3.21/22. Great Wall Weekend Retreat

spring equinox

Embrace Spring on top of the Great Wall with us!

March 21st is a Saturday, also the Spring Equinox of this year. We are feeling a strong desire to wander into the wild, so we have planned this outing to the Great Wall in conjunction with the Schoolhouse/Brickyard Hotel.

But this is not just a trip. You will be exposed to the beauty of spring peach blossoms on the wild Great Wall, but you will also get an insider’s view on the amazing development stories behind The Schoolhouse and The Brickyard Hotel from its co-founder Mr. Jim Spear. It was also here, where we got our inspiration in founding the Courtyard Institute, where we can make a small change in our lives through motivation and innovation.

Highlights of this trip:

  • Amazing view of the Great Wall in its authentic condition
  • Charming peach flower blossoms all over the mountain and the wall.
  • Motivating volunteer services to preserve the wall.
  • Inspiring and artistic living experiences in the Brickyard Hotel.
  • Simply gorgeous food, BBQ and picnic…
  • Rare opportunity to grab Jim Spear for an in-depth discussion about his innovation which goes far beyond just architecture.



The mountain trail is zigzag, but not too difficult to walk. As long as you are used to some outdoor activities, you can manage this hike with ease. On top of the wall, we will rest and enjoy a picnic in one of the deserted Ming Dynasty beacon towers.

Sympathetic to both heritage and environmental preservation, we will try to help a local NGO here, the International Friends of the Great Wall, on its mission to “take nothing, but photos; leave nothing, but footprints”. On our way down, we will prepare some trash bags, and pack as much garbage as possible.

Once we are down from the mountain, we will board the bus again for the Brickyard Hotel and check into our wonderful rooms with a view of the Great Wall in the distance. At the beginning of our BBQ, we will invite Jim Spear to say a few words to our group, explaining his vision in transforming this part of the village, with the heritage of the Great Wall in mind.





The second day is going to be very relaxed. We can spend some time in the village, strike a talk with the village elderlies, or simply meditate on the hotel platform facing the mountains, or if you wish to understand more about Jim’s designs, which even attracted first lady Michelle Obama, you can follow us for a walk among his works that dot the village.

To learn more about the Brickyard Hotel, please click here: Link to PDF

After lunch, we will take our bus back to the hotel, with a stop at the North Third Ring Road.

Suitable for:

  • Those who are interested in architecture and heritage preservation issues
  • Moderate hiking, suitable for family with older kids (7 and above)

Prize for the early birds:
A set of folk art posters with Ram as the theme from Hansheng Publishing for the first three who sign up successfully.

more about the Schoolhouse: http://theschoolhouseatmutianyu.com/



21st – 22nd March (Sat-Sun)

Hosts and Organizers:

Jointly hosted by The Courtyard Institute & The Brickyard Hotel


or call:(86-10) 8404-8242


RMB1600/person (additional RMB700 if you are traveling single and don’t share a room )

The above costs include:

– One night at the Brickyard Hotel (worth RMB1,800/night)
– Round trip bus transfer from downtown Beijing to the Great Wall
– Tour leader from The Courtyard Institute, covering heritage preservation issues en route.
– BBQ at The Brickyard Hotel (worth RMB200 per person)
– Lunch on both days.
– Guide services at the hike.


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