Black Meetings and Tourism

September/October 2010

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AREA GUIDES SITKA THE MEETING PLACE YOU’LL NEVER FORGET BY RUFUS MCKINNEY Some very special places on earth seem to be forged for the curious and adventurous souls who demand diversity and grandeur in their travels. To those who venture for out-of-the-ordinary, majestic and lush places, Sitka proudly beckons. For the seekers of treasures, natural, cultural and historical, Sitka is that treasure island. With views of island-studded waters and stately spruce forests reaching to the water’s edge,Sitka is consideredAlaska’s most beautiful seaside town. Yet Sitka’s hallmark is its tenure and devotion to a culturally diverse past. In a young state whose history is filledwith tales of boom- towns and ghost towns, Sitka has the dis- tinctive character of a place that has been settled for thousands of years. These ancient lands, home to the Tlingit Indians, celebrated their life and culture long before Russians or Americans walked on the rocky shores, and today Tlingit living culture is deeply rooted in this small seaside city. Visitors will always find the bounty they are looking for,which is inseparable fromthe people. It is Sitka’s citizenswho will make you feel at home, who will appease your curiosity, and give you cause to remember your journey to a real treasure island. Ancestral home of theKiksadiTlingit Indians, captured by capitalisticRussians, sold to the Americans-Sitka carries the legacy of each.This fascinating heritage is well documented in localmuseums hous- ing rare historical archives and artifacts. Nestled amongst Sitka’s unparalleled natural splendor, Sitka boasts twenty- four attractions listed on the National Register of Historic Places, seven of which areNationalHistoric Landmarks. Sitka boasts an array of unique meet- ing spaces, like those at the Westmark The town of Sitka boasts twenty-four attractions listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sitka,conveniently located in the heart of the downtown area. Offering hotel guests complimentary airport shuttle service, located within a short distance to Sitka’s major attractions and shopping district, the 105-room Westmark Sitka, with 1,664 sq. ft. of meeting rooms, can host small intimate meetings to larger groups of 175 (depending on setup). Another option,Harrigan Centennial Hall, is one of the finest buildings in the state. It houses the Sitka Historical Society, a local history collection located in the SitkaHistoricalMuseum(former- ly known as the IsabelMillerMuseum), an auditorium for public use, Baranof Arts andCraftsAssociation (in the sum- mer months), a wildlife display and an information desk (with visitor informa- tion on it, in the summer months). Located oceanfront, also in downtown, the facility is an 18,000-sq. ft. Civic, Convention, and Visitor Center. Their staff is trained and experienced in host- ing events from the planning stage to completion, including conventions, sym- posiums, conferences, seminars, trades- hows, exhibits, andmeetings. For a truly different setting for inti- mate gatherings, Shee Atika Totem Square puts you in the heart of Sitka – only steps away fromworld-class fishing, water sports, fascinating history, and charming shops, against the striking backdrop of Mount Edgecumbe Volcano, a dormant volcano. For your essential business meetings, She Atika Totem Square Inn offers space for groups as large as 25 (depending on the seating arrangement). Those searching for exciting pre- and Black Meetings & Tourism September/October 2010: 57 post-conference outdoor adventure will find activities for all interests, ages and budgets in Sitka. For example, you can spend half a day to a full week salmon and/or halibut fishing. Or you can expe- rience some of the greatest sea kayaking opportunities available in Southeast Alaska. For the novice, or those new to the area, guided trips are available. Those looking for more physical activity can explore Kruzof Island, including a hike up Mt. Edgecumbe – southeast Alaska’s only volcano. Spectacular trails wind through protected forests, over muskegs, and up to magnificent mountain peaks. Located on a lush forested island halfway between Seattle, Washing- ton, and Anchorage, Alaska, Sitka enjoys daily jet service from Alaska Airlines from these cities, as well as Juneau, and Ketchikan. WHOYOU GONNA CALL? SITKA CVB – (800) 557-4852 Photo Credit: Sitka CVB

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