02 December, 2019

Surprise! Retreat Weekend at the Quiltville Inn!!

I borrowed this picture from Bonnie Hunter, it's the best lead-in to this post; a full report from yours truly, one extremely lucky "weekend beta-tester" of the soon-to-be-open Quiltville Inn! We gathered shortly after everyone arrived on Friday afternoon and posed here, on the front steps of the Inn, just before the rain began. The Quiltville Inn Retreat will be open for business sometime early next spring; believe me-- you're going to want to grab eleven of your closest quilting buddies and keep checking the website for details! When we arrived Bonnie and Dave happened to be outside, they enthusiastically greeted us and helped us in with our bags and sewing supplies. They have a very efficient system, wagons that can be loaded car-side and brought directly to the back entrance, for check-in. Entering the Inn is like walking into a giant hug; the warm and gracious 'welcome' envelops you at every turn, no detail has been overlooked, you instantly feel right at home. Once we were unloaded and situated we strolled through the Inn before we began to sew, we peeked in all the beautifully decorated rooms, climbed the steps and ooohed and aaaahed (there was lots of that!)--Bonnie's heart and soul are evident in every. square. inch!
Bonnie's philosophy for the Inn is that it will be a relaxing RETREAT; in every sense of what that word implies-- a place set apart from the hustle and bustle, the stress and the cares of everyday life. 
I was lucky enough to score a sewing space near the cozy fire in the Quilting Quarters. This large space comfortably accommodates twelve sewing stations, six on either side of the two-sided fireplace with lots of room in-between to maneuver.  Our side of this room was quickly filled with the hum of machines, music, laughter and conversation. The stage was set for a most enjoyable weekend... yes, any stress that came inside with me was quickly being stitched away! 
This is a broader view of the sewing set-up from our side of the room. Comfortable, adjustable height (YES!), rolling sewing chairs are at each super-stable table. Vibration deterring mats are at each station for placement beneath each machine (I detected no vibration anyway) as well as "sip and snip" (cup holders with attached thread catchers), individual task lights and power towers (AC and USB) for plugging in machines and devices are placed at every station. Again-- nothing has been overlooked, one can easily recognize that this is a space designed for a quilter by a quilter; it's all in the details.  Sewing and cutting areas are well-placed and convenient, easy to use design walls surround the room, and the overhead lighting is great.
Walking around the cozy and well-appointed Inn, this shot is from the back hall across the foyer toward the front door. The Quilting Quarters (where we just were) is the illuminated area to the right. Directly to my right, but just out of frame, is a fully stocked quilt bookcase where you're free to stop and browse if further inspiration is required.   
Here's a shot of the abundantly stocked kitchen (quilters and food go together!) during meal-prep time. Again, Bonnie has anticipated every need-- utensil placement is intuitive and one immediately feels at home and comfortable in this room too.

The Hen Den is located between the kitchen on the back of the Inn and the dining room on the front. This is the absolute perfect place, made all the more cozy by the wood stove, to sit and stitch by hand, browse through one of those quilt books from the bookcase or perhaps to enjoy a hot beverage and chat. Quiltkeemosabe and I sat in here to visit and catch up, at one point and my gaze drifted beyond her toward the back hall and kitchen are and landed here--
--on this old-fashioned crank-style pencil sharpener still mounted (low, at child-height) on the door frame by a former family! These quaint and precious features of the Inn are what give it its unique charm and warmth. 
This was our bedroom. As you can easily see, each room sleeps three, they are roomy and well-appointed. Every bit of the Inn is like living in an ultimate quilt show and tell; eating and sleeping with gorgeous quilts, (most made by Bonnie herself, antique quilts collected by her!) over and around you to use, enjoy and become inspired by. I had to keep pinching myself.  In addition to the beautiful ambiance each bedroom has a luggage rack at the foot of the bed, a basket with bath linens for each retreater and well-placed charging stations and reading lights for your comfort and enjoyment. Again-- this probably can't be overstated: NOTHING has been overlooked! The generously sized full baths (there are three) are stocked for one to use and enjoy, too: shampoo, conditioner, make-up remover wipes, body-wash and hairdryers are cleverly placed in each bathroom. 
Back downstairs, the dining room table beckons: twelve places await retreat-goers to sit down,  dine, relax and connect! The quilting can patiently wait at mealtimes. With our group, individuals and teams signed up to provide meals for the weekend, there was no chance that anyone was going to go hungry! Recipes as well and happy camaraderie and reminiscences were shared around this long, accommodating table; it's moments like this that turn a group into a family for the weekend. 
Saturday morning begins bright and early-- scratch "bright" (as you can see ouside the door, the sun isn't up quite yet), it arrives just plain early, like Bonnie herself,  at the Quiltville PO!  She's a ray of sunshine no matter what time of day it is. Ever gracious and kind, she gave up a few moments of her busy, jam-packed Saturday morning to give me a behind-the-scenes tour of her mail-order fulfillment, office and longarm space. Located in the long-ago Mouth of Wilson Post Office, she has lovingly converted the building into her space. Bonnie and I met years ago when she was first moving to town, at that time she and Dave hadn't purchased a home in North Carolina yet, they were relocating and we made an immediate connection. We reflected on that during our early-morning visit and how good God is, how blessings are being realized and prayers are being answered each and every day! She may never know how much this short visit meant to me; it was special, I am truly grateful for Bonnie and for her enduring friendship. 
Another borrowed-from-Bonnie snapshot/collage. Here we are, after the sun came up(!), on Saturday. This photo shows both sides of the Quilters Quarters; busy bees happily at "work"; maybe it would be better to say quilters doing what quilters love-- in this environment it is ever-so-far from work!
By Saturday afternoon/evening full-on quilt tops were popping up like Orville Redenbacher corn! It's easy to see how this can happen given the environment. Please note the afore-mentioned "sip and snip" (circled in orange) in use here. This is one of those gadgets I never would have thought of; but, here, I now realize the full benefit in having a glass or cup held securely and off of the table's surface! (This is but just one of those not-overlooked details that make life at Quiltville Inn SEW much easier!
 
One more comfy sleep and it was Sunday morning, time to pack it up and move it out. Time to return to the real world. We drove away yesterday fully-energized, motivated and with the full realization that dreams really do come true. They have for Bonnie and Dave. They have for me, and for all of us who were lucky enough to have been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to beta-test a retreat center that is more like a stitching spa, it's like going home! Yes, I am grateful beyond words to be lucky enough; if you're  a friend of Bonnie you know what I mean. Thank you, friend; thank you from the bottom of my heart, I wish you every success! 
Smile! This is the spot where all the beauty shots will be taken. If YOU want to be lucky enough to stand on this beautiful wrap-around porch and fling your quilt top over the famous bannister (in years to come this will be one of the most recognized photo spots in the country) , keep checking this website. Retreaters will soon be able to book their spots and claim a stitching area of their own!  You'll love it; every. square. inch. I promise. 

Life is Good!
And, yes, Life's a Stitch! XOXO

Up next: My Retreat-Stitching Results


21 comments:

cityquilter grace said...

your travelogue does not disappoint! oooh just like elm creek come to life....don't know if i'll ever get there but i can dream vicariously thru your jam-packed post! wishing bonnie and dave every success...so much hard work worth every second no doubt...

Shirl S said...

How lucky! It looks like an amazing space to work in and visit. When you said "fling your top over the banister" I immediately thought of Petticot Junction. LOL Now I can't get that out of my head.

Lori said...

That is so wonderful! Fun to see it from your side.

Carolyn said...

Lucky you! I have watched as she filled the house with the love of quilters.

pam said...

How lucky you all were! It looks like a very comfy and welcoming retreat. I know Bonnie and her family have worked hard and put a lot of sweat equity and heart into her dream. I am sure she will have a great success of it! Glad you all had a good time! pam

JenniBh2o said...

Lucky duck! I loved reading your wonderful review if a once in a lifetime experience!

Paula DiMattei said...

Thank you for sharing a sneak preview of Quiltville Inn. It looks as magical as I imagined.

Tracy said...

Wow - what a wonderful opportunity to be part of the beta group! When I was looking at Bonnie's pictures I wondered if that might be Mrs. Goodneedle? I am hoping someday to be able to find a group of ladies that would like to spend a few days at the Quiltville Inn!

matty said...

What a lovely review!! The Retreat is marvelous! I loved reading your review! Charming!!

Debbie B said...

Wow, what an amazing weekend you had at Quiltville Inn. I'm so jealous. Thank you for the tour. I figured that all would be just as it should be. Bonnie and Dave have worked so hard to make this dream come true. I hope to be one of the lucky quilters to enjoy her place in the future. Congrats on being one of the first chosen.

Wendy said...

This is wonderful.
Thanks for letting us see the beta retreat from your perspective.
So happy Bonnie shared your post with her followers.
Oh boy!
I may have found another Quilter to follow.
Thanks so very much for sharing your photos.
Wendy Bradley Goderich Ontario Canada 🇨🇦

Sylvia Forster said...

What a great recap. I would love to experience this retreat. Bonnie has done a fantastic job. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Quilter Kathy said...

What a wonderful adventure! I enjoyed reading all about it and hope to get there one day myself... it's on my bucket list!

Smiley Quilter said...

So well written....not that any advertising will be needed but this would do it. I live quite a distance on the west coast of vancouver island, BC Canada but a stay here is top of my bucket list. I thought so ever since Bonnie began this adventure but it is now confirmed.

Unknown said...

Do you know what Bonnie used for the vibration dampening mats she used at the sewing stations? Everything looks so homey and comfortable.

Betty Back said...

I loved your recitation of Quiltville Inn !! You made me think I was there.and great photos too. Hope to be there someday. Thank you !!

Unknown said...

Your descrition of Quiltville Inn was so captivating!! How awsome for you and your quilt freinds to have the first stay at this beautiful retreat spa!! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!!

Debra in Ohio said...

Thank you for sharing! I can now see what a terrific retreat Quiltville Inn really is!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Being a beta tester certainly gave you an inside peek at Bonnie's new place. I wondered if you met her back when they were moving to NC - now I know! Thank you for the time and effort you put into this post...

Janet O. said...

I spotted you right away in Bonnie's photos on her blog, Debbie. It was fun to read your side of the story. What a wonderful opportunity for you. I loved reading your review. Such a great retreat center--Bonnie knows her stuff!

Tanya said...

What a dream!!! How I would love to spend some time in such an atmosphere! I’m SO envious!!