"I don't believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one's aspect to the sun."
Our post-hippie pseudo-wedding outside Bozeman, Montana in 1983 was the start of a great adventure. We raised our kids, saw the world, and worked our butts off. As Gary approached retirement in 2016, we were determined to make our golden years the sum of everything we'd loved and learned through a shared lifetime of partnership, travel, and tomfoolery.
When a writer friend told us about "this charming little harbor town on the coast," I Googled Westport, Washington, and the first thing that popped up was a picture of the lighthouse. I was smitten. The following weekend, we flew to Seattle and drove three hours to the beach. The weather was shit. Sideways rain and whipping wind. I walked for two miles on the beach and never saw another living soul. When I came in, I made coffee and blazed out 2500 words on a novel I'd previously abandoned. I told Gary, "I think I live here." Six weeks later, we did.
This spectacular corner of the Pacific Northwest is an amazing place to live and write. The breeze smells like beach grass, heather, and salt. The ever-changing water and sky take our breath away, day and night. We're humbly grateful to be here, and we look forward to welcoming you.
To survive and thrive in this tough business, we must tend our creative spirits and care for one another. Throughout my publishing career, brilliant colleagues and critique mates have mentored, challenged, and uplifted me. Westport Lighthouse Writers Retreat is my way of paying that forward. Our goal is to offer visiting writers the space and support they need to take their work to the next level. Our mission is to make writing life a mindful joy.
Peace and grooviness ~
MEET JONI & GARY
Where are you located?
We're on the Pacific Coast in the charming town of Westport, WA about three hours north of Portland.
How do I get there?
Most visiting writers fly into Portland, OR (PDX) or Seattle, WA (SEA). There are usually carpools for group retreats.
We work exclusively with Vacations by the Sea to provide luxury beach condos for our visiting writers. You'll have a private condo with fully equipped kitchen and stunning ocean view.
How's the weather?
The Pacific Northwest seaside weather is unpredictable but moderate: often rainy, rare snow, more sunshine than you think.
What about accessibility?
There are elevators in most buildings. The state park trail is paved with ramps to observation decks.
Author/ghostwriter Joni Rodgers
Cofounder and program director
A voracious reader since early childhood, Joni grew up in a family bluegrass band, studied theatre and English at Viterbo College of Fine Arts, and continued performing until 1994, when she was diagnosed with blood cancer. She used the chemo downtime to finish her first two novels, Crazy for Trying and Sugarland, both regional bestsellers published to critical acclaim. Joni’s first memoir, Bald in the Land of Big Hair, was an international bestseller and brought her to the attention of celebrities and other extraordinary people who asked her to help them tell their stories. As a ghostwriter and book doctor specializing in high profile memoirs, Joni has collaborated on a long string of NYT bestsellers and an Oscar nominated screenplay, working with a diverse list of clients, including Kristin Chenoweth, Swoosie Kurtz, Rue McClanahan, Mayte Garcia, Elizabeth Smart, and many others. On her own, she's authored five novels, two memoirs, and an essay collection.
Artist Gary Rodgers
Cofounder, artist, and chef de cuisine
Gary attended the Culinary Institute of America and spent many years as a hotel and country club executive chef. His love of travel led to a second career in the airline industry while he continued cooking and baking purely for the joy of it. Since retiring to the Pacific Northwest, Gary spends his time creating art from found crockery and other materials, painting, reading, and feeding our visiting writers. Inspired by locally sourced ingredients, Gary combines the comfort of home cooking with the art of classic cuisine. Bread and pastries are fresh baked. Butter and ice cream are home churned. Condiments like jams, jellies, catsup and mustard are made from Gary’s own recipes. You never know what might come out of Gary’s kitchen, because he rolls with the changes at the local farmers market and pretty much does whatever he feels like doing. Stop by our kitchen and visit Gary any time you need a fresh cookie or an old joke.