Friday, June 7, 2019

John C. Campbell Folk School ... A Review Off the Wall Friday

Well I found it!  The perfect vacation.  I'm thinkin' after a week at John C. Campbell Folk School that I need not go anywhere else to get away and have fun.  Now I know the average jane would rather see exotic places or relax on a quiet beach somewhere, but not me.   I like a nice low maintenance locale where they feed me well and I learn something.....and I found that at John C. Campbell.

This all began when my husband and I started looking for our next adventure.  With a little research for this blog, I thought that maybe John C. Campbell fit the bill.  Little did I know how well.  Between the gorgeous HUGE campus (with plenty of places to roam and explore), the well equipped studios, the over 800 classes offer year round, the yummy food and the good company....I mean what more could a girl want.

The School's Community Room
With the campus offering a wide range of places to stay, you can totally immerse yourself in the atmosphere of school.  We literally parked our car on the first day and didn't move it until the last day of classes.  We stayed at the picturesque Mill House which although very rustic was comfortable enough for us since we aren't too fussy.  Our double bed was comfortable, the towels were fluffy
Mill House
enough and it had it own bathroom with good water pressure.  The downside of the house was that it was the farthest of all houses from the main campus and the walls were thin.  I mean VERY thin.  Our housemates weren't at all noisy and we still could hear everything every one said.Of course, my class was the farthest from our house...half a fitbit loved it!! Since it was so far away usually we left at 7:30 am and didn't return till after 9 pm every night so it wasn't a big deal.

My Husband in a drop in Jam session with the guitar class
And yes, our days were that busy!!  Not only does the school offer classes from 9:00-4:30 (with a break for lunch) but there is a whole schedule of activities that you can choose to join in with.  Between early walks, morning song, lectures on crafts, folk dancing and music jam sessions there is never a shortage of things you might want to try!  Because, as usual, I was pretty immerse with my class I didn't do a whole lot of extra things but I did manage to get in a solitary walk in the mornings and join in the morning song.  I really loved that!  Each morning a new person would entertain the early birds in 45 min of songs and stories.  It always seem to start my day off right!

My Favorite building on Campus...The Blacksmith Studio

The food had mixed reviews for the week but since I'm not super fussy I thought it was fine.  I surely never went hungry!!  Meals were served family style to tables of 8 and you were encouraged to sit with a new group meal. Although the crowd was mostly over 50, there was a wide range of classmates to meet.  So many different backgrounds ... So many reasons to come and learn. Sometimes this was fun but to tell you the truth, I would have liked to sit with a group of friends and get to know them better throughout the week.  Menus were very healthy and mostly homecooked with provision for special dietary needs.  There was pretty much always fresh baked bread around and a yummy desert which I only tried one meal.  Did I mention that between the walking and the healthy eating I lost 3 lbs?  Like I said perfect vaca!

So now for the Pro's and Con's

  • Gorgeous safe campus that you can roam till your hearts content
  • Friendly staff & Well chosen teachers
  • Well organized itinerary with plenty of activities
  • Its all inclusive (I never did spend any money there)
  • WiFi throughout/Air Conditioning throughout
  • Quiet hours 10pm  - 7 am  in a wide range of quarters from dorms to single rooms with baths
  • A huge selection of classes in a huge range of media in well equipped classrooms & studios
  • Beginners are welcome (MANY people had never tried their chosen class before!)
  • Healthy family style served meals
  • Class size is limited to 12 or fewer most with assistants
  • Plenty of quiet places to sit and reflect or have a chat with your interesting school mates
  • The campus is pretty remote for the North East or MidAtlantic States (but under a 4 hr drive from Lexington, Asheville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Knoxville)
  • Campus can be pretty physical with a lot of walking and hills (there is parking at every building but you would need a school golf carts to help)
  • Meals  only offer one entree/side 
  • Trails throughout campus could be better lit and better marked
  • Some found the food not to their liking (but that was NOT the case for me)
Honestly, I'm having a hard time coming up with cons for this review.  I really did love it.  The School's catalog comes out twice a year and I can't wait to choose my  next class.  When I came home I was tired but so rejuvenated at the same time.

My next post will be about my class!!
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Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Nina Marie, it sounds like you had a great vacation. Looking forward to hearing all about what you made or tried!

For the love of geese said...

This sounds like the ideal place to visit or live. Thank you for sharing

Lynda said...

Nina Marie, So glad you posted this. I've been wanting to go there and really looking forward to hearing what class you took. Every year I think about going to Campbell and just don't get it together to go anywhere! However, I just got back from QSDS in Columbus which was also a great time. I'm posting about the class I took this week too.