Outings + Activities | Travel

Recharge Card: Fantastic Retreat Options for Seattle-area Moms

You know you need it. From yoga to glamping to woodworking, great escapes for Northwest moms

Sunrise yoga is one of many activities offered at Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s Glamp weekend at Camp River Ranch in Carnation. credit Dorothee Brand /Belathée Photography
Sunrise yoga is one of many activities offered at Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s Glamp weekend at Camp River Ranch in Carnation. credit Dorothee Brand /Belathée Photography

Since becoming a mom I’ve run away from home on a regular basis to recharge at retreats, art workshops and gatherings with friends. These regular time-outs have been critical to my well-being.

Tacoma mom Liz Lamoreux agrees that moms need time away to nurture themselves and renew interests and friendships. A teacher and the author of Inner Excavation: Explore Your Self Through Photography, Poetry and Mixed Media, she runs creative retreats for women including her upcoming Be Present in Manzanita, Oregon in November. She says, “When moms take time to really listen to what they need and nurture themselves like they nurture their loved ones, they can create more space for joy, for connection, and for love in their lives."

Don't wait! If you are ready for your own time out, here are some great escapes around the Northwest in beautiful locations, including some “do-it-yourself” retreat options.

A retreat with Liz Lamoreux. Photo credit: Vivienne McMaster.
A retreat with Liz Lamoreux. Photo credit: Vivienne McMaster.

Crafty mom retreats

Do you long to learn how to quilt? Or have unfinished sewing or craft projects laying around that you wished you could finish? Quilters Dream Retreats offers classes for beginners to advanced quilters at weekend retreats in the spring and fall at the Salvation Army’s Camp Arnold in beautiful Eastonville ($205).

Several quilt and craft retreats are also offered at the YMCA’s Camp Orkila on Orcas Island in January. Campers bring their own projects and work on projects while enjoying stunning views of Puget Sound ($140–$225). 

Camp Huston in Gold Bar adjacent to beautiful Wallace Falls park offers a November scrapbooker retreat and quilters retreat in December as well as a “women’s retreat” in January where you can work on anything you wish on your own dedicated work table, all meals and lodging included ($166–$408).

Adventurous mom retreats

Do you love being out on the water? Check out the kayak trips offered by Friday Harbor’s Outdoor Odysseys including their Women-Only Tours, starting at $649 per person for a three-day sea kayak trip around the San Juan islands.

Prefer land-based thrills? Check out the spring and Fall Women’s Wellness Weekends offered at the YMCA’s Camp Orkila and Camp Colman. Activities9 include fitness and yoga classes, biking, belly dancing and a zipline at Camp Orkila ($180–$305).

Or enjoy backcountry skiing in Leavenworth. Stay at luxurious Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort with instruction by the Northwest Mountain School at the Powder Betty: Women’s Backcountry Ski Camp, Jan. 29–31 and Feb. 19–21 ($895).

Adventurous retreaters at Camp Orkila. Courtesy YMCA Camp Orkila
Adventurous retreaters at Camp Orkila. Courtesy YMCA Camp Orkila

Yoga mamas

Is yoga your ticket to calm? Discover Yoga in Redmond offers an annual yoga retreat at the Marsh House retreat center on beautiful Whidbey Island ($450). Several yoga retreats are offered throughout the year at the Skalitude Retreat and Education center in Carlton, Washington, in the beautiful Methow Valley ($360–$500). Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth also hosts yoga retreats throughout the year including a Yoga Momma retreat May 20–22 ($434–$549).

Woodworking by the sea

Learn a new skill at the stunning historic Fort Worden State Park, site of the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, in Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. Learn how to use hand and power tools to make beautiful things out of wood at the May 25–29, Woodworking for Women workshop with the Port Townsend School of Woodworking located at the fort ($725 plus cost of accommodations). Or enjoy a workshop with the Centrum Foundation, also located at the fort, on a wide variety of topics from ukulele, to singing to a summer writers retreat

Happy Girl Scout glampers

Were you a Girl Scout or loved summer camp? Girl Scouts of Western Washington has a great retreat for you! Glamp is a magical camp experience for grown up campers held at Camp River Ranch in Carnation every September; in 2016 the dates will be Sept. 10 and 11. Campers can choose a variety of fun activities, ranging from making jam, hiking, arts and crafts, yoga or kayaking in the camp’s lake. Add upgrades for an additional cost including fluffy “princess bedding” and a massage or a horseback ride. You can also add a “self-serve” camp night on Friday, Sept. 9 to spend more time with friends. Proceeds from your stay help fund camp experiences for girls who couldn’t otherwise go ($260 for one night, $100 for the addition night). Registration for next year’s fall Glamp opens in the spring of 2016 at girlscoutsww.org. Search for “Glamp 2016."

Get your art on

Is learning to do calligraphy a secret wish? Join your fellow artists Sept. 22 to 25, 2016 for the fall Washington State Calligraphers Retreat at Camp Huston ($170 to $245). Artist of all skill levels and interests are welcome at this annual retreat. For a brochure for the 2016 retreat, email the retreat manager Flo Wilkins at pawsnpens@hotmail.com.

For artist moms seeking some sun and a longer break, national recognized artist and teacher Sas Colby offers a mixed-media and painting at Mountain Home Ranch in Calistoga, California May 1 to 7, 2016 ($550 plus cost of accommodations) and an open studio artist week at historic Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico Sept. 11–17, 2016 ($1,300 including lodging and all meals). 

Do it yourself

Not excited by learning a new skill and just want to recharge by hanging out with some of your close friends? Create a “do-it-yourself mom retreat.” I spend a weekend each year with old friends who are also moms, in a rented house or large hotel suites. We cook for each other, watch our favorite movies, play board games, hike, shop and swap our favorite books. There are lots of options for small groups of friends who want to hang out together. You can rent a charming officer’s house at Fort Worden with room for up to eight guests for $489, rent a house on or near the beach in Cannon Beach through Beachcomber Vacation Homes, or stay near Mt. Rainer at Copper Creek Lodge, which sleeps up to 12 guests. Or rent a house at Suncadia, where you and your friends can schedule some pampering at the resort’s spa and enjoy the fitness center and indoor pool.

For a super-affordable retreat for yourself, ask friends with a great house or cabin to consider you for their next housesitting gig. If you are determined to find time for yourself, there is always a way to make it happen. 

Ten fun things to do on your Northwest mom retreat

Book exchange. Each mom brings a few books she loved but is done reading to exchange for some new ones.

Power card crafting. Bring a pack of blank cards and envelopes and your art supplies and work on a batch of handmade birthday or holiday cards.

Yarn bomb. Bring your current knitting project.

Film festival. Each friend brings her favorite DVD with themed snack to share.

Board games. Bring your favorite board game to play together.

Interview each other. Everyone brings one question for the list — i.e. what is your favorite childhood memory? Capture each session with a digital recorder and save to a DVD for each friend.

Take an online art class. Many artists, including Carla Sonheim, author of Drawing Lab, and Dawn DeVries Sokol, author of A World of Artist Journal Pages, now offer excellent online classes you can take from anywhere with internet access.

Enjoy an outdoor adventure together. Plan a hike or rent some kayaks or bikes.

Share a skill. Each friend brings a new skill to share that the group will enjoy learning. Anything from “get to know your iPhone and iPad” to how to change a bike tire.

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