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group cooking class

Meetings Guide

Best Team-Building Activities: Mild & Wild

The Essex’s fun team-building exercises that fuel a little friendly competition, while also firing up the friendships.

Mystery Basket Challenge

Groups are divided into teams, then given “mystery baskets” of local, seasonal ingredients that they use to make either an appetizer and entrée or an entrée and dessert. They then present their favorite final dish to the judges, with winning team members receiving an Essex apron to take home.

Cooking for a Cause

Held in the resort’s Cook Academy teaching kitchen, this event is led by a chef who guides groups through the preparation of a specific meal for a pre-determined local charity. Each guest leaves with new cooking skills, memories of a great time in the company of colleagues, and a feeling of satisfaction knowing they have made a difference to those in need in the community. 

Escape Room 60

The premise is simple at Burlington’s interactive escape room adventure: You’re locked in a themed room brimming with concealed clues and hidden puzzles and must work together to crack codes and solve the mysteries of the room. But hurry…you only have 60 minutes.


Burlington’s premier golf course, The Links at Lang Farm is adjacent to The Essex. With 18-holes of superb golf, a 20-station practice facility with a full bent-grass teeing area, a practice bunker and two putting and chipping greens, The Links at Lang Farm is a great place to practice and improve your game. Guests at The Essex enjoy a complimentary golf shuttle to and from the course and can arrange tee times and golf lessons through our concierge.

Culinary Scavenger Hunt

The property’s unique culinary-themed scavenger hunt features poem-like riddles that teams must solve to take them to locations throughout the resort, from the kitchens to the gardens to the restaurants. 

Themed Dinners: Cuisine with Concepts

The best banquet menus and creative menu items that are deliciously destination-focused. 

Memphis Beale Street Barbeque

Inspired by the kind of authentic barbeque you’ll find in joints along Tennessee’s iconic Beale Street, this menu features chopped barbequed chicken, coleslaw, pulled pork shoulder, broiled molasses chicken, corn on the cobb, and more smokehouse delights.

A Taste of the Mexican Riviera

Expect a menu of flavorful Mexican favorites like chicken-tortilla soup, fajitas with bell peppers and sweet red onions, Spanish rice, beef enchiladas in chili rojo, and – to top things off – cinnamon churros. 

A Taste of India

House-made naan, roasted cauliflower and potato soup, curried vegetarian samosas, and yogurt-marinated chicken are just a few of the top items you’ll find on this menu.

Cooking with Vermont Beer

Local beer headlines every dish in this menu, from chorizo-and-ale steamed mussels to pan-seared filet mignon in a porter demi-glace – even the ice cream is coated in a stout sabayon sauce.

Off-Site Meeting Venues: Landmarks to Live It Up

Meetings become lifetime experiences when hosted in one of Vermont’s most unique meeting venues. 

The Ponds at Bolton Valley

Located on the water’s edge and surrounded by 5,000 acres of Vermont forests and mountains, The Ponds at Bolton Valley is actually based off-site of The Essex, but is still owned and operated by the resort. The panoramic views from every window, a great room with vaulted ceilings, and a spectacular river stone fireplace create upscale wilderness elegance for any occasion.

ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

With a pristine lakefront location, breathtaking views of the Adirondacks across Lake Champlain, sparkling aquariums, and elegant indoor and open-air spaces, Burlington’s ECHO is one of the most memorable and unique event locations in Vermont. Additional facilities include state-of-the-art A/V equipment, a movie theater, flexible lighting, wireless access, zoned sound, and moveable furniture.

The Davis Center at UVM

From fully equipped meeting venues for gatherings and conferences to grand ballrooms for weddings and banquets, The Davis Center has a space for you. Located on campus and within walking distance of downtown Burlington, the center features state-of-the-art technologies, employs a knowledgeable and helpful staff, and is easy to book.

Vermont Rail System

Leave the bus at the hotel and explore Vermont in a unique tour and travel option. Enjoy a scenic trip through the Vermont countryside with the Vermont Rail System, offering year-round chartered trips and special events. 

Spirit of Ethan Allen Cruise

Experience Lake Champlain aboard Vermont’s luxury entertainment ship. Hosting meetings, receptions, banquets, the 140-foot-long vessel features three dining decks, beverage service, and an on-board galley serving plated and buffet meals. 

Champlain Valley Expo

The Champlain Valley Exposition is the largest multi-purpose special events complex in Northern New England with flexibility to do large and small or indoor and outdoor events. More than 81,000 square feet combined with clear-span exhibit space allow for efficiency and flexibility.

Meeting Technology & Amenities: Simple to Smart

Offerings – from high-tech highlights to just plain ingenious add-ons – that make holding a meeting at The Essex unlike anything else.

The Links at Lang Farm

Located next to the resort, The Links is the only 18-hole championship executive course in New England and is the work of award-winning golf architect Mike Asmundsen. Since 2002, The Links has continued to be a favorite among golfers of all abilities.

Integrated Media Connections

The Essex’s executive boardroom table is equipped with integrated media connections to the 65-inch Smart TV. Live-streaming video conferencing is also available. 

Cook Academy and Live Culinary Demos

The resort’s on-site Cook Academy gives you a chance to work with renowned chefs in a low-pressure, hands-on, intimate classroom kitchen. If not looking to do the cooking yourself, culinary demos are also offered, where participants can watch a live stream on a large-screen TV to see what the chefs are working on.


The Spa at Essex is the largest and only full-service freestanding spa in Chittenden County and the Burlington area. The Recipe for Relaxation package encourages you to arrive early to unwind and enjoy complimentary use of the spa’s steam and sauna rooms, fitness center, pools, hot tub, tennis courts, and relaxation lounges. 

Event Themes: Prepare to be Inspired

A few of The Essex’s corporate party ideas that your team will be talking about well into next quarter.

Farmers Market

The Essex’s Atrium and East Lawn are transformed into your very own Farmers Market for a private event. Stations include local breweries and food vendors, while creative apps – like chocolate-covered maple bacon, mini-grilled cheeses, and assorted mini-quiches – are passed. Live music and a cartoon artist add to the farmers market flair.

Summer Bash Total Takeover

Your group takes over the resort and can choose from different summer-themed activities to partake in around the property, like swimming, biking, tennis, basketball, chair massages, wine and beer tastings, lawn games, and much more.

Downton Abbey

The resort recreates Downton Abbey’s Yorkshire country estate set in 1912, including a giant farmers market of era-appropriate vendors (cheese, bread, and butcher shops) and resort hallways filled with other peddlers. Guests can also dress up in period attire.

Takeover Overnight

Your group takes over the resort for the night and includes activities like a hypnotist, photo booth, and black-light volleyball on the tennis courts. The indoor pool transforms into “The Dive In,” where guests play games and watch a movie while floating in the pool (plus hot tub access). 

Off-Site Thanksgiving Luncheon

The resort can prepare a whole Thanksgiving spread – salad, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie – and serve it at any off-site venue your group books.