North Carolina’s Triad region is full of surprises, from historic downtown of Winston-Salem to the leading furniture industry capital of High Point and the textile center of Greensboro, which boasts a thriving dining scene.
Groups traveling to the area can avail themselves of a number of teambuilding options, from action-packed activities at a former private estate now owned by Wake Forest University to escape rooms, ropes courses and paintball tournaments. Axe-throwing can even be on the agenda.
Following are some standout Triad, North Carolina, teambuilding activities and facilities that will keep any group engaged while they forge bonds with their colleagues.
Located minutes from downtown Winston-Salem and within 45 minutes of both High Point and Greensboro, the palatial former Graylyn Estate is now a Historic Hotels of America property on the National Trust for Historic Preservation owned and operated by Wake Forest University.
Built at the height of the Gilded Age in the late 1920s by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Chairman of the Board Bowman Gray, Graylyn Estate is now known as Graylyn International Conference Center. The IACC-member facility offers 85 guest rooms and 15 meeting rooms in four buildings. The largest meeting space is 2,000 square feet.
“A lot of the rooms are designed around what the owners collected on their travels,” said Justin Ray Duton, teambuilding facilitator for Graylyn about the mansion that Mrs. Gray styled after the houses in the French regions of Normandy and Brittany. “For instance, there’s a whole room that was brought over from France.”
Graylyn’s expansive estate grounds make it a perfect fit for a variety of teambuilding programs.
“The flexible space is great for teambuilding, so groups can go from one meeting room to another,” Dutton said, “and because it’s on 55 acres, there’s a lot of space for outdoor activities, and groups also have privacy. A group can go outside and be as loud as they need to be to get their energy out and then go back to their meetings.”
Teambuilding options that can be facilitated by Graylyn include everything from a 10-minute game break in a meeting to a three-hour “build a boat” challenge that has groups rowing their cardboard ship as part of a “Pirates of the Piedmont” race on Graylyn Pond.
Graylyn also partners with local golf courses to get attendees out on the links.
One popular activity is the “Tour de Graylyn,” which finds groups assembling bicycles to be donated to children and then engaging in a race after the build is finished.
Photo: Graylyn offers myriad teambuilding activities, such as the Tour de Graylyn, in which groups build bikes for children and then race them.
A bonus for groups is that they can utilize the other features of Reynolda Village, part of the National Register of Historic Places Reynolda Historic District, which includes the Reynolda House Museum of American Art and Reynolda Gardens.
“As part of Wake Forest, we also have Reynolda Village, which is all in the same district and all owned by Wake Forest, so we always have the ability to set up an excursion to see an art exhibit or go shopping,” Dutton said. “It’s all part of the larger community that is Wake Forest. It’s kind of like a small town that you get when you come.”
Other Graylyn teambuilding options include scavenger hunts, geocaching and island golf, utilizing Graylyn Pond.
Graylyn’s full roster of teambuilding activities can be found at https://graylyn.com/meetings/team-building.
Located minutes from downtown High Point, Kersey Valley Attractions offers teambuilding fun that includes a massive high ropes course, laser tag, escape rooms and what’s become the latest sensation, axe throwing.
The facility recently added escape room challenges to capitalize on another popular new teambuilding trend.
“Most companies like the escape room , because it takes folks working together,” said Nancy Bowman, director of sales and marketing for High Point CVB, who added that Kersey Valley now offers four escape room challenges for groups of up to 10 persons in each.
[Related: A Thriving Dining Scene Complements Culture in Greensboro, N.C.]
Kersey Valley Attractions can accommodate up to 60 for laser tag competitions, up to 12 for indoor axe throwing and up to 35 for outdoor axe hurling.
The high points of the city’s annual event calendar is the twice-yearly High Point Market furniture exhibition held in April and October. This global furniture industry phenomenon can draw up to 75,000 attendees that fill up hotel rooms in High Point and throughout the Triad, so meeting planners should be aware of room availability conflicts during that time.
The upside is that High Point’s infrastructure is primed for the Market—the largest wholesale show in the nation—so the city’s typical group-size sweet spot of between 100 and 300 is well-served by the facilities set up to service the show.
Bowman said High Point typically draws sports, government and small corporate groups, and is in the planning stages of building an event center it hopes will be operational in about five years.
Groups in Winston-Salem who want to unwind post-session—and perhaps engage in a little friendly competition—can do both onsite at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel.
Boasting a full-sized basketball court, bowling alley, ping pong tables, foosball, card game tables, several TVs and a two-story adult twisty slide, the Kimpton is located downtown in a historic building that was the former headquarters of R.J. Reynolds.
Photo: Winston-Salem’s Kimpton Cardinal Hotel has fun on tap with a wonderous rec room for adults.Credit: J. Sinclair Photography / Credit Visit Winston-Salem/J. Sinclair.
The whole city, in fact, is virtually a teambuilding playground because of its historic nature.
“Winston-Salem has a rich history in both history and art, so there’s a lot of opportunities to do things at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art in downtown, such as small pottery workshops,” said Christian Schroeder, director of sales and services for Visit Winston-Salem. “There’s a number of nonprofit programming that groups can do as a teambuilding opportunity, such as the Empty Bowls benefit through Second Harvest Food Bank for their fundraiser in April, in which groups paint bowls and auction them off.
“Scavenger hunts are also very popular, to explore downtown and the destination,” he continued. “Some are dine-arounds or pub crawls, and some can be more [interactive], with trivia. The Old Salem Museums & Gardens is one of our most popular attractions, with its iconic coffee pot, which is popular for photos and as a stop for trivia questions.”
Greensboro Area CVB | 336.274.2282
High Point CVB | 336.884.5255
Visit Winston-Salem | 336.728.4200
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