4 Days/3 Nights of Cooking, Tasting and Inspiration
Two sessions: January 13-16th, January 16th-19th
Whether you’re a seasoned cook or you need a crash course on how to chop an onion, this body- and soul-feeding beach getaway is for you. We’ll focus on fundamental techniques and craft a variety of dishes based on French and Mediterranean cuisine while incorporating all kinds of healthy variations and seasonal produce, seafood and more.
We’ll also do some writing/journaling exercises to get you thinking about where you are on life’s journey. You don’t have to be a writer, just be yourself.
Each retreat is a four-day/three-night stay and includes all meals, cooking lessons, a dozen comparative tastings and a culinary field trip. Accommodation is complimentary – you’ll be our guests. Five guests will stay in our beach house, other guests will stay the home next door with a pool, so everyone can have their own bedroom. (Unless you want to share, then ask about a shared room discount).
The goal is for everyone to leave with a heart full of inspiration! Book two three-night retreats back-to-back and get a bonus hands-on lesson; recipes and writing exercises won’t repeat. Limited to 10ish guests.
Itinerary (subject to change)
In this week, we’ll mix cooking lessons and tastings with taking a moment to pause on life’s journey to think through what’s important to you and where your life might take you next.
Day 1 – Saturday or Tuesday
Check in starts at 4 p.m. Early? We’ll stow your luggage so you can hit the beach or explore the island. At around 6 p.m., we’ll have a champagne toast and do a quick ice breaker so everyone gets to know a bit about each other. Then, you’ll sit down to four-course dinner prepared by me, your host.
Afterward, we’ll do a casual, but thought-provoking writing exercise. Every night after around 8:30 p.m., you’ll have free time to hang by the pool, head to the beach, get a cocktail at a local watering hole or just sit with wine by a fire in the cottage gazebo (weather permitting).
Days 2 and 3 (Sunday and Monday, or Wednesday and Thursday)
Each morning we’ll offer yoga under the palms with mats provided. But you’re free to take a walk on the beach, go for a bike ride or just sleep in. Afterward, you’ll be treated to a light breakfast buffet featuring yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, local pastries and a seasonal quiche or omelet.
Both mornings will include a 2 ½ hour hands-on cooking lesson in which we’ll craft a seasonal lunch that we’ll share together poolside. Each cooking lesson includes a comparative tasting.
The rest of the day will feature another 2 ½ hour hands-on cooking lesson. One day, we’ll take a field trip to either the Cortez fishing village, go olive and balsamic oil tasting or visit a local Italian bakery to sample charcuterie, olives, cheese and wine. The other day, you’ll have time on your own one afternoon to shop, head to the beach, explore the island or just hang out in a pool.
Each night, we’ll have dinner poolside followed by a casual writing/journaling experience.
Day 4 (Tuesday or Friday)
Begin with yoga under the palms, a beach walk or a casual optional cooking lesson. We’ll then sit down to a champagne brunch by the pool to share what everyone has learned, what they will take home and how to stay inspired.
11 a.m. Check-out. You’re welcome to leave luggage if you have a later flight and/or want to shop, head to the beach or explore some more. If you’re staying for another three nights, you’ll have free time before a bonus hands-on cooking lesson in the afternoon as part of the preparation for the welcome meal for the incoming guests.
Location – Where You’ll Stay
Five guests will stay at Twin Palms, our second home for more than 20 years. This classic mid-century beach house has been thoroughly updated and features a custom pool by an award-winning designer.
This five-bedroom home features three king beds, a queen and two twins. All activities will take place in the house and retreat guests will have full use of the house and pool and access to “the cottage,” Kathleen’s private one-bedroom writing retreat with a lush backyard and gazebo.
Other guests will stay at Casa Laguna, a highly rated five-bedroom home right next door with a great pool and amenities. Both are a five-minute walk from the white sand Gulf beaches of the island. The retreat features yoga under the palms at Twin Palms.
Rooms are first booked, first choice, so make your reservation early to get your favorite room. Check out more photos at http://twinpalmsflorida.com
Every retreat participant will receive a packet of recipes, a signed book and an apron to take home as a souvenir.
Cost: $1,600 per person (plus booking fees)
I don’t know how to cook? Or how to write?
No problem! Kathleen is very experienced managing classes with students of varying skill levels. This is a great way to kickstart becoming fearless in your kitchen. Are you a seasoned cook? Kathleen will make sure you’re challenged, too. The writing sessions are intended as an aid for self-discovery, so your writing skill level or talent is not important.
What is the cancellation policy?
We will provide a full refund (less booking fees) if you cancel 30 days prior to the start of the retreat. Life happens, and if you have to cancel closer to check-in, if another guest can take your spot, you’ll get a refund or you can swap to another date, if available. Travel insurance is always a good idea. We recommend Allianz Travel Insurance.
What airport do I fly into? Will I need a car?
Anna Maria Island is located on the west coast of Florida. We are served by Sarasota-Bradenton Airport (SRQ) and Tampa International Airport (TPA). We recommend taking a ride share to the island from either airport as you will not need a car once you’re here. We are next to one of the stops for the island’s free trolley, our crew can do some drop-offs and pick-ups and we will have bikes and a golf cart on hand for your use, as well.
SRQ is about 35 to 40 minutes away, and Tampa is an hour, so a car share from SRQ will run between $35 to $60, and one from Tampa ranges $60 to $80.
Is there anything specific I need to pack and bring with me?
Yes, you’ll need to pack some comfortable closed-toe shoes to wear during the cooking classes. Also good to pack: sleepwear you’ll be happy others to see you in, a bathing suit or shorts and top for the pool, sunblock, a sun hat, shorts or leggings, comfortable shirts, sandals, a sundress or two. We will supply beach gear, yoga mats and reuseable water bottles.
These dates don’t work for me. Are more getaways planned?
We’ll see how this first one works out. If you’d like, you can put your name on a list for priority notice to sign up. We are hoping to do at least one retreat in the Pacific Northwest in 2024.
I’m coming alone a bit nervous about that.
Hey, you’ll know me! I’ve designed this retreat to be awesome for both solo travelers or those coming with a friend or partner. We’ll begin our time together with an ice breaker and the itinerary is designed to make sure everyone gets well acquainted before they leave.
Will I be able to use a washer/dryer?
Yes, both houses have them so don’t feel compelled to pack too much. Go lightly 🙂
Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
We will do our best to accommodate any dietary restrictions, such as gluten or dairy intolerances/allergies. However, this is probably not the best option for those following a vegan diet. However, if that applies to you, let us know! Maybe we will feature one in the future.
My book club/family wants to have a private cooking and writing getaway.
Reach out via email, and let’s see if we can work out mutually agreeable dates.
I want to come with a friend/partner. Can we share a room for a discount?
Yes, a shared room discount is an option. Just write email@example.com It’s also an option to bring a partner who doesn’t take part in the cooking classes but joins at meals. Just inquire.
I live nearby, so I don’t need to stay at the house. Is there a discount?
We can work out something with local attendees. Just contact the email above.
I want to do a one-day cooking class. Also, any online classes?
Yes, I will be offering limited one-day cooking classes in both Florida and Seattle. I will begin online classes around the same time. Watch my site at http://kathleenflinn.com/classes or ask to be signed up for the “priority notice” list.
I can come for four nights, or I can just do two. Is there any flexibility?
We give preference to guests who can stay the full program length. However, put your name on a waiting list and if there are extra spaces or a cancellation, we can work with your schedule.
Can we just book your house as a vacation rental?
Absolutely! The house is available for up to 10 guests. We make the home available about 30 weeks of the year. Check out the availability and rates at http://twinpalmsflorida.com Newsletter subscribers get a discount, so be sure to ask about it.
More questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org