Looking for a family reunion spot in AprilI am looking for a location to hold a family reunion. We would like to hold ours the last weekend of April 2011. We are looking at about 45 people, with half being adults and about 20 children. In the past, we would arrive on Friday and leave on Sunday. Friday night consisted of a grill out. Saturday we would do a pot luck and leave on Sunday. In the past, we held our reunions in Madison, Chicago and most recently Green Lake. Our reunion has been going for 20 years . . . and we are looking to keep the tradition going. We get to go every other year (odd years) and always the last week of April. Any suggestions? Thanks! - Barb, Black Creek, Wis.
Any Upper Midwest vacation in late April has some trade-offs. You can get a great deal — it's after spring break but before the summer travel season, so any resort or hotel would be glad for the business — but the weather is really unpredictable.
In 2011, Easter is on April 24, so you may have some competition from spring breakers, but it still should be very quiet.
Wisconsin Dells hotels with indoor water parks are the obvious choice for any group that includes a lot of children in the off season; see Making waves.
There's plenty to do inside, including supervised children's activities, and if you luck out with good weather, you can go horseback riding or hiking in nearby Devil's Lake and Mirror state parks and maybe even find some early spring wildflowers. The Wilderness has a large variety of villas and condos that are good for groups.
There are plenty of large resort hotels with indoor water parks in other areas; see Water, water, everywhere. The Grand Geneva Resort & Spa would be convenient if you have family members in Madison and Chicago.
You also could see if you can rent one of the residential environmental learning centers, most of which have indoor climbing walls, outdoors high-ropes courses and orienteering courses. They provide all meals, which simplifies everything for large groups. And many will provide a naturalist to lead custom programs and excursions.
In Minnesota lakes country, Deep Portage Learning Center is very comfortable; see Playground in the woods. So is Eagle Bluff in southeast bluff country, near Lanesboro; see Escape to Eagle Bluff. For others, see Minnesota's environmental learning centers.
For a chance at really nice weather, go a little farther south to the YMCA Trout Lodge near Potosi in eastern Missouri. It's a big place with special spring-break programs that include all kinds of activities for kids and adults.