Only two-and-a-half hours from New York City, Rhode Island's southern shore offers a quick respite from city life, and alternative activities for incentive and meetings groups in the Northeast. Historic properties like OHM Collection's Weekapaug Inn and Ocean House, both in Westerly, RI, are combining high-end hospitality with intensive teambuilding.
New England's population of high-level management, meeting, and incentive planners can create a unique experience close to home and their employees' families. OHM Collection has concentrated heavily on augmenting its teambuilding and incentive activities in order to satisfy changing expectations and complement the surrounding environment.
"We do a tremendous amount of teambuilding activity for corporate level groups," says Daniel Hostettler, president of the OHM Collection. "They range from sailboat races to culinary workshops." Ocean House offers the Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, an immersive workshop and tasting venue where small groups can compete in Food Network-style "Chopped" competitions or local foraging classes.
The biodiverse coastline of southern Rhode Island also offers great options for meeting attendees looking for teambuilding built around environmental or nautical themes. Mark Bullinger, the on-staff naturalist at the Weekapaug Inn, has created a formidable scavenger hunt for guests coming from a pharmaceutical or academic background, a common occurrence in the hubs of Boston and Providence. Using nautical tools and clues hidden in the landscape, these scavenger hunts provide a brain-intensive activity for upper management. Groups quickly discover their colleagues' character traits as leaders, and innovators are revealed in the process.
As the New England coastline develops more hotels catering to smaller meetings, local industry professionals are gravitating towards properties within proximity as a means to escape city life.
"People are so busy on a day-to-day basis in the city that coming to a coastal location, even three hours away, they start to decompress as soon as they walk in the door," says Hostettler.