We harness the sheer power of the Les Cheneaux Islands area, the talents of teachers, and the drive of students seeking excellence in this craft.
Imagine an endeavor that brings writers, artists, and naturalists of all ages together with experienced teachers and mentors in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula, where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was inspired to write Hiawatha, where Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories unfolded, where Aldo Leopold spent the summers of his youth, and Jim Harrison hunted grouse and woodcock. Our programs enable creative people to meet in a beautifully restored 1937 schoolhouse and enjoy lodgings close to nature, from art classes to writing workshops. They have all about them the inspiration of the deep woods of “Up North,” the rich maritime history of the northern Great Lakes, and the freedom to roam the forests and walk the shores as they enjoy the relaxed pace of life that has characterized this idyllic northern Michigan community for well over a century.
Our venue, Hessel School House, was built in 1937 to house grades kindergarten through fifth in two classrooms. The central part of the building features a large, multi-purpose room to serve as an auditorium (with a stage and its side entry), lunchroom, and gymnasium. The school closed in 1959 when the school in nearby Cedarville expanded to accommodate elementary and secondary school students from both areas.