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Recommendations for a Cabin of One’s Own?

I’m going to take a personal writing retreat starting, oh, say, in a week (after June 6, my last day of work), for about five or six days, and I have no idea where to go.

(I keep wanting to say “writing vacation,” but that’s backwards. Once my new job starts on June 23 I’m going to be very busy for a good long while, and I want to really dig in and enjoy some writing before I get going.)

I want to go somewhere that I can be happily anonymous (just that crazy old lady in boxer shorts, working away on her laptop all day when she could be Having Fun).

What I would really, really like: a cabin somewhere woodsy and quiet, in a setting where I can heat food, make my morning coffee, keep my laptop plugged in, and bathe once a day. I don’t even mind if “heating food” means I bring a small grill and cook a meal outside. I don’t mind driving a few hours to get there.

What would be very helpful: wifi (since I find half my writing depends on tapping in to research or files related to such). I have instructions for using my Blackberry as a modem, which is something I’m considering. Nearby access to Internet services would be a consideration — some place I could sit for an hour or two if I needed to do some digging and researching.

What isn’t that important: air conditioning (if I’m hot, I’m hot; I tolerate heat pretty well and have written quite a bit in my skivvies), lots of amenities, fabulous hiking and boating, dramatic views and scenery, great dining opportunities, elegant furnishings, etc.

What I hope to avoid: units conjoined with other units (by cabin, I mean a cabin, not a room in a lodge), loud people chattering outside my door, cross-country flights (too late for anything reasonable), and people I know. It’s ok if there are people wandering around, as long as I don’t have to interact with them and they aren’t bothering me. (Am I starting to sound like a cat?)

I’ve had this as a goal for a good year and a half,  and each time there have been very good reasons I’ve abandoned this plan. (I also have been rejected by one writing retreat and haven’t tried reapplying.) It was the right call each time (well, obviously, that retreat center was wrong, and boy oh boy, someday are they gonna know that, right?).

But this time I do not want to abandon this plan. If I have to, I’ll go sit in a motel room somewhere, which wouldn’t be terrible, but I do have fond thoughts of a little house in the big woods, where I can be terribly self-indulgent and focus on my writing.


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  1. Kerri wrote:

    This is a delayed response and most likely something you’re not interested in, but Lake George would be an awesome place to go. And for future reference (since you’re starting your new job and all) there is actually a writer’s retreat that they have up there

    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  2. Lake George! A bit far afield, but I’d love that.

    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  3. JanieH wrote:

    I know the perfect place in West Virginia — we went there on our honeymoon and loved it — but that is too far afield as well.

    I have friends who booked through here last year and had a great experience:

    Not sure about Internet access though. Your retreat sounds like a dream to me.

    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  4. Andrea wrote:

    My family rented a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN in the Smoky Mountains and had a lovely time and no contact outside of ourselves.

    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Permalink
  5. JanieH, you have set me on a trail seeking cabins in North Georgia. Thank you! That’s at least a start.

    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
  6. Millie wrote:

    I’m going to start calling you Dot.

    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  7. I’m starting to think maybe I should change my ticket and arrive in New Mexico a few days early for a visit with my mom. Maybe park in some Route 66 motel. Imagine the atmosphere!

    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 8:55 pm | Permalink
  8. pollyalida wrote:

    An old Route 66 motel, now that’s starting to sound VERY atmospheric and like something out of an great old movie! You have to rent a old Route 66 kind of car to go with it. :-)

    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
  9. Steersbylitning wrote:

    Karen, try Wildacres in western North Carolina.
    They have a writer residency program. Here’s a link:

    Good luck!

    Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  10. Cal Gough wrote:

    Karen: I realize you’re off to New Mexico and shortly off to your new job, but I co-own one of them “cabins in the North Georgia mountains” and I’d love to loan it to you sometime for a comfortable, easy-to-find, totally equipped cabin. Why? Cause I lorve your blog and want to support your writing career, and this is one way I could do that. Mind you, I co-own the place, am not zee sole owner, so I and the other owners would need a bit o’ notice to make arrangements for your sojourn there. All the other liberrians and all the non-liberrians who’ve ever been guests of ours have loved their time there. Blue Ridge, Ga. (and its restaurants) are a mere two miles away, but you may decide to stay at the cabin and eat in – we often do. The landscape is way different from New Mexico, but wonderful in its own magical way. Meanwhile, sorry I missed your talk at SOLINET (I was at a GLBTQ archives conference in NYC); hopefully our paths might cross at some point later on. (Many of us here at AFPLS are hoping The Powers That Be will migrate us to Evergreen eventuellment.)

    Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
  11. Colleen wrote:

    K – I don’t know what their internet access is like, but the cabins at gatlinburg are gorgeous. Some are set much farther back than others, and you dont have to deal with people if you dont want to. (The hot tubs are also quite nice).

    Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 7:17 pm | Permalink
  12. Cal, sign me up for a rain check! That sounds fabu! I’d love to come visit you anyway — let’s talk off-blog.

    Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 11:24 pm | Permalink
  13. Colleen… that sounds great. An occasional hot tub can help further One’s Craft. :-)

    Monday, June 2, 2008 at 7:13 am | Permalink
  14. Hi K.G. Schneider, I would consider contacting any librarian working at a military base and asking him /her for the name of officer that does the traveling arrangements [usually a retired person] for the senior course officers on team building exercises or similar excursions. Here in South Africa these development courses are conducted at civilian locations that fit your requirements and usually inexpensive. I realize by the time you read this comment your article will be finished but next time round it might help? I’m a retired Army Col with two tiny (minute) businesses and time on my hands trying my hand at writing. If you answer, please tell me what area of writing you are focusing on.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 5:14 am | Permalink
  15. sohbet wrote:

    Colleen… that sounds great.

    Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

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