3 Places for Shore-Side Meetings in New York

Harbor Hotel Collection is awash with picturesque venues and unconventional activities in upstate New York.  

3 Places for Shore-Side Meetings in New York

With a portfolio of boutique properties set on some of New York state’s most stunning waterfronts, Harbor Hotel Collection, owned and operated by Hart Hotels, offers small groups singular meeting experiences and a range of one-of-a-kind activities perfectly suited for corporate, association and SMERF groups. 

From the shores of Seneca Lake and Lake Chautauqua to the St. Lawrence River, Harbor Hotel Collection offers luxury accommodations in distinctive locations selected for their authentic local character and natural beauty. 

Watkins Glen 

Named best waterfront hotel in the nation by readers of USA Today in 2016, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel has 6,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 4,200-sq.-ft. ballroom and adjacent function space, able to accommodate up to 300 delegates. An expansive patio space complete with fire pits and Seneca Lake views serves as an exceptional space for outdoor receptions. A top choice for high-end car and driving clubs, the property is also popular with regional association groups, given its proximity to the state capital of Albany and Rochester.  

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  •  Watkins Glen State Park, a half-mile walk along historic Franklin Street, features a new welcome and information center and leads to a 2.4-mile moderate hiking trail with spectacular views of the Watkins Glen gorge and its 19 waterfalls.
  • At Watkins Glen International, a world-class road racing circuit, groups can take a vehicle on the track for three laps of the 3.4-mile grand prix circuit.  
  • The Seneca Lake Wine Trail features more than 30 wineries along a lakeside route, where group tastings of locally crafted wines are served with prominent views. Groups of up to 22 can sail on the 67-foot John Alden schooner True Love, which departs from Seneca Lake Pier steps from the hotel. 

Thousand Islands

Set on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, just east of where the river feeds into the depths of Lake Ontario, the 105-room 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in the town of Clayton, New York, has the feel of a grand historic hotel, pairing modern amenities and comfort with the simple enjoyment of seaway views from the many Adirondack chairs along the hotel’s frontage. 

With more than 6,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 3,880-sq.-ft. ballroom, a generous prefunction space with water vistas, as well as a large outdoor area available for tented events, the property offers exceptional facilities for group programs with an executive chef ready to work with planners to serve a menu of inspired dining options. 

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  • Planners should consider a traditional “shore dinner” served by third-generation fishing guide and retired naval officer Jeff Garnsey comprised of sliced fatback, local fried fish, corn, salt potatoes, a healthy helping of salad with Thousand Island dressing and a firsthand history of this local delicacy’s origins. 
  • The town of Clayton is home to the Antique Boat Museum, where delegates can tour the St. Lawrence River aboard a 30-foot classic wooden Hacker Craft departing from the museum’s private docks. Sunset cruises for six to 12 passengers are available.
  • A popular group excursion is a visit to Boldt Castle. Reachable by water taxi and built by the millionaire proprietor of New York City’s Waldorf Astoria, the castle was created in 1900 to display George C. Boldt’s love for his wife. But it was left abandoned in 1904 following her death. The restored castle offers a peek into the region’s wealth and grandeur in the Gilded Age. 


Chautauqua Harbor Hotel is the newest addition to the Harbor Hotel Collection. Opened in 2018, the 135-room property features 12,000 square feet of meeting space at the southeastern end of Chautauqua Lake in Celoron, New York. The property’s architecture features rustic stone accents with windows opening to a large outdoor patio with fire pits and shore views. In addition to Lakehouse Tap & Grille, the outdoor Carousel Bar juts out on a mini peninsula and pays homage to the historic amusement park that once graced the grounds. 

The area has been drawing visitors for over 100 years for the summer learning and lecture series at the Chautauqua Institution, and in 2018 the region gained new recognition as the home of the National Comedy Center in nearby Jamestown. 

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  • Just 2.5 miles from the property, the National Comedy Center uses state-of-the-art technology, interactivity and personalization to present the history of American comedy, and has been called one of Time magazine’s world’s greatest places. The center also offers a comedy club-style 80-seat theater and other venues for off-site presentations or events. 
  • The nearby Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum preserves the legacy of one of America’s most-loved comedy teams and offers specialized tours for groups, including tours of Jamestown through the eyes of Lucille Ball and a behind-the-scenes look at Desilu Studios, complete with re-created sets, props, costumes and memorabilia of “I Love Lucy.”