WITS ’17 Destination Finalists! Written by Ariel Goldberg on January 27, 2016


Once again – IT’S ON!

We had so much fun with our WITS ’16 Destination Contest, so we decided to do it again! Our WITS ’17 Destination Contest just got bigger. This year we have FOUR fabulous destinations to choose from, and we need your help in deciding!

All four of our destinations are easily accessible to their airports. I, personally, am thoroughly impressed with the offerings of interesting activities, restaurants, and charm for WITS off-site events and tours. But most importantly, all four destinations have pure and genuine enthusiasm and support for women travelers!

Meet our four fabulous destinations below!

Cabarrus County, North Carolina — “Where Racing Lives”


In Cabarrus County, small town charm meets big city adventure. Known as “Where Racing Lives,” Cabarrus County is home to an unequaled concentration of motorsports attractions including Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR Race Shops and Dale Earnhardt’s hometown of Kannapolis.

Cabarrus County is located in the south-central part of North Carolina slightly northeast of Charlotte. Cities in the county are Concord and Kannapolis along with the towns of Harrisburg, Midland and Mount Pleasant. The atmosphere in Cabarrus County is exhilarating! Be prepared to collaborate, learn and be inspired by their one-of-a-kind venues. Unwind at 160 miles per hour during a ride along, then stroll Downtown and experience the energy. Pick up that perfect find, get lost in the Carolina countryside and get together for a home cooked meal.


As far as meals are concerned, Cabarrus County has a large variety of offerings. The restaurant scene is diverse, with over 45 locally owned and operated establishments. Cabarrus County restaurants offer the traditional southern style cuisine, mouth-watering barbeque, and even Mediterranean fare. You can even go back in time to enjoy a real taste of an old fashioned American diner as well as indulge in homemade meals, desserts and ice cream.

Even though Cabarrus County is known for racing, there is plenty more to blog about. It’s home to North Carolina’s largest tourist attraction, Concord Mills Mall. The climate-controlled mall is has more than 200 stores with unique family dining and entertainment options.


Cabarrus County is also home to SEA-LIFE Aquarium Charlotte-Concord. With the Rocky River and Uwharrie National Forest nearby, you can hike, bike, go off-roading, paddle, and even pan for gold! Reed Gold Mine is the site of America’s first documented discovery of gold.

Cabarrus County is home to Concord Regional Airport which specializes in corporate and private aviation. About 20 minutes away, Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the sixth-busiest airport in the world. CLT serves more than 140 nonstop destinations around the globe and operates more than 700 departures and landings daily.


Huntsville, Alabama — “Rocket City, USA”


Huntsville, Alabama, a centrally located southern city known as “Rocket City, USA,” has gained a reputation for bucking stereotypes and embracing diversity and innovation.

If you’ve heard of Huntsville, you probably know it for being home to the Earth’s largest space museum – the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and world-famous Space Camp®. Huntsville is the city NASA chose to develop the mighty Saturn V Moon Rocket that took humans to the moon and back. It’s also the city that today is leading the effort to send humans to Mars — overseeing the creation of the largest rocket humans have ever built.


As one local blogger recently put it, “Your city has a skyline. Ours has a space line.” in reference to the 36 story tall Saturn V replica that greets visitors.

Aside from Huntsville’s space-faring past and present, Huntsville embraces the charm of the South, but is also a city actively writing a new southern story. Its story includes the second largest research park in the nation — Cummings Research Park — studying and learning from the human genome to cure diseases (at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology) and fostering a greater appreciation for the arts with the nation’s largest private arts facility at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment.

Concerts on the dock

Huntsville is a city that is, indeed, more than rockets.

Huntsville International Airport is home to some major airlines, offering many non-stop destinations to US cities with connections around the globe.


Milwaukee, Wisconsin — Great Lake, Great Beer, Great Times


Milwaukee offers big entertainment at small town prices. In Milwaukee, you will find one-of-a-kind attractions including the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum, the lively atmosphere, amazing tastes and smells of the Milwaukee Public Market and the remarkable wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Milwaukee has something for everyone. If you fancy Progressive American dishes – they have it. French? They have that too. Traditional Italian, you ask? They sure do! How about Indian? Yes, yes, yes! Milwaukee’s restaurants are as diverse as its people.


This city has plenty to blog about. Food tours to tempt everyone’s palate, a rich architectural history that includes the Pabst Mansion as well as six of the known 13 Frank Lloyd Wright American System-Built Homes, and — how could I almost forget? — the beer!

Milwaukee has the warm hospitality and friendly attitude of the people who live and work here.


It’s easy to get there. You can fly into General Mitchell non-stop from nearly 40 cities and from 160 cities with just one stop. Milwaukee is also within a day’s drive from 1/3 of the US Population. Interstates 94 and 43 flow in and out of the city for quick freeway access throughout downtown and the outlying areas. It is also easily accessible by bus or train.


Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana — Louisiana’s Other Side


Looking for the happiest city in the South? Well, that’s what Shreveport is, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study. It’s because the people are affable, festivals raucous, and the story ideas for WITS limitless.

This area has a storied past and rich present day cultural offerings. The Louisiana Hayride, a radio show broadcast from the Municipal Auditorium, birthed the careers of Elvis Presley, Hank Williams and more. Today the beautiful, lovingly restored building offers music tours, concerts, and events. Just visit any of the more than two-dozen attractions and the story of a resilient people, who have thrived along the banks of the Red River, will leap out at you.


With the river coursing through the sister cities, entertainment, casinos, festivals, music, and more abound. Being only 15 minutes from the Texas border, the influence of the Lone Star state is evident particularly in the food. Just taste Pitmaster Harvey Clay’s “toothless” brisket and you will understand.

But don’t get me wrong. Shreveport-Bossier has some of the best food of any Southern city. Northwest Louisiana loves food and celebrates it so much that in 2015, the Louisiana legislature approved its official meal, which consists of turnip greens, hot water cornbread, fried okra, ham hocks and more delicious Southern comfort foods.


The area has been featured on the Food Network, Southern Living Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, AAA Southern Traveler, and other publications. But it remains one of those cities that is still discoverable. Its natural beauty combined with its vibrant art scene, live music, and outdoor adventure offer bloggers the opportunity to write a story with a fresh perspective.

Shreveport is easily accessible. Shreveport Regional serves major airlines and their affiliates, offering direct flights to US hub airports, with convenient connections. It is also easily accessible by bus or train.


Now, I told you we have a serious competition! Voting will take place on Sunday, March 20, 2016. Each destination will be with us throughout the whole WITS ’16 weekend, providing additional insight and doing their best to win your vote to host WITS ’17.

Happy voting!

This post was written by WITS ’16 Planning Team member Jennifer Turner.

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