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Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA

Not only is Fairfax County just a Metro ride away from many of the famous cultural and historical attractions of Washington, DC, the area boasts its own extensive list of visitor friendly places. One of the best-known attractions is Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, where the grounds surrounding the mansion and outbuildings now include the new Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and Ford Orientation Center.

Another site linking visitors to days gone by is Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run in McLean. This living history museum, the only privately operated park in the National Park system, depicts life on a colonial-era working farm.

The famed Wolf Trap National Park of the Performing Arts - the only performing arts park operated by the U.S. National Park Service - is also located in Fairfax County. The visual arts are the focus of the Great Falls Art Center and the McLean Project for the Arts, a nonprofit center that showcases mid-Atlantic artists.

A scenic drive along George Washington Memorial Parkway, which hugs the shores of Potomac, will reward you with views of Great Falls Park, Fort Marcy, Turkey Run Park and Fort Hunt Park, which was originally part of the George Washington estate.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - featuring exhibits Space Shuttle Enterprise and the SR-71 Blackbird - is located at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Six miles from the airport is the Dulles Expo and Convention Center, which contains 210,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. Other venue options can be found among the 18 convention hotels in Fairfax County, as well as at some of the area's secluded retreats and historic homes. Accommodations include more than 16,000 hotel rooms.

The Fairfax County Convention and Visitors Center can help with lodging, site selection, convention planning and other needs.


FORT LAUDERDALE, FL

Friendliness is serious business in Fort Lauderdale, where the Convention & Visitors Bureau's SUNsational service program features training for travel industry employees, a customer service hotline, prizes for workers who provide exemplary service, and a taxi service improvement plan. The CVB offers a free in-house hotel reservation service for groups using at least 600 rooms and two hotels, along with assistance in a host of other areas from attendance building to transportation.

Friendliness is serious business in Fort Lauderdale, where the Convention & Visitors Bureau's SUNsational service program features training for travel industry employees, a customer service hotline, prizes for workers who provide exemplary service, and a taxi service improvement plan. The CVB offers a free in-house hotel reservation service for groups using at least 600 rooms and two hotels, along with assistance in a host of other areas from attendance building to transportation.

The CVB has lots of information about Fort Lauderdale area attractions, from its clean, safe beaches to its museums, restaurants, shops and casinos. Local Black heritage sites include the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center - which houses an extensive collection of Black books and artifacts from North and South America, Africa and the Caribbean - and the Old Dillard Museum, located in the first school created for Black students in Broward County. You can explore more of the area's history at the Old Fort Lauderdale Village & Museum; the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, which spotlights the heritage of the Florida Seminoles; and the Stranahan House, a museum that had previous lives as a trading post, town hall, post office and bank. Entertainment options include several area gaming facilities, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and the theaters and clubs along the Riverwalk. Shoppers can choose among the more than 400 outlet stores at Sawgrass Mills, the Festival Flea Market or the upscale Las Olas Boulevard and Galleria.

Fort Lauderdale's premier meeting facility is the Broward County Convention Center, which offers 600,000 sq. ft. of space on three levels. The center encompasses the 1,300-sq. ft. Executive Teleconference Suite, along with two large ballrooms and nearly 200,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. There are more than 33,000 guestrooms in greater Fort Lauderdale, including more than 3,500 located within a mile of the convention center.


FORT WORTH, TX

Welcome to the ranch. Fort Worth is famous for the many attractions that showcase its authentic western heritage and hospitality.

Welcome to the ranch. Fort Worth is famous for the many attractions that showcase its authentic western heritage and hospitality.

The Stockyards District holds daily longhorn cattle drives, while the Cowtown Coliseum hosts live rodeos. A new entertainment venue on West Exchange Avenue in the district is under development. Sundance Square offers shopping, dining, and more live entertainment. It's also the site of the Sid Richardson Museum, which specializes in works by western artists. Admission to the museum is free. Several other notable museums are located in the Fort Work Cultural District, including the new facility for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Amon Carter Museum, the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The cultural district also is home to the Will Rogers Memorial Center, which presents live horse and livestock shows.

If you're more interested in buying something you can pack in your luggage, Montgomery Plaza, Grapevine Mills Outlet Mall and Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World are three places to check out. The Fort Worth Convention Center contains 253,226 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 58,849 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 28,160-sq. ft. ballroom. The Water Gardens Events Plaza connects the convention center to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. There are more than 11,000 guestrooms citywide, including more than 2,000 rooms downtown.

The Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau's White Glove Service will do all the leg work of contacting vendors and attractions to solicit bids for your event. The CVB also provides parking passes for meeting attendees coming from outside Tarrant County; four hours of free registration assistance for every 100 rooms on peak night; and a central housing service for groups using three or more hotel and at least 1,000 rooms on peak night.


HAMPTON, VA

Some of the most interesting things about the African-American heritage attractions in Hampton are the stories behind them.

The Hampton University Museum, which houses a major collection of African-American fine arts and many examples of African art and artifacts, is the nation's oldest Black museum, founded in 1868. A tree on the campus marked "Emancipation Oak" was the very spot where the Emancipation Proclamation was first read to the city's former slaves. The Aberdeen Gardens Historic Museum recounts how African-Americans built a local neighborhood as a project for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal program.

Leap forward to the space age at one of Hampton's most popular attractions, the Virginia Air & Space Center, where you can view a Martian meteorite and an Apollo 12 command module. Buckroe Beach offers a place to have a picnic or just dip your toes in the sand, or you can get out on the water on a cruise of Hampton Roads Harbor.

The Peninsula Town Center is a favorite spot for shopping and dining, and the city's $200 million Crossroads Development Project will bring a new hotel, theater, restaurants and shops to the area surrounding the Hampton Roads Convention Center and the Hampton Coliseum Arena.

The Hampton Roads Convention Center offers 344,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space. The facility has a 28,000-sq. ft. ballroom, a 14,000-sq. ft. pre-function area, 35 meeting rooms and three exhibit halls. The convention center adjoins the John Q. Hammons Embassy Suites Hotel and Hampton Coliseum.

There are 3,000 guestrooms citywide, including 2,500 hotel rooms within walking distance of the convention center and 2,700 within five-minute drive.

The Hampton Convention & Visitors Bureau can coordinate site inspections of meeting facilities and hotels and gather proposals for multi-hotel meetings. Other perks include registration assistance and an onsite visitor information booth.


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