If You Want To... Quiet Your Mind

If You Want To... Quiet Your Mind

There are different kinds of quiet, and each one creates its own rest.

Silent Stay Retreat Center

Trinity Retreat Center, West Cornwall, Connecticut

This New England sanctuary belonging to Trinity Church Wall Street is set on 700 acres along the Housatonic River in the Berkshires. Open to people of all faiths, it has 26 guest rooms, a wonderful stone chapel, farm-to-table food, and miles of walking paths. Many of the meetings that launched Spirituality & Health, as well as the magazine’s 20th Anniversary celebration, have been held at this special place.

Silent Stay Retreat Center, Vacaville, California

Nestled on 25 acres of farmland near Napa, in the heart of the lush California wine country, Silent Stay features beautiful panoramic views of the Sierra mountains. Created by Bruce and Ruth Davis, who developed a similar retreat in Assisi, Italy, this retreat center has six guest rooms each for one or two guests at a time. Guests bring their own food and make their own meals in a fully equipped gourmet kitchen. No cell phones, no Internet, and no media ensure simple peace. Days are made up of meditation, silent contemplation and reflection, and wandering or resting in nature, and end with a candlelit evening meditation.

The Assemblage Sanctuary

The Assemblage Sanctuary, Cochecton, New York

Ongoing meditation and yoga retreats are offered throughout the year at The Sanctuary, nestled in the forests of upstate New York. The emphasis here is on nature and one’s immersion in it—accommodations include a log cabin for up to 30 people, a vintage Airstream, and “glamping” tents. “Embodiment: Rooting into Ourselves” is an example of a recent weekend retreat that explored what happens when we fully inhabit our bodies, and how our connection to the earth is related to our connection to our bodies.

Le Monastère des Augustines, Quebec, Canada

This is a unique destination and a National Historic Site of Canada that was sensitively restored and opened to the public in 2015. Located in the heart of Old Quebec, this monastery, founded by Augustinian Sisters, traces its history to 1639—it is the birthplace of the first hospital in North America. The location has been dedicated to healing, serenity, and inwardness for nearly four centuries, and today guests may stay in the 17th-century cloister. Highlights include healthy local cuisine, daily activities like meditation and yoga, personalized retreats, and immersive museology.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona

Keep an eye on the meditation offerings at this luxury boutique property that recently hosted a Mindfulness Meditation Spa Retreat led by Sarah McLean, founding director of the Sedona Meditation Training Company and a Hay House author. The spectacular mountain setting is a plus. On offer as well: a new yoga program that incorporates sleep-guided meditation.

The Reading Retreat

The Reading Retreat

If your idea of serenity is to tuck yourself away with a stack of good books and no distractions—this unusual, U.K.-based retreat is for you. Cofounded by Cressida Downing and Sara Noel, these three-day reading retreats are held seaside or countryside in thoughtful and unique accommodations (a restored half-timbered barn in Herefordshire, a charming beachfront house in Suffolk). There’s one rule: Silence at all times in the reading room.

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