OLD-WORLD CHARM MEETS MODERN AMENITIES: HERMANN OFFERS UNFORGETTABLE MEETINGS SOLUTIONS
By Tony Carosella
“Willkommen” is a word and an attitude in Hermann, Missouri. You’ll see it on the front doors and sandwich boards of many shops and restaurants in town. “Willkommen” means “Welcome” in German, and that’s exactly how the merchants feel toward the influx of tourists seeking to experience the romance of wineries and the heritage of the German settlers.
Members of a German Settlement Society in Philadelphia wanted to create a city that would retain their German culture in America. A site that resembled the Rhine Valley was located on the Missouri river about 60 miles west of St. Louis. In 1837, 11,000 acres of steep and hilly terrain along the Missouri River were purchased.
Wine and Charm Attract Visitors Again
Today, Hermann’s old-world charm attracts visitors internationally in search of the quiet pleasures of an earlier era. Much of downtown is a historic district where brick homes from the 1800s hug the sidewalk and more than 150 buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Hermann boasts seven wineries that are collectively known as “The Hermann Wine Trail.” Their combined efforts account for more than a third of the state’s total wine production.
Hermann’s Director of Tourism, Jim Grebing, explains why Hermann is a unique place for meetings and retreats. “If you live in Missouri or Illinois, it’s an idyllic getaway not far from home.” Hermann offers a great setting for small to medium sized groups. “The community works together in offering a unique environment for groups to accomplish their goals in training, teambuilding, strategic planning, building customer relationships, rewarding hard work or just relaxing together,” Grebing says.
Hermann has a wide variety of meeting places, ranging from historic buildings to modern facilities. There are more than 60 lodging places in the Hermann area, from traditional motels to guesthouses, B&Bs, country cottages and quaint inns. These lodging options can be found in beautifully restored historic buildings, old farmhouses, and even brand new facilities with first-class amenities. Group pricing is available; lodging is within walking distance or a short drive from any meeting facilities you choose.
The City Becomes the Convention Center
Although there is no convention hotel in Hermann, the City of Hermann itself can serve that purpose. The core of the historic district where most of the lodging places, meeting facilities, shops, restaurants, and several wineries are located is smaller than many large convention centers. Attendees can easily walk to most activities or be just a short drive away. What makes Hermann particularly attractive for group events are its lodging establishments. Each B&B is distinctive, with hosts who are committed to giving guests a high level of service and courtesy. Competitive group rates ensure that your attendees have the desired level of services and quality. Another advantage of this type of lodging is that participants can be matched to specific B&Bs to assist with team building and relationships.They will eat breakfast together, have an opportunity to socialize, and even hold meetings there. The spectacular scenery, historic setting, and old-world charm of Hermann provide the kind of relaxing atmosphere to facilitate productive meetings and accomplish goals.
Stone Hill Winery has a proud 150-year tradition of making wine, and is perched atop a rolling hill with a picturesque view of the Gasconade County Courthouse and the rest of downtown. Kay Schwinke, Stone Hill’s Group Coordinator, remarks how all the local wineries work together as the “Hermann Wine Trail” to promote tourism. The Winery can host groups and meetings up to about 50 people in The Vintage Restaurant. There is also a reception hall that can host up to 250.
The Hermannhof Festhalle is located on First Street. This large, historic structure has seating for up to 350 people and hosts meetings, entertainment events and antique and trade shows. Smaller rooms in this facility are also available.
An open-air courtyard at Hermannhof Winery can be reserved with seating for 175 people. The winery also has a meeting room overlooking the patio that will accommodate 35 people. In 2007, a new facility is being developed known as The Living History. It will host educational exhibits and possible meeting rooms.
Oak Glenn Winery is located just two miles east of Hermann on Highway 100. The George Husmann Pavilion offers a spectacular view of the Missouri River on the site where internationally renowned horticulturist George Husmann established a vineyard and winery, becoming a primary influence in the winemaking industry in America. A meeting room in the Husmann Wine Pavilion seats up to 60 and an outdoor wine terrace with a stage and sound system will handle up to 200 comfortably.
Bias Winery is seven miles east of Hermann on Highway B near Berger. Bias has a party room and facilities for groups of up to 80. Outdoor patio areas are also available.
A beautifully restored historic building, the Wine Valley Inn, has a room that will handle up to 60 people and a large lobby area that can be used for receptions. There are 14 guest rooms in this complex.
The Show Boat Theatre is in Hermann’s historic district. This old-time theater is available to rent for meetings or performances. It seats up to 250 and provides a unique venue.
Simon’s on the Waterfront is a quality restaurant in the heart of the historic downtown area. Simon’s has an extensive menu that includes German entrees. Two meeting rooms will accommodate groups of 50 and 15 for meals.
Lyndee’s Restaurant offers a variety of food with a room that will accommodate up to 40.
The Loutre Shore Country Club is located three miles north of Hermann on Highway 19. The Club features a nine-hole golf course, and meeting space and food service are available for groups of various sizes.
Many of the 60+ bed and breakfast inns and guest houses have areas available to comfortably handle groups of a dozen or more. These rooms are perfect for breakout sessions, teambuilding or sales presentations.
Historic Tours & Entertainment
Winery tours and tastings are popular with the seven wineries making up the Hermann Wine Trail. Adam Puchta, Bias, Bommarito, Hermannhof, Oak Glenn, Röbller, and Stone Hill all offer unique settings for your group. Tour one or two, or all seven during your event in Hermann. Each winery can arrange a special activity for your group.
The Deutschheim State Historic Site captures the culture and heritage of the German people who migrated to Missouri in the mid- to late 19th century. Two furnished houses, a barn, winery and gardens from the mid-19th century are part of the site. Special group tours are available.
The German School Museum was built in 1871, and was converted to a six-room museum of historical treasures in 1955. Group rates, special tours and programs are offered.
Artists in Residence tours and workshops from many artists and craftsmen can be arranged for small to large groups as well as entertainment provided by local traditional and contemporary musicians.
Antique shops, galleries, a wide variety of restaurants and the friendly folk all look forward to making your next meeting in Hermann memorable.
(Tony Carosella is a contributing writer from New Haven, Mo.)
Hermann Community Site
Jim Grebing, Director of Tourism
www.hermannmissouri.comCity of Hermann Official Site