The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.
Issue link: http://digital.smallmarketmeetings.com/i/764451
www.smallmarketmeetings.com Meeting Ideas 14 Courtesy Catalina COC Catalina Island offers a tropical paradise just an hour away from Southern California cities. Catalina Island, California Though situated barely an hour from one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, Catalina Island transports visitors to a tropical envi- ronment with a culture all its own. Some of the island's many outdoor adventures are scuba diving, parasailing, fishing, biking, snorkeling and hiking. "It's so close to Hollywood, yet it feels like you're in a different world," said Cathy Miller, director of sales and marketing at the Catalina Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. Although there are numerous locations to host unforgettable social events or corporate meetings, one of the most popular shoreline venues is Catherine's Terrace, which features a lovely glass wall opening onto a canopied balcony by the bay. Later in the day, travelers can catch a show at the Catalina Casino, a circular theater and entertainment dome on the edge of the water. Each year, this romantic edifice hosts the island's largest events, including the New Year's Eve Celebration and the Catalina Jazz Festival. Though its title can be misleading, "casino" originated as an Italian word for "gathering place." "It's iconic to our island," said Miller. One of the most unusual aspects of the island is its bison population, which was brought there nearly 100 years ago for a film. As a result, the island's signature cocktail is called Buffalo Milk. Visitors can take tours to see the bison, along with deer and other animals, at the Catalina Island Conservancy, which was sectioned off as a nature preserve by the island's original owners, the Wrigley family. Another outdoor attraction is the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden, which contains a memorial to William Wrigley Jr. www.catalinachamber.com Mackinac Island, Michigan Known as the jewel of the Great Lakes, Mackinac Island provides meeting groups with beautiful waterfront views as well as a dynamic bar and music scene in town. "Mackinac has a bountiful shopping selection with specialty shops and restaurants," said Amanda Greenwood, assistant director at Mackinac Island Tourism. "In addition to taking a leisurely bike ride or carriage tour, you may also enjoy our unique golf courses, water activ- ities, hiking trails, historic Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes." The picturesque scenery takes many travelers back to the Colonial era. Visitors can take narrated horse-and-buggy tours through down- town to Surrey Hills, Arch Rock and other key destinations, or experi- ence remnants of the American Revolution at Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes, which were temporarily occupied by British forces. The Grand Hotel is Mackinac's most recognized landmark, standing by the water like a summer palace with striking white pillars and neat rows of flags. At this third-generation family-owned manor, guests can