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A View of the Blue with Waterfront Meeting Destinations

Green spaces, such as parks, gardens and forests, have become increasingly valued in the meeting industry for their creativity- and energy-boosting influence, but new research shows that blue spaces, including rivers, lakes and beaches, have a much higher effect on stress reduction and mental well-being.

By taking your meeting to one of these five waterfront destinations around the country, not only will your attendees gain some nice opportunities for shoreside selfies, but they’ll also come back to the office restored and more prepared to dive back into work.

Spokane, Washington

Situated along the Spokane River in downtown Spokane, the Spokane Convention Center is fresh off a $55 million expansion that brought the total available space in the center up to 500,000 square feet, including a 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 40 meeting and breakout rooms, and three ballrooms in a LEED-certified space.

“Our convention center package is truly different and exceptional in that our convention center isn’t just located on the river; there are floor-to-ceiling windows on the ground level, and the river access from the convention center is really just feet away,” said Visit Spokane president and CEO Cheryl Kilday. “You walk out on the riverside — it’s this amazing riverfront park where the 1974 World’s Fair was held — and on the other side, you’re in the midst of our downtown corridor that has more than 80 restaurants.”

The convention center features two connecting hotels — the 1,100-room DoubleTree by Hilton Spokane City Center and the 660-room Davenport Hotel — that date back to 1914.

Outside of the convention center, Spokane includes a number of interesting venues along the waterfront, among them former Masonic temples, parks, and the Mobius Science Center, which offers views of Spokane Falls, the second-largest waterfall in an urban setting in the country,

Finger Lakes, New York

The hills on both sides of the narrow Finger Lakes, which wind their way north and south like enormous scratch marks left on the landscape by a giant, are rife with vineyards and terraces overlooking both water and greenery for the kind of view you’d usually have to fly to Italy to see.

“A lot of times, the wineries are the biggest draw for groups,” said Daniel Stokes, e-marketing coordinator for the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance. “We produce award-winning wines that can compete across the country and beyond, but we also have the No. 1 and No. 3 top state parks in the country, according to USA Today, so our scenery is also a big draw.”

Tuscan-themed Ventosa Vineyards on Seneca Lake combines the best of both worlds. and in Geneva, the Ramada Geneva Lakefront overlooks the lake and is completing renovations to its lakefront that will include new boat slips and outdoor event spaces. On the southern edge of the lake, the AAA Four-Diamond Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel includes 6,000 square feet of meeting space, much of it with lake views, and 104 rooms. On Canandaigua Lake, the hilltop Bristol Harbor Resort boasts a 6,400-square-foot ballroom and another nearly 2,200-square-foot event space with a 1,575-square-foot terrace overlooking the water.