For the past two years, I’ve taken a few days retreat to explore a new, or slightly familiar town. It’s a chance to create, read, hike, enjoy delicious food and quiet. Lots and lots of quiet to allow my soul to rest.
It’s a time to recharge. To step away from the day-to-day role as wife, mom and artrepreneur and just be me. To go from so many demanding roles and over stimulation to the pure bliss of not needing to say a word, respond to a question or an urgent need.
This is something I encourage all women to do, whatever season of life you are in, and customized to what recharges you and gives you rest.
Last year I spent a few days in Lead, SD, exploring the area and enjoying time to breath. March is a perfect time for me to do this because it is before our busy season of calving, but also pretourist season. Introvert here. 🙂
As a person who thrives better with plans and structure, I organize these retreats with a limited agenda: Rest, Create, Explore.
This year, I decided I would discover a new town east of the Missouri River-Platte, SD. For many of you readers who are unfamiliar with South Dakota’s terrain, the state is split (not really equally) at a diagonal by the Might Mo. Since I was in the Black Hills (west river) last year, I thought going east would be a great explorative choice.
My desire was to take as limited I-90 travel as possible purely for the joy of really seeing the state at a slower and relaxed pace. From Murdo, I drove east on I-90 and exited just east of Reliance to Hwy 47 south. This road is one of South Dakota’s beauties! I have traveled it once before and crossed the White River just as the sun was coming up. Pure joy!
The topography rolls and dips with the characteristic of the west side of the Missouri River breaks. The sky was moody and a few drops of rain fell as I backed in a fill just south of the White River. Earlier that morning I’d reheated some tomato soup and poured into my small Thermos (and art show trick I learned from fellow artist Kathy Sigle 😉 ). The fill was on top of a hill just south of the White River where I could enjoying the warmth of the meal and the sky falling upon the rolling landscape.
Arriving at my home for the next few days in early afternoon there was plenty of time to explore.
The first thing to do when staying in an unfamiliar dwelling is to investigate it’s charm. I stayed in the Carriage House, a clean and well stocked Air B&B.
Second is to explore the town. I grabbed my coat and headed on foot to discover downtown Platte. The sky threatened a little rain but that lead to the excitement, for to me there’s something magical about being caught in a light rain in early spring.
My expedition the few blocks yielded many lovely places with friendly people: a huge well organized hardware store; antique shop in which I found a very early edition of Ben Hur; a sweet little boutique where the owner made me feel like I was already part of the community; an Ice Cream and Butcher where I promptly purchased a mini pint. Ice cream is always a necessity for retreats.
Walking back towards the Air B&B, I would stop at the grocery store to stock up on what was needed for the next few days.
Grocery stores are always a thrill to me. I much prefer an actual grocer to big box stores. Plus, you support a local business. I was thrilled at the lovely grocery store and made several trips the block away from my Air B&B, just so I could enjoy the clean, well stocked aisle and great selection of produce. And of course, purchase a small pint of ice cream. Variety is necessary and I was planning to do lots of hiking. 😉
I’d recently watched Ina Garten’s Lemon Pasta video and so purchased all the ingredients. I modified for one person, though still using 1/2 a cup of butter (because everything is better with butter!), added garlic and spinach. The kitchen had a good selection of tools, it’s always fun to create meals in a new space with new-to-me things.
The day was mostly cloudy and as the pasta was tossed into the lemon butter sauce, the sun peaked out and poured into the cheery kitchen. A perfect way to prepare a meal a bright and fresh meal!
Evenings are most often my favorite time to explore when the sun is at an angle, cascading to the earth a softer light. My wonderful Air B&B host knew I wished to hike and left a few info brochures on the nearest recreation areas. I traveled the 10 miles down to Platte Creek Recreation area and hiked along the river. The sounds of the Canadian and snow geese migration as they stopped for the evening was like none I’d ever heard or seen!
Traipsing through snow banks in order to reach the rocky shore, I inhaled. Since leaving Platte, I hadn’t seen a soul. The only sound from the birds of the air as they ascended upon the frozen river.
The next day I explored the Snake Creek Recreation area along Hwy 44, just on the east side of the river after crossing.
Almost entirely across the river, the ice had started to melt and move before the cold returned.
As I hiked farther along the banks, the sounds of the red-winged black birds and robins called to me.
After the sun disappeared and I’d returned to the house, I spent a few hours in the creating with my new set of Primascolor makers (brush tips) and a thick coloring book.
I finished a book. Paged through the Fiberglass door catalog from our local building center to selected some options for quotes for Grandview Gallery.
I didn’t set an alarm.
I soaked in the silence. I reveled in the quiet. And this time with the Lord as my only companion was what I needed.
I went home refreshed and recharged.
And I was eager to return.