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- 26 Dec 2013 -

Nourishment for the Soul

Are there days when you wish you could extricate yourself from all your obligations, freed from all the noise and pollution in your immediate surroundings? Sounds familiar? Read on… I know just the place for that.

I came across a place on this planet that offers peace, solitude, nourishment for the mind and soul. A place which calls for a pause in doing, where we can just “be”. A spiritual sanctuary where daily routines are taken care of, so you and other female habitants can reconnect with nature, with your inner selves and just write.

In Hedgebrook, Women Author Change. 

This non-profit retreat of 25 years is cradled amongst the most beautiful and untouched surroundings. It reminds me of a saying, the most precious things in life are simple and priceless.

Hedgebrook spans 40 acres in Whidbey Island, WA.  A farmhouse, a cottage, 6 one-bedroom cabins, a few woodsheds and fertile grounds is the makeup of this magical wonderland. It houses 6 women at any one time for 2-6 weeks to do nothing but be in touch with their senses, embrace the support of the crew on site and the sisterhood created within the writers’ community so they can focus on developing the literary message(s) they want to share with the world.   

At the heart of the concept of Nourishment is to have the gift of wholesome, scrumptious food prepared with love by one of five resident chefs using fresh produce grown on site at Hedgebrook’s organic farm. The food is customized based on each writer’s dietary preference, this includes her favorite favorite comfort food! The chef honors the ethnicity of their overseas visitors by featuring a local dish during their stay. Nobody lifts a finger to cook or clean anything, all is asked of you is gather around the dining table in the farmhouse kitchen at 5:30pm to eat together with other resident writers. At the end of the meal, you mingle in the sitting room/library snuggling up to comfy cushions and share what’s on your mind. Before you retire at your cabin, you collect your own individually prepared and packed breakfast and lunch in a basket, which you can reheat at your own time in your cabin the next day. If you need a little pick-me-up during the day, you can visit the kitchen which has a more than well-stocked collection of home made goodies.

Each of the cabins are specially designed to draw in its natural environment, and well maintained to stay around for another 100 or 200 years. It has a simple functional layout, warm and cozy enough for you to call it home during your spiritual journey. The concept of time is lost in the woods…For once you are closest with your inner voice, your mind is overflown with inspirational thoughts. You find yourself lighting up a fire with the firewood in your wood stove; you listen to the birds, you feel the warmth of the sun on your face. You synchronize your footsteps on the wet grass with the whispers of the leaves; you walk down to the beach and listen to the rhythm of the waves … you are reminded of your childhood as you pick up the sand dollars on the shore.

Hedgebrook runs literary workshops led by esteemed alum writers. Members of the public can benefit from a piece of the Hedgebrook magic by learning from the best, experience the beauty of this haven and partake the food created by the chefs in its farmhouse kitchen.  This fall, Hedgebrook celebrates its 25th anniversary and released its very own cookbook. This is a celebrated recipe collection of the foods shared in that very kitchen where the journey began for those women who met as strangers once upon a time. Today, they are still on their mission - Authoring Change.  

 

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