I've had several conversations lately about residencies and retreats. For those of us who are encumbered (to various degrees), it can be nearly impossible to find something that's just right. In a good location, with tempting perks, with necessary accommodations, with a timeframe and length that works with our lives.
I have only done one residency, and that was at Ragdale. I was single and sans children, and in grad school, but working full time over the summer until my residency. Mostly I think I just decompressed. I took the Metra train up there with my gigantic suitcase. One day I missed the city so much that I took the Metra back to Chicago to visit my cat. I wasn't as productive as I could've been. I was pretty antisocial. But it was still an amazing experience, and I wish I could go back now that I really need it.
I think that my ultimate writers' retreat would be a safe house for writers. When your kids are driving you nuts, and you have more laundry than you can wash in a week with loads running back-to-back, you can pack up the car and go to the Writers' Safe House. It's like taking your kids to the daycare at the gym, only you get to write instead of lifting weights.
Perhaps they'd deliver some lunch and tea, too. And the staff would never nag you about when you'd be done. And they'd have a hundred Babar movies, and thousands of unbroken crayons. It probably wouldn't include the "meatmarket" quality that some look for in a residency (not me of course...oh no), but maybe there's another place for that.
What sorts of attributes do you look for in a retreat or residency? If you could build your own, what would it be like?