Missouri has incredibly fertile farmland, making it the perfect home for vintners (winemakers), viticulturists (scientists of grapes), and vignerons (cultivator of a vineyard) alike. In fact, Missouri is the first state in the country to establish a regional wine identity, with Augusta being named as the first viniculture area in the U.S.
French settlers first began to cultivate grapes in Missouri in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. German settlers greatly increased the production of grapes after establishing in the “Little Rhine” region of Missouri. By the 1900s Missouri was a leading producer of wine grapes and award-winning wines.
Currently, there are approximately 118 operating wineries and 393 vineyards in Missouri, producing more than 4,400 tons annually on 1,600 acres. Overall, Missouri’s wine and grape industry is valued over $1.6 billion, with more than 490,000 cases of wine produced.
Here in New Haven, Robller Vineyard and Winery has been growing grapes for wine since 1988 with the intent to create soft, young wines, rich with fruit qualities. Their fermentation style earned them the Missouri State Wine competition’s Best of Show honor in 1993 with their 1991 Norton Reserve, an impressive feat considering it was Robller’s second vintage. Numerous state and national awards have been awarded since 1993, but their fermentation process has remained the same.
At the present, Robller Vineyard and Winery cultivates 9 grape varieties on 16 acres of land, with each acre producing 3-6 tons of grapes annually depending on the variety, which includes:
- Chambourcin: (sham-bor-san) produces a medium-bodied red wine with a fruity aroma and cherry and earthy/spicy complexities, much like a Pinot Noir.
- Norton: (sometimes called Cynthiana) is a native Missouri grape that produces a rich, full-bodied red wine that improves with age. Nortons typically have a dry character, similar in style to Cabernet Sauvignon, yet with the spiciness of a Zinfandel.
- Seyval: (say-vahl) makes a dry, clean, crisp medium-bodied wine with an herbal, fresh flavor, similar to Sauvignon Blanc.
St. Vincent: a hybrid that makes reds of delicacy and elegance. Often used for Nouveau-style wines, it also can have a Burgundian character and is occasionally slightly sweet.
- Steuben: Steuben wines are popular as single-variety reds but more often appear as rosé or blush wines. The variety is particularly suited to the production of sweeter wines, as it retains high levels of sugar and is not very aromatic. Steuben wines are most often light, sweet and grapey, with a spicy tang. Rosé wines exhibit strawberry and raspberry notes with hints of tea leaves and cinnamon. Red wines are made in a drier style with cranberry notes and a certain tartness.
- Traminette: A Gewurztraminer hybrid that produces excellent wines similar to Gewurztraminer with much more winter hardiness than its parent. The vines are productive and moderately resistant to powdery mildew. Typically, wines made with some skin contact have strong spice and floral aromas, a full structure, and long aftertaste. Wine can be made dry or sweet, but is usually finished with some residual sugar. Varietal descriptors include floral, spicy, perfume and lavender.
- Vidal: (vee-dahl) is a white hybrid used to make a dry to semi-dry, full-bodied wine with fruity characteristics, similar to Italian dry whites. Vidal’s clean citrus flavors of lemon and grapefruit create a nicely balanced wine.
- Vignoles: (veen-yole) is a versatile grape that makes wines ranging from dry to a late-harvest dessert wine. Luscious floral aroma and fruity flavors of pineapple and apricot are somewhat similar to a German Riesling.
- Villard Noir: A French-American hybrid variety with one of its parents being Pinot Noir. The wine is similar to Pinot Noir in character but has more rustic quality in depth and complexity. Cherry is evident from aroma to finish.
Just like all Missouri wines, Robller Vineyard and Winery’s wines are most notably known for their consistent scores in wine evaluation. This includes:
- Appearance, including the color of the wine, reflectance, clarity, body, and, if a sparkling wine, the size and quantity of the bubbles and mousse. (known as the “See” and “Swirl” steps in wine judging)
- Aroma, which is defined as the odors of wine that originate in the grape while bouquet odors originate in fermentation, processing, or aging (particularly after bottling). (known as the “Sniff” and “Savor” steps in wine judging)
- Bouquet, Bouquet odors are a result of yeast selection; the type of fermentation (e.g., cool fermentation, carbonic maceration, extended maceration, malo-lactic fermentation); wood exposure; and the aging process in the bottle. (known as the “Sniff” and “Savor” steps in wine judging)
- Taste/Texture, sensations are recorded during and after a small portion of wine is sipped, “breathed over” and spit. (The term “breathed over” refers to the technique of drawing air through slightly opened lips as a small amount of wine rests on the tongue.) The use of descriptors is important to detail the features of the wine. The taste of wine also includes sweet, sour, bitter and salt. (known as the “Sip” and “Savor” steps in wine judging)
However, we don’t want you to just take our word for it, which is why we are giving you three simple steps to help choose the perfect wine for your palette moving forward:
1) See the wine.
Note the color of the wine. The darker shade of a white wine indicates maturity, which impacts the richness and complexity of the wine. The brighter shade of red, the younger the wine. Red wine lightens with age and maturity, which can be noted on the circumference of the outer edges of the wine in the glass.
Note the opacity of the wine. The wine color’s depth or opacity is a measure of how dark it is. How easily can you see through the wine? Descriptors you can use to describe the depth of color include watery, pale, medium, deep, dark, or opaque.
Note the viscosity of the wine. Viscosity, aka “the legs”, are the stripes of wine that slowly roll down the sides of your glass after swirling the wine. Several factors can influence the viscosity, including sugar, alcohol content, and concentration of solutes. The more of each you have, the more viscosity you will see.
2) Smell the wine.
Primary aromas come from the grapes, and are described as various fruit, herbs and flowers.
Secondary aromas come from the yeast and fermentation process.
Tertiary Bouquets come from the aging, oxidation, and oak used, and are described as various spices and nuts.
3) Taste the wine.
What flavors are present?
What is the structure of the wine? (Sweetness, acidity, tannin, body, and alcohol)
What is the profile? Was the taste strongest at the front, middle, or end?
Robller Vineyard and Winery offers more than 10 varieties of wine, catering to the novice and connoisseur alike. Tastings are offered daily, Monday through Saturday 10:00AM to 5:30PM, and Sunday 12:00/noon to 5:30PM. During Oktoberfest Robller will be offering live music and more.
As always, if you making a weekend getaway out of your visit to New Haven, Cedar Creek offers a variety of lodging options for groups large and small. Stay in our cozy rooms in Cedar Lodge, or rent a cottage house for the entire group. For more information, please contact us.
Cedar Creek is located in the rolling hills of Missouri’s wine country. There are no city lights, just endless sky, which means that guests have an unobstructed view to watch the earth awaken and change throughout the day. Some of our favorite moments are watching the morning fog lift and the dew dissolve over a cup of hot coffee, quietly observing as one of nature’s storms roll in, and even relaxing at the end of day as the sun sets on the horizon. However, the most beautiful time at Cedar Creek is the night. First you will see the planets appear (they shine), followed by the Western Star, then millions of tiny stars (they twinkle) consume the sky. The amount of stars you see in an open country setting is more than double what you would see in the city on a clear night, and we don’t have the words to describe the feelings and emotions you will experience in that moment- it truly is breathtaking, magical and inspiring, and we urge you to come out and experience at night at Cedar Creek for yourself. Having said that, as we near the end of 2014 and prepare for 2015, Mother Nature has some amazing plans for the night. The most recent will be the Total Lunar Eclipse on October 8, and the Draconid meteor shower on October 8
The Total Lunar Eclipse on Oct 8 is the second in a tetrad, a series of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 – 2015.
Eclipses of the Moon happen when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned to form an almost or exact straight line. The technical term for this is syzygy, which comes from the Greek word for being paired together.
During a total lunar eclipse, the Sun, Earth and Moon form a straight line. The Earth blocks any direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. The Sun is behind the Earth, so the Sun’s light casts the Earth’s shadow on the Moon. This shadow covers the entire Moon and causes a total lunar eclipse.
The Earth’s shadow can be divided into 3 parts:
- Penumbra – the outer part.
- Umbra – darker, central part.
- Antumbra – a partly shaded area beyond the umbra.
A series of 4 consecutive total lunar eclipses with no partial or penumbral lunar eclipses in between is called alunar tetrad.
The October 8, 2014 total lunar eclipse is the second total eclipse of the Moon in the 2014-2015 tetrad. The first one was on April 15, 2014. The last 2 total lunar eclipses in this tetrad will be on April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.
The 2014 Draconid meteor shower will also peak on October 8 and 9. The Draconid meteor shower, also sometimes known as the Giacobinids, is one of the two meteor showers to annually grace the skies in October. The Draconids owe their name to the constellation Draco the Dragon, and are created when the Earth passes through the dust debris left by comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner. The comet takes about 6.6 years to make a single revolution around the Sun.
Although the Draconids have been responsible for some of the most spectacular meteor showers in recorded history, most recently in 2011, most astronomers and sky gazers consider these to be one of the least interesting meteor showers in during the year.
The Orionids are the second meteor shower in October. It usually peaks around October 21.
HOW TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE MOON
Mobile Camera or DSLR?
The challenge is to capture the details of the Moon’s surface. With most mobile cameras, you can’t manually set the exposure, which controls the amount of light in the image. Most likely, you will only manage to capture the light from the Moon, and the Moon itself might come out looking like a blurry dot of light in the sky.
Zoom, Tripod and Timer
Most mobile cameras also don’t have a very powerful zoom. A zoom of 200mm and above is needed to make to Moon the focal point of the image and to capture the surface details.
A tripod or another stable surface where you can place your camera is useful to keep it still during slow shutter speeds.
A remote shutter or the timer on the camera prevents the camera from moving or shaking as you shoot the picture.
Shutter Speed & ISO
- The moon is bright, so use a low ISO-setting of 100 or 200.
- Underexpose rather that overexpose the moon. The moon is bright and an aperture of at least 11 is recommended, letting in less light.
- In low light situations the shutter speed may have to go down.
- Use the viewfinder. It makes it easier to see your composition and settings.
- A foreground subject, like for instance the moon over a city or landscape, might make the image more interesting.
- Allow yourself enough preparation time.
- Keep shooting! Play around with different exposures and apertures.
If you making a weekend getaway out of your visit to New Haven, Cedar Creek offers a variety of lodging options for groups large and small. Stay in our cozy rooms in Cedar Lodge, or rent a cottage house for the entire group. For more please contact us.
Gone are the days of lavish corporate retreats to faraway cities via private jet – and we don’t blame you. Who ever said you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars just to show your employees some appreciation?
The good news for management in 2014 and beyond: there are plenty of other ways to say “thank you” and “we appreciate your hard work” to your employees without throwing a boat load of cash at the wall. Turns out, it’s more than just corporate figureheads that learned their lesson; the American people had to make cuts too. We’ll even bet that your employees are proud to work for a more money-conscience company. It’s the smarter thing to do.
Join us as we uncover some tips to planning corporate retreats on a budget.
Tip 1 – Your Group Size Impacts Your Cost
A common misconception with corporate retreats: “the more the merrier!” This isn’t always the case with team building in mind, especially if you’re trying to save dollars on your bottom line.
With a niche group of people, perhaps those that you work with on a day-to-day basis, you can achieve a more productive task-focused retreat. Large groups are often unmanageable for several reasons:
- Work and family constraints limit scheduling flexibility
- Large groups equate to more costs, including travel, food, lodging and facility costs
- The larger the group, the less relevant that group of people will be. Define the roles that are essential to success and invite employees accordingly
Tip 2 – Choose A Destination Not Far From Home
There are plenty of great corporate retreat locations right in your backyard. Ok, maybe not literally, but several that are just a couple hours away. For you, that translates to lower costs and more convenience.
Operating in the St. Louis area? Consider taking your team to a nearby lake, state park, small town or winery. You could rent a bus that would accommodate your entire team for much less that packing up the bags and flying out of town. Plus, remote locations and retreats are usually a better fit for small/mid-sized businesses looking to get the biggest bang for their buck.
PS. Sometimes these local destinations throw in bonus items like free wine, upgraded rooms and discounted day excursions.
Tip 3 – Negotiate Price & Get The Deal You Desire
The dramatic shift from big to small corporate retreat budgets means that more and more facilities have increased inventory. You may want to consider throwing in a barter deal depending on the facility in your crosshairs. Offer to include the retreat information in your company’s newsletter or pass the word on to clients. Facility owners understand the power of word-of-mouth. Think of ways on how you can increase the facility’s awareness using your connections, and then offer it up for exchange.
Sometimes you’re not going to get the best deal for what you need. You’re going to need meeting rooms, audio/video equipment, wifi access and probably somewhere to rest your head. All of these factor in to what you’re willing to cut and expand on. Be prepared for what facilities might not offer.
Tip 4 – Consider Hobby Sports For The Masses
One thing’s for sure – your team doesn’t want to sit in a stuffy meeting room all day. You need to have some activities lined up, but not the type of activities that involve 143 hours of training. That means no 5 hour rounds of golf on private courses, no serious tennis matches and especially no quidditch matches.
Consider some hobby sports for your team. These might include things like flag football, fishing, biking, canoeing, hiking or even Frisbee. These sports don’t make less athletic types nervous about their performance, simply because they can choose what they want to do.
Want something truly unique and close to St. Louis? Cedar Creek offers professional team building program coordinators who can help strengthen your team through a series on on-site activities, including our low ropes confidence course. Our program coordinators will work with you in advance to discuss your group’s goals and objectives, your current group dynamic, and your group’s fitness levels to tailor a plan specifically for your team. Each experience is unique, but all are designed to encourage teamwork, taking overall performance to a new level.
Lastly, check out our corporate retreat checklist. It was designed to provide you clarity in your planning efforts, from determining success criteria to identifying speakers to arranging outdoor activities. Not only will it help you plan, it will keep you focused as your corporate retreat is happening.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard some of golf’s misconceptions: it’s boring, it’s hard to play, and it’s for snobby businessmen. Golfers constantly have to deal with these false and widespread beliefs, and it’s Cedar Creek’s job to stand up for those that take pride in the sport.
Golf is actually one of the best sports for many reasons: it’s a game for all ages, it can be competitive for all skill levels, and it’s great for team building and building business relationships. And at Cedar Creek’s 9-hole golf course, you can experience just as much charm and challenge as many 18-hole courses.
So, sit back and take in a short, 500-word lesson that will have you shaving strokes off your scorecard in no time.
Choose a Decent Golf Ball
Perhaps the only sport where you get to choose your own ball and most amateurs don’t take advantage of this. If you can learn one thing from the pros, know that they choose a ball that helps them with certain aspects of the game, such as achieving more spin, lower drives, or shorter wedge shots.
Amateurs, especially mid- to high-handicap ones, should consider a ball that is built for distance and minimizing spin. The result is longer and straighter shots. Also, distance balls don’t feel like a heavy weight when you hit them because they’re made extra soft for added feel and performance.
Some balls to consider:
- TaylorMade SuperDeep, $20
- Srixon Q-Star, $25
- Bridgestone e6, $27
Put Down the 3-Wood, Pick Up the Driver
We’ve seen so many amateurs get up to the tee box, and with lack of confidence, choose the 3-wood as their go-to driver. Sure, fairway woods have come a long way, but sometimes you just have to choose the bigger stick. Drivers are both longer and bigger which means a more forgiving stroke.
The driver is more versatile, meaning that you can choke down on the grip, swing with less force and make a three-quarter swing. So the next time you approach the tee box with doubt, remember that the driver really is your best option. Swing easy and let the ball release.
Grab Your Driver for Bunker Shots
Running with the same theme, your driver can also be used for more than just the tee box. The next time you’re in a bunker with a firm, clean and slightly uphill lie, grab your driver and give it a shot. Oh yeah, just make sure that you don’t have a big lip in front of you – this is usually the area where the sand meets the grass.
With the above guidelines taken into consideration, play the ball as you normally would, with the ball in front of your stance. Obviously, your swing shouldn’t be 100 percent, but you should swing as hard as you can without your feet sliding around. It’s okay to hang back on your swing while letting the club do the work.
Putt from Above the Hole
Is your ball fairly close to the green and higher than the hole? If so, try using a putter to knock it in. This works especially well for downhill lies. The longer grass will slow the ball down just before entering the green, and you won’t have to be afraid of the ball taking flight well over the hole. Just give it a few practice trials before you start your round and you’ll wonder why you ever tried to chip similar shots in the past.
Want a great golf experience for your next team building, corporate retreat or weekend getaway outing? Cedar Creek’s 9-hole par three golf course is great for just that! Enjoy scenic countryside views as you better your game with the above tips.
Pictured: The 2014 gathering members of the Ten Old Broads
Back Row Left to Right- Sandy, Elaine, and Joan
Front Row Left to Right- Joanne, Pat, Sally, and Kay
They’ve been friends for well over fifty years, but every August they converge at their favorite place on the planet—the Manor House at Cedar Creek. These 10 women, now closing in on 80, have gathered every year since 1999. The long-time friends are: Shirley C., Joan C., Jackie B. (now deceased), Pat M., Liz K., Joanne F., Kay M., Pat H, Elaine S. and Sandy A.
Some of these friendships go back to first grade at St. Peter Grade School in Kirkwood. Others joined in during high school at Eugene Coyle, also in Kirkwood, from 1949-1953. ”I remember the nuns seated us alphabetically and we were in the “H” row, said Joan, recalling freshman year. “I looked over at Sandy and said, ‘Well, if we have to sit together we might as well get to know each other.’” Soon Pat (also an “H”), who was sitting nearby, got into the conversation. Sandy eventually brought in Kay, a friend since first grade, and Kay brought in Sally, her cousin. The rest blended in over the ensuing high school years.
After graduating in 1953, they all went on to pursue careers, marry and have families. Liz kept the group together by hosting annual Christmas luncheons, but it just wasn’t enough time for the women to catch up. So Sandy decided to get the group together for a special three-day gathering. The first year, 1999, just seven were able to come, but it was such fun they decided to meet annually. Although most lived in the St. Louis area then, they eventually came from longer distances—from Texas to Kansas, northern Illinois to Colorado. In time, they called themselves the Ten Old Broads.
Their first gathering provided plenty of time for the group to catch up and also to establish the traditions that carry over to this day. Some of the group likes to play Mexican Train, card games or Trivial Pursuit. Others like to hang out at the pool. Or just talk. They have high praise for the food at Cedar Creek and don’t mind a bit if wine is involved! Although they have visited local sites over the years, they mostly prefer to stay closer to “Home.”
The Manor House is their sanctuary, they all agree. Their annual retreats are documented by a Memory Book (pictured on right). The women come every year for a variety of reasons— the solitude, the surrounding nature, the outdoor activities, and of course, the common roots. Many memories have been made while at Cedar Creek, mostly wonderful ones, like the time Sandy surprised the group with a birthday cake for their mutual 75th birthdays. Or in 2012, when they howled at the full moon after being inspired by Elaine’s story about her grandson howling at the moon with his young friends. And then there was the time they ran into a group of Ursuline nuns, who had booked a retreat in Cedar Lodge. “You can run from the nuns, but you can’t hide!” said Joan, bringing a laugh about their Catholic school years.
However, one of the most profound memories that has stuck with the group was on September 12, 2001, just a day after the attack on the World Trade Towers in New York. Miraculously, all ten showed up. After arriving, the group turned to the Manor House TV to watch the coverage.
“Everyone on the property kept coming over to the Manor House because we had the biggest TV,” Joan recalled. It somehow seemed important for all of them to go to a church to pray, so that’s what they did. “It was an unforgettable day that we all share now,” Sandy said, “but somehow it was comforting to us to be together going through that incredible situation.”
Talents vary from sewing, knitting and crocheting, quilting, crafts, reading, music, painting and writing. Pat, a quilter, particularly enjoys looking at the numerous quilts displayed throughout the property. Elaine, the musician of the group, once brought her harp for a private living room concert. And Joan surprised them one year with a Bollywood dance class on DVD and also demonstrated Tai Chi. She even convinced the ladies to try Hip Hop Abs. Sally’s official duty has been to bring swim tubes for water aerobic sessions, which once led to so much laughter that the Cedar Creek staff came out to investigate.
The Ten Old Broads have dwindled down to nine following the loss of Jackie several years ago and this year, one member is in a rehab facility following a stroke and other complications. Another member is out this year due to family activities. “Every year we say that we hope is isn’t the last year. But then, we ARE all now 78 and 79,” Sandy said.
Ten years, Ten Old Broads, and more memories than can be counted. They truly are a “special vintage group,” as Sally says, smiling.
Many of you might already know that the largemouth bass is one of the most popular freshwater game fish in North America, but do you know how to catch one every cast?
The largemouth bass is part of the sunfish family, a species that is native to North America and has many regional names: brown bass, widemouth bass, bigmouth bass and more. You can tell a largemouth by its olive green color, dark, sometimes black markings and upper jaw that extends beyond the rear margin of the eye socket.
In Missouri, it’s pretty hard to find a body of water without at least a few bass. The ideal location in which the state is located, not to mention long growing seasons, make Missouri a leading state for bass population. Most Missouri rivers, ponds and lakes contain bass; specifically, Bull Shoals Lake, Harry S. Truman Reservoir, Lake of The Ozarks, Mark Twain Lake and Missouri fishing resorts like Cedar Creek.
Timing is Everything, Well Almost
Late spring is one of the best times to catch a largemouth bass due to their migration to warmer water for spawning. Keep an eye on the weather, watching for warm rain and air moving through the region. Concentrate your efforts outside structures off spawning flats such as points, logs, humps and rocks.
When the water temperature reaches 55 to 65 F, bass will seek out a shallow, protected place for spawning. Bigger lakes don’t warm up uniformly. In this case, bass will not all spawn at the same time. To be certain, in the later spring months, try the Northwestern most part of the lake and test the water temperature with a thermometer. Typically, this area of the lake will be the warmest.
During the spawn, topwater baits work best on the outside edges of reedbeds, secondary points, over cover, and over beds. If a cold front moves in, fish the more covered parts of the water, flipping the cover with jigs and worms.
Habitat & Shelter
Largemouth bass have a large temperature range in which they can live, which extends to waters above 90 F down through the mid-30s F. The ideal temperature for largemouth bass is between 65 and 85 F – perfect for many Missouri fishing resorts.
Ideal water conditions range from murky to stained to clear, but they prefer non-flowing waters with plenty vegetation or flooded timber. They like cover too – lily pads, weeds, bushes, docks, stumps, rocks, or stonewalls, but can survive without cover.
Generally, largemouth bass are found in shallow water. However, if waters lack the cover necessary, then they can be found in water near drop-offs, channels, and rocky bluffs. Largemouth bass are not migratory by nature, preferring to stay in holding positions within a given area for extended periods of time.
Top Seasonal Baits for Missouri
Like catching most fish, seasonality plays a big role in what type of bait to use. The largemouth bass has a mouth wide enough to objects the size of its own head. It will attempt to eat virtually anything it can catch and swallow, which is why these fish commonly grow well over 20 pounds – much bigger than its smallmouth cousin.
- Spring – Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Fish shallow to moderate depths as they move to shallows for warmer water to spawn and feed. You may consider trying shallow-water flipping on cloudy days or in murky water.
- Summer – Crankbaits, jigs and plastic worms. Fish shallow in the mornings and evenings – move deeper as the sun rises. ”Deep” depends on the lake you’re fishing, as some lakes you’ll need to venture as far as 60ft., whereas others won’t have much action deeper than 35ft.
- Fall – Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and spoons. Fish shallow to moderate depths in the morning and evenings. As the day progresses, move to outside deep structure and use spoons or jigs.
- Winter – Jigs, pork baits and plastic worms. Try shallow in the mornings then move deeper as the sun rises. Bass are seldom active in cooler water, so move your bait in a slow, easy to catch manner. Also, move to deep cover and structure.
Great Missouri Bass Lakes by Game & Fish Magazine
- Shawnee Trail CA
- Mozingo Lake
- Harry S. Truman Lake
- August A. Busch Memorial CA
- Table Rock Lake
- Stockton Lake
- Lake of the Ozarks
- Montrose Lake
- Bilby Ranch Lake
- Pomme De Terre
Cedar Creek’s 7 acre fishing lake is a great place to start or practice until you are ready for one of the big 10!
Most recently, we developed a corporate retreat checklist to help meeting and event specialists better organize their corporate outings. As most of you already know, corporate retreats can be one of the best ways to encourage employee interaction, reward employees, better align goals and objectives, hire and recruit professionals, and build skills. Unfortunately, they can be overwhelming and tiresome for those involved in the planning. If you don’t do it right, then it can result in a huge morale kill. We’re here to help prevent that from happening.
Cedar Creek’s corporate retreat checklist is designed to provide clarity and organization in your planning efforts, from determining success criteria to identifying speakers to arranging outdoor activities. Not only will this corporate retreat checklist help you plan, but it will keep you focused as it’s happening.
Now, let’s take a look inside!
Your corporate retreat is nothing without the people, right? The “who” includes your attendees, speakers, facilitators, caterers, and equipment providers and operators. In the checklist, you’ll see that we explore each of these categories in depth. For example, is your equipment provider going to be your in-house IT staff, a meeting planner, a contractor, or the retreat facility itself?
Two of the biggest things to keep in mind include: involve people in the discussion instead of talking at them and make your speakers earn their money.
Talking at people for hours on end never works. And if you make it to Q&A without half of the room sleeping, then we’re sure that the engagement won’t be too high. Try taking all of your information that’s up for discussion and turning it into videos or presentations that people can watch on the plane. You can use all of the time you save to talk about that content. Remember, corporate retreats should be a working session, not an opportunity for executives to prove what a great year it’s been.
Guest speakers can also be tricky to handle. A lot in the industry have plenty of opinions on how much you should pay for a speaker. However, this is an instance when you get what you pay for. An expensive headliner is proof that the company is on the cutting edge of authoritative information, and it’s also part of the retreat that’s guaranteed to get positive results.
The second most important part of the retreat revolves around the “what”? This is the content of the retreat – the goals, success criteria, icebreakers, indoor and outdoor activities and activity outcomes. Is the goal of your corporate retreat to motivate staff or evaluate goals for the New Year?
Out of any of these content-driven layers, icebreakers can set the tone for what to expect, whether it’s thought-provoking arguments or outdoor activities. At Cedar Creek, we guarantee that you won’t fall short of fun, engaging icebreakers. We have plenty of outdoor activities like golf, nature trails, a confidence course, and more.
One of our favorite icebreakers is the human knot. It’s the get-out-of-your-seat-work-together type of icebreaker. Start by breaking your group out into subgroups of ten. Then, tell these subgroups to form a circle, reach both hands in the middle, and join hands with someone else. From this point, the group must work together to untie the knot without letting go of any hands. The result is often a laughter-induced mess, as members of the group crawl under each other or step over arms. The combination of teamwork, problem solving, and laughter is all a result of a memorable and effective icebreaker.
The “when” is pretty straightforward and typically depends on the benefits and drawbacks of each season. Though, this section is less important if you’re traveling to a place where all four seasons are non-existent.
Cool weather seasons open the door to explore of business issues relating to recovery, resourcefulness, heading in a new direction, and getting back on track, namely due to the survival nature that cooler seasons bring. For example, there is no shortage of activities that can flesh out a winter themed retreat. Bring your team to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to enjoy skiing, hot springs, and horseback riding.
Warm weather retreats are our personal favorite, especially if you can plan on a time of year when the air outside is perfect. A summer retreat doesn’t have to be a multi-bedroom lake house. If you’re on a budget, you can find several places – Cedar Creek – that offer tiny, pre-fabricated cabins that won’t bust your budget.
You’ve made it this far, but have you decided on where your corporate retreat will be held? When it comes to indoor spaces, you might choose between conference rooms, ballrooms, party or event facilities, a team-building center, or overnight facility. For instance, you might be traveling and decide to have the business activities take place where you’ll be staying, like a hotel or conference center. Cedar Creek offers plenty of lodging options with meeting and conference rooms to pair.
Looking for spaces in the outdoors? How about an amusement park, spa, garden, or golf course? There are many outdoor spaces that offer comfortable facilities, picturesque grounds, and transformational experiences for all groups.
How many times a year should your company have a retreat and how long should they be? Most corporations might have a retreat up to twice a year, but they might include people in different positions across the company? We suggest defining the goals you want to achieve and your budget before planning too far ahead. This step could influence what isn’t and is necessary. The length of the retreat completely depends on how much you want to accomplish. Is it going to take a weekend or longer? Again, look at your goals and make a judgment call.
New Haven, MO. March 5, 2014 – Cedar Creek posted strong financial gains for 2013 by increasing the number of bookings for conferences, retreats, and special events, which resulted in a 24% increase in gross revenue for its convention business.
“Cedar Creek offers numerous meeting spaces in a variety of sizes to ensure groups are able to accomplish their goals,” said Patrick Vatterott, General Manager for Cedar Creek. “However, I believe it is the area that bring groups back year after year.”
Located in the heart of Missouri’s robust wine country, Cedar Creek is proud to call New Haven home. Perfectly centered between Washington and Hermann, the region is well-known for its restaurants, artisan stores and antique shops. In addition, New Haven is home to Pinckney Bend Distillery and Robller Vineyard and Winery.
Cedar Creek’s hotel leisure bookings such as romantic getaways, family excursions, Oktoberfest celebrations, and overnight stays also contributed to its strong financial gains for 2013 with 60% gross revenue growth over the previous year.
“The Western Town has become quite a draw for residents and visitors alike,” said Vatterott.
Open on the weekends, the Town Hall provides live entertainment and house made fare while the Saloon offers beer tastings of 2nd Shift Brewing, a production brewery specializing in unique hops pairings located onsite.
“Though we’ve expanded what we offer, our excellent customer service has not wavered,” he added.
With customer service an amenities increasing, Cedar Creek is increasing marketing and outreach efforts.
“We offer numerous amenities, which caters to a wide-variety of individuals,” said Jeni Grunzinger, Sales Manager. “We have launched accounts on several social media platforms and are increasing our presence at trade shows. Also, in the last year, we have had an increase in meeting and event planners coming out for private tours of the property to see firsthand what we can do for their clients.”
Purchased in 1978, Cedar Creek was transformed from a private retreat into a family-owned resort and conference center on 200 open country acres. Included on the property is a golf course, hiking trails, a stocked lake, an outdoor movie theater, 49 sleeping rooms, 5,000+ square feet of meeting space, and the authentic, fully-functioning Western Town.
The outlook for 2014 looks promising as well, Cedar Creek has already experienced a 50% increase in weddings over the previous year.
“Brides are looking for venues who cater to rustic and outdoor themed-weddings. With over 200 acres, we are basically a clean canvas for brides to envision their dream wedding,” said Grunzinger.
Cedar Creek will be hosting a Ground Breaking Ceremony on March 12, at 11:00, for its newest banquet facility to cater to the growing demand for destination weddings, corporate receptions, and other social gatherings. The banquet facility will be able to serve 300 guests and provide 5-10 part-time to full-time jobs. Additionally, it will bring additional revenue to the community and area.
For more information regarding this release, please contact Julie Linder, Public Relations for Cedar Creek, by calling (573) 268-0639.
Valentine’s day and chocolate have coincided for dozens of years. But how did chocolate make the journey to how we know it today? The sweet treat is said to have originated somewhere in the Amazon at least 4,000 years ago, when the cultivation, use, and cultural embrace of cocoa started in Mesoamerica. From there it moved north to both Mayan and Aztec cultures where many historians have determined that cocoa was used primarily in drinks.
Explorer Hernan Cortes brought cocoa beans back to the old world where he presented them to Spanish King Charles V. Chocolate then traveled from Spain to France, England, Germany, Italy, before appearing in the United States sometime around 1755. Through these travels, the word “chocolate” has influenced language across the globe, perhaps impacting the English language the most.
Ten Facts About the Word “Chocolate”
- The Nahuatl people of Mexico and Central America are ultimately responsible for the word “chocolate” as we know it today. They called it chocolatl, the edible substance made from the seeds of the cacao tree. When Spanish explorers encountered chocolatl, they mixed it up with the name of the drink made from cacao, cacahuatl.
- The current earliest sense of the word, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), refers to “a beverage made from the seeds of the cacao tree, thanks to Spanish explorers that denoted the word incorrectly.
- When speaking about a particularly toned man in France, one might refer to his six pack as his tablettes de chocolat, literally his chocolate bars.
- A “Chocoholic” is someone who can’t get enough chocolate. The term was first used in 1961 when one journalist in California asked, “Would you call a person who is over fond of chocolates a chocoholic?” Regardless of whether his question was a joke or not, the term caught on and is still used today.
- Chocolate-houses came into fashion in the late 17th century as a place for people to buy chocolate beverages. Although this term is no longer common, it lets us know of the cultural and social importance of chocolate in the 1800s. You might compare this to the coffee houses of today.
- British Rhyming Slang also included references to chocolate in the early 1900s. For example, “I should cocoa” was slang for “I should say so.” Also, the phrase “chocolate frog” was rhyming slang for “dog,” meaning informer.
- Chocolate related compounds have also come into use, like “chocolate-boxy” used to describe the stereotypical romantic pictures found on chocolate boxes of the Victorian era.
- The OED also records chocolate as a verb, although it is rarely used. For instance, a quotation from an 1850 work called Eldorado reads “We across the moonlight, chocolated the comedor, or dining-hall.”
- The Oxford English Corpus tells us that the top four words used with “chocolate” are “cake”, “bar”, “chip”, and “cookie”, while the most frequent modifying adjectives are “hot”, “dark”, “white”, “milk”, “rich”, and “delicious”.
- Production of Hershey’s chocolate bars started the same year he opened his new factory, and in 1937, he and his product were referenced in George Gershwin’s They All Laughed.
We’d love to hear your interesting facts, history, or figures about the language of chocolate. Please, feel free to drop us a line in the comments below. In the mood for a weekend retreat or romantic getaway? Be sure to check out Cedar Creek for all of getaways year round. Make your reservation today! We’ll be sure to keep a slice of one of our decadent chocolate desserts warm for you.
The love of your life just proposed, and while it is hard to take your eyes away from that beautiful ring, people are now beginning to ask you about your wedding plans. Unfortunately, many newly engaged couples like yourself are busy working or in school and cannot find the time to plan a dream wedding.
Because of this, hiring a wedding planner has become a popular wedding trend to ensure that the details (big and small) are properly taken care of in a timely manner, thus relieving many angst-filled brides of their stress. However, choosing a wedding planner is not an easy decision, and several should be interviewed before a decision is made.
To ensure that you choose a wedding planner that is right for you, Cedar Creek offers the following questions to help aid in the interview process:
- How long have you been in business & how many weddings have you done?
- How many weddings do you average a year?
- Is this your full-time or part-time job? Do you foresee any conflicts in this situation?
- What services do you offer?
- Do you double book weddings? Will there be any conflicts on the day or weekend of my wedding?
- What is your preferred form of communication?
- Have you coordinated weddings based on the style of interest I have expressed?
- How much of my time do you expect planning my wedding will take?
- Can you work within my budget?
- Do you charge for the initial meeting?
- Do you provide a contract?
- How often will I be billed?
- Do you require a deposit to get started?
- When is the final payment due?
- Do you charge for travel or is it included in your fee?
- Are there any additional expenses outside of the package/hourly fee I might incur?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Do you have a preferred vendors list?
- Are you available for all meetings with the caterer, location and other vendors?
- Do we pay you one fee and then you pay the vendors, or do we pay the vendors individually?
- How many people from your staff will be on hand during the wedding?
- Will you attend the rehearsal?
- Will you personally attend my wedding?
After each interview is complete, take a moment to ask yourself:
- Did you feel heard?
- Does the planner understand your vision?
- Did we get a strong sense she will work with your budget?
- Was there a good connection and did your personalities mesh well?
Trust your instincts. If an interview doesn’t feel right, then maybe that person just isn’t a good fit for you, and that is okay. It is very important to take the time you need to find a wedding planner who is compatible with you and your fiancé.
We hope this helps, and remember that Cedar Creek provides a romantic setting for a truly unforgettable destination wedding. We are a picturesque option for celebrating everything from the rehearsal dinner to the ceremony and reception, as well as delicious on-site catering, wedding cake bakery, and overnight accommodations. We enjoy working with wedding planners and are ready to assist in creating a magical experience for you, your family and your guests. For more information about the wedding options available for you, please click here.