Centrally located in Illinois, about a two and half hour drive from Chicago, the city of Peoria has many exciting developments happening this year. Here are three to put on your radar.

1. The rustic-themed Bearded Owl Brewing opened in January with a variety of unfiltered beers ranging from stouts to India pale ales to sours, using locally grown ingredients wherever possible. While it doesn’t have designated event space, the brewery makes for a good post-meeting gathering spot for a round of beers and various homemade soft pretzels.

2. Restaurateur Tom Mathers has reopened Harvest Café in Peoria’s Junction City after closing its location in Delevan last year. The menu will include classic dishes and desserts, plus smoked meats and barbecue. A variety of private dining spaces are available, including the Vintage lounge and a 40-person conference center.

3. Opening late summer 2018 (at press time), the 323- room Four Points by Sheraton Peoria adds 12 meeting rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting space to the city’s inventory, including a 12,400-square-foot ballroom. The hotel is within walking distance of local museums, shops, restaurants and the Peoria RiverFront.  

Nearly 500 people from Illinois and the greater Midwest gathered at the stunning Palmer House Hilton Feb. 26-28 for the annual Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism. During the three-day event, attendees had the chance to hear from key industry officials, including an opening keynote from Carroll Rheem, vice president of research for Brand USA; a luncheon talk on crisis management and tourism security from Dr. Peter E. Tarlow, founder and president of Tourism & More; and an address by Cory Jobe, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, at the closing breakfast.

 

Winning a golf tournament constitutes a pretty fantastic way to end a weekend, as my husband and I learned first hand yesterday. Together with professional golfer Heather Angell and two other great local amateurs, we took home the trophy for the 2018 Phil Kosin Illinois Women’s Open Pro-Am, held at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville.

 

The 36-room Atticus Hotel in McMinnville, Oregon, opened for business this past spring. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and bar, private dining in the Atticus Hotel Drawing Room, a boardroom for meetings of up to 16 people, a business center and a fitness room. Additional amenities include Dutch-style bicycles, electric-car charging stations, rooms with fireplaces and original artwork from local artists.