Located in the heart of Michigan’s Thumbcoast, Port Huron boasts a charming small-town feel with big city amenities. Meeting planners and attendees alike will appreciate the safety of the suburbs while enjoying picturesque views, a vibrant culture and outdoor adventure opportunities, both during and after the workday.

In April 2015, the Blue Water Convention Center opened its doors and provided a wealth of new opportunities for event planners in Port Huron. The 40,000-square-foot building is connected to the DoubleTree by Hilton as well as Freighters Eatery & Taproom, which provides a place for attendees to eat after a day of meetings. The entire facility is ADA accessible, with rooms available for the hearing-impaired, a direct loading dock and complimentary samelevel parking. To top it off, the center has expansive views of the St. Clair River and the Blue Water Bridge, which connects Michigan to Ontario, Canada.

The similarly sized, 48,000-square-foot McMorran Place Sports & Entertainment Center is also suitable for conventions, concerts, and exhibits, offering an event expansion in close proximity to the Blue Water Convention Center, just 1.7 miles away. Both facilities are near boutiques, live theater and eateries, with over 900 area hotel rooms to spend the night in.

Cooperative use spaces are on the rise in Port Huron, with options for individuals interested in business and artistic ventures to meet and gather. Foundry, in the former Studio 1219 building, offers spaces dedicated to painting, pottery, photography, podcasting, video editing and other multimedia, and is outfitted with much of the equipment needed for each.

It’s not all work in Port Huron, as there are plenty of chances to play as well. After the workday, Hallway Entertainment provides several immersive team-building experiences such as custom-designed escape rooms and fully interactive escape dinners through partnerships with local restaurants.

Port Huron is also rich with natural resources and historical and recreational activities. The Bridge to Bay Trail, perfect for walkers, joggers and bicyclists, extends from St. Clair County’s northern border down under the Blue Water Bridge and under the shoreline through Port Huron, all the way to Algonac. The trail segues into the Blue Water River Walk, which hugs 4,300 feet of shoreline and provides plenty of spots to watch passing freighters, enjoy the art sculptures or visit the Maritime Center. Nearby, both the oldest working lighthouse in Michigan and the last operating lightship in the Great Lakes are ready to be explored, and the St. Clair River, Lake Huron and the Black River are all ready to be paddled. For a great meeting, just add water!

A conference or convention venue might be described by meeting planners as offering ease and convenience for multiple reasons. It may be because its address is easily accessible from numerous compass points. Or perhaps it’s the destination—with a variety of opportunities for activities and entertainment close-by. And of course, it could be that the venue itself offers a peaceful, easy setting with all the comforts you could want. 

Well, at Treetops Resort, it’s all of the above. 

 

With meetings returning to normal as the COVID-19 pandemic levels out, outdoor mountain pursuits are finding more time on meeting agendas. Taking events outdoors not only boosts attendees’ comfort level as they ease back into in-person meetings, time spent in nature is proven to improve brain health and stimulate creative thinking as well.

We’ll be looking at this topic in-depth in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Mountain Meetings. Consider this as an introduction to some of the possibilities.  

 

I chatted with Karen Totaro, general manager of Detroit’s newly renamed Huntington Place convention center, for our People Profile page in the spring issue of Michigan Meetings + Events. We didn’t have room for the whole conversation, so I wanted to share more of what Totaro had to say.