Newark, Delaware Overview for Smart Meetings Magazine Article...10/28/10
Source: Lyn Lewis, Director of Communications
Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau
100 West 10th Street Suite 20
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 295-2212

Overall, why is Newark, DE, in general such an ideal place for a meeting? What sets it apart from other escapes in the region as an ideal place to host a meeting?

Maureen Roser, Assistant Planning & Development Director for City of Newark, DE says "Location, location, location. Newark is New Castle County's political and educational hub. Newark is located in the major northeast transportation corridor on I-95 and is almost midway between New York City and Washington, DC."

In addition to being the home of the University of Delaware's main campus, Newark is located near major area attractions like Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Nemours Mansion & Gardens, Longwood Gardens, Mt. Cuba Center and the new DuPont Environmental Education Center. The University of Delaware Roselle Center for the Arts hosts theatrical performances and musical events. Delaware Park is a multi-faceted gaming facility located just minutes from Downtown Newark. It is one of only three sports parlay betting venues on the East Coast and now offers live table games. Patrons enjoy live seasonal thoroughbred racing, year-round simulcasting and 2,500 slot machines on two spacious levels. White Clay Creek Country Club, with a 7007-yard championship golf course, and At the Rail Wine Bar and Grill are on the grounds of Delaware Park. Professional and collegiate sporting events draw loyal fans and both Atlantic Ocean resorts and downhill and cross country skiing facilities are within a two hour drive of Newark.
Roser describes Downtown Newark, DE as "fun and funky...with over 200 shops, restaurants, service and entertainment businesses on a traditional and pedestrian friendly main street." She points out that many of these buildings are 300 years old while others are brand new. "There's something for everyone" she says.

What sort of vibe does the city offer? How can it appeal to a wide range of meeting-goers?

Downtown Newark has a pedestrian friendly, small town vibe with exceptional amenities. Constant community events like the Food & Brew Fest, Newark Nite, Taste of Newark and the Annual Newark Restaurant Week prove to be powerful attractions. The fact that there is no sales tax on food, beverages, shopping and entertainments is an added draw to both meeting planners and meeting attendees.

The Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau is trying to capitalize on Newark's natural appeal by offering a transportation incentive to meeting planners. A total of $20,000 is available to help Meeting Planners reduce their costs and encourage them to book meetings, reunions and events in the New Castle County Area. To be eligible for the award, a minimum of 100 room nights must be generated and a contract with a GWCVB member hotel in New Castle County must be signed between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011; the actual event must take place between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2013. Funding is awarded on a first come-first serve basis. For more information, go to

What sort of convention venues can be found in town?

Clayton Hall Conference Center on the University of Delaware's Newark campus features state-of-the-art facilities including a 500-seat auditorium, 7,200-square foot exhibit area, 7,000-square foot general session space, business center and the flexibility of 19 break-out rooms that can accommodate 10 to 600 attendees. It is adjacent to the Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware, a Marriott Courtyard Diamond Award Winner for Guest Services, which has more than 120 guest rooms.

The Hilton Wilmington/Christiana has two great ballrooms and over 8,500-square feet of flexible meeting space complimented by 266 guest rooms.

Embassy Suites Hotel Newark/Wilmington South features an impressive 6-story atrium with 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and 154 suites.

The Ramada Newark/Wilmington provides easy on/off access to Interstate-95 with facilities that can accommodate 5 to 150 attendees and 96 guest rooms.

What sort of unique/off-the-beaten path meeting options are available?

Deerfield Golf and Tennis is the area's hidden gem for meetings and team building events. Located about two miles west of Downtown Newark, the 145-acre facility features an outstanding 18-hole championship golf course, lighted tennis courts and paddleball. The impressive, glass-enclosed conference center can accommodate up to 800 attendees theatre style in its 10,000-square food grand ballroom; three smaller break-out rooms available. Previously, the unique facility was an elite country club for DuPont employees and later MBNA employees. It is now a public club operated by Forewinds Hospitality in partnership with the State of Delaware. Overnight accommodations are less than 10 minutes away at the Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware.

Restaurants and Dinner Options?

When it comes to dining suggestions, Roser's top picks are Caffe Gelato, the Stone Balloon Winehouse, Klondike Kate's, Iron Hill Brewery and Deer Park Tavern. Good food and a relaxed atmosphere make them ideal choices for dining.

Are there any properties/meeting venues in the works?

The State of Delaware has just reopened the new Delaware Welcome Center on I-95. The Welcome Center is located just north of the Maryland border and is open 24/7, 365 days a year. The LEED-certified 42,000-square foot travel plaza is the largest and most attractive facility of its kind in the country. There are lots of windows, open space, ample seating areas and photographs of state attractions decorate the walls. Travelers can take advantage of name brand restaurants, a convenience store, a shop specializing in items made in Delaware, ATMs, stations for Internet access and a Visitors Center that is manned 8 hours a day. Roser describes the new Welcome Center as "...a cool place for meetings."

Are there any events that go on throughout the year that would make for good and/or bad times for meeting-goers to plan an event?

Avoid any dates that coincide with U of D Graduation Ceremonies or NASCAR. Meanwhile, Roser suggests that the Annual Restaurant Week in January, Wine & Dine Downtown in March, the Food & Brew Fest in July and Taste of Newark are ideal for entertaining groups.

What is the best way to get to Newark?

Newark is readily accessible by auto via Interstate-95. Philadelphia International Airport is about 45 minutes north of Newark and the Baltimore International Airport is about 1 hour from Newark. SEPTA also services Newark and more than 80 trains, including the high speed Amtrak Acela Express, stop in nearby Wilmington every day.