Pre-conference writing retreat: Chicago Botanic Gardens
For attendees who wish to set aside a day for writing, we will provide transportation to and from the Chicago Botanic Garden, a 385-acre complex of magnificent all-season gardens set around the Skokie Lagoons. The grounds feature twenty-five different sorts of gardens, among them an English Walled Garden, a Sensory Garden, a Rose Garden, an Enabling Garden, a Japanese Garden, a Fruits and Vegetables Garden, a Waterfall Garden, a Prairie, a Test Garden (where Rosarian William Radler developed the Knock-Out series of roses) . . . you get the idea. Numerous indoor spaces provide refuge in poor or windy weather, plus spaces for sitting and writing. The Garden is equipped with a library, should you wish to really sit and write for long stretches, plus a lunchroom which supplies healthy food and an imaginative gift shop for leisurely browsing, not to mention numerous greenhouses and science centers. There are long walking and/or biking trails for the ambitious and for others who want exercise, or tram tours for those who prefer to traverse large plots of ground from a comfortable seat (the cost for that is a little extra), and accessibility is good in all areas of the garden (and on the tram). Wheelchairs for free use are available at the Visitor’s Center. Retreatants should expect to take care of their own lunch; there’s a more-than-adequate cafeteria on site, and several sandwich shops can be found within walking distance of the hotel. $15 transportation fee.