The Green Apricot hosted two retreats in 2017. One coincided with QuiltCon in Savannah, GA, and planning for it began two years ago. The other was just simply a getaway to take a breather at the end of summer and beginning of fall. This one was a little more last minute, and while based a great deal on the fun time we had at Tybee Island in February, it was intended to be more low-key and have better accommodations.
The Fall 2017 edition of #thegreenapricotgetaway was located at a resort in Crossville, TN called Fairfield Glade. I think you could call it a mixed-use property, as it is part resort and part community. There are people who live there full time, but there are also a number of condominiums, and amenities ranging from golf courses to walking trails, from horseback riding to swimming, from medical facilities to a spa. It’s located just off of I-40 about an hour west of Knoxville, and while the property is huge, I was surprised that not many seem to know about it. It is not explicitly a retirement community, but it is definitely retirement friendly.
So, a few months ago I reserved 6 condos and got to work planning. I knew that the condos were not big enough for all of us to sew in, and I reserved the classroom in the community center for three days. I ended up limiting the attendance to just 12, including myself, because I was concerned about having enough room for all of us to be comfortable sewing in the classroom. Each person had a 6 foot table, and there was plenty of room for 3 cutting mats and 4 irons. Perfect size, and no electrical problems!
Not everyone knew each other before the retreat, but the beauty of a small group like this is the opportunity to chat on a more personal level with other people in our sewing community. There was a wide range of personalities and ideologies, and it made for some fascinating conversations throughout the days and nights.
Machine name tags helped with getting to know your sewing neighbor, but putting them on the handwheel certainly made them more entertaining. If you don’t believe me, just try it sometime. I had prepared and brought several games to play throughout the getaway, but in the end decided to keep things simple. We had several gifts donated by Rana from Sewn Into the Fabric, some of which were part of daily treats, like this dang cute pumpkin pin cushion called Big Delores, and some were drawn for.
One game we did play was to find the blue Peanut M&M. Before heading to the retreat, I sorted 12 pounds of Peanut M&Ms by color, and hid a blue one in one of the jars. The one to find it won the first prize of the week- a Seymore Bones kit from Rana! Kris didn’t miss a beat and immediately dumped out his jar of M&Ms and found the blue one…
That started the drawings that went on throughout the retreat. Kris drew the name of the next winner, and then also drew what prize they got. We had another Seymore Bones kit, three copies of “Simply Strings,” also by Rana, and several boxes of Wonder Clips by Clover.
I didn’t get pictures of every project that was made or worked on, but I got a few. Here’s just a snippet of what some of us were working on…
During the planning process I found that I was less than excited about catering options, so I decided to cook for all of us. Preparing food for 12 can seem daunting in some ways, but really, I come from/have a large family, so I am pretty accustomed to cooking for a crowd. I don’t consider myself to be an especially impressive cook, or excessively healthy, but I feel like I do okay in the kitchen and I have learned a lot about improving my own nutrition over the last several months. I checked with everyone for any special needs, then set a menu based on meals that I’ve made for my own family before. Most of the shopping had to be done ahead of time, so my car was incredibly weighed down on the drive to Crossville!
We ate at my condo because, well, I hate food near fabric! Snacks are okay, but it really does bug me to sit in front of my machine with a plate of food. The sewing room was just under a mile away from the condos, so most of us drove back and forth for lunch and dinner. But the weather was PERFECT for a walk, as well. I served the same way I do in my own home- countertop buffet style. I also dislike a lot of garbage, so we used real plates and glasses and I washed cloth napkins between each meal. I very much enjoyed cooking for everyone, and with a little preparation it wasn’t nearly as much work as it could have been!
Monday: Lunch- Green Veggie Minestrone with salad bar; Dinner- Acorn squash with sausage, apples, and kale, roasted broccoli, and salad
Tuesday: Lunch- Salad and sandwich bar; Dinner- Lemon rosemary chicken with brown rice, roasted asparagus, muffins and raw veggies
Wednesday: Lunch- Sandwich and salad bar; Dinner- Pork roast and apples with roasted mixed veggies and raw veggies
Several of us also took a minute or two to visit some of the local establishments, like Little Blessings Quilt Shop in Crossville, and Gina’s Bernina in Knoxville. This fabulous yarn shop was just a few miles down the road from the resort, and I was glad to have the chance to stop in at the Yarn Patch. It’s a lovely shop, to say the least, and I didn’t have to look to hard to find something to take home with me. I was especially impressed with the person working there, who I assume is the owner. She handled her customers beautifully- gently guiding them as needed, and letting them wander as desired. It really was a pleasure to shop there, and I hope to support this shop again sometime in the future.
And just like that, it was all over. The weather was wonderful. The accommodations were perfect- including the enormous mirrored bathtub/shower in every unit- haha! But the best part was the company.
Until next time…