My Top Five Writing Retreats

Cedar Key, Florida
A Breath of Fresh Inspiration

The great outdoors inspires me as a writer, especially in a setting by a river or lake. Water trickling over rocks, breeze-swayed evergreens, birds serenading from treetops, and rainbow-hued flowers. The scent of earth perfuming the air.

My muse comes alive in God’s created paradise. Especially for a cave-dweller like me.

Coming from a resort management background, I’m blessed with insider information about great getaways. There are affordable places around the country, to fuel a writer’s creative juices. Where magical meets practical.

So lean in close, and I’ll whisper a few secrets about my top five writing retreats.

5) Mohican Adventures — Loudonville, Ohio
Amenities & Attractions: Cabins, RV campsites, small lake, Miniature Golf, Go-Karts, Canoe Trips, Horseback riding, wooded area and hiking trails, Wi-Fi (extra fees)
Special Notes: The rolling hills around Loudonville bear the mark of Amish influence. I feel like I’m in a by-gone era when I drive through centuries-old quaint towns. And yet, the resort offers modern convenience.

4) Ozark Outdoors Riverfront Resort — Leasburg, Missouri
Amenities & Attractions: Cabins, motels, condos, RV sites, wooded hiking trails, canoe, raft, kayak, and tube trips, Wi-Fi in designated areas.
Selling Points: I love the choice of three different rivers to roam. This immaculate resort is tucked into lush Ozark hills, twenty minutes from the closest town. Bald eagles often fly overhead, nesting atop trees and massive bluffs in the area.

3) Adventures Unlimited — Milton, Florida
Amenities & Attractions: Historic rental homes, riverside cabins, zip-line, canoe, kayak, and tube trips. Wi-Fi in designated areas.
Writer’s Attraction: How can I resist rooms with names like The American Poet’s, John James Audubon, William Faulkner, Dr. Seuss. Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Mitchell, and Mark Twain? Each unit in the Schoolhouse Inn boasts books and memorabilia for the author it represents. The rocking chairs and swing, on the southern wrap-around porch, allow me to write in a setting fit for the masters.

2) River & Trail Outfitters — Knoxville, Maryland
Amenities & Attractions: White-water rafting, kayaks, tubes, near the landmark village of Harper’s Ferry, WV and the C&O Canal trail, perfect for bikes or an energizing walk.
Creative Triggers: This place feeds my hunger for history and love for America. Located near the confluence of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, rich stories of our nation’s heritage wait around every corner. Access to the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, puts me on the same hallowed waterways our forefathers traveled.

1) Voyageur Canoe Outfitters — Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, Minnesota
Amenities & Attractions: Rustic cabins, tent camping, outfitted lake trips by canoe or kayak. Secluded areas to make you feel like you have the whole territory to yourself. A distant moose or bear sighting thickens your plots.
Magnetic Draw: Leave no trace — more than a tag-line, here it’s a way of life. I feel like Lewis or Clark, pioneering new frontiers, while watching water trickle off my paddle. Challenging portages cause blood and oxygen to pump to my brain, spurring new imaginations. I call this place Boundary Energy.

Quieter Times & Lower Prices for all resorts: April, Early May, Late September, October, Tuesday through Thursday in summer.

Writers often need quiet space, and outdoor writing retreats offer a breath of fresh inspiration. No matter where you live, there’s probably an economical resort close by. Take advantage of off-peak periods to sweeten the price. But then again, you could pitch a tent in your own backyard.

Where do you retreat to sharpen your focus? How do you concentrate on projects?

Leasburg, Missouri
Meeting the Muse in God's Creation

16 Replies to “My Top Five Writing Retreats”

  1. I’m so with you on this one Anita. I often times go on my covered back porch with lap top in hand, just to hear the breeze giggle through the trees. And whatever smells drift to me, lilacs, crisp fall leaves, end up making it somehow into the novel. I take my laptop w/ us on vacation and try to write for even a half hour.

    1. You’re right Melissa — even thirty minutes makes such a difference. My husband laughs at me for taking the laptop on vacation, but with all that inspiration, and a relaxed mind, I’m hyper-productive. 🙂

  2. I am blessed to live adjacent to one state park and several others within 30-45 minutes. I bought an annual pass and a beach chair. At a camp site or even the group picnic sites, they have electricity to keep the laptop going. So, in good weather I take a lunch and head there. My best word count days are my park-writing days. I even had an inclement weather spot picked out but they started remodeling so that didn’t work out… I have gone away for weekends, but I don’t want to go anywhere that I feel I am missing out on seeing the local attractions so I have to pick carefully. Enough interests for meal times and breaks but not so much that I put aside writing to be a tourist.

    1. I too am blessed to live close to one of these resorts, Charise. I’m always amazed at the number of quiet days there are when I feel like I have the place to myself. The staff are so generous, especially when they know you’re a writer.

      There’s something about the great outdoors — food tastes better, and word counts grow higher. LOL

    1. Thanks Julie — one thing I didn’t say in my post relates to celebration. When I pass a mile-stone or meet a goal, there’s nothing like good old-fashioned fun to spur me on to the next project!

      Let me know how you like each of these. 🙂

  3. From the post title I was expecting a list of those writer retreats that are advertised in magazines such as Poets & Writers, like the Robert Frost farm in New Hampshire.

    I have not yet found a retreat place. And since I find it difficult to type on a laptop keyboard (though I’m fine with a standard keyboard), writing of any kind when I travel is difficult. So I generally bring a couple of research books, read, and take notes in manuscript.

    1. I haven’t been to Robert Frost’s farm, but it sounds like another winner. I think there are a lot of other places I’d like to check out for retreat.

      Personally, it helps me to get away, although I don’t always have the luxury. When I’m home, it’s easier to get distracted. But all writer’s are not made the same.

  4. A beautiful scenery would be inspiring, but if I waited for those opportunities to write, it would never get done haha 🙂 So my retreat is my quiet place at my house EARLY in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. And no, I’m not a morning person… I’ve just made it a discipline because of the serenity of my created retreat. I’m able to get more accomplished in that hour to hour and a half than any other time (or place).

  5. I’m blessed to have beautiful scenery close to home. Early morning is absolutely the best — while thoughts are fresh.

    Seek discipline, wisdom, and understanding are definitely keys to success.

  6. Within fifteen minutes of my home I can be either in the middle of the mountains or at the symphony, but my retreat of choice is my garden or living room. Both locations are relatively quiet and distraction free. Although not much writing gets done in the garden, it is a place where inspiration comes.

    1. Mmm, a garden retreat sounds lovely. I like the symphony, but since I can’t seem to focus with music on while writing, using it as celebration would be my style. Isn’t it funny how different we all are???

  7. I’ve only been to #4, Ozark Outdoors Riverfront Resort, when I visited you in Missouri, Anita. I loved tubing down the Meramec, as we enjoyed the lazy summer day and talked about our writing dreams. I actually live in one of my favorite writing retreat, too–Hot Springs Village, Arkansas! Great post!

    1. That was a great day, Karen. I won’t forget some of the inspirations we got from the clouds. Remember the great places God took us in our minds?

      I’m still looking forward to a retreat in your fave place. Hot Springs Village here I come!!!

  8. I am craving this kind of experience, even though I know it will be several more years before my kids will be old enough for me to leave them for a few days. Thank you for this list!

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