By Jane Ammeson • Travel Indiana Magazine
Challenge yourself to find new and exciting things to keep your team engaged. The Grant Street Inn offers a unique atmosphere and superb hospitality – the perfect components for a corporate retreat people will remember long after it’s over!
Considered one of Bloomington’s signature boutique establishments, and as well as an integral part of one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the Midwest, the Grant Street Inn transports visitors into a splendid Victorian, yet modernized, inspired past.
THE BACK STORY
The inn is a collection of five buildings, four of which were special preservation and restoration projects, which include the Ziegler House, Gilstrap House, The Annex, and Buttercup Cottage. The Ziegler House is the building that sparked the inn’s story and development. It dates back to 1883 when it was a private dwelling once owned by William Rogers, Dean of the Indiana University School of Law and William N. Showers, owner of Showers Brothers Furniture Factory (once the world’s largest). Additional houses near the inn were later renovated because they not only allowed the inn to grow, but it also helped retain more of the neighborhood’s historical heritage.
The renovated structures were restored back to their original beauty, and items such as the parquet hardwood floors and trim, hand-carved rosettes, stair rail, mosaic lobby fireplace, and wrap around front porch remain intact. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind place, unlike anywhere else in Bloomington.
FIRST OF ITS KIND IN B-TOWN
The 5th building, known as the Expansion, is the only newly-constructed building at the Grant Street Inn and is LEED certified. It was built using green construction and is the first of its kind in Bloomington. It offers 16 modernized luxury rooms, each of which boasts an over-sized king bed, full-size sleeper sofa, refrigerator, coffeemaker, functioning work desk, and of course is decorated throughout with historical photos of Bloomington.
In keeping with their mission of all things green, the inn uses solar heated hot water panels, collects rainwater for irrigation purposes, includes a fitness center, bicycle storage lockers, and a Tesla charging station for electric powered vehicles.
All five buildings cover an entire city block and are centrally located between historic downtown Bloomington and Indiana University. It’s only a five-minute walk to IU’s Sample Gates, as well as minutes to Fountain Square, a historic venue ideal for meetings or events (for more information visit FountainSquareBloomington.com). Or if you’re looking for a quicker or more enjoyable way to get around town, consider zipping down the streets on a scooter or using a ride-sharing service!
BEYOND THE INN
Beyond the inn, Bloomington offers a plethora of international restaurants, culture, arts, entertainment, and outdoor activities. Nearby are Lake Lemon and Lake Monroe where there are a variety of boats to rent including a 34-foot double-decker with a slide capable of accommodating up to 24 people, power boats, jet skis, fishing boats, kayaks, canoes, pontoons, as well as watercraft accessories such as tubes, skis, and wakeboards.
Also, nearby for team building activities are Hoosier National Forest and Brown County State Park, the largest state park in the county. Both offer a vast network of hiking trails and spectacular views of valleys and hollows. Slightly further away, McCormick Creek State Park, the state’s oldest park, offers guided horseback riding trail rides, kayaking through limestone canyons and hiking that meanders past Wolf Cave, Twin Bridges, and the Falls on McCormick’s Creek.
HIT THE TRAILS
Other great trails to consider are Bloomington’s B-Line and Rail Trail, and the Indiana University’s 2000-acre campus. Areas such as the IU Arboretum showcase an oasis of beauty and culture that includes a number of gardens, sculptures, museums, and architecture dating back to the 1800s.
Southern Indiana is a spelunker’s dream because of its vast underground of caves. In Bedford, Bluespring Caverns not only offers boat trips on the longest underground river in the United States but also provides underground guided crawls – we’ll coin this as a trust-building activity! Or stay above ground and hit up the golf and disc golf courses, think quick in the Code and Key Escape Rooms, or indulge in the many fine spirits, wineries, breweries, and distilleries the area has to offer.
This year, surprise your team with something new and unexpected to strengthen the culture in a whole new way. By choosing the Grant Street Inn as your next destination for your company’s retreat, you’ll be praised long after the trip’s over. And just think, it’ll be the easiest and most worth-while decision you’ll make for your team all year!