Serenity is the focus for many faith-based organizations meeting at The Art of Living Retreat Center. Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, North Carolina, the center is designed to be a place of tranquility and seclusion for groups.
Groups of 25 to 3,200 will find dining, accommodations, meeting space, spa and fitness activities on-site. The 17,500-sq.-ft. Main Hall, the center’s largest of three group spaces, has mountain views to remind guests of their immersion in nature. A group of yoga instructors from Lotus Pond Center for Yoga and Health in Tampa stayed at the center for two weeks in March, using each of the spaces for education sessions and training. They were particularly impressed with the Shankara Ayurveda Spa, where treatments are designed to help guests detox based on their body composition, says Dr. Venkat Srinivasan, manager of operations and guest experience.
This holistic center is alcohol- and drug-free, and all of the food served is vegetarian. Many of the greens used in the kitchen come from the on-site garden. “This diet is more supportive of the inner journey—it’s easily digestible,” says Srinivasan. “Our chef creates tasty and nutritious meals, ruining the misconception that vegetarian food isn’t tasty.”
Disconnecting from technology is another encouraged behavior at the center, for groups who desire to. Meeting spaces have audiovisual equipment and sleeping rooms have optional Wi-Fi, but because of the property’s location in the mountain range, cell service can be spotty. The Art of Living staff suggests guests abstain from using their phones while on-site for a more serene experience.
Take an afternoon hike to Green Hole. Srinivasan says it’s worth the trek to see the waterfall and spend time relaxing next to the oasis.
Photo credit: Art of Living Retreat Center