Guest Book & Reviews


A beautiful place to enjoy our honeymoon! We enjoyed our stay here immensely: soaking in the hot tub, relaxing in the the sauna and walking the beautiful land here. Thank you, David and Joanna, very much, for your thoughtfulness. We hope to return. ~ 5/30/11Randall & Marcella, Maine

This truly was the perfect place to stay. We both needed peace and quiet. The location couldn’t have been more perfect. The energy was healing and helped to regroup and center ourselves. Thank you Joanna and David for your kindness. Thanks for creating this beautiful, wonderful, peaceful place. It was healing, relaxing, comfortable and welcoming. Floating on the water in the canoe was refreshing. We were greeted by a red fox today. Your banana bread was delicious. Your love and kindness was definitely felt. Thank you again. ~ 7/9/11 Louis and Ginny, CT & NY

Todd and I are deeply grateful for our time here. We unwound. A week isn’t enough to do justice the area and spend time soaking, breathing, sorting through. We’ve had a very difficult past year. It’s been quite overwhelming…One day at a time works, but at some point one has to recognize the patterns of loss, grief and redemption. Light Heart Retreat supported this process as we had time and space to talk, laugh, cry and make plans…We hope that everyone after us enjoy this place as much as we did. Many, many thoughtful touches and our needs were anticipated in advance–very nicely done!
With gratitude. ~ 7/13/2011 Elizabeth & Todd, NY

We’ve had a wonderful week here! Swimming in the quarry, reading on the deck, cooking sea food dinners and just relaxing. What a comfortable, beautiful place you guys have created. We will certainly spread the word at home. Highlights were kayaking at sunset from Hancock point, biking around Schoodic, hiking the Precipice trail, cooking at eating lobsters we bought locally, and hiking Dorr and Cadillac mountains…I loved the sweet window seat as a breezy place to read and nap… Many thanks to Joanna and David for their hospitality! 7/23/11~ Lynn, Steve & Hanna, NC

We came to Maine this week to have a quiet week away from the true hustle/bustle of our daily lives in the city after dropping our youngest son off at a sleep away camp. We had struggled with what kind of vacation to take. Should we stay close and visit the Cape or make the drive north to a more remote place? Light Heart Retreat and the Huckleberry cottage have provided a very quiet and thoughtfull week for us. We’ve read lots, cooked every meal (a treat for busy working parents), biked around Schoodic Point and Hancock Point. We hiked in Acadia and most thrillingly at the Black Mountain Loop trail in East Sullivan. We only saw two other hikers and we were rewarded with a view more spectacular than Cadillac–without a crowd. When we got to the bottom we swam in Donell’s Pond. Best Finds: Sullivan Smoked Fish Market and Barter Family Gallery. The hot tub has been a lovely treat that we enjoyed daily. I know that when we return to our daily busy lives we’ll draw strength from the quiet and nature we soaked in while here. Many thanks. 7/31/2011~ Susan & David, MA

I just wanted to thank you again for allowing us to spend our vacation time at Blackberry Cottage.  It was all I hoped it would be and more.  I received many blessings while there…(personal content) We had searched for weeks for just the right place to spend our vacation.  I was adamant than it be somewhere quiet and peaceful.  When Vinny found it and the name was Light Heart Retreat, I thought it meant to be and was hopeful.  It was more than I expected and at times was overwhelmed by my experiences and emotions while there, but it was just what I needed – what we needed!!!!! exerpt from an email 9/29/13 from A.B. Florida

Here are some reviews from our former advertiser and entries from the Blackberry Cottage guest book with more to come as I get them typed up from the guest book.

Oct 15, 2016 ~ First time to Maine

The cottage was everything that Joanna advertised and more. She provided us with a nice treat upon arrival and even went out of her way to make a gluten-free treat for my wife. Very classy. The property is nestled in the woods just off a spur road and is very quiet. The cottage is right off the quarry where the morning reflections were wonderful. The cottage was clean and the bed was very comfortable. The kitchen is well stocked with the necessary items to cook meals and relax. I would highly recommend this property for two people wanting a nice getaway. It is located near both Schoodic as well as Acadia NP. The drive to both places is picturesque and easy. Thank you Joanna for a wonderful experience. ~Jim S., New Mexico.

Sep 4, 2016 ~ Reconnect with Nature

My wife and I rented the Blackberry Cottage for one week and had a very relaxing time away from our hectic city life. We enjoyed walking through the forest, swimming in the quarries or just sunbathing on the granite terrace in front of our cottage. We did venture into the beautiful surrounding areas several times, but couldn’t wait to return to the retreat every time. Joanna is a wonderful host and the cottage is perfect for a couple in need of recharging their batteries and re-connecting with nature. ~Bogdan B., New York

Aug 20, 2016 ~ A Place to Renew Body, Mind and Spirit

If  you love quiet walks, reading by the water in an Adirondack chair, or swimming in crystal clear quarry – this is the right place for you. My wife and I rented the Blackberry cottage the first week of July, 2016. We arrived exhausted after changing jobs and selling our house, but the peace and beauty of this place gradually did its work and we emerged renewed and happy. This place has a magical feeling with granite sculptures scattered around the quarry and a stone circle reminiscent of Stonehenge. Ask for directions to the meditation hut overlooking the second quarry. The cottage is cozy and comfortable with everything you need for cooking. The owner, Joanna, is a lovely soul who greeted us our first night with her homemade banana bread. She is very helpful with directions to restaurants, hikes, and stores. We enjoyed swimming in Donnell Pond and hiking up the nearby Black Mountain which has views as good as Acadia National Park without the crowds. But, if you want to hike in Acadia, it’s just a 40 minute drive. ~Rand W.

Aug. 20, 2016~ A Beautiful, Peaceful Spot (infused with Joanna’s warmth and kindness)

We arrived at Blackberry Cottage exhausted and sleep-deprived (after selling our home and in the process of moving to a new city). Joanna, lovely soul that she is, received us with abundant hospitality and made sure we had everything we needed. The cottage overlooks two quarry ponds and is a perfect spot to relax and renew; we spent a week there and would gladly have spent another. Swimming, hiking, blackberry picking in the area, biking around the Schoodic Peninsula and visiting the Schoodic Environmental Research Center, driving over to Acadia and then coming home to a quiet retreat spot — what could be better? ~Sue W.

Jul 19, 2016 ~ Perfect in Every Way!

My husband and I arrived at the Light Heart Retreat exhausted. With aging parents, and children just starting off on their own, this was our first vacation without family since, well it seems like forever! I mention this because you should know that our expectations and hopes for this getaway together were very high, possibly unfairly so. And, WHOA!! The Light Heart Retreat and Joanna’s loving care went far beyond our hopes and dreams for a restorative, restful, and relaxing week away. We arrived with no difficulty, thanks to Joanna’s superb directions, and the Huckleberry Hideaway was prepared and waiting for us. Joanna gave us some time to get unpacked and arrived to show us exactly how to use the hot tub (Ahhhhh…) and the wood stove (mmmm…), and give us a general lay of the land. I’ll admit that I half-suspected she may have made the rain stop and done her magic to keep the remainder of our stay sunny and 75-80 degrees, despite the forecast for a week of chilly and grey weather! As other reviewers have noted, the cottage was exactly as described. There was nothing that wasn’t available just as expected. The property was clean and everything functioned perfectly. A few steps beyond our cottage was a stunning quarry with lilies in bloom, chairs to watch the water, and a fire pit. Beyond that we found the library housed in a small cabin filled with everything from novels to books on meditation, healing, gardening, and all manner of peaceful pursuits. We didn’t try the sauna or the canoe on this visit but I’m confident we will next time! There is also a very private quarry on the property that is amazing and even has a screened meditation hut to keep out the bugs! It was delightful. Don’t let the “distance” from Acadia and the more populated areas dissuade you from staying at the Light Heart Retreat! Joanna showed us a short cut that allowed us to make the trip to Bar Harbor in 30 minutes. We visited restaurants there and in Ellsworth without any trouble or any traffic. We also spent four days out of our week hiking the trails in Acadia and after some very strenuous climbing and hikes, there was nothing better than coming “home” to our personal hot tub and the quiet of staying off the beaten path. Joanna, thank you! You were a gracious hostess and made us feel so welcome. We can’t wait to see you again next year! Warmest wishes, Sarah & Brian

Aug. 24, 2014 ~ An Oasis of Tranquility in our Fast-paced World

About 2 years ago I took a job at a startup. The hours were long, the pace frenetic, but the mission was amazing; truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. After that opportunity concluded, I resolved to find a peaceful spot in Maine to recharge my battery and reconnect to myself in between jobs; which is how I ended up on Joanna and David’s doorstep one Sunday for a weeklong stay at the Blackberry cabin. There are many things to commend the cabin, and the retreat more broadly to you if you are seeking peace. Joanna and David provide fabulous hospitality (they delivered fresh vegetables from the garden to us several times). The retreat location is essentially equidistant from Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor; having spent a week previously in Bar and Northwest Harbor I was astonished at how remote and gorgeous Winter Harbor is on a long run. the Retreat itself is fantastic – there are plenty of fun things to do right there, be it swimming in the quarry on summer morning, canoeing in the quarry, enjoying the amazing wood fire sauna, or standing in the stone garden. To my mind, the retreat is the ideal place to go if you want to be close to Bar Harbor but not TOO close; it affords you the option to explore more remote, less bustling (and commercialized) parts of Maine while also allowing for you to go nowhere at all. I would be remiss if I didn’t note that David and Joanna have gone out of their way to shape the natural beauty of the area to foster a harmonious space. David in particular seems to have a deep affinity for stone that I’ve not encountered anywhere else. If natural beauty is what resonates with you, I’d encourage you to consider a stay here. ~ Dave U., D.C.

Aug 20, 2012 ~ Sunset from the Standing Stone Circle

What a beautiful and relaxing place, we loved staying at the Blackberry Cottage! Swimming in the quarry’s was fantastic, only thing better was to combine it with the sauna. Watching the sunset from the standing stone circle was our favorite way to end the day, a camp fire was the perfect ending to the night. Joanna and David were perfect hosts…Thank you! John & Alyona<ny

Jul 29, 2012 ~ Regroup, Rejuvenate, Rejoice

Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us. We enjoyed every second of our stay at BBC and it is most certainly a blessing to enjoy such tranquility at Light Heart Retreat. I am humbled by the surroundings of this breathtaking place. It definitely helped me regroup, rejuvenate and rejoice in the place I have in this world and my capacity. Thank you for all that you both do and continue to create at Light Heart Retreat. We are definitely the lucky ones to have discovered this relaxing retreat and to have met you both! Blessings to you for the journey ahead. So glad to have crossed paths with you. We will be back. ~ Razia and Ahmad, NY

Jul 29, 2012 ~ Majestic Granite, Still Waters, Sweet Air

We are departing the Blackberry Cottage with energy and joy. The Retreat was exactly the place; with its majestic granite, still waters and sweet-smelling air, to unwind and forget about the rushing, bustling city. Although we did not get to spend much time with you; we have a sense of the people you are and understand why this Retreat has given us the opportunity to reconnect with nature and find serenity. We look forward to coming back someday soon. A lake is the landscapes most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye, looking into which the beholder measures the depth of this own nature. Thoreau. Until next time, thank you. ~ Pericle and Emily, NY

Sep 6, 2009~ A Well Equipped Cottage

Our stay at BBC, so unbelievable! Never have we seen any cottage so thoughtfully equipped. The views, serenity, so great, beautiful and spectacular!! Where else can you go to in a hop, skip and jump and view the sunset and another hop, ski and jump to watch the moon come up? Our 3 day workshop with Raymon Grace was well worth it. Going home armed with new ways to enhance our live and those around us. You are special hosts and have put new meaning in the words, care & comfort. Kathy V., MA

Jul 4, 2009 ~ A Poem from the Fairy Queen

We love being here, our home away from home. Love meeting new friends, human and gnome. We saw fairies in the trees, Heard celestial music on the breeze. In the quarry the bullfrogs roared, Ravens screeched and eagles soared. Someday we’ll be back again and we’ll try to avoid the rain! ~ Holly Clarke, NH

Oct 12, 2008 ~ An Autumn Visit
This is truly a special place. From the freshly baked zucchini bread that greeted us in our cottage to the muscle relaxing warmth of the sauna that was ready for us upon our return from a day of hiking in Acadia, David & Joanna provided an unmatched respite from every day life. We loved sitting by the water at night with a little fire raging and we loved watching the colors of the sunset which could only match the colors of the autumn foliage as sat on a granite bench at the edge of the stone circle. We will be singing your praises and the praises of Light Heart to our friends and family and we hope to come back soon for another recharge of our bodies, minds & souls. ~ Sivan B., M.A.

August 31, 2008 ~ Nothing Happens by Accident…

One of the first things David said to us after we arrived was, “Nothing happens by accident” That has certainly been true in our finding this little piece of heaven. The grounds are so tranquil and both of your are blessings. We leave here rejuvenated and feeling like we have made new friends. Thank you for inviting us into your home, sharing your delicious pies and making it possible for us to meet Lauren & David. We can’t wait to come back again! Natalie & Lance, MA & GA

August 31, 2007~ Adam & Eva In The Garden
Your home was more of a peaceful paradise than we imagined. The five nights we spent here just were not enough and we’re already talking about coming back. All the little extras (that meant so much) that you took your time to do really made us feel welcome. Thank you for everything! ~ Adam & Eva, NJ (1st visit)

Aug 10, 2007 ~ Passed too Quickly!

Another perfect week at the Blackberry Cottage. The deck you have added is wonderful! The calm and tranquility here is a blessing. Ahh…the library…so many wonderful books to choose from A one week stay here as passed far too quickly. Thanks again for sharing Light Heart Retreat. Debbie C., ME

Jul 28, 2007 ~ Frog Songs
Lovely, peaceful, quiet, spot to relax! We’ll remember the chorus of frogs through the night, with our favorite, Alphonse. Thank you for sharing this special place. Cheryl W. & Jim, PA

Nov 24, 2006 ~ Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful for Thanksgiving week spent at Light Heart! Thankful for David & Joanna to share the privacy, open their home on a holiday, meet family (Dick & Jane). I can’t thank you enough, thank you. Each person following us that stays here will find ways to fulfill each day, but let me say each day here at home is as great as a mountain, shore or restaurant. Best restaurant was here at the Blackberry with lobster, clams, wine and open fire with stars as the show. The whole week was special. See ya soon. Brian S. & Eleana, NY