The Center for Cultural Evolution
AKA The Round House or Bekki's House
We are in the process of developing a fuller web site. I plan to get one soon. In the meantime, here is a small description of Life at The Center for Cultural Evolution.
We love hosting groups in our home/Center who are joined together to share a common vision or purpose. I especially encourage those involved want to find their artistry: both in the creative and healing realms. And, I have a big soft spot for the Plants and students and keepers thereof. Yet, basically, we welcome those who want to strengthen their commonality as a group, their personal strengths, and connections to Beauty, Nature and Creativity.
The energy of the land and the design of the building helps in that process. The main building used by the nonprofit Center to host events and workshops was designed from a Dream that ReBekka had. Created from heart, The Center is a Place of Home exuding a sacred feeling of warmth and comfort. It is sited in Colrain, MA, a country town reminiscent of villages in Ireland; though close to the Connecticut River and the Vermont border although it is only 3 hours from NYC & two from Boston and Albany. The main building (The Round House) itself sits on a hill overlooking 2 river valleys off to the East. The property includes 10 acres but you only see two neighbors' houses and a few lights in the distance; we are surrounded by largely undeveloped land. There are goats, chickens and other assorted four leggeds on the land to keep you smiling. We have organic gardens, from which we feed our guests, fruit and nut trees, and bountiful medicinal plants growing in Nature.
The house is truly magical. It is a rounded building, though of 14 sides, sparkled by stained glass windows and Zen views. The Round House has a domed center and is 4 stories high with a cupola on top. The house has both lovely open common spaces, and quiet little personal retreat areas. From the grand central meeting room on the first floor, other rooms radiate for cozier meeting spots: the library, kitchen, dining and sun rooms, a music room and lounge.
The building also has lots of secret hiding places, charming cubbies, etc., to spark your imagination and curiosity. There is a lovely library of books and videos from ReBekka's personal collection, as part of her work as an artist; she encourages guests to peruse and enjoy them. She also invites people to play with the abundant theatrical toys (costumes, hats...) and musical instruments including percussion and string instruments, a piano, organ, etc., as well as any of the games from hula hoops and jugglers' toys to board games. There is also electronic recording and playing equipment as well as a VCR. Folks are invited to bring their tapes and CD's to share. The building is acoustically incredible. Musicians rehearse and even record here before going out on the road on musical tour.
In terms of meeting supplies, we share our white board, slide projectors & screens. There are chairs and/or back jacks for the group meetings. We also have art supplies that we can offer our guests including a room for the potter's kick wheel. We leave journals about and invite people to leave copies of their poems and drawings that they may have been inspired to create.
The food served is largely organic, local and bountiful. We love vegetarian food, but also cook fish and meat dishes depending upon the requests of the attendees. A welcoming letter is sent to each group asking attendees to share their food preferences, dietary needs and restrictions that you might be fully and safely nurtured. Snacks are also provided. In our welcoming letter, we also ask about animal allergies as there are house pets. We have wooden floors and keep the four leggeds away from those with allergies so in our time of welcoming visitors here, we have not had anyone suffer allergies because of the pets. We also have animal free sleeping areas that the pets have never entered.
The Center also has out buildings: besides the lovely potter's studio, there is a sweet green house; the barn houses the chickens and goats and llamas; the second floor provides a writer's hideaway. My latest pride on the property is a lovely outdoor wood heated bread/pizza oven -- ummm...The Center's land also houses a cottage that has 1 1/2 baths, superb views, its own kitchen and five beds. This is rentable either for spill-overs by large groups or it can be rented by smaller groups who want more privacy for three days or more. There is a great outdoor cedar lined wood heated sauna that was dubbed, "Excellent" by Finnish visitors who used it every night. If it is your druthers to partake and you do not wish to do so in the nude, you might want to bring a bathing suit, though ReBekka does have some to borrow.
The area is beautiful for lovely summer walkabouts; in the winter the same trails provide excellent cross country skiing (although you must bring your own skis); it is not far to summer swimming holes or winter skating ponds (if we sweep them off) & again you must bring your own skates.
There is a: "no-shoe in the house" rule, so do bring unslippery slippers. Also know that there are only three baths in the house. Though in the summer, we have at least four more outdoor and private showers. We provide towels, a number of comfy robes, so if you must wait for a shower, you can wait in comfy style, perusing the lovely magazines. The beds have ample linens and blankets and each bed has its own adorable stuffed animal.
As our intention is to encourage group participation in the care of the house and one another, we have a sign up list that allocates chores while folks are here. This includes making sure all in the group help set up and clean up after meals. Sometimes there are other tasks folks join in on: wood stacking, planting, etc. We encourage your finding your joy in participation and in helping one another live in grace and harmony. There have been some wonderful harmonics amongst the evening dish washers!
Do let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to meeting you and having you become part of the CENTER COMMUNITY dedicated to finding our places of joy and evolving to create a culture of harmonious living.
In order to arrange staying at the Center for Cultural Evolution, you must make connection with ReBekka to explore whether your group would mesh with the offerings here and if the dates you are considering are available. Know that we fill up usually half a year in advance of any given month. In order to reserve yourselves a place, you must mail a check for $100 per day that you plan on being here. That fee is non-refundable if canceled anytime after 10 weeks before your reservation would have been.
The full cost of being at the roundhouse, is $100 per day per person, times the number of attendees times the days that the group is here. We ask for a minimum number of 15 people, staying for a minimum of two days. One of those slots is given gratis. If there are less than 14 people, then the rate is the same as if there were fourteen...the individual cost per person is then increased to meet the gross of $2800 for a two day stay. If there are more than 20 paying attendees, then we offer an additional gratis slot. If a group is here for four or more days, the cost goes down to $90 per person per day. 1/2 of the full amount for the whole group (& the deposit is deducted) is due two weeks before the group's arrival. The balance is due before the group leaves.
Typically, for a two day stay, people arrive between 4 & 6 PM (say on a Friday night) and leave after brunch or lunch on Sunday. If your group would like to consider changing those arrival or departure times, you must discuss the alternatives with ReBekka.
We have hosted many weddings here. Those prices are different than those quoted above as there are different needs and services provided. Contact ReBekka if you have questions concerning wedding bells.
We encourage workshops in extended sessions.....workshops of the same folks extended over time allows the real bonding and friendships to form not only amongst yourselves but with us, too.
The best place to arrive for flight transportation is Hartford's Bradley International Airport. (BDL) That airport is about an hour and 15 minutes away from us. There is a shuttle service from the airport straight to the ROUNDHOUSE. It is called Valley Transporter and is in Amherst, MA. (413) 253-1350. You must make arrangements directly with them for the pick up at either plane, train or bus station. Give your coordinator -- who will give us -- a heads up about your expected time of arrival in hopes of being able to coordinate the transportation here, saving money. Trains arrive at both Springfield and Amherst. Buses also go there, to Northampton and directly into Greenfield. If you are coming by bus to Greenfield, give us a heads up and a call when you actually arrive, for we will have to drive the fifteen minutes down the hill to pick you up.
Do contact me if you have further questions.
Coming soon to this space, information about Bekki Tippens, Storyteller