Weekend Retreat in Bath, Maine
As we began discussing ideas and plans for 2019 and our life in Maine, we decided to be more intentional about spending time planning our year and talking about our goals together. So the idea of our own “CEO retreat”, taking a weekend twice a year to reconnect and realign with each other and our values and goals, was born.
For our first try at this getaway idea, we stole away on a Friday evening after work, leaving our son with friends and driving an hour north to the little coastal town of Bath, Maine. Our plans were simple, in part because of the frigidity of the temperature that weekend: hunker down and enjoy the time together, and just talk. We just wanted to enjoy the time together as a couple, something we hadn’t had in length since before our son was born. (It didn’t take long to realize that even though it took more effort to take time away as just the two of us, it needed to happen more regularly than every two years!)
Our little airBnB couldn’t have been more perfect. Doubling Point Cottage was close to downtown on a quiet side street and just the cozy, quiet little place that we needed. More than once we commented to each other about how peaceful it was, and it made me remark wryly that I hadn’t even realized how much noise I live with on a daily basis until I was completely removed from it. The thoughtful little details provided around the cottage gave a charming, homey atmosphere, and it was fun to see all the little pieces of story built in as well. We could see ourselves coming back again, maybe even with our parents and little guy, for another weekend or longer. It was cozy and quiet in the winter, and must be even more cheery and fun when the summer comes around!
For this quiet-loving introvert, it was a little piece of heaven.
This weekend gave me the space to talk through things that had been percolating in the back of my mind for months, the ability to process with the full attention of my husband and the absence of interruptions, both external and internal. It was refreshing to spend all of Saturday lounging around the little cottage, reading, talking, or just soaking up the quiet. The sun seemed to give an affirming wink as it peeked through the windows and shone through the steam rising above our mugs of tea, and warmed the rooms as the day grew brighter. We talked through our vision for our work and life here in Maine again, as well as our core family values and other things we needed to work through together for the near future.
We also braved the cold just long enough to visit Cafe Creme, a warm and bustling coffee shop downtown, and enjoy an early dinner at the slightly quirky Beale Street Barbeque. The fare at both was delicious!
Two nights gave us the perfect amount of time to enjoy a full day there, bookended by travel and a stop in Freeport on the way home on Sunday, where I found a pair of Bean boots just in time for the next weekend’s snowstorm!
What we learned:
Intentional time away to regroup, reconnect, and realign is well worth the money and effort.
Plan out an even amount of fun/restful activities/exploring along with the “serious” work. We found we needed the breaks in between to give our brains a break from the concentrated talking and planning.
It can be done on a budget! We chose a place to stay that was not too far away, inexpensive (they also graciously gave us a discount), and had accommodations to bring our own food so that we didn’t have to eat out every meal. Our whole weekend, including a meal out with the friends who watched our son when we got back, cost about $300.
Begin planning the next getaway before you finish the current one. It’s worth having it already blocked on the calendar, at least.
Keep your goals for your time away simple and clear. You can’t solve all the world’s problems in only 48 hours, after all, and it feels better to have accomplished a few things (i.e., figure out core values, work through budget, etc.) than to just talk around in circles. We actually did pretty well in this, but even though we kept our goals concise, we still only got through three out of five objectives. But that’s what date nights are for, right?