Featured Destination

Author & Educator Valerie Hemingway to Lead 3rd Annual Walloon Lake Writer’s Retreat

The quaint northern Michigan village of Walloon Lake provides an idyllic backdrop for writers to discover and hone their skills and the 3rd Annual Walloon Lake Writer’s Retreat (April 18-21, 2024) offers an inspiring, intimate and collaborative setting for those seeking stimulation and ideas for their literary works. This year’s special guest moderator is Valerie Hemingway, author of the 2005 memoir Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways. 

A chance encounter in Spain in 1959 brought the 19-year-old Irish-born Valerie Danby-Smith face-to-face with the Nobel and Pulitzer-prize winning author Ernest Hemingway. The interview was awkward and brief, but before it ended something had clicked. For the next two years, she served as an assistant to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, traveling with them to Spain and France and living with them during the tumultuous final months in Cuba. After his death, Valerie assisted Mary in retrieving papers and other belongings from Cuba and bringing them back to the United States. Valerie would later become a Hemingway herself, marrying Ernest’s youngest son, Gregory, whom she first met at the author’s funeral (they divorced in 1987 after 21 years of marriage).

For two decades, Valerie worked in publishing and public relations in New York City, including two years as a fiction reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Her articles have appeared in Saturday Review, Ski Magazine and Smithsonian Magazine. She is a contributing writer for Distinctly Montana and is a frequent lecturer on the international circuit, having traveled throughout Canada, South America, several European Countries and Israel. She has conducted memoir writing workshops under the auspices of the American Association of University Women. Her background in publishing, and her personal experiences with Hemingway and his family, make her distinctly qualified to lead this literary event.

The Walloon Writers Retreat begins Thursday evening, April 19 and continues through Sunday morning, April 21. The weekend packages start at $1,135 per person (based on room type/occupancy/availability) and includes:

  • Three nights’ accommodations at the award-winning Hotel Walloon (including three breakfasts)
  • Pre fixe group dinner one evening at the historic Walloon Lake Inn (excluding alcohol)
  • writing leadership sessions lead by published writers, including Valerie Hemingway
  • access to unique locations around the quaint Village for private writing time
  • networking and collaboration with fellow budding writers
  • an autographed copy of Valerie Hemingway’s memoir, Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways.
  • VIP seating for “An Evening with Valerie Hemingway” (also open to the public).
  • a guided caravan tour of key Hemingway’s Petoskey locales hosted by the Michigan Hemingway Society

Reservations can be made by calling Hotel Walloon at (231) 535-5000.

Hotel Walloon is located in Northern Michigan and is a privately-owned AAA Four Diamond boutique property, rated the #1 Resort in Michigan by Travel + Leisure.  Hotel Walloon is a luxury boutique hotel that hosts (32) unique guest rooms. The Hotel features include complimentary valet service, a private bar exclusively for Hotel guests and four complimentary food offerings during the day including; a continental breakfast, fresh snacks, and an assortment of hors d’oeuvres in the evening, followed by a dessert display. The Hotel also offers a billiards room, 24-hour fitness facility and an outdoor heated spa whirlpool. Dining opportunities are located a few steps away at the casual experience of Barrel Back Restaurant or at the fine dining establishment, the Walloon Lake Inn.

Hotel Walloon offers an Up North atmosphere with unlimited adventure.  The Hotel, open year-round, provides an unparalleled level of hospitality for guests during their stay.  We are centrally located between Petoskey, Charlevoix

and Boyne City.