Monday, July 1, 2013

Minnesota Monday: A Writer's Retreat

This past week I was honored to host three writing friends at my house for a five day writing retreat.
I planned a rough agenda, hoping to offer a fun mix of work and play. Each day we had two blocks of "work" time and the rest of the day was free. During our work time we were each given a three hour block of time to brainstorm our stories with each other. Having this dedicated, focused time was priceless. We all walked away feeling great about our story ideas and energized to work on them. This is one talented group of writers!
During our free time we went on walks, visited historic sites, watched movies, went on Jeep rides and saw the countryside. It's fun to see my hometown through the eyes of people who've never been here. I was a tour guide at the Charles A. Lindbergh House for ten years and it's easy for me to slip back into that mode. Not only did I show them some fun places, I also gave them quite a bit of history. What can I say? I'm a historical writer, after all. :)
I can't wait to have them back next year. I have even more I want to show them.
Me, Alena Tauriainen, Melissa Tagg & Lindsay Harrel

At the Charles A. Lindbergh House with my children and
my writing friends! The tour guide is also a good friend
of mine. It was fun showing off one of my favorite historic sites.

My kiddos looking through stereoscopes.
I live on the banks of the Mississippi River, so
this is where we spent a lot of our work time.
We had a few visitors as we brainstormed.

Can you see the woodchuck?

We had an opportunity to go to Linden Hill Conference
and Retreat Center to celebrate all our writing achievements.
Linden Hill was having a fundraiser, so we had food, live
entertainment, tours of the two mansions on the property and
great company.

At Linden Hill.

Eating our celebratory Dairy Queen Cake while
watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in our jammies.
More brainstorming, this time inside because it was windy
near the river.

It was so much fun brainstorming story ideas!

This is the road my in-law's live on. We ate lunch nearby and
then stopped by their house to see the lake they live on.

I took the ladies to see the large Blanchard Dam near my house.
You can walk above the dam and the river.

Alena and I with the dam behind us.

We picked on Lindsay all weekend! She's a
city girl at heart and was having a hard
time with the mosquitoes...and the spiders
and the moths and the wood ticks... Here she
is applying mosquito spray to her body.

Lindsay and Melissa on a walk in Lindbergh State Park.

My favorite picture of the whole week! We were ambushed by
wood ticks! :) You can't see Melissa and I, but we were running, too.
We hit a nest of wood ticks on our walk and they were
crawling ALL over our legs. We had at least thirty or more
on each of us. By the way we were running, you would have
thought we were being chased by a wild bear!
Not only did I have fun showcasing my hometown, I also had fun laughing, learning and fellowshipping with these ladies. I'm so thankful God brought our paths together through writing, and that our friendships have grown through our shared faith and interests.

Despite the wood ticks, this was a successful retreat--one we hope to have every year.

What about you? If you had guests come from out of town, where would you bring them?

~ ~ ~ ~

Lindsay is sharing about our retreat on her blog today! You can see it here. Melissa will be hosting us on her blog on Wednesday.


  1. I love the photos! Adorable ladies! It seemed like you had a blast!

    1. Thank you, Livia! We did have a blast. It's so much fun being with other writers.

  2. It looks like a really fun, yet productive, time. What a fabulous idea!
    I have to ask if you have a black pug. I have one, too!

    1. That was the beauty of the retreat, Carol. It was fun AND productive! No, we have an English lab. She's a much smaller, gentler breed of lab. I see she's in the picture of the ladies eating ice cream. She had just as much fun as all of us! She was loved on all week by the ladies.

  3. Okay, that's round two for fun memories of your writers weekend -- and for that "tick" photo. And let me tell you, I would have been a blur, an absolute blur, in your camera!

    1. Ha! The funny thing was, there was no reason to run! Once we left the tall grass, there was no threat but we all felt the NEED to run! Eww. I'm not a fan of wood ticks, at all! Wood ticks aside, it was one of my favorite weeks ever. :)

  4. WAAAAAAH I miss you girls already!! (I just said the same thing on Lindsay's blog, by the way.) Gabe, thank you so much for hosting us. You are an amazing tour guide and an even better friend. Already counting the weeks til ACFW!

    1. I miss you, too!! It was my pleasure to put on my tour guide hat again. I'm so happy you're just a car ride away. Whenever you're feeling the need to slip away to the river, you're more than welcome to come for a visit. Looking forward to September, for more than one reason. :)

  5. Oh, my gosh, wood ticks ambush you?? I would have been running and screaming too, lol. So glad you all had fun and inspiring time together!

    1. No, they don't! But with thirty or more crawling up your leg, it feels like an ambush! ;) We all survived, but I think Lindsay might need a little time to heal from the trauma. :)

  6. Replies
    1. It was fun! I couldn't have asked for better weather or nicer house guests. ;) The whole week was wonderful.

  7. Oh poor sweet Lindsay. She CAN take the heat, but not the bugs. But, I'd be singing the exact same tune as her.
    Je deteste le petite vermine.

    1. I told her if Minnesota didn't have the bugs (or the winter) it would be practically perfect and then everyone would want to live here. :) Yes, there have to be trade-offs. Wood ticks or 115 degree weather?

  8. Miss you already!! And yes, the "tick incident" will live on in infamy...

    1. Ha! You said the retreat would be epic and Melissa said it would be legendary...we just didn't know wood ticks would be the reason!! ;) I miss you, too! Can't wait to room with you at ACFW in ten weeks. Thanks for coming to Minnesota--you're always welcome.

  9. Gabe
    I had a blast! The wood ticks added a little extra excitement.
    Tell your kids "thanks" for letting us borrow you. :-)

    1. I will tell them. :) I had a blast, too. Thank you for coming all this way.


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