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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Fertile ground in Brandywine Valley

Courtesy Chester Co. CVB

Where is Chester County, Pa.?

Chester County (population 500,000) is 30 miles from Philadelphia; 70 miles from Washington, D.C.; 80 miles from Atlantic City, N.J.; and 120 miles from New York. It is part of the Brandywine Valley, a region that borders the Brandywine River in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

How do you get there?
Chester County is within a couple of hours of many of the East’s major metro areas, so many travelers drive there. Philadelphia International Airport is a 25-mile drive; there are Amtrak stations in Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del.

What types of meetings best suit Chester County?
With no large convention spaces, small to medium-size meetings work best. Board meetings, retreats and training groups are a good fit. United Sports in Downingtown and other sports facilities draw athletic competitions.

What’s new?
• A 125-room Courtyard by Marriott opened in May with space for small meetings. The 76-room Hotel Warner will open this summer in downtown West Chester within reach of 65 restaurants and dozens of shops. The hotel will have meeting space for 60 and event space for nearly 200.
• The Chadds Ford studio where Andrew Wyeth painted will open for tours this summer. It has been restored to appear as it did when the artist worked there.

Tell me about some sites worth seeing.

•  After hours, Longwood Gardens becomes an ethereal event venue, where blossoms compete with creative cuisine.

Tell me about the main meeting sites.
• In Malvern, the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center dominates with its 194 guest rooms and a conference facility certified by the International Association of Conference Centers.

•  At Penn State Great Valley in Malvern, the Penn State Great Valley Conference Center has almost a dozen meeting rooms and an auditorium. The center is near major highways, and many area hotels have free shuttles to it.

• West Chester University offers meeting space on its suburban campus. Some 5,000 hotel rooms are nearby.

• The 198-room Sheraton Great Valley Hotel in Frazer has about 8,000 square feet of meeting space in 13 meeting rooms.