4 – What is the experience like?

Sample Explore 4 Schedule

Every retreat is different but this will give you an idea of how we spend our generous four days together!

  • Sunday
    • Arrive in the afternoon or evening and check in
      • If you are arriving after the main desk closes, there will be a welcome packet available for you with everything you need to self-check-in.
    • Dinner on your own
      • At a Friday Harbor restaurant—even off-season there are a number of excellent options!
      • Pick up picnic-style food at King’s Market on Spring Street (on your right as you exit the ferry and go up the hill into town)
      • When you leave I-25 on your way to the ferry, go by way of Mount Vernon and stop at the Skagit Valley Food Coop to pick up picnic-style food (there’s an excellent coop in Friday Harbor, open Sunday afternoons, but it has fewer ready-made options).
    • At some point during Sunday evening, “welcome bags” will appear on a table in the Great Room in the Lodge—when they’re ready, pick yours up!
  • Monday through Thursday
    • Breakfast for everyone staying at Lakedale starts at 8 a.m. each morning. Tea, coffee, cocoa, and the like are available at all times in the Great Room (hot water and packets). Some of those are available in the individual rooms (Keurig). Breakfast generally consists of scrambled eggs with vegetables, house-made granola, oatmeal, varied types of milks and juices, fruit, yogurt, make-your-own pancakes, breads (some gluten-free), etc.
    • Morning class and hands-on learning, 9 a.m. to ~ 12 p.m.
    • Lunch ~ 12 p.m. for those who elect the catering plan.
      • Since Covid, some people eat their meals in the dining room and some take their plates to nearby areas
    • Afternoon open time to continue working with fibers, explore the islands, relax. There are lots of activity options, and it’s also a quiet place for napping or reading. The town of Friday Harbor has appealing shops (Pelindaba Lavender, Griffin Bay Books, Serendipity Used Books; knitting shop Island Wools usually has shortened hours off-season). You can also enjoy massages, whale watching, hiking at many locations, including on the Lakedale property. On the other end of the island, there’s the alpaca farm at Krystal Acres and the Roche Harbor sculpture park. The Lakedale staff is a great resource.
    • Monday afternoon (Ferries permitting) Island Fibers (Maxine and Debbie) come over from Lopez Island and while we’re at lunch they set up their mobile shop in the lobby of the Lodge. They bring well-selected fleeces, island-specific yarn, unusual buttons, handwoven items, and a variety of other delights. Once in a while another island resource does something similar: these are less predictable.
    • One afternoon during the week (sometimes twice) we might get a group together to go visit sheep (with more opportunities for discovering wonderful fleeces and unique yarns).
    • Toward the latter part of the afternoon, we tend to gather in the Great Room in preparation for dinner and just to visit, whether we’ve been there all afternoon or not.
    • Dinner ~ 6 p.m. for those who elect the catering plan (on Thursday afternoon, we put out an optional and anonymous tip bag to be given to the folks who have been feeding most of us lunches and dinners for the four days).
    • Evening spinning and informal group or one-on-one learning starting ~ 7 to 7:30 p.m. This sometimes includes a brief program/reading/etc. If there’s something you’ve been especially curious about, you can ask ahead or on the spot and we’ll do what we can to answer. A handful of people call it a day after dinner and retreat to reading or bed.
  • Friday
    • Morning departure, unless you’re staying over. Most of us tend to take the mid-morning or early afternoon ferries, although your travel plans may call for earlier or later departures; reservations not required but very strongly recommended.


  • It is possible to extend your stay at Lakedale before or after the retreat, or both. Friends and family are welcome and there is plenty for them to do in the islands. Any children will need to have someone other than the retreat participant making sure they are safe and entertained.
  • Dogs, other than certified service animals, are not allowed in the Lodge. They are permitted in the cabins by previous arrangement.
  • If you are taking the ferry between Anacortes and Friday Harbor, it is wise to reserve spots on the ferries you plan to make for both arrival and departure. It’s still important to get to the ferry line 45 to 60 minutes early. The ferry fee is only charged westbound. When you are traveling eastbound you just provide proof of your reservation. We can help with ferry info.
  • Some of the ways you can get to Lakedale include by car, by shuttle to the ferry and then a taxi, or by air to the Friday Harbor airport and a taxi to Lakedale.
  • While the programmed time is scheduled only for mornings, the amount of daily information and fiber exceeds what is provided in a normal workshop. It’s just that we have a relaxed and varied pace.
  • The number of people participating in a retreat varies by season, topic, and availability of sufficient materials, but never exceeds 24. The usual is between 16 and 20.

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