We can do our best to provide the space, environment, teachers and surprises to ensure that you have the experience that you most want-- but there is no guarantee. It's a mystery on the highest order. Yet, clearly something good is happening for many (though we are probably not the ones who should be telling you what it is like or helping you to set your expectations as attending squam is an experience unique to those who make the journey). So, it's really best if you hear it straight from people who have come before. Below is an ever-growing compilation of responses to the Squam experience. (Click on their NAME to go to the full write-up).
"The one thing I can say right now with enthusiasm and certainty is that if you're in the position to be considering attending Squam - either this fall or next year, but are on the fence for whatever reason - because you don't know anyone else going, because you're not sure it's worth the money, because you're not sure you'll gain anything from it - well, my strong and gentle words of advice are to hop right off that fence and GO. Magic happens there, I tell you...and in my experience at least, that magic can come in unexpected and beautiful ways."
"I wanted to share with you a really great experience I had this fall. . . me and my family packed up the rental car with snacks, bathing suits and a lot of art supplies and took off on a small road trip. We departed New York City and headed up to New Hampshire--to Squam Lake to be more exact. I was going to take a workshop that took place right by a wonderful lake, in the middle of the woods, and I was real excited to go. After a 6-hour drive we arrived and, WOW, what a gorgeous place!"
"I don’t think I fully realized how many walls I’d built up until they started crumbling. Squam magic, one beautiful person said. I believed. Everywhere I turned, there was understanding and support and love and hugs. Simply put, it was amazing."
"Yep, I should have known then that I was a goner. These type of loving, worthy-affirming experiences just kept happening again and again and again...
That was the nature of Squam...I found "Gerri" at the sea. I found my beautiful, sparkly-flowing self; filled with purples and fire. I came to realize that I am worthy of a paradise retreat, just for me... I am worthy."
"I am forever thankful and deeply changed. Still healing, because the soul work never ends. And that's ok. I am ok with that."
"Coming back from Squam by the Sea has brought some clarity. I feel so blessed that I was able to go. I had never been to North Carolina or to a Squam event. Both fed my soul."
"This was the moment, when I spoke my wishes to the wind and threw a pebble into the ocean."
"It was so much more than art, and these things usually are, and I have returned tired, but rejuvenated. I don't want to describe with words because I think the photos do a better job."
"To me, Squam is an experience to be felt; it is a sense of expansion. A loosening of outworn ideas, of patterns that no longer serve."
"Beauty, Magic, Kinship… My heart is still spilling over in the best way."
"A week on and the freckles are fading but the effects of my time at SquamItalia! will be with me forever. I have pictures and I have a full heart. I'm not sure I have the words. I keep writing sentences and deleting them. It's so hard to explain exactly what it was like and why it has such an impact."
"Italian Nonna welcomed us to her house, happy to teach us some of her favourite recipes. Nonno came along, and a bit after neighbour stop by. House was full, but she kept working and explaining.. and she was so happy having all of us there. We made some Caggionetti, Abruzzo’s traditional Christmas treats, and they were divine."
"SquamItalia was amazing. I almost didn’t go; I am so, so glad I did. It was unlike any other Squam experience, with the only constant the wonderful people and community that grew out of the barest of connections in only four short days."
"I’m feeling a better person today, I’m feeling I left behind a lot of stress and gained new power and energy at the beautiful trip I had in Morro d’Oro – Abruzzo. I want to thank you all the fantastic people I known at SquamItalia!"
"Squam Italia was easily one of the most precious things I’ve done in a long time. Browsing all those photos is great, because they bring back beautiful memories and it is so interesting, how differently people can see the same place through their camera."
"We’re in a converted monastery where Anna lives with her family, in the Abruzzo region of Italy. It’s fitting all of the rural Italian stereotypes I have in my head – a view of olive groves and vineyards, a very noisy, big, bustling family, her grandson playing accordion, everything happening at it’s own pace, on Italian time."
"How do I put into words that I spent three days outside with my feet in the grass and my hands in acrylic colours so rich and juicy, I wanted to eat them? That I found beautiful new friends from across the planet, all awake and searching for deep connection. For a place to be fully themselves. That I sat up to the wee small hours reconnecting deeply via belly laughs and tears, with my sisters in room three...It really was stupidly beautiful."
"Vor Ort perfekte Bedingungen und Materialien für das Üben und Bestaunen von Jen’s und Nikole’s harmonischem Hand in Hand, ein kleines Styling-Paradies. Danke für diese gute Zeit."
"Yes, it was spectacular. It's just my words cannot do justice."
"The retreat was fabulous, as they always are when Elizabeth spins her magic, bringing together like-minded souls and inspiring teachers (Flora was truly amazing, holding the space for us all and sharing her process without being intimidating in the slightest — I bow down before her paint brushes!)."
"I’m a Squam convert forever.... I’m still feeling oddly unfocused and disconnected with my “real life,” but I can’t get over the sense that this new, beautiful community of women is still so close to my heart and whispering encouragement into my ear."
"It is hard to describe the experience because there is nothing like it. You walk in full of anxiety, fears about inadequacy, and most times wondering what the hell are you doing here. Nevertheless, you are quickly cocooned by loving embraces of other women who feel exactly as you do, and almost as instantly as you settle into your cabin, the low cloud seems to dissipate.
There truly is no other word for it, but magical."
"In the end, for me, the sewing class, the photography class, and the writing workshop I took were only a smidgen of this experience. The classes were the springboard, and as lovely as they were, it's the personalities that filled those learning rooms, the dining hall, and the trails in between, that made those hours so memorable. It's the pieces that people openly gave of themselves, the intimate and late night conversations we shared as cabin mates and as strangers, and the unique contributions of every individual that made every passing minute worth savoring and remembering.
"We were all in the woods together. Some came in groups. Some wandered in alone. Many returned. So many strong circles of friendship. I stood inside circles and outside circles. Feelings of belonging and aloneness. And as close as we walked together in those woods, Squam is a very individual experience. Personal. I made many connections. Lasting friendships no doubt. But I also came face to face with me. The creative, driven and intense me. The adventurous and affirmative me. And because of Squam, I have returned a calmer, gentler version."
"The instant I walked in the doors to Longhouse for registration, I was greeted by nearly every person who was in my cabin last year. It was so nice to see so many familiar faces – I remember last year I was panicked before heading up to Squam, I was so nervous about throwing myself into a new environment not knowing a single person. Of course, now I know just how silly I was to have worried at all – you will not meet a more welcoming and supportive group of women in the world."
"I am incredibly cynical. I accept this about myself, so when I signed up for Squam I felt the cynicism kick in. I read reviews by previous attendees and just couldn't believe a retreat could be as transforming as everyone claimed. But it was, and I was happy to find my cynicism breaking down. And with that in mind, I am going to share pictures and talk about some of the things I encountered - but I feel like it's important to say that while this will help you see the beauty of the place, it's impossible to capture the amazing spirit of this retreat."
"Having superstars like Lotta Jansdotter and Susy Pilgrim Waters in my classes was a bit daunting (to say the least), but of course, they were a joy to have in my class, as was every other person there. I think I actually like teaching!"
"I looked up the actual definition of the word Glamour. One of the definitions listed took me by surprise. It defined Glamour as “magic” or “enchantment”. Based on that definition, there is nothing more glamourous than Squam."
"I love looking forward to it and I love the after-effects - how it resonates and ripples through my spirit long after my return home."
"I flew 25 hours + to feel the magic, to meet other creatives, to learn new techniques and to meet my amazing teachers - Kelly Barton and Sarah Ahearn, to be inspired, encouraged and to hike a mountain and swim in a lake."
"it was a place for wishes to be set free"