Oranbega Retreat Center

Oranbega Retreat Center

For All Artists and Pilgrims


Get to Know Us

Our Mission

To provide those working on projects in literature or any other creative art with a peaceful and earth-friendly space to work;  to support and inspire creative work with a small community dedicated to exploring the spiritual roots of creativity; and to encourage the artistic expression of the human heart in a time of planetary need.

The House
36 Narramissic Drive, Orland, Maine

The retreat house is a unique home situated on the banks of the Narramissic River in the quiet village of Orland, Maine. We call it "The Weaver's Dream" because the former owner, a weaver, built the modern house on a nineteenth century base with an artist's originality. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete the process of making his dream a reality. So we have done it for him. The house has room for up to five Guests in shared or single rooms, along with the living quarters of the three Residents. In addition there are many porches, living rooms, a library, a chapel/ meditation room, a tea-room, and a studio where writers or artists can have a secluded working space. Writers and artists can book a single room or a shared room (at a discount) for one or two weeks. A longer residency is also possible on application to the Residents and after at least one short term stay has been completed. The Residents have complete discretion as to whether or not an artist or writer is invited for a short- or long-term retreat. Applications are not being accepted at this time while we wait for our plans to be approved by the local authorities.

The house is conveniently situated an hour from the airport in Bangor, Maine. Transportation to and from the airport can be provided on advance request. 

Our Common Life

As Residents and Guests we live together at Oranbega center in an intentional community dedicated to creativity and the arts. Our focus is on providing the space and nurture for your growth and productivity. The ancient monastic order of “ora et labore” (pray and work) helps to shape all our days, even if prayer is not your focus. You are welcome to attend any worship service or prayer time, but you are not required to attend. It is entirely up to you whether or to what extent you engage in this aspect of the life.  The focus of the retreat is to provide you with daily concentrated work time of at least six hours a day (see Daily Schedule). There is no monitoring of this time. You are absolutely free to arrange your time as you like, to work as much, or as little as would support your growth as an artist. The only true daily requirement is that you show up for community supper at 6:30 p.m. in the Dining Room. Diane Phipps, our Hospitality Coordinator, is in charge of the kitchen (s). Under her guidance, three delicious and nutritious meals will be provided every day except Sunday. Friends and Guests may be asked to help with certain tasks. Please be sure to mark on your application any dietary needs you have. Some of the Residents have restricted diets, so the household is well used to providing for different needs. Please be aware that we share a commitment to living gently on the earth. Ways you can help us do that during your stay will be outlined in your Welcome Folder.

Daily Retreat Schedule and Meals (Monday thru Saturday)

7:30- 9:00 a.m.  Breakfast available    You may choose a cooked or "continental" breakfast from the items laid out in the Dining Room

9-12:00  morning work session       During "work sessions" you may pursue your writing or other art, make a study of scripture or other                                                                    spiritual program, read, or sleep.  It is your retreat. Do what you need to do.

12:00-1:30  Lunch available   A crock pot of soup, chili, or other sustaining food will be available in the Guest Kitchen, along with bread,                                                      cheese, salad fixings and maybe a cookie or two. Please serve yourself.

1:30-4:30  afternoon work session    Work sessions may also be spent enjoying the beauty of our riverbank setting.

4:30  teatime                          A time to relax with friends to share a spot of tea, a scone, or some cheese and crackers

6:30 Community Supper        All Guests and Residents are expected. Please let the Hospitality staff know if you cannot attend. All other                                             meals are at your own schedule and discretion within the set parameters.

7:30- 9:00 evening program   Residents and Guests may share their works in progress, discuss what they are discovering on retreat,  play or                                                 listen to music, play cards or board games, or occasionally enjoy a more formal workshop or concert. 

11:00 p.m                            We ask that silence be observed from 11 p.m. until 7:00 a.m., except in emergency.

Spiritual Life Schedule. All times are daily, except Sunday. All worship and prayer sessions are optional.

8:30  Morning Prayer.  Based on an episcopal daily office, the readings and prayers will reach into world faith traditions as follows: Mondays, Wicca and indigenous religions; Tuesday, Hindu traditions; Wednesday, Christian traditions; Thursday, Buddhist traditions, Friday, Islamic traditions, Saturday, Jewish traditions.

Noon  Midday Contemplative Prayer/ Meditation.  This will be a time of silent prayer. Teaching on and sharing of traditions of Centering Prayer,  Zen Buddhist practice, Yoga, and other meditative practices may be available.

5:30 Evening Prayer. Resources for evening prayer will be interfaith on the same schedule as morning prayer. On Wednesday a Healing Eucharist in the Episcopal tradition will usually be celebrated.

9:30 Compline (Night Prayer) a short time of reflection and prayer before sleep.

Groups on Spiritual Retreat together may develop their own schedule of worship in collaboration with the Retreat Facilitator. The Chapel/Meditation Room is available to Residents and Guests for private devotions and meditations at any time when it is not in scheduled use. Please be aware that there is a small Writing Room next door and that entrance and egress is through the chapel.

Sunday schedule

Sunday is a day of rest for the Center. As our Guest you may stay on through Sunday, or arrive or leave, but you will be responsible for finding your own meals, transportation, and other services. We will give you a warm welcome whatever day you arrive, but we do ask that you make all efforts to arrive on another day of the week. On Sunday morning the Residents will very likely be involved in attending or leading worship services at area churches, or on Zoom; you are welcome to accompany them, to choose a place to worship from the complete listing in the Library/Chapel, or to enjoy the many natural beauties of the Penobscot peninsula and surrounding area.  Most Sunday evenings the Residents have a private supper and House Meeting and you are asked to make other arrangements for your own supper at that time. Occasionally there is a Sunday night Community Arts Pot-Luck at the Center, and you are more than welcome to join in.