My Personal Retreat Up North

One of my birthday gifts back in January was a three day mini personal writing retreat up at the Grand Traverse Resort — alone time for me to revise my WIP, eat room service BBQ pizza, and ramble in the great outdoors a while.

My room was lovely…

My work space was comfortable…

And I did get a phenomenal amount of research and revision done. I even got to have breakfast with my sister while I was there.

After checking out on Friday, I swung by Hartwick Pines near Grayling to take a walk through old growth white pines.

Hartwick Pines, MI

I was the only one there, following someone else’s cross country ski tracks from earlier in the day, listening to the birds and the squirrels and the swooshing of my snow pants.

At Hartwick Pines

It was beautiful.

And it was exactly what I needed after two straight days of sitting, sitting, sitting.

Little Ghost Tree

Being out in the woods alone, with no sound even of distant traffic, is something I really wish I could do more often. It’s as necessary to my mental and emotional well-being as good food and exercise are to my physical well-being.

When it comes to gifts, nothing beats a little alone time in God’s country. Do my guys know me or what?

5 thoughts on “My Personal Retreat Up North

  1. Just before we left the business world, on the way back from Mackinac Island, we stopped by Hartwick. I had one of those life-changing moments of clarity. It was a cold November 1st. A light snow fell, and my wife and I were the only ones there. The old growth pines “sang” to me. I swear. Long story short, a year later we’d sold our biz and moved back to the Mighty Mitten. Yes, there’s a connection.

    Great photos! Glad you had a productive and enlightening trip!

  2. Vaughn, my first experience there was in November as well, the year my son was born and “alone” became a distant memory. I think my husband knew I needed to get the hell out of Dodge. Again, it was snowy and I was the only one there, but it was a little warmer, so I could hear the snow dripping off the trees. And the strangest, most surreal thing happened. Though it couldn’t have been more than a few degrees above freezing, ahead of me in the path was a white moth, lazily and silently flying ahead, as if he were my guide. It was one of those moments you wish you could live in, one where what came right before and what came right after melt into nothing and all you remember is that one perfect moment in time that was so beautiful, but at the same time made your heart ache.

  3. Sounds wonderful! I like to retreat to my brother’s cottage at Lake St. James to jumpstart my writing. I try to do this at least once in the summer, preferably twice, and another in the fall to enjoy the leaves. It does wonders for clearing my head. Those are some of my most productive days. Even if I don’t write as much as I hoped for, I come home and start writing again.

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