Blueberry Hill Girls

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Blueberry Hill Inn, Goshen Vermont

I’m so excited to share with you about a recent trip I took that was so much out of my comfort zone – but was such a completely perfect experience – that I’m still amazed!

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My sweet friend Faith; finally meeting in real life

I have a friend that I met on Instagram.  (Do you have one of those?)  Faith and I have messaged back and forth for a couple of years now, sharing quilting projects, sharing ideas, getting advice from each other on all kinds of things.  About ten months ago she invited me to go on a Sewing Retreat with her and 21 other women.  They meet in Vermont at a beautiful old Inn in the middle of nowhere for a few days where they sew, talk, laugh (hysterically and often), eat, and try to get a little sleep!  I didn’t hesitate when I was invited, right then and there I said yes!  I had not met any of these women in person, including my friend Faith, even though I have followed most of them on Instagram through the years.

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My darling roommates:  Jonna and Jenn

I was so excited for this trip.  But as it got closer the nerves set in and I got more and more unsettled about my decision.  I was flying all the way to Vermont to spend three days with 21 women I had never met before.  And to top it off I would also be sharing a little cottage with 2 other gals.  I’m actually amazed I didn’t back out… I came so close!  Luckily I had made a deposit on my room and purchased a plane ticket so there really wasn’t any going back!

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Traveling from Boston to Vermont

After a great flight into Boston I met up with 4 other gals and we traveled to Vermont together.  It was a great ice breaker for me!  We visited and laughed and the fun began.

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The back of Blueberry Hill Inn

When we arrived  I was instantly enveloped in hugs from all the gals that had gotten there before us.  There were about 3 different cities that we were all flying into and it was just so much fun watching everyone arrive.

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What I noticed immediately was how friendly everyone was and how welcoming.  I think there were only a few of us that were new this year; the rest of the women all knew each other.  You would think that would be difficult, but I sincerely felt that they treated me like I belonged and honestly within minutes I was set at ease.

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The entrance into our cottage from the sunporch 

My roommates (who ironically had also flown into Boston, so we had gotten familiar with each other on the drive) and I were taken to our little cottage and we got settled.  It was a darling cottage with a double bed downstairs and twin beds in the open loft upstairs.   Those sweet young girls gave me the downstairs with the bathroom right by my bed!

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The beautiful “sewing” barn all lit up and ready for our late nights

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A window into the Makers Paradise

So now, this post is going to take on a little bit of the emotional side of things!  I will skip over all the things like meals (they were great), continual full cookie jar (I ate plenty), hikes around the beautiful acreage, my morning runs on the quiet dirt roads, and no cell service (that was surprisingly nice) and tell you about the things that warmed my heart.

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Even in poor lighting we sewed away

Sewing in the barn.  This was so amazing.  Tables were set up in a large U shape and everyone just picked a spot and spread out!  The sound of laughter, talking, sharing, and even quiet conversations hummed around the room and it was beautiful.

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Inspiration! I think walking around the room and looking at all the eye candy of sewing totes, bags, pouches, and projects was just beyond inspiring to me.  I wanted to touch every single thing.  I think by the end of the 3 days, I actually had!

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Blueberry Hill Girls – all 22 of us 

Friendships made. This was such a beautiful surprise to me.  Meeting in real life the people that I’ve enjoyed getting to know on Instagram.  Learning their personalities and getting to know them in a personal way.  Some of them were such an incredibly awesome surprise that I’m still grinning about it!

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Hilarious white elephant game 

Laughing until the tears rolled.  This isn’t  exactly hard for me.  I laugh easily and often.  But I don’t know that I’ve laughed this hard in a very long time.  Every day, over and over again!  Sheer hilarity in so many forms!

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Beautiful big stitch quilting by Faith

Hand sewing in a circle.  If I had to choose my favorite thing of the whole 3 days I would say that it was the circle of women hand quilting, mending, crocheting, stitching in the middle of the room.  Sometimes there were only a few of us, other times there were 10 or more.  We had some of the best conversations sitting in that circle.  I want to go back for a lot of reasons but that is the number one reason!

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Teaching Amy and Faith how to crochet my dishcloth  (I’m not much of a crochet teacher… they were patient and kind with me as I struggled to teach it!) 

Sharing knowledge.  I loved how eager everyone was to share any tips, ideas, suggestions, shortcuts etc…   It was such a special feeling to ask “How do you do that?” and get a great lesson!

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Twenty-Two sets of buntings 

Gift giving and receiving.  So many beautiful gifts were gifted to me.  I love that I have precious keepsakes of my time there.  I still have them sitting on my kitchen island because I want to just keep looking at them!  I made 22 adorable buntings and gifted one to each person.  I needed something that wouldn’t take up too much room in my suitcase!

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Dresden T-shirts

Trying new things!  I have never made a Dresden Plate before.  And that’s a pretty big deal when you are a quilter!  I’m not sure if I’ve been intimidated or just not totally interested.  Anyway, one of the gals suggested that we make a Dresden Plate and sew it onto a  t-shirt!  I jumped right in on that project and learned how easy it is to make!  It was really fun and now when I wear my darling t-shirt I think of these four ladies that taught me how!   Another awesome Blueberry Hill keepsake!

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My unfinished log cabin quilt on the barn in Vermont

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My finished log cabin quilt on my Tennessee Hilltop 

Motivation.  I really needed this in the worst way!  I took my Log Cabin quilt top that I pieced before going to Vermont.  This quilt has 30 blocks; 20 of which were made by the ladies in an IG Sewing Bee group that I am in, and 10 made by me.  I was really excited to get a good start on my hand quilting.  I didn’t get as far as I wanted while I was in Vermont but it motivated me so much that I came home and committed to an hour a day until I finished the quilt.  It took me 3 weeks!  And I could not love this quilt more!

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Log Cabin Quilts in progress 

I’ve never been very good at words and expressing what something means to me.  One of the sweet girls in Vermont posted to her IG page when we all got home and what she said was exactly what I felt.  She’s given me permission to quote her here:

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“Sometimes life affords you the chance to experience true joy.  The kind you feel down deep in your bones.  The kind that leaves your cheeks aching with the strain of endless hours of laughter.  The kind where you experience a shared kinship like no other.  The kind that is overwhelming and enveloping.  The kind that changes you.  Stays with you.  And fills you up completely.  To all the incredible ladies of the Blueberry Hill Girls, thank you for sharing your magic with me.”   ~ Jonna ~ 

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I wish everyone had a chance to experience something as magical as the sewing retreat at Blueberry Hill Inn.  I’m so thankful for the invitation and that I didn’t hesitate to say yes!

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Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.

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Dori

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P.S.  And the WINNER to my giveaway from last month is:  Gloria Smith!

Leave a comment 19 Comments

  1. Cyndie Gray says:

    What a precious experience for you my dear friend! I am so happy that you were able to “brave up” and go to this retreat!! That is such an awesome feeling to have after an experience~true joy~ it happens too seldom in our lives. Much love to you my friend!!

  2. Mary Rauch says:

    I was overcome with happiness for YOU. I’m very very impressed you overcame that thought of backing out. As you can see, looking back, it would have been a terrible mistake. Truly, you will NEVER forget this!….bless you and all of them.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Mary,

      I have to be honest and say that if I hadn’t paid a deposit and bought a plane ticket I probably would’ve backed out! :-) SO thankful I didn’t!!

      ~ Dori ~

  3. Pat says:

    I am.so glad you did not.back out. Looks.loke you had a wonderful time..

  4. Beth says:

    What an incredibly wonderful experience — and in Vermont! Plus, the gift of 22 more sisters. The love and laughter had to be visible from space! Looking to find a way to make this happen here in OR. Thanks for sharing something so special!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Beth,

      It felt like such a once in a lifetime experience for me but I sure hope its not! And you do need to make it happen in Oregon!

      ~ Dori ~

  5. Robin Reichardt says:

    Wow that retreat sounds like so much fun! I will def put one on my bucket list!

  6. Sandi King says:

    Oh, Dori, what an experience, what a joy and what fun that was. I love it and I wasn’t even there except through your eyes and words and pictures. It was such a wonderful time reading and looking and being there in my imagination. You say you aren’t good with expressing yourself but you did such a wonderful job of it that I felt very much at home there and part of that friendship you developed. Thank you for going there and taking us with you. It was wonderful.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Sandi,

      Thank you so much… writing is such a hard thing trying to really convey how it felt! So I appreciate you for getting it! :-)

      ~ Dori ~

  7. Denise says:

    OH what fun!! makes me want to dig out some of my quilt projects and get back to working on them. :)

  8. Marilyn says:

    What a nice experiment for you. All of you ladies look like you had a lot of fun. You now have a trove of treasured moments and lasing friendships. The Quilt is beautiful. Thank You for sharing your time at Blueberry Hill.
    Marilyn

  9. Donna B. says:

    Wonderful experiencing with you. I may have to get my UGOs out and start again. Thanks for the inspiration and smiles.

  10. Joani says:

    What a wonderful trip away yu had. I felt I was right there with you. Retreats were going away is just the best. I’m so hoping you were refreshed and delighted and the memories are continuing. Blessings and thank you for sharing.

  11. Peggy Black says:

    Sounds like a wonderful experience. I would love to
    Do this.

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