Being a Colorado native, an affinity for mountains has always been in my blood, even during the years I spent living in the Midwest. It’s probably the same for someone who grew up near the beach, on a farm or in a climate where winter never makes an appearance. I never get tired of traveling to mountainous places, and here are some recent observations that might be helpful for those planning gatherings surrounded by peaks. Mountains can be located in unexpected places – We ran a feature story on this topic in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Mountain Meetings + Events, but the concept hit home again recently when visiting a friend in Glendale, California near Los Angeles. I don’t really think about mountains in tandem with Los Angeles, but near Vicky’s home are some great mountain hikes, plus the short drive north to Simi Valley is beautiful and worth it to see the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Not only is the library really interesting to tour, treat attendees to a beautiful mountain setting by hosting gatherings in the Air Force One Pavilion (yes, they built the enclosed pavilion with huge windows around the huge, retired Air Force One airplane that Reagan used as president), front entrance courtyard, White House Rose Garden, and Ruwe Terrace and West Lawn that connect and feature a large piece of the Berlin Wall.
A mountain and water combination is spectacular – Watch for the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Mountain Meetings + Events, as I’ll be exploring how to intermingle both mountains and water for especially memorable meetings and incentive trips utilizing Sandpoint, Idaho; Vancouver, British Columbia; and small ship, high-end cruising on new Windstar Cruises itineraries along Canada’s and Alaska’s famed inside passages that are being introduced this spring and summer. Unlike large cruise ships, Windstar’s Star Legend can sail through Misty Fjords National Monument and Kenai Fjords National Park and provide ultra-customized experiences for groups.
Make community projects part of mountain meetings – One of my favorite developments in the meetings and events industry is the significant increase in groups making community service projects part of their itineraries and this time spent being some of the most talked about part of the agenda when returning to the office. Almost two years ago, we highlighted meaningful corporate social responsibility projects in the mountains that are still very relevant. I don’t know about you, but the wording of CSR makes it sound like an obligation when today’s efforts are all about contributing in a meaningful way to the people and place where you are meeting. Many times, mountain towns are small and have a limited number of locals to help keep up all the trails, parks, waterways, animal shelters and more.
My son and I are heading to Peru soon to visit famed mountains and historic attractions and join two other family’s from our church to help out at a children’s home. I am absolutely certain that we will come away from the experience feeling most impacted from our time spent with the kids. Get out and enjoy the mountains and make a difference!