I spent last week in the mountains of western North Carolina at a writing residency with Wildacres. Primarily a nonprofit retreat and conference center, Wildacres offers selected artists and writers one- and two-week residencies, which each include a complimentary stay in a private cabin!
The time away from work, the city, traffic, email (and life in general) is valuable, but the scenery is the real treat. After holing up in my cabin for four days to work on a poetry manuscript, I took the Blue Ridge Parkway to Pisgah National Forest and hiked around Linville Gorge.
First I went to Linville Falls, which is gorgeous (get it?) but full of tourists (like me).
Next I took a trail to the summit of Hawksbill, a peak with a stunning view of Table Rock (another mountain in the gorge) and the entire area.
That peak that doesn’t really look like a table is Table Rock.
There is no view through the woods the entire way up Hawksbill (almost a mile from the trail head), but at the top, the foliage suddenly opens onto a rock that looks down on what appears to be half the state. This had me thinking about the idea of perspective and endings in my writing, so there was an unanticipated benefit to the trip.
There were two other residents at Wildacres while I was there (along with a bassoon camp in the main lodge), so it was also an opportunity for great conversation. Meeting the staff was a wonderful experience, too. Wildacres seems full of fascinating people.
The history of Wildacres is quite interesting, and it involves a swindle of the best kind (foggy and righteous). You can read all about that here on their website.