DAVETREK ADVENTURES

Labor Day - Isabella Freedman

Frequently Asked Questions

What you should bring, and more information than you ever really wanted to know...Let us know if anything has been missed of substance….

 

 

Please bring your own chumash/machsor/siddur for the weekend.

 

Also, we run these events at a lower cost by having everyone help out during the event. You will each be assigned duties during your stay. Folks have often told me that is one of the best parts of the weekend (really!) as they often bond well with the folks that they are on duty with...

 

 

 

WHATS MY PHONE NUMBER? WHATS THE ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER OF THIS PLACE?  The address and phone of the Retreat Center are:

 

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center
116 Johnson Road
Falls Village, CT 06031
map
(860) 824-5991
(860) 824-7228 fax

 

The nearest town is Canaan, CT, a few miles down the road, and Hartford is 40 miles away.

 

HOW FAR IS THE PLACE? WHEN SHOULD I LEAVE?

 

The Retreat Center is about 100 miles from Manhattan and 20 miles from Great Barrington, MA the southern part of the Berkshires, in the Connecticut Berkshires, but you are on smaller roads, so don’t think you can do get there in under 2 hrs from anywhere safely. Its about 20 minutes closer than the Shaker Mill many of you know, near the MA border.

 

Here is how long it takes from various locations, without traffic

 

a) Midtown,  Upper West Side, North Jersey, Riverdale, Monsey – 2 hrs  to 2.5 hrs

 

b)  Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan,  Queens, & Long Island  - 2.5 hrs to 3.0 hours.

 

Candle Lighting is 7:13 PM.

 

To make sure you get there at a sensible time, not rushing and coming in 5 minutes before Shabbat, I recommend you leave at 1:30 PM  from Mid and Upper Manhattan and Northern NJ, and 2:30 from Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island. YOU SHOULD NOT LEAVE LATER THAN 2:30 PM FROM ANY LOCATION. Remember, this is the last holiday weekend of the summer, so plan accordingly and come up early!

 

The traffic will only be at the beginning from my experience, ie getting to the Taconic, which is about 30 miles north of NYC. Once on the Taconic, traffic usually moves well, just not at superhighway speeds. See here for the directions.

 

HOW DO I PAY YOU?

 

Please see all the details on the Costs, Deposits and Payments Page. You must pay your deposit to register and your full payment must be sent before you come up to the weekend.

 

 

 

 

WHATS THE WEATHER LIKE? HOW COLD IS IT AT NIGHT?

 

Its too early to tell, though its usually about 5 - 10 degrees cooler at the Shaker Mill than in the NY area during the winter. Dress warmly, though the Mill is well heated, with extra blankets available, and a large fireplace in the main room we congregate in.

 

 

WHAT ARE THE ROOMS LIKE? DO I HAVE A KEY TO LOCK MY ROOM? SHOULD I BRING VALUABLES WITH ME? ARE THERE TV’S OR PHONES IN MY ROOM?

 

The rooms are all in decent condition. Some have been recently renovated, and even the basic  rooms are fine rooms. Also, we are fairly secluded and none of the rooms lock with a key. As a general matter, I would not bring anything very valuable with you, which is a good rule for traveling.

 

DO CELL PHONES WORK THERE? DO THEY HAVE BROADBAND INTERNET/WIFI?

 

CELL PHONES - Unclear, looking into this.

 

The Retreat has wifi in the main building, and two pc’s in a computer room for public use and checking email and the Internet. Please be considerate and do not hog the PCs. Remember, you are on vacation!

 

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING? HOW FORMAL DO I NEED TO DRESS? We are fairly informal – suits are certainly optional, based on what you feel is appropriate for a Shabbat. Please bring clothing for Shabbat, a SIDDUR, CHUMASH, toiletries, and clothing for the days you are there besides shabbat,  reading materials, any games you want to play up there, something for rain since it might rain at some point, and warm clothing. Also, a gemarah if you intend to go to the daf yomi shiur, as well as any clothing for the events you go to on Friday, Sunday or Monday.

 

DOES THE PLACE SUPPLY LINENS, TOWELS, ETC? Yes, they supply bed linens (sheets, blankets), towels and a small bar of soap. You will need to bring anything else you would want to have. Its not a hotel, so they do not clean rooms while we are there. Also, make sure to rip toilet paper in your bathroom, for Shabbat. There may also be a box of Kleenex in the room.

 

DO YOU NEED HELP ON THE WEEKEND?

 

Yes, we do these events only with your help. As such, when you arrive you will see a schedule for everyone to help at one or two meals, so the work gets evenly distributed. There is also need for additional helpers who will get reduced fees. Please see the  main page. Also, let me know your interest on the RSVP Form.  A few people who qualify and can help in advance may be able to get up to 50% off.

 

 

ARE THERE ANY CLASSES/DAF YOMI PERHAPS?CAN I GIVE A DVAR TORAH?

 

Yes, we hope to be having someone leading a Daf Yomi Shiur . Also, if you would like to lead a discussion group on a topic that you have been dying to discuss, let me know! We need folks to volunteer to give dvar torahs at each meal, so volunteer before I draft you! Also, anyone who can give serious, scholarly or popular Shiyurim could get a reduced rate as well. Let me know on the RSVP Form.

 

 

RIDES

 

PLEASE PAY YOUR DRIVER DIRECTLY for gas and tolls. I have come up with a standard rate of $25, OR $12.50 EACH DIRECTION that will cover those costs. Remember, the drivers are doing us a favor, so make sure to settle up with them directly.  Please see the Rides, Buses and Directions page for all details.

 

 

 

Food Issues

What type of kashrus does this place have? What kind of food to they serve?

The food is catered by the  Isabella Freedman Retreat Center. From what people who have attended events, the food is excellent, with great vegetarian options. We will also be having a BBQ and a bonfire on Sunday Night. Here is a sample menu. They have excellent vegetarian food and can take some special dietary requests. Please indicate all of this information on the RSVP Form.

As for kashrus, the kitchen is under the supervision of the main orthodox rabbi in Hartford, Rabbi Adler, the closest major community . I have made inquiries and I am satisfied with the kashrus. Also, several chabad and YU groups have had events here in the last year as well.

Do you cater to vegetarians? What kind of healthy food will you have?

Yes. See the sample menu for details of the succulent food they serve. Also, we will have nash out during the weekend, including a lot of fruit and vegetables throughout.

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF HEALTHY FOOD? FOOD FOR VEGETARIANS? DO YOU HAVE HOT WATER FOR SHABBAT/COFFEE/TEA?

 

We try and accommodate many palates, to the extent possible and to the extent that we are aware of your likes and preferences, on the RSVP Page.

 

We also have several large urns for shabbat, and at least a dozen types of teas, 8 types of hot chocolate, and several types of coffee, including decaf and regular and some flavored coffees.

 

Is there an eruv? What kind of davening will you have? Will there be laining?

 

Yes, one that encompasses the entire main grounds area. There is a glass walled shul and other pictures you can see on the pictures page.  We will have minyans throughout the weekend, and we will have laining as well. Let us know if you can daven and help us out on the RSVP Form.

 

Rooms & Grounds

 

What kinds of rooms are there? Are any handicap accessible?

 

We have 3 types of rooms, Deluxe, Standard and Basic. Some Deluxe rooms are handicap accessible. For all details, visit the Room Details Page.

 

Does the place have air conditioning? Do the rooms have a/c?

Yes, all indoor spaces have air conditioning, including all rooms of any type.

Does the place allow pets?

Sadly, the retreat does not allow any pets, other than those for handicapped individuals.

Can you describe the retreat better?

Here you go, from their site.

Isabella Freedman rests on 450 acres of forested land and lush meadows in the foothills of the southern Berkshires. Our site is nestled at the base of a beautiful forested ridge, which becomes saturated with golden hues every evening during sunset. There are two lakes for boating, fishing, swimming, or simply for contemplation. Well-groomed trails wind around the lakes and stretch into the adjacent forest, connecting after a short distance with the famous Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia.

Entertainment

What is there to do at this place?

Here is a list of amenities on the retreat, which are all included in the price for the weekend -

Visit the Isabella Freedman Activities Page, or see the list of items on the main page for the weekend

What are the plans for Offsite plans for Friday PM, Sunday and Monday?

 

We have a variety of possibilities, depending on people’s interests, from whitewater rafting, boating, hiking, performances, museums, etc. See the main page for details.

 

Return to the main Labor Day Event Page

Go To The RSVP Form