New adventure center, retreat opens in Bedford County | Local Business News

A new retreat and adventure center opened this summer in Thaxton, breathing life into land that has sat vacant for many years.

The Peaks Retreat and Adventure Center is located at 1336 Simmons Mill Road in Thaxton. After the WoodmenLife Insurance Company closed its Woods Adventure and Conference Retreat at the site five years ago, the 66-acre property sat vacant until a new tenant, CustomEd, purchased the land in September 2021.

CustomEd, the company that owns The Peaks, is a nonprofit that designs and implements educational and outreach programs for a variety of causes and organizations.

Hunter Gilbert, program director at The Peaks, said the company wanted a place to host corporate retreats, hold summer camps and events.

He said that turned into being able to open up to do various other things, especially in the surrounding community.

People are also reading…

The Peaks Retreat & Adventure Center officially opened about two months ago and has hosted two camps, Anxious for Nothing and Bias Chana, so far this summer.

The center will mostly hold youth camps during the summer months, but during the rest of the year it is planned to be open for corporate events, field trips, community days and festival-type activities.

Missy Morris, center director at The Peaks, said she is excited there is a new outdoor education and adventure facility in the area.

“Specializing in camps and retreats, The Peaks also provides a great location for private events including corporate team building, festivals, weddings and much more,” she said in an email. “Set in the shadows of the beautiful Peaks of Otter, not only does the facility have scenic beauty, but also the thrill of adventure.”

She said The Peaks offers a unique challenge course including climbing walls and a 400-foot gravity zipline, as well as two miles of hiking trails, a swimming pool, basketball and sand volleyball courts, archery, disc golf and a one-acre pond for canoeing.

Gilbert said the gravity zip line is a little bit different than some traditional zip lines — a person’s weight determines how far they swing down.

It’s also set up so that they’re returned back to the ground by a facilitator just above the platform and there’s a device that staff trains them how to use and they learn how to lower themselves onto the platform.

“All of our facilitators have gone through the proper training and make sure that safety is our number one concern and everyone is set up for a fun, safe ride,” he said.

The property also features a high ropes course and a low ropes course. The low ropes course has 11 elements while the high ropes course has a tall climbing wall, a short climbing wall and a zipline, Gilbert said. He added new high ropes courses that could be added in the future.

A three-acre activity field on the property allows for kickball or Olympic relay events.

This fall, the center will offer primitive camping sites and six stationary year-round glamping sites built on deck platforms which will feature 16-foot-by-24-foot canvas tents, a queen bed, bunk bed, living room space and a wood burning fire stove.

Glamping is a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping.

On that five-acre camping site, Gilbert there is a plan to hold events and use the space for parking for a wine festival or music festival.

At the front of the property, the 3,000-square-foot main event hall is set up for family reunions, weddings or other ceremonies.

Two lodging buildings can host up to 72 people at a time overnight.

The center also has an outdoor pavilion and garden with four solo stoves and 24 seating areas to sit around a fire at night.

The Peaks is scheduling events through 2023.

Anxious for Nothing, a Bedford nonprofit that consists of a skateboard and feeding ministry, took 54 middle and high school students to The Peaks this summer.

Karla Powell, founder of the nonprofit, said the kids enjoyed zip lining, canoes, trails and the pool for the three-day retreat.

“Missy, Hunter and the staff were very accommodating, knowing we were offering this camp for free and they worked hard to meet our needs,” she said. “What we loved the most was how close everything is on the facility, making it feel like a family retreat. We plan to return next year.”

Gilbert said he wants to bring in a wide variety of children to the center so they can learn in a different environment.

“The outdoor educational materials are really good, but we also really like to focus on teamwork and communication skills, as well as for kids at that age, building up confidence and using outdoor skills to help build up their self-confidence,” he said.

He also wants adults to be able to use the outdoor facilities as well and wants the center to be shared with anyone who wants to use it.

“We’re very open to customizing those programs to make sure it fits the consumer’s needs,” he said.

Bais Chana, a nonprofit organization that runs Jewish educational programs for girls and women, also used the camp earlier this month.

“We look for properties that have a good mix of outdoor fun and space for creative arts, and The Peaks couldn’t have been more perfect,” Hinda Leah Sharfstein with Bais Chana said in an email.

Leah Zavelevich, a camper with Bais Chana, said The Peaks felt like a home away from home, and the staff felt like family.

“They were always on top of everything, friendly and flexible with everything we needed or wanted to do! And the sunsets were spectacular!” she said in an email.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker