Inexpensive camp-like location for very small conference?
June 7, 2011 10:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for a location in New York or southern New England to have a 3 day/2 night unconference for a 25-30 folks max, relatively close to transportation. I'm envisioning something like a camp with cabins, electricity, a usable kitchen, and a common room for meals and discussion space. Most importantly, it needs to be cheap.

I'm envisioning something like the camps at Fort Flagler, on the Puget Sound. I'd stayed there for a family reunion last year, and we had the run of a building that could sleep roughly 30 people. It had a nice industrial kitchen, which made preparing meals for hungry relatives quite easy. We also had access to a mess hall/rec room in another building.

We'd like to self-cater to save money and to build community, so kitchens are preferable. In terms of price, I'm hoping that the lodging would be no more than $30 a head. We don't need wifi, a projector, etc., but having electricity in the space(s) would be helpful.

Location-wise, I'd like something in an area where people could swim, hike, etc., which is also accessible (say, within 10-15 miles) of the train or bus. I'm based in New Haven, but I'm expecting plenty of people from NYC and a small handful from western Massachusetts and Boston. If I had my druthers, I'd love for something that was reasonably accessible from MTA Metro-North trains or Amtrak.

If anyone has personal recommendations, I'm particularly interested in hearing them. I've thought about scout camps, but I don't know if non-scouting people have access to them. The one place I've identified as a potential candidate is the Taconic Outdoor Education Center, near Cold Spring, NY, but I can't tell from the site if you can use the kitchen.
posted by anarchivist to Travel & Transportation (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A friend used to work at Incarnation Center. The name is because it's a nonprofit affiliated with Grace Episcopal Church, but it's a well-outfitted camp and conference center with several different kinds of programs - there's absolutely no religious requirement, as far as I can tell. They've hosted every kind of conference and meeting from corporate groups to families to LGBT AA retreats.

It has the features you want, including really nice swimming and boating in a mile-long scenic lake, plenty of hiking, various arrays of lodging/cooking facilities, and a rustic, outdoor feel. You can do campfires and cookouts. They do offer dining services but that's just one option - I'm pretty sure self-catering is also allowed if you choose that option. It's only about 40 minutes from New Haven. People can take trains to Old Saybrook and be picked up there - it's about a 15-minute drive. There are some fun pubs and restaurants in the surrounding towns, as well, for any offsite excursions before or after.

I'm pretty sure you can just get in touch with the conference director via the website - my friend doesn't work there any more or I'd offer to hook you up - but let me know if you want more info first.
posted by Miko at 1:01 PM on June 8, 2011

PS my info may be a few years out of date.
posted by Miko at 1:01 PM on June 8, 2011

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