A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a retreat at Bend of Ivy, a gorgeous spot right outside of Asheville, NC.
The retreat was hosted by the team from Revolution from Home; I’ve mentioned before on the blog that I’ve been in their MotherWorthy virtual group program for a couple years now and love it, so when an in person retreat option popped up I knew I couldn’t miss it.
I was so excited that I signed up for it more than a year ago – quite the build up! When the weekend came I couldn’t believe it was FINALLY here.
Being in the North Carolina mountains in the fall was absolute perfection.
We had the most amazing weather for the whole weekend – cold at night and in the morning, and warm and sunny (but not hot) during the day. Plus, those leaves – so gorgeous!
The retreat was led by Beth Berry, who also leads our virtual MotherWorthy groups, and it was wonderful to meet her in person after so many years of circling together on zoom. I was also thrilled to meet/see a number of women from my groups over the years in person – it was so special to be together.
There were about 25 of us in attendance, which felt like a really nice size – not too big but not too small, either. I roomed with one of my close friends who I met in year 1 of MotherWorthy and loved having some one-on-one time with her.
I also met a lot of new friends in addition to hanging out with the women who I already knew, and had fun joining up with whoever was craving fresh air and movement to get in some hikes in between the more structured activities of the days (which included circle time, yoga, dancing, singing, a concert from the amazing Wellspring and more).
There was a river within walking distance and we discovered some hikes around/above it, too!
I also loved being reacquainted with that gorgeous Carolina blue sky (for newer readers, I went to grad school at UNC Chapel Hill)!
In addition to the hikes, I did a fair amount of this as well (usually with a book in tow) and it was glorious and so relaxing:
One of the big highlights from the retreat was the food, and I was sure to get pictures of every meal to be able to share with all of you! It was all so nourishing and fresh and delicious, too. And as all of us who were attending the retreat are busy mothers, it was especially beautiful to be taken care of during meals with such lovely food, and to enjoy the meals leisurely without children all over us. 🙂
I also enjoyed every single meal outdoors because the weather was so fabulous. I especially loved the chilly mornings, it was so refreshing!
Without further ado, let’s get in to pictures of all the meals.
Breakfasts were usually a nice combination of a savory + sweet option, and I typically got some of each!
Oatmeal with nut butter + nuts and fruit, and baked eggs with spinach, tomato, and cheese with lime avocado mash on top:
Oatmeal, boiled egg, and baked eggs with greens and sausage plus fruit:
Ancient grains with nut butter and banana, baked eggs with cheddar, brie, and asparagus plus a soft boiled egg:
Our last morning my friend Lauren and I (who I drove to Asheville with – she lives in Richmond and we met in year 2 of MotherWorthy) missed the official breakfast because we had to hit the road, but we had a little breakfast box waiting for us (so appreciated that!) that included fruit, a banana nut muffin, a couple hard boiled eggs, and a PB&J.
I saved the PB&J and one of the eggs for later as a snack and ate the rest before we hit the road.
Local lettuce with basil dressing, local trout and radish, herb and lentil salad (so good), cornbread muffin, and an escarole and white bean soup with butternut squash.
A lot of the veggies from our meals came from a farm on the property, and everything was so fresh! The soup was especially good, savory and so veggie packed. It felt really nourishing.
Local greens with beets and apples, walnuts, and goat cheese, plus chicken salad and crackers and a squash and rice salad combo.
Local greens with radish, BBQ chicken, roasted sweet potato, and kale salad with apricots, pears, and sunflower seeds:
Local greens with black eyed peas and veggies, rosemary lemon chicken and BBQ tofu, brown rice and sweet potato, and green beans with local mushrooms, plus bread and butter:
Local cabbage salad, green curry chicken and chickpeas, jasmine rice, and harissa eggplant and zucchini:
Local greens, local beef with carrots and mushrooms in tomato sauce, brussels sprouts, rice, and spaghetti squash:
Local greens and mushrooms with goat cheese and broccoli, roast beef with carrots, mashed potatoes, garlicky turnips with bread and butter:
Are you salivating? Cause I definitely am writing this recap… I can’t get over how amazing the food was! Not only delicious but it just felt so nourishing with such a variety of vegetables and whole foods, too.
I didn’t remember to get photos of all the desserts after dinner, but there was something yummy offered each night, like baked cinnamon pears with granola:
Pumpkin walnut muffins:
And apple crisp!
I think the night I forgot to take a photo we had cake and that was basically the only food miss of the entire trip for me as I’m not a huge cake fan… it’s just so sweet and I have much more of a savory palate (and yes, I realize this opinion is in the minority…).
Anyway! After dessert most of the evenings ended with the scene below and it was so lovely. Check out the moon, by the way – it was full and super bright while we were there!
I give this retreat 10/10. Between the amazing food, the great company and conversations, and the gorgeous setting and weather, it was incredibly nourishing and restorative. Thank you to Beth and her team for making it so special for all of us. Take me back!
p.s. To get to Asheville, I took the train to Richmond and then drove from there with my friend Lauren who was also going. (I looked at flights but they were crazy expensive and it felt like it would be more fun to travel with a friend, which it was!)
We drove almost right through my old stomping grounds (Chapel Hill)! We both wanted something light and nourishing for lunch for the long drive each way so we stopped at my old favorite, the Weaver Street Market co-op, to take advantage of their salad + hot bars!
We went to the one in Hillsborough (I would have loved to go to the one in Carrboro in Chapel Hill, but it was a bit out of the way and we drove literally right through Hillsborough so that made more sense), and it was a really fun and nostalgic trip down memory lane for me to be back there. Matt and I used to shop and eat there all the time as there was one walking distance from our apartment! Meeeemories!
I will end this post with a couple more photos of the gorgeous scenery around the Bend of Ivy retreat center!
Until next time, NC!