- About Us
- FAQ about IMS
- Virtual Tours
- Current News
- Working Here
- Mission and Values
- Board of Directors
- Annual Report
- Contact Us
- Mailing List
- Meditation Retreats
- New to Meditation?
- FAQ about Retreats
- Food and Accommodations
- Retreat Center
- Forest Refuge
- Work Retreats
- Pay Your Balance
Food and Accommodations
Our IMS Kitchen has developed meal plans over the decades that support a meditation environment. We balance the need to provide nutritious food for all our retreatants with a level of renunciation that is beneficial to practice. To this end, food is available only at meal times.
We serve tasty, varied, nutritious vegetarian meals that often include dairy and eggs. The main meal of the day is served at lunchtime, with a lighter dinner offered in the late afternoon. At breakfast, we serve oatmeal and an alternative cooked grain, and hard-boiled eggs are provided twice a week. A selection of caffeinated and herbal teas are freely available at all times, as well as milk, soymilk and sweeteners. Miso paste is also always on hand.
All of our meals are served buffet-style, with ingredients listed next to each dish. For those with allergies to gluten and/or dairy, a simple, non-animal protein, a gluten-free grain and a plain vegetable are available at lunch.
Whenever possible, if the main dish contains gluten and/or dairy we prepare the same or a similar dish without gluten and dairy.
If your dietary needs extend beyond this, you are welcome to bring your own foods or supplements to the retreat. Food can be stored in the general dining area on shelves and/or in a refrigerator specifically for participants’ use. Space is limited, so please bring only those food items that are necessary. Please provide your own sealed plastic containers, and mark them with your name and the date. If you need to eat between meals, you can save part of your meal for later on. Please be aware, however, that microwaves are not available.
Our Retreat Center and Forest Refuge kitchens are small, busy places that do not have the resources to respond to individual needs. Our cooks cannot provide specific snacks or cooking equipment. If you have special dietary requirements, please plan ahead by purchasing and packaging any necessary items before you come to IMS.
If you wish, you can purchase non-dairy rice milk, soymilk, almond milk and organic lemon juice from the Retreat Center office. IMS also sells Beano; it aids the digestion of beans and seeds. We don't provide hot chocolate, coffee or coffee filters – please bring your own.
We try our best with our limited budget to purchase food that is environmentally sustainable, responsibly raised, healthy, and when possible, local. Our eggs are local, cage-free and organic. Our milk is local from pasture raised, hormone-free cows. We also use local honey, maple syrup, miso, tempeh, tofu, and when in season, fruits and vegetables.
All of our soy and corn products are organic and GMO-free and most of our beans, rice, grains and flours are organic. The canned tomato products we use are also organic. In the summer and fall, much of our produce comes from local organic farms. We also purchase certain organic fruits and vegetables year-round based on affordability and the rates of pesticide use on certain crops. These include all our lettuce, potatoes, carrots, beets, bananas and onions. Our cheese is animal rennet free.
Our intention is to continue to look for new ways to provide sustainable foods that support our health.
We are aware that some retreatants, teachers and staff are allergic to certain foods. We label ingredients carefully so that you can monitor what you eat. We also provide plain dairy and gluten-free options.
If you have a particular serious food allergy, please let us know. You can mention it on your registration form and email the Kitchen manager.
IMS's Retreat Center facility includes the main original building that features four front white columns and the word 'Metta' clearly portrayed on the portico. In addition, there are two dormitories, known as the 'Catskills' and the 'Annex.' There is also a large, recently renovated meditation hall. All are connected via indoor walkways.
Some buildings can accommodate individuals with mobility limitations. If you are disabled, please contact us before arrival to make appropriate arrangements.
Bedrooms are small singles or doubles, simply yet comfortably furnished for each retreatant with a twin bed, sink, closet and chair. A thermostat in each room allows you to adjust the heat. A pillow and two blankets are provided. If travel arrangements permit, please bring your own sheets, pillow case, towels, and additional blankets or sleeping bags.
Those with medical needs have first priority for single rooms. Unless there are medical reasons (such as the need for wheelchair access), requests for particular rooms cannot be accommodated. We strongly encourage roommates in double rooms to work out any details for harmonious relations prior to the beginning of silence!
Men and women do not share rooms and whenever possible are assigned different floors. Communal toilet and shower facilities are located on each floor.
Camping is not available.
Accommodations at the Forest Refuge are all single rooms, each with a twin-size mattress on a low wooden bed frame, two pillows and two blankets. There is also an individual thermostat to adjust the heat, a sink, closet, desk and chair. Linens and towels are provided.
If you have a specific medical requirement, such as chemical sensitivity or needing wheelchair access, please contact us in advance regarding appropriate arrangements.
Due to the Forest Refuge's unstructured retreat environment with ongoing arrivals and departures, it isn't possible to assign different floors to women and men. Single, enclosed toilet and shower stalls, used by both men and women, are located at the end of each floor.
Here is a list of local accommodations.