Pine Creek Retreat Center bills itself as a place “where God speaks.” One look at the property, and it is easy to see why. In Gore, Virginia, the center sits nestled amid 85 acres of the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains.
The retreat center’s remote location guarantees that the outside world can’t disturb the thoughts of participants. Only a passing deer or bird could possibly break a visitor’s train of thought.
The intimacy of the venue has proved especially beneficial during postpandemic times when limited registration numbers and exclusive properties are attractive for groups looking to follow social distancing protocols. The staff of Pine Creek can easily ensure sanitation and prevent large crowds to protect the health and safety of attendees.
Faith-based groups can unwind and feel at home at the property. The faith-based center offers staff to help organize prayer services, altar calls and other worship-based events.
Groups can choose from two style of lodging. Larger groups can stay at the 48-room Mountain View Lodge, the primary lodge building. This space offers dormitory-style rooms for an affordable option for groups of up to 288 people.
Two additional retreat houses accommodate up to 20 people each. The upper level of each house contains a kitchen, a meeting area, dorm rooms and a suite. The lower level offers more dorm rooms and a lounge area.
Staff planning and pastoral leadership meetings often opt for the retreat houses so they can sleep, relax and pray under one roof. These houses have received increased interest lately since their isolation prevents cross-contamination with other groups.
Pine Creek’s largest event venue seats up to 350 guests. Four other meeting spaces vary in size from one room with a maximum capacity of 100 people to two spaces that can fit 40 people in each.
All group retreat packages include a private meeting space. The center’s guest services team sets up the meeting space according to customized specifications before the group arrives. Meeting rooms come equipped with audio and visual equipment at no extra charge.
The Pine Creek Retreat Center sits on the side of a mountain, so guests can enjoy mountain landscapes from the peak of the property at the Mountain View Lodge and Dining Room. The dining room serves buffet meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Staff will also prepare snacks and coffee breaks in the center’s meeting rooms.
Guests take in more untamed beauty while hiking Pine Creek’s trails. Other ways to commune with nature include the center’s three bonfire sites. The Woods Bonfire Site is set apart from the center’s other buildings for a completely private experience.
Groups that want to stay busy can take advantage of a seemingly endless list of activities. Many year-round indoor and outdoor activities come included in basic retreat packages. Attendees can use the site’s gymnasium, recreation field, outdoor pool and the Pine Creek Pond with athletic equipment included.
Youth groups, especially, flock to the human foosball area and the cardboard boat racing area. Some other basic recreation activities include basketball, dodgeball, soccer and gaga ball.
To spice things up, planners can add a premium recreation activity. Zip lining, rock climbing and teambuilding activities provide teamwork challenges and lighthearted fun.
Since Pine Creek is operated by Christian Retreats Networks, guests have access to the organization’s activity guide for more unusual teambuilding ideas like “hose head tag” and “slip-n-slide kickball.” Planners can create unforgettable bonding experiences by working with Pine Creek to organize games of ultimate frisbee, foam noodle relays or scavenger hunts. The guide even suggests a long list of rainy-day ideas like blacklight bowling, a hula hoop relay and toe tag.
Christian Retreats Network also provides planners articles and tips on event planning and church hospitality. Groups can use this information to plan their trip to Pine Creek or to any of the 10 network properties overseen by the company.
Pine Creek offers all-inclusive packages for a stress-free way to organize lodging, dining, meetings and recreational activities on a retreat. The site’s per-person rates allow planners to add linen service, recreation options and additional food options.
Pine Creek sits 25 miles north of Winchester, Virginia. The charming nearby town makes its own getaway destination, with Shenandoah Valley scenery, a walkable downtown and historic attractions. Planners should check on current travel restrictions before visiting.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley preserves the art, history and culture of the region. Among the collections is a display of miniature houses and furniture. Outdoors, Glen Burnie Gardens proves a peaceful stroll past blooming flowers and an Asian-influenced water garden.
Youth groups can find hands-on learning opportunities at the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum. Science, math, the humanities are all included in multisensory exhibits.
History lovers will relish exploring the 18th-century Old Town Winchester, the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum and the Fort Loudon Historic Site, among others.
Pine Creek Retreat Center
Location: Gore, Virginia
Size: 85 acres of forested mountains
Capacity: 330 overnight guests