Amazingly enough, I found my original directions for getting to highway 90 West from highway 480 so I read them a couple of times before embarking on the drive and this time it was smooth sailing all the way through the entering and leaving of the in-between highway 176. My guardian angel must have propelled me so that I got out the door of the house before the mid-afternoon traffic rush as well. It probably helped that I started packing a few days earlier so everything was not pushed to the last minute.
The weather was perfect, a little warm, sunny, and dry, in spite of a forecast that suggested rain for most of the weekend. The Sandusky Bay looked beautiful and calm. Arriving at the Chautauqua village of Lakeside and parking the car, I was happy to be there again. Another guest was sitting on the porch of The Idlewyld Bed + Breakfast and she came down to help me lug my roller bag up the steps and porch and even rolled it all the way to the Rose Bud room at the end of the long hall of rooms, to where I was assigned to stay for the weekend. Jeanne was new to the Word Lovers Retreat and is a friend of our guest speaker, John Ettorre, a Cleveland native, and free-lance writer who would be talking to us about memoir writing.
As soon as I settled into the room, I headed back out and down the street with an eye on the lake. I browsed around in a couple of stores and bought a lemon yellow tee shirt with the Lakeside logo which had been marked down from $23.00 to $5.00, oh yes, much better and a nice souvenir. A little further along I stopped for a soft cream cone and sat there enjoying it before walking on to the lake where I crossed paths with Claudia, who was leading a group of the newer guests on a short tour of the town. Sitting on a bench I enjoyed looking at the lake and people playing on the beach. When the bells tolled five p.m. I started walking back up the street. Dinner on Friday nights is usually half past five and I wouldn’t want to be late for that.
We walked around the table filling our plates with open tacos and assorted goodies and settling into the snug dining room to talk and eat.
On Saturday morning coffee is available at seven a.m. and people either walk down to the lake, sleep in, spend time writing, or join in the yoga exercise before breakfast. After the meal we re-shuffle and get ready for the first workshop. There is usually a brief free time and then lunch, then the main speaker does a presentation, then more free time before we all decide where we are going to dinner. There are usually a couple of groups heading in different directions and a few folks who opt to stay at the house and have left overs. I went with the group who ended up going to the Canoe Club because the Japanese restaurant couldn’t seat thirteen of us before seven p.m. We ate out on the veranda, which was very pleasant.
Back at the Idlewyld we re-convened for open mic; there were three of us who read poetry, I also read one essay and Elise sang. She is a very gifted singer and her poetry is profound. Debra read the latest chapter in a science fantasy novel she is working on, Claudia read the prolog for her memoir about participating in the Women’s March earlier this year.
As the day winds into dark balmy evening hours, many of us go out to the porch, claim a rocking chair and though sleep beckons, we drift along sharing thoughts and memories before slowly saying goodnight and closing our individual doors to find sleep.
In the morning after breakfast there is one last workshop, the weekend’s rain has come; we do a group hug and part once again filled with inspiration to write as well as we can and wish each other safe travels until we meet again.