In a place helpful to the mind and pleasing to the eyes, in a hidden retreat, let the aspirant cultivate spirituality.
The Society maintains a retreat in west Marin County, about an hour’s drive from San Francisco in the town of Olema, where spiritual seekers may meditate and study away from the disturbances of urban life. The purpose of the retreat is to provide spiritually-minded people, of any faith or spiritual path, a supportive environment for spiritual practice.
The retreat is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is available to people who value it as a spiritual sanctuary. Day visitors are welcome; please check in at the monastery, which is the large, green barn.
Upon approval, individuals may stay overnight at the retreat from time to time after an interview at the Vedanta Society in San Francisco. To arrange an interview, please telephone the Society’s office at 415-922-2323 any weekday (except Tuesday) between 2–5 p.m. PST. PLEASE NOTE: At present, we are on summer recess until September. Please call to schedule a retreat interview after September 12.
The retreat occupies over 2000 acres on the Point Reyes Peninsula ― a sparsely settled, still largely pristine area on the coast of northern California.
The Vedanta Society purchased the property, previously a ranch, in 1946. It became the site of a small monastic community shortly thereafter. Throughout the years many dedicated Vedantins, both lay and monastic, have been actively involved in establishing the retreat on a firm footing, upholding in practice the ideal of service to God in all. Since 1973, when retreat accommodations became available, the retreat has been welcoming people of all faiths.
Programs at the Retreat
On Tuesdays Swami Asutoshananda holds a meeting for women at the Women’s Retreat House from 3:15–4:30 p.m. The program includes chanting, meditation, spiritual reading, and a discussion of various spiritual topics. All interested women are most welcome to attend. The next meeting will be on August 9. Please call 415-663-1416 to confirm that the meeting will be held.
On selected Saturdays there is a program, “Spiritual Discussion with a Swami,” at the Men’s Retreat House from 10–11:30 a.m. which is open to all. Chanting, meditation, spiritual readings, and a question-and-answer session on spiritual topics comprise the program. The next Saturday meeting will be on August 13 by Swami Asutoshananda. Please check “This Week’s Services” on our homepage to confirm if a meeting will be held and which swami is scheduled or phone 415-663-1258. All are cordially welcome.
Annual Special Program
On Memorial Day, an all-day spiritual program is held at the retreat, open to all without charge. Each year a speaker from a different spiritual tradition and a swami of the Ramakrishna Order speak on a spiritual theme, and their talks are followed by questions from the audience. Complimentary meals are served after the morning and afternoon programs.
There is also a bookshop tent with a large selection of publications on the world’s religions.
Over the years, spending Memorial Day at the Olema retreat has become a tradition with many people from all over the Bay Area and beyond. In a story on this annual program, one of the local newspapers wrote: “The ambiance was wonderful ― expansive, accepting, lightly humored, nonjudgmental, and hopeful.”
For photos of recent retreats, please see the Photo Galleries.
Vedanta Society Retreat
9799 California 1
Olema, CA 94950