"The workshop hums and the honey reeks of thyme." – Virgil

Several times a year -- or by request -- I offer intimate writing retreats at my historic home in idyllic Essex on Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks, or at other soul-stirring locations in the U.S. and abroad. Limited to small groups of  writers, participants receive intensive one-on-one manuscript consultation and targeted critiques, dynamic conversations about literary life over wine and sumptuous meals, and focused time for writing in the company of inspiring, supportive, like-minded writers. Retreats may also include daily workshop-style feedback from the group, and special guests from the literary world who will join us for a meal and a conversation. When scheduling permits, I sometimes team up with other notable writers who also love to teach in intimate settings. 

Always included are boutique-style lodging and farm-to-table organic meals, most of them prepared by the Birds & Muses retreat faculty and punctuated with the bountiful results of my therapeutic (okay, pathological!) baking. Optional activities might include yoga, hiking, swimming or beach walking, day trips to nearby cities or historic sites, antiquing, seasonal  leaf-peeping or olive-gathering, absorbing the inspirations of landscape, and sampling from local farms, wineries, and artisan makers of food and crafts. 

Individual and private group retreats are also available. What writer wouldn’t want to spend a weekend being cooked for, pampered, and talking about their writing? 

See below for the Summer & Fall 2017 retreats (now sold out) and the first retreat of 2018: February 10-15 in the redwoods overlooking the sublime Pacific coastline at Pt. Reyes National Seashore. Coming in May 2018 will be a week-long workshop at Craigardan, an 1880s sheep farm - turned - arts center on Hurricane Mountain in Keene, New York.  In August 2018 a return to Coastal Maine is in the works, and in October 2018 Craigardan will host the first of two week-long residencies framing a 12-month mentorship designed to complete a draft of a novel or memoir in a year. And finally, November 5-12, 2018 will be Birds & Muses in Sicily: a retreat on the southern coast near Noto. Other locales, including Tuscany and Greece, to follow. For more information or to schedule an individual or private group retreat, contact me here

Upcoming Retreats

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Adirondack Memoir Retreat on Lake Champlain (FULL)

Sept 26 – Sept 30, 2017

Led by Elizabeth Cohen & Kate Moses

Focus on your memoir-in- progress at a peaceful Adirondack lakeside lodge set against a backdrop of autumn’s turning leaves. Intensive, individual manuscript consultations and feedback in small group workshops.

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Point Reyes Writing Intensive: Directed Retreat for Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

Feb 10 – Feb 15, 2018

Led by Kate Moses

Let the unspoiled beauty of Point Reyes National Seashore be your inspiration during a guided writing intensive designed to deepen and refine your work-in-progress.

Past Retreats


Coastal Maine Writing Retreat for Fiction, Memoir, & Food Writing

August 20 – 24, 2017

Led by Kate Christensen, Kate Moses, & Mary Pols

Experience Maine’s summer bounty as you take your work-in- progress to the next level during this retreat on glorious Casco Bay. Three acclaimed writers will guide you, feed you, and inspire you during intensive individual manuscript consultations and small group workshops.

Retreats Faculty


Kate Moses

Kate is the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath, published in sixteen languages, and Cakewalk: A Memoir, chosen by National Public Radio as one of their favorite memoirs of 2010. Recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Best Fiction by an American Woman, an American Book Award, and a Prix des Lectrices de Elle, Kate is also co-editor of two bestselling anthologies of essays on motherhood, Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood and Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race & Themselves. A founding editor of Salon, her literary essays and food writing have appeared in many publications in the U.S. and U.K. Learn more about Kate’s books at


Kate Christensen

Kate is the author of seven novels, including The Great Man, which won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, and The Last Cruise, forthcoming from Doubleday in the summer of 2018. She is also the author of two food-centric memoirs, Blue Plate Special and How to Cook a Moose, which won the 2016 Maine Literary Award for Memoir. She has taught fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as well as short workshops in both memoir and fiction at several residencies and MFA programs. She has published essays and articles in many magazines, including Vogue, Elle, Bookforum, O, the Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, and Food & Wine. She lives in Portland, Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her husband and dog. Visit Kate at and on Twitter @aquavita.


Elizabeth Cohen

Elizabeth is the author of The New York Times Notable Book and Reader’s Digest selection, The Family on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Love and Courage; The Silver Bear and the Scalpel, a co-authored memoir of the first Navajo Woman surgeon, and Oprah magazine summer best read and Adirondack Writers Group best book of 2013, the short story collection, The Hypothetical Girl. A MacDowell Colony fellow and spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Association, she has authored six books of poetry. Her essays and poetry are published widely, and she is a professor in the Writing Arts Program at SUNY Plattsburgh. Learn more at


Mary Pols

Mary is a Maine-based author and award-winning journalist. Her memoir, Accidentally on Purpose, was turned into a CBS sitcom starring Jenna Elfman. Her literary book criticism appears regularly in national publications, including The New York Times and People. For more than a decade she was a film critic, first for newspapers in the San Francisco area and then for Time Magazine. A member of the National Society of Film Critics, she’s been a staff writer at the Seattle Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Los Angeles Daily News. Her writing has appeared in magazines ranging from the late great Gourmet to Marie Claire and Parenting.