Stillwater Writing Retreat

 2024 booking now for July! Come write with me! 


Stillwater Writing Retreat welcomes writers and artists to retreat time in our mountain home situated on 180 acres of pristine mountain land in Madison County, North Carolina. 

We offer three writers’ rooms, a wrap-around deck with gorgeous views, on-property hikes including a two-mile hike to our Sweet Bay Bald and a 3-mile forest hike along Red Oak Wander. More rigorous hikers may explore the property off the beaten paths. You may see deer, black bear, and elk on the property, along with a wide variety of small mammals and birds. We have many native plant species as well. 

Nearby attractions are the Appalachian Trail, Max Patch, and Hot Springs. An hour or two away are Asheville (closest commercial airport) and the Great Smoky National Park, each offering wonderful opportunities for day trips to shopping, dining, nightlife, and even more nature. 

We are secluded, private, and quiet. Writing retreats are personally hosted by Billie Hinton, published author, developmental editor, and Jungian-based, EMDR trained psychotherapist, who excels in creating retreat spaces conducive to deep and productive work. 

If interested, any visitor may combine retreat time with Jungian-based creative coaching sessions (utilizing sandplay) or EMDR on site, as well as editing consultation. Rates will be determined on an individual basis prior to stay.

Come on your own or book as a small group. 

We welcome writing mothers. If you would like to work out an individualized plan for bringing your spouse and/or children and caretaker with you, please query with a preliminary plan. We’ll try to make accommodations to support your stay with private retreat weeks just for you.

Amenities and Costs

We provide bed linens, towels and bathroom basics. 

We have a well-appointed kitchen (including induction cooktop, conduction oven, microwave, VitaMix, French press, drip coffee carafe, Nespresso Creatista for lattes) for guests to use in preparation of meals, as well as filtered well water. Some condiments (salt, pepper, spices, etc.) are provided at no cost. 

A list of options for local grocery stores can be provided.

High speed internet is available throughout the house and deck. Verizon cell service (and perhaps others) work well in our area. 


Nightly, if less than one week: $125. with a 4-night stay minimum. 

Weekly: $850.

Lodging taxes at 4.75% will be applied to final total.


The Owl Room is a second floor double bedroom with a writing desk, chair, and space to relax in the central reading nook between the bedrooms. It shares a full bathroom with the other second floor bedroom.

The California Room is a larger second floor queen bedroom with a writing desk, chair, and plenty of space to spread out. Yoga mat provided if you do daily yoga practice! The reading nook outside the bedroom offers room for reading and relaxing, and a shared full bath is close by. 

The Lemur Suite offers additional privacy on the ground level with its own entrance and parking, as well as outdoor seating. It has a double bed, large sitting room with desk, and private bath with shower (no tub). The kitchen and main living areas are conveniently located up the interior stairway. 

All bedrooms have full use of the main floor living room, den, dining room and kitchen, laundry room, and decks. 

The Playroom is available as an extra writer’s room for a small group who needs extra space or an individual writer rekindling childhood memories. It’s very private, has access to a half bath, and shared use of the upstairs bathtub/shower.

The Area and Access

Stillwater, at 4200 feet elevation, is accessed by an 8-mile gravel USFS road. It’s traveled regularly by all kinds of vehicles visiting Max Patch, but do expect a winding gravel road as you drive up and down the mountain.

Covid policy

Guests are required to be fully vaccinated for Covid 19. Negative testing prior to arrival is strongly encouraged. Should guests experience symptoms of illness of any kind prior to stay, rescheduling will be an option. Let’s keep everyone healthy! House will be kept as open as is possible in living/kitchen areas, with fans and air filters in place. Masks are welcome. Host fully vaccinated for Covid and regularly tested. 


We are 9 minutes via car to Max Patch parking lot and the Appalachian Trail, 40 minutes to Hot Springs and its soaking tubs and restaurants, one hour 10 minutes to Asheville and the Asheville Regional Airport, and an hour and 20 minutes to the Great Smoky National Park Oconoluftee Visitors Center. From Charlotte, NC it’s a three-hour drive, an hour and 45 minutes from Knoxville, TN, and just under 4 hours from Atlanta.


Email me: for reservation information and availability. 

Why are we named Stillwater?

I have been a fan of Tasha Tudor for many years, and this quote from her inspires me.

"Just for fun, my family invented a religion like the Shakers we called Stillwater. I'm eldress, and we have a big celebration on Midsummer's Eve. It's really a state of mind. Stillwater connotes something very peaceful, you see, life without stress. Nowadays, people are so jeezled up. If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more.

Stillwater believers are very hedonistic. Life is to be enjoyed, not saddled with. Do you know that lovely quotation from Fra Giovanni? He was an old monk from away back who wrote to his patron, 'The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy.' That's the first commandment of the Stillwater religion. Joy is there for the taking."

-Tasha Tudor, from The Private World of Tasha Tudor

Why are the rooms named California, Owl, and Lemur?

I lived in California for a number of years in my twenties and my daughter and I both love the landscape and the wildlife there. Owls and lemurs have long and varied meaning in my life. As a Jungian-based sandplay therapist, symbol and metaphor play a large role in the therapy work I offer, and inform my creative process as well. I invite you to soak in the energy of our symbols or create your own during your stay. My sandplay collection, on site, has a wide variety of miniatures that might inspire your work. 


Wonderful retreat in a gorgeous setting! The California Room was spacious, with natural light and privacy for writing..The main floor had multiple comfortable spots for discussion (and lovely little stacks of books!). Afternoon hikes through the unspoiled beauty of the property were as easy as stepping off the porch, and the Adirondack chairs up on the bald were a great place to rest, soak in the inspiring beauty, and talk craft. Billie was a great host and made sure I had all that I needed for a relaxing yet productive stay. I look forward to going again soon!

-Jem Hopkins


View from the side deck and painting courtesy of my talented daughter-in-law!