Creating your own writer’s retreat

My writing friend Amanda and I were jonesing to get away from the daily routine of work, kids, and family to delve into writing projects—a poetry manuscript for her, a memoir for me. We applied for a joint residency but didn’t get it, so I suggested we create our own retreat. On a budget, that’s not easy to do.

Idyllic little cabins near the coast (or anywhere really!) through Air B&B or VRBO were cost prohibitive. And in a wet January, camping didn’t seem the best option either. But my stepmom owns a little old house five hours north in Grants Pass, Oregon. Who is up for a drive?!

The Rogue River from the backyard.
The Rogue River from the backyard.

With only four days, we would have two solid days of writing, with two days on either end of some writing and lots of driving. Perhaps not ideal, but better than nothing.

We stop for a late lunch in Ashland on the way north where we find a divine mushroom burger with caramelized onions and fontina cheese on a brioche bun toasted with garlic oil. And a Caesar salad with half slice of anchovy on top…and fries! Good thing we shared. Continue reading “Creating your own writer’s retreat”


Adventures Close to Home

canoe rideI confess to the bit of envy I feel when seeing my friends post photos to Facebook from a trip to Morocco, a twinge of wanderlust to be in a new land, sampling exotic spices and hearing the melody of a language that doesn’t roll off my tongue. Those are the times I find it most important to remember that adventure awaits outside the front door, a short walk to the pond or a 20 minute drive to put the canoe in at Solano Lake.

1147523_10201895782622614_366563213_oReally, it’s just a section of Putah Creek. But it’s full of wildlife–beaver, otter, raccoon, egrets, great blue heron, bullfrogs, osprey, woodpecker, kingfisher, Canada geese, buffleheads, cormorants, turkey vultures, red-shouldered hawks, red-winged blackbirds, three-spined stickleback that my son loves to scoop up in a net while drifting in the canoe. I’m sure this is only scratching the surface of the species out there.

raccoonBut it’s our little slice of heaven that we explore in every season.

blackberry cobblerDeep in the summer months, we stain fingers purple with blackberry juice in our quest to gather enough for a cobbler.

tacosThose are the days we head west toward Winters in late afternoon and stop at the El Verduzco taco truck parked at the Mariani Nut Company. After eating an assortment of carnitas, asada and adobada tacos, we hit the road to drive another few miles along Putah Creek Road till we find the extra wide pullouts  where you can park your car to unload a canoe or kayak.

DSC_3609_LR for blogOnce on the water, you never know what you’ll see! Here are some images from the past couple of trips–enjoy!