This is a little different from the posts I usually write, since it has to do with a spiritual retreat, which isn't quite the same as pleasure travel. But I feel this is worth mentioning and might be of interest to some people.
My husband and I were visiting his relatives in Minnesota over Christmas. His aunt Marita is a nun who lives at the Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Janesville, Minnesota. We drove out there on December 23rd to visit her.
She lives in the main house with 2 other nuns: Sister Joanne and Sister Monique. After coffee, cookies and chat, Sister Marita gave us a tour of the grounds. We started with the main house, which has rooms available for people who come for individual retreats. The rooms are, as you can imagine, sparsely furnished. But that's for a good reason. You cannot, after all, focus on your spirituality if you're distracted. However, all the rooms overlook a beautiful lake. I was thinking the entire time that it would be a wonderful place to go for a writing retreat.
Our next stop was the group retreat facility, which can accommodate 35 people for overnight stays and 50 for meals. This facility has a library, common room, conference room, small nondenominational chapel, and a huge kitchen and dining space. There is also a big screen TV for presentations and films (and Super Bowl parties, as the nuns apparently are contemplating having one). Again, all the rooms (2 twins or double beds) are sparsely furnished.
There are also three hermitages with wonderful lake views. One is already occupied by a nun. The others are available for individuals who want to take a spiritual retreat. One is handicapped accessible and has a screened-in porch. They're both small, but they have twin beds, small desks, bookshelves, bathrooms with showers, kitchenettes, and boomboxes. There will be another hermitage built soon.
I didn't take pictures because it was blustery and cold and snowy at the time, and I was just focused on getting indoors where it was toasty warm. However, the sisters have a website for the retreat center, if it is of interest to anyone who is looking for a quiet place for spiritual contemplation and reflection. The nuns are available for spiritual counseling and discussion, and you can be of any faith. I was fascinated by this tour and wouldn't mind a getaway there myself, although I would, as I said, probably spend it more for a quiet writing retreat than anything else. The grounds are simply gorgeous.
Sisters of St. Francis - Holy Spirit Retreat Center (This has information about the retreat center, but is more focused on the Franciscans of Rochester, Minnesota. There are photos, and it's been recently updated.)
Holy Spirit Retreat Center official website (a bit outdated)