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Writing on the River

January 6, 2019 @ 8:00 am - January 12, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

A Writer’s Retreat at Stratford Hall, on the Cliffs of the Potomac.

Stratford Hall invites applications for the winter and spring writing retreats.

We offer a space and place for academic and independent writers, to focus in a contemplative setting that inspires productivity and community. Stratford Hall is located on Virginia’s Northern Neck, and sits on the cliff of the Potomac River.

While you do not have to be an academic professional to apply, the 4-7 day retreats are designed in concert with most academic calendars, providing a selection of short retreats to work on a project during the winter and spring break periods.


Why Write at Stratford Hall?

Stratford Hall offers the perfect level of seclusion for a productive week of writing. The diversity of our landscape allows for any kind of writer or mood to be engaged. Our accommodations are quiet, the shared deck offers a stunning view of the woods and allows for a more social environment, the common room has tables, chairs, couches, and large windows overlooking the rustic surroundings, an ideal setting for the kind of “spacious thinking” that is a value of the Stratford Hall organization. Writers will have daily access to the Jessie Ball duPont Memorial Library, where they can sit amongst our vast collection of rare books, contemplate the natural environment, drink tea and coffee, and access the library’s collections if need be.

Writers will arrive on Sunday, and depart Saturday morning, unless you chose the mini retreat, in which case you would depart Wednesday afternoon. An opening dinner will be provided on Sunday, but all other meals are the guests’ responsibility. The welcoming dinner is meant to introduce everyone to the site and to each other. There is a basic service kitchen with a refrigerator, dishes, a microwave, ice machine, and a coffee maker, but there is no stovetop or oven. Each guest room has either a set of twin beds or a king-sized bed, WiFi, private bath, heat/AC, a desk, and daily housekeeping. There is a large furnished deck set into the woods, and a large common room with couches and a television.

In addition to the lodging, there are six nature trails, as well as access to Stratford’s private beach with beautiful views of the cliffs and the Potomac River. The 1,900 acre property is also home to a range of livestock including sheep, longhorn cows, horses, and chickens. The buildings on site consist of a 1738 Georgian style mansion which was home to four generations of the Lee family, extant slave quarters, outbuildings, formal gardens, a visitor center containing museum exhibits, and the duPont research library and archive. The neighboring town of Montross is a 10 minute drive from the site, where you can find groceries, a few restaurants and other services.

The retreat is meant to offer you space and place to write. Stratford Hall has layers of history, countless natural resources, and a support staff to help you with your basic necessities. The lack of structure allows you to work with your preferred schedule, not ours. With the exception of the welcoming dinner, we will not provide any events during your stay. However, during the week, we will offer two optional behind the scenes tours of the historic house, offered on Monday and Tuesday. We aim to provide a reclusive place to escape, focus, and produce.


2019 Retreat Dates:

Session A: January 6-12

Session B: March 3-9

Session C: March 10-16

Session D: March 17-23


Application Process

To apply, send an email with the subject line RETREAT APP to the program director, Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz. In the email indicate which retreat session you prefer, a short one-page letter of intent (project summary and stage of completion), and attach a PDF of your updated c.v. to the following email:


Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, until all rooms are booked.



Full Retreat: Sunday through Saturday, 6 nights

7 days: $700

Mini Retreat: Sunday through Wednesday, 3 nights

4 days: $425



January 6, 2019 @ 8:00 am
January 12, 2019 @ 5:00 pm


Stratford Hall
483 Great House Road
Stratford, VA 22558 United States

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