Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where to Escape in Virginia

I’ve written many times about how much I love the Virginia Center for Creative Arts (VCCA), a writers’ colony in southwest Virginia, that inspires a frenzy of creative output within incredibly restful circumstances. I happily urge all to apply for a fellowship (details here), and there’s still time to apply for the Feb-May 2010 session. Of course, the deadline for doing so is fast-approaching: September 15, 2009.

And therein lies the only teeny-tiny problem with VCCA: sometimes you don’t know by September 15 that you might be ready for and desperately need a writing retreat in May.

So I was pleased to get a very positive, firsthand report from a friend about another option in Virginia: The Porches.

From the website: “The Porches writing retreat is an historic farmhouse built in 1854, overlooking the James River in rural Virginia. We are a half hour from the Appalachian Trail, 50 minutes from the the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, 1 hour from Richmond, 2 hours from Williamsburg and Jamestown, and 3 hours from Washington, D.C.”

I confess that I have no idea of how booked up the place gets, so perhaps a great deal of pre-planning actually is needed, though the website seems to offer hope for more flexible options:

“To reserve a room please e-mail (or send) a brief bio and description of your project. Request the availability of dates you would like to spend at the retreat. Once confirmed, it is our policy to request an advance deposit (half) sent two weeks before your residency. We are open to “last minute” reservations if there is availability.”

The two places are different in terms of size and scope—and there’s no financial assistance available at The Porches as there is at VCCA—but as always, it’s nice to have options.

The Porches website
VCCA website


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.