New Adventure Center, Retreat Opens in Bedford County | Local business news

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

The Peaks Retreat and Adventure Center is located at 1336 Simmons Mill Road in Thaxton. After WoodmenLife Insurance Company closed its Woods Adventure and Conference Retreat on 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 not-for-profit organization that designs and implements education and outreach programs for a variety of causes and organizations.

Hunter Gilbert, director of programs at The Peaks, said the company wants a space that can host corporate retreats, summer camps and events.

He said this led to him being able to open up about various other things, particularly in the surrounding community.

People also read…

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

The center will host youth camps primarily during the summer months, but is scheduled to be open for corporate events, field trips, community days and festive activities the rest of the year.

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

“Specializing in camps and retreats, The Peaks also offers a great venue for private events including corporate team building, festivals, weddings and much more,” she said in an email. “Set in the shadow of the beautiful Peaks of Otter, the resort not only has scenic beauty but also the thrill of adventure.”

She said The Peaks offers a unique challenge course with 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 1-acre pond for canoeing.

Gilbert said the gravity zipline is a little different than some traditional ziplines — a person’s weight determines how far down they swing.

It is also set up for them to be brought back down to the ground just above the platform by a moderator and there is a device for staff to train them on how to use and they learn how to lower themselves onto the platform .

“All of our presenters have gone through the proper training, ensuring safety is our top concern and everyone is prepared for a fun and 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 high climbing wall, a short climbing wall, and a zipline, Gilbert said. He added that new rope courses could be added in the future.

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

This fall, the center will offer primitive campgrounds and six year-round residential glamping sites built on deck platforms and featuring 16ft by 24ft canvas tents, a queen bed, a bunk bed, a living space and a forest become a burning stove.

Glamping is a form of camping where accommodation and facilities are more luxurious than traditional camping.

The two-acre Gilbert campground has plans to host events and use the space as a car park for a wine 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 accommodation buildings can accommodate up to 72 people at a time overnight.

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

The Peaks plans events through 2023.

Anxious for Nothing, a Bedford nonprofit comprised of a skateboarding and food ministry, took 54 middle and high school students to The Peaks this summer.

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

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

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

“The outdoor teaching materials are really good, but we also really like to focus on teamwork and communication skills, and for kids that age, building confidence and using outdoor skills to build their confidence,” he said.

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

“We are very open to adapting these programs to ensure they meet consumer 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 offer a good mix of outdoor fun and creative arts space, and The Peaks couldn’t have been more perfect,” Hinda Leah Sharfstein said with Bais Chana in an email.

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

“They were always up to date, friendly and flexible with anything we needed or wanted to do! And the sunsets were spectacular!” she said in an email.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.