An Artist's Pilgrimage
Sometimes refuge is just what you need to find inspiration
By Laurel House
Situated on Cortes Island in British Columbia, nestled between the glaciers of Vancouver Island and the Coast Mountain range of the mainland, lies Hollyhock, a quiet healing oasis.
Spread across forty-four acres of old-growth forests, Hollyhock is home to an abundance of wildlife from bald eagles and black-tailed deer to barred owls. Guests spend their days traversing the trails that lead through the trees to the water's edge where gaggles of geese congregate. When not exploring the grounds, optional yoga, tai chi, and meditation classes, as well as massage appointments are available to help unfurl frayed nerves and mangled muscles.Â Â
While every day at Hollyhock offers an abundance of healing activities, specialty weeks are also offered to help guests focus on a particular element of wellness. Minds are encouraged to expand and bodies are led to dance at an array of expert-led workshops.
â€œArtists, Writers, Seekers of Refuge: Pure Air, Clean Water, Ahhhâ€¦,â€ is a one- to three-week retreat that encourages guests to hone in on their creative energy. Many of us have writing or art projects that have been neglected due to time, energy, or a combination of the two. This is your opportunity to focus on that side of you that begs to be unbridled. To help you along your path of artistic liberation, Hollyhock experts will guide you on hikes through the forest; invigorate your senses with a tour of the organic flower, herb, and vegetable garden; seduce your tastebuds with a weekend oyster cookout on the beach; and stretch your muscles and free your mind in group and private yoga classes.
Unlike other more regimented retreats, â€œArtists, Writers, Seekers of Refugeâ€ is designed to be casual. Guests decide what activities they want to pursue that might flip a creative switch and inspire a masterpiece.
This retreat isn't just for proclaimed creatives; it is the perfect place for the closet poet, dancer, or painter. During my visit, I met an architect from Connecticut who had decided to take a respite from his intense job in order to pursue his interest in drawing. The sommelier from one of Las Vegas's most prestigious restaurants and his wife, an attorney, surprisingly didn't stick out like the sore thumbs you might think. Despite having a well-developed palette for fine wine and food, shunning alcohol and meat for a week gave the couple a much-appreciated moment of calm.
The four of us came together with nothing in common but the need to take time away from life's required left-brain thinking and indulge in the right side for a while. We spent time together telling stories as well as indulging ourselves in that necessary me-time that our regular routines lacked. Sometimes, what one needs most is silence. Hollyhock affords guests that great luxury.
My escape to Hollyhock had a surprisingly enduring impact on more than just my novel (it had been merely an underdeveloped morsel of an idea until my weeklong stay); my mind stopped racing and my body slimmed down.
Before my trip, I was a bit of a resort snob with a 5-star requirement. Hollyhock may not be festooned with such star status, but somehow it surpassed any 5-star resort I have ever visited. With a plethora of activity options, I treated myself to kayaking at sunset, lazy walks along the coastline, and daily yoga and spa treatments. If there is a heaven for those who still reside on Earth, this is it. Hollyhock is beyond luxury for the body, it is luxury for the soul.
For more information call (800) 933-6339 or visit www.hollyhock.ca