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Artist's RetreatFiber Art, Macramé & Yogahosted by

Haley Harnagel, Fiber Artist  & Yoga Instructor | Joleen Emery, Artist & Yoga Instructor

November 4-7, 2021

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About This Retreat…

The last few years have changed the landscape of the world in which we live, leaving many of us feeling burned out, exhausted and depleted. With limited time and resources, it can be difficult to find the means to refill our own buckets, but it is also one of the most critical things we must do for ourselves. In this retreat, we will slow down and learn simple creative techniques to give our minds a break, restore our sense of wonder in the world, and give ourselves permission to simply play. Although we will be exploring these ideas using art, you do not need to be an artist or even consider yourself creative to benefit from these lessons. Possible projects will include paper folding, art journaling, paper rolling/coiling, and more. We will learn how to work creativity into both your workday and homelife and will also discuss ways art can be helpful to your mental health. (Please note, this retreat is not art therapy and does not replace the care of a trained mental health professional!)

Embark on a rejuvenating journey of creativity, connection, and relaxation with our 4-day, all-inclusive retreats at Big Raven Farm. Nestled in the rolling hills and rugged limestone bluffs of southeast Minnesota, our retreats offer a unique blend of hands-on workshops, self-directed leisure time, and a tranquil environment in which to unwind and reconnect with your inner artist.

No artistic experience is necessary! — Joleen will walk you through your projects, step by step. This is a “choose your own adventure” type of affair — you can tackle as many or as few projects from this list as you have the time and energy for. If you finish 5 projects, great! If you only finish 1 project, also great! If you only start 1 project and want to finish it at home, that’s fine too. Your pace and energy level are entirely your own; We’re just here to help you on your journey!

Most of your art will be made using reclaimed and repurposed supplies such as discarded books, reclaimed picture frames, magazines, fabric, paper scraps, cardboard, and shipping materials. Between projects, Joleen can teach you how to start your own wall of folded books, lead you and the rest of our guests in a yoga practice, or you may choose to simply rest and relax and enjoy your beautiful natural surroundings. This weekend is about you!

What to Expect

Expert-Led Workshops

Our immersive workshops are designed for all skill levels. I will guide you through various techniques such as paper sculpture, folded paper projects, jewelry making, and repurposed craft design (depending on what you choose to make, of course!) Hone your skills, discover new passions, and create one-of-a-kind masterpieces to take home with you!

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Beautiful Accommodations 🌿

Stay in our charming and comfortable home, surrounded by inviting spaces and serene landscapes. Our luxurious and spacious rooms are equipped with all the modern amenities (including great wifi!) to ensure a restful night’s sleep to rejuvenate your spirit.

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🌾 Farm-to-Table Dining

Savor delectable gourmet meals prepared by our in-house chef using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Our farm-to-table dining experience caters to all dietary preferences and requirements, with a focus on wholesome, nourishing cuisine.

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Relaxation & Self-Care

During your time here, take advantage of our on-site hiking trails, sprawling porches, inviting patios, and yoga studio. Participate in optional activities such guided meditation or yoga, or simply curl up with a good book in one of our many cozy nooks.

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Community & Connection

Forge lasting friendships with fellow retreat-goers as you bond over shared experiences. Our intimate setting allows for meaningful conversations and easy, comfortable relationships both with us and with each other. This will be a weekend you’ll never forget!

Your 4-Day Retreat Package Includes…

  • 4 days (3 nights) at our beautiful country estate.
  • Daily farm-to-table breakfast , lunch, and dinner.
  • Unlimited access to our yoga studio.
  • Complimentary high-speed wifi and free parking.
  • Optional evening social events and entertainment.

Escape the daily grind and immerse yourself in our 4-day, all-inclusive retreat — a tranquil haven where rest and relaxation come together in perfect harmony. Book your spot today and experience an amazing weekend in a truly inspiring setting!

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Supplies & Materials

What’s Included

  • Art is Life Swag Bag
  • With lots of goodies inside!!
  • Everything you need to complete your projects,
  • including a 14” Beka frame loom, weaving tools,
  • and all the materials needed to complete
  • a macramé plant hanger and two weavings.
  • Incredible Food! Tasty meals, snacks & breaks
  • Nightly accommodations, and optional yoga classes!

 

Supplies We Share

  • Yarn/fiber
  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Self-healing mats
  • Pencils, Pens, Markers

 

Joleen Emery

What To Bring

  • Nothing —OR—
  • Your favorite artsy tools — scissors, fabric needles, yarn, etc.
  • (You don’t have to bring anything but you sure can!)
     
  • Be sure to bring...
  • Water bottle
  • Farm shoes
  • Yoga Clothes
  • Personal items
  • Sweatshirt for cool farm evenings…
Haley Harnagel

 

What We Share

  • Good food, good stories, and newfound friendships: We hope you leave here with more friends than you came with, and we hope you’ll already be looking forward to your next retreat with us!
  • Our home: Big Raven Farm is our workshop, our retreat center, and our home, and we want you to feel welcome and comfortable here with us! If you need something, or you need special accommodations, please ask and we’ll do our best!
  • Our friendly dog, Auggie: He’ll try to lure you into playing ball with him (and might try to hop into your car to go home with you).

Location

Big Raven Farm, Spring Grove, MN

Google Maps Link

From the moment you walk in the door, you will be swept away by the classic charm of our Italian marble floors, open staircase and remarkable hand-built craftsmanship throughout!

We have free-range chickens, a family dog (Auggie), outdoor cats (Tony, Kevin, Todd, Steve), and breathtaking views. You will most likely see deer, turkeys, pheasants, bald eagles, and lots of squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks, and the occasional fox.

We have an on-site yoga studio, office, gift shop and an incredible dining hall with 13-foot ceilings and an abundance of natural light that serves as our studio during craft retreats.

We’ve got great wifi, with a high-speed fiber optic connection linking all the buildings to the outside world. Bedrooms do not have TVs but if you bring a portable device our high-speed network will allow you to stream without interruption.

We have a 2+ mile hiking trail that surrounds our property and we have great patios and porches, and best of all we have no mosquitoes — you can hang out on the porch all night and never see or hear or feel a single mosquito. (We live in the Driftless area, which is defined by steep valleys, rivers, and running water. There’s almost no standing water in which mosquitoes can breed.)

Guests are invited to explore all parts of our property, aside from our private bedroom and the workshop below the yoga studio where we print custom yoga mats through our Big Raven Yoga site. In particular, guests are welcome to use the great room (living room), music room, kitchen, kitchen annex, dining hall, game room, and all outdoor seating areas.

Spring Grove is home to the highly acclaimed and well-regarded RockFilter Distillery, Spring Grove Soda Pop, Fat Pat’s BBQ & Brewery, Heart Rock Coffee Roasters, the Norwegian Ridge Birding Trail, and the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center. Main Street also features a number of gift shops (The Turquoise Tomato, West Main Boutique) and an art gallery (Bluff Country Artists Gallery).

Nearby airports include Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), La Crosse Regional (LSE) and Rochester Regional (RST), but we are an easy drive from nearly anywhere in the Midwest!

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Meals

Breakfasts

Breakfast items we commonly serve: house-made granola, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, sour cream coffee cake, cranberry oatmeal bake, avocado toast made with farm-fresh bread and freshly laid eggs, spinach quiche, hashbrown egg bake, baked French toast, cornmeal-dusted waffles, turkey sausage, banana bread, strawberry muffins. (Varies by season and the whims of our cooks and bakers.)

Lunches

Our lunch menus tend to be crisp and fresh and extremely satisfying! We have lots of lunch options but our guests really love our quinoa salad with avocado and orange dressing, vegetable quiche with fresh fruit compote, chicken barley protein bowl, apple gado-gado salad with Thai lettuce wraps, and spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts, & feta.

Dinners

Dinners at Big Raven Farm are designed to be the perfect end to a remarkable day. Some of our favorites include: turkey cranberry chili with cornbread, chicken wild rice soup with Parmesan focaccia, spinach lasagne with salad & rustic house-made bread, asparagus ham fusilli, and creative, gourmet pizzas such as BBQ chicken, cheeseburger, and arugula and prosciutto. Desserts include blueberry plum upside-down cake, black bean brownies, rhubarb crisp, butterscotch chocolate chip cake, Earl Grey pound cake with lemon curd, and spicy mango oatmeal bars.

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What Our Guests Say…

Dana Keller

Dana Keller

“I loved our retreat experience so much I am making the trip again in November! Top notch! Joleen oozes creativity and her chef of a husband, Darin, makes us all feel like royalty! Typically when you attend events like this there is a concern that things will be awkward and a little uncomfortable. That doesn’t happen at Big Raven Farm — Joleen and Darin have created an environment where the moment you walk through the door you feel like you’re home… but better. They will spoil you rotten!”

(Dana lives in Missouri and has now made the 6-hour trip FIVE times so far and has become one of our very best friends. We only wish she lived closer!)

Jennifer Maroney

Jennifer Maroney

“Where to begin?! Oh yes, at Big Raven Farm! Walking into the main house is like a big warm hug! You are immediately immersed in a welcoming and cozy environment, surrounded by art and beauty. The food was amazing and each meal was part of the experience. Our art instruction was inspiring and so much fun! And the farm animals — the most adorable dog and friendly cats, plus chickens who like to come up to the house to check things out! The yoga studio was an oasis of serenity — perfect for any level of practice. You owe it to yourself to stay here and experience this place and the amazing couple who will host you!”

Amber Bridgeman

Amber Bridgeman

“My favorite thing about attending retreats at Big Raven Farm is the feeling of being taken care of. Joleen and Darin are excellent hosts. The accommodations are extremely comfortable. The food is delicious and plentiful. The retreat is a rare opportunity to use my creativity. I love being able to practice yoga and create beautiful artwork that I can proudly display in my home. I leave the retreats feeling whole and relaxed. I very much look forward to visiting Joleen, Darin, and their beautiful farm again soon!”

(Amber and her sister live in Duluth and have been back for three retreats…so far.)

Accommodations

You will be staying at beautiful Big Raven Farm, a 10-acre retreat center in the heart of the Driftless region, where Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa meet.

Featuring 6 guest rooms that sleep 14+, a 1200 square foot event center and yoga studio, an 800 square foot ballroom that accommodates 60, a commercial kitchen, and a 2-mile walking trail, we are conveniently located only 2½ hours from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Madison, and Dubuque.

Room selection is on a first-come, first-served basis. Rooms are double occupany, with the exception of one quad, which sleeps four. We are happy to provide king-sized beds for couples or individuals who book an entire room for themselves!

  • Premiere Suite with Private Bath (Black) 11-4
    Premiere Suite with Private Bath (Black) 11-4

    Our premiere guest suite, this double-occupancy room on the second floor features two twin XL (extra-long) beds (optionally convertible to a single king-sized bed), leather sofa, and private marble bath with tub. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots); if you and a friend intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $647
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    No Longer
    Available
  • Shared Suite with Private Bath (Pink) 11-4
    Shared Suite with Private Bath (Pink) 11-4

    This double-occupancy room on the second floor is part of a 2-room suite that features a private bath with a shower. This room is attached to the bath; the second room will have access to this bath through this room. Both rooms feature two twin XL (extra-long) beds in each room, optionally convertible to single king-sized beds. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots), and will be expected to share the bath with guests in the adjoining room; if you and a friend intend to share this room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $627
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    Spots Remaining:2
  • Shared Suite with Shared Bath (Gray) 11-4
    Shared Suite with Shared Bath (Gray) 11-4

    This double-occupancy room on the second floor is part of a 2-room suite featuring a private bath with shower shared by both rooms. Access to the bath is through the other room, but a second shared bath is accessible from the hallway. Both rooms feature two twin XL (extra-long) beds in each room, optionally convertible to single king-sized beds. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots); if you and a friend intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $607
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    Spots Remaining:2
  • Private Room with Shared Bath (Blue) 11-4
    Private Room with Shared Bath (Blue) 11-4

    This double-occupancy private room on the top floor shares a bath with all top-floor rooms. It features amazing lighting and incredible south-facing vistas of the surrounding countryside. This room features two twin XL (extra-long) beds, optionally convertible to a single king-sized bed. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots); if you and a friend intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $587
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    No Longer
    Available
  • Private Room with Shared Bath (Cobalt) 11-4
    Private Room with Shared Bath (Cobalt) 11-4

    This double-occupancy private room on the top floor shares a bath with all top-floor rooms. It features tree-top views of the surrounding woods and fields. This room features two twin XL (extra-long) beds, optionally convertible to a single king-sized bed. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots); if you and a friend intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $587
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    No Longer
    Available
  • Top Floor Quad 11-4
    Top Floor Quad 11-4

    This quadruple-occupancy room on the top floor shares a bath with all top-floor rooms. It features tree-top views of the surrounding woods and fields. This room features four twin XL (extra-long) beds, optionally convertible to single king-sized beds. Please note that you will be sharing this room with 3 other retreat guests; if you and a friend (or friends) intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $567
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    No Longer
    Available

Want to see more of Big Raven Farm?
Check out our Photo Album!

FAQs

  • What if I'm not an actual writer or artist?
    This weekend retreat is for anyone who is working through grief and loss. There will be no technical requirements or activities—this is a journey of exploration and discovery. We promise—there are no judges of your work or process—this is all incredibly personal.
  • What kind of meals do you serve?
    All of the meals and snacks are made in our Commercial Kitchen at Big Raven Farm. Both Darin and Joleen hold culinary certifications: Darin has trained with Danielle Kattan in Asian Cuisine and Joleen has earned a Baking Certificate from the Culinary Institute of America—Hyde Park, New York. To give you more detail of what you can expect here is a recent menu from a weekend retreat: We don't serve soda but we do make sure that water, coffee, iced tea and Arnold Palmers are available all day long. (Breakfast) Baked French Toast with Strawberries, Blueberries & Oatmeal Crumble, Homemade Granola with Greek Yogurt, Assorted Fruit, and Orange Juice (Lunch) Tart Cherry Chili served with Mixed Green Salad, Cornbread Muffins, and Apple Slices (Dinner) Green Goddess Protein Bowls served with Rotisserie Chicken, Edamame, Rice, Spring Onions, and Crunchy Corn Strings (Snacks) Homemade Date Bars, Fresh Fruit, Assorted Nuts, & Arnold Palmers. You will have a happy belly—the food is nummy!
  • Can I use your kitchen to prepare my own meals?
    You can store items in our fridge but no, you cannot wield knives or fire up the stove. We have a guest pantry with microwave just off the kitchen that is stocked with snacks and a full cookie jar—please help yourself. Joleen's most requested and loved Gingersnaps are usually found lurking in there.
  • What if I need special meals?
    There will be a follow up email sent to you that contains driving directions and details about retreat logistics. If you need Vegan, Vegetarian, or Gluten Free options reply to that email and let us know. If you have menu requirements different from what is posted here—just talk to Joleen—she's nice and loves to help.
  • Can we talk about your coffee?
    This is a great question—in fact, a really important question—in our Commercial grade coffee maker we brew and serve locally sourced and roasted coffee, this tasty option IS included with your registration. We also serve espresso and lattes—these options are NOT included with your registration. Our fancy coffee bar beverages have an additional fee—but you can run a tab and we will settle up at the end of your weekend.
  • Can you tell me more about Big Raven Farm?
    Big Raven Farm is a functioning Bed & Breakfast with a Retreat Center, Yoga Studio, Print Shop, Gift Shop, Nature Trail, Summer House and outbuildings. It is owned and operated by Joleen Emery & Darin Warling, together with and 2 of their 4 kids (Georgie & Charlie) they live on the property and manage their businesses.
  • Does the Farm have common spaces—places to hang out besides guest bedrooms?
    Absolutely!! We have a beautiful Great Room with couches and chairs, a dining veranda with tables & chairs, patios off the front of the house, and a huge wrap around porch with incredible views connected to the yoga studio. There are lots and lots of places to settle in and enjoy the serenity of the farm.
  • Do you serve alcohol?
    Nope—we are a coffee, tea, lemonade, iced tea, Arnold Palmer kinda joint.
  • Can I bring my pet?
    Our home belongs to the pets we already have... chickens, cats, kittens, and our beloved family dog, Auggie.
  • Wait, is this your family home?
    Yes! We have our own personal bedrooms and living spaces, you can't shake us—we are ALWAYS here!.
  • Are there TVs in the rooms?
    No, but we have excellent wi-fi if you want to stream to your electronic devices.
  • What’s your refund policy?
    I’m sorry, but I’m afraid we cannot refund reservations. If you’ve reserved a spot, it has prevented someone else from registering. However, you are more than welcome to find someone else to take over your spot prior to the retreat!
  • What is your COVID-19 Policy & Protocol?
    Everyone who lives and works at Big Raven Farm is vaccinated. Given that retreats occur largely indoors, bedrooms are double occupancy, and that we enjoy family-style dining, we require our guests to be vaccinated for the safety of all participants and staff. To do our part we follow the Minnesota State COVID-19 cleanliness guidelines for Inns and Hotels.
  • Questions?

    If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to me!