Nature retreat, for individuals, within 3-4 hours of DC
July 23, 2016 10:08 AM   Subscribe

I would like to spend a long weekend or perhaps full week, in mid to late October, alone or semi-alone in nature. An individual retreat that involves yoga, hiking, meditation and contemplation (and maybe even homesteading activities), but is not overly "woo" or religious, sounds ideal to me. Where can I do this within a (maximum) 3-4 hour drive of DC?

I'm keeping a very open mind, but here are some qualities I prefer:

- Individual accommodations (no room sharing)
- Affordable (<$1k USD)
- I would like there to be people around - I'm an introvert, but I can get lonely - but not too many people in terms of other guests. If it's a monastery with two hundred monks and only twenty guests, that's fine.
- Yoga
- Lots of access to nature/trails, including cycling, if possible. Lakes and mountains are a plus!
- Ultimately quiet, but does not have to be a silent retreat
- Loosely structured (there may be activities available to do or see, but not a high-pressure environment requiring you to do all of them)
- If there are activities beyond yoga/outdoors, would prefer it focus on arts & crafts, exercise or cooking
- Not too concerned about religion, as long as there is no proselytizing
- I am open to something WWOOF-like, but not *quite* as labor intensive, where maybe I can assist with farming or homesteading. (If you're thinking "Why not find a farm on WWOOF, then? The answer is that WWOOF is going to be based on the current availability/needs of the farm, so there's no guarantee I'd find a location around the time I want that only needs help for a few days. Plus in terms of what I am seeking, yoga and nature time > farming. They're looking for people who are there to put in lots of hours working, not just hang out and occasionally work.)

In my mind, I see myself being able to go to yoga once or twice a day, spend a lot of time on nature trails, ride my bike, meditate, write, and read books. Maybe learn a craft like how to handspin yarn or basket weave, make cheese, or help with harvesting vegetables.

*I am a cisgender woman of heterosexual orientation. I only mention this because some retreats or monasteries may have rules about the sex and gender of their overnight guests.

**Bonus points: This is planned for mid to late October, so being able to enjoy the changing leaves is pretty much essential.
posted by nightrecordings to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps staying at Yogaville in southern Virginia might appeal to you? I did a daytrip there with my yoga group a few years ago and had a good time, although staying there for even an overnight would have been too much for me. How about looking at an Airbnb somewhere along the Shenandoah River? While I can't recommend any specific places, Shepherdstown or Harpers Ferry, WV, might have some good options, too.
posted by smorgasbord at 10:44 AM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Definitely Yogaville. I go (from DC) about once a year. They have single rooms available in a setup like a motel, good food, and lots of hiking trails and daily yoga and meditation classes you can go to if you want, or not. I know they have a farm/garden on site that they use for the food in the cafeteria (it's all veggie and warning - no caffeine so I bring my own tea!) and they might let you work there if you ask. It'll be beautiful in October!
posted by kinsey at 11:05 AM on July 23, 2016

Ha, I read the top paragraph and came in to say Yogaville, but everyone else has beaten me to it. Alternatively, could you cobble something together at a B&B at someplace like Berkeley Springs and find a yoga studio to practice at daily?
posted by instamatic at 6:00 PM on July 23, 2016

I'd also check out the sites of local yoga studios to see what they have coming up. I know many of them in the greater DMV area (eg MYBO in crystal city, Simon Says in Bethesda) do residential retreats in the state parks near here. But I agree that Yogaville is pretty great. I'd say it's buffet-woo: there's a wide variety of woo there if you want it, but you can just focus on the yoga and hiking!
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:39 PM on July 23, 2016

posted by Quisp Lover at 8:09 AM on July 24, 2016

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