Sunday, November 8, 2009

Unwinding at Winshape Retreat

I'm embarrassed to see how long it has been since I have updated this blog. But I have been traveling a good bit lately and have just let the time slip away.

Last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple of nights on the campus of Berry College (it is a 26,000 acre campus!) near Rome , GA. More specifically, I was at a conference at WinShape Retreat, a facility that was formally a 70 year old working dairy farm. Students who could not afford tuition at Berry College could work and live on the daily farm and work their way thru school.

But now the barns and milk houses have been converted into very spacious hotel rooms and conference facilities. There is an elaborate multi-media conference theatre and a dining room (formally the milking barn) that even serves cold milk in the traditional glass bottles.

The facility was make possible in part by a most wonderful gentleman, Truit Cathy of Atlanta. You may know him as the founder of Chick-Fil-A.

If your organization, church or just a group of friends are looking for a truly out of the way place to gather and enjoy a family reunion or perhaps some type of church related event, I highly recommend this place. One thing I might mention. There are no televisions, no phones in the rooms and, unless you bring your own aircard -- there is no Wi-Fi except in the conference center. And you know, I didn't miss it one bit.

If you enjoy astronomy you will also enjoy this setting. You are on the top of Mt. Berry when there are no street lights, and very little outdoor lighting of any type. I was fortunate enough to be there on two absolutely perfectly clear nights and I saw the milky way for the first time in a very long while.

Accommodations are very reasonable. All meals are included, even the pastry and coffee bar is open and free. The first evening we took a hayride and toured the campus of Berry College. There are hundreds (I do not exaggerate) of deer roaming the campus. Because we were an electric utility group, we also toured a nearby hydroelectric power plant. The second night we just gathered around the outdoor fireplace and roasted smores. (One person was appointed to keep their PDA connected so that we could get the football scores).

For more details visit the site.