Wonderwell Mountain Refuge

Buddhist meditation retreat center dedicated to the cultivation of mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion for a better world.

About Wonderwell

Natural Dharma Fellowship’s Retreat Center
Wonderwell normally hosts residential group retreats year-round. 

Solo Retreats

Onsite at Wonderwell Mountain Refuge

Come deepen your practice in solitary retreat.
Experience the peace and tranquility of Wonderwell and explore your inner nature amidst the spacious beauty of mountains, sky, and forest.

Practice at Wonderwell

The experience of being at Wonderwell is something very special. Many people have come here to share this experience and its benefits. We hope you will join us here, too. The natural beauty, the graceful building, the love and care and deep practice that happen here – all contribute to a serene and supportive atmosphere for the Dharma.

This section provides practical details about staying at Wonderwell Mountain Refuge to help you plan for a successful retreat. We hope to welcome you in the near future!

DIRECTIONS

Getting to Wonderwell

Wonderwell is approximately 2 hours from Boston and 5 hours from New York.
There is ample parking on the grounds. At this time we are not able to offer car-pool coordination.

By Car

From the Upper Valley:

Wonderwell is about 30 minutes south of White River Junction, VT and Lebanon, NH on Interstate Highway 89. Take 89 South to exit 13 (Grantham). At the bottom of the exit ramp, take a right turn. Continue past the Fire Station and Post Office until you intersect NH Route 114. Turn left on Route 114 and go about 4 miles until you reach Philbrick Hill. Turn left on Philbrick Hill Road and Wonderwell is at the top of the hill on the left.

From Boston:

Wonderwell is a 2-hour drive from Boston. Take Interstate Highway 93 North. Just before you reach Concord, NH take Interstate 89 North. Take Exit 12A (Springfield) off of 89. 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 (on your right) and through the small town of Springfield. Turn right on Philbrick Hill Road and Wonderwell is at the top of the hill on the left.

From New York City and points South:

Wonderwell is about 5 hours from NYC. Take Interstate Highway 95 North to New Haven, CT and then take Highway 91 north. Stay on Interstate 91 through Connecticut, Massachusetts and into Vermont. When you reach White River Junction, VT take Interstate 89 South into New Hampshire. Then follow the directions shown above for “From the Upper Valley”.

Public Transportation

Dartmouth Coach provides bus service from Boston and New York City to the “Upper Valley” of New Hampshire where Wonderwell is located. You can view the schedule and purchase tickets on their website. Click here.

Natural Dharma Fellowship offers pickup and return service for two Dartmouth Coach bus stops near Wonderwell: Lebanon and New London. We charge a small fee for this. If you will be traveling by bus and need us to provide pickup and drop-off, please arrange this well in advance of your retreat. You can select and pay for this service during the registration process. The Registrar will then be in touch with you to finalize your transportation arrangements.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Comfortable clothing for sitting, yoga, hiking, etc.
  • Sturdy outdoor shoes (for hiking or walking)
  • Indoor slippers (outdoor shoes are not allowed inside the building)
  • Closed-lid beverage container (for the Meditation Hall)
  • Flashlight or headlamp (for reading after ‘lights-out’, power outages, etc.)
  • An alarm clock (most retreats do not offer wake up bells)
  • Sheet set with pillowcase (Twin or Queen based on your room type)
  • Bath & hand towels
  • Appropriate nightwear
  • Personal medications
  • Unscented toiletries
  • Lightweight luggage (most rooms are on the second and third floors)
  • Ear plugs (snoring protection for shared rooms / dorms)
  • Notebook and pen
  • Candles or incense (no open flames except in the meditation hall)
  • Perfumed products
  • Drugs or alcohol
  • Pets
  • Valuables (bedroom doors do not lock so plan accordingly)

Onsite check-in for retreats generally happens between 3:00 – 5:00 pm on the opening day. Please do your best to arrive during this time window.

A light dinner will be served, with orientation and opening session to follow.
Retreats generally end with a light lunch at noon on the closing day.

We ask that all guests depart Wonderwell by 2:00 pm so that staff can finish their work and go home as well.

Dress at Wonderwell is relaxed and informal. Guests should bring modest and comfortable clothing, as well as seasonally appropriate items for warmth or comfort. Layers of clothing are best, as temperatures tend to fluctuate in all seasons.

During group retreats, you will have the opportunity to integrate your practice into the activities of daily life by performing a service task for the benefit of your fellow retreatants. We call these “yogi jobs” and they include things like dishwashing, gong ringing, coffee making, and simple cleaning tasks.

At check-in, you will be asked to sign up for a Yogi job which will not take more than an hour a day and (most) do not require special skills or heavy manual labor. These jobs, while simple, are essential in supporting the day-to-day environment that serves all those attending the retreat.

Wonderwell’s meals are provided by our talented sangha chefs. As much as possible, we select local and organic foods to provide well-rounded and nutritious vegetarian meals which include gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options. Healthy snacks are available between meals. Tea is available around the clock and the coffee pot is on until 2:00 pm daily.

If you have severe food allergies or special dietary needs, please provide this information on your registration form.

We have limited ability to accommodate special diets beyond the options listed above. People with special dietary needs are encouraged to bring any supplemental food they may need. A separate refrigerator and food storage area are provided for this.

If you are participating in a retreat as a commuter, you are included in all meals. Please inform the retreat manager if you do not intend to eat onsite.

You are strongly encouraged to unplug from email, computer, and cell phone activities while on retreat. We do understand that there are some cases when contact with the outside world may be necessary. If you need to check email or make a phone call, please consult Wonderwell staff about an appropriate time and place to do this. In all cases, we ask that you take care not to disturb others.

In case of emergency or where urgent contact is needed, you can provide our main telephone number to those who may need to reach you: (603) 763-0204. This phone number is monitored periodically during the day and at night by a retreat manager.

As Natural Dharma Fellowship’s home for deep retreat, Wonderwell resonates with the practices of silence, contemplation, and meditation. Most of our retreats include the practice of Noble Silence in which participants refrain from talking in order to reduce distractions and deepen their practice. This can be a bit strange for those who are new to it, but it is a time-tested and effective method for connecting with our deeper selves, below the level of conceptual thought.

We love animals but cannot accommodate pets.

While we strive to provide a fragrance-free environment at Wonderwell, some products that we use do have subtle scents. If you are extremely sensitive to fragrances, please include this information in the comments section of your registration form. We will do our best to accommodate you, but cannot guarantee that the entire building will be fragrance-free.

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