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What "makes" a retreat?

What "makes" a retreat?

Old 09-08-2015, 10:55 AM
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Default What "makes" a retreat?

Not sure if this is the right place to post this thread but will try it. I did search the board for other threads about retreats but didn't find what I was looking for. I have recently been faced with some mechanical health issues that may lead to me rethinking my career path.. ( wheels are not working so well). I briefly thought about a quilt shop but quickly discarded that, I enjoy browsing them probably not so much the necessary things to make it run! Then I remembered reading the Elm Creek books and starting kicking around the idea of a retreat venue. I even found a nearby Victorian property that would be ideal but there are few outside activities. There is a golf course, restaurants and small shopping sites but it is not a metro area by any means. So my question is what makes a retreat really special? The venue, classes, local activities outside the retreat? There is one other retreat venue within 50 miles but it is mostly focused as a corporate retreat with quilters tacked on...I would really want to focus on quilting and teaching. Thanks for your insight, you may have guessed that I haven't attended many...make that any retreats but i love the idea and think I could make it work.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:07 AM
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I'm still pretty new to quilting, and have been interested in some retreats I've seen. I find that what attracted me the most was a retreat at a nearby hotsprings resort. The retreat was a weekend, and had access to a sewing room (conference room in the hotel) 24/7 so that people up early could sew when they wanted to and people up late could sew when they wanted to...I know there were a few activities planned but it wasn't regimented in that you HAD to participate. You could quilt and sew when you wanted and were also free to enjoy the quaint little town it was situated in. For me personally, I like a less regimented retreat.

I know some prefer classes, pre-determined projects and timeframes...this is just my own opinion

Another thing, honestly, is price and location. Reasonably priced is hard to find, I do get that, but if it's a long journey to get to with travel costs, and then cost of retreat, meals, fabric and supply kits, it all adds up so a fun weekend away all of a sudden breaks the bank. I hope that made sense as I typed it

What would make it special is the person hosting it. The people who attend. The keepsakes and mementos you bring back, the pictures you take and the new friends you make
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:46 AM
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You say it is not a metro area, but how close are you to larger towns? If I could drive there, (3 hrs or less) it might be an advantage, if there are woods, etc to nature walk in, etc. A little getaway, without having to fly, like to the mountains, or beach. Sew a little, get in tune with nature a little. Even having a nice big porch to sit on and relax in the evening after dinner might be nice. I have also heard of retreats, that you drive to for the day, and go home at night, although I don't see that as a great an advantage, as I would be tired, and may not want to drive after that, and also, if you want a place to sew for the day, most local shops offer that.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:07 PM
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I would suggest designing different types of retreats. Have some that are shorter (a weekend, or even just a day), some that are longer (long weekend or weeklong, maybe even 2-weeks); some that are more structured and others that are less structured; some that are themed and some that are "pick your own;" maybe even just have a quilter's B&B option where people can stay and make use of certain parts of the facility (like a couple of open sewing rooms, a quilter's library, or a space for designing) and sew in peace without kids, spouses, work, or whatever other interruptions and stresses happen at home.

Have kits available, or allow people to bring their own supplies; some materials available to rent (like sewing machines) or some that are free to borrow with the price of the retreat.

And depending on your location, you may want to see if you can offer some organized side trips or shuttle service to either local quilt/craft shops or fairs, or even just to certain local tourist attractions.

Now... having said that, I'll add the caveat that you should definitely not have so many different packages that you can't manage them all!!! Start out with fewer options and work within your abilities and resources.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:14 PM
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Or become known for one well-run type of retreat.

Maybe Wed morning -Sunday evening one week and Friday evening - Sunday evening the alternate week.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:45 PM
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I would love to do a retreat, but so far have always found ones nearby not set up to accommodate my aging body (and I don't want to travel very far). At my age I do not want to share a bedroom or bathroom, and I need a pneumatic adjustable chair (along with a table at the correct height) for sewing. Cutting tables and ironing boards need to be at the correct heights too. In my younger days I attended quite a few quilting classes and, even then, found that more than an hour or so in "make do" working conditions gave me physical issues.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:47 PM
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I would check with a LQS or guild nearby because that is where your customers will come from.
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:18 PM
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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
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:22 PM
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Since I am now dealing with my own "aging" eye openers, I would really like to have the facilities be user friendly and the seating especially! I think starting small with high quality tools and working up from there. This is a small town with a population of less than 2000 and the quilt shop there closed, but there are two other ones fairly nearby that would be easy to work with. I would like to work with them and offer a beginners retreat for sure. I thought that it might be possible to offer private rooms and dorm style rooms both. I wouldn't mind sharing a room with some people but with others... well private is nice too.
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:32 PM
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I have attached a photo. The house has been on the market for a long time and if someone beats me to it, I guess it wasn't meant to be. The upper floor currently has 2 apartments so there is room for growth and there are two outbuildings as well.Attachment 530192
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