If you had told me last August, as I unpacked 15 years of life in NYC into my new small town country life of New Hampshire, that I would be doing it all over again less than 12 months later – but this time for the remote high dessert of Northern New Mexico – I would have assured you, you were mistaken.
Life had a funny way sometimes, doesn’t it?
In just a few days we’re packin up the Uhaul and drivin off into the sunset (almost quite literally). If you haven’t heard the story of how I got here, read on below. Otherwise, this is where to read what happens when you take a NYC/NH based yoga teacher and transplant her to the middle of New Mexico cowboy country 😬. Pics and road trip shenanigans will be up on the Valmora Retreat Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/valmora_retreat/).
More soon – but right now these boxes ain’t packing themselves – so ye-ha y’all….here we go!!
Last fall, my husband and I received a phone call from a mutual acquaintance regarding a unique opportunity; would we be interested in creating and running a self-sustainable yoga, meditation and educational retreat center – fully funded …..in New Mexico (!!) Obviously it was quite a shock. Many times we had discussed the hopes of opening a place someday where my husband Brad could work with young adults through counseling and biodynamic gardening, and I could offer yoga, meditation and holistic wellness retreats (and continue teaching). But neither of us imagined doing it outside the northeast communities we already knew and loved – and New Mexico?!
PS, I just moved from NYC to NH!
Well, obviously we had to check it out. The property, located less than 100 miles north of Santa Fe and 6,000 feet up on the mesa of the front range Sangre de Cristo Mountains, was originally built in 1904 as a sanatorium for tuberculosis. Rich in history and transformational experience, the property was converted to a school for troubled kids in the early 2000s, officially closing in 2009. Approximately 80,000 sq. feet of buildings, 900 acres of land (now part of the larger Watrous Valley Ranch of 44,000 acres) has been literally sitting (waiting?) there ever since.
We were struck by the immensity of the landscape – the vastness of the sky, the wild herds of elk, antelope and mule deer. There was a palpable energy to the land, and I guess you could say we were sold when we discovered the property included a natural spring that produces approximately 24,000 gallons of water a day. In other words, gardening/farming sustainably in the high desert will actually be possible.
Long story short, we were super inspired by the documentary “Wild Wild Country” …. just kidding 😊 After many many conversations, visits, and a lot of due diligence, we decided although this was an enormous project with a lot of unknowns, it was also an enormous opportunity we didn’t want to look back later in life and wonder, what if?
So, we’ve been hired to bring this place back to life. This place, named Valmora Retreat (in keeping with the original namesake meaning “Valley of the Mora”) when originally built described itself as “an ideal place where people of modest means might come to regain their health”. This is not too far off from the vision of Valmora we hold today – a place where people of varied means may have an experience of holistic health and well-being, inside and out. We hope to renew the history of this land as a site of transformation, and bring it into a modern day context….that hopefully you would like to come and visit!
The first step will be to build a sustainable agricultural system and infrastructure to support the retreat center. The next stage will be to restore the facilities – this will include spaces for yoga, meditation and contemplative practices, utilizing the natural landscape for outdoor activities, opportunities for craft workshops, comfortable accommodations for short and long term stays, farm to table dining, recreational facilities, etc. etc. etc 🙂
It’s a huge undertaking – we know! But also a huge adventure we couldn’t pass up. We hope to be up and running with our first programs in Spring 2019. It’s a bit scary but also a relief to finally share this news with you – I don’t know exactly what’s ahead for us, but can definitely say we are excited, nervous, and everything in between.
You can see pictures of where we’re headed on the Valmora Retreat Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/valmora_retreat/).