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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Saddle Up! for a Ranch Meeting

Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

When visitors arrive in the sleepy seaside town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, they will discover a lush region of world-class wineries, championship golf courses and scenic coastal drives. All this and more can be found within the luxurious property of Carmel Valley Ranch in the Santa Lucia Mountains.

Meeting planners can choose from several exquisite venues on the property for their event or corporate retreat. Overlooking the Vineyard Lawn outside the lodge, the elegant Redwood Room is the ranch’s largest meeting room, with 3,278 square feet of flexible meeting space as well as a 1,200-square-foot covered outdoor terrace. The 2,580-square-foot Oak Room contains the Adventure Kitchen, where attendees can participate in ranch chef competitions or watch live cooking demonstrations. The Oak Room connects to a 1,500-square-foot open courtyard with a fountain. The 1,260-square-foot Vintner Room is the newest venue at the ranch and features retractable walls of windows that open onto a beautiful patio.

In addition to offering unparalleled seaside views, Carmel Valley Ranch sets itself apart by presenting a diverse selection of team-building activities and programs. Groups can delve into the region’s rich culinary scene through live cooking demonstrations, mixology classes, wine-tasting events and even wine-creation challenges. For a nature-themed activity, attendees can sign up for the photography workshop; an organic garden tour; or a bee experience, during which participants don beekeeper suits and meet some of the ranch’s 60,000 Italian honeybees up close in the apiary.

Though there are plenty of premier golf courses along the coast for avid golfers to choose from, Carmel Valley Ranch caters to newer players with a fun, four-hole Kamikaze Golf course that incorporates Frisbees, hockey sticks, tennis rackets and more into the game. Guests can also take advantage of a night golf course with glow-in-the-dark balls, flagsticks and greens.

On-site catering is available for all meetings and events, with seasonal menu options such as wild mushroom bouchée, line-caught white Pacific sea bass and sweet summer corn bisque.

Prairie Sky Guest and Game Ranch

Veblen, South Dakota

Located near the Coteau des Prairies in the Glacial Lake region of South Dakota, the Prairie Sky Guest and Game Ranch provides a rich backdrop of untamed landscape characterized by rolling hills, grassland and glacial lakes. Thanks to the biodiversity of the environment, the ranch is a popular destination for hunting waterfowl, turkey and pheasants, with a rare opportunity for bison hunting at the end of December. Fishing, boating, hiking and cross-country skiing are also popular recreational activities in the area.

The Prairie Sky Guest and Game Ranch can lodge up to 30 guests. In addition to the main lodge, the four adjacent cottage properties each have two bedrooms, a loft and a fireplace. As attendees lounge on the front porches of the lodge or cottages, they may catch a glimpse of bison grazing in the nearby prairies, offering a classic picture of the American Midwest.

Though lodging options are more limited at the indoor facility, it can host up to 150 guests for special, one-day events. The outdoor area accommodates more than 300 guests for receptions and other social gatherings. Mouthwatering meals are prepared in the lodge by on-site chefs.

From June to August, the ranch hosts the Legendary Pitchfork Steak Fry in the lodge each week. Ranch staff members use pitchforks to roast 10-ounce ball-tipped sirloin steaks, which are served with loaded baked potatoes, seven-layer salads and beans.

Broadmoor Wilderness Experience

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Nestled at the base of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, the award-winning Broadmoor Resort offers the perfect balance of luxury and rustic charm. This quality extends to the nearby Broadmoor Wilderness Experience, which comprises several beautiful mountain properties. Each facility is self-contained, with on-site, all-inclusive dining and customized service, making it a great getaway for meeting groups.

One of the most popular locations for corporate groups is Cloud Camp with its location at the summit of Cheyenne Mountain, which lends the setting to incredible surrounding views. The site can host up to 60 guests in 13 richly furnished cabins as well as a spacious central lodge. The breathtaking Overlook at Cloud Camp has a 1,500-square-foot enclosed event space with floor-to-ceiling windows. Within a five-mile hike of Cloud Camp, the Ranch at Emerald Valley offers a medium-size facility with 10 cabins. Bordering the 120,000-acre Lost Creek Wilderness Area, the seven-cabin Fishing Camp gives groups the chance to enjoy five miles of private fishing on one of the most pristine rivers in the country.

At each location, meeting groups can enjoy gourmet meals prepared by Broadmoor’s expert chefs in addition to cocktail parties or evening bonfires on private outdoor patios. Among the offered activities are fly-fishing, paintball, falconry, horseback riding, guided hikes, kayaking, archery and mountain biking.

Groups can also take advantage of daily shuttle service down the mountain to the Broadmoor Resort, which features a championship golf course, a Forbes five-star spa, tennis, shopping, swimming and dining. An additional 185,000 square feet of event and meeting space is available at the resort.

There are numerous attractions nearby as well. Less than a mile from the Broadmoor, Seven Falls is a series of magnificent waterfalls nestled along a lush strip of land sometimes called Colorado’s Grandest Mile. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the world’s highest cog train, carries passengers to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak.