Dickinsons Reach Homesteading Residency

A 4-6-week residency for self-directed learning, discovery, service and creativity at a homestead of great inspiration.

Dickinsons Reach community offers individuals, families and small groups a unique opportunity to deeply explore ideas, skills, service and their own creativity in 4-6 week residencies offered each season at our land at Little Kennebec Bay in Downeast Maine. For half a century, this extraordinary place was the homestead of the late William Coperthwaite (author of A Handmade Life and the subject of a biography, A Man Apart). It is now shared by our community four times a year with people for whom access to Bill’s libraries, tools and creations, as well as living with less distraction in close relationship to nature, will be transformative to their life journey.

The tapestry for this residency is both deeply human and wild. Live in the handmade concentric yurt home of the late William Coperthwaite, with its extensive libraries and creations set amidst 4.5 miles of estuary, wetland, tidal pond and ocean. The property encompasses more than 500 acres, which itself is set within more than 2,000 acres of protected and sparsely settled landscape in coastal Downeast Maine. The residency can only be reached through effort and by following a 1.5 mile trail through the woods.

Here is the chance to face elemental living: how to stay warm, how to gather water, how to question your life and how to find your better self. By living with these fundamentals, residents have the opportunity to gain insights into the larger systems of life and to contemplate their own place in the world.

Experienced and enthusiastic applicants will receive much from this residency: encouragement on your life journey, time and solitude to explore ideas and skills, the joy and challenge of living with less, the fulfillment of living in a healthy, wild place with real challenges. Although geographically remote, Dickinsons Reach offers an abundance of possibility: wildness, cultural richness, cell phone access, and an engaged community of practice around folk crafts, boat building, local agriculture and more.

There are opportunities in this residency to experience solitude, although the resident(s) will not be isolated. In addition to time at the homestead, the resident(s) will be invited to meet Dickinsons Reach community members from around the country, who now steward the land and legacy. Before and after the residency, we invite you to spend time with our community across New England to expand the network of reciprocity and build upon each other’s work.

Enthusiastic learners will realize the enormous benefits of this opportunity. What matters to us is your intention and vision. For those well-suited to this opportunity, this will be a chance to receive important examples in how to live and how to serve, to see close-up a 50-year experiment in living, and to be in service to others and to your own dreams and aspirations.

This homesteading residency is for experienced and skilled people of any age. You will need significant experience in the following areas to take advantage of this residency: capability with small boats on open water, living alone or in small groups, living without indoor plumbing, and an ability to work within a collaborative DIY culture. Ideal applicants will be at a point in their lives when time to reflect, write and to consider examples of other ways of living could be especially transformational to their future.

The residency entails reciprocal benefits that flow to both the chosen applicant and to our community. The resident receives the personal experience of the 4-6 weeks spent at Dickinsons Reach. The expectation is that you complete a service project while you are living at Dickinsons Reach, and that you share your experiences of the homesteading residency with our community through whatever ways best suit you. Intentional opportunities will be created for you during and after your residency to share your experience by connecting with our community in their homes.

Opportunities for the Dickinsons Reach homesteading residency occur within these windows and will be considered on a case-by-case basis:

  • 2017 Winter Residency January 1 – March 31 (applications due October 1)  FILLED
  • 2017 Spring Residency April 1 – June 30 (applications due February 1)  FILLED
  • 2017 Summer Residency July 1 – August 15 (applications due April 1)
  • 2017 Fall Residency September 15 – November 15 (applications due July 1)

Application Process:

First, visit our website (if you haven’t already) at Insearchofsimplicity.net.

Second, communicate through a letter explaining how this residency serves you on your personal journey and serves us in our journey to care for Dickinsons Reach and to advance the legacy of William Coperthwaite. Your willingness to fully embrace its potential and to share your learning and observations with us and others is very important.

We offer this residency as an exchange; we share the place and the recipient shares their skills and experiences. You will be expected to complete a service project while there, share your learning and experiences with others, and bear your expense of travel and food. Please write to the Dickinsons Reach community, care of Peter Forbes (peter at peterforbes.org), Peter Lamb (peterlamb at kneetoknee.com), JoAnna Allen (jowooallen at verizon.net), and Melanie Wehrwein (melanie_wehrwein at hotmail.com). Regular mail to Peter Forbes at 700 Bragg Hill Road, Waitsfield, VT 05673.