I’ve been on four writer’s retreats and am amazed at the considerable amount of work I’ve accomplished each time I’ve taken the opportunity to get away from my lounge chair and compose while enjoying the beauty of the Northwest.
My most recent adventure included a trip to Port Townsend, WA, a lovely coastal town on the northernmost end of the Olympic Peninsula. It’s famous for its graceful Victorian homes, whale-watching tours, delicious seafood, and Fort Worden State Park where An Officer and a Gentleman with Richard Gere was filmed.
It’s also home to Manresa Castle, a unique hotel boasting rooms with turrets, an antique closed-in elevator, and haunted rooms.
Resident ghosts frequent rooms 302, 304 and 306. Charles Eisenbeis built Manresa Castle for his wife Kate in 1892. In later years, it served as a vacation house for nuns and then became a training college for Jesuits. A monk hung himself in the castle’s attic, and some say they can hear the footsteps of the monk pacing above in the garret. The other ghost is that of a young woman who threw herself out of a window and fell to her death when she learned her lover had died in the war. Other eerie tales include reports of drinking glasses turning themselves upside down or spontaneously exploding.
Conversations with fellow writer, Pam Johnson, and quiet time surrounded by natural beauty spurred my writing. Here is a peaceful garden at Manresa frequented by colorful butterflies and darting finches. I soaked in the ambiance and then went upstairs and ripped out two chapters.
Chetzemoka Park is a hidden jewel in Port Townsend. Hunkered between trees, this small park features breath-taking views overlooking the Straits of San Juan de Fuca. You’ll also discover a gazebo, lovely flower gardens, and swings for young and old. I spent some time here giving myself a soul-cleansing, then went back to my room in the castle and killed a priest in my new book, Bless Me Father for I Have Sinned.
Until next time, dear friends and fans, I encourage you to get out and enjoy the beauty around you.