Retreat center offers rest and relaxation
Heather Hicks loves a good story. She began scrapbooking in high school when she met Mike, the man who would become her husband. She saved movie ticket stubs, photos, and other mementos from their relationship.
“I’ve always had the heart and desire to be able to tell our story,” she says.
Hicks loves to look back at photos of her family, fondly remembering the good times and reminiscing about their lives. As she had children of her own, she began a scrapbook for each of them.
“I want the scrapbook to compliment their story, but not overpower it,” she says.
This passion is exactly what brought her to a scrapbooking retreat at Grand Oak Retreat.
“When you fall in love with something, you want to tell everyone about it. I still love it,” she says.
Story of their life
In 2016, the Hicks family purchased the 30-acre property after attending an event there.
“We had built our forever home in Tennessee, but God had other plans,” she says.
Their home, built by her husband and her father, was near family and friends. But, the Hickses couldn’t deny they were being led to Scottsboro, and they relocated to the Grand Oaks Retreat property.
Hicks estimates they have hosted hundreds of groups at the three-story lodge over the years.
“What’s nice about our schedule is that we have a revolving calendar,” she says. “Once groups come, they usually want to return at the same time the following year.”
Visitors vary from quilters and scrapbookers to small Bible study groups. All guests are provided meals and are offered add-on options like a massage therapist or nail technician for an ultimate relaxation experience. Attendees travel to the Grand Oak Retreat from all over, some coming from as far away as Alaska and India.
“The main thing is for them to be able to come and work on projects and just spend time with their friends,” Hicks says.
Often, when people are together and see what others are working on, it sparks some creativity. Hicks will also teach scrapbooking or card-making classes to groups by request. Some groups like to sit outside, admire the incredible view of Lake Guntersville and enjoy the outdoor fireplace.
“We try really hard to make it an experience where they can just rest. They know food will be taken care of and they don’t have to worry about that,” she says. “Our whole goal is to be able to love on the people who come in. People need to be back with their friends to find laughter again after the last couple of years of uncertainty.”