Just outside Wilmington we found a little known retreat for those just needing to get away
By JAMIE PENN
Walkerworld Organic Artist Retreat is not easily explained. It's as romantic as it sounds and as unexpected and magical as any visitor could hope. The main abode, a 3,500 square foot architecturally inimitable structure, is situated on ten acres, tucked away in a gorgeous patch of woods on the Northeast Cape Fear River, twelve miles from Wilmington. Being there is like stepping out of the world as we know it, and stepping into one each of us wishes we could create for ourselves.
The dream begins on Blossom Ferry Rd., as it stretches out toward the Northeast Cape Fear River just as the pavement ends and the dirt road begins. Anticipation heightens as the car turns onto the gravel drive marked with a quaint wooden hand-painted, Walkerworld sign, situated beneath a towering Palmetto palm. The driveway winds through the woods past an eclectic shed, a classic car or two, and a one-acre organic garden. The 500 square foot art studio just up the hill from the main house, built mostly from reused lumber, is just a taste of what's to come. A vibrant, lush garden surrounds the house, a log cabin gone wild. It becomes instantly clear that the adventure has just begun.
"When people come here, they feel freer," says owner Allen Walker. "No one knows why. It just is."
The house itself is a marvel. Walker is an artist, a free-thinking philosopher and a world-class tour guide. And his dream, when building the house, was to create that "other" place. The place that people said couldn't be built, a lifestyle that people didn't know was possible.
He's the man George Bernard Shaw described when he said, "Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not."
A 60 foot wooden rowing scull pierces through the eaves of the original log cabin structure, the laces of the leather shoes still in place dangling. Colorful glass bottles that surround the boat at each end send dreamy flashes of light throughout the house. Light is a theme. Windows are everywhere, stained glass from a downtown Wilmington church, sliding glass doors where no one would think to put them, anything to create more light.
Artist or not, creativity welcomes every visitor at the door. There are easels and sketch books everywhere, and art on every wall from past visitors, Walker and his children, and artists from all over the world. A Knabe grand piano, complete with a player, awaits the musician in everyone.
From the upstairs loft, with its romantic curved roof and colorful light streaming from the stain-glassed window behind the brass-framed bed, guests can witness the river, the sunset, and the property in all its glory.
Walkerworld is for everyone. With trampolines, up the hill and on the river, a ping pong table, a 10-foot outdoor pool table with a drop light, and a fuse ball table, entertainment is endless for little and big kids alike.
It sleeps up to 15 and is the perfect place for weddings, birthday parties, weekend or week long stays, or just a great excuse to climb out of the boxes we've all created for ourselves.
"Walkerworld is the common denominator," Walker said. "It's a place of discovery. It's a place where people are allowed to find themselves finding themselves." 910-200-1720, walkerworldnc.com.