Door County Folk School Retreat | Midwest Living

Door County Folk School Retreat

As a Door County, Wisconsin, folk school, a harried mom re-centers her life with stimulating classes, tempting meals and good company.


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Needing More Time



I AM A PROFESSIONAL PLATE SPINNER. Well, I’m a mom who also works outside the home. Same diff.

Like most women these days, I try to have it all. Work that is my own. Happy kids whose mom is there when they need her. A warm, fun marriage.

That’s a lot of plates to spin, and life gets pretty frenzied sometimes. People tell me I’ll look back on these days with fondness, but I can hardly remember what I did yesterday.

Which is probably why it’s wise to take time to assess my world and relax the way I used to when my life was, well, mine. As with most women my age, I find that time all too rare. It’s not just me. It’s in the numbers. The American Time Use Survey shows that adults today are tight on down time. We’re devoting only 15 paltry minutes a day on average for "thinking and relaxing. "

I don’t know about you, but 15 minutes isn’t enough time to figure out how to even start unwinding, much less truly decompress. For me, relaxation means travel—time away refreshes the soul. The Clearing in Door County, Wisconsin, is a thoughtful break to restore parts of my spirit that have taken on a little tarnish since motherhood and career took center stage.

The Clearing is a folk school founded in 1935 by landscape architect Jens Jensen on a rocky cliff overlooking Green Bay. Guests stay in spare dormitory quarters in a northern Wisconsin forest and take weeklong classes from a rotating menu of laid-back, ungraded affairs, mostly in nature studies, humanities and art.

"It’s a place to leave your stress at the gate, " says Shirley Hoague of Janesville, Wisconsin, a regular at The Clearing. "There’s always time for a quiet walk on paths that take you into the woods or down by the beach. "

Now, the toddler’s mom’s memory isn’t much, but I vaguely recall that quiet walks by beaches are generally tonic for the soul. For this, I cannot wait.



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