I just got back from a week-end quilting retreat at the Jones Mansion Retreat Center in beautiful Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The February weather was cooperative–no icy or snowy roads to contend with. Mineral Point is only an hour’s drive southwest of Madison, but I still hate to drive on icy roads. I’ve been coming to the Mansion for over ten years, and every time I step over that threshold I feel like I’m being transported in to a simpler, more peaceful time in history and instantly feel relaxed. What a great place for a quilting retreat!
This retreat was organized by the owner, but there are other retreats to join in with–or you can create your own. For this retreat, I came with a friend, and others joined us–some I knew, some I met for the first time. (Aren’t quilter’s the best people?) We all brought our own projects to work on, and because the third floor has been made into the perfect work space, we can easily share ideas, chat, and just enjoy the creativity going on in the room.
We’ve got the freedom to quilt whenever we feel like it–early in the morning, or late into the night. There’s several tables in the room with extension cords, Ott lighting, and the dormers each have large ironing stations and cutting tables with mats (which means less to pack!) 🙂 It’s fun to see what everyone’s working on.
I was in my favorite room this time–“the Master”, although I’ve stayed in almost all the rooms at the Mansion and love each one. Every bed has a hand made quilt…some share bathrooms, some have adjoining bathrooms, most have 2 twin beds, one has 3, and a few are single rooms…but all are very comfortable and welcoming. I don’t have photos of all the bedrooms, but here’s a few… the Mansion will hold up 12 very happy campers.
Each of us shared the cooking responsibility–we had Saturday night (soup and salad)…simple. We all eat in the downstairs dining room. Such beautiful woodwork and hand-painted wallpaper (original). Lori (the owner) can tell you all about the history of the house and how she so lovingly restored it back to its former glory.
Sometimes we relax with tea and snacks in the sitting room. And at night (one of the perks of being there in the wintertime), Lori can start a wood fire in the fireplace. We bring our knitting and handwork and enjoy it.
My favorite spot in the Mansion is the front staircase with the large balcony overlooking the first floor entryway hall…
And if you look up, you’ll see the beautiful stained glass skylight that floods the second floor with light. Each of the bedrooms have large transoms that filter light into each room. Wasn’t the builder forward thinking for 1906!
Here’s what it looks like from the third floor…or course there’s a quilt on the wall! …and a photo-op with the lovely owner & hostess, Lori Bartol.
Wish I had taken more photos–once I’m there, I’m so wrapped up in talking with people, sewing, and eating I forget to take any. Lori has wi-fi at the Mansion, but I hardly checked my email. In February it was so cold outside, but so cozy warm inside the Mansion that we didn’t want to leave, so we didn’t go downtown for a shopping spree this time–but downtown Mineral Point has a lot to offer in the way of unique shops and restaurants. However, we did manage a quick side trip to the quilt store in Platteville called Hidden Quilts. It’s not as “hidden” since they moved to a larger location on Main Street, and it’s always fun to go there. I didn’t do too much “damage”–but couldn’t get away without buying something. Be sure to stop if you’re in the area.
We also missed going to Hook’s Cheese, but if you ever go to the Mansion on a retreat, you HAVE to stop downtown Mineral Point at Hook’s Cheese on the day they make the fresh cheese curds! …wow! They also have award-winning Blue Cheese.
I’m coming home refreshed with all kinds of new ideas. Isn’t it great to spend time with other quilters? Each time I go I get what I like to call “Pearls of Wisdom from the Mansion”. This time I learned about a new quilt store to check out in eastern Wisconsin that just opened, and learned how to create an apron from a recycled men’s shirt (Lori showed us how). So cute.
For more history on the mansion, see the website on the history of the William Jones House.: (But note that many of their photos are not up to date; they show the mansion in various stages.)
I can’t wait until the next time. If you’d like more information, contact Lori at: The Jones Mansion, 215 Ridge Street, Mineral Point, WI 53565 (608) 332-7210, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,