Journal Fest Joy

October is a month of change, and one of the best changes you can indulge in is Journalfest, an art retreat put on by Teesha and Tracy Moore. This was my second year, and it was wonderful. You won’t see any photos of the art I did–I shipped a package home and the artwork was in it. The package will arrive at the end of this week.

Journaling at the Blue Moose Cafe in Port Townsend

Journalfest takes place in Fort Worden, just North of  Port Townsend, an interesting town about two hours North-Northwest of Seattle, on the Quimper Peninsula.

The beauty of Journalfest is that it lets you be as much with your thoughts as you like. You can stay in a dorm-like barracks, in small individual rooms with a lot of common place to journal with friends. You can stay in the officer housing, in which case you will have more space.  It depends on how rustic you want your stay to be. You can also stay in Port Townsend, in a hotel. I chose that option this year.

Journalfest runs for three days, and you take three classes from a long list of choices. Each class runs a full day, giving you real depth of learning.

Each evening there is a different activity so you are kept busy. One night there’s a bonfire (complete with s’mores!), another night is a demo- and vendor night, and one night, there is a Halloween party–complete with band and costumes, if you want to make or bring one.

Hadn't seen fall leaves in a while.

This year, staying in a hotel gave me the opportunity to explore the town. I discovered there is a downtown–with restaurants, antique stores, a fabulous coffee house called the Undertown, and The Writer’s Workshoppe, a  store just for writers. It offers classes, books on writing, T-shirts, and pens.

There is also an uptown–up on the bluff overlooking the bay are magnificent Victorian houses, a bakery, and a charming restaurant called Sweet Laurette.

Hannah Viano has an amazing exhibition of her papercuts, Shared is the Sea, at the Maritime Museum through November 5, 2011. When she says she is the daughter of a mermaid and a waterman, I can believe her.

I saw the notice of her exhibition pinned to a bulletin board at the Blue Moose Cafe. I love the cafe for their breakfast of eggs and hashbrowns made with both sweet potatoes and red-skinned potatoes. It’s on the waterfront tucked into the working area around the marinas. They don’t take credit cards and the space is small, but it’s wonderfully homey and comfortable. And you can journal there and feel at home.

The town has a wonderful history, and an ancient geography and emotional force. Bring a raincoat, it’s rainy. You won’t care, because you will be looking at the bright changing leaves against the backdrop of the smokey pines and foggy, low clouds.

On the way there and back, if you are crossing on the Bainbridge Island Ferry, be sure to stop at the small town right after the crossing to Bainbridge Island. Turn left at the first traffic light and enjoy the Blackbird Bakery’s excellent sweet and savory baked goods and coffee. Bring cash, they don’t take credit cards. If you are a knitter or crocheter, you must stop at Churchmouse Yarns and Tea. Stepping through the door is like stepping into the past where handwork is honored. Fabulous yarns of every kind and color, many of them knitted up so you can see what it looks like in a garment.

When my classwork arrives, I’ll do another post on the classes, but meanwhile, start saving to go to Journalfest in October of 2012. You’ll enjoy every minute.