From July 3-7, 2012, magic’s first and longest-running convention -- the I.B.M. Annual Convention -- will be going to one of America’s oldest regions -- Norfolk, Virginia. One of the Mid-Atlantic’s most exciting destinations, Norfolk, attracts thousands of travelers each year to enjoy its lively waterfront downtown which is easily walkable and alive with eclectic dining options, a rich arts scene, high-end shopping and fun, and year-round special events. For four hundred years this dynamic heart of Virginia’s storied seafront region has offered a vibrant blend of history and heritage, contemporary attractions, outdoor adventure, and the Commonwealth’s most revered cultural institutions.
Here are the Top Ten reasons YOU and your family want to be in Norfolk for the 84th Annual I.B.M. Convention:
10 – ACCESSIBILITY: Norfolk International Airport is located only a short six miles northeast of the central business district and offers over 200 flights daily by a dozen major and regional carriers, including American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, United and US Airways. The city is located within a day’s driving distance from two-thirds of the U.S. population, Norfolk is a central meeting spot for many groups. Driving distances in miles from major U.S. cities are: New York, NY: 372; Washington, D.C: 195; Philadelphia, PA: 276; and Baltimore, MD 232. And the drives themselves are a beautiful adventure, with lots to see and do.
9 – HISTORY: The City of Norfolk is an important 400-year-old port city and home to the largest naval base in the world. The history of Greater Norfolk coincides with the birth of the United States, and throughout the region, evidence of this important past can be enjoyed today. Norfolk is home to many museums and monuments, such as St. Paul’s Church, West Point Monument, Norfolk Naval Station (the largest naval facility in the world, Historic Fort Norfolk, and Historic Ghent. It’s just a short drive to Jamestown, Yorktown, Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and Water Country USA. Fun for the WHOLE family! This is your unforgettable family vacation!
8 – GARDENS & PARKS: The 100-year-old Virginia Zoo is nestled on 53 acres along the Lafayette River and is home to more than 350 animals and offers something for everyone. Debuting in 2010, the Trail of the Tiger Exhibit, an Asian inspired area with animals from Southeast Asia to India, is sure to be a hit with visitors, showcasing apes, tigers, and mini buffalos. Special features include an underwater viewing deck, tree- dwelling bear species and a 60-foot viewing window in the orangutan exhibit. Don’t forget to visit the Norfolk Botanical Gardens and Town Point Park, the city’s recently-renovated waterfront park and the setting for the city’s Festivals at Town Point Park.
7 – ENTERTAINMENT & ARTS: Norfolk is home to Virginia’s most important cultural assets including the Virginia Symphony, Virginia Opera, Virginia Stage Company, Virginia Ballet Theater, Virginia Chorale, and the annual Virginia Arts Festival. The historic Attucks Theatre, distinguished as the oldest remaining legitimate theatre in the nation that was completely financed, designed, constructed, and operated by African Americans; the Chrysler Museum of Art, prized for its collection of 30,000 objects amassed by automotive heir, Walter P. Chrysler are also must-sees and is now free for all visitors. Other cultural and performing arts opportunities include Broadway Across America, Granby Theater, Harrison Opera House, d’ART Center, NorVa, Selden Arcade, and the Wells Theatre.
6 – MUSEUMS: While in Norfolk, plan to visit the Chrysler Museum, Battleship Wisconsin, Hampton Roads Naval Museum, Hermitage Foundation, Hunter House Victorian Museum, General Douglas MacArthur Memorial, Norfolk Police Museum, The National Maritime Center Nauticus and the Ocean View Station Museum. WOW!
5 – SHOPPING: Granby Row offers art galleries, specialty stores, and upscale furnishings; antiques, small boutiques, and flea market treasures are found in Historic Ghent and The MacArthur Center Mall, anchored by high-end department stores, contains over one million square feet and features over 120 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.
4 – WATER ACTIVITIES: With the Elizabeth River and Chesapeake Bay running along its west and north borders, it is no surprise that Norfolk is home to a wide array of water sports and boating excursions. Sailing the Elizabeth River, whether by private or public boat, sailboat or yacht, Norfolk’s Elizabeth River offers spectacular downtown views. Multiple river cruises are easily accessible from downtown Norfolk’s Town Point Park, conveniently located within walking distance of many area hotels. Of course, you can always just grab a blanket and head to the beach for a day in the sun.
3 – DINING: Dining options vary widely from modern American to vegan. Considered one of the city’s main attractions, Norfolk’s restaurant scene is notable for its extensive roster of top-notch chefs who have been educated at the world’s most prestigious culinary schools, as well as the number of eateries that feature Virginia wine and Virginia-grown produce and ingredients. If you LOVE seafood, there is no place better than Norfolk to enjoy a fresh seafood meal. Finally, while in Norfolk, don’t forget to enjoy an ice-cream cone from the family that introduced the confection to America: Doumar’s.
2 – ACCOMMODATIONS: The 84th Annual I.B.M. Convention will be held at the Marriott Norfolk Waterside Hotel with overflow rooms available at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, a block away. Set in the heart of the historic district, these award-winning Norfolk hotels are just steps away from the vibrant, revitalized waterfront, as well as an abundance of entertainment options, such as world-class shopping, delectable dining, and unforgettable museums. We have a special convention rate of only $99, PLUS tax, but hurry to meet the deadlines! The Marriott says their group rate cutoff is June 18, and the Sheraton says June 3. But call them directly to make sure.
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON TO COME TO NORFOLK JULY 3-7:
1 – I.B.M. 84th ANNUAL CONVENTION: The #1 reason to come to Norfolk in July 2012 is to attend the 84th Annual I.B.M. convention! The I.B.M. convention is the longest- running international magical gathering in the world. The first convention was held in Kenton, OH in 1926 and a convention has taken place annually, except for a period during WWII, since then. You can register online at www.magician.org. Come and join us in Norfolk and let the WAVES of MAGIC wash over you! See you there!