Orchard House view

Family vacations at the Folk School are peaceful, fun, engaging, and satisfying.

Oh the family vacation – a pillar of American leisure life! From the classic road trip, to the cruise on the ocean, or a trip abroad, we all try to find a perfect setting to spend quality time with our loved ones. Finding a place everyone will enjoy can be challenging. The Folk School is a wonderful choice for a family vacation destination for many reasons.

Taking a Glass Bead Class with your sister is fun! And remember... non-competitive!

Taking a Glass Bead Class with your sister is fun! And remember… non-competitive!

Located just two hours “from anywhere” as most locals like to say, it is convenient to find your way to the Folk School with your family or meet them here. With housing, meals, and activities on campus you do not need to worry about the hassles of transportation, feeding your family, or finding things for everyone to do. With a wide variety of classes offered every week, family members can pick a subject that they have personally always wanted to learn about. If you opt to take a class solo, there is plenty of time left for family congregation at meals, demonstrations, concerts, dances, and off-time considering everyone is on the same schedule.


Amy shows her handmade book embellished with her husband’s glass bead.

This spring I ran into two sisters and their best friend who were all taking a Glass Beads class together. All were new to glass, and they were having a blast learning this new craft together, sharing in the creativity and learning process.

Husbands and wives often come to the Folk School together and taken different classes during the same week. I met Amy Edwards in Holly Fouts’ Book Arts class who was making a book cover with a bead closure. The bead was created by her husband earlier that same week over in his Glass Bead class over on Studio Row. We love to see collaborative work between classes and people!


Book Arts/Glass Bead collaboration

Quilt with Peacock by Jan / Forged Peacock by Bill

Families-Kendall-DuoYou may recall our “We Still Make Things” July 2013-June 2014 Catalog cover with the glorious peacock quilt. Bill and Jan Kendall of Tulsa, Oklahoma both embraced a peacock theme in two different media: Blacksmithing (Julie Clark’s “Cock-adoodle-doo” class) and Quilting (Mary Lou Weidman’s “A New Look at Story Quilts”). Bill adorned his sassy-looking metal peacock’s feathers with the same beads Jan applied to her quilt. To the Kendall’s, the Folk School is like a favorite vacation spot where they can always sample something new. This peacock-filled week marked the couple’s eighth Folk School class experience.

The Crampton Family in the Dining Hall L-R: Rachel Reinhart, Nancy Crampton, Valerie Castelo, Matthew Crampton, Dan Crampton, two JCCFS students, Paul Reinhart.

The Crampton Family in the Dining Hall L-R: Rachel Reinhart, Nancy Crampton, Valerie Castelo, Matthew Crampton, Dan Crampton, two JCCFS students, Paul Reinhart.

In 2011, we featured the Crampton family on this Folk School Blog. We decided to catch up with Nancy Crampton (who also teaches Rug Weaving at the Folk School) to find out more about why her family likes the Folk School as their family gathering spot. I asked Nancy why she likes the Folk School as a family vacation destination. Nancy says:

We have enjoyed John C. Campbell Folk School as a family vacation because we enjoy all that the Folk School offers. You notice the vibes the minute you pull onto the road and see the sign! We all enjoy morning song, communal meals, nature walks and all the different folks who come to the school. There is something for everyone at JCCFS. We have been coming to the Folk School for the past 12 years, about every 18 months.

My son and husband have taken carving classes together, also a “playing bluegrass in a group” music class. Dan and my son in law have taken carving together, and my daughter Rachel and her husband Paul took a painting class together. Rachel and I took a jewelry class together and another year, I taught and everyone else took classes. Valerie, Matthew’s girlfriend, likes to make beads. She took her first class at JCCFS and now continues to take classes in Berkley, CA where they live. We enjoy meeting all the new people at meals and class and also in the housing, but also love having time together. We all live far from each other, so it is a good time to catch up.

Amy Allen and her dad in the Cooking Studio

Amy Allen and her dad in the Cooking Studio

Amy Allen, a former Host and Work/Study, took a French Cooking class with her dad during the summer of 2013:

It was great taking a class with my dad. When picking out a class to take with a family member you have the chance to comb through the catalog and find just the right class for both of you. My dad loves to cook and make soups and sauces and I love to bake pies and pastries… and I love to eat, so this French cooking class was great for us. It was neat for me because it is one of the first things my father and I have done together as peers. We were both students in the class and got to be partners and each had our own special, contributions to the meals we made. It was so much fun to have this vacation where we got to be buddies and learn together, and we ate a TON of delicious French food.

Intergenerational Week

Intergenerational Week

Consider the Folk School for your next family vacation. Classes designed for adults take place most weeks of the year, however Intergenerational Week (July 12-19) is the one week where minors and an adult family member/guardian take classes together. To plan a Folk School trip with your spouse, significant other, friend, or relative, use our website’s search tool to quickly and easily find classes you’ll both enjoy.


Cory Marie Podielski
About Cory Marie Podielski

Cory Marie Podielski is a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and writer for the John C. Campbell Folk School. She has been writing for the Folk School Blog since 2012 and enjoys interviewing artists, musicians, and craftspeople. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the banjo, dancing, printmaking, playing in clay, and assisting in Folk School bread baking classes. podielski.com