Butler County, covering the densely forested hills about 20 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh, is part of the Pittsburgh metro area but very rural in nature. It is a place where you can visit family-run farms and eat in a former railroad president’s Victorian mansion, but also check out where Bret Michaels (lead singer of the rock band Poison) was born and where the Jeep was developed. Butler County event venues include Moraine State Park, with its 3,225-acre Lake Arthur.
Butler County’s Cranberry Township is 31 miles and the town of Butler 50 miles from Pittsburgh International Airport. The facility is served by Air Canada, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United and US Airways. There are 43 nonstop flights daily to destinations that include Boston, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Memphis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Washington, DC.
The primary meeting venues in Butler County are hotels. Cranberry Township is home to many such properties, including the 136-room Hilton Garden Inn, which has a 2,072-square-foot ballroom; the Pittsburgh Marriott North/Courtyard Pittsburgh North/Cranberry Woods combination, with 420 total rooms and 15,000 square feet of meeting space on the same campus; and the 127-room Hyatt Place, with meeting space for 70 people. In addition, the 117-room Hampton Inn, the 100-room Residence Inn by Marriott, and 101-room Holiday Inn Express Cranberry can each host a meeting of from 25 to 40 people. In the town of Butler, planners will find the 140-room Days Inn Conference Center, which has the largest ballroom in the county, accommodating 1,500 people for a meeting, and the Conley Resort, a 56-room motel surrounded by an 18-hole golf course that also features an indoor water park and function space for a meeting of up to 200 people.
Prime historic venues in Butler County include the more than 50 brick and log buildings from the 1800s within the Harmony National Historic Landmark District; Providence Plantation, which recreates 18th-century pioneer life on the frontier; and The Old Stone House in Slippery Rock, a reconstructed 1822 inn, tavern, and stagecoach stop. This wealth of special event venues in Butler County offers planners a choice in close proximity to most meeting hotels. The grand dame of the area is the Historic Opera House in Harmony, which can host a gathering of up to 175 guests in its 3,100-square-foot event facility with the original hardwood floors and architectural components of the 130-year-old stage. In addition, elegant Twelve Oaks Mansion can host a banquet for 230 people; Betsy’s Barn, on family-owned Cheeseman Farm in Portersville, can handle a party for up to 300 people in its two-story, post-and-beam barn; and Butler’s Grand Ballroom at Cornerstone Commons can host a reception or dinner for around 200 in the largest of its three rooms. Another option is the White Barn, which is set on 200 acres in Prospect, with gathering areas and a large veranda overlooking a pond that can host a party for up to 250 people.
Throughout Butler County are restaurants with their own particular style. Framing dinner in history are places like Hotel Saxonburg Restaurant, where a fine-dining experience is served in a circa 1832 setting; The Log Cabin Inn, which is located in a 160-year-old cabin; and North Country Brewing Company, an eatery in a vintage 1805 building that serves local brews and homemade sodas with its sturdy brewpub fare. Local and fresh are the watchwords of the menu at Clifford’s Restaurant, in the farmlands near Evans City.