Summer at

•  artsy endeavors in the woods of Wisconsin  •

The Cirenaica lodge near Fall Creek sits on 43 acres of trees, trails, and farm fields.

Nestled within a patch of hilly woods amid the farm fields just outside of Fall Creek, you’ll find a small lodge called “Cirenaica.”

An open, lofted floor plan provided the Chippewa Valley Writer’s Guild with plenty of workshop space.

Translated from a Uruguayan fisherman language, the name means “siren of the sea,” as the place is meant to lure you into a kind of Northwoodsy paradise. Last summer, it was that and more.

The newly formed Chippewa Valley Writer’s Guild used Cirenaica as an artsy oasis, hosting six different writer’s residencies at the lodge throughout June and July. Cirenaica was a major tool in the group’s mission of helping build the area’s writing scene. Each residency was led by an accomplished writer with expertise in a given genre, from poetry to nonfiction to writing for the radio. Participating writers spent an extended weekend at the lodge, with an option to stay overnight. They wrote in the morning, workshopped in the afternoon, and socialized in the evening. Most residencies involved a party/Saturday night reading. Factor in an onsite chef, and you’ve really got something unique to the Chippewa Valley.

A spacious deck and patio, along with a fire pit, offer guests a variety of creative spaces.

As Writer’s Guild director BJ Hollars put it, “Not every community can boast a beautiful lodge on 43 acres in the wilds of Wisconsin. As it continues to grow, more and more local arts organizations will likely find ways to partner with it.”

Hollars found Cirenaica well suited to writers. “Writing is a lonely business,” he says, “but it doesn’t have to be. The building’s layout is conducive to an artist retreat. It’s easy to find a nook or cranny that will allow you the privacy to get down to work, but it also has large, open spaces where folks can get together to spin a record and chat deep into the night.”

A sweeping view from the front of the lodge. The property’s nearest neighbors are farms.

The Writer’s Guild’s summer residency program featured craft discussions with professional writers.

The Writer’s Guild is hoping to host four or five residencies next summer, looking to build on the success of its first season and offer  new opportunities to as many local, regional, and national writers as we possible. They may even host a few one-day sessions during other parts of the year.

As a testimony to what Cirenaica has done for the area’s writing scene, Hollars adds, “When I think back on the summer, what makes my heart swell most is the notion that week after week we brought relative strangers together, and each and every time, they left as friends.”

Learn more about the Chippewa Valley Writer’s Guild at cvwritersguild.org.