As we settle into the holiday season, some of us think about connecting with nature or taking some time, after the holiday season, to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle.
Are there places in the U.S. where you can get away from it all and connect with nature and yourself? Are there places where, instead of hustle and bustle, you’ll find new friends and enriching experiences and maybe learning something new, all in a serene setting?
Road Scholar says the answer is yes. And you may be pleasantly surprised by the options.
Do Idyllic Locations Make for the Best Travel Ideas?
Known for its learning adventures for Baby Boomers and beyond, Road Scholar offers Retreats in more than 40 idyllic locations across the country. Each retreat features a setting with natural beauty, a storied history and access to educational discovery, the heart of all Road Scholar adventures. Lodgings run the gamut from charming cottages to historic conference centers and educational field stations.
“Each special retreat provides a welcoming atmosphere and ideal setting for relaxing after energizing experiences in the classroom or outdoors and reflecting on a great day with new friends,” says JoAnn Bell, senior vice president of program development at Road Scholar.
Many studies suggest spending time socializing and learning new things benefits us all, especially as we age. Why not choose to do that in the setting of a retreat where all the details are taken care of, and the setting is welcoming and relaxing?
Get Back to Nature, While Making New Friends
Renee Babcock, who administers the Road Scholar Retreat programs at Hidden Valley Institute in Carmel Valley, California, says a highlight of the programs there is getting a sense of the community and surrounding area while learning about one of the great nature spots in the world. “Expert educators at Hidden Valley Retreat programs are locals with decades of expertise in their fields. You might enjoy the music of a local composer and pianist who teaches a class on Scott Joplin; discussions with a coastal biologist who works to conserve Monterey beaches; or a local winemaker who introduces his or her trade with a talk and tasting.”
Retreat programs at Hidden Valley include Big Band music performance, where participants play classic big band instruments and perform for a community dinner/dance at the end of the week (there are many participants who return again and again); Magical Monterey, a flagship program that includes everything you want to know about the area; and the annual Carmel Bach Festival.
Renee notes that one of the popular features of Retreats at Hidden Valley is the E-Stretch exercise they offer as an early morning option. They started this more than 30 years ago when a popular instructor developed this stretch with doctors and chiropractors, specifically with older adults in mind. “People just love it,” she says. “We always hear about how great it is to start the day with this light exercise, energized and ready to go.”
Each retreat program across the country includes
- Morning easy, optional exercise that unlocks your limbs and motivates your mind.
- Meeting with community members to get insight into local life
- An authentic, farm-to-table meal
- Live performance or event
- Single rooms for only $100 more at many retreats
- You can find Road Scholar’s Retreats by region
Northeast Retreats – from Maine to Pennsylvania
America gets its outdoors — and indoors — on in the Northeast. At Road Scholar Retreats from Maine to Pennsylvania, adventurers’ curious spirits are as stirred by hiking a snippet of the Appalachian Trail as by shaping clay at a potter’s wheel in central Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley.
Western Retreats – from the California Coast to Idaho
The sound of new adventures in America’s West — a majestic waterfall’s roar, the trill of a songbird, a trumpet’s brassy blast — is music to the ears at Road Scholar Retreats from the California coast to Idaho. Learn to capture Yosemite’s Bridalveil Falls in watercolor. Spot a Chestnut-backed Chickadee in Carmel Valley. Explore the history of Dixieland jazz in Monterey. All the while, learn and laugh with new friends who share your love of uncommon discoveries.
Adventures in the Midwest – Minnesota, the Black Hills and South Dakota
Cornfields and cows? In the Midwest there’s that. But when adventurers set out for Road Scholar Retreats across America’s breadbasket, there’s also lots of learning and discovery. Hear the tremolo of a loon while canoeing Minnesota’s gem-blue lakes. Bike the Black Hills and learn about Native American life in South Dakota. Stitch an Amish quilt in Indiana.
Retreats in the South – North Carolina and Beyond
Maybe life moves a bit slower in the sultry South, but new experiences are no less energizing. Learn to pluck the strings of a dulcimer in North Carolina. Paddle a kayak under Spanish moss-draped canopies on Florida’s Nature Coast. Experience a Virginia theater where Gregory Peck performed before he became a household name.
To learn more about Road Scholar, visit their website.
Where are your favorite places to travel to when you feel like you need to recharge? Have you ever been on an official retreat? Or do you prefer camping or traveling in an RV? Please share below!