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What "makes" a retreat?

What "makes" a retreat?

Old 09-09-2015, 05:56 AM
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Location: Sonoma County, CA
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I have yet to attend a quilt retreat. I've looked into a few but I'm always prevented by a variety of things:
1. sharing a room - I don't share well and REALLY need my own hidey-hole if I'm going to be comfortable being amongst a bunch of strangers or near-strangers for several days.
2. meals - as a vegetarian, it's difficult to deal with a place where food is provided and I don't have much opportunity to make or buy my own meals. Usually in situations like that I end up coping by eating a lot of salad and rolls, and protein bars out of my purse, which leaves me not feeling very well after a day or so of that diet. (I have stomach issues on top of my weird diet, so eating is always a problem for me.)
3. distance - I won't entrust my machine to an airline, and I can only drive so far before it starts sucking up all my vacation time. I also don't like being on the road (in random cheap hotels) overnight alone.

I would like to attend a retreat that somehow solves all of those issues, and is located somewhere rather remote and beautiful. I'm not interested in going out on the town as part of a retreat - to me the point of a retreat is to somewhat "trap" yourself with your sewing so you aren't distracted and get more work done. (I am thinking of weekend retreats though, I suppose if it were longer I'd get a little stir-crazy!)
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:29 AM
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Quilting retreats are so much fun. The one I try to go to twice a year is about 2 1/2 hours from home. It is in the country. It is a metal building that is huge. It is very nice and the front exterior is beautiful.

The accommodations are up to four to a room. There are eight regular rooms and an additional two handicap accessible rooms. All rooms have a private bath. All of the beds are twin and have beautiful quilts on them. There is a small lounge with a TV. The workroom is huge with two full walls of design boards and a large window to look out. Each station is set up using two tables to make an L shape. The lighting is abundant along with surge protectors for the stations. The kitchen is set up like an upscale restaurant (albeit much smaller) and the food is wonderful. There are chairs and settees along with a large table and chairs outdoors along with a fire pit.

The prices are great as well. There a couple of choices and it is more expensive for weekend retreats than weekday retreats. Weekend retreats run from after 1 pm on Thursday and leave by 1 pm on Sunday. Weekday retreats run from Sunday after 3 pm and leave by 1 pm on Thursday. They have a small fabric shop on site with nice fabrics and notions that you might have forgotten at home. The fabrics are mostly blenders and things you might want to finish your project(s).

Also they have times when they have open retreats and there may be a well known teacher doing classes as well. The classes are an additional fee.

I truly enjoy going. We can sew night and/or day or not. It is up to the individual. The owner and staff are amazing.

oops! Forgot to say they accommodate to food needs. One of our group has to be gluten free, another no citrus, another is diabetic and another low to no carbs. They do it all. Everyone always talks about how great the food is.

Last edited by SingerSewer; 09-09-2015 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:02 AM
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I don't think I would be able to install an elevator but there is a second staircase where a chair lift would work. There was a ballroom at one time and that just screams work space to me. I am hopeful there is enough space to provide both single and dorm style sleeping arrangements, I would prefer a private room myself but I know at times a group sleepover is a blast. I plan to collaborate with the local caterers for food service since I really hate to cook and people that love what they do are so much better at it than those who perform grudgingly...but who knows maybe there are folks who like cereal for supper!

Last edited by tjk829; 09-09-2015 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:32 AM
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I have been to several quilt retreats and I love it!!! Our Guild sponsors 2 per year at a former Dude Ranch in Central California called Wonder Valley. It is a very large camp style where you have dorm rooms and you have a choice of private, two, three or four to a room and priced accordingly. From Thursday or Friday to Sunday noon. Meals are included in the price...for a fee...you can also have drinks for Happy Hour. Of course some can't sew straight after that.

Most of us take snacks and drinks so it fills a table. We have over 100 member in our guild and up to 40 quilters at these retreats ..some quilters join the guild just so they can go to these retreats.

They invite a local quilt store to set up a mini-store in on site with notions and fabric. Our retreat chairman is very gifted in games and prizes to keep up the fun and there is a class for those that want but mostly we work on our own projects. I have taken up to five projects and then decide to start something new..

That is a great property and if you have the means and passion for this then I go for it. Quilters love to get together and sew and have fun...birds of a feather..
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:46 AM
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It's a cute little home. Having worked both for the city housing department, of course all I see are issues, but if you can make it work I think it's always wonderful to do what you love. Do keep in mind that those chair things are VERY slow & if you have more than one lady who struggles with the stairs, that would take quite some time to get one up, send the chair back down & send the next up. We looked into one for my grandmother's old house &, in addition to the cost, found it took about 5 minutes to get up the stairs. Very frustrating to a disabled person. In addition to that, I only saw the one full bath that had a tub. Hopefully the other one has a shower both for accessibility & sanitation (ick! I cannot imagine taking a bath in the same tub right after my new quilting friend did unless I had ready access to sanitizer or a maid came to clean it. But maybe that's just me.)

Just make sure to have your realtor check with the city about zoning to ensure you can run a business from there & definitely spend the money on a good, reputable, licensed home inspector who understands how you intend to use the space. Turn-of-the-century buildings are truly beautiful, but they also come with a whole host of problems hidden behind the walls (knob & tube electrical, illegally run pipes, asbestos insulation, inadequate structural support & damage from water or pests that only received a cosmetic fix ... just to name a few). A good home inspector can find some of those issues for you, but others won't be uncovered until you do rehab or it gets bad enough to see damage on the walls/ceiling so it's extra important to have an emergency fund.

Also, make sure to take into account that taxes go up quite a bit when it's used as an income property. Again, though, please don't take any of this as discouragement. Just a desire to help a fellow quilter learn from others' mistakes in the hopes that you have more time to enjoy your new business.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:49 AM
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That was my concern with the chair lift as well but I thought something was better than nothing? The listing doesn't show all the space, it totally ignored the 2 full apartments on the upper level and didn't show the other 4 bedrooms. I have been "lucky" enough to have remodeled three older homes the earliest being 1900 and the newest being built in 1922. you are so right about the surprises that await when rehabbing a vintage home. It is currently zoned commercial and we learned a painful lesson regarding inspections. For sure a full inspection will be done as soon as possible and BEFORE any money changes hands! Hard lessons really stick!
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:18 PM
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I am also a Linda in Missouri. Where is this place? It sounds great. Do you know when their next retreat is?
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by LTeachergeorge View Post
One of my favorite retreat spots is an old farmhouse (in the middle of no where) that has been converted to a B&B (for quilters and hunters -lol). Two new buildings are adjacent to the old building (that has been remodeled) that contain WONDERFUL sewing rooms, complete with raised cutting boards and large ironing boards with nice irons, and great adjustable sewing chairs. One thing that hasn't been mentioned before is the food. This place has really, really good food -- we go to the main farmhouse to eat.

Linda in Missouri
I am also a "Linda in Missouri" in the central state area. Where is this place you talked about and do you have information regarding retreats. It sounds great.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:19 PM
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The people. Retreaters as well as facilitators.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:24 PM
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I go with a group on retreat every year, what we like is, a large room for sewing our quilts, food prepared by the retreat so all we have to do is enjoy ourselves, a nice comfy bed for when we decide to sleep, we don't get out to see other things unless quilt shops are nearby, it's our week to sew, laugh, and enjoy each other!
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