Friday, February 23, 2024

Early Spring Writing Retreat at Sherwood Inn, in Muskoka

Early Spring in Muskoka Writing Retreat

Friday, April 5 – Monday, April 8, 2024
Register soon to be sure of a spot!
Sherwood Inn on Lake Joseph
1090 Sherwood Road, Port Carling, Ontario, Canada (Map here)

Give yourself four days of writing time  a long weekend of instruction, inspiration and creativity. Award yourself with time away from distractions, with no dishes to do, delicious food at every meal, and with the leisure you need to sit with your feet up and write.

The retreat will feature both instruction and guided writing exercises, plus one-on-one critiquing and coaching from Brian.  You’ll also have lots of time to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with your creativity. All writing levels welcome. Whether you’re just beginning or have a novel in progress, please join us. 

The setting: Sherwood is an elegant resort started some eighty years ago by Harry Draper, a Toronto lawyer who fell in love with the Muskoka’s. He envisioned Sherwood as a charming estate rather than as a sprawling hotel and wanted guests to feel as if they were staying at a friend’s cottage.  Sherwood Inn, especially the Inn building itself, still maintains that warm, old-Muskoka charm.  

Thomas B. Costain, author of numerous best-selling historical novels, including The Chalice and The Black Rose, was a regular guest, so the Inn has a track record as a good spot for writing. Lawren Harris and George Thomson (brother of Tom Thomson) both painted here, though the century-old pines surrounding the Inn would have been a bit younger then.

Rates include accommodation. Rooms are located in the main Inn. Each room includes a queen bed, an en-suite three-piece bathroom, and a desk (for writing).

All meals – Friday dinner, Saturday and Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday breakfast and lunch – are provided, as are coffee & snack breaks on Saturday and Sunday. Alcoholic beverages are extra, as are golf and Spa treatments.

Activities included: We seem to be headed for an early spring, but we’ll still definitely be too early for water sports. Expect daytime temperatures above freezing, but there may still be some snow on the ground, especially in the forest, and maybe still ice on the lake (but melting – so don’t go walking on it!) The hiking trails, though, are great, and there are fat bikes, a regular bonfire, and a fitness room. Unlike our Algonquin retreats, there is also Internet, so if you must know what’s going on in the world, you can keep up.  We recommend, though, that you kick back, relax, and let your creative juices flow.

Additional activities: The Inn also features a comfortable licensed lounge and a spa. “True North MVMNT is dedicated to getting you moving towards your happiest and healthiest self! We provide professional Massage Therapy and Esthetic services for all ages and backgrounds.” Spa treatments are not included in the package, but if you're interested, you should certainly book an appointment (here).  

There are various attractions in the area, including the Muskoka Lakes (Cranberry) Farm and Winery, just 8 minutes down the road, and cruises out of Port Carling, weather permitting.  

Check-in on Friday is 4 p.m. Our first writing get-together will be at 5 p.m. Check-out on Monday is at 11:30 a.m. Followed by lunch. Feel free to arrive early – your room may well be ready – and in any case, before 4 p.m. on Friday and after lunch on Monday, you're welcome to use the resort's facilities. 

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada's most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors.

Read more about Sherwood Inn and about previous retreats here {and scroll down}.

Fees: 

Including both the writing retreat and accommodation, meals, coffee & snack service, and all resort amenities: $1484.96, plus 13% hst for the three nights.

All fees include tips.

Not included in any quoted prices: alcoholic drinks, spa services, golf, or other extras (tipping for these is also extra).

Bring a (non-participating) significant other along for the weekend to share your Inn room for an additional $149.56 plus hst per night ($169 per night) (includes accommodation, meals and all resort amenities, but not the writing part of the retreat or our coffee breaks). 

Book early – space is limited! 

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Note: Bookings for accommodations for this retreat must be done through Brian (unlike our retreats in Algonquin, where you book your accommodations through the resort). Participants may be able to tack on additional nights at the resort before or after the retreat; these are offered at a special discounted rate. Additional nights need to be booked directly with the resort, after booking your space in the workshop.

Who can attend the retreat?

Everyone interested in developing their writing skills is welcome to attend, whether you're aspiring writer or an accomplished author or simply enjoy writing as a hobby. There is no requirement for you to have been previously published or even to have an intention to publish.

Should I bring my work in progress?

Yes! If you have an on-going writing project, bring it with you. Bring more than you expect to get to; you'll have lots of time for writing. Besides, you may want to switch projects or share a project that’s just started or one that’s all done, except for reading it to a small, appreciative audience. If you’re not currently working on anything, don’t worry, we’ll get you writing.

Should I bring my laptop?

Yes! Unless you only work on paper. Even better, bring both – your laptop and your writing pad. No sense being short of essential supplies.

I'm a poet / playwright / other writer. Is this retreat for me?

The retreat is open to anyone who enjoys writing. Instruction will focus on narrative writing; i.e., stories, whether fiction or memoir. But if you’re an essayist or poet or whatever, you’re entirely welcome.

Can you cater to specific dietary requirements?

Yes! But please let me know ASAP. The resort would like those sorts of details a month in advance. 

I want to stay longer or arrive early. Is that possible?

If you want to arrive early or stay longer, that’s fine. You’ll book the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night with Brian, and arrange any additional nights with the resort; just make sure they know you’re with Brian Henry’s writing group – they’ve got a good rate for you.

Is there cell phone reception and WIFI?

Yes.

How about alcohol?

The resort serves alcohol with meals and has a licensed lounge. Guests are also welcome to bring their own wine, beer or whatever for consumption in their room. (Though do note that Hemingway’s advice to write drunk, mostly produces drivel.)

Can I use the spa at the resort or play a round of golf?

Yes, you can certainly book a spa treatment, though that’s extra, and you book these directly with the resort {not through Brian}. And just before you go up, you can check with the resort whether golf courses in the area will be open, but even though we’re headed for an early spring, I doubt it.

Can I bring my spouse (or partner or friend)?

If you want to share your room with a partner, they’re very welcome. Inn rooms each have one queen bed. Just let your partner know you’ll be spending most of your time writing, (though you will have some free time every day).

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca  

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See all of Brian’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.


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