The Norman Transcript


July 14, 2013

Setting fosters a spot to be creative



The blacksmithing workshops turn out everything from fireplace grates to bottle openers and the finely detailed hearth screen in the Blaney Lodge.

Next to the forge, a museum is full of blacksmithing, welding and metalsmithing equipment. Other buildings offer courses in everything from “Pottery for Everyday Use” and “Plein Air Painting” to “Exploring Imagery and Iconography with Stained Glass,” “Advanced Digital Photography” and “Jewelry Fabrication in Steel.”

Each year, Touchstone offers at least two rotating exhibits at any one time and offers for sale handmade artifacts made on site. The Iron Gate Gallery spotlights items made by the visiting instructor/artists, while the Bea Campbell Gallery Store sports both a formal gallery space as well as a retail section.

Visitors are welcome to stay overnight in both the residence halls and cabins, provided occupancy is available. Twenty-two cabins dot the wooded campus, some of which date back to the 1920s and 30s. Others are from the 1970s and 80s.

Two residence halls, built in 2001, have all the modern amenities, although WiFi and cell phone services are available mainly in designated areas. Each dorm room comes with two single beds and a shared bath. Tent camping options also are available as well as meals, with advance notice. Lodging reservations are required in advance, and various fees apply.

There’s much more in a 20-mile area around Touchstone to see and do. These attractions include Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, Laurel Caverns, Fort Necessity (where the first battle of the French and Indian War was fought), Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Casino and Ohiopyle with its abundance of whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing outfitters.

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