In 1969, Senator Gaylord Nelson traveled an hour and a half southwest of Washington, D.C., to meet with a group of students at the picturesque Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia, to discuss a concept that would become known as Earth Day. Even then, outsiders were discovering what led Dr. Murdoch Head in 1956 to start building what’s now one of the East Coast’s most renowned properties at the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains. Today, the 1,200-acre Airlie Center is now one of the Historic Hotels of America (it was recognized in July 2014), and it maintains its relationship with nature through progressive green initiatives.
With 150 refurbished guest rooms and cottage suites, Airlie gives planners a way to enjoy the outdoors without sacrificing comfort. The conference center has 15 meeting rooms that can hold eight to 280 attendees, with high-speed Wi-Fi available throughout. Engaging teambuilding activities include cooking competitions, a ropes course, a compass hunt and a localized version of “The Amazing Race.”
Catering includes vegetarian and health-focused options, and the produce often comes from the on-site organic garden or 30 nearby farms participating in Airlie’s local food project. Keeping with the Earth-friendly theme, electric car charging stations and rental bikes are available. Additionally, the 2,800-sq.-ft. pavilion earned LEED Gold certification in 2012.