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Retreat to the gorgeous Maine coastline to find calm spaciousness and soulful nourishment at Santosha on the Kennebec. Whether you are starting a memoir or deep into a novel, Santosha welcomes you for rejuvenation and focus.
Reminiscent of the joys of sleep-away camp. Perfectly cozy and peaceful. Bunks are found in the Lodge (connected to the Main House) and the freestanding Bunkhouse. Climb into hardwood twin-sized bunks with plush comforters and a piping warm stove in the Bunkhouse. The twin-sized trundle beds tucked into the eaves of the Lodge overlook the yoga shala.
Shared washrooms. The rustic decor evokes Maine’s deep mountain woods with wide pine walls and cherry wood finishes. Central air-conditioning in the Lodge. The bunks lend themselves easily to bookings by groups of friends for relaxing getaways, too. Depending on availability, bunk rooms may be shared by persons of various sex or gender orientations.
These rooms have a queen-sized bed or two twin-sized beds, as available. Private rooms are spread throughout the Main House, the connected Lodge, and the freestanding Bunkhouse. The curated decor evokes the Maine coastline’s pine greens, marine blues, and marshy golds. Burnished pine walls are in one. There are a gas fireplace and a balcony overlooking the river in another and private access into the yoga shala in yet another.
Rooms in the Main House are accessible by elevator. Certain rooms feature en-suite washrooms, others feature detached washrooms, and others share washrooms. There is central air-conditioning in the Main House and the Lodge. Each room celebrates Maine's pristine natural beauty by the sea.
A self-service washer and dryer are available for guests, free of charge. An iron and steamer are available, too. Each washroom is equipped with a hairdryer.
With multiple daily sessions in yoga and movement, breathwork, and meditation, Santosha on the Kennebec offers a mindfulness program to hone your creative energy. With respect to the writing workshop methodology, Santosha's sangha of writers builds you up and celebrates your strengths. You can always find a workshop to shred your work, but you cannot always find a workshop to nourish you as you bare your soul through your words. Santosha provides that nourishing environment.
Balanced with three local, organic meals per day, plenty of snacks in between, and surrounded by some of the most gorgeous seaside landscape in the country, Santosha on the Kennebec welcomes you into the Maine woods to explore santosha, or 'settled contentment without striving'. Your daily itineraries are diverse and balanced, as well as entirely optional in all respects. You should feel absolutely free to craft your own contentment. Writers, whether experienced or novice, know the importance of finding a quiet, dedicated space to write.
The objective of this retreat is to provide fodder for you to flow creatively, however that comes to you. Maybe you wake for morning practice, then get right to writing. Maybe you write all day, only to surface in time for Fireside Fika at 4:00 p.m. Maybe you take a day off from writing entirely and engage in Healing Arts sessions, yoga, meditation, and forays into the nearby villages for shopping, hiking, restaurant hopping, or more. The choice is entirely yours: Santosha provides everything you need to build your own creative space.
Every day, the Santosha staff will provide an optional writing prompt to start your creative process in motion. Each prompt is applicable to the following day's Fireside Fika gathering. You may either choose to respond to this prompt for the following day or simply work on something else you are writing. Your response may be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or any other form.
Regardless of your choice, each day at 4:00 p.m., you will gather for Fireside Fika, paying homage to a meaningful and loving Swedish tradition, which literally translates to "coffee and cake", but means so much more. You slow down to enjoy a warm cup of coffee, tea, or espresso, then read aloud a portion of your work.
Readers receive warm, loving feedback for their pieces. Warm energy flows from the group toward the writer, always focusing on the highlights and strengths of the writing, rather than any shortcomings. The energy created by such an exercise is unlike any other workshop: warm, jammy, kind.
For the indigenous Abenaki tribes native to Maine’s midcoast, 'sagadahoc' means 'mouth of the great river'. Santosha on the Kennebec lies at this critical nexus of sweetwater and saltwater at the mouth of the mighty Kennebec River. Santosha’s sangha of writers and storytellers bears witness to the rhythmic ebb and flow of the tides here. In celebration of one another and with utmost love, the sangha forms a supportive, welcoming, and sustaining community of diverse writers dedicated to their craft, through each ebb and flow.
At the heart of the creative process is exactly that: heart. You press your hearts into your writing, bravely praying that your heads will not impede your hearts’ plodding progress. The creative process is challenging enough with the gallery of invisible naysayers in the back of your minds. The community with which you share your craft should aid you to counterbalance your own doubts and find focus, drive, and love.
The meaning of 'sangha' is 'beloved community'. From a place of deep love and respect for the efforts and struggles of others to bring to life the stories in their hearts, you gather.
Wake with the sunrise and come together to greet the new day. Experienced practitioners and new yogis alike, Santosha welcomes you into the shala, a warm, cozy space with vaulted post-and-beam ceilings, broad board pine floors, and long views through the pines, down to the swirling Kennebec River below. Your sunrise practice is dedicated to opening each day as a unique opportunity to practice mindfulness, acceptance, and loving-kindness. Santosha will happily customize the daily practices to meet the needs of each day’s participants.
To place mindful emphasis on the spirit of contemplation, Santosha encourages you to practice silence from sunrise through the morning meal, drawing your attention inward, and basking in the peace of shared quiet. Your afternoon practice closes the daylight hours before your evening meal. Meditations in gratitude, heart-opening, and candlelight mark the close of each day.
Santosha provides all your mats, blocks, props, bolsters, meditation cushions, straps, blankets, and towels. Begin your practice with tea and treat yourself to something sweet at the juice bar when you finish.
The shala is climate-controlled in all seasons. Most importantly, Santosha provides close attention to guide you through your practice safely, in comfort. Santosha's diverse programming includes various styles of practice, from vigorous vinyasa flows to gentle restorative yoga. Seminars take a deep dive into individual poses and meditative journeys.
Weather permitting, you even venture outside Santosha for movement on the smooth sands of Popham Beach. Santosha also offers private sessions in yoga, meditation, qigong, taichi, and other movement-based meditation.
Maybe you have released a warm, settled sigh while kneading a ball of sourdough. Maybe your eyes glazed over momentarily to the lull of chopping crisp carrots. Or maybe you felt inner ease, watching a gooey pie bubble in the oven. In those moments, you were fully present. If you have experienced any such moments or myriad others like them, you know intuitively that cooking is more than a chore.
The art of cooking is multi-sensory - visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and communal - triggering both memory and anticipation. Learning to be present through the full culinary process teaches you patience and "hereness" in the remainder of life, too - to slow down, be present.
Join JB every day in Santosha’s two spacious kitchens for the communal, meditative practice of preparing a meal together: bake bread, hand roll pasta, pickle late harvest vegetables, churn butter, smoke and salt-cure fish. Rather than rushing, slow down and explore, together. Santosha’s Mindful Nourishment program reaches beyond kitchens, too. Join foraging classes to learn about local ecosystems. Visit a local oyster farm to learn about sustainable farming practices. Meet in the library for an afternoon documentary screening on rejuvenating ancient agricultural practices. Tour a local craft microbrewery to learn about the challenges and joys of running a small Maine business. Attend a craft cocktail-making class with one of their wonderful partners. Join nearby growers at their organic farms and markets to discuss sustainable harvest practices. Prepare for your visit to Santosha by reading for the monthly book club and participate in round-table discussions on sustainable eating, the ethics of consumption, and honoring culinary traditions. Bring intentionality to all your cooking, eating, and culinary learning.
Santosha believes deeply that modern humankind’s estrangement from nature is a leading cause of societal restlessness, malaise, and disconnection from one another. By mindfully choosing to bask in the glow of Mama Nature’s beauty - whether deep in the Maine woods among sweet conifers or toeing the edge of briny, Atlantic surf - you reconnect with your essential roots. You are quick and hasty; nature is slow, deliberate. Invigorate yourself - mind and soul - with Santosha’s various programs, in all seasons, in the great outdoors.
Engage in the meditative Japanese tradition of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, in the adjacent conservation lands. Bicycle through the rolling, seaside hills of the Midcoast. Day hike along with Maine’s segments of the Appalachian trail. Visit the local Nordic ski centers for a day of touring or snowshoeing through miles and miles of pristine groomed terrain. Spend a day paddling along the Kennebec River’s rocky coastline. Attend local lectures regarding environmental stewardship. Shred the gnar for a day of alpine skiing or snowboarding at Sunday River Resort. Mama Nature welcomes you, wholeheartedly.
Each daily itinerary offers at least one opportunity to leave the retreat space. So many of these offerings are dependent on the weather. A selection of potential activities may include:
JB Dulac began her career as an attorney in one of the world's largest law firms, but after traveling around the world on sabbatical for two years, she gravitated inexorably toward mindfulness and meditation practices. She lived in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal and sailed her boat across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to the Caribbean. She returned to Maine to create Santosha on the Kennebec, where she lives with her faithful sailor dog, Pamplemousse. A longtime yogi, she is certified to teach through the loving ashram at Shambhava Yoga Konalani in Kona, Hawaii.
Set on the Kennebec River, just southeast of Bath (Maine's City of Ships), the sleepy coastal village of Phippsburg is now home to little more than 2,000 residents. Phippsburg is the site of Popham Colony, the first known English settlement in New England and a direct competitor to Jamestown, founded between 1607 and 1608. During this pre-colonial period, the colonists built the Virginia of Sagadahoc, the first ship built on American soil.
A rural fishing community, Phippsburg is also home to Popham Beach State Park, a well-kept Maine secret compared to the crowded beaches of southern Maine. Phippsburg boasts many miles of secluded hiking paths, between the salt marshes and coastal uplands of the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area and the Phippsburg Land Trust. By water, Phippsburg is known best for Seguin Island and her iconic lighthouse, as well as Hermit Island Campground on our western shore.
Within an hour, you will have access to Bowdoin College, Colby College, and Bates College. Santosha is also within driving distance for a day of skiing at Sunday River or Sugarloaf. For locavores, Maine boasts some of the best eating and drinking in the nation: just ask Bon Appétit magazine, which recently named Portland America’s Restaurant City of the Year.
North of Portland’s bustling culinary scene, guests will find plenty of gems on the Midcoast, including James Beard semifinalist Cara Stadler’s Tao Yuan (Brunswick); the iconic local lobster haunt, Five Islands Lobster Co. (Georgetown); Nikaline Iacono’s edgy and inventive craft cocktail bar, Vessel & Vine (Brunswick); favorite Maine craft breweries, Maine Beer Company (Freeport) and Flight Deck Brewing (Brunswick); and many, many more.
Food and joy are intimately connected. Santosha strives to craft a culinary experience in mindfulness for you: slow down to savor every last bite. Santosha designs its food program to emphasize seasonal, local ingredients obtained from small Maine growers. Meals are meant to be shared, served family-style, around a single, solid, hardwood table.
As an exercise in mindfulness and inspired by the practices of ashrams around the world, each morning meal is silent. Your cuisine fills you and energizes you. Santosha leans heavily toward plant-based cooking to respect its environmental stewardship obligations and remains mindful of the ethics of eating meat, fowl, and fish. That said, Santosha offers meals that both include and exclude animal products to respect your right to choose for yourself.
Santosha's menus reflect the staff's extensive travels across the globe and varied ethnic backgrounds, ranging from Swedish treats to Nepalese home cooking to Israeli comfort food. The menus change daily. Pull up a chair and join the table; Santosha is deeply, deeply glad to share a meal with you.
Your stay at Santosha should be wholly rejuvenating for body, mind, and spirit. They invite you to explore a wide variety of holistic healing arts, at your request, through their collaboration with skilled healers in the local community. Slow down, practice self-care, and breathe deeply with your friends here in Maine. They gladly collaborate with their skilled providers to offer the following Healing Arts services during your stay at Santosha:
Upon confirmation of your stay here, Santosha will curate your individual itinerary and provide pricing details as necessary. All such sessions are not included in your fees and can be booked separately upon coordination with Santosha on the Kennebec.
Logan International Airport
Transfer not provided
Portland International Jetport
Transfer available for additional US$150 per person
Portsmouth International Airport at Pease
Transfer not provided
Please book your flight to arrive at Portland International Jetport (PWM), Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (PSM), or Logan International Airport (BOS). Transfer from and to Portland International Jetport (PWM) is available upon request at an additional cost of 150 USD.
From Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (PSM) and Logan International Airport (BOS), car rental is the most effective option, although a combination of bus (Greyhound) and train (Amtrak Downeaster) will bring you to Brunswick, Maine. For a small fee, Santosha on the Kennebec is glad to collect you from that station. The Amtrak Downeaster line makes frequent stops daily between Boston's North Station, New Hampshire, and Maine's Portland, Freeport, and Brunswick.
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