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A History of Innovation at Normandy Farm


Normandy Farm is 288 years old and just getting started. While it was never a working farm, rather a gentlemen’s farm, the property has been known for agricul- tural innovations since its founding in 1730. At one point it was the largest farm in the nation and produced milk at a faster rate than the factories of its time. So much so that President Grover Cleveland made a visit in the summer of 1888 to marvel at this wonder.


The idea of a gentlemen’s estate where the wealthy come to play and exercise their hobbies is alive and well. Located the center of Montgomery County, PA, one of the wealthiest counties in the state, the property is now known for its technological inno- vation and is used as a retreat destination for executive levels nationwide.


The idea of a retreat destination is nothing new to this address. It all began in 1834 when the property first opened its doors as a tavern called “The Franklin House” that offered food and lodging to travelers along the newly constructed State Road.


In 1913, the iconic great white walls that surround the property were added. The walls and roofed gates were an influence of the rural landscape of Normandy, France, where the owner at the time and his wife honeymooned. Just as the exterior architecture was influenced by French design, its recent interior renovation has been influenced by a forward-thinking blend of American and French fashion. Guests are greeted from the moment they walk into the lobby with farm chic wingback chairs, rustic area rugs, high arched window frame mirrors, and candle-lit sconces.


Perhaps what’s most impressive about this “farm,” however, are the things that the guest does not see. Comcast recently installed high-speed 1GB Internet, phone and entertainment services at the property, which is a first for Comcast in hospitality cen- ters in the region. The high-performance network allows Normandy Farm to remain innovative from a technology perspective while offering superior customer service to guests.


Speaking of customer service, nestled inside the old barn stalls of the building is the plush, contemporary, and award winning farmer’s daughter Restaurant. Raw wooden reclaimed farm tables and candle-lit dining provide the perfect ambiance where locally sourced ingredients come alive on your plate.


The farmer’s daughter is known for top-notch service, crave-worthy dishes, and per- sonalized hospitality for corporate locals and travelers seeking a fine dining experi- ence. Wine dinners, culinary team building, terrace happy hours, and summer BBQs are frequently enjoyed at Montgomery County’s hottest dining space.


288 years old and just getting started is not just a tagline at Normandy Farm. Its staff asserts that this is true in both its history and existence. The story behind these walls is not a secret. They tell of a time of horse drawn carriages, farming methods in the 1700s-1800s, tavern food and lodging, and the hobbies and amusements of exceptionally wealthy men.


Over time, the walls and hallways were constructed to connect the main house to the horse stable, to the barn, and to the silos. Once 9.6-acres of rolling farmland turned 1,500-acres of trendy rustic hotel, corporate retreat destination, and just over 1,000 corporate events per year.


While the historic charm has been left untouched through the years, the farm has evolved into one of the most cutting-edge event venues in the Greater Philadelphia region.


4­ 2 September­z October­2018


ration in meetings; and continuous refreshment service, instead of timed breaks, are becoming more common.


(The full report is available online at: iacconline.org/iacc-meeting-room-of- the-future)


A very unique property situated in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania that has continued to keep an eye toward the future as well as a major focus on meetings is Kalahari Resorts & Conventions.


According to Michael Levine, director of sales for the resort, “At Kalahari, our con- vention center staff plays a crucial role in the success of every event. From site selection through planning, flawless exe- cution and billing, we know what’s important to event planners.”


“Our sales and catering managers have a combined 400 years of experience and an average tenure of over 8 years as part of the Kalahari Resorts & Conventions team,” he continues. “Which means you can count on us to deliver on every promise to create a beyond expectations experience.”


Levine further notes that Kalahari has hosted more than 22,000 groups for meetings, conventions, trade shows, sports competitions, retreats, religious and youth events and more. Offering a wide range of amenities and services along with ample and varied function spaces adds up to an amazing meeting experience for groups who choose to meet at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions.


“Meeting planners are looking for facili- ties that offer the best of what’s avail- able in technology and connectivity,” explains Levine, “it’s really essential for today’s meetings and conventions. On- site support and space flexibility are important for a successful event.”


He says that Kalahari offers: compli- mentary high-speed Wi-Fi in all guest rooms, meeting spaces, exhibition areas


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