BEST UNIQUE HOTEL FOR SMALL GROUPS
Federal Pointe Inn, Historic Gettysburg
Book a retreat, event or meeting at Historic Gettysburg’s Federal Pointe Inn and you’ll get all A’s. The reason is simple: This boutique hotel is nestled inside a former schoolhouse! Known as The Meade School, it opened in 1896 as Gettysburg’s first high school and later transitioned into an elementary school. “My love for history and architecture drew me to create an upscale boutique hotel using the beauty and charm of this former school,” says Peter Monahan, who along with his wife Liz, owns the Inn.
Indeed, the Monahans were dedicated to preserving the spirit and integrity and you will discover original details throughout, from high ceilings and intricate woodwork to nostalgia-inducing items such as the original glass classroom doors. The 23 guest rooms and suites are housed in the original schoolhouse and Carriage House and share a classic style complete with traditional furnishings and framed artwork of Gettysburg scenes. While Federal Pointe Inn celebrates its history, modern conveniences and comforts are far from overlooked (think custom granite showers and flat-screen TVs). Enjoy niceties such as morning coffee, as well as a delicious afternoon tea and scones.
Located downstairs, the Federal Pointe Pub is just the place to kick back with friends over crab cakes and one of the 26 craft beers available. Lined with old class photos, the Pub’s design hints at its former incarnation as a classroom. The Pub is open to the public from Wednesday through Saturday in the evenings only, but it is available for buyouts for groups who want to hold an event or meeting in this charming space. And when it’s time to hit the books, the two meeting rooms tucked next door to the pub on the lower level can accommodate 12-30 guests. “Federal Pointe is the anchor of the Gettysburg Historic District,” says Monahan. Whether you choose to walk into town (three blocks away) and peruse the boutiques, enjoy a meal in one of Gettysburg’s many restaurants or opt for a historic battlefield tour, Federal Pointe Inn is perfectly poised to welcome your small group to Gettysburg.
BEST NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK ESTATE
Pearl S. Buck Estate, Perkasie
This year’s Editor’s Picks definitely have an academic theme, as Pearl S. Buck is perhaps best known for her book, "The Good Earth," which has been a must-read for decades. Let attendees roam the 67-acre estate, from the lush grounds to a tour of the Pearl S. Buck House (in which the typewriter that Buck wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is on display). “Guests enjoy seeing the intact collection which displays Ms. Buck’s awards, gifts from luminaries like the Dalai Lama and President Richard Nixon, photos with President John F. Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt, paintings from renowned artists and so much more,” says Linda Bishop, chief marketing officer.
Hold an event indoors in the intimate conference room with serene forest views, in the classic red barn, Estate Pavilion, or outdoors on the slate patio or under the tent. Of course, the real beauty here goes beyond skin deep. The estate doubles as the headquarters of the Pearl S. Buck International, which supports her legacy of improving children’s lives around the globe. All events help deliver dollars straight to the worthy cause, which supports cultural understanding through a variety of humanitarian aid programs around the world. “Many visitors say how impressed they are with the forward thinking and current relevance of Pearl S. Buck’s words and wisdom.”
Let’s face it. Some days you just feel like you’re swimming against the tide and will never make a difference. When that mood hits, it’s time to visit FringeArts for a little inspiration. This is the little art celebration that could. It all began in 1997 as a way for contemporary artists to connect with the public. The celebration lasted for five days in Old City and gave 60 artists the opportunity to share their talents in any available space ranging from theaters and nightclubs to abandoned warehouses and even a parked car. Fast forward, and the annual Fringe Festival now lasts 17 days and celebrates the work of more than 1,000 artists of all disciplines.
Perhaps most importantly, there are no more parked cars; the festival moved to a permanent home in 2013. That home, a historic pumping station that once fed Center City’s fire hydrants, has been transformed into a state-of-the-art theater and creative center. Set on the Delaware River waterfront, FringeArts is complete with an adaptable theater with seating for up to 230 guests; dressing rooms; a multipurpose studio space; conference center; La Peg Brasserie Restaurant; and Haas Biergarten.
While FringeArts and La Peg operate as separate entities, a 30-footby-30-foot soundproof door can open to combine the theater space with the restaurant, catering to events with upwards of 500 guests (this can be coordinated by the events manager at FringeArts).
Here, planners are connected to a community artists that can be incorporated into events, from jazz ensembles, classical ensembles, funk bands, circus/acrobatics, cabaret and more. Now that is worthy of applause.