These west coast cities provide an alternative backdrop for meetings and team retreats.
Among the larger cities that host meetings and conferences in California, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco are usually the top contenders. Pick any day or venue and you will find a corporate event, annual conference, or group meeting in session. But this west coast state has a few smaller destinations to offer when considering your next group gathering. Here’s a trifecta that many might simply dismiss as wine country getaways but there’s more to experience!
Uncomplicated. Uncongested. Unspoilt.
Whether you are looking for large ballrooms for socially distanced gatherings or several smaller venues for your groups, Fairfield provides many options from traditional meeting and gathering spaces to a few creative community locations. The beauty of Fairfield lies in the fact that the city is just minutes’ drive away from tourist areas like Napa, Sonoma and Yountville should you wish to visit those, but rest assured there is plenty to indulge in right here against the backdrop of the beautiful Suisin Valley’s hills and wineries. Fairfield is home to several vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms so you might never leave. These include Wooden Valley, GV Cellars, Vezer Family, Mangels Family and BackRoad Vines. Beer lovers will enjoy a visit to Heretic Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch Brewery and those with gourmet inclinations will enjoy indulging at local mainstays such as Mankas Steakhouse Grill, Favela’s Fusion, or Chez Soul. Of course, team building activities outside of your meetings are important and Fairfield has a few options to explore. For the outdoorsy adventurers, the city has gorgeous golf courses to unwind on, the Suisun Marsh for those who like to kayak, and Rockville Hills for a healthy midday hike. But if you seek more of a hybrid or indoor activity then a tour and tasting of either Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company or Jelly Belly Candy Company could add just the right amount of excitement to your group outing.
Scenic. Laid-back. Less discovered.
Relatively less frequented than its more famous counterparts in California’s wine country, Lodi attracts those who like the serenity of a smaller destination but with the option of proximity to a larger city if needed. And considering grapes are a large part of the area’s legacy, you will come away learning a thing or two more about appellations and varietals than you did before. But aside from all that wine action, Lodi has steadily become a destination of choice for small meetings and corporate events. Affordable venues, indoor and outdoor options, and everything from a small meeting space to a larger luxury resort-style gathering can be accommodated here. Wineries, art galleries and museums (visit the San Joaquin Historical Museum if you can) offer alternate venue options. Vacation homes and bed and breakfasts provide additional lodging choices. Leisurely biking along the scenic backroads through farms and vineyards is a common sight here and those seeking other outdoor recreation options can choose from canoeing, kayaking on the Mokelumne River, tubing, rafting, paddle boarding, birdwatching, and fishing. Some of the local wineries that can serve as venues or provide tours and tastings for your groups include Mettler Family, Michael David, Bokisch Vineyards, Lucas Winery and St. Jorge Winery. The pedestrian-friendly downtown shopping area is perfect for team gatherings outside of work, with local boutiques, galleries, artisan brewers and cheese makers as well as The Lodi Farmers Market showcasing locally grown and made products.
Charming. Historic. Stunning vistas.
Located right in Sonoma wine country, Healdsburg is a quaint area enticing visitors with its historic downtown plaza, culinary attractions, art galleries and, of course, wine. But if you are hosting any meetings or larger group gatherings here then you will find several choices vying for your attention—from beautiful banquet halls for formal meetings to team-building retreats on vineyards. When business is done though, you can Segway your way through vineyards here—one of the destinations where that’s possible in the United States. Ensure Christopher Creek Winery, Simi Winery, Seghesio Family, and Foppiano Vineyards are on your radar for when your team visits. Stay at the Honor Mansion or any of the umpteen bed and breakfasts here or choose from larger hotels such as Hotel Healdsburg on the historic town plaza or the private oasis that is the Duchamp Hotel. The city is known as much for its cuisine as its wine, so team lunches and dinners better be organized at some of the local favorites such as Valette, Studio Barndiva, Campo Fina, Costeaux French Bakery and Spoonbar. And if all that wining and dining warrants some exercising then a trip to Jordan Winery comes handy—you can hike around the 1,200-acre ranch on a guided tour that starts at the highest hilltop and includes panoramic views in every direction!