Life Letters Retreat at
The Biltmore Estate
Asheville, NC 2023
Set amid 75 acres of formal and informal gardens and 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountains, the Biltmore House in historic Asheville, NC, was commissioned by George Vanderbilt in 1889 and is known as America’s Largest Home®. This spectacular venue is the ideal setting to step away from everyday distractions and reflect upon your very own life letter.
The Life Letters Retreat is open to individuals as well as couples. You’ll map your life’s narrative to date and be expertly led to write a personalized document that you can be proud of. No matter your writing experience, you’ll walk away with craft techniques about storytelling that will strengthen your voice on the page. You might even forge a path to publication.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to tell the stories, history, and experiences that have shaped your life’s journey. It’s a gift to you, your loved ones, and your community.
All interested participants are encouraged to apply by January 31st, 2023.
Life Letters Retreat Leader:
Nancy’s corporate clients include the New York Life Insurance Company, Eagle Strategies, Lincoln Financial, Virginia Credit Union, Dallas Bar Association, Women’s Estate Planning Council, University of Denver, American Academy of Psychotherapists, New York's 92nd Street Y, The Rose Community Foundation, and numerous other businesses and groups. She also works with private clients in every corner of the globe.
Nancy holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College and is a certified instructor in Guided Autobiography. Winner of the Colorado Book Award for Creative Nonfiction and First Book Finalist for Books for a Better Life, her debut memoir Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living is a portrait of the surprising turns life takes and the resilience it takes to keep stepping forward. She is also the author of the picture book Because the Skyis Everywhere and has ghostwritten several other works, including a family legacy book for a client that led to an interview with Warren Buffett in his Omaha office and to her becoming an associate producer on a forthcoming documentary called Who Are the Marcuses?
Nancy has been published in several essay anthologies, and articles, essays, columns, and letters by her have appeared in The New York Times, AARP’s The Ethel, Katie Couric's Wake-Up Call, Next Avenue, The Huffington Post, journals for the American Academy of Psychotherapists and the University of Colorado Hospital’s Center for Bioethics and the Humanities, and elsewhere. She has guest lectured at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Regis University's MFA Program, The Writing Center at Marshall University, and The New School. Nancy teaches storytelling and legacy writing workshops online and hosts creativity retreats. She lives in Denver, CO with her family and absurdly cute Havanese dog. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.
About The Biltmore Estate
Lodging at The Biltmore
The Life Letters Retreat takes place at The Biltmore. Only here will you find America’s Largest Home® nestled amid 8,000 acres of manicured gardens and thoughtfully designed landscapes, an award-winning Winery, and myriad dining, shopping, and outdoor pursuits…all in one unforgettably beautiful place.
*Each participant will have their own room. If you would like to bring your spouse/partner please let us know. Tuition will be discounted for your spouse/partner less the cost of the hotel room.
2023 Life Letters Retreat Schedule
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Workshop in Olmsted Room, including presentation of symbolic objects; Through the Decades™ exercise to map key events, themes, and narrative threads.
11:00 AM – 11:15 AM: Break.
11:15 AM – 1:00 PM: Workshop in Olmsted Room, including detailed history and overview of life letters. Reading of sample letters; personalizing the document – salutation, values, unique circumstances; Identifying dominant theme and/or main components for the body of the life letter; Think about how the life letter might support or clarify the legal will; Reflect on stories, poems, letters and/or other items that you may wish to include in the life letter or keepsake box.
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Lunch on your own/free time.
4:00 PM: Visit historic Biltmore House and the Gardens behind Biltmore House. Happy hour in the gardens.
6:30 PM: Dinner at Stable Café.
Thursday, April 20, 2023
11:00 AM -11:30 AM: Break.
6:00 PM: Dinner in Asheville. Restaurant TBD.
Friday, April 21, 2023
9:00 PM – 11:30 AM: Put finishing touches on life letters document; Decide when and how to present your life letter.
11:30 AM - 3:00 PM - Lunch on your own/Free Time.
3:00 PM: Celebratory Reading of Life Letters.
5:00 PM: Tour Biltmore Winery.
Saturday, April 22, 2023
- Daily breakfast and four nights at the historic Biltmore Estate.
- Life Letters Retreat, led by Nancy Sharp.
- Personalized guidance and coaching by Nancy Sharp and Lisa Culhane.
- Afternoon group activities including visits to The Biltmore House and Gardens, Downtown Asheville, and The Biltmore Winery.
- Opening night reception and dinner.
- Closing night happy hour reception and reading.
- A once in a lifetime experience.
- Life Letter Keepsake Folder & Box: an enduring gift for you, your loved ones, and community.
- Note: If you would like to bring your spouse/partner please let us know. Tuition will be discounted for your spouse/partner less the cost of the hotel room.
- Expanded FAQ at the bottom of this page.
Application & General FAQ
What is the application deadline?
Applications for our April 2023 Life Letters Retreat with Nancy Sharp are now open and will close on January 31st, 2023. Early applications are encouraged.
What is your COVID policy?
It is the responsibility of attendees of Writing Workshops to make sure they are vaccinated and boostend in accordance with federal and state guidelines. If the state of North Carolina or the United States government forbids entry to the state of North Carolina, or if The Biltmore closes, for the dates of April 18th -22nd, 2023, Writing Workshops will offer a full refund for program fees. Writing Workshops will not reimburse for any airline tickets or additional trip-related expenses incurred. If the retreat takes place on the dates planned, no program fees will be reimbursed, regardless of attendance.
What will my application include? The answers to the following questions:
- What excites you most about being accepted into this workshop? Why do you think you’re a good fit for this workshop?
- What is your comfort level writing autobiographically? Have you ever journaled? Are you a letter writer? Ever been published?
- Who are you intending to share your life letter document with? Family? Community? Both?
- Tell us about a symbolic object that has great significance. Family heirloom? Painting? Handwritten note?
When will I know if I've been accepted to the workshop?
Our goal is to provide an intimate and memorable retreat so that participants can find meaning during and after the retreat. We will accept applicants on a rolling basis until the retreat is full and then begin waitlists. Writers are encouraged to apply early.
How much does it cost?
Tuition is $3,995.
Are Payment Plans Available?
Yes. Accepted writers will have the option to pay their tuition in full or opt for a payment plan divided into equal monthly payments by selecting Shop Pay or Affirm (for U.S. & Canadian residents) at checkout.
What does tuition include?
-Life Letters Retreat, led by Nancy Sharp.
-Personalized guidance and coaching by Nancy Sharp and Lisa Culhane.
-Afternoon group activities including visits to The Biltmore House and Gardens, Downtown Asheville, and The Biltmore Winery.
-Opening night reception and dinner.
-Closing night happy hour reception and reading.
-Life Letter Keepsake Folder & Box: an enduring gift for you, your loved ones, and community.
-Note: If you would like to bring your spouse/partner please let us know. Tuition will be discounted for your spouse/partner less the cost of the hotel room.
What is tuition payment schedule?
If your application is accepted, full tuition is due within 7 days of acceptance. You can pay your tuition in full or opt for a payment plan by selecting Affirm or Shop Pay at checkout.
What is your Refund policy?
Tuition is nonrefundable 7 days after tuition is paid, regardless of attendance. If a refund is requested up to 7 days after tuition payment, all but a $500 deposit will be refunded.
Where is the hotel and workshop venue?
Set amid 75 acres of formal and informal gardens and 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountains, the Biltmore House in historic Ashville, NC, was commissioned by George Vanderbilt in 1889 and is known as America’s Largest Home ®. Asheville Regional Airport is the nearest airport to the Biltmore. The address for the entrance to Biltmore Estate is 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803.
Can I bring my spouse/partner?
If you would like to bring your spouse/partner please let us know. Tuition will be discounted for your spouse/partner less the cost of the hotel room.
How late can I apply?
We will accept applications through January 31st, 2023.
What will happen if Nancy Sharp is physically unable to attend for any reason?
In the event the Life Letters Retreat workshop leader, Nancy Sharp, is physically unable to attend the retreat for any reason, Lisa Culhane will step in to lead the retreat in Nancy's place. Lisa Culhane is a Martha Beck certified life coach and Guided Autobiography instructor. She has also completed the life letters experience with Nancy.
What will you do with my email?
We respect your privacy. We will only use your email to send you information about Writing Workshops. We won't sell or rent your email to other organizations.
I have a question not answered here.
Please contact us and we’ll reply promptly. You can also Chat with us (lower left of your screen).