After the holiday hubbub is over, January offers a tabula rasa—a blank slate for refining business objectives and identifying innovative new strategies for success. To optimize this timely opportunity, take clients and colleagues up north to one of Minnesota’s iconic lodges, where the snowy landscape provides a bracing change of scenery and an ideal backdrop for blue-sky brainstorming sessions and rousing team-building activities in the crisp winter air. —Melinda Nelson
Breezy Point Resort
If you and your team have been challenged to discover the next multimillion dollar disruption, head up to Pelican Lake, a relaxing three-hour drive northwest of Minneapolis. Arrive at Breezy Point Resort (breezypointresort.com), built in 1921 by millionaire publisher Wilford Hamilton Fawcett, and take over his grand, 11-bedroom log manse. Kick off the strategy session with a hearty breakfast of steak, eggs and homemade waffles, and once you’ve nailed the big idea, spend the rest of the day snowmobiling, ice skating and playing hockey on the vast frozen lake.
If your 2018 business objectives include enhancing culture, driving creativity and fostering collaboration, gather your staff for an all-company retreat at Cragun’s on Gull Lake (craguns.com), a two-and-a-half-hour drive from downtown Minneapolis. Put everyone up in cozy log cabins with lake views and wood-burning fireplaces, and enjoy snowshoeing, dogsledding and ice fishing, followed by a smorgasbord-style feast at Irma’s Kitchen of pot roast and roasted tomato soup. Round out the day with a karaoke competition in the Bear Trap Lounge.
Grand View Lodge
If it’s been too long since you spent quality time with your best clients, book a retreat at historic Grand View Lodge (grandviewlodge.com) on Gull Lake. Hop on a one-hour flight to Brainerd and take a spin through charming downtown Nisswa before checking into the circa-1916 lodge. Invite everyone to sleep late, then reconvene for breakfast by the grand stone fireplace. Take the morning to review key accomplishments, identify possibilities and prioritize opportunities; spend the afternoon fishing for northern pike and crappie in your own private icehouse.
If 2017 proved a banner year, reward your team—and motivate them for 2018—with a retreat at the iconic Lutsen Resort (lutsenresort.com) on Lake Superior, four hours north of the Twin Cities. After a restorative night’s sleep in the rustic cabins overlooking the lake, jumpstart the fun with a camp-style breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon in the Lakeside Dining Room. Spend the day skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling and celebrate with cocktails, dinner and live music at Papa Charlie’s on Lutsen Mountain.
Closer to Home
Get out of the office for a fun and unusual team-building experiences:
- Hone your improv skills at Huge Improv Theater (hugetheater.com).
- Go snowshoeing at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (arboretum.umn.edu).
- Take a group painting class at Maple Grove’s Paint Pub (the-paint-pub.com).
- Solve a murder at the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Watson Adventures (watsonadventures.com).
- Go rock climbing indoors at Fort Snelling’s Base Camp (explorebasecamp.org).