Oranbega Retreat Center

Oranbega Retreat Center

For All Artists and Pilgrims


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions we imagine you might have.  If you have another one we didn't think of, please use our handy Contact form and drop us a line, and we'll do our best to answer your questions. We may even add your question to our page, so you'll be helping us and future potential guests just like you out, too!

Why is your organization called “Oranbega Retreat Center”?

“Oranbega” is a form of a native American word meaning “the quiet place between the rapids.” It is an older form of the name “Norumbega,” which is much in use in the Penobscot peninsula where the center is located, as well as in other places in Maine. In other myths “Oranbega” is the name of a magical hidden city, a kind of Shangri La, where treasure can be found. At Oranbega Center for the Arts we seek to honor the original inhabitants of the land as we welcome and support you to share, with creative workers of all backgrounds, this quiet and sacred riverbank space where you may find the true treasure of your own creative voice and vision.

What difference does the Covid-19 Pandemic make to the operations of Oranbega Retreat Center?

Oranbega Retreat Center will follow all the guidelines of the Maine CDC for safe operation. We regret we will not be open for guests in 2020. While the  Novel Corona Virus/ Covid 19 pandemic is still spreading, we will only schedule up to three guests at a time (normal capacity would be 5-6) and there will be no shared bedroom. Guests and Residents will wear masks while interacting with others (we have a supply on hand) and practice social distancing. Our dining room table is very large and we can sit to eat together at a reasonable distance from each other. And we have plenty of breezy outdoor seating spots. Please  consider being one of our first guests in 2021.  We pledge to do all we can to keep you safe and healthy!  Support for creative artists is vital, now more than ever, so that you may follow your muse and create works that strengthen, encourage, and inspire your communities.

How long may I stay?

You are invited to apply for a stay of one or two weeks. There is a slight discount for the second week. You may stay longer, by special arrangement, but only after you have experienced at least one week at the Center.

I can only spare a weekend. Can’t I come anyway?

We discourage stays shorter than one week, as it may take you at least a day to adjust to the rhythms of work and life at the Center. But we are flexible! If you need your stay to be less than a full week, we can make a special arrangement.

Can I bring my pet?

If you have a companion animal of one of the less allergenic breeds, we can possibly make a special arrangement. Arrangements will only be made on a case-by-case basis.  Service Animals trained in the service of specific task(s) are exempt from this requirement, though we do ask you to inform us when making your reservation.

Is there kayaking or boating on your river?

Yes, the Narramissic is a wonderful waterway to explore by boat. At the moment we have no dock, kayaks or equipment, so Oranbega Center cannot yet provide you with river recreation. There are facilities nearby for kayak and rowboat rental and use.

Should I bring my own food, linens, towels, or bedding?

Three meals a day, snacks, and all the basic necessities for a comfortable stay are all provided. We strive to provide nutritious and delicious food and snacks, but you’re welcome to bring other snacks and sodas that you might desire.

Do you have Wi-Fi?

We are fully equipped with high speed password-protected internet. You will be given the password when you check in.

I am driving to Orland. Do you have off street parking?

We have two driveways for the use of our guests. The church riverside parking spot a little farther along the bank is also sometimes available to us if needed, but not on Saturday evening or Sunday morning. Unfortunately, we have no garage space.

I will be traveling to Maine by Air. What Airport should I use?

Bangor International Airport is 45 minutes from Oranbega Center. We are happy to provide transport to and from the airport for a small fee. Please arrange this when making your aplication.

Can I bring my spouse and children?

Depending on availability, our large shared bedroom “the River room” is suitable for parents and children. A family with several children may book all our available spaces. There are many enjoyable child-friendly activities available in the area. Children should be made aware, however, that the atmosphere of Oranbega Center is one of creative quietness.

Is Oranbega Retreat Center fully accessible?

Our goal is to become fully wheelchair accessible before the end of 2021. As we start up, we can offer special-accommodation to those who have moderate mobility challenges. We ask for your patience while we improve our facilities so that we can give all people a full welcome.

I am a writer. Will I be able to meet agents and publishers at Oranbega Rereat Center?

The goal of Oranbega Retreat Center is to provide a place to work, to think, and to create. Our Writers Resource Library has lists and reviews of publishers and agents, but we do not set up meetings or otherwise advise our Guests on the business end of their vocation.

Do you have Writing Craft workshops or classes?

The goal of Oranbega Retreat Center is to provide an inspiring place to work, think, and create. We will have an occasional workshop, special class, or event, but only to support the main focus of the center on focused productivity.

Will somebody read and critique my manuscript or art work?

After dinner on many nights, Guests and Residents may meet for discussions and readings of works in-progress. Mutual support for the work attempted is the goal. Further, the Residents are available for general mentorship of creative workers; a special session for critique and evaluation may be arranged with Jenny (literary arts) or Robert (visual arts) for a small extra fee.

What if I am not artistic at all but would like to come to the Center for a purely spiritual retreat?

Spiritual Retreats may be scheduled using the general application form. At the beginning of the Retreat you will meet with Retreat Director Jenny Reece to set your goals and engage in mutual spiritual direction. You may set up other sessions with Jenny or other staff at that time, but your Retreat will be largely self-directed. You will find many resources to help and inspire you in the Chapel and in the Library. Warning: as the Center is dedicated to uncovering the connection of Spirit and Art, you may discover you are more artistic than you think!

Can I schedule a church retreat to take place at Oranbega Center?

Yes, the Center would be an ideal setting for a small group from a church or other faith community to retreat together. Please consult with the Residents well in advance of your desired retreat time so that we can schedule you.

Are there other opportunities for spiritual guidance at the Center?

Yes, the Rev. William Blaine-Wallace, an Episcopal priest and Counselor and accredited Spiritual Director,  has a monthly Spiritual Direction day at the Center. It is currently every Second Tuesday of the month.  If your visit coincides with his day, he may be available for a session with you. Please indicate on the application form if you would like to arrange this. A separate fee will be required. For more information, please contact Bill at Mosaic Ministries: wblainew@bates.edu   Also, the Center's Retreat Facilitator, the Rev. Jenny Reece, will be happy to met with you as your spiritual friend and fellow pilgrim whenever you are a Guest of the Center. 

Are there opportunities for other kind of self-help and wellness work at the Center?

We are located in walking distance of a Yoga center. There are lots of opportunities for walking and cycling on our river banks. We have a recumbent cycle for indoor exercise that may be used by Guests.  Well being through good nutrition is one of the primary concerns of our Residents. 

Will I be welcomed even if I do not have a faith tradition or religious practice?

Most certainly! We honor wherever you are in your journey of life or in your creative process, and wish to provide exactly the kind of support that will help you to flourish as you walk your chosen path. The religious activities and observances of Oranbega Retreat Center are open to all, but they are all completely optional.