The Retreat Center was what I needed at the time. I have fond memories of the place. http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=87024
you must live a really miserable life if that's the best news you've heard in a long time.... dip****Originally Posted by Blue Jay
Who's "definately into rules", Cosmo??? But that's a different subject.Originally Posted by Cosmo
I know there are couple of options I missed, but except for a cold shower at Graymore, this is the only place I had a shower between Vernon, NJ and Dalton, MA in either 2004 or 2005. Also, MA had the most bugs the last two years, and I was glad I only had to stay outside in one campsite. This is not a standard or even ideal hostel (distance from trail, restrained setting, other facilities etc). In 2005, Lois reported that the pizza delivery service had deteriorated.
I can still highly recommend it.
[QUOTE=ARambler]Who's "definately into rules", Cosmo??? But that's a different subject.
I was referring the the proprietress--but it could be self-descriptive, I suppose....
Where exactly is this located, mile # heading NOBo?
ad astra per aspera
About 6 miles north of the Housatonic River near Great Barrington, MA. Twenty miles south of Upper Goose Pond Cabin.Originally Posted by Smile
Last edited by MOWGLI; 01-26-2006 at 06:41.
Just to add to the good comments, we really enjoyed our short stay there. It was a very cold and rainy day (which you would think we were excited for since it had been so hot, but we were chilled) and we found the place to be nice, quite and relaxing. It's far from food, but there is delivery, and the lady was very nice. Just mind the rules, and it is a good place to stay. It certainly isn't the normal hostel, but it's a cheap shower and room in an expensive area.Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin
It certainly isn't the place to use your "thruhiker entitlement" attitude though!
I started on the trail from the hostel, so all I can tell you is that the Rt 23 AT trail head is a 1 1/2 mi walk more or less N from the hostel. The first half mile is on the hostel access drive; this intersects RT 23 at an almost 3-way intersection with Lake Buel Rd, Rt 23, and the E Mt Retreat Access Road, and you turn right off the Access Road N onto RT 23 and walk one mile further along the shoulder. The AT Guide map shows another route, from the AT intersection with Lake Buel Rd, but I didn't use it.Originally Posted by Smile
Snowman and I stayed there this past July when Snowman's back was acting up. It was an unexpected stop, but we appreciated that it was there, and although it was kind of interesting/weird to have a hostel at a silent retreat, it was a perfectly fine place to spend the night. Due to the fact that the hostel operates a silent retreat on the property, there are several rules that they ask you follow, but there was a washer/dryer, shower, phone at certain hours of the night (but only then), and the option to order out pizza from a place in G. Barrington. There was no kitchen, however. Snowman says it was weird, just because it wasn't your typical hostel situation, but overall, I was happy we were able to crash there when we needed to.
Draftrunner, Spiderman, and I stayed there in 2003 with a lot of good to say by all of us. She does make it clear that it's a place to REST and not to party and she asks to you refrain from making contact with any of the other guests there and definitely NOT to speak to them if you do happen to run across one. She isn't a gushing hostess but she isn't unpleasant to deal with either. I was more than a little surprised that there was a hiker hostel there at all since this seems to be a very affluent retreat and they don't make any money from what they offer for the few hikers that do stay there. The accomodations are extremely clean to a fault, I felt like I was staying at the maid's quarters at some rich person's mansion, or maybe a spare guest house.
She also offered us bicycles to ride down to town on which worked out great and it was an easy ride to town, all downhill. Unfortunately, its all uphill coming back! And as someone said it is a bit off the trail. Don't get off the trail where the book tell you to get here however. If you look on the map there is a road junction much closer to the retreat than the one they say to use. I recall the driveway itself being the longest part of getting there, a good 2/3rds of a mile, gravel road, all uphill. Still worth it.
I stayed there with my buddy for 2 nights in 2002. I enjoyed my time there. We had showers, food delivered(spaghetti and meatballs), use of refrigerator, microwave over, phone, beer, semi private accommodiations. nice and quiet. $10 per night. Yea, you were not supposed to speak to the guest as they had some kind of vow of silence while there. But , I can live with that. If you meet one of the guests, you can nod to them and even give them a polite smile but don't to speak to them. In 3 days/2 nights we never met any of them. We just kept to ourselves.Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin
Only complaint was about the blue blazed trail out to the AT. It was hard to follow and uphill too, but we managed.
I ducked in here to get out of the downpour which started on my head at 3 a.m. while cowboy camping about 5 miles (I think) short of the rd leading to the hostel. Like every hostel I've been to, it met my needs. Mainly a hot shower, bed and laundry. I think the only "bad" hostels are brought on by the attitude of the user.
I hate Nike but Just Do It anyway!
how far off the trail is it
I think it's a mile of roadwalking and then another 1/2 mile up the seemingly neverending driveway.
I stayed there with a friend for 2 nights in 2001. We had a very good time. Found the place to be clean and comfortable. They had a phone and menus for local restaurants and was able to order spaghetti and meatball dinner from the Pizza joint. We had a double room with bath/microwave/small refrigerator. $10 a night. After the first night there we decided to slack the second day. We left our gear there and slacked for 7.5 miles + 1 mile a blue blaze trail. We were the only hikers there at that time and we didn't see any retreat guests.
Spoke to the retreat lady only once which was on 9/20/01. She/we were very upset about the 9/11 attack in New York city. I told her that the country would go to war over this attack and she became a little upset about the prospect of a war. Maybe I shouldn't have said that to a person of peace like her. But we were on the trail during the attack and had a different perspective then people who were not on the trail and who had access to more info than us.
The Eastern Mountain Retreat Center is still a GREAT place to spend ONE night -- but ONLY if you can agree to quiet and calm.
Remember, this is NOT a hiker hostel -- it is a place for people to have a few days of meditation in COMPLETE SILENCE. It is only generosity of spirit that inspires permission for others to enter and spend time here.
Also recall that the Greymoor Spiritual Life Center USED to allow hikers to sleep inside their facilities -- but no longer does so. Abuse of generosity has caused us to lose it before, and will certainly do so again. Let's keep this place a generous place!
The entrance, which has a sign, is on Lake Buel Road, just barely to the east of the intersection with Highway 23. If you walk even one minute east from Highway 23, then you passed it.
As you walk up the driveway, signs make clear that you are to go first to the back door of the last building on the site. More than one sign helps you to get there without confusion.
Reverend Louis Rose continues to be very welcoming to hikers, charging a mere $10 a night for
1) An indoor shared sleeping room, with three mattresses that also have sheets and pillows. You can use your sleeping bag if desired.
2) An air conditioned library area, with a couch and a few chairs, as well as a hot plate for cooking.
3) A flush toilet and a hot shower, with towels, soap, shampoo, and disposable shaver provided.
4) A covered, outside area to hang your wet clothes.
5) A trash can for what you've been packing out, along with a recycle bin for your cans and bottles.
If there is no indoor room available, or if you simply wish to do so, you can tent camp on the lawn in the back. The library and bathroom are fully available to tent campers.
The rules are clearly stated, and not terribly onerous.
The main thing to remember is to maintain COMPLETE SILENCE towards all non-hikers. A nod of the head is more than enough communication, even less than that is perfectly acceptable.
Hikers are expected to stay one night only. If staying a second night, you can not "reserve" a spot; as priority is given to hikers arriving for their first night.
Quiet time is ABSOLUTELY at 10 pm. This means you can NOT arrive after that hour.
All hiking gear must be out of both rooms by 8:30 am, even if staying a second night.
Smoking is prohibited inside. I'm going to presume that alcohol and illegal drugs are strictly prohibited as well.
There is no longer a phone available for hikers, and laundry facilities may continue to be out of order.
A pizza delivery shop (menu available) and the local taxi are familiar with this place, so feel free to call either on your cell phone.
Last edited by GoldenBear; 08-07-2012 at 20:58. Reason: Improve grammar and narrative "flow"
Just a note... I stayed here in 2010 when I discovered I had to return home for a funeral. When everyone else hiked out in the am I was still making travel arrangements. To help out, I decided to change the sheets. Rev. Rose about freaked out when she saw me doing that. It seems changing sheets for each hiker is just too expensive, so I put them back as they were... And, when I came back 10 days later, the very same sheets were still on each bed. So I suggest using you sleeping bag on top of the sheets.... and beware of the pillow cases... Still, I'd probably stay here again for the $10