A student group I participate in has made a habit of spending one weekend every year at a (pseudo-)random holiday home somewhere in the country side.

We recently started using English as the primary language for our meetings and meeting minutes, so I'm now faced with the challenge of finding as idiomatic a term as possible for what was previously called our "Hüttenwochende" (literally: lodge weekend).

Is there any concise and common term for an event comprising a group of people spending a weekend in the countryside, with the intention of relaxing and enjoying themselves?

  • 1
    A weekend in the countryside.
    – user6951
    Jan 26, 2015 at 17:16
  • It would not be uncommon for a group in this situation to just make up their own term. In your case, "lodge weekend" sounds perfect. Jan 26, 2015 at 23:56

6 Answers 6


My answer is no, there is no established, concise term for the situation you describe.

If you said my group went on a weekend retreat at ABC Country Lodge, you are more than likely going to be asked to clarify the meaning of retreat. Like, a retreat, huh? What kind of retreat or what was the retreat about or what was the purpose of the retreat? This is because retreat has the meaning of a group of people, often a specific group, attending a specially organized weekend ordered around a specific topic in order to do or study or attend talks and/or meditate on that topic. Such a retreat does not even need to be held in the countryside, it could be held at a meeting center downtown.

Oddly, the phrase "retreat weekend" does not seem to carry with it all the garbage, er connotations, that weekend retreat does.

And a getaway does not necessarily mean a getaway into the countryside. There are people who relax better in the city, or at least in a crowded urban amusement park. And plenty of weekend getaways are made to Las Vegas.

I stand by my comment that was meant to imply that every native speaker in the USA would know (in general if not in detail, as in did you play horseshoes, Frisbee golf, bicycle, fish, etc.) what you meant if you said, my family or group spent a weekend in the countryside.

However, as that is not concise, you could just 'invent' a term for your minutes and say a countryside weekend. Or use the original foreign language phrase. It's your minutes, after all, and foreign terms are adopted when native terns aren't ready-enough synonyms. But the more I look at countryside weekend the more I like it. And 'retreat weekend' is also good.

  • I like your idea to use the original term Hüttenwochende. English does have a tradition of adopting words from other languages when we don't have a good one of our own.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 26, 2015 at 21:18
  • 2
    @ColleenV Embedding non-english words into an English sentence (especially ones from languages I speak myself) always makes me cringe (as do literal translations, in most cases)… There are of course exceptions (in the case of foreign words that are commonly used by native speakers) and varying degrees of cringeworthiness (someone just picked the first translation from the dictionary and originally translated our Hüttenwochende as hutweekend), but I still go to great lengths to avoid them. ;)
    – n.st
    Jan 26, 2015 at 23:05
  • 1
    @n.st It's certainly a matter of preference. I enjoy words and phrases that capture my exact meaning and mixing languages doesn't bother me. Schadenfreude, deja vu, bona fide, blitzkrieg, mano a mano, et al
    – ColleenV
    Jan 26, 2015 at 23:15

I would call that a weekend retreat.

If you search on this term you can find many travel related ads as examples.

  • 6
    This is probably the best phrase for a group of coworkers going together on a short vacation. For a couple or family it would probably be called a "weekend getaway." I realize that that wasn't the question, just wanted to expand a bit. Jan 26, 2015 at 17:40
  • 4
    I just want to expand on what @JasonPatterson said and note that retreat doesn't need to be just co-workers. It can be used for any organized group taking a holiday from their normal activities.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 26, 2015 at 17:59
  • So @ColleenV are you saying a family is not an organized group? ;)
    – user6951
    Jan 26, 2015 at 19:15
  • 2
    A retreat still has the main meaning of a formal program for a group of people who go to a specific place (it does not even have to be in the countryside, it could be downtown) to learn about specific things they can apply in everyday life. This does not sound like the situation described by the OP.
    – user6951
    Jan 26, 2015 at 19:20
  • Well your family might be "organized" @δοῦλος but mine certainly isn't ;) Families go on vacations, holidays, weekend getaways, or to family reunions. A retreat doesn't have to be a formal program, although it can apply to those as well.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 26, 2015 at 19:30

Another term would be a "weekend outing" or "our weekend outing." It doesn't specifically say that you're staying in the country -- it's more "we are getting out of the house" -- but it doesn't bar that, either, and... they're your notes, so as long as you have established that this is the Usual Weekend Outing, the context is established and you can be a little vague.

Or you could just go for the direct translation: "Our lodge weekend." Again, as these are your notes, you can do a certain amount of jargon-creation.


I think you could say it this way if you are talking about a family:

It had been a very difficult work week, so he decided on a weekend escape for himself and his family.

They left their children at their grandparents, and went on a weekend escape to a coastal spa (or a countryside home if you wish).


If the choice were between "weekend retreat" and "retreat weekend", I would choose the latter here, because you mention "meetings and meeting minutes". A "weekend retreat" has connotations of "getting away from everything, all relaxation, no business", whereas the connotations of "retreat weekend" are "primarily business in nature, in pleasant surroundings, with group events that may have a fun element but which serve a business purpose, such as team-building".


I think "lodge weekend" is an excellent choice. Depending on whether you have already chosen the lodge for the weekend, "weekend at a lodge" or "weekend at the lodge" would also be an excellent choice. Because these are literal translations of your German word, your intended audience will be sure to understand you.

"It's getting to be time again for our annual lodge weekend" and "It's getting to be time for our annual weekend at a lodge" sound perfectly natural to my (American) ear, even though I don't think I have ever heard the terms before.

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