Author Archive for Meghan Flanagan

Sundance Vacations Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Company marks 25 years of service to consumers in the travel and leisure market.

Sundance Vacations, headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is a leading provider of destination-based travel options across the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean, and is celebrating its 25th anniversary of operations this month. More than two decades of expertise has transformed Sundance Vacations from a new venture with big ideas into a successful travel company with an equally bright future.

In 1991, Sundance Vacations co-founders John and Tina Dowd had worked in the travel industry for a number of tina-and-johnyears.  After seeing the limitations of certain vacation companies, the Dowd’s decided to change the way that the industry worked, by providing affordable travel options to the masses. Clearly that idea has proven a successful one as the company has grown from just two employees working from their home to a travel-industry leader that employs over 400 people across 10 offices throughout the nation with 150+ of those jobs in our area. Sundance Vacations services tens-of-thousands of consumers yearly who rely on their expertise and travel knowledge to deliver the best vacations for their families.

The company’s idea was, and still is, a simple one: providing amazing destinations and quality vacation experiences for less.  Essentially, allowing consumers to buy their vacations in bulk to help lock in a price that will save them money for years to come.  And let’s face it, Americans love saving money.

“We at Sundance Vacations are so thankful to our many customers and employees for making this anniversary possible,” said John Dowd, CEO of Sundance Vacations. “Their feedback has shaped our company through the years, and their faith in our our ability to deliver the highest-quality vacations has sustained us.  We look forward to continuing to serve our valued customer for many years to come.”

For more information about Sundance Vacations, visit their website at:, or follow them on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

Sundance.Vacations.bigAbout Sundance Vacations
Sundance Vacations is a national travel company that specializes in wholesale-vacation accommodations. The company is headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and maintains offices in New Jersey, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and four call centers located in Northeastern Pa.  Formally, in 2015, the company has been named to the Best Places to Work list in New Jersey (#12-2015 and #21- 2016), Illinois (#9) and Pennsylvania (#21).   Sundance Vacations President, John Dowd, was nominated by employees as one of the highest ranking CEO’s (#8) through a Glassdoor review survey with a 95% approval rating.  The small company executive shared the honor with notable CEO giants from Apple and Facebook; Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg.  The company has been honored as one of the Fastest-Growing Travel Companies in Pennsylvania by Inc. 500/5000.

Let’s Take a Walk Around Downtown Wilkes-Barre: America’s Best Community


If you take a walk around downtown Wilkes-Barre, you will find over 40 small and large retailers, and 40 more diverse restaurants that feature tastes from around the world.

Public Square serves as an anchor site to 5 of our area’s renowned colleges and universities, including King’s College, Wilkes University, Luzerne County Community College, and soon to come Commonwealth Medical College and Penn State Wilkes-Barre in shared space facilities. The students from these local colleges and universities give the downtown a vital energy and vision.

The Innovation Center on Public Square is home to local start-up companies, a soon to come entrepreneurial and business training center, and eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions, who just announced that they have officially moved their headquarters to Wilkes-Barre! This means that the company will be hiring an additional 50 employees, on top of the hires projected from their expansion in June.

The River Street Historic District includes over 200 historic buildings throughout the main streets of River Street, Franklin Street, the Susquehanna River Common, and smaller connecting streets. These buildings represent many of the architectural styles from the 19th and 20th century, including: Art Deco, Baroque, Beaux Arts, Chateauesque, Craftsman Style, Gothic Revival, Classical Revival, Greek Revival, Moorish Revival, Colonial Revival International, Italiante, High Victorian Gothic, Neoclassical Revival, Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Renaissance, and Romanesque.


Our park-like, 55 acre River Common space connects the River Street Historic District and Public Square to the rest of the downtown by opening the riverfront back up to the community with community events such as the annual Riverfest, Chalkfest, as well as holiday, athletic, and concert gatherings.

Performance spaces, arts organizations, and cultural events bring creativity to the downtown. Wilkes-Barre is proud to house the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, the Wyoming Valley Arts League, Downtown Arts, the Luzerne County Historical Museum, the Fine Arts Fiesta, our Third Friday Art Walk, and various art galleries.

All of these entities are located within 16 blocks of our walkable downtown core!


America’s Best Communities Update: Downtown Assets and Walkability

“[Wilkes-Barre’s] deep rooted history on the banks of the Susquehanna and natural mountain beauty created a walkable downtown sprinkled with architectural gems, a great Public Square and beautiful waterfront park system, and has created a great downtown vibe with over 40 restaurants, the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts that attracts diverse national entertainment and cultural events, and a strong business core driven by innovation and academic centers of excellence.”-Wico van Genderen, President/CEO of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber

Wilkes-Barre’s Colleges and Universities: America’s Best Community

King’s College, the Commonwealth Medical College, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County Community College, and Wilkes University all have one thing in common: a current or soon-to-come downtown Wilkes-Barre anchor!

These colleges and universities have worked to connect their students to the downtown fabric by utilizing spaces on Public Square for classes and programs, remodeling their campuses throughout the downtown, and involving students in activities that encourage them to engage with the community.

King’s College’s King’s on the Square building welcomes their students to the downtown, and invites the community into their attached Zime restaurant. Local artwork is also showcased in indoor and outdoor exhibits. Additionally, the college has decided to share their space with the Commonwealth Medical College to bring TCMC’s exercise science and athletic training programs to the downtown.

Penn State Wilkes-Barre has become a part of the downtown by contributing the seed funding that they received from the INVENT Penn State Initiative to support the development of an entrepreneurial lab and mentorship program in the Innovation Center on Public Square.

The Luzerne County Community College has a space on Public Square for local students-an extension of its main branch.

Wilkes University’s Gateway Project has connected different segments of their campus, improved public safety, and enhanced a walkway throughout the downtown.

Students have also embraced activities that utilize our area’s natural resources and connect them with the surrounding community. Wilkes students have discovered outdoor assets of our area by participating in the 2015 Outdoor Nation Challenge-where they placed 4th out of 57 schools! Penn State Wilkes-Barre students have even become involved in the America’s Best Communities competition by educating and engaging local businesses, non-profits, community members, and college students!