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“Ideal Week” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sewall House Yoga Retreat

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Sewall House Yoga Retreat
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1027 Crystal Road, Box 254, Island Falls, ME 04747   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Island Falls B&B and Inns
GreenLeadersSilver level
Lincoln, Massachusetts
1 review
“Ideal Week”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2012

This was our first visit to Sewall House and it will not be our last. By the end of our week, we felt energized from the excellent yoga instruction (Donna explains things very well and is very patient), the ease and friendliness of Donna, Kent and Inge, and the wholesome food prepared with so much thought and care. We were also fortunate to have outstanding weather! That allowed us to use our bicycles to explore the backroads around Island Falls - a trip out to see the Amish community/store and a circuit knitting a few of the nearby towns.

Our most memorable part of the visit was our night stay in their lake cabin. We took many visits by canoe (15 minute row, maybe?) out to a small rock island to swim and sun on the beautifully warm, soft, flat pieces of stone. The cabin itself is simple and rustic and the lake is quite undeveloped so that you feel you are the only people on the lake. It was the isolated, private setting we were seeking. It was very, very romantic and apart from the seasonal mosquitoes, it could not be more perfect.

So, thank you Donna and Kent for being great hosts! They were fantastic, warm hosts, but also left us to our privacy when we sought it. Very easy and very relaxing. Great, great stay.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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82 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Brooklyn, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2012

I'm a happily returning guest to Sewall House. I met Donna in NYC in 2010, she is my favorite yoga teacher! When I found out she had a retreat in Northern Maine, my curiosity was peaked, I had never been to Maine or to yoga retreat. I drove up from NYC and found myself at peace with the rugged beauty of the area. The house itself is amazing it feels solid, and comforting, and miles away from the concrete jungle I call home.

The yoga classes are tailored and personal; you can be as social or as private as you'd like. The food and yogi tea is so delicious that I feel so spoiled when I am there (pancake breakfast on Sundays!) There are tons of activities to do in between classes: nap, hike, read, sauna, massage.

Donna and Kent are warm and friendly hosts, you feel like you are part of their colorful life when you stay here. I recommend Sewall House to new comers and experienced yogis alike.
Sat nam!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2012

Staying at Sewall house is one of the best ways to rewind and rejuvenate your inside.
The Victorian rooms, variety of books to read and lots of home-made food made the visit very memorable.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2012

We had a wonderful few days in the rustic cabin on the lake. It really was an idyllic experience. Donna and Kent dropped us off by boat with plenty of provisions then it was us and nature; the loons calling, the views out over the lake, the canoe with which to explore the lake and the small outcrop of flat rocks called loon ledge, the face of a baby racoon in the bushes one night. And amazing food delivered to us every day by boat! The perfect balance of peace and reassurance. The cabin is lit by old fashioned oil lamps which give out plenty of light but are also atmospheric and in keeping with the rustic nature of the place. It has running water pumped from the lake and is solidly built and very comfortable. A wonderful romantic getaway or simply a retreat from life as we know it and a way to get back in touch with nature and how things used to be. It was the highlight of our trip and is very much recommended.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sherman Oaks
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2012

You really won't find any place like the Sewall House in this part of Maine. First, the area is not your typical cutesy B&B area. This is northern rural Maine, an area that was once known mostly for timber, potatoes and hunting. There are many beautiful ponds, lakes, streams etc. and Island Falls is near Mt Katahdin. (I have seen a moose standing in Shin Pond at dusk which is about 10 miles away from Sewall House.) That said, you need to be someone who likes to read, play board games, walk in nature or, in the case of Sewall House, do yoga. There is nothing, truly nothing else to do. None of the small towns in the area has anything directed at tourists. From May until sometime in fall, there is a great clam/ice cream shack in Patten (Craig's) and there's a good restaurant, I was told, in Houlton. Most of the rest of the places to eat are small diners in the various small towns. A number of those are actually in place of the standard convenience stores you're used to seeing in gas stations - some are quite good - but they are there to serve the locals and so offer that basic atmosphere only.

Now, for those of you still reading, Sewall House was quite a surprise. When I arrived, there was nothing that indicated that Sewall House was anything other than one of the plain white houses you see all over this part of Maine. And it was a tiny bit confusing to find it from Donna and Kent's directions. Go inside, though, and you'll find a pretty wonderfully restored interior that is true to the period of the house. (late 1800s) The bedrooms are all in great shape with big comfortable beds. And, because the area doesn't really have much in the way of places to eat, Donna and Kent make all the meals...and, boy what a treat those meals are. Kent makes homemade bread and amazing vegetarian meals that are anything but boring. My first night was a cauliflower puttanesca, salad, great seeded bread and chocolate chip cookies. Breakfast was over the top and included eggs scrambled with vegetables and spices, some kind of quinoa dish, yogurt, fruit, granola and a new loaf of whole grain bread and jam.

On the porch there is a place to leave your shoes ("Sewall House appreciates a shoe-free environment") and cats greet you at the door. There are lots of books on the shelves and Donna and Kent will help arrange hikes,canoe and bike rentals, and even pick people up from the airport if you make arrangements for it. You can stay here for the purpose of doing a yoga retreat - Donna has been teaching yoga in New York for years - or just stay in it like a regular B&B. I did a little of both as I was in the area for work.

Yoga is in the heated studio that's attached to the house. The floor is carpeted instead of the traditional hardwood floor but Donna is a very attentive teacher who makes the class work, whatever your level. There is a half-hour meditation offered before yoga begins and all of it happens before breakfast. Coffee and tea are hot, good, and available starting at 7am.

Oh and there is an indoor hot tub and sauna, neither of which I had time to use...

Donna's ancestor built the house and was a well-known hunting guide, even taking Theodore Roosevelt on some of his earliest hunting trips as a young man. In the "library" on the 3rd floor is a small shrine to this ancestor with some historic artifacts that are fun to see.

If I had to identify any downside: I stayed in the house when there was only one other couple in it so, although the bathroom was in the hall, I didn't have to share it with anyone. This house is in great and restored shape but it IS in its original shape which means that, if the Sewall House was fully booked, there might be a challenge with bathroom access.

Donna and Kent can't be more accommodating and fun to talk to. I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MaineAmrita, Owner at Sewall House Yoga Retreat, responded to this review, June 2, 2012
We appreciate all reviews and the description of our beautiful unpopulated area and yoga home.
We want to clarify a few things that may confuse potential yoga retreat guests.

1) Extremely few guests come as, B&B.
Nearly 100% come as a yoga retreat and for the very reason that there is nothing touristy. Our guests want to truly get away from it all and often love to explore nearby nature treasures as well as the Maine and Canadian coast which are within 2 hours. We offer nature and lack of commercialism as a healing getaway.

2) We offer 3 meals a day because we are designed as a Yoga Retreat, listed in many publications like Yoga Journal and Travel & Leisure as one as well as chosen top ten yoga retreat worldwide by Gayot.

3) The bedroom with full bath is on the first floor. There is a full bath in addition on the first, second and third floor, two which were added to serve the retreat guests. Five bedrooms share three baths (only single or double occupancy). Guests have not commented on bathroom issues though they are shared.

4) Sewall House has a sign on the front yard "Sewall House est 1870" and we have recently added a massage and yoga sign as guests have sometimes driven by the house sign. We are also diligent about reminding guests to take exit 276 as GPS can give the wrong directions. We are so easy off the exit sometimes guests do miss our sign but a quick call sets them in the right direction back to us. We say simply on our site if you see the post office you have just passed us!

5) The comment on the carpet in the yoga studio may confuse. This guest did not attend the afternoon Kundalini yoga class, which greatly benefits by the soft surface we deliberately installed and keep sanitary and clean. While many yoga studios have wood floors a carpet is a viable choice. We also have feedback from guests who do our 5 day or longer retreats that they feel more secure doing certain poses with the carpet as their practice progresses (the practice is personalized unlike some larger classes/retreats).

We again thank this reviewer and hope one day she will happily return!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
McLean, Virginia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2012

A friend and I started going on annual yoga retreats a few years back, and this year's retreat was to Sewall House. We spent five fantastic days in the company of Donna and Kent, two warm and talented people who give 200% to make sure that your stay is a truly wonderful experience. They have the logistics of running a retreat down to a fine art, working together seamlessly to serve up delicious vegetarian meals, lead high-quality yoga classes, and make sure guests' surroundings are as comfortable and nurturing as possible. The house itself is historically interesting, having been visited on several occasions by Teddy Roosevelt, and Donna's appreciation for her family's connection to the place and its past are plain to see. Did I mention that Kent is an amazing chef? The food is simple yet wonderfully flavorful, and the smells emanating from the kitchen while he cooks are divine. I bet I said, "That smells SO GOOD" a hundred times. Kent is also a fine musician, and he often played guitar and sang during the afternoon Kundalini sessions. In terms of the general surroundings, there are lots of outdoor opportunities nearby. It was nice to be able to take a hike, go for a boat ride on the lake, or do nothing much at all in a relaxing, scenic atmosphere. A great getaway all around.

Room Tip: In the warm months, third-floor rooms might be too warm for some. On the second floor, the room down...
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Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coplay
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2012

I went to Sewall House last May looking for a place to retreat from life and everyday craziness. Also, I wanted to gain more insight into my yoga practice. The Sewall House was one of the few places that would return my calls, and Donna was a gracious as can be helping me plan my perfect week.
This is the perfect place to completely unwind! We enjoyed great company, laughed for hours, ate delicious and inspired meals, oh and we did fantastic yoga also!
Donna and Kent are two of the kindest people you will ever meet. I left with a feeling that will last a long time, and I can't wait to go back for more!

Room Tip: they are all good rooms and very cozy!
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sewall House Yoga Retreat

Address: 1027 Crystal Road, Box 254, Island Falls, ME 04747
Location: United States > Maine > Island Falls
Amenities:
Free Parking Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Island Falls
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
May through October is the ongoing season- Small personalized Yoga retreat/sauna/massage/healthy meals in an historic Bed and Breakfast in a small (Maine) New England Town, near lakes, hikes,waterfalls, an Amish community nearby, relax, renew. Since 1997- As featured in Instyle, Travel and Leisure, Yoga Journal and Shape. Over 25 years experience in the healing arts, all levels welcome. Owned and operated by veteran yoga instructor Donna Sewall Davidge (Amrita), teaching yoga and meditation since 1985, varied styles including Hatha, Kundalini, Ashtanga. Iyengar, Dharmayoga and vinyasa, some restorative and yoga nidra) Davidge's great grandfather William Sewall was nature guide to a young Theodore Roosevelt here, who healed from asthma and forged a lifelong friendship with his nature guide at Sewall House. Chosen top ten by Gayot worldwide two consecutive years. Come beat the crowds as we design your individualized retreat with you. Ms Davidge also holds a Masters in Nutrition and offers healthy delicious educational meals with guest chefs. Enjoy the natural beauty of northern Maine in this historic B and B reminiscent of a simpler time with all modern amenities. Wifi included. Massage and some outings (bikes/kayaks/hikes) are small additional fees. Sewall House is a great place to do yoga as you step away from the stresses of the challenges and changes of day to day life in modern times. Private rooms only - no dorms or sharing other than double occupancy. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sewall House Yoga Retreat Island Falls, Maine

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