Platte River Writing Retreats

Peaceful sunset on a backwaters area of the Platte River near Ashland, Nebraska during during the fall of 2011
Photo credit: Jamie Jones / USFWS

The Nebraska Writing Project hosts an annual retreat at Platte River State Park, usually in mid September. At this three-day event, NeWP Teacher-Consultants (with their writing-friendly friends and family) gather for shared meals, writing activities, readings, a writing marathon, and other lively and informal events. We typically reserve a a duplex park cabin and invite participants to reserve space in it or to make their own accommodations in the park, to camp at nearby Mahoney State Park, or to commute each day from home. We use this time to reconnect with our NeWP roots, relax in the park’s rustic natural settings, write and share our work, and strengthen our personal and professional connections.

About Platte River State Park

Nature-lovers delight in the variety of flora and fauna found at the park and its environs. Typical species include those common to the eastern hardwood forests, the tail-grass prairies, and the Platte River flood plain woodlands. This overlapping makes the park a rare treat for visitors interested in the world of nature.

Activities range from swimming at the supervised pool to guided horseback trail rides through the timbered hills. Sights to see include the quaint Red Barn (converted to a group camp) and a charming little waterfall.

Platte River State Park
14421 346th St.
Louisville, NE 68037

More Information

2018 Platte River State Park Writing Retreat, Writing Marathon, and UnConference

September 21-23, 2018

Spend the weekend with fellow NeWP teachers at Platte River State Park, located between Lincoln and Omaha on I-80 at 14421 346th St. Louisville, NE 68037. The retreat encompasses the NeWP UnConference and Platte River Writing Marathon on September 22, and offers additional activities all weekend long.

To reserve your spot for any of the three events, email Robert Brooke (


Reserve a space in the NeWP cabins, Chokecherry. Each cabin is equipped for 6, mostly bunk beds. The cost per person for the weekend is $60 due at the time of the reservation. To hold a space, contact Robert Brooke at by August 20th.

Reserve your own accommodations at the park. Platte River has options to reserve a cabin. Families or groups are welcome. To check availability and prices call 402-234-2217 or visit the Nebraska State Parks reservation website. The cabins closest to our NeWP Chokecherry cabins are the Goldenrod, and Bur Oak cabins (these are housekeeping cabins with a shared bathhouse but they rent for only $50-60/ night and sleep 8). The Owen Cabins are also available and are more modern. They are on the other side of the lake. Tent accommodations are available in nearby parks.

Friday, September 21th
5:00 pm Check in at Chokecherry
6:30 pm Pizza party (bring $3 a slice)
7:30 pm Campfire and writing activity
Saturday, September 22
9:30 am UnConference and pancake feed
11:30 am Lunch at Owen Landing (picnic or concession stand)
12:00 pm Writing Marathon
3:30 pm Marathon read-around at Chokecherry cabins
5:30 pm Potluck and Pick a Passage**
7:00 pm Campfire and s'mores social
Sunday, September 23
9:00 am Optional writers' coffee klatch groups***
11:00 am Check out

All schedules subject to change

**Potluck: Bring a dish to share. If you are bringing one that needs to be kept warm, there are outlets in the cabins to accommodate crock pots. If your dish requires a particular serving utensil, you may wish to bring that as the cabins have limited utensils. Paper plates, napkins and plastic ware will be furnished. Bring your choice of beverage, but tea or lemonade will be available. If you would like to participate in Pick a Passage, please bring a piece of your own writing to share or a passage from a favorite book that you would like to read to the group after the potluck.

***Writer's coffee klatch groups: meet at Owen Landing and bring four copies of previous writing to exchange with others.

Writing Marathon

Saturday, September 22, 11:30 am - 4:00 pm

If you can't come for the whole weekend, join us for the Fall Writing Marathon on Saturday, September 22. Starting with lunch at 11:30 am at Platte River State Park’s Owen Landing (bring a picnic or buy something from the concession stand), we will launch the writing marathon around 12:00 pm from the dock. Enjoy writing in the park’s beautiful, rustic setting and wrap up your day with snacks and a read-around at our NeWP Chokecherry Cabins starting at 3:30 and wrapping up around 4:00. You’re welcome to stay for the Potluck Dinner at 5:30 p.m. and the campfire, too.

NeWP UnConference

Saturday, September 22, 9:30 - 11:30 am

The NeWP UnConference, an open-space conference designed on the spot, is open to NeWP TCs, fellow friends, current and preservice educators. Bring your thoughts, ideas, and questions for the morning. The UnConference will begin at 9:30 am on September 22th in the Chokecherry Cabins.

Past Retreats

Robert Brooke and Mary Klucas writing in the sunshine at Platte River State Park
Outside of Heron Bay bar in South Bend, Nebraska
Table with lit candles and trinkets