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Enchanted Hills Retreat

This Summer, Introduce Your Office to Enchanted Hills Retreat

Rippling stream surrounded by lush fern and moss at Enchanted Hills Retreat“You feel like you’re really far away from everything, and yet, you’re still in the middle of the Napa and Sonoma valleys,” says Joanne Yates, president of Sonoma County nonprofit 4PAWS, “Everybody is so polite and kind and helpful, I can’t imagine a better place to be.” She’s talking about Enchanted Hills Retreat, where in addition to hosting a summer camp for the blind more than 60 years running, we also rent the property for private events, weddings and professional retreats year-round.

Hiking up Mt. Veeder with all of their dogs in tow or relaxing in the evenings with storytelling around the big fire pit, Yates says that her and nearly thirty others found the 4PAWS retreat at Enchanted Hills not only entirely peaceful, but perfectly stimulating. “There’s so much to do there, so much walking and hanging out — you really don’t have time to do everything! The first time we went for two days and everyone said it wasn’t long enough.”

Enchanted Hills books up quickly, but is still available for many days during the week, and remains an affordable option for single-day retreats, accommodating up to 120 people. For those who want to keep one foot in society, there’s also a brand new wireless antennae delivering broadband to the property — though once the pool opens up, you certainly won’t have much time for email. And don’t forget the food, which Yates calls “spectacular.”

Retreating to Enchanted Hills two years in a row, Yates says it was such a success, her staff was hooked. “People keep asking, when are we going to do the next one?”

For more information and availability, call (415) 694-7310 or visit www.enchantedhillsretreat.com.

Introduction to Blindness Group Hits the Streets of Napa

Bill Cody [Brooklyn sweatshirt] of Eureka and George Montag from Elk have had initial mobility training but they both felt they needed extra work in a larger city setting. Bill wanted to gain the skills needed to be eligible for a dog guide while George wanted more experience in downtown settings and street crossings. Here they discuss crossing a busy street with Orientation & Mobility instructors Katt Jones and Terry Wedler.In the last three years, the LightHouse has connected folks who are blind or low vision with each other through our novel week-long Changing Vision Changing Life Immersion Training at Enchanted Hills Retreat in Napa. Participating students have goals that range from independent living skills and learning Braille, to getting back into the workforce.

“Kate Williams, our Employment Immersion Program Leader, was able to spend some quality time with students whose vision has changed mid-career. She reinforced the idea that what you’re doing here and now in gaining your skills will get you back into the working world.” – LightHouse Director of Rehabilitation Services Kathy Abrahamson.

During our April session we did something brand-new. In addition to the wide breadth of instruction offered on our retreat site, we trained students in downtown Napa, specifically focusing on cane travel skills on city streets.

Our staff is always excited about connecting students to their path of independence and we’d love to see you in our next session which runs from Sunday, June 14 through Friday, June 19. We even have special funding for folks 55 and over who live in San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Humboldt and Del Norte counties. But anyone who is blind or visually impaired may be eligible. Give us one week and you will change your life!

Just call or email Debbie Bacon at 415-694-7357 or dbacon@lighthouse-sf.org for more information. We look forward to seeing you at Enchanted Hills.

Students gather in our comfortable and intimate Yurt structure to talk about their changing vision

Students newer to Orientation & Mobility training took to the streets of downtown Napa utilizing the new cane skills they learned throughout the Immersion week. Here the group maneuvers under scaffolding set up around buildings that were damaged during the recent Napa earthquake.

Employment Immersion Program Leader Kate Williams meets with students Ola Jozwiak and Dennis O’Hanlon who will be looking towards employment options after securing essential skills such as Orientation & Mobility and Access Technology.


Orientation & Mobility Specialist Terry Wedler works with Bill Cody on best ways to descend a concrete staircase above the Napa River Walk.

“You don’t leave camp alone even if you’re returning to a different part of California,” said LightHouse DOR Kathy A. Students George Montag, Bill Cody and Dennis O’Hanlon soak in the last moments of comradery before returning to their homes for the next phase of one-to-one training.

All immersion weeks have to end with a group shot to remind us where our new path to independence began. Here the entire group of students and staff pose on a bright, sunny day.

A Few Spots Still Open in Our Innovative Introduction to Blindness Group at Our Napa Retreat

Immersion students and teachers pose next to Lake Lokoya on a crisp, chilly dayAre you an adult who is experiencing changing vision? We invite you to join us for this week-long training in the fresh air and verdant grounds of our Enchanted Hills Retreat. You’ll learn a boatload of best practices for maintaining your independence while enjoying this beautiful setting.

In the last three years the Lighthouse has offered the pioneering Changing Vision Changing Life immersion training programs at our Enchanted Hills Retreat in Napa. Each training session brings together up to 25 adult students of all ages, from Northern California and the Central Valley, who are either new to low vision or blindness, or have had a significant change in vision and have requested additional training. We invite adults to join us for this week-long training in the fresh air and verdant grounds of our Enchanted Hills Retreat. You’ll learn a boatload of best practices for maintaining your independence while enjoying this beautiful setting.

These sessions are always free to participants 55 years or older, but you’ll need to make arrangements by calling Debbie Bacon by April 6, 2015.

  • Dates of our next session: April 12 through 17, 2015
  • Transportation is provided from San Rafael, San Francisco, Emeryville Amtrak and Ashby BART
  • There is no cost to attend if you are 55 or older and living in San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Humboldt or Del Norte counties.
  • For more information please contact Debbie Bacon, LightHouse Rehabilitation Counselor, at 415-694-7357 or dbacon@lighthouse-sf.org

Some of the areas we’ll cover during the week include ways to read printed materials; understanding how lighting, contrast and magnification can help you every day; suggestions for organizing and labeling in your home or office; best methods for taking notes and keeping a calendar; basic cooking skills; traveling and moving safely and confidently in your home and in the community; managing finances; the joys of an accessible computer and other low tech equipment and more. We’ll also make suggestions on how to talk to your family and friends about what would help you best.

While gaining new skills and confidence with changing vision is the overall theme of the week, the experience of coming together with other adults, both students and teachers, who are low vision or blind, to learn or relearn skills, and to get back into the stream of life remains a pivotal part of the week long experience. And it doesn’t stop there – we will also follow-up with you to see how you are doing and help keep you focused on what you’ve just learned.

Our next Changing Vision Changing Life session is April 12 through April 17. Just call or email Debbie Bacon by April 6 at 415-694-7357 or dbacon@lighthouse-sf.org for more information. We look forward to seeing you at Enchanted Hills.

Springtime in Napa – Enchanted Hills Retreat in the Prettiest of Seasons

Paddle boats on Lake LokoyaDue to some (vary rare) cancellations, Enchanted Hills Retreat is available the weekend of March 21 to 23rd and May 15, 16, and 17th. Snatch up these prime dates and enjoy the comfortable accommodations, great food and extravagant beauty of Napa in its vernal glory.

Spring has sprung and Enchanted Hills is donning its rich tapestry of the season. The hillsides have gone green, wildflowers are beginning to bloom and the birds are singing. What a great time of year to reunite with friends, family, colleagues or any group in need of a get-together.

A stay at Enchanted Hills Retreat will make you feel renewed and virtuous. Why? The clean air and babbling springs will make you feel refreshed. But also your retreat sojourn supports the unique programs of Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. This summer these offerings include a new session of horse camp for blind horse aficionados, the first ever STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) camp for budding blind scientists and hands-on wood working in our new Arts Barn.

To reserve Enchanted Hills for your get-together of 30 to 120, please call (415) 694-7310 or go to www.enchantedhillsretreat.com.

Who Stays at Enchanted Hills Retreat?

Sign Post for Half-Moon Circle at Enchanted Hills RetreatYou know that Enchanted Hills Retreat is situated on a rugged mountain awash in natural beauty; you know that it is the most affordable place to get a group together in Napa; you know it is less than ten miles to the world famous restaurants and wineries of the Napa Valley and that the rental of the facilities supports the life-changing programs of Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. But who stays at Enchanted Hills Retreat?

The diversity of groups that come to Enchanted Hills is astounding. From the Scottish Fiddlers to the Affordable Screen Writers contingent to Body Flows yoga retreat, Enchanted Hills is a place for everyone. Wellness groups, weddings, musician get-togethers, cyclists, family reunions and a variety of spiritual groups are just some of those who have had memorable stays at Enchanted Hills Retreat in the last year.

Would you like to book Enchanted Hills Retreat and get away from it all? To reserve Enchanted Hills for your group of 30 to 120, please call (415) 694-7310 or go to www.enchantedhillsretreat.com.

Enchanted Hills Retreat – Our Improved Connectivity Will Make Your Gathering Connected for Success

Our new roof-mounted antenna with sufficient height for a clear line of sight, brings in a strong internet signal to our visitors at Enchanted Hills Retreat

At Enchanted Hills Retreat, our rustic camp located on beautiful Mt. Veeder in Napa, we are constantly making improvements to make your stay more comfortable and productive. Most recently we completed the installation of a new roof-mounted antenna with clear line of sight. This means no obstacles, such as hills or homes, are in the way of our higher-speed internet capability.

Our clever IT Department, headed by Brian Hardy, worked with contractors to find a 19-mile microwave path in the mountains to make this accomplishment possible. The new service operates at ten megabits per second so that though the Retreat is located in the rural hills of Napa, our internet speed compares well with that found in urban areas. Complimenting this new bandwidth is a wireless architecture that distributes the bandwidth to numerous buildings and locations around the property, literally bringing “wireless to the woods.”

In 2014 both blind and sighted visitors find ever-increasing use for personal technology. Our increased bandwidth adds another layer of services for access and communications and makes our affordable wine country retreat that much more of a desirable place to hold your family reunion, yoga workshop, wedding, spiritual retreat, company off-site meeting or seminar.

Enchanted Hills Retreat, which can be rented nearly year-round, boasts a small lake, several rushing creeks, miles of nature trails for hiking, a heated outdoor swimming pool and a variety of breakout rooms for groups from 30 to 150. There are flexible service options including tasty, home-style meals and more.

For information and reservations, contact Tony Fletcher at afletcher@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7310. Read more about Enchanted Hills Retreat.

Beautiful Lokoya lake appears through the trees at Enchanted Hills Retreat

Enchanted Hills Highlights – A Glorious Summer of Blind Camping

Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa, EHC Neighbors Spruce Up Lower Chapel
At the beginning of September, members of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa as well as EHC Neighbors and Staff cleaned up the lower chapel at Enchanted Hills.

The chapel is a shaded area at Enchanted Hills that brings into play all aspects of nature: Surrounded by trees and next to a stream, it is a place of quiet and light breezes – the perfect place for our community to gather. As a program area, the chapel has been used since 1928. It was also Rose Resnick’s favorite location at Enchanted Hills.

The Kiwanis helped restore the pathway to the chapel, including patching and smoothing and building retaining walls. Neighbors and staff added new benches and created terraces to place them on. All cleared debris and vegetation, making the area look attractive and sparkling and returned it to its natural beauty.

Many thanks to Bill Cinquini and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa, the EHC Neighbors, including Tony McClimans, Gary Margadant and Bob Hayes, for their hard work and efforts.

Neighbors Build Awesome Picnic Tables for Enchanted Hills

For generations kids, teens and families at Enchanted Hills have memories of outdoor gatherings that included the use of a variety of accommodating picnic tables. The closeness and community that breaking bread together fosters is so important that we’ve decided to vastly increase these rustic gathering places throughout camp.

Last month, EHC Neighbors and friends, including LightHouse Board member Todd Stevenot and his family, began an ongoing effort to build us twenty new tables. With their help we first identified fallen Douglas fir trees on Enchanted Hills and our neighbors’ property that could be used to construct the new tables. Superstar neighbor Tony McClimans milled this wood to perfection, creating lumber vastly stouter than that found at hardware stores, and worked in collaboration with next-door-neighbor Andrew Cates to get the wood cut and formed for assembly. Some of the tables we are building are 14 feet long and take at least six strong people to move them. They will be used in a number of locations all over camp. Ten tables have been completed so far, and we want to thank everyone who involved with the project, including Tony McClimans who milled the wood at his sawmill and lead builder Andrew Cates.

LightHouse Friends Gena Harper and Mike May Tie the Knot
Last month LightHouse Board member Gena Harper and former camper, staff member, current volunteer and supporter Mike May hosted their lovely wedding at Enchanted Hills Retreat. The guests enjoyed delicious food, including a “wedding cake” made of beautifully decorated individual cupcakes, and witnessed the inaugural public use of our new Redwood Grove Theater for a full-blown amplified musical performance featuring singer-songwriter Sara Beck and husband Park Chisolm.

We are grateful for the new couple’s generosity in asking their guests to make monetary gifts to support Enchanted Hills, a place Mike has been coming to since 1962.

Congratulations, Gena and Mike!

EHC staff member Tom Cassidy assists volunteers with terracing and placement of new benches in lower chapel

Neighbors and friends work on a large picnic table

Gena Harper and Mike May sit at their wedding table

Retreat Guests Laud their Enchanted Hills Experiences

“The staff was wonderful, they couldn’t have been nicer –and they really took care of us. The food was very, very good. Friday’s dinner was outstanding, as were the breakfasts. All the fruits and veggies were much appreciated, but please don’t ever stop making those chocolate chip cookies. The rooms were clean with plenty of hot water. And, the forest was absolutely beautiful. Next year we will set aside time for a second hike.”

Every year Enchanted Hills Director Tony Fletcher receives scores of thank you letters from retreat customers complimenting the tireless staff, excellent cuisine and outstanding natural environs of Enchanted Hills Retreat. The quote above is from one group that loves to come to Enchanted Hills for group bonding and training. 4Paws is an organization based out of Santa Rosa, CA dedicated to improving lives through the human and canine emotional bond.

In addition to staying with us during their own yearly training session, 4Paws returns to Enchanted Hills with their dogs to interact with our blind and low vision kids during summer camp sessions. Their visit is enjoyed by all.

Discover what Joanne is talking about. Enchanted Hills Retreat is an affordable place to enjoy the quiet beauty of wine country, with rustic accommodations, great food and shady nooks to explore. Are you looking for a place to come together with your group of 30 to 120? Reserve now for a family reunion, spiritual group, wedding or company retreat. Call 415-694-7310 or visit www.enchantedhillsretreat.com.

Young camper David DeGrande holds a dog visiting through 4PAWS