Joy and Merlin Fox, in 1979, knew this 40 aerial acre nook by the Devil’s Den State Park near Fayetteville was home even though it fit none of the specifications that they thought they were looking for. They set up a tent, built a mailbox, dug a latrine and a composting bin, and began the construction of a small “cobb” village out of clay, sand and straw. Merlin Fox died of cancer in 1985 but Joy continues to run the retreat and focus on “yoga, vipassana meditation and dance, as well as a sanctuary for individual retreatants”.
The houses are free flow, creative and colorful works of art all built by hand, and are also low tech. Only one building houses flushing toilets; the rest are composting toilets. There are showers in two structures including the jacuzzi room and everyone is expected to adhere to a vegetarian diet while visiting. All food scraps go in the composting bins where deer and other animals scavenge occasionally.
Sights and activities include a mediation greenhouse-like structure, scattered landings around the property for meditation, and a creek bed, where slate walls surround you and according to Joy “powerful energy fields exist.” But pay attention! There are no markings or designated paths to follow out or back.