Finding a recommendation for a warm weather escape in the dead of a Minnesota winter is quick and easy. Ask a neighbor, post the question on facebook, scan a newspaper. Think Cancun or South Beach. And hordes of people. And chances are a co-worker can talk your ear off about great ski mountains with blissfully barren back bowls or a great place to stay in Tuscany.
But when it comes to seeking solitude and finding the quiet within, do you really want to trust the guy at the water cooler or the virtual thumb’s up from “I’ma- world-traveler” on Trip Advisor? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. Vacation time is precious. Like sand sifting through your fingers, it slips by quickly. If it’s soul-seeking and time away to clear your head and perhaps heal your heart, do your research and choose wisely. Think about the type of experience you are really looking for. Silent retreat? A week away with a theme such as Compassion? Or time away to get your diet back on track and be thoughtful about what you put into your body?
Retreats abound these days. Take your time to really think about the type of experience you want. And let the journey unfold from there. Following are some suggestions to help you explore the possibilities. Brew yourself some chamomile, and read on.
Red Wing, MN 651-388-2009
Rooms available from November-April in historic house on 330 acres in the bluff-land region of the upper Mississippi.
The Grand Marais Art Colony
Grand Marais, MN 218-387-2737
Began in 1947 as a summer refuge for artists seeking study in the wilderness. Workshops in print-making, book arts, sculpture, drawing, and watercolor, acrylic, oil, and sumi-e painting. www.grandmaraisartcolony.org.
Tofte Lake Center
A creative retreat center for artists, scholars and thinkers of all disciplines located on the shores of Tofte Lake, a beautifully secluded lake near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. From June through September, TLC offers creative residencies for individuals, artistic groups, and organizations who seek to create work in residence in a natural setting with arts facilities and comfortable cabins.
Yoga and Meditation
Institute of the Himalayan Tradition
St. Paul 651-645-1291
A place for study and sharing, education and community. Workshops and classes in hatha yoga, meditation, stress-relief, relaxation, wellness, self-discovery. Private consultations, initiations, residential programs and group/private retreats are also offered.
Families coping with an ill child, or death
Webster, WI, 612-825-2073
A unique retreat center for families who have a seriously ill child or have suffered the loss of a child. Located on 80 acres, about two hours from the Twin Cities.
Audubon Center of the North Woods
Non-profit environmental learning and conference & retreat center on Grindstone Lake near Sandstone, MN. Diverse 780-acre lakeside sanctuary with 7 miles of trails and meeting spaces, lodging for 162+, fantastic scratch-based food service, as well as team-building, challenge or naturalist programs for any size group. Offering a variety of nature-connected all-inclusive ‘getaways’ such as our Women’s Wellness & Adventure Weekends, summer youth camps, and Winter Family Weekend.
Boundary Waters Wilderness Area
northern Minn. Various entry points. The BWCA is a 1,090,000- acre wilderness area within the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota under the administration of the U.S. Forest Service.
Heartland Wellness Retreat and Spa
Lake Geneva, WI
224-434-1800 (call or text)
All-inclusive spa-health retreat at boutique hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva, helping people to make and keep good health habits since 1983. 7am to 8pm fitness and wellness programming, 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks daily, pampering spa services included in every package.
Assissi Heights Spirituality Center
Rochester, MN 507-282-7441
Italian Romanesque home of the Franciscan Sisters. Rooms for women on 100 secluded acres.
ARC Retreat Center
Serving individuals and groups seeking time apart, rest, and spiritual renewal. Log lodge with single rooms, hermitage and cottage on ninety wooded acres near Cambridge.
Benedictine Center of St. Paul’s Monastery
Contemporary monastic environment of Benedictine Sisters.
St. Paul, 651-696-2750
Historic center adjacent to the College of St. Catherine. The sisters of St. Joseph have rooms for up to 20 guests. Labyrinth and walking paths.
Christ the King Retreat Center
Oblates of Mary Immaculate offer accommodations in a retreat house that overlooks Lake Buffalo. www.kingshouse.com
The Christine Center for Spirituality
Offering retreat programs for healing, spirituality, renewal with meditation, yoga, art, and writing, spiritual practice and other soul work. Cottages, guest house, homemade meals and personal retreats.
Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House
Lake Elmo, MN 651-777-1311
“Each year more than 3,000 men from all walks of life participate in retreats at the Deomontreville Jesuit Retreat House. Retreats at Demontreville have one theme: to know, love, and serve God in this world. Strict silence is maintained throughout the weekend, except for an optional recreation period after dinner on Friday and Saturday.”
Marine-on-St. Croix, 612-433-2486
The Christian Brothers have two suites and 38 single rooms available for private retreats in their center on the St. Croix River.
Episcopal House of Prayer
Nine single and four double bedrooms available in the house, with an opportunity for meditation in the architecturally-stunning oratory adjacent to it. Meditation path and walking trails. www.ehouseofprayer.org
Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center
Prior Lake, MN
Franciscan Life Center
Little Falls, 320-632-0668
A private, two-unit log cabin/ hermitage nestled in a pine grove clearing on the Franciscan Sisters’ campus in Little Falls.
Golden Light Healing Retreat Center
Located on 200-acres in Northeast Wisconsin near Green Bay, Golden Light Healing is an oasis of peace and healing. Explore Reiki, Shamanism, Mediumship, yoga, nature, meditation, and much more. Offering workshops, healing sessions, group and customized private retreats. Amy & David Wilinski.
Hazelden Renewal Center
Center City 800-257-7810 or 651-213-4200
Retreat lodge for those living the Twelve-Step recovery program.
Loyola Spirituality Center
St. Paul 651-641-0008
“dedicated to helping people notice, name and respond to the experience of God in their lives. We welcome all regardless of faith tradition, age, race, sexual and gender orientation or economic means.” See website for retreat topics and locations.
McCabe Renewal Center
Benedictine Sisters offer rooms for individual and group retreats in historic Duluth mansion. Labyrinth and massage available.
Mount Olivet Retreat Center
Contemporary retreat center on 150 wooded acres owned by Mount Olivet Lutheran Church. Indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool, prayer labyrinth.
Pacem in Terris
St. Francis, 763-444-6408
Year-round hermitages on 240 wooded acres operated in the Franciscan tradition.
Prairie Woods Franciscan Retreat Center
We believe spirituality is critical to a successful and fulfilling life and recovery. All overnight retreats are weekend retreats are held at The McIver Center for Family and Spiritual Development, which provides a nourishing and reflective environment that is designed to supports one’s spiritual journey.
Sacred Ground Center for Spirituality
St. Paul, 651-696-2798
Directed Retreats. Schedule a private appointment with a Sacred Ground Spiritual Director. Walk and explore the spacious grounds and labyrinth while meditating on your path. www. sacredgroundspirit.org
Shalom Spirituality Center
Dubuque, Iowa 52001
Accommodations for private retreats, personal growth, spiritual enrichment, holism, and wellness. Open to everyone regardless of belief system or faith background. A quiet, peaceful, relaxing, and restorative environment for prayer, reflection, mediation, contemplation, and discernment. Find & follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
An Intimate Three-Day Retreat of Soulful Solutions To Everyday Issues. Three days of self-exploration, tapping into your internal world and bringing you to a place of self-awareness. Experience a physical and emotional detox for spiritual growth. At Harmonic Spirit Center of Peace. info & registration at www.harmonic-spirit.com
St Anthony Spirituality Center
The Spirituality Center at St. Benedict’s Monastery,
St. Joseph, 320-363-7112 Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict offer rooms at their Spirituality Center and a woodland hermitage. Garden & walking paths.
• Individual and group retreats
• Centering prayer retreats
• Faith formation programs
• Hermitage retreats
• Sophia Program for Women in Ministry
• Spiritual Companioning
St. John’s Abbey Guesthouse
Benedictine monks offer 30 rooms in their guesthouse that also has a meditation chapel, library, meeting rooms, and dining room. On the campus at St. John’s University. www. abbeyguesthouse.org
Personal & small group retreats Enjoy 40 acres with quiet,cozy hermitages. Sauna, massage, library, chapel in Wellness Center. Walking paths in woods, labyrinth through the prairie, & small spring-fed lake.
Finlayson, MN 320-321-9096
Your vacation destination in Minnesota’s Northwoods on the sandy shores of Big Pine Lakes, halfway between the Twin Cities and Duluth. Cabins, RV Camping, Events.
FindtheDivine, an online directory of spiritual retreats, religious retreats and conference centers. Includes articles and blog. www.findthedivine.com
Loyola Press. Experiment with a three-minute online retreat. “Three-Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right at your computer. www. loyolapress.com
Minnesota specific retreat links: