The 1920’s era bungalow sits in such a quiet spot, snuggled behind azaleas, magnolias and camellias, that it’s been ignored by many. But if people only knew what a hot-spot of the literary world The Wolff Cottage is, they would certainly take notice.
Charming Wolff Cottage, or more officially, Fairhope Center For The Writing Arts, is a haven for writers who seek solace and peace. A place to organize thoughts, notes and get down to the business of crafting a good, good story.
I write a simple blog and weekly newspaper column, and often go crazy trying to find time to focus and meet deadlines. Jumping up to throw in a load of laundry, start dinner (I know, you thought I had a staff. Sorry to disappoint), run here and there – all makes for disjointed work time. This cottage takes the busyness out of the day, and offers writers solace for serious concentration.
The cottage, which has recently undergone a major overhaul, was opened for tours last week so the public could peek inside the cozy space and see where literary magic happens.
Still in the process of accepting donations of furniture, accessories and artwork (and good ole’ American ca-ching $$!) to give the house a needed “fluff,” the space is coming together and continues to be a get-away for authors who agree in exchange for the use of the cottage, to make appearances and conduct workshops in town. The house has already hosted many notable writers, and started things off several years ago with Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg.
Books of local authors and beautiful artwork line the shelves for inspiration. Forget about coming here on a writing retreat, I’d be thrilled if they just let me in to take a nap!
There’s a comfortable spot on the back porch for writers to clear their heads by picking up a paintbrush.
Native Alabama pine floors run throughout the one bedroom cottage, which is located in the downtown area, directly behind the public library. Not sure what the little trapdoor – looking thing is, maybe a secret passageway – Oooo! A good story!
A small dining area offers a place for a quick meal alone, or with a few local friends. What if the authors invite
crazy colorful local people over to get ideas for some of their off-the-wall characters? I’ll have to be wary of any invitations! Ooo! Another good story!
The kitchen window provides an inspiring view of the Fairhope Public Library, which is handy for quick research.
Wolff Cottage, was named in honor of Betty Joe Wolff, a literary powerhouse in our area who first opened the popular Page and Palette Bookstore, which is now owned and operated by her granddaughter, Karin Wolff Wilson. It wasn’t until after I took the photo of the historical marker that I noticed “Wolff” is misspelled on the plaque! (Wolfe) Hey! This is a writer’s cottage! Spell check! Spell check!
This autographed door was once located in “Over The Transom Bookstore,” a downtown shop that specialized in old, out-of-print books. Owner and local author and editor, Sonny Brewer, began inviting other authors to visit Fairhope, and surprisingly enough . . . they showed up! When the well known writers would come to town, they were amazed at the rich local history and love of the written word.
Sonny recruited other aspiring authors as well as those who loved reading in general, and the idea for the cottage began to develop. The door is now displayed in the cottage’s sunroom.
One of our most famous local authors, Winston Groom, has his book displayed on the shelf. I’m sure his other books, including, “Forrest Gump” have a place in the house as well.
You can become a member of the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts and receive invitations to the welcome receptions for new writers-in-residence and other fun literary events throughout the year. Click HERE to read more about the cottage, and send a message to FCWAnews@gmail.com to learn how to join.
We enjoyed the open house last week. Charming and comfy cottage.
I must have just missed you! Didn’t you just love this house? Hope to see you out and about soon!
Even though I didn’t win the BBQ tickets, you convinced me to come down for the weekend. Now I get back home and you show me this! Another trip!
Aww! Wish I could have met you at the festival. Glad you were able to make it down here, and the truth is, no matter when you get to Fairhope, there’s always something going on!
What a perfect little place! I love the way the details of the cottage inspires you, specifically the trap door…you’ll have to write about that one. A place like this is such a good idea for writers. My sister-in-law has been working on a book for years, and she finally rented an office downtown near their home in Mississippi so that she had a place of refuge to get away from the distractions of everyday life, where she could focus on writing. Too bad she doesn’t live in Fairhope!
Enjoyed the little tour.
Clever sister. Tell her not to give out the address of her hide-away or else lots of other aspiring writers will be knocking on the door!
What a great way to offer writers/artist a place to work. The community will benefit greatly and the little cottage gets a facelift!
It’s definitely a win-win for everyone!
Sounds (and looks) like my kind of place and I don’t even have plans to write.
I think the solitude and coziness appeal to us all.
My first thought is: Wow, the azaleas are already blooming!
Yes, our area is the first to bloom, and first to welcome the heat. It’s supposed to be in the low 80’s today!
A friend sent this to me. Enjoyed seeing the new interior since I grew up in this house! My mother lived there from about 1956 to 1973. I left in 1966 to get married. It was a great place to be and we walked everywhere. Mother made sure the azaleas and camellias were kept up and I spent a lot of time in the magnolia tree with a book!
Oh my goodness! What a treat to have you comment here! I’m so happy you found the story, and I would love to hear more about this wonderful home. I think it would have been a fabulous house to grow up in, with all the town surrounding you. So glad to hear from you, and thanks for writing.
So glad they finally gave that place some love. It doesn’t look abandoned and overgrown anymore. So charming inside. Not what I expected.
All the years I’ve lived here, I had never seen the interior until now. Amazing what a little TLC can do!
Hi: I am an author from Ohio. I will be spending the month of June, 2015 in Fairhope, Alabama. My book is titled, Life Lessons for Little Learners: Beginning Steps Toward Academic Success. I have heard that authors can reside at Wolff Cottage while giving back to the community. If this is true, is there an individual I can contact to find out more information?
At the end of the post is an email where you can contact the Fairhope Writer’s Group who manage the cottage.
Judith Hillman Paterson, a published author, stayed in the cottage several years ago, would dearly love
to stay there again,as she continues her writing career. I promised to look into the possibility on her
behalf. She lives in Montgomery and telephone is (edited)
Thanks for the note Gloria. Unfortunately, I’m not the one to make the arrangements for visitors to the cottage. Your friend can contact the committee through the contact link listed in the post. Hope it all works out, we’d love to have another author visit Fairhope!
I grew up in that house and graduated from Fairhope High in 1969. The back room was my bedroom. (It looks a lot better now, ha ha).
What a great place to grow up!
Your blog is great and especially this one. Did you take the photos? Good job!
Hi Doc. Thanks for stopping by to read! I took all these photos years ago. I’m sure the cottage looks different now. I’d love to go back for another visit.