What is a writer’s retreat and what can I expect during my stay?
The writer’s retreat is set up to host you for an independent stay for a week – or longer if you choose. The kitchen is outfitted with cooking and living needs, you are free to cook for yourself, or dine out. It’s not a bed and breakfast or a romantic get-a-way, (I can recommend a few if that’s what you are looking for) but a place to comfortably work on your project with minimal distractions.
Is it set up for one, two or more people?
Ideally, it is set up for a solo stay, however, if you know a dog trot cabin is actually two separate rooms, it is quite convenient for two people to have separate working and sleeping rooms, and share the kitchen and bath. There is no extra charge for the second guest.
Is it quiet?
The retreat lacks the urban noise you are accustomed to. There are the sounds of birds and wildlife, and this is active cattle ranching country, so there are occasional tractors and trucks. The retreat is set off the road and blocks much of the man-made noise.
The dog trot cabin has a 700 square foot deck, that separated the two cabins. One cabin includes a kitchen, the other has an inside composting toilet ( say ‘no’ to outhouses) and shower. Numerous windows allow light and air.
What if I need anything?
A directory of local suppliers and sources is in the cabin. As your host, I respect your privacy and your need to work, and will not disturb you during your stay. If you need anything, I am within a short walk or telephone or email as you wish. Tuesday nights, weather permitting, I often have a small outdoor bonfire and you’re welcome to join me. I’d love to hear about your project if you want to share.
What is there to do?
Work on your project. Think. Reflect. Seek inspiration. Yes, there are places to go nearby, and small town activities throughout the year, but the best reason to visit here is there is nothing to distract you.
What if I need help with my writing?
As a graduate school faculty member, I know a number of professors in various disciplines to whom I may refer you. Academic coaching is not included with your stay but can be arranged.
How about fax, internet and cell phones?
There is high-speed internet and wi-fi in the cabin, this will give you access to internet based fax services. Cell phone coverage varies from carrier to carrier, however most work at the retreat or within a short walk. There is a land line and 911 phone service at the cabin for emergency use.
Can I bring my pet?
Depending on the time of year and when I am releasing pheasants into the habitat, I may or may not be able to host your pet at the retreat. Just ask and I can let you know.
What if I become sick or injured?
Two hospitals are within 15 – 20 minutes of the retreat. Paramedic level ambulance serves the county.
I built Two Mile Ranch as a personal retreat beginning in 2005 and it has welcomed guests with creative projects who sought to work in the quiet of the surrounding habitat to write. Several academic projects owe their publication to the work space here. I recognized the opportunity for a writer’s retreat while working with dozens of students and creative people who felt there was a need for a place to get away to concentrate on their work. I wanted to create a retreat where the main attraction was: there is no distraction.
I spent the first 30 years of my creative and work life helping others tell their stories.
My current project is my own work:Concealed – The Book of Joshua. The novel is a story about crossing lines and keeping secrets, in the aftermath of a violent assault on a quiet, Midwestern campus. I’m humbled by it’s early reception and initial reviews.
Recently, I’ve split my time between two worlds. In one, I’m an assistant professor for a graduate medical school. In the other, I’m a small rancher. During my career I’ve been a special assistant to the president of a four-year college, the program director of a paramedic training program, vice president of a multi-million dollar advertising agency, president of my own consulting firm, and co-founder of a non-profit organization that worked with two Nobel Prize-nominated charities along with a select group of NGOs that were making a significant difference in the lives of people who were in need or at risk.
Working in 12 countries I’ve produced documentaries, and was an early pioneer in producing Internet-based multimedia storytelling projects in the early 1990s. My first commercial Web site for a client launched in 1994.
Recognized for my creative work four times by USA Today, twice I was picked as one of the Top 100 Producers by AV Video/Multimedia Producer magazine, and recognized by the National Press Photographers Association.
In academic work and research, I’ve focused on the topics of learning styles, evidence-based practice, and the role gender plays in healthcare leadership. I teach courses in food policy and public health, healthcare leadership, and lecture frequently on change leadership.
Welcome, and I look forward to you staying and creating here beginning next year.
F.R. “Fritz” Nordengren, MPH
Two Mile Ranch
Post Office Box 1
19986 125th Avenue
Grand River, Iowa 50108