Use of the Clearing

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The Clearing consists of 75 acres of mostly wooded land, given to Richmond Friends Meeting by the late Louise Whittington.

Facilities include a modern lodge with a large multipurpose room, a smaller meeting room, full kitchen and two bathrooms; a large sleeping cabin; a smaller cabin; an Adirondack shelter; campsites; two outdoor privies; a worship circle with fire pit; a picnic pavilion adjacent to the large clearing; and trails with access to the adjacent Amelia Wildlife Management Area.

BASIC RULES FOR USERS

  • Use the property and facilities “lightly,” appropriate for a spiritual retreat.  That said, we encourage full appreciation of this natural area, including hiking our trails and vigorous activities in the open land near the Pavilion.
  • Follow posted instructions for use of lodge and lanterns at pavilion.
  • Alcohol and other drugs are not permitted.
  • No pets are allowed.
  • Leave wildflowers and other plants so that others may enjoy them too.
  • Wash all dishes and return them to their proper storage places.
  • Leave the area at least as clean as you found it.  The Clearing is maintained by our community, largely through volunteered time.  Please don’t don’t let your retreat create work for us

IMPORTANT FIRE GUIDELINES

From March 1st to May 15th no open fires are permitted until after 4 PM. Do not leave any fire unattended. Build fires only in prepared fireplaces. Smoking materials must be completely extinguished. All fires (except in the wood stove) must be put out with water when leaving. Drought-related bans on outdoor fires must be respected. Detailed fire rules are posted on the lodge porch, but please note that no burning of candles or tiki torches is permitted and the use of fireworks is prohibited.

THE LODGE

The lodge has heat and air-conditioning throughout.  The large meeting room has floor-to-ceiling windows, a fireplace, and roll-away tables and chairs that can accommodate groups of up to 35,  although it is more comfortable with 25. The kitchen is large and well equipped, and meals for larger groups can be prepared there. A large number of people can sit on the sizable deck in good weather.  The smaller meeting room has large windows, a cathedral ceiling and a wood stove.  There two large bathrooms each have showers. The lodge is handicapped accessible.

If you have reserved the lodge, it will be unlocked before your arrival, and you should lock the push-button doorknobs when you depart. Please be sure the space has been cleaned up, the thermostat reset to 55 degrees, all lights have been turned off, and the windows have been closed before you leave. Detailed general guidelines for check-in, clean-up, check-out and using the attic fan are posted in the lodge.

Please be careful to follow instructions posted near the wood stove if you use it. A first aid kit is located in the lodge hallway with a guide to emergency services posted nearby. There is no telephone at the Clearing.

PICNIC AREAS

There are a number of octagonal picnic tables in an open area between the lodge and the sleeping cabin. These picnic tables can accommodate approximately 30 for lunch. There are six rectangular picnic tables in the covered pavilion. These tables can accommodate a group of 48.

PICNIC PAVILION

The picnic pavilion, a short walk from the main lodge, is a versatile space for picnics or group activities. The roofed pavilion has a concrete floor and is open on three sides. A large fireplace and two cupboards close off the fourth side. A nearby well is fitted with a hand pump for drinking water. Two electric outlets are provided.

The large open, grassy field adjacent to the pavilion is ideal for outdoor games. There is also a volleyball net and a large sandbox for younger children. (The lodge has two large cupboards with board games and supplies.)

SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS

The large sleeping cabin is 22’ by 24’ with six 2-person bunks and six cots. Near the lodge, it does not have its own bathrooms, heat or electricity. Twenty folding chairs are available for meetings.

The small sleeping cabin has three single beds.

Neither cabin, near the lodge, has its own bathroom, heat or electricity.

CAMPING

There are 22 cleared and marked campsites in the woods, around the clearing and along the road.   These are served by two outdoor privies.  There’s also a Adirondack sleeping shelter for 6, a worship circle with  fire pit; and a  cooking/picnic pavilion with stone fireplace. There is a first-aid kit in the picnic shelter. The campsites adjacent to the road have space for a single car to be pulled into the site with room for a tent. Sites in the woods do not have car access, but cars can be parked in the main parking lot near the lodge.

PARKING AREA

Parking is in designated areas only. The parking lot is adjacent to the sleeping cabin and the lodge. Please do not park cars on the turn-around circles. The parking areas are just before the turn around circle in front of the main lodge. Cars can be parked on both sides of the road in the areas designated by signs. Cars may be parked temporarily at the main lodge or the pavilion for the purpose of unloading equipment.

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RATES AND SCHEDULING

The Clearing may be rented for daily use or overnights. When you rent the Clearing, you and your group will be the only ones on the grounds during your rental period.

You may rent the Clearing for a solitary retreat for a single person, for a family event, or for a group event.

Our mission is to make The Clearing available as a retreat setting for RFM and like-minded groups. We would like to be able to serve a wide and diverse population of potential users. A group can reserve use of The Clearing once per calendar quarter. If a group wants to reserve a second month in a given quarter, that second reservation cannot be accepted more than two months prior to usage.

After confirming availability (see below), please fill out, sign, and submit a reservation form.

Check AvailabilityReservation Form Current Fee Schedule

 

If you have questions, contact Janett Forte at 804-229-2139 or email clearinguse@richmondfriendsmeeting.org.