Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Taking a Road Trip to My Dream Writing Retreat

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
Describe your dream writing retreat.  Where would you go?  Who and what would you bring?

Oh, this is EASY. 

When I was ten years old, a friend of the family gave me a box set of books about this ten year old girl named Emily, written after WWI by a woman named Lucy Maud Montgomery (and set at the turn of the century).  Emily, like me, wanted to be a writer... and she lived on the most beautiful island on the planet, this amazingly magical place called Prince Edward Island.

Visiting PEI became a dream of mine and, in 2009, I realized that dream.  I wasn't disappointed.

Cavendish beach, PEI (2009)

Cavendish Beach, PEI (2009)
Now, since this is my dream writing retreat, I think I would like to have that retreat in the old Montgomery homestead at Fox Point (Malpeque)... supposedly the original "New Moon.":

Image courtesy of lmm-anne.net
 She saw a big house peering whitely through a veil of tall old trees–no mushroom growth of yesterday’s birches but trees that had loved and been loved by three generations–a glimpse of silver water glistening through the dark spruces–that was the Blair Water itself, she knew–and a tall, golden-white church spire shooting up above the maple woods in the valley below. But it was none of these that brought her the flash–that came with the sudden glimpse of the dear, friendly, little dormer window peeping through vines on the roof–and right over it, in the opalescent sky, a real new moon, golden and slender.
— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily of New Moon
Image courtesy of lmm-anne.net
 ... or, perhaps the Mongomery Homestead (which, sadly, I think went up for sale *sniffle* and is no longer a museum)?  You can't see in this photo, but the hills behind the house slope down, down, down soooo green, towards the bluest water that you will ever see.

Montgomery Homestead, PEI (2009)
Even just driving about PEI is like being in a picture book, or maybe OZ, with all of its COLOUR (Yes, Canadian spelling.  Because how could I NOT while up there?!?!?):

“Much of the beauty of the island is due to the vivid colour contrasts – the rich red of the winding roads, the brilliant emerald of the uplands and meadows, the glowing sapphire of the encircling sea.”
“I had forgotten that the ponds and rivers of Prince Edward Island were so brilliantly, so unbelievably blue. I walked and prowled by night and day amidst all the old beauty, as I had not done for years.”
– L.M. Montgomery

On the road, PEI (2009)
I would set myself up in the lookout of one of those houses, with an old-fashioned desk overlooking the sea... or an orchard.  My cat, Phoebe, would be given free-reign of the house.  Of course, practicality would mean that I would bring my laptop, some cozy clothes, and my entire library of LMM books.  And, right beside me would be a crock full of "Aunt Laura's" famous doughnuts.

This is where I dream of writing.  Now, tell me: where is YOUR dream retreat?


  1. Pretty, I like it. It must be very peaceful and inspiring ;)

  2. You've been to PEI! I'm so jealous. I've definitely wanted to visit since I read the Anne books.

    There's something about islands that's conducive to writing. It's like when you get on the boat, you know you're leaving your life behind and the rest of the world behind, and you can really focus.

  3. Looks nice, but I don't know that I would want to be *that* isolated. But it's cool that you got to visit the place after reading about it, and that it lived up to your dreams. :)

  4. Ah, fantastic choice! I can't wait to go back to PEI. Cavendish is sort of magical...although my memories are tinged with frustration, as I was there the weekend the final Harry Potter book came out, and we could not find a single copy there! We had to wait until we got back to Charlottetown an agonizing two days later--but then we bought two copies and hung around our beautiful room at the Shipwright Inn (an awesome, awesome B&B in Charlottetown) reading for a whole day.

  5. Ah, love the Maritimes! We visited PEI when I was little, back before it was connected to the rest of our country by bridge and back before Green Gables caught fire. You can't beat the red sand and gorgeous views. I've been dreaming of returning to that neck of the woods, but it's about as expensive to fly there from Alberta as it is to fly to Europe. Great choice :)

  6. Great pick! I loved PEI when I visited, but the stay was far too brief. It would definitely be an awesome place to get some writing done.

  7. Wow it looks like the kinda of place I would love to visit and use as a writer´s retreat :-)

  8. Oh wow, that's totally beautiful. I don't think I want to do a retreat there, but maybe a visit someday!

  9. Me and my friends on goodreads have talked about how we need to have a YA fan convention and converge on PEI. It's absolutely lovely.

  10. Juliana: Oh, it is! I spent most of my trip running around and I STILL felt incredibly relaxed

    Tarah: You won't be disappointed... PEI is still as magical as LMM described it

    Colin: Thank you! Isn't it amazing how place can be as much a part of a story as a main character?

    Mrs. Silverstein: I will have to check out the Shipwright's inn for my next trip! I stayed at Kindred Spirits in Cavendish and it was so cozy and wonderful.

    Jaime: I was lucky enough to have frequent flyer miles to get me to Moncton *whew* I love Canada and have visited 4 provinces so far, but I want to get out to the western and central provinces/territories someday! (I have volunteered at the last 2 Canada games-- next one is in the summer in Quebec, but I'm debating whether or not I want to go to Saskatchewan for the winter games!

    Crystal: It's so peaceful and perfect for writing, isn't it?

    commutinggirl: You must! There are the prettiest B&Bs, lovely tea houses, plenty of nature and lighthouses and local color (Some ideas came to me while hearing local stories at a celidh!)

    Arianna: Visit, visit! My pics (and the internet pics) just don't do it justice. Waking up on PEI was REALLY like Dorothy arriving in Oz!

    veela-valoom: Ooooooh. This convention NEEDS to happen (haven't they been talking about/have built a new convention centre in Charlottetown? UPEI will also allow people to rent out their dorms for some conventions during breaks...