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!

With restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including natureinspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help calm attendees.

 

2020 was on track to be a record year. For some catering companies across the state, continuous growth year-over-year had set them up for success, and they thought it would be their best 365 days yet.

And a record year it was—but not for good reasons. Layoffs and furloughs, major losses in sales, and too many cancellations and postponed events to count made 2020 a year that catering companies will never forget.

 

Most often thought of as a leisure travel destination, Frankenmuth—with its distinctive German flair—is also one of the state’s top locales for corporate events. Dubbed “Little Bavaria” in the early 1950s, this town is rich with tradition, culture, family heritage and plenty of unique spaces and activities for groups of all sizes.