by LeAnne Hardy
Nineteen Niceies gathered May 1-3 for the first annual Minnesota Nice Writer’s Retreat. We met in the woods on a lake at Camp Lebanon, near Little Falls, Minnesota. No agenda. Just computers, fellow writers and of course, chocolate.
Friday afternoon Gabrielle Meyer organized sightseeing in her hometown of Little Falls. We toured the Linden Hill mansion of lumber baron, Charles Weyerhausser. Gabrielle filled us in on fascinating details since she spent part of her childhood on the estate as daughter of the caretaker. We've got lots of pictures you can see on our private Facebook page. Anyone writing early- to mid- twentieth century historical will definitely want to check it out.
The military museum was of top interest to Heather Edwards, writing World War 2.
Who hasn’t heard of Minnesota Native, Charles Lindberg? He too grew up in Little Falls. We didn’t have enough time to take in all the museum had to offer, but the Saxon Six automobile Lindbergh and his mom drove to California in1916 (backwards up the mountains to the gas would flow properly into the engine) is still in the garage and the kitchen floor still bares the axe marks of the boy Charlie’s attempts to find a warm spot to chop kindling.
Camp Lebanon was a lovely place to hold a retreat with en suite bathrooms and tea and coffee nearby. Dining hall food was fabulous, supplemented by ice cream sundaes, s’mores by the camp fire, cute little welcome favors designed by Julie Saffrin and, of course, general nibbles. The large room became a space to brainstorm, tell stories, display our books, snack, doodle in coloring books or play a version of Scrabble. Oh yes, and laugh a lot!
We relaxed by the water (still too chilly to actually swim.) Small groups walked in the woods, getting to know our fellow writers, and a few even bonded on the zip line. We wrote in our rooms or in quiet corners of the lounge, creating, outlining or editing. The comment made over and over was how great it was just to hang out with people who “get it.”
Were you there? Share in the comments what you accomplished or what you thought was the best part of the weekend (besides Gabrielle’s weird eye thing.) And don't forget to post your pictures on the private Facebook page.