What to expect: Participating in a Retreat at Shaker Village

Are there physical requirements for participants?

Yes. Participants should be of reasonably sound body and mind. Retreats include a range of daily physical activities, including walking, stairs, and a variety of moderate work. Participants should be mobile, able to climb stairs, able to kneel, and capable of lifting up to 10 pounds.

Where will I be staying?

The 1880 Trustees’ Office is used for the Shaker Retreat Center. The building was originally constructed in the late 1790s as a second Dwelling House for members of the Church, later used as a Home for the Aged members of the Community, and eventually became the Trustees’ Office where Shakers conducted business with outsiders. Today, the building serves as a guest house.

To accommodate a once-large Shaker Community, this historic, timber-frame building contains large sleeping rooms with 2-3 full-size beds per room. Each sleeping room contains beautifully-crafted Shaker built-in cabinets and boasts spectacular views of Shaker Village from every direction.

Shared bathrooms contain all modern conveniences, although somewhat humble as part of the Shakers’ home.

How should I dress?

Participants should be prepared to dress for a variety of activities. Shaker Village contains a farm, gardens, orchards, and 1,800 acres of forest land all of which may be experienced by visitors. The local weather may change quickly due to influences from the mountains and the nearby ocean. Participants should bring heavy-duty footwear/hiking boots, work pants, and it is most recommended that layers are worn (shirt, sweater/sweatshirt, jacket). A brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, gloves, and bug-spray are all recommended for outdoor activities.

A change of clothes/footwear will be necessary – no dirty clothes or boots in the houses, please. Comfortable shoes and casual clothing will be useful for indoor activities. Casual attire appropriate for a religious community is recommended.

A washing machine and dryer are available for use, if necessary.

What will I eat? When? Where?

Light breakfast (cereal, toast, fruit, juice, coffee, etc) will be served in the Trustees’ Office each morning. The large meal of the day at noontime will be with the Shakers. Brother Arnold cooks a variety of well-balanced meals with gluten-free options. In the style of Shaker community, suppers will be prepared as a group activity involving all participants in the retreat. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, please make them known at the time of your registration.

What are the Shakers like? Are there any protocols that I should observe?

Brother Arnold once said, “the Shakers have always been ordinary people attempting to live an extraordinary lifestyle.” This simple notion best expresses who the Shakers are as individuals, and as members of a religious community.

Retreats take place in the Shakers’ home – Shaker Village. Most retreat experiences will be self-contained and parallel to the Shakers’ routines. Leaders of the retreat will be present for nearly all activities. These qualified individuals will prepare participants for successful experiences, including background explanation of any useful protocols such as meal times and prayers.