Frequently Asked Questions
How do I register? It's easy! Go to the Registration page and follow the four simple steps--or go to any program page and you will find Register buttons after each program description.
Where are you located and how do I get there? We are on a quiet cove on the western side of Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA, a 35 minute drive from Ellsworth, 3 ½ hours from Portland and 5 hours from Boston, MA. Directions are emailed to guests when they contact us by mail, email or phone. Most people drive here, and a small number take public transportation to the airport and bus stations in Bangor, and connect with a shuttle to Ellsworth, where we pick them up.
Who visits your Center and why do they come? Guests come for different reasons, but many are seeking one of these:
- training in the contemplative way as a response to the tumultous times we live in;
- rest and renewal and ways to deepen their inner life by spending time in silence;
- thoughtful conversation;
- time in the natural beauty of this area.
What's the best way to experience Alcyon? We are a small, practicing community grounded in contemplative life. We focus on teaching, training and offering a place for the emerging conversations about cultural transformation and healing.
- If you live nearby and have a few hours, join us for one of our monthly Community Life Events.
- If you are interested in working with Alcyon staff or guest teachers, see our Alcyon Program or Trainings
What if I can't afford your programs and retreats? Program costs reflect what we need to maintain and develop the Center. If you have financial limitations, please write or call about our student and work programs and alternative donations. We will work together to find a way for you to come.
What does Alcyon mean and how do you pronounce it? Alcyon (al-see-yon) is the latin name for the Kingfisher, a bird who lives in the cove here. You can read the myth about the name here.
More About the Center
Set on five wooded acres on tidal Seal Cove on Mount Desert Island, the Center includes the main house, a cedar log cabin, and gazebo by the cove.
Daily Rhythm at the Center
Life at the Center is inspired by the centuries old Benedictine monastic rhythm of work and prayer, alone and together, with variations depending on guests and programs, weather and moods.
- 7:00 am (7:30 am on Sat/Sun): Silent Meditation
- 7:30 – 8:30 am: Breakfast
- 9:00 – Noon: Morning Session
- Noon – 2:00 pm: Lunch and Rest
- 2:00 – 5:00 pm: Afternoon Session
- 5:00 – 6:00 pm: Meal Preparation (kitchen reserved for cook)
- 6:00 – 7:15 pm: Evening Meal
- 7:30 – 8:30 pm: Evening Session (if scheduled)
- 9:00 – 7:30 pm: Great Silence
- We generally observe the monastic tradition of refraining from talk and entering the Great Silence after 9 pm through morning silence.
Rooms in the main house and cabin can be single or double rooms, and have shared bath facilities. Rooms are furnished simply with beds, chairs and desks. Towels, linens, pillows, blankets, and comforters are provided. All rooms in the cabin are wheelchair accessible. We ask guests to help us by making their bed for the next guest.
Guests help prepare meals, which are simple, healthy, local and/or organic when possible. We clean up together after meals--and guests are invited to help with simple daily tasks that are part of community living.
A sample lunch might be: Millet, Kale and Delicata salad with grated Beet/Carrot salad and homemade applesauce with yogurt or GF cookies.
A sample supper might be: Best Ever Pea Soup, Homemade Cornbread, Green Salad and Apple Crisp.
There is refrigerator space for guests who have specific food items that they need to bring.
Suggested donations for services reflect what it takes to maintain and develop The Alcyon Center. If you have financial limitations, please write or call about our student and work programs and alternative donations. We will work together to find a way for you to come.
- Be sure and print out the directions we send with your confirmation--GPS and cell phones are not reliable on this side of the island! Traffic delays, especially in summer may add an hour to your travel time.
- Please plan to arrive 1-2 hours prior to the start of overnight programs
- Activities: Swimming, kayaking, running, hiking, biking, bird-watching
- Activities inside: Board games, reading – especially mysteries, piano, art supplies
- Common living spaces are media-free, wifi is available in main house
- Transportation to and from bus stations, docks, and airports can be arranged
- Acadia National Park features are all easily accessible from The Alcyon Center