Best Retreats

     Some quilters have the time and money to go on quilting cruise retreats, or high mountain retreats, where everything is taken care of; food, lodging, schedule, prizes, kits, instructors. Others only dream about such retreats. My favorite retreat is somewhere in between.
     The best retreat, I am lucky enough to be involved in, occurs once a year, late summer.  It is an artist's retreat, not just for quilters, so there are sculptors and painters and scrapbookers and cardmakers, as well. I love the chat and laugh of a common activity room. I love the mutual admiration of the artists, the displaying of all that gets completed so we may all ooh and ahh! I learn a lot from the painting ladies' videos. Last year they were researching collage and giving it a try. A couple people joined them. I got to sculpt a slab fish with the sculptor,and experimented with a brayer, ink and photo paper with a scrapbooker. Sometimes you need to pay a little to cover expensive materials, but often it is just one artist sharing the love of their art with others.
     I love sewing from the moment I awake until the wee hours of morn. I also like sleeping in and going to bed early. And as much as I love the gals/guys at the retreat, there comes that time in the day I stroll off into the sunset to my trailer, get the pj's on and pour a glass of wine. Others, (perhaps more people oriented?) bunk camper style in the cabins.
     There is no formal schedule, unless you want to count the dingy divas nightly board game rowdiness. Everyone is in charge of their own food and dish washing, again with many bringing abundant produce from their gardens to share with everyone. I 'buy' my way into hearts with my no-bake peanut butter candy-like goodies! It is a guaranteed diet buster, even to those on WW or Jenny C!
     A few dedicated persons bring their bikes and go for a ride down to the lake everyday. Some of us fish and swim, other roast marshmallows over the open fire outdoors.
     So much work is done. So much relaxing is reveled in. So many new friendships are formed. That is the trademark of the very best kind of retreat!

     Another retreat I attend has a fun tradition. Each quilter brings an attractive bag of quilterly goodies worth $10-ish bucks.  You set the bag on your sewing table and everyone gets to talking, eating, and sometimes even sewing! Suddenly you will hear someone call out, "RIPPING!. This announcement is followed by that person circling the room moving each bag to the next quilter's table. This continues through the weekend. Just before we pack up and leave for home we open whatever bag has made it to our table. It really is fun to 'enjoy' making a mistake that has to be seam rippered out, when there is such teasing and/or commiserating  amongst the quilters. It also assures that you get a little exercise by leaving your chair now and then!
What is your retreat activity favorite?