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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Made in Pennsylvania’s York

“Most people want to have things to do when they are not in meetings,” said Louise Heine, destination marketing director at the York County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “Well, we are the factory tour capitol of the world.”

Heine was making a straightforward reference to York, Pennsylvania, home to more than 20 factories that offer tours ranging from major manufacturers like Harley-Davidson to independent crafters like Bluett Bros. Violins.

Touring York’s multiple factories gives groups plenty of options for activities after or between meeting sessions. However, there’s a long list of other items to put in your “pros” list when you’re considering whether to hold your meeting in York.

Take location: This charming Pennsylvania town is only a short drive from most major East Coast cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington. With more than 3,800 hotel rooms in the metropolitan area, finding lodgings will be the least of your worries.

Another plus is the year-round beauty of rural Pennsylvania.

“We’re really lucky here in the fact that we are a four-season community,” said Lizz Todd-Keppel, York County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau meetings and conventions representative. “In the spring we have the flowers, the leaves in the fall — there’s a lot to see in different seasons.”

Last, don’t forget the infamously decadent Pennsylvania Dutch food that abounds in this region. Make sure to check out the York Central Market for a shoofly pie, whoopie pies, soft pretzels or another Pennsylvania-German favorite. The market is also home to lots of farm-fresh organic produce.

From the charm of York’s snow-dusted historic downtown to the Amish farms in the lush, green surrounding countryside in summer, York can accommodate events from small, boutique meetings to full-blown expositions.


Factory Tour Capital of the World

York and the surrounding area are home to more than 20 different factories with tours open to the public; the most notable of those is the Harley-Davidson factory, which attracts visitors between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. If guests at your meeting aren’t into biking, there’s a plethora of other options, especially for foodies. Try New Grounds Roasting coffee factory tour for an afternoon caffeine kick; there’s also the Utz Potato Chips factory and Sturgis Pretzels if it’s salty snacks you crave.


Small Town, Mass Appeal

One of the most appealing aspects of York as a meeting destination is its many extra-large conference venues, among them spaces that can accommodate trade shows and expositions. One of these is the York County Expo Center, home to the 114,000-square-foot Utz Arena and the more formal CMB center, which has two ballrooms well suited to fine entertaining. There are also midsize options in the Holiday Inn, the Four Points by Sheraton and the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, each of which have multiple meeting room options that can accommodate hundreds of attendees.


Historic Charm

York has a historic downtown that can serve many types of meetings and conferences. If you’re looking for a smaller venue in this area, consider the Yorktowne Hotel. That boutique hotel, built in 1925, has all the makings of a grand hotel: 121 luxury guest rooms and meeting accommodations for up to 600 make it an excellent central hub for a meeting experience with more personal flair. Be sure to eat downtown, too; try Blue Moon for intimate, upscale dining or the Holy Hound Taproom for a more casual, rustic feel.