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Directions to Commonweal and general information for retreat participants

Dear Retreat Participant,
We are excited and delighted to provide retreats at such a dramatically beautiful and
sacred place in the world as Commonweal Retreat Center in Bolinas, California. Well be
staying in a forest that overlooks the Pacific from magnificent cliffs and bluffs washed
with sun, surf and sand. Guests at Commonweal should prepare for dramatic changes of
weather at almost any time of year. The winter may bring frequent rain, and this coastal
site is often windy. We suggest warm, layered clothing and good walking shoes so you
can enjoy the extraordinary resources of this piece of the Point Reyes National Seashore
(you will be provided ample time for your own explorations of yourself or the area). This
is a place for people who enjoy the quiet and isolation and accept the occasional
inconveniences of a rural retreat center.
We hope that the following information will be of help as you plan your travel
Transportation: Some of you may be driving to Commonweal from within California
and can use the following map and directions to navigate your trip. For those of you that
are flying into Oakland or San Francisco Airport, you may be interested in carpooling
with others. If you would like to arrange carpooling, please call Bob Stahl as soon as
possible at (831) 469-3338 and you will get names of others flying into SFO or OAK and
can perhaps arrange your arrival times and drive up together. For shuttle information
please inquire with Bob or Steve. A good time to arrive at the airport and go up to
Commonweal is between 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. on the day of your retreat. The retreat
begins at 3:00 p.m. on Friday and ends at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. If you are flying in try not
to arrive at the airport much later than these suggested times as you may get stuck in the
predictable traffic jams later in the day. Oakland airport is usually less expensive to fly
into and out of.
Directions: Commonweal is a one-hour drive north from San Francisco on the Pacific
coast. The last 40 minutes of the drive are on a windy country road, some of which go
over or around Mount Tamalpais, offering beautiful but vertiginous views of the Pacific.
If you tend to get car-sick on such roads, we recommend either a Dramamine before
departing or taking a somewhat longer route that is still on windy roads but does not go
over Mount Tamalpais. The longer road is via San Rafael, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
and Olema, where you turn south on Route 1 towards Bolinas (please review these routes
on your map).
More Directions: The exit off Route 1 to Bolinas is not marked, so if this is your first
visit and you are driving, please pay careful attention to the distances noted on your map
from Stinson Beach (to the south) or Olema (to the north) to the Bolinas exit. The
Bolinas turn is located at mile marker 17.00. Coming from Stinson Beach, take a left or
from Olema take a right, and make another left again. Follow 1.3 miles and turn left at
your first stop sign (the Bolinas Nursery is on your left). Go 1/2 mile and turn RIGHT on
Mesa Road. Go 2.3 miles and turn left at the gate marked Commonweal. It is 451 Mesa
Road. Go to “Pacific House”, which is the very large, amber colored house on site on left
at end of road, for Registration and directions to your lodging.
Dress: Commonweal is located on a dramatic coastal site adjacent to the Point Reyes
National Seashore. Retreat attire is informal. You should be prepared for sudden
changes of weather at almost anytime and we suggest warm, layered clothing and good
walking shoes, so you can enjoy the extraordinary resources of the area. Please be
prepared for the possibility of rain at this time of the year.
What to bring: Small flashlight, yoga mat, bathrobe (bathrooms are shared) toilet
articles/soap, mosquito repellent, swim suit (for use of on-site sauna or perhaps a trip to
the beach), sandals, warm socks or slippers for indoors, travel clock, camera (optional),
and a hat or cap if you are sun sensitive.
Check-in: Please come to Pacific House for registration. You are welcome to
arrive and get settled between 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Lodging: There are accommodations for 22. You can take a look at Commonweals
web site and learn a lot more by going to All rooms are
located in beautiful home environments that consist of 12 individual rooms and
6 doubles. The individual rooms are located in one very large house and the double
rooms are situated in two houses in the forest near Pacific House. These places will offer
a little more individual space with their own bathroom facilities, wonderful porches and
living rooms with fireplaces. If you are coming with a companion or would not mind
sharing your room with another person in one of these lovely houses, please let us know
so that we can make appropriate room assignments. We assign rooms by request when it
is possible to the earliest registrants, otherwise, we will provide single occupancy rooms
for each paricipant at the time of registration unless we've made prior arrangements with
Meals: Prepared by our culinary goddess Claire Heart and her staff who are renowned for
their extraordinary talents in preparing delicious, nutritious gourmet vegetarian cuisine
that is seasonal and from local farmers. Meals are often Vegan and special needs should
be expressed before your retreat to either Bob or Steve. Meals at our retreats here are
truly memorable!
Communication: Please leave your portable computers at home. Let us enjoy our
moments of solitude and the community of fellow participants with no worldly
responsibilities. There is an emergency phone located at Pacific house (415) 868-9205.
Please do not call Commonweals office number.
Preparation: Please read the book Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
You can also reflect why you are coming to this retreat and what challenges you live with
being in health care.
We look forward in meeting you and if you have any further questions or special needs
please feel free to call us. Steve Flowers (530) 898-1495 or Bob Stahl (831) 469-3338.
Wishing you the best and safe travels!
Steve Flowers and Bob Stahl


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