Where is the property?
We’ll be staying at the beautiful Fells Meadows, which compromises a farmhouse, yurt and two cabins on 100 acres of land in the Northumberland Hills. It’s run by a wonderful woman named Leslie Fell, who will come welcome everyone at our opening circle. It’s just beyond Castleton, ON, if you know the 401, you’ll know that big red apple that sells pie, it’s 10 minutes north of there. For more info, click here.
What exactly do you mean by “silence”?
For us, silence isn’t the lack of noise, it’s about consciously releasing from connecting with others. After our first shared meal and workshop, when everyone’s questions have been answered and creative trajectories have been set, we’ll snip the ties of communication with each other as well as our phones and wifi.
Participants will set their own levels of internet and phone disconnect. We encourage participants to disconnect entirely, and will provide little clocks so that phones aren’t needed for time keeping. We’ll let you share the facilitator’s phone number in case of emergencies back home. That said, if you need to text your child before bed for example, that is fine so long as it’s silent and out of the view of other participants.
For more about the Firefly approach to silence, read the blog post here.
How will we get there?
Fells Meadows is just over an hour from the east end of Toronto. If you’re not able to drive, we’ll circulate your email (with your permission) to see if there’s a carpool available. If not, the retreat host can arrange to pick you up at the train station for a fee.
What are the rooms like?
They are comfortable and small. Since it’s a century-old farmhouse, so rooms were designed with a different lifestyle in mind (very few outlets, for example), but they all have 1-2 beds and room to put your things away. For the sake of this retreat, we’ve made all the rooms private.
Are the bedrooms en-suite?
No, bathrooms are shared. There are two in the main house, and the solo cabins each have a composting toilet nearby. (It’s actually really nice!)
I’m thinking about camping but I don’t have a tent.
No problem, we can bring one up for you, as well as any basic gear you may need.
Will I be able to eat vegetarian/gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan/etc.
Yes. Our retreat chef is amazing at taking food sensitivities into account in meal planning. We’ll ask you all about it in the intake form.
Can I bring my own food?
Fridge space is limited, so for the most part we encourage you to enjoy our cook’s work, but if there’s something you’ll be anxious going without, we’ll squeeze it in.
Will there be coffee?
Naturally! Yes, great coffee, and all the cream/milk/non-dairy-creamer you can dream of.
Will there be alcohol?
We’ll supply enough wine for everyone to have a glass at dinner. If you’d like more than that, you’re welcome to bring some up.
Do you have financial policies?
Naturally. You can see them all right here.
What time does it start and end?
We’ll ask you to be at the retreat by dinner time on Thursday, so everyone should leave the city by 2:30pm at the latest. If you’re able to leave earlier, please do! You are welcome to arrive anytime after 2pm to nap, swim, walk, and generally settle in. We’ll finish up by 2pm on Monday so you have time to get home before rush hour hits.
What will we be doing?
We’ll start and end with a shared meal and workshop, and in between will be silent time for you to navigate at your own pace. Everyone will have an optional 30-minute check-in with Chris every day.
Can I bring my sweetie?
Since these retreats are so cozy, we only want committed writers on board.
Do we need to bring sheets and towels?
We’ll have your bed all made up and ready for you, with one bath towel.
Is the retreat a “safe space” for LGBTT voices and people of colour?
We do everything we can to make sure that our classes celebrate and welcome all voices. If you have specific concerns, or you encounter anything that makes you uncomfortable, we’d love to talk it over and adjust as needed.
Wait! I have another question!
No problem, just drop Bree a line.