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The Writers' Retreat

USA: Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

“Behold in the freshly washed sands, the silvery mist of early morning and the shades of afternoon fog that textures the endless western coastline. Yet, there's something about the California light that is as legendary as the place where artists come to capture it on canvas."

In 1910, the Los Angeles Times ran an article entitled “Hotbed of Soulful culture, Vortex of Erotic Erudition: Carmel in California, where author and artist folk are establishing the most amazing colony on earth”.

Writers and Artists come to the Monterey Peninsula, some as legacies of founding generations, others to cultivate individuality, all in search of the light. They come with their pens and their brushes, their chisels and their lenses to foster a personal vision of art, yet a shared understanding that art has preceded them in the crashing sea and windswept white shores, the sturdy cypress and kaleidoscope of wildflowers.

A haven for artists and a refuge for writers and intellectuals who are bound by talent and perspective. This is the foundation on which Carmel was built. It is the setting that inspired Robinson Jeffers to build his tower from which to write poetry about the anguish of waves against a rugged shore; whose spectacular sunsets illuminate the secrets of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" and which served as a stage for the lives and times on which Jack London and George Sterling composed their allegories. John Steinbeck, Don Blanding, Henry Miller, Mary Austin, Ambrose Bierce, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, Nora May French and countless others fed their creative intellect here.

A stroll through the village promises plein-air artists rendering Comstock cottages, writers and composers on benches in secret gardens, the scent of kitchens beckoning to imaginative preparations of the local harvest and hummingbirds drinking from ever present nectar. Carmel is the most hospitable beach-side village on the planet!

The Vagabond’s House:
The Discerning Traveler's Home Since 1920. Where artists, writers and travelers come together in modern rooms adorned with treasures from the past, to relax in the peaceful and inspiring luxuries of today. In the heart of the village, this charming brick and half-timbered English Tudor boutique inn and spa is one of a kind. From the courtyard fire pit and the fireside wine and cheese reception to the extensive breakfast tray delivered to your room and the detailed service of the staff, The Vagabond's House always feels like home.



Each spacious guest room achieves a distinctive ambiance of elegance with Carmel tradition vintage references. Room amenities include fireplace, fresh flowers, hardwood floors, private bath, private entrance, plush robes, kitchen or refrigerator. Delivered to your room each morning, breakfast includes organic locally grown fruits, organic cage free eggs, house made croissants and jam.

Recognized as the most delightful boutique inn on the Monterey Peninsula, The Vagabond’s House once landed on Condé Nast’s Gold List.


Your onsite mentor is Melanie Bishop, MFA, published writer, professor of writing, and Fiction & Nonfiction Editor of Alligator Juniper, an award-winning, national literary magazine.

Her services include:
• Individual or group classes in Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir and Screenwriting
• Tutoring
• Editing/Manuscript Consulting
• Guidance/instruction/inspiration

RATES: Editing/Manuscript Consultation: $100/hour or $5/page
(you pay for the time I'm editing the manuscript; there is no charge for the one hour meeting to discuss.)
Rates for classes vary.

BIO: Melanie Bishop has taught writing or led creative writing retreats in Arizona’s Sierra Ancha Wilderness, At Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti, in the Cycladic Islands of Greece, and, now, on the Monterey Peninsula.
“I’m a firm believer in writing retreats, which provide the perfect balance of solitude and companionship, introspection and rejuvenation. Retreats offer essential time, peace, and solitude for better access to the muse, while also stimulating the senses through travel to new places, and access to new people.”
Melanie has been full-time faculty in creative writing for twenty-one years at Prescott College, where she is also founder and editor of Alligator Juniper, the college’s award-winning, national literary magazine. Melanie holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Arizona, and was awarded a screenwriting fellowship from the Chesterfield Writers’ Film Project, co-sponsored by Universal Studios and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. The Makeover, a screenplay written during the fellowship year, later went on to place in America’s Best Screenplay Competition.
Melanie has published fiction and nonfiction in Glimmer Train, Georgetown Review, Greensboro Review, Florida Review, Valley Guide, Hospice Magazine, Puerto del Sol, The American and Family Circle. A memoir, Some Glad Morning, soon to be published by Outpost 19; a Young Adult novel, My So-Called Ruined Life, is forthcoming from Torrey House Press; and a story, “Trina Comes Home,” is forthcoming in Potomac Review. Her short story cycle, Home for Wayward Girls, has been a finalist five times over the past three years: The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, the University of Iowa Press Short Fiction Awards, the Doris Bakwin Award, the Tartt Fiction Award, and the Eludia Award.
Currently, Melanie spends fall semesters teaching in Prescott, Arizona, and the rest of the year writing in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.


Your Host and Retreat Operator:  Melanie Bishop (Onsite mentor).

Region:  Miles of white sand beaches and surf breaks, world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery row, Steinbeck Museum, Robinson Jeffers Tor House and Tower, Big Sur coastline, Pebble Beach golf links, Point Lobos State Park, Julia Pfeifer State Park, Andrew Molera State Park, Castroville (where Marilyn Monroe was Artichoke Queen as a teenager), Carmel Valley wine region. Nearby Santa Cruz with its Beach Boardwalk, Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, Hearst Castle.

Location:  The Vagabond's House is located approximately 100 miles south of San Francisco, 300 miles along the central coast north of Los Angeles, 25 miles north of Big Sur, 4 miles south of Monterey and less than 1 mile from Pebble Beach.

Closest airport:  Monterey Airport is 7 miles, San Jose airport is 78 miles and San Francisco airport is 106 miles.

Tourism information:  Carmel California, See Monterey


Studio Name Description Weekly Rates
Standard King/Twin: Fireplace, hardwood and marble floors, jetted tub, HDTV on Smart TVs include Netflix, desk, refrigerator, comfy seating,downstairs. $319 per night. Parking, daily maid service. $2,233
Small King/Twin: Hardwood floors, courtyard view, tub/shower, No kitchen or fireplace, HDTV on Smart TVs include Netflix, downstairs. $219 per night. Parking, daily maid service. $1,512
Superior Queen: Full Kitchen, fireplace, hardwood, tub/shower, desk, HDTV on Smart TVs include Netflix, seating area, downstairs. $319 per night. Parking, daily maid service. $2,233
Standard Queen: Fireplace, tub/shower, NO kitchen, HDTV on Smart TVs include Netflix, upstairs. $259 per night. Parking, daily maid service. $1,813
Small Queen: Down a garden path to hardwood floors, desk, Bathroom with shower, private patio, No kitchen or fireplace, HDTV on Smart TVs include Netflix, downstairs. $219 per night. Parking, daily maid service. $1,512


  • High Speed
  • Wireless
  • Printer
  • Mini fridge
  • Phone near
  • Private bathroom
  • TV/DVD

Payment terms:  All major credit cards accepted. First night's stay is required as deposit. Balance due upon check out. All currency in US dollars.

Cancellation policy:  Deposit is fully refundable as long as reservation is canceled 7 days prior to arrival. If canceled within 7 days of arrival deposit is available as a credit for 6 months.

A sampling of memories from our residents

C. Kamm "Your writer's retreat is an experience I won't forget and it's only Day #1! I cannot express enough how much I am enjoying this retreat. It is just what I needed to get back on track!" - Cari Kamm, author of Fake Perfect Me

The Writers' Retreat
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