Retreats on the Cheap

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

For elegant accommodations, the Pfister in downtown Milwaukee features a martini bar and spa ($184 for a king-sized bed).

For more down-to-earth accommodations that are still conveniently located, the Ambassador Inn is blocks from Marquette University ($87).

Literary Destinations

Take a book-browsing excursion to Woodland Pattern Book Center on Locust Street, which houses one of the most comprehensive poetry collections in the country (free). Stick around for Red Letter, a reading series featuring local and regional poets and writers on the third Friday of each month ($3).

Visit one of four Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop locations while you can; the eighty-two-year-old independent bookstore closes its doors for good on March 31 (free).

Attend the seventh annual Spring Writers Festival, a three-day conference at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, that offers presentations, craft workshops, and networking opportunities with writers, agents, editors, and others from March 6 through March 8 ($269).

Attend the Poets Monday reading at Linneman’s on Locust Street (free).

Other Entertainment
Check out the Harley Davidson Museum on Canal Street ($16).

Attend a day game at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers: Cheap seats ($8).

Tour the Miller Brewing Factory on West State Street (free).

Food and Drink
Order a Happy Cow! sandwich at the Fuel Café on East Center Street ($6.95).

Enjoy a beer and listen to some polka music at Kochanski's Concertina Beer Hall on South 37 Street. Tuesday is Retro Beer Night: Pabst Old Style, Old Milwaukee, Blatz and Hamms ($1.50)

Have lunch at Café Lulu on South Howell Avenue: The Half Pound Heart Attack Burger ($9).

Just Beyond Milwaukee
Take a day trip to Blackhawk Island, hometown of poet Lorine Niedecker, 102 miles southwest of Milwaukee.

Take a day trip to Chicago art museums and bookstores, 94 miles south of Milwaukee. While you’re there, stroll through Printer’s Row, a neighborhood that housed Chicago’s printing and publishing industry in the late nineteenth century (free).


Cheap Retreats

You are right on about Milwaukee. Woodland Pattern is a must stop. The Poetry Marathon the last Saturday in January is magnificent. If you want nature, travel to Door County 150 miles north. The South Nest Retreat is a three bedroom house in the boreal forest. Rents are reasonable and by the room or whole house. or 920-839-2191

Retreats on the Cheap

Sheesh! You forgot about hostels. Forget the "youth" hostels of yesteryear...the new, independent hostels offer clean and tidy accommodations to hip people of any age. They also offer private rooms, free internet/wifi access, communal spaces, kitchens, and are often set in travel-worthy inspirational locales. I understand your focus is on the United States, but a great place to stay (though I'm slightly biased on this!)is at Krumlov House, in the beautiful village of Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic or, Have a look at the LODGINGS section at , which features worldwide budget accommodations with up to the minute reviews. At Literary Bohemian, you'll find links to US and International writing retreats as well as "must-see-ums" (museums) of writing. Happy Trails! Carolyn