Blue Ridge Retreat

Driving along country roads on a clear fall afternoon, seeing the mountains rise before me in the west, I headed off to a weekend getaway in Burnsville, NC last Friday.  I was on my way to the annual knitting retreat held by the Tuesday night knitting group at Cottage Yarn.  I didn’t really know most of the members very well (as I always seem to have another scheduled activity on Tuesdays), but was thrilled to be invited to go along.   

This is only a glimpse of a small number of the women who attended.  Sabrina is
 wearing blue  and knitting orange, Debbie is knitting purple, and the group
at right includes Patty (in white) who organized the weekend.

Although the roughly 15 women who attended the event encompass a wide range of ages, professions—and, I’m certain, points of view—our shared love of knitting made for a calm, relaxing, and sociable weekend at the Nu Wray Inn.  As the Inn owners rent the entire house to groups, we had an enormous, charming place built in the 1830s all to ourselves.  Interestingly, we knitters found ourselves lodging where Elvis, Jimmy Carter, and Mark Twain (to name a few illustrious guests) have laid their heads.  While the rooms are decorated in a tasteful, 19th-century style, Peggy, one of the women in our group, had the rare treat of staying in the Elvis room with all of its memorabilia, including a singing Elvis lamp.  I’m sure her stay there was memorable. 

Here are some of my favorite memories of the weekend:

Eating lots of appetizers in a big rocker on the front porch, knitting bag and wine glass at hand.

Building fires in the enormous stone fireplace, even if that fact meant going out in the rain to retrieve firewood.

Lounging in my pajamas in front of the fireplace and not feeling guilty about my lack of productive, non-knitting activity or having to make decisions about whether to rise (as I do at home when one of my sons begins foraging for food in my well-stocked kitchen and can’t seem to find any).

Walking up and down hills in the quaint town, perusing the shops and the Saturday-morning farmers' market.

Having a knitting store (Yummi Yarns) just a few feet away.  Of course, I’d be filing for bankruptcy if this were the case at home.  (I really need to open my own shop to maybe break even on my hobby. . . .)
Yummi Yarns is stocked with a wide array of yarn. 

Pretending I was Martha Stewart in the professional kitchen (think lots of stainless steel and a huge gas range) as I cooked an omelet using ingredients from the farmers' market.

Not having to cook, so, subsequently, pigging out on tortilla chips, crackers, and an eclectic array of salsas and dips for dinner and Saturday night. 

Laughing and chatting with the other women who were a wealth of resources on many topics—from skincare, to coping with locked out in the snow for hours—while working my needles, enjoying the calm respite from my everyday life. 

Going to a jazz club with poor service, mediocre food, and a strange cover charge surprisingly tacked onto our bill after we’d eaten and not feeling stressed or annoyed about the experience.  (I really need to get out more.  I was just happy to actually be out when the sun was down and not at my home in bed or at one of my son’s football games.) 

Finishing two works in progress—a hat with ear flaps (I’ll post the pattern I designed and a picture for this project soon) and a MissMarple scarf (pictures forthcoming, too). 

Returning home to my family and pets and my own bed with its down comforter in my own cozy bedroom (26-room inns in the mountains in October can be a bit chilly).

I am thankful to Cottage Yarn’s Tuesday-night knitters for making this experience possible for me.  I wonder where the group will be going next year.  I hope I’m invited to tag along.   
The produce at the farmers' market was beautiful.
The stalks in the center are lemon grass.  I need to look up some recipes for this item. 

One stall sold quilts and hand crocheted items. 
Wellspring Farm's stall sold llama and alpaca products. 


  1. Yarn at the farmers market? How wonderful! I saw an ad for this retreat, it looks like it was loads of fun! How are you going to be able to come back to your busy life after such fun? Also, I'm so sorry it has taken me a while to respond to your PM, I'm waiting on a certain email giving me more information on my schedule. Sorry!

  2. What a truly wonderful weekend! There is just something about stepping out of the routine for a while which is hugely therapeutic. Your pics are just beautiful - colourful and serene - soul food at its best. Hope the memories give a warm glow to this week. E x

  3. This looks wonderful - lucky you. I would love to have a 'wild' weekend just sitting, knitting, relaxing, chatting shopping, browsing and nibbling. It must have been a truly calming experience. Hmmn, perhaps I ought to try an arrange something similar with other knitting pals of mine - definitely something to think about. Looking forward to seeing the hat with earflaps soon - sounds like it could be a good one for teenage boys? Judy.


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