Planners who like to keep their meetings on track might consider Strasburg, Pa.
For the past 50 years, the Strasburg Railroad has attracted kids of all ages to ride the rails of the country’s oldest short-line railroad through Lancaster County’s countryside.
It’s also a site for a reception, a dinner or a small meeting.
In 1916, the Reading Railroad’s president did business in the President’s Car, now owned by the Strasburg Railroad. Today, so can a group of 10 to 20 people.
The President’s Car has heat, air conditioning and a restroom. There’s food, a bar and waiter service, just like in the good old days. The car’s Observation Room has comfortable chairs, and its compartments suit breakouts or private conversations.
“You can use the car for a meeting, then hook onto the last train of the day for a 45-minute ride through the countryside with a wine-and-cheese reception,” said JoAnn O’Connell, parlor car manager. Dinners for 50 in the dining car can also be arranged.
On the other side of the tracks is a venue for a larger event: the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. It has 100,000 square feet of space among vintage locomotives and rolling stock.
“We’ve done dinners for over 1,000 people, or we can do 10 or 20. We use different parts of the museum to make an event intimate or gigantic,” said Deborah Reddig, the museum’s advancement director.
There are two drawbacks: The museum has no heat and no air conditioning.
“If you’re planning a sit-down dinner for this February, this is not your location,” Reddig said. “But keep us in mind. In the next 18 months, we plan to add both.” — AW