It started with a random Facebook ad a friend came across and posted about a Book Lovers Weekend Retreat.
The details read:
Have you ever daydreamed about disappearing for a weekend with your favorite book and nothing to distract you from the luxury of reading? Join us for a pampered reading retreat! You can pour over books you have always wanted to read. Indulge yourself with a winter’s weekend devoted to snuggling up with a book, (or two… or three) unplugged from the outside world. Pampering included!
Arrive as early as noon and settle into one of our rooms. Dinner is on your own. We suggest the Filling Station on Bishop Hill Road serving heart warming comfort food.
7:00-8:00 pm: Enjoy a cocktail and conversation at the Twinflower Inn.
7:00 am Coffee and tea available.
9:00 Breakfast served in the dining room. Go ahead and wear your pajamas. In fact, you’re welcome to spend the whole weekend in pajamas.
1:00: Lunch featuring chicken pot pie in the dining room at Twinflower Inn
5:00 Happy Hour in the Twinflower Dining Room
6:00 Dinner at Twinﬂower Inn: A scrumptious casserole with salad and pie.
7:00 am Coffee and Tea available in the dining room
Flexible Checkout Time. Stay all day.
A whole weekend to read, where someone else already did the planning, will do the cooking and the cleaning? A getaway that wasn’t too far away, where I could revisit pre-children lazy weekends spent lounging around reading the latest best seller or romance novel? IS THIS FOR REAL? My very own magical paradise…was this even possible?
It was. I did it. It was truly Magical.
In the end a number of friends expressed interest in this amazing weekend. So, our mutual acquaintance called to find that all the slots were already booked (no kidding…). However, the hosts would plan another weekend of our choosing if we had five friends that wanted to stay…which we did! We selected the most popular date and booked the weekend.
The food was fantastic, the beverages tasty, and rooms very comfortable. Bishop Hill is a small historic town about 45 minutes from the Quad Cities. There was time during the weekend to explore and the Inn offered a few additional services such as a walking tour, wine and painting and massages, but I didn’t take advantage of any of those. I read one book in its entirety and finished almost a full second book.
Two weeks prior to the event I googled top 2018 beach reads and requested the books from the library. Whatever came in, I took with me and planned to make selections once I was there. I decided if a book wasn’t fantastic, I’d stop reading and pick another. We are also planning a trip to London so I took some travel guides though I never even looked at them.
This was the first trip away by myself for more than a day that didn’t involve work in almost 10 years. I learned a few things about myself.
- I love to read. I love to get lost in a story: to cry and laugh and enjoy the ride of a great novel. It’s not that I didn’t know this, I’d just kind of forgotten. I listen to books now while doing #allthejobs and even if I do grab a “real” book, it usually takes me weeks to finish. Of course, whether I’m reading or listening, I’m interrupted constantly. There’s something truly remarkable about a great novel you can get lost in. I need to make time to do this for myself.
Goal: 2x/year, find a way to read a full book in less than 3 days.
- I eat really fast. Not everyone that joined us for the weekend has kids. In fact, most of them didn’t and I found myself embarrassingly unable to slow down and eat. By the third meal, I literally had to tell myself to put down my fork between bites so I wasn’t the first one done. Zooming kids here and there has taught me to eat, eat, eat! We have to go!!!
Goal: 1x/week don’t race through dinner. Find time for our family to just eat rather than sprint through a meal.
- I enjoy alone time. I’m really social. I love to host parties, get together with friends, organize playdates and chat with, well, pretty much everyone. This weekend, I just wanted to enjoy my own company. The meal times were lovely and it was fun talking with people I didn’t know very well, but honestly, I kept wanting to get back to myself and my book and just wallow in my aloneness.
Goal: 4x/year make time to be by myself: no plans, just do things for myself, with myself that aren’t on the to-do list.
- I was ready to come home. I arrived at the Twinflower Inn about 1 p.m. on Friday and stayed until 1 p.m. on Sunday. I soaked up every minute of someone else setting the agenda, making the food, and cleaning the dishes. Because I let myself wallow in the magical weekend of relaxation, I was ready to come home. I love my boys and my husband so much and this weekend helped me appreciate all I have while reminding me that taking time for me can be a gift for us all.
Goal: Look for opportunities to get away so I can appreciate coming home.
As I look at these goals, I wonder if you’ll think they are so easy. Who can’t read a whole book in three days twice a year? *raises hand* This girl! Of course, you’re most likely a mom, so probably you get #thestruggleisreal.
My favorite hobby is being a mom and that doesn’t often include long leisurely hours of book reading unless it’s Llama Llama Red Pajama or The Day the Crayons Quit. However, this weekend reminded me of the value of self and the joy of a good book.
I hope you’ll find your own weekend away. Maybe reading isn’t your thing. Though, if it is, I highly recommend making the time for a weekend with yourself and a pile of good books. It only took me 10 years to find the perfect weekend. Here’s hoping you find one sooner.