Sugar Pine Place Writing Retreat Weekend


“What a gift to have so much time to focus on only my writing! Vanessa provided delicious and healthy food, a variety of cozy writing spaces, and plenty of encouragement to everyone at her ‘Retreat for Introverts.’ The small number of participants made it easy to find focus/solitude when needed. I also took several solo walks in the nearby woods. There was no pressure at all to share work, but Vanessa had supportive words and advice to share when it was solicited. This weekend was perfect and I would recommend it to writers of any experience level.”–Lindsay, Spring 2019

“This weekend was absolutely magical. I’ve been struggling to begin this particular project for two years, but I left this weekend with several thousand words – and I felt rested and nourished to boot! The meals were delicious, the social time was pleasant, and we had so much free time to write, walk in the woods, and recharge however else we liked. I can’t wait for the next one.”–Kimberly, Spring 2019

“Vanessa provided a great interior environment for working and creating. And the exterior environment added its own magic.”–Russ, Spring 2019


This facilitated writing retreat provides quiet time and space to write (or work on another creative project), professional publishing and writing insight if requested, as well as optional time in the evenings to share work and receive salon-style feedback from other participants. All meals (lovingly prepared with organic ingredients where possible), snacks, caffeinated beverages, spa water and wine will be provided. Writers of all experience levels and genres are encouraged to attend.

We cannot accommodate partners, children, or anyone else who is not participating in the retreat.


Sugar Pine Place is a 1937 cabin in Twin Peaks, California, just 1.5 hours from Los Angeles near Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains. There are three bedrooms with room for four participants (king bed in one room, queen bed in another, and two twin beds in the third). There’s a library for leisure reading, a parlor with a wood stove, and a relaxing entertainment room. Want to get out and stretch? You’ll find a wooded hiking trail at the end of the street, as well as nearby pubs, shopping and restaurants. Learn more and see photos.


Vanessa McGrady is a career journalist, former president of the SoCal ASJA chapter, and the author of a memoir, ROCK NEEDS RIVER (2019, Little A) She delights in helping other writers find their footing, make goals and reach the next stage of their creative and professional life. She is also an Airbnb Superhost with a five-star rating.


Costs are all-inclusive for two nights plus communal meals, drinks and snacks. Full payment is due upon registration. Cancellation policy: If we fill the space, half the payment will be returned. If we cannot fill the space in time, there will be no funds returned.

KING BEDROOM: single-occupancy, $645 / 20% EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT THROUGH MARCH 16 $507

QUEEN BEDROOM: single-occupancy, $575 / 20% EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT THROUGH MARCH 16 $461

TWIN BEDROOM: each, double-occupancy, $475 / 20% EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT THROUGH MARCH 16 $380

TWIN BEDROOM: each, double-occupancy, $475 / RESERVED

Note: To eliminate potential awkwardness, only friends, couples, relatives or people of the same gender will be placed in the shared bedroom with twin beds.


Send an email with a short writing bio, what you’d like to work on while you’re here (I won’t hold you to this! OK to change your mind!), your room preference, and any dietary restrictions or preferences I should know about.

If you can’t make this date or if the room you want is sold out, let me know and I’ll add you to a waitlist or let you know about other upcoming retreats.


CARPOOLING AND PARKING: Carpooling is encouraged as parking is limited! We’ll set up a group email once everyone’s registered to coordinate.

SOCIAL EXPECTATION: This is a group setting and you can be as social or as introverted as you’d like; participation in all events is optional.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: When you share writing for feedback, please include a trigger warning for rape and other forms of sexual violence, death of a child, suicide and any other potentially triggering subject. If there is opposition to hearing the piece read aloud, we ask that you email the piece instead to those who would like to provide feedback. We do this in order to maintain respect and harmony among all the participants.

PETS & ACCOMMODATION: There will be a small, friendly and quiet maltipoo pup on site. There are a few steps up to the porch and a narrow stairway from the first floor to the bedrooms.

VERIFICATION: Participants will be asked to provide ID.

The safety and comfort of workshop participants is of paramount importance. Harassment of any form will not be tolerated and anyone who is deemed a nuisance or threat to anyone else in the group will be asked to leave immediately and payment will not be refunded.

Vanessa McGradySugar Pine Place Writing Retreat Weekend