512,784 (as of July 2014)
The Brandywine Valley provides visitors the countryside setting they want with the convenience they need. It is located 35 minutes from center city Philadelphia and just halfway between New York City and Washington, D.C. “The region is just a day’s drive for 38 percent of the U.S.,” says Courtney Babcock, sales manager of the Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau. “Being in the countryside of Philadelphia, it’s no surprise that Chester County is full of nature’s beauty, but our ability to harvest nature has landed us on the world stage, twice. Chester County is home to both the Garden Capital of the World and Mushroom Capital of the World.”
Chester County is famous for its world-class attractions such as The Brandywine River Museum of Art, QVC Studio Park, Herr’s Snack Factory, Winterthur Museum and many more. It extends a gracious welcome to visitors. Along with many festivals and events held throughout the region, a rich equestrian tradition is unique to the Brandywine Valley. The region is also known for the magnificent Longwood Gardens, a world-class horticultural treasure. Situated on 1,050 acres, Longwood features 20 indoor gardens as well as 20 outdoor gardens and a breathtaking conservatory. “With such a large attraction like Longwood Gardens, we receive more than 1.3 million visitors a year from all over the world,” Babcock says.
Brandywine Valley has over 50 hotels totaling more than 4,000 rooms. In addition, the region offers a variety of meeting options from full-service meeting hotels and conference centers to truly unique meeting venues. The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center, an International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) certified property, hosts groups up to 300 within 26,000 square feet of flexible meeting space including a 130-person amphitheater. In 2015, the hotel completed a guest room renovation. The Sheraton Great Valley Hotel also completed an extensive renovation in 2015, which included 193 spacious guest rooms, lobby and 7,100 square feet of meeting space. The White Horse Restaurant in the hotel was built in 1715 and was one of the first public houses in America.
Highlighted by a 300-seat auditorium plus plenty of classrooms for breakout sessions and smaller lectures, the Conference Center at Penn State Great Valley is a state-of-theart conference facility in the heart of Chester County. The Inn at Mendenhall is a unique meetings and event destination located within the famed Brandywine Valley. The awardwinning 70-room boutique hotel offers planners two grand ballrooms ideal for both social and corporate events.
Other hotels in the area include Wyndham Garden Inn Exton-Valley Forge (217 rooms, 10,000 square feet of meeting space), Embassy Suites Valley Forge (229 rooms, 4,000 square feet of meeting space), Centerstone West Chester Inn (141 rooms, 10,000 square feet of meeting space) and Hilton Garden Inn Exton (135 rooms, 2,700 square feet of meeting space).
The largest event space in Chester County is the Phoenixville Foundry, built in 1882 along the French Creek. The Foundry now offers 18,000 square feet of event space with all of the modern amenities and rich tradition befitting the town’s illustrious past and future. “Chester County’s unique venue options are endless,” says Babcock. A few more options to consider are a local winery, Historic Yellow Springs, Chase Philander Knox Estate or Chester County Historical Society.
From farm-to-table country experiences to bustling eateries near Longwood Gardens and other attractions, there’s always something on the menu for everyone. A crew of expert chefs can satisfy every craving, whether you’re in search of haute cuisine or hot dogs. Brandywine is the home of several wineries, where you’ll experience beautiful estate vineyards in the rolling hills, charming tasting rooms and barrel-aging cellars filled with premium wines.
How the CVB Helps
The CVB offers a variety of complimentary services including welcome bags, name badges and visitor information. “Before you book an event, we encourage planners to contact the CVB to assist in the RFP process so we can make sure you are looking at all the best options available,” says Babcock. “We are the experts on the area and are here to make sure your event is a success.” Special incentives are also available based on size of the group and time of booking. To find the right venue for your event, check out the CVB’s new facility guide at BVFacilitiesGuide.com.