Well Being Retreat Center
"Where Silence Is Expressed"
Activities at Well Being Retreat Center
The Well Being Center's meeting room is a large, vaulted, air-conditioned space with views across the Powell River valley. Meals are served from our licensed commercial kitchen and dining room in the same building. There is a huge deck for outside dining. The Meeting Room can seat over 50 people (or up to 18 Yoga mats). There are plenty of comfortable padded chairs, Yoga mats, pillows, blankets, cushions and backjacks. The Meeting Room has wifi, a flat screen wall-mounted TV, voice amplification system, and beautiful Persian carpets. Eleven Cabins & Cabinettes sleep up to 28 people.
Contact Well Being Retreat Center:
or at 423-626-9000 for more information
Well Being's Apiary has six hives that we keep within a 6,00 square foot demonstration pollinator habitat garden. The "Bee Garden" has over 25 species of perennial wildflowers and several varieties of trees and shrubs that bees favor. Of course, this small garden is insufficient to be a significant source of nectar for the bees, but we maintain for demonstration purposes. Each Spring we host a "Field Day" for the Bee Friends of Claiborne County, TN." This is a free event where an experienced honeybee inspector opens up the hives and explains what's happening inside. Usually 30 or more new and experienced beekeepers attend. (There's always more to learn!) We keep the honeybees because they are having a rough go of it these days. In addition to honeybees, many other pollinator species are also present: butterflies, moths, other types of bees, beetles, and more.
The Well Being Retreat Center is nearly surrounded by 2 1/2 miles of the Powell River. The Powell River is one of the two largest free-flowing (un-dammed) rivers in Tennessee. We have 11 kayaks and three canoes that are available for rent for the 2+ mile paddle around the land, or we can transport these boats upstream for a longer float. The Powell is a Class 1 (easy) river suitable for all skill levels.
We don't hunt on the land and we don't allow dogs and cats on the land. We like both dogs and cats, but dogs chase deer and cats are hard on songbirds. So we made a decision when the Retreat Center first moved onto this land, that we wanted the native wildlife here to be able to live without fear of bullets or domestic animals. Now, eight years later, the deer no longer run away in terror and they are often seen grazing in the pastures at dusk, or, like the deer pictured, strolling down the path to one of the cabins. By casual birdwatching, we have identified 59 species of birds on the land. There are beaver, river otter, blue herons and wood ducks in the river. A bald eagle will do an occasional flyby. Sometimes a flock of wild turkeys will visit. And often we are entertained by the raucous laughter of a pileated woodpecker or startled by the pre-historic cry of a blue heron late at night or delighted by a rabbit slowly hopping past you.
At Well Being Retreat Center, we tend a one acre vegetable garden and orchard that is maintained organically, that is, no GMO's, no insecticides, herbicides or fungicides.. We have ten raised beds that are mostly used for annual vegetables, but we also have a bed of asparagus and a bed of strawberries. We have sixtky blueberry bushes that are thriving, blackberries, goji berries, and a variety of fruit trees that we planted eight years ago. We have a plant start room where we raise vegetable and flower seeds as well as root cuttings from trees and bushes.
Fruit & Vegetable Gardening
At Well Being Retreat Center, we keep egg-laying chickens in a portable coop within the fenced one acre vegetable garden to keep them safe from predators. Everyone loves chicken (raccoons, o'possum, weasels, owls, hawks, coyotes, etc.) and keeping them safe can sometimes feel like a full-time job. We feed the chickens organic feed, healthy table scraps, and vegetable overage from the garden. And they of course graze on healthy pasture and whatever bugs they can find therein. The healthy varied diet is what makes the yolks so bright orange and make the eggs taste like, well, eggs.
Caring for the River
Well Being Foundation supports the ecological health of the Powell River. Towards this end, we helped to initiate a GIS project with Lincoln Memorial University in nearby Harrogate, TN which investigated key parameters of the river such as concentrations of possible pollutants, water temperature, and the presence of important aquatic food species, also known as bugs. As a result of these studies. US Fish & Wildlife determined that the river was clean enough to justify the reintroduction of endangered species of freshwater mussels. This picture is of such a reintroduction on Well Being's riverfront with attendees from TVA, The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Deptartment of Fisheries.
Patty Bottari and Don Oakley, Directors of Well Being Foundation and its two onsite caretakers, are also elected members of the Claiborne County Tourism Commission. Don is the Chairperson of the Commission's Powell River Tourism Committee which has two tasks: to organize the Powell River Regatta each year and to improve public access onto the Powell River in Tennessee. The Regatta is a 12 mile race every Spring which begins at Well Being Retreat Center. Proceeds from this Claiborne County Chamber event are used for the Powell River Blueway project which locates, maps, improves and informs the public about locations that can be used by the public to get on and off the Powell River. The 4th Annual Powell River Regatta will be held April 21, 2018. More information here.