In 2012, instead of a 52 project, I did a 40+12 project, 40 Days of 40 Favorite Things for my 40th birthday plus 12 Adventures. This post is one such adventure. While it does not include a gluten-free or healthy recipe, it is part of my healthy approach to life lived well. I hope you’ll read along when I write about my adventures, they are an important part of the journey to health!
While I work really hard to make this eating gluten-free thing look easy (and actually BE easy), there’s a comfort that comes with being around others who understand. One of my favorite adventures of the year was attending the gfe-Gluten Free Easily retreat at Shirley’s beautiful home, which I consider to be a retreat center. Keep reading, you’ll see why…
I drove from DC to Shirley’s beautiful home in a wooded area with a lake. I had not met Shirley in person, but really felt like I knew her because she has always been such a great source of support for the entire gluten-free community online. She is every bit as warm and inviting in person and her home reflects that. I knew the minute I arrived leaving was going to be difficult. It was so peaceful!
Over the weekend, I met many more fabulous ladies and reconnected with Diane of The Whole Gang. Diane was almost always in the kitchen, seamlessly creating meals for the vegetarians, the dairy-free folks, whatever food challenge was at hand. She made it look easy and it was always delicious. It was here that I fell in love with the Hurom juicer and learned about guaco-tacos. I’m rarely without a jicama after learning this great trick.
I really enjoyed meeting Debi of Hunter’s Lyonesse and we’ve since shared a meal closer to her home than mine or Shirley’s. She keeps her camera at the ready and that makes me feel comfortable–being with others who photograph food like I do is a treat. There was certainly no shortage of food photography in this group of ladies!
The angel food cake Linda of Gluten-Free Homemaker shared made this trip worth it, even if all I did was eat cake. And the incredibly simple, insanely delicious chocolate fondue Kim of CookIt Allergy Free whipped up to go with it? Divine! These ladies are truly masters of the kitchen.
Shirley did an amazing job showing us her part of the country. We saw beautiful historic sites, went on a horse and carriage ride and even had a bit of local food.
Here’s Diane showing Heather of Gluten Free Cat the how-tos of steamed crab. While not something I eat, it is always interesting to me to see local food and I’m glad I had to chance to join these gals for a regional meal.
Visiting the local farmer’s market was another highlight of this trip for me. I brought home tomato basil jam and had a delicious gluten-free muffin at the market made by a bright young lady, Maren, who surely has a future in baking. I also visited the water the same day, such a beautiful part of the country!
Just so it doesn’t sound like all we did was eat and sight-see, I’ll share a bit more. One night we had a lovely lunar yoga class with Jennifer. Jennifer isn’t a blogger but should be. She’s witty and smart and savvy to the ways we should treat our bodies. I adore her and am so glad to have met her.
We also had down time to catch up with the cyber world and to laugh. Boy, we laughed A LOT. There’s such a sense of ease with these ladies, knowing we all get each other from a place of more than just food. That sure did make for a fun weekend full of food and laughter. And there’s was this handsome pooch, Sonny. Icing on the cake for me, a lovely group of ladies AND a dog!
I’ve traveled several times since going to Shirley’s wonderful retreat and each time I’ve thought about how easy it was, how much fun I had, going to a place full of other gluten-free folks. While I have no plans of moving to a gluten-free commune, it sure was fun spending time with a group of gluten-free folks in a beautiful setting. I hope to do it again one day soon!
It was WONDERFUL being with a group of people and not worrying about the food. Not to mention everyone being okay with all the food porn being taken and not twiddling their thumbs getting impatient about it. You know you’re with food bloggers when the call to eat is, “Pictures are all taken!” hehehe I can’t wait for the next retreat!
Shirley @ gfe says
Reading your recap warms my heart, Johnna! Thank you so very much! I just let Mr. GFE read this, too. Well, he asked to read it after I showed it to him. He really appreciated the look into our gfe retreat as well. 🙂
Can’t wait until 2013!
Oh, no! If Mr. GFE knows how much fun we had, he may not leave so this can happen again next year! Thanks so much for inviting me to your wonderful retreat, it was a highlight of the year for me.