Its central location, easy access to Interstates 99 and 80, and the perfect blend of small towns and natural assets make Happy Valley a destination for meeting and event planners looking for the best spaces to host weddings, retreats, athletic tournaments, meetings, and more.
Penn State alumni especially love returning to Happy Valley to celebrate milestone occasions. The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau recently formed the Happy Valley Sports & Entertainment Alliance, bringing together local industry experts and business and community leaders to help lure more marquee events to the area. (The group found such success with the IRONMAN 70.3 Pennsylvania Happy Valley 70.3 in 2023, it will return to Happy Valley for its second year on June 30, 2024.) Happy Valley has an array of venues featuring unique amenities and locations for events of all types and sizes.
Officially part of the Pennsylvania state parks system, the Nature Inn combines comfort and full-service amenities with door-step access to the natural, four-season beauty of Bald Eagle State Park. With sweeping lake and forest views and state-of-the-art facilities, including two event rooms and 16 overnight guest rooms, the space is popular for smaller, single, or multi-day events with up to 50 attendees. There’s no shortage of options for guests to enjoy downtime, from outdoor recreation like hiking, fishing, and kayaking (the Inn has an arrangement for loaning equipment from the park) to relaxing on the patio or around the fire pit, or with board games in the library. During colder seasons, guests are welcome around the large stone fireplace in the greatroom. You might not arrive at The Nature Inn as a bird-watching enthusiast, but you’ll leave as one. Guest rooms have binoculars and a Peterson’s Field Guide for enjoying and identifying the wide array of migrating birds that visit the park throughout the seasons. The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle was voted the No. 1 Eco-Lodge in America.
Tussey Mountain Venues
311 Bear Meadows Rd., Boalsburg | tusseymountain.com
While Tussey Mountain is known for its slopes, there are opportunities for fun year-round, including a variety of on-site venues for events, available for rent from April through December. The Lodge at Tussey Mountain is a beautiful gathering place for formal events like weddings and reunions, offering a rustic atmosphere and sweeping views of Happy Valley from the base of Rothrock State Forest. During warmer months, guests can choose from several outdoor venues. The patio at the back of the lodge is surrounded by a three-season garden and can be covered with a tent, perfect for a variety of events. On chillier, late-season evenings, fire pits may be available for rent. The Pavilion by the Pond is nestled between the woods and the Fun Centre and can accommodate up to 160 guests. The space has become a popular spot for family and class reunions, graduation parties, and company picnics. With 16 electrical outlets and a large gas grill, it works for potlucks and cookouts. Another popular features for Pavilion rentals is the group discount option for the Fun Centre where guests can enjoy go-karts, batting cages, mini-golf, and more.
Located in the town of Spruce Creek, just 30 minutes from State College, where the creek meets the Little Juniata River, HomeWaters is known for its private access to some of the best fly-fishing streams and guides in the country. But the facility offers space for retreats of all kinds, for families, friends, and businesses at its lodge or the Espy Farm Barn, welcoming guests from two up to 40. Boasting the perfect environment whether you’re closing deals or making memories, HomeWaters strives to get guests out of the meeting rooms and into the great outdoors. In addition to fly-fishing on some of the best water in the United States, guests can also shoot sporting clays. Not to worry if you or your guests aren’t the outdoorsy type—many visitors to HomeWaters enjoy these activities for the very first time. Evenings at HomeWaters are spent at the best meeting space of all: the campfire, complete with roasted marshmallows, conversation, sharing stories, and laughs about the day’s adventures.
Krislund Camp—tucked into 800 wooded acres of mountainside in Madisonburg—is best known for its faith-based summer camp program. Turns out, the facilities and activities that make for a spectacular summer can also offer the perfect setting for all ages and all types of groups looking for a rustic reunion or retreat. In addition to meeting space that includes several amphitheaters, meeting rooms, and outdoor pavilions, Krislund offers overnight accommodations in its lodges and seasonal cabins. Adventurous groups can take advantage of Krislund’s challenge courses that offer low and high ropes courses, a rock wall, a zipline, and a giant swing. There’s also a gymnasium, a dining hall, and a swimming pool for warmer months. If reliving your summer camp days sounds like fun, Krislund is the right place for your next event.
221 W High St., Suite 1300, Bellefonte | bellefontespringboard.com
A coworking space by day where entrepreneurs and remote workers drop in to utilize professional office space and other office-like amenities; SpringBoard in downtown Bellefonte was designed with events in mind. With a capacity of about 50, the downtown venue makes a great option for corporate events and parties, baby or bridal showers, and more. The venue is just steps away from beautiful Talleyrand Park, downtown shopping and dining, and the waterfront walkway.