Mapping Your Writer's Journey: Exploring the Purpose, Pleasure, and Possibilities of Writing

About us

If you’ve ignored or denied a long-held desire to write, to fully express yourself—perhaps to share an untold story—then join us in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains to explore and reclaim your dreams of being a writer.

Imagine an escape to the mountains where there’s no one to take care of but yourself. Each day will hold the opportunity for both communal and solitary walking on the grounds of Highland Lake Cove Retreat and Learning Community. We will walk to soak in the natural beauty surrounding us–the plants, the water, the critters both wild and tame, the sky, and the fresh mountain air. And we will walk to be inspired and rejuvenated. During the retreat, you’ll have plenty of time to engage with other women writers, balanced with lots of opportunity for solitude. 

By the end of this retreat, you will have uncovered your “why” for wanting to write, identified daily rituals to summon your muse, experienced the sheer bliss of getting your words out and onto the page, and created a plan for a regular writing practice that will support and fulfill you for the rest of your life.

This journey is for you if you:

  • Can’t seem to make time to write even though it’s a persistent burning desire.
  • Know that writing is good for your soul but you’re afraid you aren’t doing it “right.”
  • Would love to try writing different things—perhaps essays, personal stories, a novel, or your memoir—but all of them feel too intimidating.
  • Feel guilty that you haven’t honored your dream to write.
  •  Think you don’t have the skills or energy to pursue your dream.
  • Always feel stressed and have so much to do you can’t fit writing in your days.
  • Are anxious that your friends and family would feel neglected if you make time to write.
  • Have experienced the euphoria of inspiration in the past but have no idea how to reenter that state.
  • Are ready to open your heart and crack wide your soul to writing.

Even after our time together comes to a close, the transformative writing you will have done, the relationships you will have forged, and the reconnection with your soul will endure and will continue to provide you with creative momentum.

The energy of women joined for a common purpose was compelling. The compassion of the other writers freed me. This retreat was so good for me. There was a sense of “completion” here, also – the free time to be out in nature, or writing, sleeping – to care for your soul. Jeanette LaVoy

Event Highlights

  • Daily writing sessions
  • Daily (optional) mini-workshops and other teachings
  • Daily contemplative walks in groups and, if you desire, solo
  • Daily engagement with a professional editor and author's coach
  • Delicious, farm-fresh buffet-style meals, including breakfast every morning, four lunches, and supper every evening
  • A group outing into the Village of Flat Rock
  • And much more!

Venue Highlights

Your home for 7 days will be the Highland Lake Cove Retreat and Learning Community. The Cove is a uniquely nourishing setting for reconnecting with life and what really matters. The retreat community comprised of artistic waterfront cabins, garden cottages, and excellent meeting facilities. Here, you will be sustained by the natural beauty of the land, the garden-centered cuisine and the stewardship of a teaching/learning community dedicated to the awakening and full blossoming of the human spirit.
Highland Lake Cove is in Flat Rock, North Carolina, which is filled with literary history, culture, and natural beauty. The village was established on a tremendous outcrop of granite, a site used for Cherokee gatherings. The lakes, fields, and streams in the area were used as fishing and hunting grounds by the Cherokee Nation.

Located just 30 miles south of Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Flat Rock, North Carolina, is filled with literary history, culture, and natural beauty. The village was established on a tremendous outcrop of granite, a site used for Cherokee gatherings. The lakes, fields, and streams in the area were used as fishing and hunting grounds by the Cherokee Nation.

The heart of historic Flat Rock is now home to a collection of shops and restaurants known as Little Rainbow Row. One of the most famous landmarks in Flat Rock is Connemara, the home of author Carl Sandburg and a National Historic Site. The village is also home to the Flat Rock Playhouse, the State Theatre of North Carolina, where many popular actors of yesterday and today got their start. The entire Flat Rock district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


  • Air Conditioning in Rooms
  • Free Wifi
  • Towels
  • Free Parking
  • Kitchen
  • Coffee/Tea


From the moment you arrive, allow yourself to indulge in the peace and serenity of our writing enclave. After settling into your private room, you’ll receive a warm welcome reception. Our time together will begin with an evening circle where we’ll start to step away from our ordinary existence and shake off the shackles of responsibility.

In the days to follow, there’ll be a focus on tending to your inner life, reclaiming your dreams, and listening to your own true voice. Though each day will vary, most will include community circles, when we’ll explore the writing craft, discover writers we can learn from, and discuss writers we admire. We’ll also explore many different types of writing both experientially and through reading. Some group gatherings will include writing prompts or inspiration pieces to write from when needed. These sessions are designed to draw out the authentic story your heart wants you to tell.

We’ll have a day to explore the local Village of Flat Rock together. Most of our meals will be eaten together as well. You’ll have plenty of opportunity for alone-time, though, for peace and reflection, simply to be, or to write at your leisure.

We’ll take daily walks as a group, many in silence so you can hear your inner guidance, soak in the natural beauty of the outdoors, reconnect with yourself, and refill your creative well. For it is when we nurture our muse and go within, away from the voices and demands of others, that our stories and our own voices rise.

Since this retreat is heart-led and focuses on the needs of the attendees, the daily schedule is subject to change.

Menu Types

  • Organic
  • Gluten Free


Every day, we’ll enjoy mouth-watering, farm-fresh meals from Highland Lake Cove’s own gardens. Our group will gather daily for meals, served buffet-style, along with lively discussion and lots of laughter.


We'll spend our time together at the Retreat House at Highland Lake Cove and the adjacent Sanctuary in the Pines meeting space.

Each retreater will have her own private room with a twin bed, sink, writing desk, and rocker. Bathrooms are shared and linens are provided.

Our cozy indoor and outdoor spaces will support the incredible magic that happens when women come together with a common purpose.


Flat Rock, North Carolina, is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Hendersonville and Asheville. The retreat center is about a three-hour drive from Atlanta, Georgia, and about one-and-a-half hours from Charlotte, NC.

The closest airport to Flat Rock is the Asheville Regional Airport, only 16 miles north of our retreat house. More than a half-dozen car rental companies operate at the airport and taxis and other ground transportation options are available for the short drive down Interstate 26 to our house at Highland Lake Cove. Alternatively, Charlotte Douglas International Airport is approximately one-and-a-half hours away, while Hartsfield International in Atlanta is three hours away.

Tags: find your muse inspiration journaling nature self-expression true voice walks women writers writers journey writing

Thank you!

We're glad you've joined our retreat community. See you around :)

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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

I teach yoga part time and am a mom of two toddlers full time. I love my life, but goodness do I need a break. My husband and I have been putting off our wedding ceremony for 4 years because life has gotten in the way. We haven't had a single night alone since our family has grown. I wouldn't change a thing about our lives now, but it would be so wonderful to remember what it's like to 'just be us.' Antrim

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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