The Rowe Experience

Coming to Rowe is a pilgrimage, traveling a distance from our accustomed place to enter a sacred space, where we are transformed. Eventually we return to the turbulent world, as all pilgrims do, infused with fresh energy, courage, and caring.

Rowe’s philosophy arises from a deep faith in the fundamental goodness of human beings, the abiding miracle of life on earth, and the soul-sustaining beauty of creation. At Rowe, this beauty is everywhere. Nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts, our Center is folded into the slope of gentle mountains at the edge of an old New England village. You can walk in the forest, enjoy the waterfall, and sit by quiet reflecting ponds. Write or read by the hearth in the gathering room and watch the glow of the fire. Spend the Saturday break hiking the trails, walking the labyrinth, taking a nap, savoring the quiet of the meditation hut, or relaxing in the sauna. After dinner, watch the sunset from the porch swing or take a walk under the beautiful starry night sky after the evening session. Hang out on Sunday afternoon after your workshop, as there’s no need to hurry. 

Community is one source of Rowe’s magic: being an honored member of a real community is a profound and lasting experience. Multiple traditions built up over the years help us maintain our vibrant culture, but we’re not bound by the past. Our openness to new ideas keeps us alive and vital and has kept Rowe growing and evolving for 90 years. During conference weekends, much of our time is spent around the table, where animated, engaging conversation gives perspective to the workshop sessions, just as the retreat gives perspective to our workaday lives.

Another  cornerstone of Rowe’s special magic is the pervasive love of wisdom you find here. This is a place to learn and grow. We offer an exceptional array of outstanding teachers and workshop leaders in a small, intimate forum. Many of them return again and again, drawn back by Rowe’s magic. The Rowe Center also offers youth camps and adult community retreats that nurture and inspire.

Coming to a workshop? Sign up early for the most choices in where to stay. The décor is simple and fresh and the atmosphere relaxed. We have a number of private rooms for single and double occupancy in our Farmhouse, in the Orchard House and Brook House, in the Rec Hall, and in the newest addition to our campus, the charming 18th-century guesthouse on Zoar Road. Most rooms have shared baths, but some offer private ones. Several rooms are wheelchair accessible. You also can sign up at the last moment to honor spontaneity and adventure.

Enjoy communal living? Why not try our dormstyle housing. Not used to the idea? Many doubt they will like it but are pleasantly surprised, as they meet new friends in a way that is relaxed and fun. The Farmhouse is a comfortable old New England home originally built in 1776 and expanded over the years, most recently adding modern bathrooms, showers, kitchen, meeting room, and dining room. The winterized cabins are rustic, one-room cabins with wood-burning stoves, located near our modern, all-season bathhouse. All dorms and cabins have bunk beds and can house several people.

We offer the most attractive gourmet vegetarian food you can imagine (with chicken available for those who prefer meat). Our chefs consistently amaze everyone with their delicious culinary artistry, as well as their willingness to cater to special diets, from vegan and gluten-free to high protein. Our food—fresh baked breads, homemade soups, gourmet entrees, and yummy desserts—is prepared lovingly by our chefs. Their hands nurture our bodies, as their hearts nurture our souls. At Rowe we work with local farms. For example, through one of our wholesale suppliers, Foster’s Market in Greenfield, MA, we buy fresh produce from our neighbors’ farms at Pinehill Orchard in Colrain, Apex Orchard in Greenfield, Clarkdale Farm and Ciesluck Farm and Wargers Farm in Deerfield, Nourse Farm in Whately, Smiarowski Farm in Sunderland, Spatcher Farm in Leyden, and Diemand Farm in Wendell. It’s part of our evolving dedication to green living, supporting our area community, and protecting the Earth.

We could tell you more about the experiences in our conferences and our camps, about our sumptuous meals, about the beautiful New England forest that surrounds us on three sides, about the songs and shouts and laughter that fill the air, but to feel Rowe’s vitality and intensity fully, you have to be here. So we invite you to come and find out for yourself. Rowe’s magic is enduring, endearing, evident, and undeniable. It’s just around the corner, just down the wooded path, in the radiant eyes of the person across from us at lunch, in the Aha! of a sudden insight. This is the wonder of the ordinary miraculous, and it’s everywhere. We take it in every time we breathe in and send it back into the universe with each exhalation. You will feel it too, and you’ll be glad you made the journey.