August Events at Ridgely

Saturday August 10 10:30-4:30 Retreat w/ Swami Shivarchanananda

We are pleased to welcome Swami Shivarchanananda to Ridgely for the first time. He is the Assistant Minister at the Vedanta Society of St, Louis. Here is the schedule for his retreat:


 10:30am: Lecture #1 (1 hour): In search of our Dearest one.

                 Q&A session

                “What is the Way?” (Reading and discussion from The Gospel of Sri     


12:30 lunch             


2:00pm Lecture #2 (1 hour): Flying in the sky of eternity

             Q&A session

            Learning meditation from the lives of illumined souls (Reading and discussion)

Please RSVP if you wish to attend this retreat. If you wish to stay overnight please register soon as the spaces fill up quickly.

Saturday August 31-Sunday Sept. 1 Retreat w/ Swami Yogatmananda  

Topic: Finding the BE-ing

We are happy that Swami Yogatmananda is able to return to give his annual Labor Day Weekend retreat here at Ridgely. He has been coming for many years, so most of you know him. But, in case you don’t, Swami Yogatmananda is the Head Minister of the Vedanta Society of Providence.

We will follow our usual retreat format:


10:30am morning session

12:30 Lunch

2:00pm afternoon session


10:30am morning session

12:30 lunch

No afternoon session/ retreat over

Please RSVP for this event. The overnight spaces are already filled for this retreat.


Oct. 21, 11am-3pm Durga Puja

We invite you to our annual puja celebrating the Goddess Durga. The puja will be followed by a homa fire and a Prasad meal. If you are planning to attend be aware that we have reinstated our Covid practices. Please do not come if you are feeling even a little ill and be aware that masks are currently required.

Nov. 3-4 Retreat on “The Gitas’ by Swamis Sarvadevananda, Tyagananda and Atmanjnanananda

Friday Nov. 3 ,10-5 (lunch provided)

Saturday Nov. 4 ,10-12 (lunch provided)

You are invited to attend this 2 day retreat. Swami Sarvadevananda will speak on the Shanti Gita. Swami Tyagananda will take a section of the Bhagavad Gita. Swami Atmajnanananda will speak on the Ashtavakra Gita. Schedule details are still to be finalized.

If you wish to attend this retreat as an overnight guest or as a day visitor please contact us at as soon as possible. Please be aware that all overnight guests must take a home Covid test before arrival. All retreat attendees are required to wear masks.

In addition to the retreat on Thursday November 2, there will be an evening informal satsang with the swamis. This program will begin at 7:30pm.

Sunday, November 12, 6-10pm. Kali Puja

This is our annual, elaborate puja  celebrating the Devi Dakshina Kali. The evening includes the main worship, homa fire and Prasad. If you wish to stay overnight please notify us as soon as possible.

Visiting Ridgely

This year we are happy to report that we have had more visitors than ever before. The local community has been using the retreat as a quiet place to walk, sit outside, or to meditate in the shrine. We have many people coming for tours and a growing number of overnight guests. 

Here is a FAQ about visiting the retreat for those who might be new:

Anyone is free to walk on our roads and on the shrine trail during daylight hours You need to avoid the properties of our neighbors who share our internal road (known as Ridgely Drive). Please be aware that we live in an area where the ticks carry Lyme and other diseases. If you are going to walk on our shrine trail or sit on the grass anywhere here you need to spray yourself with a DEET based insect repellent or natural equivalent. 

If you would like a tour of the property you need to call at least 2 days in advance to schedule. Our tour guides have many other responsibilities and aren’t always available. Ridgely isn’t like a museum. Tours usually take about 2 hours. Masks may be required so please bring one.

Regarding overnight stays: You need to book overnight stays at least 5 days in advance. You can do this via phone or by email ( do not allow children under the age of 17 to stay overnight at the retreat. Families w/young children can book a room in a nearby hotel and visit during the day. We are still requiring that each person take a home Covid test before coming. 

We open the Manor House at 6am and close it at 7pm. During our open hours people may come to the shrine to sit, meditate, pray. If it is your first visit to the shrine, please call ahead. We will show you where to leave your shoes etc. After the first time you are free to come and go during the open hours w/o notifying us. Group meditations are from 6-7:15am and 6-7pm.Masks may be required as Covid cases are on the rise here in NY.

We close the retreat at 7pm.

Ice Storm Disaster Feb. 2022

As many of you know, our area suffered a disastrous ice storm in the beginning of February. Weighed down by almost an inch of ice, branches and even entire trees came crashing to the ground every 30 seconds for 24 hours. Both the Manor House and the Casino had the power lines torn away from the house by falling branches. Almost the entire village of Stone Ridge was without power. Nearly all local roads were covered with fallen branches and downed power lines. All 3 of our houses narrowly missed being hit by huge falling limbs.

 All 3 of our houses had minor equipment damage caused by power surges before the power went out for 4 days. We had to rely on our generators to keep the critical utilities running-the boilers (to keep some kind of warmth in the houses and the pipes from freezing) and the water systems. The generators had difficulty running when the temperature fell below zero at night and had to be coaxed back into service. Our staff did a wonderful job coping with every emergency that arose, and there were many!

As of today we have fixed most of the damage from the ice storm. It is no exaggeration to say that there were thousands of fallen branches and huge tree limbs all over our property. We are slowly cleaning them up. The Manor House still needs to have some electrical work done by a professional. We also have scheduled a qualified arborist to come and take care of damage to our old maples and to take down the ‘widow-maker’ branches that have not quite broken off and are dangling high in the trees, presenting a potential danger to people, power lines and cars.

Thank you to our friends who have volunteered time and funds to help us clean up from this disaster!

Ridgely’s 2019 Retreat Season Draws to a Close

We are at the end of our scheduled retreats for this year. Our regular class on Sunday at 10:30am will continue until snow and ice compel us to close the retreat, usually later on in the year or even in January.

We would like to thank all our local friends who have helped us this year. These wonderful volunteers have helped us with puja and retreat preparations, transportation, outside property maintenance, and have acted as extra staff members when we have hosted large groups of visitors.

We would also like to thank all our friends who have donated  many food items and household equipment to the retreat. We have a group of friends who have acted as our long-distance shoppers, procuring any items that are difficult for us too get in this rural area. Much appreciated!

And, of course, we would like to thank all our donors. As you may know, Vivekananda Retreat Ridgely is not financially supported by any other organization. Funds given by our donors enable us to keep the retreat up and running, to make capital improvements on our buildings and surrounding 82 acres, and also make it possible for us to offer all our programs free of charge, a rarity in today’s world! We could not be doing what we do without you, so THANK YOU!

Winter Snow

Snow on the ground here at the retreat. It won’t stay. We want to let you know that we also maintain a Facebook page. You can find it by searching “Vivekananda Retreat,Ridgely page”. Yes, the word’ page’ must be included. We have started an Instagram account: @vivekanandaretreat. Please follow us if you are interested.

Retreat with Swami Yogatmananda Sept.1-2. Kahlil Gibran’s THE PROPHET

Swami Yogatmananda’s topic for the retreat is “Kahlil Gibran’s THE PROPHET”. THE PROPHET is a series of wonderful prose/poetry tales in which the prophet Almustafa discusses topics which address life and the human condition. Perhaps many of you have read it or have seen the animated film.

Here is the schedule for this retreat:
10:30-1 Session 1
1pm Lunch
2:30-4 Session Two

10:30-1 Session 3
1pm Lunch

The overnight spaces have been filled for this retreat. If you would like to place yourself on a waiting list, please let us know. We often have cancellations at the last minute. All are welcome to attend all or part of this retreat. As you probably know, we do not limit the number of day visitors. If you will be attending as a day visitor you do not need to sign up. We hope to see you at the retreat!

Retreat with Swami Sarvadevananda Aug.2-5 Vedantasara

We have changed the retreat subject from the AVADHUTA GITA to the VEDANTASARA at the request of Swami Sarvadevananda. The Vedantasara is one of the basic texts of the Vedanta philosophy.
Here is the retreat schedule:
Aug. 2. 7pm Session 1

Aug. 3 10:30-1 Session 2
1pm lunch
2:30-4 Session 3

Aug.4 10:30-1 Session 4
1pm lunch

Aug.5 10:30-1 Swami Sarvadevananda, Swami Atmajnanananda, Pravrajika Gitaprana-satsang/questions and answers
1pm lunch

All are welcome to attend all or part of this retreat. There are still a few spaces for overnight guests (must be over 17 yrs. old) in our retreat houses. Reservations need to be made at least 5 days in advance. See the Visit section to apply. Day visitors do not need to sign up.

April 15 Retreat with Swami Chetanananda

We are very happy to begin our season with a retreat given by Swami Chetanananda,a senior swami of the Ramakrishna Order and Head Minister of the Vedanta Society of St. Louis. Many you know him through the many wonderful books he has published about Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and the disciples and devotees who lived and learned from them. His topic will be STORIES OF VEDANTA MONKS (Advice on Spiritual practice).
Here is the schedule:
10:30-12:00 Session One
12:30 Lunch followed by time to read, meditate etc.
3:30-5:00 Session Two

Please note-this is a one-day retreat. All are welcome to attend. If you wish to stay overnight at the retreat, please apply via the email form found at the very end of our Visit section. After our long winter break we hope to see you at retreat!