We offer the Unplugged Retreats for those who need a little getaway. Sustainability starts with nourishing your own spirit. Sometimes solitude, or time with a loved one, and beautiful land to explore is all you need. The Residencies are month long sustainable living experiences where you can plug in and bring some of your world along too.
Strawbale Tiny Home:
This rustic cottage is called the Flicker House, named after the birds that nest under the eaves. It is perfect for the frugal traveler, and for those who love the wild outdoors. The specialness of this space is that it has been lovingly hand crafted with natural earthen plasters and repurposed elements. Hang your hat on the tree that supports the sleeping loft. Quench your thirst with delicious filtered rainwater. The passive solar cottage heats itself through harvested sunlight. Sometimes you might want to light a fire in the woodstove. It is privately located on 39 acres in a beautiful high desert environment overlooked by sandstone terraces that beg to be explored. A rustic outhouse with a composting toilet is available nearby. You can hike 40 minutes into the funky artist town of Madrid, or drive 15 minutes to get there. Find some great food in town! Or just enjoy the view out the glass doors. There is a two burner propane stove, a small counter top, and the most essential kitchen ware. There's no plumbing but there is water, soap, and a basin provided to wash up with. The cottage is also stocked with filtered rainwater for drinking.
This cozy cottage has just 180 square feet of indoor space. It's off the grid and free from electricity except for the portable solar panel which charges a light and can also charge anything with a usb plug. No electricity means no refrigerator. We do provide a cooler which works great in the winter. In the summer you may want to bring ice from town. Phone reception won't be good in the house, but may work if you hike uphill a little ways. This place has just the essentials for an opportunity to get away from it all. Come here to enjoy the natural environment, and the warm earthen interior of this handcrafted space. A great place for folks who want to get some dirt under their fingernails.
We are happy to provide privacy for your retreat time, while also being available to orient you to the area and answer any questions you may have. We give tours of the sustainable systems in our demonstration site that last about an hour. We charge $20 for private tours. This is a good way to learn about the integrated sustainable systems that we have been developing at Ampersand for the past decade, and to hear more about Ampersand's story from us, Amanda and Andy, the founders.
Our special tiny home may be your next favorite spot on earth. But it's not for everyone. Please tell us a little about yourself when you inquire. Thanks!
The Tipi Retreat:
Camp within the intimate space of an ancient architecture. Sit around an open fire centered in this 20 foot diameter space. Located privately on 39 acres of beautiful high desert. Sandstone cliffs tower over you and beg to be explored. There are two double futons in this large space, and room for a few more folks to borrow our sleeping pads or just curl up on the carpeted floor. Bring your own camping gear like sleeping bags, cookstoves, flashlights, etc.
Outhouse with composting toilet
This Strawbale Cottage is the first structure that we built at Ampersand, and we lived in it for four and a half years. Our favorite elements are the earthen walls, the layered wood slab ceiling that reminds us of a beaver dam, and the special sunrise window. This structure was lovingly crafted out of earth from this site, salvaged materials, and straw grown and baled in Colorado. Living in this house informed our sustainability journey, and gave us a sense of abundance that comes with simple elegant design. The many people who have lived in it since have also fallen in love with the space.
We have designed our sustainable systems to make it easy to live consciously with our resources. Our site is a living system in itself; plants growing, water flowing, people working, the sun heating everything we need it to. We find it a great privilege to live within this beautiful land with it's rich history of ancestral puebloan use. Usually people find renewal in how the essentials of life here feel so abundant. We find that it's easy to live on 5 gallons of rainwater a day. We smile with every solar cooked meal. The Sustainable Living Residency is an opportunity to live this low impact life and have a great time doing it. This is a place to grow one's intimacy with the earth and the rain and the sun. This is a place that can give you a life that revolves around the rhythms of the environment. And there's electricity and wireless internet so that you may carry on the life that you came from.
There is a lot to gain from a taste of this lifestyle, and it requires certain attention from the residents. For example, you will learn to only turn on lights that you are using, and to monitor the level of power in the photovoltaic system while you use your laptop on a long winter night. This place asks of you to pay attention to what you pour down the drain. Salts, solids, and products with sodium are limited in order to keep the plants in the greywater system healthy. In the winter you will notice that it takes a few hours of direct sun for the water to heat up. You will learn that opening and closing the insulated curtains is essential to keeping your space at a comfortable temperature, and you will be impressed with the comfort. If you want to know what it means to live off-the-grid in a conscious way, this is a great opportunity.
At the beginning of the residency we will give you a tour of the site, and show you how all the systems work. We will be available to answer your questions and provide training on using the solar cookers. We will want to hear about your goals for your time at Ampersand and give you the privacy you need. We want to support you in your journey towards sustainability and resilience in your own life, and will be around to discuss options and avenues. We can also discuss volunteer projects for your time with us. There are always ways to contribute to this place with one's loving care.
The sustainable living residencies are month long experiences. You may choose to stay for more than one month.