Walkabout Retreat and History Center

pineburr Walkabout Retreat and History Center

A small Pine Burr quilt on display at Walkabout Retreat and History Center

A few weeks ago I drove the six hours south to Baldwin City in Douglas County, Kansas for a class on making Pine Burr quilts with Jean Ayres.

250px Douglas County Kansas Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Baldwin City Highlighted.svg Walkabout Retreat and History Center

On the right, a map of Kansas showing Douglas County; on the left, a map of Baldwin City's place in Douglas County.

 

Jean was delightful and the class was fun and informative, but what was a complete surprise was the facility tucked away in the countryside not far from Lawrence.

 

center Walkabout Retreat and History Center

Walkabout Retreat and History Center

It’s called the Walkabout Retreat and History Center. It’s a beautiful place. Jean Ayres is a co-director with the property’s owner, Judy Long O’Neal.

 

jeanjudy Walkabout Retreat and History Center

Jean Ayres, left, and Judy Long O'Neal are co-directors of Walkabout Retreat and History Center.

The Pine Burr class on June 30 marked the official opening of the center. It was so much fun!

 

lodge Walkabout Retreat and History Center

Walkabout Retreat and History Center near Baldwin City, Kansas

The highlights for me were these:

• There are quilts everywhere.

quilts1 Walkabout Retreat and History Center

There are little and large quilts, old and new quilts, pristine and shaggy quilts.

 

quilts2 Walkabout Retreat and History Center

Quilts on the beds at Walkabout Retreat and History Center

There are just a lot of quilts to enjoy!

quilts3 Walkabout Retreat and History Center

This small quilt is "Angst" by Jean Ayres.

 

• It’s no accident that “history center” is part of the name they chose—these gals are history buffs. As we enjoyed a tour of the property, both women talked knowledgeably about the property’s history and its place on the Underground Railroad.

 

quilts4 Walkabout Retreat and History Center

This quilt depicts some of the history of the area and its role in the Underground Railroad.

Several quilts on display, including the one above, depict stories and contain symbols related to this history.

 

lodge2 Walkabout Retreat and History Center

The loft is a perfect place to read or relax.

• “Retreat” would be an understatement for this place. It’s quiet and beautiful and soulful. I am very anxious to return and spend some time there.

 

quilts5 Walkabout Retreat and History Center

This quilt depicts the "interfaith dialogue" co-director Judy Long O'Neal is so passionate about.

• Judy has an interest in “interfaith dialogue.” This means there’s an expressed respect for all faiths and for the spiritual journeys of all who come here.

 

lodge3 Walkabout Retreat and History Center

The classroom is bright and spacious at Walkabout Retreat and History Center.

Judy and Jean anticipate that some people will retreat to the Walkabout for creative adventures (especially quilt related), some for spiritual searches, some simply to rest—and all of that is okay in their view. Quilters and others are invited to use the facilities for daytime events or for overnight functions.

The space is available by reservation only. It can be reserved for a group or an individual with or without planned programming. A 25% non-refundable deposit is required to hold a reservation. The Center provides coffee, tea, bottled water, towels and linens.

 

pond Walkabout Retreat and History Center

The pond on the Walkabout Retreat and History Center's property

The prices are reasonable. As an example, the charge for overnight groups of four or more is $55 per person. Join an existing sleep-over group to sew for the day for just $15 per person (breakfast is $5 more). The property sleeps 8. There are two meadow labyrinths and a pond.

My six-hour drive was well worth it. If you’re in the Midwest or would care to travel here, do consider the Walkabout Retreat and History Center. I think you’ll love it.

*     *     *     *     *

For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Judy (judylongoneal@gmail.com) or Jean (ayresjean@gmail.com) by email or visit the Center’s Facebook page.

Do you know of a great retreat location in your area? If so, please tell everyone about it in the comments.

About Diane Harris

I'm Interactive Editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I've been writing pattern instructions and product reviews, and doing a host of other tasks necessary to help produce a national pattern magazine. Now I work remotely from rural Nebraska to generate some of our online content. I manage the QM Scrap Squad, our blog tours and our Quilt-Alongs. I have one of the best jobs in the world.
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2 Responses to Walkabout Retreat and History Center

  1. Barbara says:

    This is my first visit to this site. It was a wonderful visit. My most trouble some UFO is a grandmother’s garden quilt my sister gave me. It is from a friend of hers who passed on. It is 25% done, I think and I have no idea her of her color sense. I just look at it once in while and wonder what she was like as a quilter. My sister did not know her as a quilter.My sister does not quilt. I would vote for a block party in Hershey, Pa.

  2. Barbara says:

    This is my first visit to this site. It was a wonderful visit. My most trouble some UFO is a grandmother’s garden quilt my sister gave me. It is from a friend of hers who passed on. It is 25% done, I think and I have no idea her of her color sense. I just look at it once in while and wonder what she was like as a quilter. My sister did not know her as a quilter.My sister does not quilt.

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