Appledore Island Writers' Retreat

Rock, Paper, Water:
Writing in the Space between Land and Sea

Photo of author writing in a journal

Come take a dip into place-based writing on beautiful Appledore Island and learn why its stunning seascapes and rich heritage have inspired artists for more than a century. Participants will consider how we observe the world(s) around us—from the intricate particulars to the big picture—and turn it into art. We’ll find inspiration in the natural environment, the work of Shoals Marine Laboratory scientists, and the plant, animal, and human communities that have always shared the island. From hands-on research devoted to marine mammals and migratory songbirds, to the island’s past as a Victorian art colony, to the uncanny play of light across its craggy coastline, Appledore has a vignette waiting to be written around every bend. We’ll take time to read and listen to writing by others, make notes and thumbnail sketches for our own ideas, do some independent writing, and share our work with one another. Join us!


The trip out to Appledore departs from Portsmouth on Monday, August 20 at 1:30pm. Participants need to arrive at the dock by 12:45pm.


On Friday, August 24 the boat departs Appledore at 1:30pm, arriving back in Portsmouth by 2:30pm.


photo of Rowan Jacobsen
Photo by Joshua Hatch

Rowan Jacobsen

Rowan Jacobsen is the author of seven books about the natural world and our ecological, philosophical, and gastronomical connections to it, including Fruitless Fall, The Living Shore, and A Geography of Oysters. His writing appears in Outside, Harper’s, Mother Jones, Orion, Yankee, and many other magazines, as well as the annual Best Food Writing and Best American Science & Nature Writing collections. He has received the James Beard Award and the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature. He has been an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow, writing about endangered cultures on the borderlands of China, India, and Myanmar, and a Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT. He lives in Vermont and writes frequently about the New England coast, from seaweed harvesting in Maine to wild foraging on Appledore Island. Visit Rowan's website.


photo of Mary Elder Jacobsen
Photo by Eric Elder Jacobsen

Mary Elder Jacobsen

Mary Elder Jacobsen has poetry appearing or forthcoming in Cold Mountain Review, The Greensboro Review, Green Mountains Review, The Lyric, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured in Poetry Daily and selected for Birchsong, Vol. II. A recipient of a Vermont Studio Center residency, she holds an MA from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, where she was a Teaching Fellow, and an MFA from UNC-Greensboro. She lives in Vermont with her family, splitting her time between editing jobs, rejuvenating their 1840s home, and volunteer efforts. She is Co-curator of Words Out Loud, an annual reading series at the historic Old West Church, and also serves on a local nonprofit working to save and restore Memorial Hall on Mirror Lake, in Calais, Vermont.

See poems by Mary online at Cold Mountain ReviewGMR Online, and The Remembered Arts Journal.


Photo of Mary and Rowan Jacobsen
Mary and Rowan

Event Type


Price is per person. All-inclusive with: overnight accommodations, all meals, snacks and beverages, all program activities, and round-trip boat transportation between Portsmouth, NH and Appledore Island. This program is open to adults 18 years and older.


(603) 862-5346