In a world of commercialized arts and entertainment, The Center at High Valley is a place where homegrown arts and celebrations flourish. We offer informal circles for poetry, storytelling, singing and crafts, where everyone is welcome and can participate. We also host house concerts, jook joints, dramatic performances and earth-centered celebrations. (See page on Celebrations). Organically, over time, and somewhat to our surprise, we have evolved into a joyful, always-changing unintentional community very much in the open, eclectic spirit of High Valley School (1945-1992) founded by Douglas’s parents, Olga and Julian Smyth. (See History).
A wide variety of local groups—church, pagan, not-for profit—also hold retreats and events of their own here, enjoying the indoor spaces and the grounds, a particularly pleasing confluence of hills and lake, a labyrinth in a sunken meadow, and acres of wooded trails. (See Rentals.)
Located on a back road in the lush countryside of the Mid-Hudson Valley, the grounds are rich in extensive flower gardens that Olga created and tended for over sixty years. We are currently in the process of establishing organic vegetable gardens where we will apply the principles of permaculture where possible. We are dedicated to preserving open, green space.
Full-time residents include: Douglas Smyth, a passionate gardener who manages the forestland. A retired academic, Douglas holds a Ph.D. in social sciences. Douglas’s wife, Elizabeth Cunningham, is an award-winning novelist (See Elizabeth Cunningham), as well as an interfaith minister and counselor in private practice (See Elizabeth's Counseling). Debbie Stone is a lifelong educator, who co-directed the School with Olga Smyth. Wahaba has just joined the community: a poetry group regular, academic and bookstore part-timer, we look forward to whatever contributions to High Valley she can offer.
We have no paid staff. All donations go to preserving this unique beloved place.
The Center at High Valley is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization with a broad mandate. All donations are tax deductible and received with gratitude and joy. (See Membership)
Enjoy your visit to our site.
- High Valley's Calendar
- Calendar of events at High Valley
- Short History of High Valley
- The history of High Valley begins when Olga and Julian bought the run-down farm in 1945.
- Directions to High Valley
- Directions for how to reach High Valley
- Contact Me and Links
- contact, links
- Our House
- Our House for sale is a passive-solar envelope with geothermal properties and wonderful seclusion, on protected land.
- Elizabeth Cunningham's Books
- Elizabeth Cunningham's books are show-cased here, as well as some of her poems relevant to High Valley.
- Elizabeths Counseling
- Elizabeths counseling practice, as described by her.
- Beltane Ritual
- Beltane ritual traditions have something to do with the way we celebrate it at High Valley.
- There is something about High Valley that is best described as feng-shui.
- The Land of High Valley
- The land doesn't belong to us as much as we belong to each other; this is an encomium of the land by Elizabeth Cunningham, and what it means to us.
- Donations on the Membership page keep High Valley green.
- Earth-centered Celebration
- Earth-centered celebration marks the wheel of the year, and other significant events.
- Gods and Goddesses
- At High Valley we refer to gods and goddesses a lot; it's a way of thinking about the world around us.
- Funeral Rituals
- Funeral rituals vary widely, especially among pagans; Christians and others have more standardized practices..
- Pictures of High Valley
- Pictures of High Valley
- The Labyrinth at High Valley
- We built the labyrinth from a pencil sketch, using all local materials.
- Fall Color at High Valley
- Fall color at High Valley
- High Valley Newsletter
- High Valley Newsletter summarizes last year's events.
- High Valley Community Forum
- Occasional contributions submitted by members of the High Valley Community.
- Occasional Notes
- Occasional Notes added by members of the community from time to time