Off the coast of Maine, on a private island called McGee, the Salty Quill Writers Retreat provides women writers exactly what they need -- free time to write without distraction or interruption, the opportunity to share work and discuss craft in a spectacular, secluded setting, author-led workshops, and three meals a day prepared by our talented chef.
The launching point is about 4.5 hours north of Boston, in the small fishing village of Port Clyde, Maine. There, you’ll be met by the island’s caretaker, who’ll take you and your luggage by boat 3 miles out to McGee’s Island. The McGee Island home, an expansive turn-of-the-century shingled cottage filled with gently worn antiques and overstuffed chairs and sofas features are an extensive library, a massive fireplace, a piano, claw-footed tubs, an outdoor shower, and covered and open wrap-around porches where you can enjoy views of the Atlantic and neighboring Barter Island. If you’d like a short diversion, you can enjoy a wood-fired sauna in the sauna house, explore the island on foot, kayak, or canoe, or venture over to Barter’s Island, reachable by foot at low tide.
The Salty Quill takes place different weeks every year, but generally in the shoulder seasons. The house is stunning, but is not heated. As many of us know too well, New England weather is fickle and the same day can be muggy or frigid from year to year. In addition to wearing layers, writers keep warm via a massive fireplace that heats the house, and beds are outfitted with heated mattress pads for warmth. We've had writers go swimming in mid-October, or wear gloves in mid-September. We come prepared with clothes built for comfort and functionality. There are no fashion police.
The element that most defines the Salty Quill is probably acceptance. We are here to support one another, not compete. Though for many of us, it's pretty unusual to go anywhere and not be somewhat apprehensive when joining a group of people you don't know, whether it's the place, the people, or the endeavor, the Salty Quill has a warmth and inclusive feel that writers benefit from for years beyond their last day on the island.
In the Cook House, Chef Erin Anderson serves three inspired healthful meals every day. See On the Table for a bit about the food.
We require vaccinations and boosters.
We hope you’ll join us.
A private island
off the coast of Maine
writing retreat for women