Gold Coast Quilt Guild Retreat 2012: St. Augustine, Florida
Our bus was loaded and departed punctually on Monday with Toye, our trusted driver for seven years, at the wheel. GCQG quilters were off to a new venue and quilt shops to explore.
Even though the bagels got left in the fridge, with brie-stuffed strawberries served with croissants and Pam Kepchar’s chocolate chip coffee cake, they were soon forgotten. Tammie was in the catbird seat as our inimitable “mistress of the mike.”
We arrived at THE QUILT PLACE in Rockledge to a welcoming staff with a huge inventory of bolts. The “Bargain Nook” was a hit, lots of good buys for $5@ yard. We were given a demo on Ten Minute Blocks and other quick patterns popular with their customers. It is a spacious shop with room to roam, all types of fabrics, lots of samples-just remember to look UP, if you visit the shop.
Back on the bus, we enjoyed the 2012 Soldier Ride video produced by our talented historian, Carol Stoltenberg, and were inspired to make a Quilt of Valor for the next ride. Our bus turned off the St. Augustine exit before our rooms were ready but a quick call to MAGRIETA’S shop in the historic district echoed the theme of hospitality in town—“no problem”—come on in! She and her staff planned on staying open after hours for our bus, she was happy to go home at quitting time and we were anxious to see her shop. During our stay, we returned daily for needed supplies—the shop was just a few blocks from the hotel.
After we indoctrinated the Holiday Inn management about our Quilt Retreat room set-up, and with Toye’s help, more tables were brought in. We got settled into our comfortable rooms (all on the same floor as our sewing room) and soon after sewing machines were humming along.
After the hotel’s delicious complimentary breakfast buffet, Raine Cavallo, planned our Tuesday excursion to CINNAMON’S QUILT SHOPPE, a short ride up to Jacksonville. The shop has only been open about a year, and Karen and her staff are anxious to please. GCQG retreaters were given a 20% end of bolt discount, and an instructional demo on how to make a Tsumami Kanzashi Flower brooch. Room after room, bolts and more bolts of fabric made for a great visit. Some retreaters continued on to Enchanted Antiques in a nearby antique mall, while the bus returned most of us back to our home base to sew. Susan Osinoff gave retreaters a mini-class on computer photos and Photoshop with a quilting application. She is your “answer” person to seek out help in tech matters.
Wednesday was a free day for retreaters to keep sewing, explore the Historic district by the Old Town Trolley or by foot, and some quilters needed a return trip to Magrieta’s. The weather was beautiful and Toye happily coordinated dropoffs and pickups. Before we left for supper, we presented a quilt to Toye Randolph, our driver. The quilt was made by Tammie Clarke, Raine Cavallo, and Jean deFrances, and machine quilted by Victoria Magnacca. Knowing he is behind the wheel just makes our retreats go so smoothly. He was very surprised, and we all choked back a few tears of happiness. You can view pictures of the quilt presentation on the website. Our farewell dinner was at Aunt Kate’s on the River where we watched the sunset and enjoyed our seafood specialties and hushpuppies.
We returned for ongoing Show and Tells of completed tops, door prize giveaways, and more sewing time! Stormy Schevis showed us how to make and design a quick Heart quilt label—an important step in completing quilts—LABEL and document your works of heart.
We departed St. Augustine on Thursday late morning and headed to Byrd’s Nest Quilt Shop in Ormond Beach. With a 15% discount, and even more fabric bolts, we spent a couple hours shopping with a down-home atmosphere. The staff gave retreaters demos and they had cookies and snacks for the bus riders. Down the home stretch, in Viera just off I-95, is a shopping center with a Hobby Lobby and a Cracker Barrel. We all printed off 40% off coupons for Hobby Lobby, and they had a decent fabric department so more fabric was purchased. Toye kept circling the parking lot, and we all finished an early supper and headed safely down the pike to Boca. I felt that the more north we headed, the more “southern” the atmosphere became. Everyone was so hospitable and friendly faces greeted us warmly in shops and restaurants. To visit the St. Augustine area would be a great weekender trip. Stop by and patronize these shops if you head up the coast of Florida.
We welcomed five members who had never been on our annual retreat, and applaud those returnees for supporting this event. My sincere thanks go to my committee for their help in planning and executing the trip. Shall we return or head elsewhere? Let us know.