Creative Retreat in Potter Valley

Soon after I returned from Amsterdam, I headed three hours north of San Francisco for a little overnight retreat with some friends. My friend Eileen is a photographer and a scout for Hipcamp, which is kind of like Airbnb but for campsites and outdoor-oriented stays. So she invited a group of us along to turn her scouting trip into a creative retreat. Despite the 100-degree weather, lack of air conditioning, and mosquitos, it was the perfect little stay and a refreshing way to be welcomed back to California.

The property where we stayed was a farm with a handful of people living and working on the land. It used to be a dairy farm but now they mostly have chickens, vegetables, and a ton of oak trees.

For dinner, the property owners made us a meal largely from things they had grown. The asparagus was so delicious.

And this was my first time having acorn pancakes.

A little stroll around the vegetable garden.

Sunrise the next morning.

Visiting all the hens!

I also learned what an oak gall is: Induced by wasps that sting oak trees, the tree produces a little ball, and the wasps eventually fly out of those little holes. Later, the galls can be gathered and used to make ink since they are heavy in tannins.

During our down time in the house, lots of watercolor sketches happened, and banjo, guitar, and tarot cards too!

Such an awesome group of talented ladies. Thank you for organizing, Eileen!

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco but often traveling and working around the world. See more of her museum, opera, and symphony exploits under #awculturetime on instagram and view more of her professional work at