Preparing for Your Retreat

Please note we have a few new operating guidelines during the CoVid 19 Pandemic.    We ask that you read the “New Covid Guidelines for retreats” page of this website before you arrive 


What is written below was pre-pandemic.  Much still applies.  Some items may have changed.    Feel free to ask us via email if you are unclear.    

Please notify us of your arrival time in advance. Before you come, email us your estimated arrival time and mode of transport from the ferry terminal, so that the host knows when to expect you.

Arrival and Departures: Check in time is in the afternoon.  As the location is quite isolated, we recommend you arrive during daylight hours.  Check out time on your final day is 12 noon.

Please read the section Getting there ahead of time, particularly if you plan to travel from Snug Cove via bus/foot.

Practical considerations as you prepare to come: 

Food/No fasting:  You will need to bring your own food, and be aware there is limited fridge space. Easy to prepare, simple meals are recommended while on retreat.  There are a few staples in the kitchen, like salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and sugar for your use.  

Please be advised that we do not permit fasting at the Hermitage.  This is because the Hermitage is in a remote, isolated location,  far from medical services, and our volunteer hosts are not in a position to supervise your physical well being.  Please bring adequate if simple food on your retreat.

10-clip-art-recycle-symbol-free-cliparts-that-you-can-download-to-you-fi6q2i-clipartGarbage and composting are available at the Hermitage, but you are responsible for taking your recycling items with you when you go.  There is a recycling depot on Bowen Island located near Snug Cove.  

Personal effects:

You will need to bring your own towel and bedding appropriate for the season (see below for suggestions).  If you are bringing sheets, please take note that the mattresses in the hermitages are twin width extra long.  Double bed sheets will work or sleeping bags. A pillow is provided but you will want to bring your own pillowcase, or even your favourite pillow.

flashlightYou will need a flashlight and/or headlamp.  There is no lighting in the hermitages nor on the pathway.  No need to bring candles, we provide them.  Lit candles should not be left unattended and always kept in a safe container.   

Additional Winter suggestions:

  • Please bring warm clothes and warm bedding (such as a warm down sleeping bag)  recognizing that the hermitages are non-serviced (i.e no plumbing or electricity) and heated with a small wood stove.   When your fire dies down during the night or when you aren’t tending it, it will be cold in your cabin.   We suggest you bring a warm wool sweater, warm winter jacket, hat (also good for sleeping in), mittens, scarf, warm socks, long underwear, warm PJs.   A hot water bottle and a thermos for warm drinks are also a good idea.   You may also want to bring a pair of slippers since outdoor footwear should not be worn in the main house or cabins.  There are trails nearby so bring your hiking boots and rain gear.

Additional Summer suggestions:

  •  Please bring clothing and bedding appropriate for the season (again recognizing that the evenings can be cooler).    If you intend to explore the trails nearby, it is a good idea to bring good walking shoes/hiking boots, a water bottle, and some sunscreen.   There are beaches within walking distance, so you may also want to bring a bathing suit, water shoes (for rocky shore), a sun hat and an additional towel.

Rhythms of prayer: 

The Hermitage follows the same prayer rhythms as the main Rivendell Lodge.  We gather in the loft in the Forest House of Prayer for the 8 am Centering Prayer and the 5:00 pm Centering Prayer with Lectio Divina.  Participation in these gatherings is optional.  Please inform the host if you are not planning to attend the 5:00 pm gathering. 

Communication access

There is cell phone reception at the site, but it is limited.  We encourage retreatants to use their retreat time to unplug from electronic devices.  The host’s room has a satellite phone for emergency use.  

Caring for the space

400px-broom_icon-svgAs a gift to the next person, you are asked to clean your hermitage cabin and leave it the way you found it …or better.    There is a cleaning checklist in your hermitage you can use on your last day before you leave.

We are collectively responsible for the cleanliness of the Forest House of Prayer (there are no maids or magical mothers/fathers).    There is a cleaning rota in the main house where you can sign up specific tasks during your stay, or if you see a space that needs cleaning, feel free to take the initiative.  Cleaning supplies are in a cupboard in the kitchen, in each bathroom and in the laundry room in the basement.  


Following Rivendell’s guidelines and in recognition of the imbalance of economic resources, you are invited to pay according to your means.  The Hermitage is committed to a financially self-sustaining model and relies on your donations.  Any payment per night over $100 will provide you with an income tax receipt for the amount over the $100.  Payment is by cash, cheque or etransfer.  

Blessings as you prepare for your retreat.