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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Only In the Heartland

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

West Branch, Iowa

When it comes to U.S. presidents, Herbert Hoover sometimes doesn’t get much attention, but he was “an incredible human being,” said Pam Hinkhouse, marketing and sales operations manager for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa.

Hoover was orphaned at age 9, was in Stanford University’s first graduating class, traveled the world as a successful mining engineer and saved the lives of countless Belgians when he coordinated food relief for the country during World War I.

Hoover chose the location for his library and museum, and the grounds are a National Historic Site that includes Hoover’s birthplace, as well as the Quaker meetinghouse where his family worshiped, the one-room schoolhouse where he likely studied, a replica of his father’s blacksmith shop and the graves of Hoover and his wife.

“We truly are a one-stop shop of Hoover’s life,” Hinkhouse said.

For after-hours events, reception guests can mingle in the museum’s main lobby and rotunda and explore the galleries and exhibits, including flour sacks Belgians embroidered and gave back to Hoover to thank him.

An auditorium has 180 fixed theater seats and a stage for presentations; a small conference room works for small meetings of up to 25 people. An education room can seat 35 for workshops or seminars.

Dallara IndyCar Factory

Speedway, Indiana

Indianapolis the city is synonymous with the Indianapolis 500, the largest single-day sporting event in the world that will mark its 102nd race this May. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is in Speedway, a suburb just a few miles from downtown. The Indy 500 is the highlight of the racetrack’s five signature events, for which the speedway can arrange tickets and parking for groups. But groups don’t have to be in town on a race day to fulfill their need for speed.

Less than a mile from the speedway, the Dallara IndyCar Factory offers over 35,000 square feet for meeting and events. The 23,000-square-foot glass Interactive Hall can seat up to 300 people for meals or welcome as many as 1,200 guests for receptions. In the Interactive Zone, attendees can try racing simulators, watch a video about Dallara in the theater and see three wind-tunnel model cars from the company’s factory in Italy. The factory’s IndyCar Experience Garage can seat up to 550 guests at rounds or host receptions for up to 1,100 people.

Groups can arrange to tour the Dallara IndyCar Factory operations, use the pit stop challenge for team building or ride down Main Street in a street-legal IndyCar that has been modified to fit two people. At the speedway, a variety of tours and driving experiences are available, including a narrated bus tour around the 2.5-mile track.

Glass Pavilion

Toledo, Ohio

Nearly 130 years after Edward Drummond Libbey moved his family’s glass company from Massachusetts to Ohio, Toledo still proudly wears the moniker Glass City. Today, one of the city’s claims to fame pays homage to its history as the Glass Capital of the World: the Toledo Museum of Art’s 74,000-square-foot Glass Pavilion, which opened in 2006.

Architects designed the building with walls made of curving, colorless glass panels. The result is a series of see-through spaces in a nearly transparent structure, which makes it “a very experiential building,” said Alan Iwamura, glass studio manager.

Although events may spread out in separate spaces, the pavilion’s glass walls “still offer this availability to all the other areas. You could be hosting an event in the Crystal Corridor while simultaneously watching a glass demonstration and being able to view inside our galleries,” he said.

The GlasSalon can seat up to 230 people for meals and can be used with the adjoining Crystal Corridor, where reception guests mingle beneath a rare colorless Chihuly chandelier engraved by Waterford. In the studio spaces, groups can watch artist demonstrations or arrange to make their own glass art pieces during a hands-on workshop; either “is kind of a team-building activity,” Iwamura said.

Destination Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau recently introduced a self-guided Glass City Tour that highlights stops such as Edward Libbey’s home in the Old West End neighborhood or the Libbey Glass Factory Outlet, where groups get a 15 percent discount.