There’s no better place to get the creative juices flowing than in one of these crafty cabin retreats.
By Fran Sigurdsson
Cabins and crafting go together like, well, s’mores at a campfire. As any cabin-goer knows, there’s no better place to get the creative juices flowing. Away from the daily grind, you’re free to enjoy a favorite hobby. Whether your ideal getaway is on the water or in the hills, the scenery is sure to inspire.
Along with unleashing your inner artist, pastimes like quilting, scrapbooking, knitting or beading are therapeutic. So why not combine the rejuvenating with the fun times had with family and friends at a cabin crafting retreat? Just realize, though, that when crafters bond, lots of laughter ensues!
At a crafting retreat, each participant brings a project or two to work on alongside others. Typically, a large communal space is equipped with tables, good lighting, plenty of electrical outlets, tools – in short, everything you might need to finish those wedding decorations or Christmas presents on time.
Some retreats are “hosted,” meaning the cabin owner sponsors the event and provides meals. More often, a group of craft buddies will rent the property and do their own cooking. Either way, it’s easy to see why crafty cabins are in demand these days. To take a look at three that take “pride of place” in their neck of the woods, see below…
Lakeside craft paradise
A popular vacation rental property in summer, families book a year in advance for weeklong vacations. Last winter, this idyllic pine cabin on Loon Lake opened its doors to crafters.
A lot of them scrapbook and make greeting cards,” notes Brian Kelly, who owns the cabin with wife, Sandra. “We had terrific feedback,” adds Sandra. “There’s room for people to spread out and a large kitchen-dining-sitting area that flows together.”
The couple credits scrapbooking friend Stacy Woolhouse for advice on making the cabin crafter-friendly, from the efficient layout of tables to details like outlets around mirrors.
“The Kellys have the perfect location,” says Woolhouse, who lives north of Minneapolis and organizes several retreats with crafty girlfriends each year. “It’s on a lake with lots of windows and kind of remote.” Still, the cabin is only a stone’s throw from the towns of Nisswa and Pequot Lakes should you run out of craft supplies.
Crafters Point is available for craft retreats from October 15 thru May 15. “We see a big interest in crafting start up in the fall season in Minnesota and continue throughout the winter and into early spring,” says Sandra. The three-bedroom, three-bath cabin sleeps nine. A 400-square foot craft room with stone fireplace has six 5-foot tables.
FOR MORE INFO: Visit crafterspoint.com or call (651) 269-0906.
Log cabin quilting
Quilting has deep roots in the Smoky Mountains. It’s a tradition that art quilter Jamie Starbuck Plant honors at Ridgetop Quilters Retreat outside Franklin, N.C. In 2015, 10 groups stayed at the new 4,000-square foot mountain lodge.
“Getting away with your sewing machine and buddies is very much part of the quilting genre,” Plant notes. Along with several new groups, most of the original quilters returned in 2016. That includes the “Florida Floozies,” members of the 120-strong Friendship Quilters Guild in Jacksonville.
“One of the best weeks of my life was the first time I was there,” says Friendship’s program director, Gail Galloway. “It’s become a tradition to go to Jamie’s twice a year. It’s a wonderful way to get away from the hubbub.”
The log-sided cabin features a gourmet kitchen and gorgeous views in all directions. With decks on both sides, “you can have coffee with the sunrise and cocktails at sunset,” says Plant.
Ridgetop is open May 1 through November 15. The four-bedroom, 4-bath cabin sleeps 10, each bed topped with a handmade quilt. The sewing studio features 10 six-foot tables, each with outlets; cutting and ironing stations and design walls. For an additional fee, a local quilt teacher will assist with your project.
FOR MORE INFO: Visit ridgetopquiltersretreat.com or call (904) 962-0800.
Rocky Mountain craft high
“We celebrate our families when we scrapbook, and the quilters celebrate their creativity,” says Kristy McAdoo, scrapbooker and owner of Quinberry Lodge outside Black Hawk, Colo. Scrappers and quilters alike find much to celebrate at this mountain meadow lodge perched at 9,000 feet, including spectacular views and the occasional moose sighting.
McAdoo opened Quinberry in 2013 after her success with sister lodge, Pineberry. Larger than Pineberry and more remote, Quinberry draws crafters from Colorado (Denver is 45 minutes away) to Connecticut.
Cindi Bryant, a scrapbooker and Creative Memories advisor from Denver, hosts three weekend retreats a year at Quinberry.
“It’s a beautiful setting, and the house is stunning,” says Bryant. “Yes, the purpose is to work on your scrapbook, but it’s really a nice break for a few days. Being in that kind of surrounding makes you calm.”
Quinberry is open year round, with prime times being April, September and October. Annual bookings are not permitted for February, July and October; Bryant opens reservations for those three months of the following year on October 1. The 4-bedroom, 5-bath lodge sleeps 12. The craft room has 12 six-foot tables; cutting and ironing stations, display walls and open loft space. Massages and facials are also available.
FOR MORE INFO: Visit quinberrylodge.com or call (303) 819-9720.
Finding a Crafty Cabin
How do you find a crafty cabin in your area? Many retreats are arranged by craft guilds and clubs and promoted at shows and shops. The Internet is also a great resource. Sites like Quilters Resources (quiltersresources.net) and Scrapbook Retreats (scrapbookretreatdirectory.com) offer regularly updated lists of retreat locations. If you’re new to the area, seek out a hosted retreat to meet fellow crafters.
“Good craft houses are a hot commodity,” observes seasoned retreater Stacy Woolhouse. Here’s what to look for in a craft retreat:
- For starters, a beautiful setting with convenient parking and easy access. “Crafters bring carloads of stuff,” says Woolhouse. “We look for houses with no entry steps and a nice on-load.”
- Individual work tables with room to spread out craft materials.
- Adjustable, plush office chairs. Additionally since crafters will sit for hours at a stretch, they appreciate having a massage therapist available.
- Good lighting, including natural daylight and table lamps that simulate daylight, such as Ottlite.
- TV and a stereo system (crafters like to watch movies and listen to music while they work).
- Single beds. Bunk beds are a no-no!
- Proximity to town for dining out and craft supplies.
Fran Sigurdsson unleashes her inner writer at her Adirondack lake house.