Is The Cabins right for me?
The Cabins is very much a shared experience, and over the weekend you will be sharing both your knowledge and your space. Although a few private rooms are available, all the communal areas are shared, and most of the bathrooms are as well. If you attended camp and liked it growing up, you will probably like The Cabins. If you liked the aesthetics in the movie Moonrise Kingdom, you’ll probably love our digs.
Is there WiFi?
The simple answer is: sometimes. You’ll have network around The Cabins and Internet throughout much of the property. Printing services and WiFi are readily available in town, but if you need to be constantly connected, this retreat probably isn’t right for you.
Where is this place, anyway?
Summer sessions take place at a private family camp on Tobey Pond and the winter session is in a country house in walking distance of the same pond. The pond is really more of a lake—it’s huge, and clean, and wonderful for swimming in the summer and ice-skating in the winter. Kayaks and canoes will be available for your use. The property abuts Great Mountain Forest, so there are wonderful hikes right outside your door. The Cabins is about a 4-minute drive from downtown Norfolk, CT, which has restaurants, a small grocery store, café, liquor shop, post office, and a beautiful library.
Is The Cabins just for women?
Is The Cabins just for writers?
Nope. The Cabins is a peer-based knowledge exchange program open to makers of all disciplines.
What is the schedule like?
Please see last year's schedule for an idea of this year's. Due to the smaller number of participants, the winter sessions don't have as many master classes as summer sessions do and thus afford more time for solo work, while the summer sessions are about creative and intellectual cross-pollination.
What should my Master Class be about? What if I feel like I'm not qualified to teach anything?
Master Classes are one hour long (40 minutes for presentation and 20 minutes for Q&A) and shouldn’t be self-promotional—you can use your own work as a jumping off point toward a larger theme, but the end goal should be to enhance the group experience and to teach people something. You don't have to be a teacher in real life to teach a Master Class. Think of it as leading a discussion. You can give a lecture, you can start a conversation around a topic, or you can actually teach something—like how to sculpt something out of wood, or how to write a traditional haiku. Past classes have included a comic book author teaching the group how to storyboard, an interactive lecture on the pain and pleasure of long-term projects by a novelist, and a writer’s block-busting interactive exercise led by a filmmaker, alongside political lectures and boisterous rounds of “Exquisite Corpse.”
How do I get there?
Norfolk is accessible by train (Wassaic, NY or Waterbury, CT are the closest stations, each 50 minutes from The Cabins) or bus (Peter Pan goes to Winsted, CT, 15 minutes away) or plane (Hartford Bradley is a 50 minute drive). Carpools with other participants can also be arranged. We cannot guarantee pick-up from the place that you arrive but we will do our best to figure out an affordable solution. Please feel free to bring a bike if you have one—there are beautiful trails in the Great Mountain Forest behind the site of the retreat.
I'm working on a project with my partner. Can we apply as a couple?
You may. Couples must choose one of the private rooms or studios, and in order to keep group dynamics comfortable for everyone, only one couple/partnership will be accepted per session. If appropriate, you can present your master class as a team. A supplemental room and board charge will be added for the second person.
I know/am friends with the program's founder. Do I still have to apply?
Yes. The Cabins has an admissions board—different people representing different disciplines evaluate the applications, so you must apply to be considered, and knowing the founder will not guarantee acceptance.
How do I know if I work in the creative arts?
If you're not sure whether your profession (or passion) falls into this category, shoot us an email. Musicians, artists, writers, poets, screenwriters, filmmakers, and dancers are all welcome. But "architect" is a creative profession, too. The important thing is that you've got a skill set to share with the larger group and a mind hungry for knowledge.
What's access like for people with mobility concerns?
We are looking for a permanent space to hold our retreat, but as of right now, our lodgings change depending on the season. Please contact us so that we can understand how we can best accommodate you. Some years, we have the ability to provide lodging other than the main cabins in the woods where the footing can, indeed, be a little tricky to navigate.
What should I bring?
Any work supplies you will need for the weekend and your Master Class; hiking shoes; bug spray; sunscreen; a bathing suit; two towels (one for the beach, one for the shower); ear plugs and a sleep mask if you’re sensitive to noise (including crickets and frogs!); any food, snacks, or drink you would like to share with the group. For winter sessions you'll want lots of layers, good socks and solid, waterproof boots along with any equipment you'd enjoy for outdoor activities such as skiing, sledding, skating or snow-shoeing. We will do our best to find extra winter equipment for everyone.
Are all the meals included?
3 group dinners and 1 lunch are included in the room rate for the 2018 September session. Additionally, upon your arrival you will find the kitchen stocked with breakfast staples, wine, and beer. Participants are in charge of replenishing stocks and for covering the meals that aren't included in the program. There are grocery stores, restaurants, and a farmer's market a short drive away.
How many people will be there?
The Cabins is a single-digit kind of retreat. Most sessions will see you sharing this adventure with between 6 and 9 other creatives. At certain events, we will be joined by local artists and patrons, such as at the closing dinner on Sunday night.
I’ve attended before. Can I apply this year?
We miss you, too! Please wait one calendar year, though, before re-applying. That means that the September session is open to 2016 participants only.
What if I'm eligible for more than one scholarship?
If multiple scholarships are offered, please apply for just one scholarship per year.
I'm a local artist. Can I apply?
You certainly can! However, in order to maintain a special atmosphere, you must lodge on-site and participate in group meals. You can see local family and friends during your free time, but please do not bring them to The Cabins camp.
I don't drink alcohol. Will there be booze?
Unless stated otherwise, all sessions are for creative people 21 years or older and alcohol will usually be present at meals and social activities. If you don't feel comfortable around alcohol, accommodations off-the-premises can sometimes be arranged, but availability of off-site lodging varies from year to year.
Who are the lovely drawings-in-books by on this site? And the photos?
Thank you for asking! 2016 participant Dasha Ziborova was kind enough to live-draw many of the events at our inaugural session. We've included some of them, here, as well as some of her lovely photographs. Most of the photographs are by local photographer Christopher Little, a longtime resident (and fan!) of Norfolk.
What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellations disrupt the way the retreat is curated. Please don't apply if you don't think you can attend.
Cancellations by April 01, 2020: Full refund
Cancellations by May 01, 2020: 50% refund
Cancellations after May 01, 2020: no refund
Why should I donate to The Cabins?
Donations are a tax free way to participate in the arts that help keep our program competitively affordable and allow us to host participants from communities that are underrepresented in the creative arts.