Thank you for consulting the Holden Village FAQ! Many common questions about Holden are answered below. We invite you to contact us with additional questions. Please note that transportation services are always subject to change, and Holden Village is not always notified when bus and other schedules change.
1. How do I get to Holden?
2. How do I get to Chelan without a car?
3. What type of person comes to Holden? Do I have to be Lutheran or Christian to come? Is Holden welcoming to those who have been excluded elsewhere in the church?
4. How long is the average stay?
5. Do you take credit cards?
6. Will my cell phone work? Can I check my e-mail?
7. How can people contact me if there is an emergency?
8. What are meal times like?
9. What are accommodations like?
10. What is expected of me when I’m there?
11. What should I bring or not bring to Holden?
12. Is there programming for children and youth?
13. Can I come in the winter?
14. What if I need medical attention?
15. What if I have special dietary needs?
16. Can I be on staff? For how long?
17. Are alcoholic beverages and/or marijuana allowed?
18. Is there a school at Holden Village?
19. Can I go fishing?
20. Is there a sabbatical option for clergy?
21. Are pets allowed in the Village?
1. How do I get to Holden? Getting to Holden Village is part of the adventure! We are located in the Cascade Mountains of north central Washington state. There are no roads that connect Holden to the rest of the world. We are accessible only by a scenic passenger ferry ride up Lake Chelan (schedule). You can board the boat at one of two locations: the city dock in the town of Chelan, or at Field’s Point Landing further up the lake. Field’s Point, operated by Holden Village, is a U.S. Forest Service concession area with paid parking. Visitors disembark the boat at the port of Lucerne where a bus will be waiting. You arrive at the Village after an eleven mile trip up the mountain switchbacks. Lunch and room assignments will be ready when you step off the bus.
2. How do I get to Chelan without a car? From Seattle, you can travel to Wenatchee by plane, train, bus, or shuttle van. Monday through Saturday, there is an inexpensive commuter bus that departs from Wenatchee’s Columbia bus station to Chelan. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Chelan boat dock. There are also taxis in Wenatchee which will make the 35 mile trip to Chelan, but this can be pricey. For links to all of these resources, see our getting here page.
3. What type of person comes to Holden? Do I have to be Lutheran or Christian to come? The mission statement of Holden Village calls us to “welcome all people into the wilderness.” This means everybody! Guests coming to Holden include a wide variety of singles, couples, and families of all kinds, young, old and in-between. People come from all over the world to rejoice in the unity that is ours in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Race, gender, age, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation or disability are not barriers to our fellowship but rather cause for celebration as we enjoy together the variety of God’s people. While Holden is rooted in the Lutheran Christian tradition, all faith traditions are celebrated and welcomed into this community. Non-Christians can feel comfortable in an atmosphere of mutual acceptance and conversation. We celebrate the unity and diversity of the church, all humanity, and all creation. All are welcome!
5. Do you take credit cards? We accept credit cards at the Registration Office in the Village, in the Holden Store, and for online registration deposits. To pay the remainder of your registration balance when you depart your stay at Holden, you may use Visa, Mastercard, cash, or check. Payments for small items in the Village, such as Art Studio materials, pottery projects, Beanie's Coffee Cart, and the Snack Bar are cash-only.
6. Will my cell phone work? Can I check my e-mail? Cell phones will not work in this remote setting (trust us on this one!). We do have email service, but this is only available to volunteers and staff who are here for three weeks or longer. There are no exceptions to this policy. As satellite communication improves, Holden will continue to respond to new technology. We ask you to leave your cell or satellite phone behind and discover the joy of not being immediately available.
7. How can people contact me if there is an emergency? Please see our contact page for emergency contact procedures.
8. What are meal times like? All meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – are served buffet-style in the Dining Hall. Arrangements can be made for special diets, and healthy snack food (cereal, bread for toast or pb&j sandwiches, fresh fruit, etc.) are available 24 hours a day.
9. What are accommodations like? Most guests are housed in comfortable lodge rooms which can accommodate between 2 and 4 people. Bathrooms are down the hall. Families are typically housed in one room. A limited number of wheelchair accessible rooms are available in summer only. Singles may be asked to share with another person during busy times.
10. What is expected of me when I’m there? There is a great deal of freedom in deciding what you want to do when you are at Holden. Some people spend a lot of time outdoors exploring the wilderness area; others stay close by to take advantage of the outstanding program and educational offerings. You might want to try your hand at one of the many arts and crafts projects or spend time alone reading. All new and returning community members bless this ministry with their presence. We join together daily for worship. Daily worship is usually 20 to 30 minutes long. Sunday worship is slightly longer so that we can gather and enjoy a Eucharist service.
11. What should I bring or not bring to Holden?
Holden provides guests with:
- Linens and Towels
- Laundry Facilities (coin-operated) and laundry soap.
- Cloth Diaper Service - a cloth diaper service is offered through the Holden Laundry for parents with children in diapers. The service provides cloth diapers, waterproof diaper coverings, and a diaper pail. We strongly ask parents of children in diapers to make use of this service during your stay at Holden. The Village cannot effectively dispose of single-use diapers. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Guest Services.
- Camping/Hiking/Fishing Equipment - A limited selection of hiking, camping, and fishing equipment is available for check out in the Village Hike Haus. Please see FAQ #19 for fishing license information.
- Summer clothing should consist of: a warm jacket (summer temperatures still dip into the 40's at night), lightweight casual clothing (summer day temperatures hover in the 70-80s, but can often be hotter), comfortable walking/hiking shoes, and light rain gear. (Please see Winter Visits to learn more about preparing to visit Holden Village during the winter months.)
- Swim Suits - for the Sauna and Jacuzzi
- Bathrobe - bathrooms are located at the end of each guest lodge hallway.
- In addition to your toiletries, we suggest bringing sunscreen, bug repellent, a flashlight/headlamp, and a battery operated alarm clock. (The Holden Store carries a limited number of toiletry items in case you forget something!)
- Cash and Checkbook - The Holden Store and Registration are currently the only places in the Village where credit card payments can be made. The Post Office, Snack Bar (serving ice cream, popcorn, soda, candy, etc. during the summer months), and the Arts and Crafts Studio (for project materials) can only accept cash payments.
- Hair dryers and curling irons (these items strain our hydroelectric plant)
- Cellular/satellite phones
- Disposable diapers (see: Cloth Diaper Service)
- Pets. Due to our remote wilderness location, Holden does not allow guests to bring their pets. However, service animals–trained and certified to perform a specific task for the benefit of a person with a disability–are permitted in the Village. READ MORE
- Firearms: Holden does not allow firearms, including hunting rifles, in the Village or on our transportation. For hunters, please note that Holden also does not transport or store game.
- Illegal drugs (please see FAQ #17)
- Candles and/or incense - these are fire hazards not only to our historic buildings, but also to the surrounding forest.
- GLASS: Due to the recent elimination of glass recycling in Chelan and the nature of Holden’s waste management system, we ask that guests bringing beverages into the Village opt for plastic or aluminum containers or take glass with you at the end of your stay to recycle downlake. Thank you for helping us minimize our negative impact on the environment!
12. Do you have children's and youth programs? Yes! During the summer months, the Narnia, Middle, and High School programs provide activities for kids ages infant to high school each day. Narnia programs (infant through grade five) meets in the morning, and Middle and High School programs meet at a variety of times throughout the day. From September to May, regularly-scheduled children's and youth programming is not available; however, there are many family-friendly activities in which kids and parents can participate. LEARN MORE
13. Can I come in the winter? Yes, Holden is a year-round retreat center. Our average winter community is about 60 to 80 people, and the winter season (December and February-April) offers special opportunities for renewal. (January is reserved for “J-Term” college students.) With our average snowfall of about 270 inches, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and other winter recreations become popular activities. During winter, the Village is not accessible for people with physical disabilities due to the extreme snowfall in Railroad Creek Valley. While children are welcome to visit with their families, there are no children’s programs in winter. READ MORE
14. What if I need medical attention? Holden maintains a basic first aid station staffed by a medic trained in advanced first aid in case a visitor is ill or injured. The Holden Store carries a few over-the-counter medications and first aid supplies. In the event that an incident requires more care than this, please know that evacuations are difficult, expensive, and can take hours to even days in winter. We suggest that those with known medical difficulties consult their physician before coming to Holden. Please bring all personal medications, including extras for any potential delays in departure.
15. What if I have special dietary needs? Our kitchen staff are happy to assist you with any special dietary needs. Before arriving in the Village, please email the Food Services Lead to let them know your dietary needs so that they can plan to prepare appropriate quantities and types of food. Most meals offer a vegan/vegetarian alternative, and we often have gluten-free and dairy-free options. If you have specific dietary concerns, we encourage you to bring food items with you to the Village. Especially during the winter months, we can often provide a space for you to cook, along with ingredients, should your diet require very specific needs. We will do our very best to help you, but we cannot always provide alternative items for every dietary need. Emailing the Food Services Lead in advance of your stay is the best way to ensure that you are well-fed while at Holden. When you arrive in the Village, be sure to stop at the silver counter in the Dining Hall and speak with the Food Services Lead or a Head Cook to let them know you of your needs and that you have arrived.
16. Can I be on staff? For how long? Holden Village has a rich legacy of volunteering. Thousands of men and women of all ages have helped maintain this facility from our very first year to now. Yes, you can join in! Even guests often enjoy volunteering for a few hours during their stay by helping out with dishes, setting tables, housekeeping, kitchen work, and/or gathering firewood. Our needs are always changing and your help is always welcome. LEARN MORE
17. Are alcoholic beverages or marijuana allowed? Any guest over the age of 21 may bring alcoholic beverages into the Village. We request that you limit the enjoyment of these products to your living space or the porch of your lodge. Providing alcohol to persons under 21 or drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is not allowed. Those violating this state law will be asked to leave the Village on the next transport. There are no exceptions to this policy. Because the Village is located on federal land, marijuana is also illegal, and its use will not be tolerated.
18. Is there a school at Holden Village? Yes, the Holden public school is operated by the Chelan School District under state provisions for schools that are remote but necessary. It meets all state educational requirements and credits earned are transferrable. Our kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum meets the educational needs of the children of long-term staff families. We also accept a limited number of boarding students. If you have questions about the school or would like information about becoming a boarding student, contact Staffing.
19. Can I go fishing? Yes! However, you must have a Washington state fishing license. Holden does not issue fishing licenses, so please obtain your fishing license before coming to the Village. Our Hike Haus can give you advice on where to go and has some spin casting poles, fly fishing poles and reels for loan. You are welcome to bring your own fishing gear.
20. Is there a sabbatical option for clergy? Yes! READ MORE
21. Are pets allowed in the Village? Due to our remote wilderness location, Holden does not allow guests to bring their pets. However, service animals–trained and certified to perform a specific task for the benefit of a person with a disability–are permitted in the Village. You must keep your service animal under control at all times. The animals should always be on a leash, harness or other tether, unless this is not possible due to a disability or if the leash or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control. Owners are responsible for picking up after their service animals. If your service animal is a requisite for your visit to Holden Village, please contact the Registrar.