Frontier Retreat Pittsburgh

Evening, November 30 to afternoon, December 2, 2018

At a crossroads? At the end of something? Does your current story feel too small? Poised at the beginning of something scary-big? Moving into uncertainty? Moving away from stuckness or toward creative flow?

That’s the frontier.

You are invited to a frontier conversation, both playful and serious, intimate and expansive, that ranges from our living room to the valleys of Pittsburgh’s urban forest.

Four years ago we began hosting Frontier Retreats in Montana as a resource for people who are at some kind of personal, professional, or creative borderland:

  • at the final shore of something they found comfortable, but which now seems too small,
  • in the wide uncertainty of having left something behind, but still unclear about what new shore awaits,
  • having begun something new and exciting, full of challenge that seems almost beyond their abilities. 

The Montana experiences have been profound, but too many of our friends and colleagues in the Pittsburgh area have been unable to make the trek. So we’re taking it local. 

Space for wandering conversation mixed with making, walking, good food, and a little poetry.

It’s wonderful what a little spaciousness can do. The Frontier Retreat is not about giving you “content.” It’s an act of space-making in service to your frontier: a relaxed time, hospitality, good company, provocative questions and perspectives, and invitations to explore your own questions through simple acts of making and reflection. 

Who will be there?

The short answer: ten people who feel drawn to this invitation. 

The longer answer: we expect a mix of people from corporate design, higher education, non-profits, the arts, and community activism. But because this invitation touches something that most people experience at some point in life, people’s background, job, or other aspect of identity is not so much the point. We’re convening a genial cohort around a common human experience.

On the frontier, your questions matter much more than your biography.

What will we do?

Friday evening
The first evening, we’ll meet over happy hour and dinner, get acquainted with one another, and start to find our questions.

Saturday morning we start early, at the head of a trail into the park (with a foul-weather plan in our back pocket). We’ll put a hot drink and a tasty morsel in your hand, then walk in among the trees to explore. Then we’re back to the house for breakfast and a beginning to our conversation.

The rest of the day will mix indoor and outdoor time, structured and unstructured hours, quiet, conversation, and making.

That evening we’ll serve you happy hour and a beautiful dinner, and make time for warm fire and final reflections before returning to our homes to rest.

Sunday morning begins with breakfast, and continues with conversations and activities designed to help us all gel our learning and prepare for re-entry into the regular rhythms of life.


Date: Evening of November 30 into afternoon of December 2

Place: Most activities in Marc’s living room, kitchen, and back yard in Polish Hill, with Saturday excursions into Frick Park and other places to be determined

Lodging: Sleep in your own cozy bed at your own cozy home

Suggested price: $350, including all meals, snacks, drinks, and activities (if you want to come but the cost is a problem, check the “let’s talk” box in the registration form)

What people say

Words from people who have attended our Frontier Retreat in Montana.

“I love the set up and the pace. Away from everything, low key, not too many things to do but enough to help us reflect.”

“The group size and intimacy was critical for me. I couldn’t imagine it being as successful if it were much larger in size.”

“I loved the conversation, and found myself being surprisingly candid with people I didn’t know well (trust-building out of the gate was amazing).”

“Marc and Hannah approach these topics with such thoughtfulness and empathy. So many of us struggle to find meaning in our lives, so having the time and space to connect and have conversations with others on similar paths is so valuable.”

“The event felt thoughtful and deliberate every step of the way, yet never felt rushed or controlled or ‘on task.’ I loved the variety of experiences that somehow felt like one big conversation. I felt very much cared for and noticed, and also liked the overall casual and welcoming vibe. No whiteboards, post-its, break out sessions. Very nice.”

“Since I live in a foggy, generally cool city, I looooooovvved being outside as much as possible in the warm dry heat of a new ecosystem. I appreciated so much the variety of outdoor activities and getting a chance to have the land wash over me. Don’t change a thing.”

“I’m still processing this trip, but I’ve shared with three people now that it was a special experience. I had no expectations arriving in Montana, but the magic dust I brought home is a truly unique thing.”


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