Minnesota is advertised as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but the official count is actually 11,842. That said, Minnesota isn’t all H₂O. In the state’s southwestern corner, picturesque farmland more like neighboring Iowa and South Dakota is the norm. But there’s still the occasional lake, and on an island in one of the most beautiful of them is the Lake Shetek Retreat Center. Here, Road Scholars have come for more than 25 years to learn and relax, experiencing iconic sites and nature with experts on daily field trips, then communing by night on Keeley Island in deck chairs overlooking gorgeous Lake Shetek. The topics are invigorating — Native American history, birding, wind farms, religion and more — and the memories are life-lasting.
From a plane overhead, southwest Minnesota looks like a beautiful patchwork quilt. On the ground, the mix of farmland and lakes is equally breathtaking. The Lake Shetek Retreat Center is set on Keeley Island on Lake Shetek (Shetek is derived from “pelican” in the Ojibwe language). The retreat’s hotel-style, beautifully decorated rooms offer assorted bed combinations and private baths. A separate dining room offers delicious, home-cooked food.
Explore the lake in a canoe, fish from the nearby causeway or perhaps off a pontoon boat. A multitude of grassy expanses and woods makes for wonderful hikes and strolls of all lengths. From a lakeside deck off the lodging, there is seating that offers gorgeous views of Lake Shetek, the largest lake in southwest Minnesota. And inside the retreat center, there is ample space for reading, card and board games, and socializing.
This is a Road Scholar Retreats program. Our Retreat programs offer a tranquil respite from daily life in locales that lend themselves to outdoor exploration, reflection, or study. The accommodations may be basic in nature, but the facilities offer communal spaces to gather and to relax. During the week, opportunities usually exist for some combination of light exercise, a locally sourced meal, or evening entertainment.