attendees can take a break and enjoy the outdoors when their business obligations are finished.

Daniel Pora, general manager of Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, says when people first come into any of the hotel’s seven meeting rooms, comprising 5,800 square feet, they are quickly drawn to the large windows and views.

"We have a grand ballroom, which can be split into three different sections, all overlooking the harbor and marina of Presque Isle Bay," he says. "People can look directly outside and see the boats and water and it creates an environment much nicer than what your typical event space will offer."

Two of the hotel’s meeting spaces-its Wolverine and Safe Harbor rooms-both have extra-large, 10-foot windows, bringing in natural light and making the room come alive for meeting participants. The Grand Ballroom, used for weddings and charity events, has floor-to-ceiling windows.

"It’s easier to generate positive feelings when you can look out and see a great view like this," Pora says. "Erie is a very nautical city and we have that theme running throughout our hotel. It has a lot of positive energy and adds another dimension of luxury to a meeting. It’s like being at a yacht club, so it seems more personalized."

Gary Ted Abramson, director of events and catering at the Water Works Restaurant and Lounge, which sits on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, says the historic atmosphere and unparalleled views make it the perfect place to hold an event or meeting in the City of Brotherly Love.

"A water view always adds to a conference, trade show, holiday party or reception," he says. "We really don’t have any competition with the history and views that we have." Parties can rent the entire restaurant and event space, the Riverside Veranda, the Grand Pavilion or several other smaller options, each with a view of the water.

The venue can arrange tours of the Fairmount Water Works Interpretative Center, a National Historic Landmark, a Civil Engineering Landmark and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark, which is situated on the east bank of the Schuylkill River between historic Boathouse Row and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and sits below the restaurant).

"We are a four-star restaurant known for our food," Abramson says. "Many corporations book here for the food and exceptional service we give our clients."

Lake Naomi Club sits on a 277-acre lake in Pocono Pines and provides guests with a multitude of water views from various places on the property. Overall, it has three lakes and a fishing pond.

"It’s set in a beautiful country club environment, surrounded by lakes, woods and impeccably maintained facilities," says Robert Jones, general manager of Lake Naomi Club. "Everyone loves fishing on the lake and the streams. Retreat-goers have the opportunity to use the boats from the club’s rental fleet. The lake is the No. 1 amenity and the club has made sure that the lake thrives ecologically."

Lake Naomi Club’s Community Center spans 48,000 square feet and is the perfect setting for a meeting or large event. The Mountaintop Lodge can seat up to 50 people and the Lake Naomi Clubhouse is available for up to 150 people. There are several additional meeting spaces in the Community Center that can hold smaller groups as well.

From banquet brunches to luncheons, buffets, afternoon teas and barbecues, Lake Naomi Club provides a wide variety of catering options for small and large parties.

"Unlike many other meeting spaces of conference properties, Lake Naomi has a wide variety of recreational amenities close at hand," Jones says. "All guests have access to the great recreational facilities offered at Lake Naomi Club-lakefront dining, boating, beaches and a fitness center with indoor pool, spa and sauna. The on-site lodge is also close to area attractions including skiing, snow tubing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, zip line rope courses, golf, hiking, water parks and casinos."

The lakes are open to nonmotorized watercraft, ensuring that the lakes remain quiet and clean. Boat rentals (kayaks, canoes, row boats and sailboats) are available so meeting attendees can take a relaxing break and enjoy the water.

With a little more than 500 acres of private property, including the 100-acre Trout Lake, Trout Lake Retreats in Stroudsburg has 2,400 square feet of meeting space on the property and is currently building a new hall that will seat 300 and add approximately 6,000 square feet, as well as three other meeting rooms.

"Our conference center is located in the Pocono Mountains and is available to accommodate groups from 30 to 260 people," says Mark Major, director of the facility. "We proudly host a variety of groups ranging from churches to schools, YMCAs to corporations, clubs to organizations, and everything in between."

Major says he makes sure to take advantage of the views, knowing full well that when corporations come out to the secluded property, they want to leave the city behind and enjoy the nature surrounding them.

"People who come from the city are used to looking out their windows and seeing concrete all around them," he says. "Here, they look out and see this pristine lake. It makes them feel at home and more comfortable."

For those making use of the meeting space, on-site water activities are available, including fishing and boating. During the summer months, Trout Lake operates as a sports camp (International Sports Training Camp), so other activities such as a climbing tower, bikes and an adventure course are also made available. Major says those are all in-demand activities for corporate groups these days, and they book up quickly.

Last year, the Indian Lake Resort remodeled its entire meeting and conference facilities, adjoining its Thunderbird Banquet Hall with two new atriums-the Links View Atrium and the Lake View Atrium, each with fantastic views of the golf course and Indian Lake, respectively. Both rooms are available for smaller functions (under 20 guests), or may be combined with the 250-personcapacity Thunderbird Banquet Hall for much larger events. Catering options are available.

Indian Lake is a 5-mile long horseshoe, 750 acres in area with 20 miles of shoreline. It’s great for boating, fishing, swimming and water skiing during the spring and summer, and a scenic wonderland in the fall and winter. The resort also includes two golf courses and a marina.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is a 1.5-million-square-foot convention, conference and exhibition building in downtown Pittsburgh with four floors that house 53 meeting rooms (including two 250-seat lecture halls) and the 31,610 square-foot Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom, as well as providing 313,400 square feet of exhibit space. By far, this is the largest facility for meetings and events in the greater Pittsburgh area.

"The beauty of the space is we can do meetings for 20 or hold a large event for as many as 25,000 people over the course of a convention," says Tim Muldoon, the facility’s general manager. "What’s special about us is that we have just some great views in our prefunction areas of the Allegheny River. That adds a lot."

When the facility was rebuilt in 2003, sustainability was a key design choice, but those involved also wanted to make use of the powerful river. As such, large windows allow in natural light and provide glimpses of the Allegheny River to those in the meeting halls and exhibit spaces.

"Other convention centers around the country, you can leave the space and have no sense of what time of day it is; it can be 10 in the morning or 10 at night," Muldoon says. "Here, you always have a sense of the time, and that keeps people from falling into drab moods."

The beauty of the convention center is once you walk out of the exhibit space, you are looking directly out onto the water and the bustling activity of kayaks and boats.

"There’s a fleet of Clipper charter boats that will pick people up at the foot of the convention center, and that’s a great thing for those in the conference," Muldoon says. "It adds another element of fun." Those coming to Pennsylvania for meetings and events are lucky to have so many great options that include water views and activities. It adds that little extra that many employees crave and creates an environment that makes people happy and productive.

Tucked in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood lies the latest addition to the city’s craft distilling scene. But unlike other distilleries, newcomer Royal Foundry Craft Spirits (RFCS) is focused on more than stills and spirits; the distillery was designed as an event destination.

 

The Dalcy offers a historical, elegant venue for any type of meeting or event.

 

Grand View Lodge’s newly opened boutique hotel is now welcoming guests to its cozy abode.