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A yurt at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, OH / Image: Amy Thornley, via BiblioVentures // Published: 11.22.18
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This Is the Perfect Vacation For Book-Loving Introverts

“What do you want for your birthday?” My husband asked as we sat on the couch one evening.

“This,” I replied, handing him the postcard I used as a bookmark for the novel I currently had my nose in.

“So you basically want to be away from me and your family,” he remarked after scanning the card promoting BiblioVentures, a three-day reading retreat in Hocking Hills, OH.

“Yep.”

What Is a Reading Retreat?

“The retreat, as it’s designed, is an introvert’s dream,” says Amy Thornley, BiblioVentures’ mastermind. Thornley came up with the idea a year after her daughter was born, a time when she felt like she needed some time to herself.

“My daughter wasn’t so attached to me anymore, and I thought: ‘I’d really like to go away'," she told me. Thornley had heard about reading retreats, which are popular in England, but couldn’t find one currently operating in the States. “After a little bit of looking, I thought, well, I’ll just have to build one.”

And so the certified yoga teacher—and former librarian and freelance writer—drew on past experiences leading yoga retreats to come up with BiblioVentures, a travel experience built by and for book-lovers that just held its first retreat at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills. The less-than-you’d-expect price includes lodging and meals (plus you’ll get a free book in your welcome packet).

Here’s what a sample itinerary from BiblioVentures looks like:

FRIDAY

  • 3-5 PM check in, explore grounds
  • 6 PM retreat opening
  • 7 PM dinner
  • 9 PM free reading

SATURDAY

  • 7 AM journaling, meditation, silent hike
  • 8 AM breakfast
  • 9 AM free reading
  • 12 PM lunch
  • 1 PM walk in the woods
  • 2:30 PM yoga
  • 4 PM tea
  • 5 PM journaling
  • 7 PM dinner
  • 9 PM fireside chat

SUNDAY

  • 7 AM journaling, meditation, silent hike
  • 8 AM breakfast
  • 9 AM closing circle
  • 12 PM retreat ends

All activities are optional, and guests can be as social or anti-social as they like. “This is the only grouping of people where it’s socially acceptable to listen along to a conversation and then go back to reading,” Thornley says with a laugh. All kinds of travelers are welcome, from book clubs to those who prefer to read solo.

“This is my dream vacation,” Thornley says, “and basically people are invited to come along.”

(And hey, even Bill Gates is said to embark on two-week-long reading retreats a year, and who doesn’t want to be more like Bill Gates?)

The next retreat takes place in February in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country at the Murphin Ridge Inn, a family-run bed and breakfast that sits on the Appalachian ridge line. “There are lots of fireplaces and cozy areas,” Thornley says. And as for those who like a glass of vino with their tome? “Even though its Amish country, they have a liquor license,” she adds.

The February retreat will be in partnership with the Mercantile Library, meaning attendees can opt to become members of the historic Downtown library at a reduced rate. Come early May, BiblioVentures is set to head back to Hocking Hills.

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Learn more at BiblioVentures website, and get a sneak peek at the November retreat by clicking on the photo gallery above.

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