No matter which season you might choose to visit the Quilted Steeple near Lone Rock, it's almost assured you'll have a magical experience in the former country church.
Built in 1897, the Good Hope Methodist Church was situated about six miles from Lone Rock. In the small choir loft overlooking the sanctuary, Helena Dodds was the organist for more than 50 years. Helena and her husband raised their three children on a farm just down the road. When the church closed in 2005 and was put up for auction along with the parsonage, Julie Dodds, although she lives in another state, just couldn't bear to see the church turned into a motorcycle shop – one of the suggested plans by a potential buyer.
So with the help of her sister, Susan Dodds Busch of Fort Dodge, and brother Scott Dodds, of Minnesota, Julie managed to renovate the church and parsonage into a retreat center. Family friends and one-time church members Jean and Bob Kent, also helped with the website and hosting of retreats.
A quilter, Dodds had a dream to turn the church and parsonage into a quilting and crafting retreat. The Quilted Steeple opened in September 2013, offering so much more than just a place to sew and a place to lie one's head for a good night's sleep at the end of the day.
In the church sanctuary, there's lecture space for 80-90 guests. Also on the main level of the church, there's one bedroom with three twin beds and there's even a trundle bed in what had served as the tiny choir loft. There is one bathroom with a shower on the main floor. There is also a chair lift to the downstairs work space.
In the basement of the church is where quilters can sew and crafters can create their works of art. There are 8-foot work tables for up to 24 people, and 20 adjustable, high-quality work chairs.
No need to bring your own work light or scrap bin – they're already provided in addition to cutting tables and mats. The kitchen in the basement of the church is still put to good use as a dining area fully equipped with two refrigerators, a commercial dishwasher, microwave, coffee maker, coffee and tea.
A few steps away in the parsonage, owner Dodds decided to make the most of the home's character, it was necessary to strip everything down to the bare walls and re-insulate every room making for a very quiet sleeping experience. There are four bedrooms upstairs with 8 twin beds and three bathroom areas. There is also a handicapped accessible bed and bath on the first floor where there is one bedroom with two twin beds.
In the beautiful kitchen in the parsonage, there's a wood dining table, refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher. Near the open area is a sitting area near the gas fireplace, perfect for hand stitching or just talking about the day's events. A door opens to a screened porch that is perfect for relaxing on autumn evenings, or enjoying an early cup of coffee on summer mornings. There is free WIFI in both structures. Hair dryers, bedding and bath towels are also provided.
Weekday and weekend retreats are available. There is a six person minimum for stays. The Quilted Steeple is three hours southwest of Minneapolis or 2-1/2 hours northwest of Des Moines. From Algona, drive two miles west on Highway 18 and then five miles north on county blacktop P30.
For more information, go the website: www.quiltedsteeple.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org