What Are My Visiting Options?
If you wish to visit and see the Sanctuary, we welcome visitors by appointment. There is no charge to show you around. If you wish the use the Sanctuary for a personal day apart or a day group without an overnight stay, the normal donation we receive is $15 per person, per day. You may phone us at 828-626-3966 or make arrangements by email at email@example.com Once an appointment is set we will send you specific directions. We are not set up for unannounced drop-in visits.
The Sanctuary is ideal for personal retreats. It is the perfect place to read, write, paint, meditate, or to use as your base camp for exploring endless miles of national forest trails into the mountains. Guests have a variety of accommodation choices offering various degrees of privacy and amenities, from rustic shelters to well appointed rooms in the lodge.
Guests often inquire about silent retreats. We welcome those who are seeking such an experience. We have signs which guests may wear which read “I’m on Silent Retreat. Please accept my smile as greeting.” This allows you to share the common kitchen or grounds without having to engage in conversation if you do not wish to.
The Sanctuary is available for small group retreats. For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us more about the group and what you are looking for. Our desire is that you find the best venue for your group, whether it is Mountain Light or another venue that we might refer you to.
Check-in / Check-0ut times
Checking-in: Your accommodation should be ready no later than 3 pm and often sooner if no one was in it the night before. However you are welcome to arrive whenever you wish and enjoy the grounds until your accommodation is ready. We only ask that you let us know approximately when to expect you. We greet guests up until 10 pm. After that, we leave a note on the front door with directions to your accommodation and will see you the next morning.
Checking-out: We ask that you pack up by 1 pm so we can prepare your accommodation for the incoming guests. You are certainly welcome to spend the rest of the day and enjoy the grounds even after packing up.
Where Is The Sanctuary Located?
Mountain Light is located 24 miles (35 minutes) northeast of Asheville, near Barnardsville, NC. Specific directions are sent to guests once a reservation has been made.
How many people can you accommodate?
There are a total of 27 beds at the Sanctuary, counting the various shelters. However, considering our infrastructure (bathrooms, common kitchen and parking), the Sanctuary is ideal for groups of 25 or less.
Are linen & towels provided?
Linen and towels are provided for individual guests (not groups) in the rooms in Elfhaven lodge. All of the outdoor accommodations are available on a ‘bring your own bedding’ basis. However, if you are flying in to Asheville and don’t have room to bring your bedding and towels, we can workout some arrangement.
What is the bathroom situation?
We have two indoor toilets in the lodge, one indoor shower and one permanent outdoor composting toilet and outdoor private shower. In addition to this we have mobile composting toilets that are in or near each accommodation for night use.
What about food?
Meals are not provided at the Sanctuary so guests are requested to bring their own food. However, all guests have full use of the kitchen at the Lodge, including pots & pans, dishes, cutlery, pantry space and refrigerators. The Hermitage and Treehouse have their own little kitchen space on the porch with a microwave for preparing morning tea & coffee and a small refrigerator.
Is Transportation Available?
The Asheville airport is about 45 minutes to an hour from the Sanctuary, depending on the time of day and traffic. We can pick you up and return you to the airport, including a grocery stop en route to the Sanctuary if you need this. The charge is $60 round trip from the airport to the Sanctuary or you can catch an airport shuttle to Barnardsville (6 miles from the Sanctuary) for $45 each way and we can pick you up for free in Barnardsville. Uber might also be an option. Transportation to and from the bus station in Asheville is $40 round trip. If you have a departure flight before 9 am we suggest that you get a hotel near the airport the night before. We don’t offer transportation before 7 am or after 8 pm.
What Form Of Payment Do You Accept?
We accept cash & personal checks. Unfortunately we are not set up to receive credit cards.
Is internet available?
We have high speed wi-fi internet available so you may bring your laptop to keep up with necessary business or personal concerns.
What about telephone use?
Most cell phones do not work here, but you are welcomed to use the house phone as needed. We have unlimited long distance service, only requesting that guests to limit calls to fifteen minutes or less. The number here is 828-626-3966 if you wish to leave it with family members in case of an emergency.
What about children?
While stepping away from daily responsibilities such as child and pet care are often a vital element of “getting away from it all,” we know that sometimes circumstances dictate otherwise. The Sanctuary is neither “child proof” nor “pet proof.” However, when closely supervised, we can accommodate both.
We do welcome children, but since most guests are here for a quiet personal retreat, we normally limit families with small children to the Hermitage, shleters or camping. Since all guests share the common kitchen and bathrooms, families with more than one child often find it more comfortable and private to have a self contained cabin that includes a bathroom, kitchen and more amenities. Graystone Cabins – four miles from the Sanctuary – have such cabins available. You can visit them at http://www.graystone-cabins.com A list of other family cabins and accommodations are available upon request.
What about pets?
We also welcome pets, with some restrictions. Out of deference to other guests and our wild creatures, we ask that pets be leashed. Pets are welcomed to stay in the shelters with their owners but we don’t permit pets inside the lodge. We also ask that owners clean up after their pets, not permit them on the beds and not to use kitchen dishes for their food and water. The average donation we receive for pets is $15 per night, per pet.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Drugs
Firearms, weapons, liquor and illegal drugs are inconsistent with the frequency here at the Sanctuary and we kindly ask that they not be brought on to the property. In deference to other guests, we ask tobacco users step off of the property to smoke. While guests are welcome to have wine and beer with their meals in the cafe, we ask that there be no drinking out on the grounds, in the accommodations nor especially around the camp fires and no hard liquor. The Sanctuary is not an appropriate place for recreational or addictive alcohol or drug use.
In respect for our neighbors & other guests, we observe quiet time after sundown. For this reason we request that sound be limited to quiet conversations after dark and within the immediate area of ones personal space: i.e. no drumming, music, etc. The Sanctuary is primarily a place of quiet retreat. To maintain that frequency and for the sake of our neighbors, it isn’t an appropriate venue for those who need outdoor music which requires amplification with speakers, a boombox or microphone. Non amplified music for meditation or movement is fine outdoors during the day or in the upstairs meeting room during the day or in the evening as long as the sound doesn’t extend beyond the immediate area. Some exceptions are made for groups who have reserved the whole Sanctuary.
What should I bring with me?
- Blanket to sit on
- Flashlight & extra batteries
- Clothes appropriate to the weather
- Bathing or birthday suite for sauna and creek (if you are hardy}
- Sleeping bag or other bedding & towel & toiletries if you are in one of the shelters
Are there other safety concerns?
While the Sanctuary is for the most part a very safe place, there are a few things to be aware of:
Use Your Flashlight
There is the possibility of tripping and falling by walking at night between buildings without a flashlight, so please walk with care after dark.
Please do not use any open flame candles. All candles should be in a glass container.
We don’t have poison ivy on the property but there is stinging nettle in some places bordering the Sanctuary. It produces a very temporary minor itch. If you aren’t familiar with it, asked to have it point out to you, especially if you will be hiking in the forest. And by the way, it is also deliciously edible when cooked!
Recycling in the mountains, in past generations, was often a matter of how far you could throw containers from the house. For this reason, from time to time we still find broken glass in the gardens, along the property bordering the Sanctuary and on the trail down to the swimming hole. For this reason, we recommend wearing shoes if you are off the grassy area.
The Sanctuary borders over a half million acres of national forest and offers incredible opportunities for hiking, camping and enjoying the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. In terms of safety, we encourage you to either hike with a companion or let someone know which trail you are taking. As long as you stay on a trail there should be no problem. The greatest risks in the forest are injuries from falls or getting lost.
We have a nice swimming hole adjacent to the Sanctuary property. OK, the creek isn’t really big enough to actually swim in, but the water – flowing directly out of the national forest – is clear and icy cold. it’s a great place to take a refreshing dip on a hot day.
Are there anything else I should be aware of?
We try to live in a way which is respectful of one another, the Earth, our neighbors and our community life. To this end, we invite you to be mindful of the following guidelines.
* In order to insure the privacy of guests, residents and neighbors, please do not venture onto the private property which borders the south and west sides of the Sanctuary.
* We endeavor to live in harmony with the land and at peace with all creation. Please help us respect the life of the animals, plants and insects.
* Please respect the land and help us keep it free of trash and debris. We especially ask smokers to properly dispose of filters.
* In order to maintain a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, we ask that radios, ‘TVs, firearms, weapons and illegal drugs not be brought into the Sanctuary.
* We recycle glass & plastic containers, cans and grocery bags, and ask guests to be mindful of this.
What about mosquitoes and other insects?
Fortunately we have very few mosquitoes. From late May until the end of July, on some nights, we may have’noseeums’ just about dusk which can produce an itchy bite, but much milder than a mosquito. You can wear long sleeves in the cool evenings or ask for skin cream repellant which we have available.
Are there poisons animals or plants to be concerned about?
The Sanctuary is a safe haven for wildlife. We have rabbits, squirrels, birds, raccoons and snakes, including a couple of five foot black snakes which are quite harmless (unless you are a mouse). While there are poisonous snakes (copperhead and rattlers) in these mountains, they are very rare and we have never seen either on the property. It is said that have black snakes around, you won’t have poisonous snakes.
A Word About The Elves…
It’s true. We do have elves here at Mt. Light – as well as gnomes and fairies. Some of our visitors have seen them and they occasionally show up in photographs. We are still getting to know our wee friends and learning to work together. There are stories from Europe of how the elves – in the olden days – would often help out with household chores as simple acts of kindness. While you are visiting Mountain Light, we invite you to liberate your own elfin nature; not only in exploring your capacity for spontaneous joy and delight, but also with the little acts of kindness such as tiding up here and there or helping out with chores which you see need to be done. These small acts bring joy to yourself and to all of us who are sharing community for our brief time together.
Living In Community
If there are other guests here during your brief stay at the Sanctuary you will be participating in community. While we wish to maintain a certain tone and frequency, we also wish to remain light and free of heavy rules or dramas. You can help with this by finding your own inner place of quiet, being in a state of deep appreciation of the beauty which surrounds you, being respectful of everyone and everything – and finding the seed of spontaneous joy which you may have experienced as a child. Our relationship with one another will only be as good as the relationship we have with ourselves. We hope that your time here will be well spent in improving the quality of that relationship.