USA: Great Lakes, Best Places for Family Reunions and Gatherings. Thinking about a family reunion? New ideas have been added to our planning folder in order to make planning a family reunion or special gathering just a little easier. In the coming weeks we will be adding even more places endorsed by friends and readers.
Minnesota: Bay Colony Inn Resort. Located on Gull Lake's, they have a built a “Reunion House” that accommodates 32 family members. Its three separate Great Rooms permit adults and kids to visit, play or watch television without disturbing the rest of the clan. On site plenty of bathrooms (one is wheelchair accessible), a coin-op laundry, a dining room with bar, sandy beach, playground, game room and even a smoking deck. In additional to the beautiful sandy beach the resort is just minutes from the Paul Bunyan Trail. Reunion benefit: In addition, there is a gleaming commercial-size kitchen with chef's utensils to prepare favorite family recipes. (East Shore of Gull Lake. 23521 Nokomis Avenue, Nisswa 56468. 1-800-843-1435 or 1(218) 963-2375 or www.baycolonyinn.com)
Minnesota: Lost Lake Lodge. This lakeside Lodge, amid 80 acres of woods in the Brainerd Mountain Lakes area, has 12 cabins with decks, kids programs during summer, great food, many lakeside activities, and plenty of golf, biking trails, and hiking nearby. The Lodge is happy to host family reunions, with personal attention. Lost Lake Lodge has fishing boats, pontoon boat, kayaks, canoes, playaks, waterbikes, pedal bikes, volleyball, and more. Reunion benefit: From early June through Labor Day, children's nature counselors arrange outdoorsy activities for kids 3 and up. Beach toys are available, as well as rainy-day activities, and kids have their own daily menu at Lost Lake Lodge. Every campfires include songs, stories, "nature notes", and marshmallows food is a highlight at Lost Lake Lodge: every day features five fresh entrees. Bonus points: Fresh-baked bread and muffins are made with stone-ground wheat from the on-site Grist Mill. (7965 Lost Lake Road, Lakeshore 56468. 1-800-450-2681, 1(218) 963-2681 or www.lostlake.com)
Illinois: Galena, Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa Family Reunions Made Easy. For families converging from points across the country, Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa’s heartland location is another factor that makes it a handy choice for reunion groups. Set on 6800 acres amid the rolling scenery of northwestern Illinois, the resort is just 60 minutes from Rockford and 30 minutes from the Dubuque, Iowa airport. In addition to 80 deluxe bedroom accommodations in the comfortable inn, Eagle Ridge offers a selection of homes with anywhere from one to eight bedrooms. Many reunion groups find a spacious four-or five-bedroom home to be ideal as the main gathering space for breakfast, cocktails or late-night chat sessions. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa provides the ideal golf experience, with 63 holes on four outstanding courses. Other amenities at the full-spectrum resort complex include the brand-new Stonedrift Spa, a fitness center with indoor pool and whirlpool, hiking and horseback trails, tennis, boating, fishing, bike riding, and hot air balloon rides, along with three restaurants and a general store. Recreation possibilities include hot air balloon rides, tennis, water sports, horseback riding, hiking, volleyball, and tennis. Reunion benefit: To assure a happy reunion event, a reunion specialist provides tips for local sightseeing; arranges hayrides, scavenger hunts, campfires or other special family or group activities. In addition, the specialist will book tee times and the photographer, oversee all catering requests, (from a welcome dinner in a private dining room or outdoors under a tent, to setting up a special sundae bar) and handle any other organizational chores. (444 Eagle Ridge Drive, Galena 61036. 1-800-892-2269 or www.eagleridge.com)
Illinois: St. Charles, Pheasant Run Resort and Spa. Experience the Midwest’s largest entertainment resort located amid 250 beautiful rolling acres in historic St. Charles just an hour west of downtown Chicago. Enjoy a family vacation spot with luxury, live entertainment, organized programs for children, two outstanding golf courses and a renowned spa. The 473 guest rooms offer a wide variety of options from spacious courtyard locations with expansive views to lavish penthouse level and two-story whirlpool suites. Guests will enjoy complimentary use of the three pools including the indoor/outdoor location or checkout the new fitness center, as well as 36 holes of championship golf on the award-winning resort course or the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. links course at Prairie Landing. In addition to an ambition entertainment schedule the resort offers a variety of seasonal activities ideal for families with children. Bonus points: For children ages 3 to 11 years we conduct organized activities at our Kids Klub. Activities include playing games, watching movies, and making crafts to take home and every Saturday afternoon families may create seasonal crafts together. Reunion benefit: The Preservation Hall Studio Theater presents interactive works, including the long running hit comedy "Flanagan's Wake." The resort also hosts Karaoke Dance Party events and ."Comedy Sportz", improvisational comedy for all ages. (4051 East Main St., St. Charles 60174. 1-800-4-PHEASANT or www.PheasantRun.com)
Wisconsin: Need some help planning a family reunion? Wisconsin has a free publication to help organizing reunions. The Wisconsin Reunion Planner guides organizers step-by-step through the planning process, whether the reunion is a gathering of family, classmates, veterans or another group. It walks organizers through determining why a group wants to hold a reunion to deciding how extensive it will be, where participants will stay and what activities will be scheduled. The publication offers many ideas, from unique places to hold gatherings, such as Wisconsin ski resorts, campgrounds and houseboats, too interesting group activities including talent shows and memento exchanges. It also contains sample letters to send to reunion participants at different stages in the event planning. Reunion benefit: Using these resources, groups can take advantage of the state’s many recreational opportunities, such as hiking the Ice Age Trail, touring a family-owned cheese factory or canoeing on the Wisconsin River. The can choose lodging that ranges from rustic Wisconsin farmhouses to quaint bed-and-breakfasts to scenic campgrounds. (1-800-432-8747 or www.travelwisconsin.com)
Researched and created by Travel Communications Inc. Copyright 8/2011.