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Do you have questions about the retreat? We have answers!

Students are housed on the lodge’s lower level which includes 4 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a common living area with a breakfast bar and coffee station. The lower level opens to a gorgeous, covered patio with a porch bed and other comfortable seating, while the lake is just a few dozen yards away. Depending on availability, you can choose a room with a queen, full, or twin-sized bed. All rooms are single occupancy. 

Muskrat Lodge is located near the town of Weidman in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The nearest transportation hub is Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is an hour and a half away. 


Transportation from the Gerald Ford Airport, the Greyhound bus station, or the Amtrack train station in Grand Rapids is provided as part of your registration package for students who arrive on Wednesday afternoon before 3 PM and depart after 10 AM on Sunday. Rental cars are available at the airport and the train station for those arriving and departing outside the complimentary transportation windows.


While Uber lists sample fares from Grand Rapids to Weidman, keep in mind that the lodge is in a very rural area and drivers might not be available. 


Alternatively, you can book your flight to and from Detroit Metropolitan airport, rent a car, and drive to the lodge 2 ½ hours away. 


For students who chose to drive, Muskrat Lodge has plenty of parking. Weidman is approximately 2 ½ hours from Detroit and 4 hours from Chicago. Students driving themselves should time their arrival for late afternoon.

All meals, beverages including beer and wine, and snack items from Wednesday dinner through Sunday breakfast are included in your registration package. Students fix their own breakfast and lunch at their convenience from a variety of healthy, homemade choices, then enjoy a family-style evening meal in the lodge’s upstairs dining room. The farm-to-table menu includes gourmet lettuces and other vegetables from the lodge’s kitchen garden, as well as local produce.


Vegetarian options are available upon request. Please note any food allergies or dietary restrictions when you register. 

Unlimited high-speed fiber optic Internet is available throughout the lodge.

Because the retreat takes place in Karen’s home, registrants are asked to refrain from smoking or using recreational drugs while on the property. 


In addition, while beer and wine will be served during the retreat, guests are asked to drink responsibly.

Lake Windoga is a private, 20-acre reservoir lake approximately ¼ mile wide and ¾ mile long. The lake is a no-wake lake, so there are no jet-skis or other noisy watercraft to disturb the silence. Local residents use the lake primarily for fishing.


Muskrat Lodge is located at the wild end of the lake. While we can’t promise that students will get a glimpse of the area’s abundant wildlife, Karen and her husband have noted over 30 species of birds, deer, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, owls, river otters, bald eagles, osprey, great blue herons, beavers, and yes, muskrats.

While the lodge offers a wide variety of choices for breakfast and lunch, you are welcome to bring your favorite food or beverage items with you. Refrigeration is available. Because you’ll be sharing the fridge with others, be sure to label the food item as belonging to you.


Weidman (10 minutes from the lodge) has a small grocery store where you can purchase basic necessities, but the nearest supermarket and chain drugstores are 30 minutes away, so be sure to bring your prescription and OTC medications with you.

Because you’ll be spending a fair amount of time outdoors, be sure to check the weather report for Weidman, Michigan before you pack. Shorts, T-shirts, sandals, tennis shoes, and jeans are absolutely appropriate. Temperatures drop at night, so bring a sweatshirt or a light jacket for evening activities.


Muskrat Lodge is relatively insect-free during the day, but mosquitos come out after the sun goes down. Bug spray is available, but if you prefer a particular product, by all means bring it with you.

The Muskrat Lodge Writers Retreat is NOT handicap accessible. The retreat bedrooms are located on the lodge’s lower level, with a single flight of stairs leading to the upstairs dining room where the evening meal is served. In addition, the property slopes toward the lake and is slightly hilly.

Keep in mind that students will be sharing a single bathroom on the lower level (though the private upstairs bathrooms can be used in a pinch). Towels and a bathrobe are provided to use during your stay, but students should bring their own shampoo, soap, and other toiletries. Each bedroom has a wall mirror and a lighted makeup mirror to help minimize bathroom time. Short showers are also recommended.


“Quiet time until 1 PM” means exactly that. It’s fine to acknowledge others with a smile or a nod but save the conversation until after 1 PM.


Students should also be aware that Karen and her husband have two cats. The cats never enter guests’ bedrooms but do have access to the lodge’s common living areas. For those who are mildly allergic, air purifiers are available for your bedroom. While most of the retreat activities take place outside, those who are severely allergic might want to rethink their attendance.

Cost of the retreat is $3,200. This includes all meals from Wednesday dinner through Sunday breakfast, and transportation to and from Grand Rapids for students who arrive by plane, bus, or train before 3 PM on Wednesday and depart after 10 AM on Sunday.


One half of the registration fee is due at registration, with the other half due 30 days before the retreat begins.


Refunds minus a $50 processing fee may be requested up to 30 days before the retreat is scheduled to begin.


A full refund will be issued to all registered students if a session must be cancelled by the retreat organizer. Registrants will be notified by phone or email in as timely a manner as possible.

If a session is fully booked, prospective students may add their name to a waiting list. Students will be notified as soon as possible if a space becomes available.

Join Karen and her guest instructors for a weekend of writing, instruction, and inspiration.

Sign up today!