2016 Event Prep is Underway!

Hello Knotties!  I spent the good part of this afternoon working on getting the website updated and making the registration page live.  If I was better at this, or had more time to do it regularly, it probably wouldn't have taken that long, but c'est la vie. 

 I checked the Roan Mountain State Park cabin rental page and there are still 18 cabins available for our Getaway Weekend, August 26-28. Three of those cabins are dog-friendly.  I'm looking forward to going up again in August.  Jay and I were there for my birthday last year in mid-August, to scout out the location, and I thought it was the perfect mix of Summer and Fall.  Roan Mountain has a very similar climate to Canada. That meant nice warm days allowing for a lunch on the grill outside, and nights cool enough to light a fire in the wood stove in the cabin.

I'm putting together a list of vendors to invite, as well as the cadre of instructors interested in teaching.  If you have anything you're interested in teaching or learning, please let me know via my email info@theknottyladies.com or on our Facebook page.   The class I'm most looking forward to is one on homemade salves and lotions.  We all need to keep our fiber fingers soft and supple, don't we?! 

Be watching your inbox in the next week or so for the formal announcement newsletter.  I've decided this time to do a soft opening, like restaurants do, to make sure everything on the site works the way I meant it to.  Only those true die-hard Knotties (or my guinea pigs) will know to go looking for it! 

2015 TKL Getaway Weekend at Roan Mountain

Once again, we had a fantastic time at our third annual Getaway Weekend!  After two great years in the historic town of Jonesborough, Tennessee we decided  to make it a true getaway for everyone and move it to beautiful Roan Mountain State Park.  There we had a nice big conference center with a fireplace and kitchen, and cabins to stay in with all the amenities.  It was almost like summer camp as we arrived settled into our cabins.  The weather was great, cool enough to have a fire at night, and perfect for pot luck suppers with chili and soup.  

One of my favorite parts of this weekend is thinking about the web of connections between the people who come share the weekend with us.  Pam and I met Heather, Diane and Christine at a Yarn Camp put on by A Likely Yarn in Abingdon, Virginia in May of 2013. We thought it would be fun to try to have an event in our town of Jonesborough, so we got their contact information. As we began to gather people for our weekend, Pam contacted the guild she belonged to when she lived in Lynchburg.  From there, we met Dorothea, LeMoyne, Sheila, Kate and Teri.  We started going to the Hawks Nest spinning retreat in West Virginia, and met Joanne, Liz and Lawre there.  Meanwhile, I began gathering 'the goat people,' that we have come to know through owning Angora Goats, and our little circle of locals from Jonesborough Yarn Party grew along with friends from Limestone Fiber Guild.

The result of this convergence meant all our friends from all our various groups got to be in one place at the same time.  It gave me the proverbial warm and fuzzy to look around the room to see Ann, of Out in Jupiter farm sitting next to Liz, Joanne and Lawre of Strauch Fiber, sitting next to the Lynchburg Guild folks.  Sheila and her friend Pam, from Maine, were sitting with our locals Melissa, Jennifer and Christine.   Pat, our friend from Elizabethton spends the weekend with her daughter, Kellie; and they are joined by another mother-daughter team from West Virginia, Heather & Diane. 

We even get to meet people that we've only 'met' online before.  I was delighted to get to finally meet Pat, and her friends Paula and Amber in real life.  We've been talking online for almost a year - and THIS event brings us all together.  

It makes me proud that I've been able to orchestrate this event, and that people enjoy themselves enough to come along for the ride every year.  I will be forever grateful for my husband and my friends who help make it all come together.     

Guest Post Travelogue of Roan Mountain by Melissa Emmel

I thought I would take some daily notes of our week. Things I did outside of spinning and knitting that others may enjoy as well as tips for the weekend. I'm excited everyone is coming to Roan Mountain for the retreat. In a way I feel like this is "our mountain" because we come here so often. 

We walked the small trail from the cabin (new section) to the convention center. It's a short hike. Probably a tenth of a mile or so. I'm asthmatic and in worse shape than I wish to be (although I'm working on getting in better shape), and I didn't have any trouble on the trail. The trail is gravel and free of roots. There are hills in either direction but still manageable. We saw some neat yellow mushrooms growing beside a tree. I recommend sensible shoes as my Danskos made me more aware of my footing than I wanted to be. 

Monday and Wednesday were our North Carolina shopping days. 

Today was a Roan Mountain day. 

We first visited the Miller Homestead. It was a working farm established more than 100 years ago and now preserved to see how people lived in the mountains. It will be open Saturdays in October for anyone interested. The walk down to the homestead from the parking lot is pretty steep. I definitely recommend good shoes. 

Next was a stop at Jarrett Apple Orchard. They grow about 10 different varieties of apples. Half a peck is only $4. To get to Jarrett's, turn right onto Burbank just past Jack's Grocery after you leave the park towards the mountain. After about a mile, you'll see an apple with their name on the left hand side of the road pointing to the road for apples. 

After that we drove to the top of Roan and turned at Carver's Gap for the Rhododendron Gardens. There is a $3 entry fee at the fee station, but I feel it is worth it to see the views from the top. It's the 2nd highest point in Tennessee. The garden trail is paved and handicapped accessible. There is another half mile trail that is unpaved and requires good shoes. We like to use hiking poles for that trail as well. On a clear day you can make out Johnson City from the overlook. 

Carver's Gap has a great section of the AT, but since Duke hikes with us, we have to stick to easy, relatively clean trails. (When he turns into a grumpy dog and drags his tail, he brings home half of the forest.) The Roan Balds at Carver's Gap are unique because are virtually treeless and have magnificent views. On a clear day you can see the hotel at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort in the distance. 

We intended a day in the cabin to let Duke rest. The poor little guy was pooped from all the walking he did earlier in the week. (Even though he rode in style in his doggy stroller on shopping days.)

HOWEVER, what I intended to be a short tenth of a mile hike from cabins 1-20 over to our cabin in the other section turned out to be a 45 minute hike over some pretty steep terrain. Dan, being the thoughtful doggy dad that he is, ended up carrying Duke for half of it. I struggled but victoriously made it home to the cabin. I tell you this because we found many people walked the short path from the conference center to get the first group of cabins and then took the road to the parking lot instead of the trail. The trail that joins the cabins isn't gravel like the one joining the conference center, and the beginning is steep with roots making stairs. The trail is also poorly marked with signs. The sign reads "Cabins Fire Pit" instead of "Cabins & Fire Pit". It is not labeled on the trail map either, and we both thought it meant fire pit for cabins alone. Now that I know which trail it is, I might take it instead of walking on the road, but the road doesn't have roots and I'm clumsy. 

Things to bring: 
Paper towels and napkins for the kitchen. 
Coffee. A coffee maker and filters are provided, but bring your own Joe. 
Salt and pepper. 
Bath soap, lotion, shampoo/conditioner, and a hair dryer (not provided like a hotel).  
Dan strongly suggests toilet paper from home. He says you don't want to use TP provided by the State of Tennessee. 

Dish soap and dish scrubber to wash dishes if eating at the cabin. You have to hand wash your dishes. 
All dishes, utensils, and pots and pans. 
Linens for the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen. 

*** If you are sensitive to wood smoke, you can ask that the wood stove is cleaned out before your arrival. It really helps my asthma. The cabins all have heaters or central heat so wood fires aren't necessary. 

Cell phones have limited reception here. Sprint is best, and Verizon has a booster at the conference center. Unfortunately AT&T and T-Mobile only work in town. Both the conference center and the campground have wifi. All cabins have a landline, and the ladies at checkin will give you the number for family members. 

Places to eat:
Smoky Mountain Bakers serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and are open Friday and Saturday of our retreat. Breakfast has egg sandwiches, waffles and pancakes, and omelettes. Lunch and dinner is wood fired pizza and side salads. Plus they bake bread, breakfast pastries, and desserts. They are my favorite place to eat in Roan Mountain (and we even sometimes drive up after work from JC for dinner). Their dinner special on Saturday is buy 4 pizzas get the 5th for free. 

Highlander BBQ is a good non-pizza option. Besides bbq, they have burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs. It's the kind of place the locals go to, and it's easy on the wallet. 

Happy's Cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch, but they are open on Sunday when Smoky Mountain Bakers is closed. They have a big breakfast selection and make many different sandwiches and burgers for lunch. Also reasonably priced, it's a good option. 

Bob's Dairlyland has been around since my mom was little. They are your traditional greasy spoon with fish on Fridays. The also have over 30 milkshake combinations. Bob's is open all weekend of the retreat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bob's has fast free wifi.