Monasteries - Unique Vacation and Relaxation Spots and learn about Monastic Life
Learn to prepare Monastic food.
You really want a place to rest and relax while you're on vacation. Have you run out of ideas about where to go to get that much needed rest? Have I got news for you - go to a Monestery. You heard what I said, yes, a Monastery. You can get a spiritual and physical rest. Most people don't think about going to a Monastery for vacation, but they offer peace and quite as well as wide open spaces and fresh air. Monasteries are beautiful places so you will enjoy the "eye candy."
Let's take a look at what some Monasteries offer and some guidelines.
- Retreats: These can be day retreats or overnight stays. If you are interested in a day retreat you can let the Monastery know ahead of time that you would like to eat lunch with the Monastic community and lunch will be prepared for you for a nominal fee. Retreats provide a tour of the Monastery, the grounds, and you may visit the gift shop , if there is one along with the Monastery's library. There are retreats for men, women, and teenagers (13 to 18 years old) as well as themed retreats such as gardening, reading, painting, and volunteering, etc. Around holidays some Monasteries have wonderful programs that the public will enjoy.
- Cost: The cost for lodging for most is extremely reasonable with free will donations for your stay there. Some overnights stays can run as low as $21 per night.
- Rooms: Rooms can be single and double occupancy or more. You may stay in rooms in which former Monks stayed. These are quite simple with a bed or beds, lamp, and nightstand / dresser. Some bathrooms may be communal or shared, but some rooms do come with their own shower. Depending on the Monastery, rooms are not equipped with TV or Internet connections and bringing electronic devices is discouraged, but there are Monasteries that do provide TV, Internet, DVD and CD players.
- Meals: You may eat your meals with the Monastic community. Some Monasteries require meals to be taken in silence, but might have background music or spiritual readings. Meals are simple with most served with no red meat but with vegetables from the Monastery's organic garden. Fish may be served at times. Your meal might consist of potatoes, salad, lentils, vegetable soup, olives, cheese, fresh bread which is baked on site, fruit juices, and water. Your meals are generally at no extra cost.
- Spiritual Enrichment: Enjoying a spiritual relaxation you may take part in prayer and the Eucharist which is encouraged by the Monastic community.
- What to bring: Bring comfortable walking shoes. Most Monasteries do not allow shorts, short skirts, low cut tops or sports clothing, i.e., spandex. Bring a flashlight and a battery operated alarm clock. Monasteries will provide basic linens, towels, and soap. Some Monasteries prohibit perfume, fragranced products, and pets.
- Conversations: Some Monasteries permit conversations in designated areas only so please find out where these areas are located, but I'm sure the Monastic community will let you know.
What can children do at a Monastery?
Monasteries are wonderful places for individuals and for families to relax. Day retreats would be great for children so they can know that life is not all hustle & bustle, and they may experience unusual architecture. As a child I remember visiting a Monastery which was an old castle - I was so excited. I helped ring the bells when it was time to eat. I meandered through ponds, fields, the woods, and stream. I participated in arts and crafts, listened to storytellers, and got to paint. Children can assist with gardening - planting seeds or gathering vegetables as well as assist with baking.
Make plans in the near future to visit a Monastery, you will most certainly enjoy your time there.