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Group Travel Ideas in the HHR 2009-2010

Published: Sep 9, 2009

Eight new things group organizers should know before they go!

  1. Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau’s 2010 Meeting Planner!  Request a copy of the official convention & visitors bureau’s ‘At A Glance’ guide that will provide meeting planners with a comprehensive overview of what venues and hotels the Hershey Harrisburg offers along with the professional services available from the bureau’s highly qualified sales team.  Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau, 17 South Second Street, Harrisburg, PA  17101.  Call 1-877-727-8573 or visit hersheyharrisburg.org.
     
  2. The Hotel Hershey’s Grand Expansion.  Completed in the spring of this year, planners will discover sweet retreat options at Hershey’s four star and four diamond rated elegant property.  Ten new Woodside Cottages featuring 48 premium guest rooms, a Leadership & Development Center, new Mountain Laurel Meetings Cottage, Harvest restaurant featuring American cuisine made from the freshest local and regional ingredients plus year-round ice skating rink and other resort amenities make this full service hotel Grand indeed!  100 Hotel Rd., Hershey, PA  17033-0446.  Resort Sales 1-866-726-3387 or 717-533-2171, hersheymeetings.com. 
     
  3. The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue.  The beginning of the year started out in sweet fashion with the opening of a new museum dedicated to showcasing the dreams and realities of Milton S. Hershey and the chocolate empire and town he both built and inspired.  The museum is certainly a unique venue for receptions and team building exercises.  63 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA  17033.  717-534-3439, hersheystory.org; Sales office at 717-298-2203. 
     
  4. 10th Anniversary for Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.  Planners, residents, and groups love the three fun-filled floors and traveling exhibits in Harsco Science Center, breathtaking films and Hollywood blockbusters at the Select Medical IMAX Theater and nationally touring acts in Sunoco Performance Theater.  Located in the heart of downtown Harrisburg in walking distance from the Hilton Harrisburg with its fine meeting space and ballrooms, Restaurant Row and the magnificent State Capitol Complex.  222 Market St., Harrisburg, PA  17101, 717-214-ARTS (2787), whitakercenter.org; Sales Office at 717-724-3846.
     
  5. The Track is Back Baby!  Trackpackpa.com.  This hip and trendy Web site showcases the fast paced and exciting race track scene throughout Pennsylvania.  Of course, the Hershey Harrisburg region is no stranger to winning locations for meetings and receptions and its own Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is a top-spot for any sized event.  When your conference attendees are ready for a break and a fun diversion…race out to the track and place your bets on a fun, fantastic evening!  Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, 777 Hollywood Blvd., Grantville, PA  17028, 717-469-2211, HCPN.com;  Sales Office at 717-469-3369.
     
  6. NEW restaurants from the Hershey Entertainment & Resorts company.  Devon Seafood Grill and Harvest are both new for 2009.  Devon is located in the beautifully restored The Hershey Press Building on Chocolate Avenue, come experience the freshest seafood in town.  Upscale-chic atmosphere with private dining areas available.  Check out fall & winter culinary events for your group. Harvest is located in the new Grand Expansion at Hotel Hershey and focuses on regional American cuisine, relying heavily on local and organic products from the region.
     
  7. Pick Three – Discover fascinating ways for groups to get hands-on experiences of the Hershey Harrisburg region’s rich cultural heritage and experience the vibrancy and diversity of Pennsylvania’s capital city, Harrisburg. 
  • History…Take walking tours of the downtown grid to witness historical homes and churches then stroll along the Susquehanna River and step back in time to 1863 and learn about the city’s role in the Civil War as your group participates in stops along the PA Civil War Trails ‘ Journey to Harrisburg trail.
     
  • Theater…Take in a theatrical or musical performance at one of the many fine venues dotted along the city’s landscape.  Of particular note are Open Stage of Harrisburg and the Sunoco Performance Theatre at Whitaker Center. 
     
  • Dine, Dance & Indulge… Stroll along Restaurant Row on Second Street and indulge in numerous culinary delights to suit a wide variety of pallets in your group.  From casual to fine dining options, downtown Harrisburg has it all.  Scrumptious dinners often lead to fun nightlife outings including dancing, cocktails or perhaps a cigar bar.  Your group will sleep well after experiencing the lively nightlife in Harrisburg!
  1. Group Activity Ideas
  • Passport to History.  Rally the troops, so to speak, and visit 4 attractions along the Hershey Harrisburg section of the PA Civil War Trails and earn prizes!  Discover the stories and places that make up the dramatic telling of this region’s involvement in the Civil war.  Collect 4 stamps per passport by visiting such amazing museums as The National Civil War Museum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, John Harris-Simon Cameron House and the PA National Fire House Museum.  For more information and to pick up your passport, contact HHRVB, 17 South Second St., Harrisburg, PA  17101, 717-231-7788 or visit dutchcountryroads.com.
     
  • Toys on the Square.  Something worth traveling for in quaint Hummelstown…just minutes from Hershey, PA.  Bring your team to the pottery painting studio and let the creativity begin!  Known for customizing toy packages for charitable gift giving events for companies and organizations.  22 East Main St., Hummelstown, PA 17036.  717-566-6301.  toysonthesquare.com; 
     
  • Row, Row, Row your boat, gently down the Susquehanna!  Give your attendees a break, a time to stretch and get some physical activity while taking in the stunning views of the river and mountains.  Connect with Blue Mountain Outfitters or Susquehanna Outfitters to arrange for an excursion by kayak or canoe!  This is team-building exercise as its peak.  Let the region’s trained professional’s help your group navigate the river while you enjoy the surroundings.  Blue Mountain Outfitters at 103 S. State Rd., Marysville, PA  17053, 717-957-2413, bluemountainoutfitters.com.  Susquehanna Outfitters, City Island, Harrisburg, PA  17101, susquehannaoutfitters.com; 717-503-0066.
     
  • Hershey’s Chocolate World offers chocolate tasting experiences for groups.  Who doesn’t enjoy sampling some of the world’s most famous candy?  Before or after your group’s tasting, enjoy the FREE tour ride simulating the manufacturing of Hershey’s fast line of candies.  Take in an showing the Really Big 3-D show and take time to visit the huge souvenir and sweets shops.  Hershey’s Chocolate World, 251 Park Boulevard, Hershey, PA  17033, 1-800-HERSHEY or 717-534-4900; hersheyschocolateworld.com. 
     
  • Red, white or with hops?  Pennsylvania is carving out its own niche for offering fine PA wines and brews.  Take your group to Hunters Valley Winery for an hour tour of a vineyard set atop a hill in charming Perry County offering a spectacular view of the Susquehanna River.  You’ll be greeted by friendly staff as you enjoy the tasting room and gift shop.  If beer if more your groups interest, than plan to tour Troegs Brewing Company located near downtown Harrisburg.  This famous beer is known and sold throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and tours are conducted every Saturday by appointment.  A tap room with brewery viewing area is available.  Troegs is known not only for their delicious, original beers but for the names and creative labels as well…come experience for yourself.  Troegs Brewing Company, 800 Paxton St., Harrisburg, PA  17104, troegs.com; 717-232-1297.  Hunters Valley Winery, 3 Orchard Rd., Liverpool, PA  17045, 717-444-7211, huntersvalleywines.com.  
Author: Rick Dunlap

Public Relations Director
Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau
3211 North Front Street, Suite 301 A, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Rick@HersheyHarrisburg.org
Rick's Twitter 
Cell: 717.884.3328

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