Jul 12, 2020 (1 day)
Jul 19, 2020 (1 day)
Aug 2, 2020 (1 day)
Aug 7 - 9, 2020 (3 days)
Aug 15, 2020 (1 day)
Aug 16, 2020 (1 day)
Aug 30, 2020 (1 day)
Sep 4 - 6, 2020 (3 days)
Sep 6, 2020 (1 day)
Oct 9 - 11, 2020 (3 days)
Oct 11, 2020 (1 day)
Oct 16 - 18, 2020 (3 days)
Nov 6 - 8, 2020 (3 days)
Nov 8, 2020 (1 day)
Nov 13 - 16, 2020 (4 days)
Dec 13, 2020 (1 day)
About This Center
Since its founding in 2011 as a Buddhist retreat center dedicated to the cultivation of mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion for a better world, Wonderwell Mountain Refuge has provided a sanctuary for the transmission and preservation of authentic and ancient lineage teachings, as well as for the rediscovery of these teachings as profoundly relevant to contemporary life.
Wonderwell Mountain Refuge is owned and operated by Natural Dharma Fellowship, a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to the preservation of the teachings of the Buddhadharma in the West. While grounded in the practices and teachings of the Buddhist tradition, Natural Dharma Fellowship’s mission is enhanced by retreats at Wonderwell that explore the realms of contemplative care, social justice, secular ethics, and activism.
Wonderwell has hosted over 150 residential group retreats supported by dedicated staff and guided by experienced meditation teachers. The types of retreats hosted include:
• Silent group retreats to deepen in meditation practice, to steep in the timeless wisdom of the Buddhist teachings, and to cultivate the heart of compassion
• Contemplative retreats for activists, educators, caregivers, artists, writers, couples
• Gatherings dedicated to exploring the intersection of Buddhist ethics with ecological sustainability
• Yoga and mindful movement retreats
• Events for local communities in and around Springfield, New Hampshire
At present, Natural Dharma Fellowship’s vision, and the programming and development of Wonderwell, are stewarded by Lama Willa B. Miller, PhD, Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship and Lama Elizabeth Monson, PhD, Spiritual Co-Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship and the Managing Teacher at Wonderwell.
Both Lama Willa and Lama Liz are fully authorized teachers within the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and are trained scholars of the Buddhist traditions and translators (Tibetan-English). Their work is supported by a community of over 30 meditation teachers, visiting teachers and mentors, who participate in creating a web of support for students who participate in Wonderwell’s retreats and trainings.
Wonderwell is emerging as one of the leading retreat centers in the US, with great natural beauty, a caring and capable staff, deep programs of contemplative training, and thoughtful engagement with the environmental and social issues of our time.
Venue HighlightsLocated on twenty-five acres of rolling hills in Springfield, New Hampshire, Wonderwell was originally built as a summer home in 1911. Tranquil and serene, surrounded by woods, meadows, gardens, and century-old stone walls, Wonderwell’s stately main building offers a comfortable and spacious setting in which the transformative potential of meditation—for work, community and daily life—can be explored and realized. Recently, due to its many unique features, the building has been recognized as a New Hampshire state historic site.
The house is situated on a west-facing hillside with sweeping views of sky and mountains. On one end of the building is the Great Room, now the meditation hall, which can accommodate groups of up to 100 people. The hall has an oak balcony encircling the room above and two fieldstone fireplaces. Other features of this historic building include a large covered porch for outdoor practice, a kitchen with industrial appliances, dining facilities, 13 bathrooms, and 15 bedrooms of varying capacities sleeping up to 36 people. We have been working tirelessly, with a successful major capital campaign and continuing renovations, to bring Wonderwell into the 21st century, and complete the work necessary to keep this lovely historic building code-compliant, safe, and sustainable.
The house is partially shielded from a country road by majestic, old oak trees, and is framed by well-established perennials, with multiple garden spaces. Behind the house is an acre of open field that gives way to sloping forested land with excellent trail system potential and sites for several retreat cabins. The back of the house faces west toward jaw-dropping, sky-gazing views of Mount Croyden, behind which the sun sets in the evening.
For the many volunteers and benefactors who support Wonderwell, as well as for the people who work there, caring for Wonderwell has become a practice of sacred stewardship. For all of these people, Wonderwell is not just a building; it is a community.
AccommodationsWe offer a variety of accommodations, from dormitories for women and men, to double shared rooms some with private bath, some with shared bath, private rooms with private or shared baths, and a lovely Benefactor Suite at some retreats. We also offer the possibility of camping in warmer months, and all retreats also have a non-residential option, if you are commuting from home or staying at a local B&B or motel.
- Free Parking
- Ceremony Space
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
Menu/CuisineBreakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in your accommodation fee. Our kitchen is dedicated to providing local fresh and/or organic foods whenever possible and we enjoy relationships with Kearsarge Food Hub, and other farmers in the area.
All meals are vegetarian, with gluten-free and dairy-free options available at every meal. Meals are served buffet style. Snacks such as fresh fruit, toast and crackers, nut butters, jams, nuts, and dried fruit are available 24 hours a day. Coffee is offered, usually until lunchtime, and hot water and all kinds of teas are always available.
The fee for the commuter registration option also includes all meals.
DirectionsFrom Boston and points East
By Car: Wonderwell is a 2 hour drive from Boston. Take Highway 93 North to Highway 89 North. Take Exit 12A. At the bottom of the exit ramp, take a right turn. When that road T’s take a left onto Route 114. Take Route 114 past Lake Kolelemook (to your right). After going through the small town of Springfield, turn right on Philbrick Hill Road. Wonderwell is at the top of the hill, on the left.
*By Bus: The Dartmouth Coach runs from Boston (from Logan Airport and South Station) to New London (the Wonderwell stop) many times a day, and is a quick, efficient way to travel here. The Coach has wifi on board. Tickets can be purchased online or at South Station in Boston.
*By Bus: The Dartmouth Coach runs from New York City to Lebanon, NH. The coach is a direct and comfortable way to travel between NYC and New Hampshire. For more information, see the Dartmouth Coach website.
From the Upper Valley
By Car: Wonderwell is 30 minutes south of Lebanon, NH on Highway 89. Take Highway 89 South to exit 13 (Grantham). At the bottom of the exit ramp, take a right turn. Continue past the Post Office until you intersect 114, and take a left. Take Route 114 for about 4 miles until Philbrick Hill Road and take a left. Wonderwell is at the top of the hill on the left.
*See our website for information on getting picked up at a bus stop.
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Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.