Twenty years ago, I ventured with a friend for a week long vacation in Nagshead. It was lovely, and as the week progressed we were drawn farther and farther south to the land of lighthouses, sand dunes, and undeveloped wide open spaces. I'd never experienced anything like it, and I was hooked.
Shortly thereafter, I began a love affair with Ocracoke Island. Ocracoke is a magical place. During my years in corporate banking, my journey there and my time on The Island provided much needed stress relief. In fact, as Ive faced most of my life's challenges, I've been able to find peace and clarity there.
My artistic vision and career were shaped on Ocracoke. As a budding art photographer, my first show was held there; my photo was published for the first time on the cover of a local newspaper; I made my first sale to anyone other than a friend there; and I received my first gallery representation there. Later, as my creative muse turned toward mixed media art and jewelry, I participated in my first festival, The Ocrafolk Festival, on The Island. During my time at that event, I met Leslie Lanier,; her amazing shop, Books to Be Red, became my first wholesale customer. Each of these events provided a huge boost to my confidence, and each was a major milestone in my life. And that was just the beginning!
In October 2000, while visiting Ocracoke with my oldest and dearest friend, Theresa, a chance meeting changed my life. It was then that I met Ken Skipper, and our long distance love began. We've been married and happily living in North Carolina for almost ten years now.
Through all of this, a dream has been dancing around my mind and my heart. I wanted to be able to share the comfort, inspiration, and magic that I found on Ocracoke and in my career as an artist. Piece by piece, the image of that dream began to crystallize; my family and friends loved the concepts that I shared with them; and in January 2012 the dream began to become a reality.
Jodi Ohl, an amazing mixed media artist, and I were on a road trip for a show in Florida. I mentioned my ideas to her, and she loved them. While on the road, we reached out to our friend, mixed media, paper, and book art maven Penny Arrowood, and our excitement about the possibilities grew exponentially. By the end of that trip, we'd already reserved our dream retreat house on Ocracoke Island, and the hard work began.
From January 2012 through May 2013, ReMe Retreats was born. We planned, planned, and planned some more. We knew that we wanted ReMe to be an intimate experience filled with time for creating, time for reflecting, and time for just being with our fellow artists and friends. In May, with eight of our nearest and dearest friends, we hosted a trial run of ReMe on Ocracoke Island. From the moment we set foot in the door, we knew that we'd found our home.
Since that visit in May, we've been finalizing plans for our Inaugural ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke Island in May 2014. As we fine tuned our website and other details, we began to distribute save-the-date-cards, and we set the date for our formal announcement of ReMe Retreats to the world.
Then...to our utter amazement...our first retreat sold out before we'd even announced it! No one could have been more surprised than the three of us. From the time of our first guest registration to our last, little more than 24 hours had transpired. With each new guest reservation, a flurry of text messages and phone calls between us was launched, and we enjoyed every minute of each mini-celebration.
The enthusiastic response to the ReMe Retreats concept has reinforced that we're on the right track, and we're now working diligently to coordinate a second ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke Island in 2014. We expect to announce that retreat within the next few weeks, and we've developed a procedure that should allow all interested parties an equal chance at registration.
Now this is important…to be sure that everyone who’s interested in attending ReMe – Ocracoke – 2014 and all future ReMe Retreats will have an equal chance at obtaining one of our remaining guest spaces, we’ll proceed as follows:
Thank you again for the love and support that you've shared with me through the years. It means the world to me, and I'm looking forward to all that the future holds for each of us!