Saturday, November 17, 2012

When Words Count Retreat

View from the road out front.
A couple of months ago, while I was on Face Book, an ad popped up on the side. I never, ever click on them, but this one caught my eye. Anything to do with Vermont, usually does, especially a quiet county road, an old farm house and a backdrop of the Green Mountains alive with the brilliance of fall.  This ad promised a chance to win a free stay at that lovely restored farm house, a retreat for writers, called When Words Count Retreat.

I clicked on the ad, filled out the entry form, hit submit, and promptly forgot about it. After all, I never win things.  But a couple of weeks later I received a phone call telling me I was one of the winners.

Dinning room and Breakfast nook
Excited, I checked their website and Face Book. A place for writers to get away, write and talk about writing.  Pure Heaven—with the promise of great food.

My son, the cynic, told me it was a gimmick, like those time-share weekends, where they’d try to sell me something.  My imagination conjured a dinner table with a bunch of literary types in tweed jackets with elbow patches, pontificating the symbolism in a novel they wrote twenty years ago, while they looked down their nose at a humble, e-published romance writer.

Front sitting area
Regardless, it was Vermont, (Yay!). I picked the first of November for my stay, assuming I could least get a jump start on Na No Wri Mo.  The remote location had fabulous views, which embraced the motto, ‘The Beckoning Country.’  Similar to a Bed and Breakfast, the restored farmhouse was filled with antiques and various nooks and crannies for writing. Even without the color of fall, the views were perfect for staring at while ideas percolated.  The whole atmosphere was ideal for just hanging out and writing. No one gave any pushy sales pitches. There were no pretentious writers. Everyone was warm, helpful and lots of fun.

The food was exceptional and Chef Paul over-the-top accommodating. Even the menus seemed designed to charge the brain batteries in the morning and add fuel for lunch without creating the need for an afternoon nap.

Night time gathering place around the fire
In the evening there were cocktails, and a fire. We sat around and read things we’d written. The feedback from everyone was constructive and not critical. And except for a spouse or two, we were all writers, A Band of Brothers so to speak. We understood each other; the voices in our heads, the driving compulsion to write, the isolation of the craft, and that under-lying fear of failure.

We were strangers who for a brief time, came together like old friends, then became friends as we exchanged emails and hugs and talked about coming back. 

I had a great time.  Many thanks to Steve and Jon for creating such a sanctuary.  And hopefully I can return next fall.


Kathy Otten said...

Hi All,
Another long fourteen hour shift today with no computer. I'll be back at midnight to reply to any comments. Have a great day!

Lisa Carlisle said...

I was there last month. What a wonderful experience!

Tina Donahue said...

Wow, how I envy you. Looks wonderful. I'd love a quiet, beautiful retreat like that. :)

LisaRayns said...

It sounds lovely. Congrats!

Liz Flaherty said...

Sounds wonderful!

jean hart stewart said...

I think they should have one of these is every state. especially CA where I am.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Lisa,
Glad you had as great a time as I had. :)

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Tina,
It was great not to have to stop writing to cook, or switch laundry or let the cat out. Hope you get a chance to experience something like it someday.

Kathy Otten said...

Lisa and Liz,
Thanks for stopping by. Vermont is beautiful and it was a great place to step away from life and write and talk about writing.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Jean,
Napa Valley would be a great place for Californians to have a retreat like this. Probably some great wines for tasting while sitting around the fire in the evening and sharing what was written that day.