Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Chester County - a regional guide for meeting professionals. From its pastoral rolling hills dotted with vineyards to its unique attractions honoring its rich history, Chester County is a fantastic meeting and leisure destination set within easy reach of Philadelphia. The richest county in Pennsylvania, Chester County is a perfect spot for meetings, special events, and sports tournaments, as well as an ideal destination for after-meeting adventure, cuisine, shopping, and much more. It's here that the du Pont family, one of the wealthiest families in America, founded its wildly successful business empire while building a trail of stately mansions and gardens that rival the great homes of Europe. Also tucked into this charming Pennsylvania countryside are historic covered bridges, premier museums, and tree-lined Main Streets of time gone by.
Located in far southeastern Pennsylvania, Chester County is conveniently accessible by major interstates and sits a short drive from northern Delaware and Philadelphia International Airport. The only major airport serving the sixth largest metro area in the U.S., the seven-terminal Philadelphia International Airport sits seven miles outside of downtown Philly, and operates more than 550 daily departures to 128 cities, 40 of which are international. The airport has completed $1 billion in capital improvements since 2000, and boasts an award-winning Marketplace at the Airport retail and dining program, as well as an impressive arts program. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) operates bus and rail service throughout the Philadelphia region by way of 14 bus routes and one major rail line in Chester County. The county is also home to five Amtrak stations that link travelers with major Northeast destinations, including New York City and Philadelphia.
Also convenient to Philadelphia is the elegant Desmond Hotel in Malvern, home to the largest total exhibit space in Chester County. Situated one mile from the PA Turnpike, the 194-room hotel houses the 26,000-square-foot, IACC-Certified Great Valley Conference Center, which features 16 dedicated meeting rooms accommodating five to 125 people. Meeting delegates enjoy free Wi-Fi, state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities, team building offerings, and a host of leisure amenities ranging from a putting green to three onsite restaurants.
In addition to The Desmond Hotel, Chester County is home to a wealth of unique venues that not only accommodate group gatherings, but also showcase the graceful beauty and rich history of the region. Visited by more than one million people each year, the gorgeous Longwood Gardens spans 1,050 acres of woodlands, indoor and outdoor gardens, fountains, and gathering spaces known for their interplay of innovative garden design, horticulture, education, and the arts; Longwood Garden's Conservatory alone houses 20 indoor gardens and 5,500 types of plants. Groups can hold private events in several Conservatory spaces, including its Ballroom with fabric-paneled walls and ceiling of rose-colored etched glass, as well as such outdoor spaces as the sprawling East Conservatory Plaza with the first terraced lawn in the U.S. A second spectacular unique venue, the riverside Brandywine River Museum of Art offers a unique combination of art and nature, and houses a renowned American art and Wyeth family collection, focusing on art of the Brandywine region, American illustration and still life painting. Housed in a 19th-century mill with a dramatic steel and glass addition overlooking the river, the museum welcomes private evening events amid its common areas and galleries.
Located a hop and a skip outside of Chester County, the Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library serves as an incredible museum of American decorative arts, displaying nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America between 1640 and 1860 in a sprawling 175-room house. Groups can gather in several of the home's historic rooms, as well as throughout its beautiful grounds, Visitor Center Pavilion with glass walls and Galleries Reception Atrium, among other spaces. High-flying events can be had at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center, which displays more than 35 civilian and military helicopters, autogiros and convertaplanes, while the People's Light & Theatre in Malvern brings an eclectic mix of productions to the stage, as well as houses a number of event spaces throughout its seven-acre campus and restored 18th-century farmhouse. When it comes to tours, groups can get a first-hand look multimedia retailing giant QVC courtesy of the QVC Studio Tour at the company's West Chester headquarters, or sample chips warm from the oven during the Herr's Snack Factory Tour. After a day of canoeing, kayaking, or tubing down the calm, tranquil Brandywine River, groups can quench their thirst along the Brandywine Artisan Wine Trail, a collection of vineyards and wineries demonstrating the breadth of one of Pennsylvania's most prolific wine regions.