Asilomar was built in 1913 by Julia Morgan in Pacific Grove, California. Everywhere you look it’s amazing, from the sandy dunes and blue ocean to the twisted cypress trees. The Craftsman style shingled cottages with their stone fireplaces seem right at home. About a half mile away from Asilomar is the first house built by my great aunt, Emily Williams, in 1904. She was an architect like Julia Morgan, but never received a license from the state to build something as grand as Asilomar. You can read more about Emily Williams in my upcoming book, UNDER THE ALMOND TREES.
The Asilomar Reading Conference touts books and reading. It’s an opportunity to see new books (and buy them), and be reacquainted with old favorites. Sessions are held in cozy living-room style spaces with redwood walls and large fireplaces. I co-presented a session on teaching National Novel Writing Month in the classroom, and I was happy with how well it was received.
One of the most amazing things about the Asilomar Reading Conference, though, is the teachers. Some are brand new first year teachers, and some have been coming to the conference for years and years and years. All are looking for ideas to use in the classroom, whether they come from keynote speakers, sessions, or conversation over meals.
Overall, it was an amazing, inspiring weekend and I will definitely return next year. Maybe someday I will be the keynote author speaker!