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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Scranton’s still a show stopper

Courtesy Lackawanna County CVB

Where is Scranton?
Scranton is in Pennsylvania’s northeast corner, 100 miles from New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., and about 130 miles from Baltimore. The population of Scranton is 68,000; some 230,000 live in Lackawanna County.

How do we get there?
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport has 40 arrivals and departures daily, with nonstop commuter flights to Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Detroit; Newark, N.J.; and Philadelphia on five airlines. Interstate 81 bisects the city, and Interstate 84 links the region to Boston, New York and other major Northeastern cities. The Pennsylvania Turnpike’s northeast extension connects the city to Philadelphia.

What types of meetings best suit Scranton?
Groups in the 200-attendee range are the best fit and represent the majority of meetings held here.

Did you know?
• The discovery of anthracite coal made Scranton the anthracite capital of the world. It is estimated that 85 percent of the world’s supply of anthracite, the longest- and hottest-burning coal, is in the area.

• Scranton was New York’s test kitchen when it came to vaudeville shows.

• The Hilton Scranton has been honored for its green practices.

What’s new?
The Towne Place Suites and the MicroTel Inn and Suites opened last year. A Holiday Inn Express will open this summer. The Courtyard Scranton-Wilkes-Barre and the Inn and Spa at Nichols Village have been renovated.

Tell me about some sites worth seeing.
• Stand next to one of the massive locomotives that moved Americans and helped tame the West at Steamtown National Historic Site.

• After a tour of the Electric City Trolley Museum, ride on an early-19th- century restored trolley to PNC Field for a minor league baseball game.

• Learn how the discovery of anthracite coal near Scranton changed the world and fueled the early-19th-century economy at the Pennsylvania State Anthracite Heritage Museum.

• With a retired coal miner as your guide, travel 300 feet below the surface of the earth for a tour of a former coal mine on the Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour.

• See why Harry Houdini was America’s most talented magician and illusionist at the Houdini Tour and Magic Show. Modern-day magicians Dorothy Dietrich and John Bravo put on a show.

Tell me about the main meeting facilities?
• The 175-room Hilton Scranton and Conference Center and the 145-room Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel are the city’s most popular meeting venues. With 20,000 square feet of meeting space, the Hilton is the newest downtown, full-service property. It is accredited by the International Association of Conference Centers.

• The Radisson is in a renovated neoclassical train station considered among the most beautiful in the Northeast. Many meeting planners choose its lobby, topped by a Tiffany-style barrel vaulted ceiling, for receptions.

Tell me about some off-site meeting venues.
• Party on the roomy deck at PNC Field, home to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

• A newer attraction, Sno Mountain/Cove has a lodge and deck that overlook, depending on the season, the slopes or the water park.

• The area’s oldest home is available for tours and small gatherings. The Trip House is a Federal-style home built by early settlers. Another historic home, considered a local treasure, is the Catlin House, home to the historical society; it is the former home of George Catlin, one of the city’s early financiers.

• The Colonnade has been given new life as an event venue. Two New York-based event planners bought the crumbling historic home, renovated it and built a grand ballroom. The property also has overnight suites.

For a true taste of Scranton…
For a 1950s flashback, start the day at Chick’s Diner, home to hearty breakfasts. Cooper’s Restaurant is a landmark in more ways than one. Shaped like a ship and a lighthouse, it is the fish out of water in land-locked Pennsylvania, but it has a large, quirky collection of local history and national pop culture and serves classic seafood and sandwiches. Coney Island, a Scranton icon, is known for some of the best Texas wieners (hot dogs smothered in chili) in the East. Take your pick of pizza in Old Forge, Pa., which proclaims itself the Pizza Capital of the World. Arcaro and Genell’s, Rivello’s or Cafe Rinaldi are all worth a stop for Sicilian-style pies. End the day with Irish hospitality at Farley’s, Kelly’s or Molly Maguire’s.

What sorts of special services does the CVB offer?
The CVB’s services are wide-ranging. It can hook planners up with speakers who are experts in local history or any other subjects, organize dine-arounds, arrange for special offers for groups from local businesses or tailor a PowerPoint presentation to meet a group’s needs.

800-229-3526, Ext. 5 570-496-1701