Location: 15750 Mattons Grove Church Rd., Gold Hill, NC 28071
Phone Number: 704. 299. 5124
Business Owner’s name: Ellen Whiteside
Key mission: To provide sacred space for individuals or groups to heal, renew, learn and evolve in unimaginable ways (from Sacred Grove Retreat website).
I am a big fan of the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. For anyone that has not read it, the book is an autobiographical account of the author’s search for meaning and fulfillment in life after suffering through a divorce and a subsequent rebound relationship. I cannot do the book (or movie) justice here so I encourage everyone to read it. For me, it was one of those rare works that awakened something in me. It is safe to say that I not only loved the movie and book but that by watching the movie and reading the book, I started looking at certain aspects of life differently. I started taking my spiritual health more seriously.
Needless to say, I like the concept of dropping everything to search for spiritual growth, but I also realize that for most people (including me) this simply is not possible. Instinctively, I know that a person can go through the same spiritual awakening process in their own home environment that Elizabeth Gilbert found during her year in Italy, India, and Indonesia. Still, I also realize that the distractions of home can sometimes get in the way. It is easy to skip the morning meditation when you know there is laundry to do or that you have to make sure the kids are getting ready for their soccer games. So getting away for a little spiritual retreat every now and then can be a good thing.
But rather than traveling half way around the world, I believe it is possible for anyone to find places for this type of spiritual work closer to their own back yard. Sacred Grove Retreat is a place that has that type of potential for me and for anyone living in or traveling to the Charlotte area.
Sacred Grove Retreat is located in rural Cabarrus County, NC just outside of a small former gold mining village appropriately named Gold Hill. I visited Sacred Grove Retreat on one of the first days of fall feeling weather in September. It was one of those cool misty mornings that feel so comfortable after a long, hot summer. Ellen Whiteside, the creator and owner of Sacred Grove Retreat, had agreed to meet with me that Monday morning, despite the fact that she and her staff had just spent the entire weekend hosting and participating in a ceremonial dance. I am glad she did, because there was a calming energy about the place and the people that day that I think was an after effect of that event.
Sacred Grove Retreat is situated on 11 acres of wooded land on a farm road a few miles outside of Gold Hill. The first thing you notice when you get out of your car there is how quiet and peaceful it is. The retreat center gets its name from a circular grove of trees that grow around a large piece of white quartz. I am a relative novice to these things but Ellen explains that this forms a vortex energy field. The Sacred Grove website explains that a vortex is a place of spiraling spiritual energy that creates a space to facilitate prayer, meditation and healing.
The property includes two lodging facilities for overnight guests – The Grove House (a contemporary three bedroom, two bath home) and the Thoreau Cabin (a small, rustic cabin with a sleeping loft and a bathroom complete with a jacuzzi tub). For group meetings, retreats, ceremonies, concerts, etc., the property also includes The Yurt (a 30 foot circular structure with central heating and air). The retreat grounds also include a labyrinth, the Baby Yurt (a small structure that can be used for meditation, introspection, etc.), a fire pit, and a wonderful wooded hiking trail.
Ellen hosts equinox and solstice celebrations, drum circles, ceremonial dances, sweat lodge ceremonies, craft fairs, house concerts, and many other events at Sacred Grove Retreat, but most of all it is an ideal place to find solitude. Ellen states that she naturally fell into being an inn keeper. She has a knack for making people feel comfortable. She exclaims that she has a history of having awesome guests that she describes as magical people.
The pursuit of the spiritual can mean different things to different people so Ellen cautions
that her guests should respect that. Chances are each guest at any given time is in a different place on their spiritual path. Ellen states that she wants Sacred Grove Retreat to be a place where people can feel safe to explore their soul and therefore she further explains that she wants to make sure it remains “a place without any kind of dogma.” Whether a guest is visiting simply to get away for a quiet peaceful weekend, a personal yoga or meditation retreat, or if they are visiting with a some other spiritual or travel pursuit in mind, Ellen wants everyone to feel comfortable at Sacred Grove Retreat.
If you are visiting: Individuals, couples, and families are welcome at Sacred Grove Retreat. Sacred Grove is located just outside of Gold Hill, NC. Gold Hill is a former gold mining boom town which is now a quaint little historic village with several shops (general stores, metal and glass working shops, antique stores, a cafe, a tea shop, etc.) all more or less historically preserved to look and feel like the town did in its gold mining heyday prior to the Civil War. Other key area attractions are the Uwharrie Mountains (the oldest mountain range in North America), Uwharrie National Forest, Morrow Mountain State Park, Town Creek Indian Mound, Morgan Ridge Vineyards and other area wineries, and the cities of Albemarle, Concord, and Salisbury, NC.
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Do you have any similar places where you live? If so, please feel free to let everyone know about them by leaving a comment!
With Peace and Gratitude,