Twice a year members of the EFMLS clubs gather together in the majestic mountains of Little Switzerland, North Carolina at Wildacres. The event is a week long retreat filled with learning new skill sets and honing your talents, laughing with new cohorts, relaxing near treetops, and eating good food. Diversity of people run as far as Vermont, Maine, and down to Florida. The value proposition includes lodging, food, and classes for a nominal fee. Bring an open mind and enjoy the learning, fellowship, teaching, friendship, sharing, and creativity.
The Eastern Federation of Mineral and Lapidary Societies has a special partnership with Wildacres Retreat allowing members of its local mineral clubs to learn new and advance skills. Some of the class offerings include cabochon, lapidary, viking knit, wirewrapping, silversmithing, and more. Try out a new hobby wihtout the upfront investment and decide if you love it.
Register in advance, request your classes, recruit rockhound club member friends to join and plan your "Rockhound Roadtrip".
6 Rockhound Tips for first time Wildacres participants
1. Mineral Museum - Schedule an extra hour before your arrival to stop off the Blue Ridge Parkway and visit The Museum of North Carolina Minerals! It's a "gem" and displays minerals native to North Carolina.
2. Carpool - Reach out to mineral clubs and find others to carpool with. You might even save some money to grab breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
3. Fog - The Blue Ridge mountains are very foggy at times. Drive slowly, carefully, and estimate longer than you may expect.
4. Rock Swap - The Tailgate Swap offers a fun opportunity to buy and sell goods. One person's rock is another person's treasure. Minerals, metals, crystals are all favorites.
5. Collecting - You will want something in the Auction. Maybe it will be a reclaimed silver bar, folk art collectible, Chalcedony Geode, just make sure you have some dollars.
6. Camera - Chronicle your lapidary, cabochon, etc. project from start to finish. The sunsets and sunrises are pretty dramatic, too!