Plan Your Visit
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Monroe Institute sits on 300-plus peaceful rolling acres with panoramic mountain views. Just three hours from Washington, DC, and 45 minutes from Charlottesville, Virginia, the Monroe Institute has called Nelson County home for more than 45 years.
All residential retreats include accommodations, meals, snacks and shuttle service from Charlottesville. The majority of our guest rooms are double-occupancy with bathroom facilities located outside of the rooms. Programs are held at both our Nancy Penn Center and Roberts Mountain Retreat.
Guest Wi-Fi is available. Depending on your carrier, cell service may be spotty on campus due to the rural mountain location.
Our dining menu offers many healthy fresh options including, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan upon request. Our farm-to-table philosophy is to source local and regional farmers in and around central Virginia for both meat and organic vegetables when available.
As a retreat center serving groups, our guest services staff do their best to meet your personal nutritional needs. We can accommodate your preferences for gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian meals but, if you have additional dietary restrictions, we encourage you to bring any unique food items with you. Limited space is available for prepared or precooked foods in our freezers or refrigerators for special diets.
FOOD SENSITIVITY INFORMATION
If you have severe allergies, please let us know at least two weeks before your scheduled arrival. We advise anyone with allergies that we cannot guarantee that all foods have not been contaminated before arriving on site. Please remember to bring your EpiPen or equivalent medication.
*Ingredients for all prepared food are available on request.
Standard accommodations are double-occupancy rooms containing private CHEC units. CHEC stands for Controlled Holistic Environmental Chamber. Each CHEC unit contains user-controlled audio and lighting features and is semi-enclosed or can be fully enclosed for total privacy. The built-in audio system transmits the trainer’s verbal guidance and meditation exercises through headphones and speakers into your personal unit. Specially-designed by Robert A. Monroe, our CHEC units provide isolation from outside distractions. Throughout the week you sleep, experience program meditation exercises, and relax in solitude in your very own CHEC unit.
Bed linens, comforters, pillows, and towels are provided. Please do not bring and burn candles, incense, sage or paleo sticks in your room.
You may bring beverages to your guest room but we ask that you do not bring food and that you please return cups and glassware to the service kitchen afterwards.
Our facilities are not equipped with elevators but are accessible by wheelchair. If you have special medical needs, please contact the Registrar in advance of your stay.
We sanitize headphones before each program. Disposable headphone covers are available from trainers upon request or you may bring your own.
There are ample restrooms with tubs and showers in Roberts Mountain Retreat and Nancy Penn Center, conveniently located near the guestrooms, so be sure to bring a robe or appropriate clothing to wear between the bedroom and bathrooms. Natural liquid hand soap is provided in all bathrooms.
There are lounge areas at Roberts Mountain Retreat and Nancy Penn Center with water, brewed coffee, hot water for tea and a selection of drinks 24 hours a day. There are libraries and decks for outside enjoyment.
Free Wi-Fi is available. Due to the minimal bandwidth available in our mountain location, we ask guests to refrain from any video or audio streaming.
CAMPUS GROUNDS & PARKING
Campus grounds consist of rolling hills, gravel roads for afternoon walks, areas to meditate or relax, decks overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, a labyrinth, two 6-ton quartz crystals, a pool (at Roberts Mountain Retreat) and a lake. Parking is available if you’re arriving by car. We suggest that you lock your valuables in your vehicle and park in the area designated for guests. Camping is not permitted.
Plan to arrive at Monroe between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the first day of the program, giving yourself time to settle in. You will be greeted by a host and shown to your room. A light buffet-style lunch is served and a guided a tour of the facility is provided in the afternoon. Your program begins with dinner at 6 p.m. in the dining room.
Typically 5-days/6-nights, these residential retreats begin on Saturday and conclude late Thursday evenings; however, we recommend that you stay until Friday morning. Predawn shuttle service is available for early departures but most guests leave Friday morning after breakfast. We ask that all guests plan to leave no later than noon so that we may prepare the rooms for incoming guests.
Typically 2-day/2-nights our weekend retreats usually conclude at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Lost & Found
Any unclaimed personal belongings left behind by guests are held in our Lost and Found for 90 days and then donated to a local charity.
Massages are available during week-long retreats at break times for an additional fee.
Early morning complimentary yoga classes are available during week-long retreats. Yoga mats, blocks and other props are provided. If you plan to join the classes, please wear comfortable yoga or athleisure style attire.
In most cases we recommend that you attend one program at a time with a minimum of several weeks before your next. The days, weeks and months following a program are essential to your ability to assimilate what you have gained at both conscious and unconscious levels, and to realize maximum benefit from all you learned.
However, in certain circumstances, such as traveling from long distances, back-to-back programs may be necessary. If you are attending two or more programs consecutively, be sure to plan to stay off campus on the Friday night between programs. Shuttle service is provided to and from your hotel on the first and last days of programs. We do not have guest laundry services on site.
WHAT TO BRING
During the retreat, you will return to your CHEC unit to experience meditation exercises several times throughout the day. The style of dress is casual, comfortable loose-fitting clothing. Plan to pack enough clothing for a week as there are no guest laundry facilities available. In warm weather, you may want to bring a swimsuit. During spring and fall the weather swings dramatically in the mountains so be prepared for warm days and cool evenings.
Additional suggested things to bring:
- A journal or notebook and pen
- Comfortable hiking or walking shoes
- Indoor shoes or heavy socks
- Prescription drugs and emergency numbers.
Things not to bring:
- Candles, incense or other heavily scented products
- Recreational drugs or alcohol
- Valuables that need to be locked up.
RECOMMENDED READINGS AND AUDIO EXERCISES
If you are unfamiliar with our audio-guidance process, we suggest you listen to the Gateway Voyage®. Introductory Exercise and the Gateway Affirmation before attending the program. Be sure to follow the "How to Listen" instructions provided. You can find these listening exercises and more on our website—the Free Meditations page.
We suggest that you read Robert Monroe’s books: “Journeys Out of the Body,” “Far Journeys,” and “Ultimate Journey.” If attending the Out-of-Body retreat with William Buhlman, his book, “Adventures Beyond the Body,” is recommended reading.
ALCOHOL & MEDICATIONS
Alcoholic beverages and recreational drugs are prohibited on campus. While we do not condemn the consumption of alcohol, wine or beer, it is likely to be detrimental to your experience. See our Terms & Conditions for more information.
There are no phones in the guest rooms. You may give our main phone number to those who may need to reach you: (434) 361-1500 for Nancy Penn Center and (434) 361-2528 for Roberts Mountain Retreat. After hours and on weekends, you can be reached at 434-422-6224. If you receive a non-emergency phone call, we will inform your trainer/s. If you receive an emergency message, we will find and deliver it to you promptly.
Monroe is a place of introspection, exploration and contemplation. Each program includes varying degrees of silence. We ask that guests be cognizant and respectful of others who may wish to have a more contemplative, personal experience. Please do not bring or use portable devices without earphones or earbuds. Turn off your cell phones while in the buildings, particularly during group meetings and while in your CHEC unit. Some meditation exercises are conducted during sleep cycles.
There are smoking areas outside of all buildings. No smoking is permitted inside the buildings or anywhere other than in the designated outdoor areas.Money
We accept cash and credit card payments. There is not an ATM on campus, nor are we able to cash checks or charge items to your room. Please bring sufficient funds for store purchases and massage sessions.
In consideration of those who are highly sensitive to fragrance, please do not use any perfume or cologne, and only unscented, fragrance-free personal hygiene products.
The majority of the sleeping rooms are double occupancy with private CHEC units (see Accommodations). Please come prepared with nose guards or earplugs to use if you or your roommate snores.
Mail is picked up and dropped off every day. We have metered stamps for sale. UPS or FedEx pick-ups are by pre-arrangement only. If you expect to send or receive a package during your stay with us, please advise the bookstore ahead of time.
There are a variety of fitness opportunities, including weights, walking and swimming (weather permitting). At Roberts Mountain Retreat, there is a swimming pool for your enjoyment. Swimming and canoeing are also available at Lake Miranon, which is walking distance from the Nancy Penn Center. We feel strongly that light daily physical activity is integral to enhancing the quality of your retreat.
In case of emergency, we can provide basic first aid and coordinate emergency medical services. Due to our remote location, we recommend that you bring adequate amounts of all prescribed medications with you. The nearest emergency room is approximately one hour away.
BOOKING YOUR TRAVEL & TRANSPORTATION
We recommend that you do not book your flight until 33 days before the start of your retreat. You will be notified by email 33 days prior to the start of your retreat if it is canceled due to low enrollment. Monroe will not be responsible for costs incurred due to retreat cancellations.
Shuttle transportation is included on the first and last days of each program. We must have your travel details no later than 2-weeks before your arrival to get you on the schedule. Please look for an email containing our Travel Plans form to submit your travel information once you have registered.
Shuttle service stops include the Charlottesville-Albemarle airport, Charlottesville bus station and Charlottesville train station, as well as specified local hotels listed below. We cannot provide shuttle services from Air B&B’s and bed & breakfasts, or private residences. If you are staying at one of these, please plan to meet the shuttle at one of the approved hotel pick-ups.
On the first day of your retreat, the shuttle pickup times are between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Arrangements can be made if arrival in Charlottesville is later than 5:00 p.m.
The departure shuttle from Monroe to Charlottesville for week-long retreats runs from 3:30 a.m. until noon. Be sure to consider this when you are making your flight departure plans. You will need to wait in the airport if your flight departs after 1:00 p.m.
Most weekend programs end at 2 p.m. on the last day, after noon lunch. The shuttle is available after 2 p.m.
If you have travel delays, please call us at (434) 944-6907 or email us at [email protected] as soon as possible so we can update your pickup and transfer details and notify the driver. Also, you can give this number to your family members in case of an emergency after our regular business hours of 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.
If you are driving, please email [email protected] to let us know you will not need our shuttle services. Plan to arrive between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. the day your program begins.
If you need to arrive a day early, which is recommended for international travelers, you will need to book overnight accommodations at a hotel in Charlottesville and we will arrange your shuttle pickup from your hotel the following morning.
Local Area Hotels
- Residence Inn by Marriott on West Main (434) 220-0075
- Hampton Inn & Suites on West Main (434) 923-8600
- Omni Hotel (434) 971-5500.
Airport area (within 10 miles). These hotels usually have airport shuttles:
- Courtyard Marriott 29 North (434) 973- 7100
- Country Inn & Suites/Radisson (434) 293-4600
- La Quinta/Wyndham (434) 293-6188
- Days Inn (434) 293-9111
- Doubletree Inn (434) 973-2121.
If you decide to come early or stay late in the area, visit the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau for tourist activities and what to see while you are here: visitcharlottesville.org.
Due to advance planning requirements by program participants and Monroe staff, it is necessary that we administer the following policy:
- Registrations may be canceled within one business day from the time of phone or online registration with no penalty. Please call our Registrar at 434-361-1500 to cancel.
- If for any reason you are not accepted into the program, all payments you have submitted will be refunded in full.
- If you need to transfer out of your program and into another, you may do so one time with no fee if the transfer is completed 21 days before the start of the program. If you transfer within 20 days of the program, an administrative fee of $100 will apply. Additional transfer requests will be $100 each.
- If you cancel your program 30 days or more before the start of the program a $100 administrative fee will apply. If you cancel between 29 - 10 days, we will issue a non-refundable credit voucher (less the $100 fee) that you may use towards another Monroe residential program within one year of the voucher issue date.
- If you cancel less than 10 days before the program starts, if you leave the program early for any reason, or if you do not show up, no refund or credit voucher will be issued. In emergency circumstances, please contact our Program Registrar at 434-361-1500.
The Monroe Institute reserves the right to cancel a program 30 days in advance of the program date if there is not sufficient enrollment or for unforeseen circumstances. If Monroe cancels your program, you will be notified and given the option to transfer payment to another program or to receive a full refund.
NOTE: We recommend that you do NOT book a flight until 30 days before your program starts. Monroe will not be responsible for costs incurred due to cancellations. Participants are responsible for discretionary travel cancellation insurance, airfare, and optional international mobile services, and travel tax expenses, none of which are covered by your payment to us. These recommended options are not available through Monroe Institute.