Off the Clock: After-Hours Conference Fun

February 9, 2018

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Off the Clock: After-Hours Conference Fun

By Katlin Swisher

For many, having to attend a business conference or retreat can seem more like a chore than the opportunity it presents. In order to help turn that stigma around and give your employees something to look forward to, plan your next getaway at one of these venues where the local communities are ripe with opportunity for a variety of extracurricular, off-the-clock adventures.

Bavarian Inn

Located in historic Shepherdstown, the Bavarian Inn is an alpine-style inn only an hour from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, and minutes from Harpers Ferry, Antietam Battlefield and the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Stroll around Shepherdstown, West Virginia’s oldest town, to visit its quaint shops, all of which are locally owned boutiques and specialty stores. The Historic Shepherdstown Museum, located in the Entler Hotel, preserves and displays artifacts, furniture and historical documents that might otherwise have been lost. The museum is open on weekends, and admission is free and open to the public. If you are seeking more of an outdoor adventure, visit the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, where you can access four miles of the Appalachian Trail within the state’s borders. Also located in Harpers Ferry, River Riders Family Adventure Resort offers whitewater rafting, zip lining and float trips down the Potomac River.

The Blennerhassett Hotel

Opening its doors in 1889, The Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg is a relic from the oil and natural gas boom in the Ohio Valley in the 1800s. Ride the ferry to Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, home of the Blennerhassett Mansion and the site of the alleged plot by Aaron Burr and Harman Blennerhassett to establish a southwest empire. Narrated wagon rides, guided mansion tours, hiking trails and picnic facilities are also available at the park. For more history, visit the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History, featuring three floors of intriguing archaeological and historical exhibits in downtown Parkersburg. The Mid-Ohio Valley Veteran’s Museum honors veterans of all services from World War I to the present while the Oil and Gas Museum showcases the industry’s intriguing history and how it impacted West Virginia’s statehood. Down the road in Vienna, don’t miss Holl’s Swiss Chocolates and its classically trained master chocolatier who creates only the finest chocolates.

Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center

Winter in West Virginia doesn’t get much better than the Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center in Davis. Combined with beautiful natural surroundings, the resort redefines both relaxation and recreation. Experience the rush of equal parts adrenaline and crisp winter air as you fly down 47 slopes and trails. From snowshoeing trails to an 850-foot vertical drop, the resort offers something for outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels interested in skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. From hiking and mountain biking to golf and tennis, there is no shortage of summer adventures, either. Ride the scenic chairlift year-round for a birds-eye view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. When you are ready to take your adventure to ground level, head over to downtown Davis for live music at the Purple Fiddle and local antiquing.

Charleston Marriott Town Center

Enjoy the after-hours in style at the Charleston Marriott Town Center. Relax in the comfort of the hotel’s guest rooms, enjoy casual dining at the Brick Salt Bar+Kitchen or hang with co-workers on the rooftop pavilion. The Marriott’s unbeatable downtown location offers easy access to the best of the Capital City. Take in a show at the Clay Center or the Charleston Civic Center; browse the Capitol Market and the Charleston Town Center Mall; or dine at local spots like Ellen’s Ice Cream or Pies and Pints. At the State Capitol Complex, visit the home of the West Virginia State Legislature, and check out the West Virginia Culture Center that houses the state’s interactive museum. Visiting in the spring or summer? Don’t miss Charleston’s minor league baseball team, the West Virginia Power.

The Resort at Glade Springs

Spread out across 4,100 acres in the Appalachian Mountains of Southern West Virginia, The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels offers no shortage of outdoor adventures. Golf, skiing, horseback riding and fly-fishing are local favorites. Take in a performance at the outdoor amphitheater in Hinton or a drive-in movie at Pipestem Resort State Park. Downtown Hinton’s historical district also features several quaint, locally owned shops. If you go, don’t miss the Hinton Railroad Museum, filled with uniforms, artifacts from the early days of the C&O Railway, a model train exhibit and tools used during legendary John Henry’s time.

Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place

The newly renovated Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place is a full-service, Wharf District hotel with a variety of luxurious amenities. Enjoy an elegant dinner at Bourbon Prime, the hotel’s on-site restaurant; grab a coffee at the resident Starbucks; or schedule a relaxing massage at the Olexa Salon & Spa. Afterward, get out and explore Morgantown, ranked as the most exciting place in West Virginia by Movoto. Stroll down High Street for happy hour, local dining and shopping. Peruse art at the Monongalia Arts Center or Art Museum of WVU. Want some fresh air? Take a walk around Cheat Lake, visit the West Virginia Botanic Garden or rent bicycles at Wamsleys Cycles and peddle to the Mon River Rail Trail. Reach new heights by climbing to the top of Sky Rock at Dorsey’s Knob, which will give you a picturesque 360-degree view of Morgantown, or hiking the trails at Coopers Rock State Forest. While you’re there, stop at WVU’s Adventure WV Outdoor Recreation Center to try the Zip Line Canopy Tour, a professionally guided canopy tour featuring 2,000 feet of zip lines flying 35 miles per hour. If you visit in the summertime, cheer on the West Virginia Black Bears, Morgantown’s short-season minor league baseball team. And no matter the season, with 16 Division I athletic teams, you can always cheer on the WVU Mountaineers.

Oglebay Resort & Conference Center

No matter the season, there is plenty to do at Oglebay Resort & Conference Center. Golf, horseback riding, tennis and fishing are popular, while skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing open in December. The Bissonnette Gardens bloom from mid-April to September and are a recreation of many of the gardens that existed at Oglebay in the early 1900s. Oglebay is home to an environmental center and two museums. The Mansion Museum features a dozen period rooms highlighting Wheeling’s earliest settlement, while the Glass Museum has more than 3,000 examples of glass made from 1829-1839. If you visit from late November through early January, don’t miss the Festival of Lights, West Virginia’s largest holiday light show with 89 lighted attractions spread across 300 acres. If you venture beyond the resort, check out a Wheeling Nailers hockey game; visit the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort just north in New Cumberland; or see the World’s Largest Teapot at the top of the state in Chester.

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