It was a hunting lodge, then a steak restaurant, then a failed golf resort.
In 2006, the massive lodge on Granath mesa north of Dolores received a breath of fresh air when the Center of Light arrived, a national organization of mystic Christians.
The 30-acre property was christened the Sophia Peace Center and began hosting spiritual events and conferences, some open to the public. It underwent a major expansion and upgrade in the following years and acquired nearby cottages that were remodeled for guests.
But last year, Center of Light, an order of the Christ Sophia Catholic faith, decided to move the mission to Santa Fe, N.M. However, they are staying committed to the Sophia Peace Center they own in Dolores, and hired management consultant Elaine Chick to promote and organize the business venture.
The center will continue to offer retreat services for all variety of programs and conferences, she assured, but will pursue the venture on a more full-time basis.
“They realized that teaching their faith and focusing on that mission was more important than running a retreat business, so we teamed up,” Chick says. “We continue to cater to spiritual organizations and nonprofits, family reunions and weddings. But we also want to expand the business clientele to include the corporate market.”
The impressive property, with its hallmark lodge and natural setting on the mesa, includes a large new guest house and upgraded dormitory.
“The beauty and quality of this venue is amazing,” Chick says. “It’s a turnkey operation for clients. We provide gourmet meals, very comfortable accommodations, meeting rooms and meditation areas to get their deep work done.”
The Peace Center has 25 rooms and can handle 65 overnight guests. There is a 125-person chapel, a dormitory, a bar, a guest house and nice grounds, which include a labyrinth.
“It is an exact replica of the one at the Chartres Cathedral in France,” Chick says. “Experiencing the labyrinth is a form of walking meditation, a mindfulness exercise.”
The Peace Center hosts a variety of events and retreats and is non-denominational. Motorcycle groups have booked overnight stays, retreats for meditation, massage and yoga are popular, and the plan is to attract more businesses for corporate retreats.
“We’re open to hunting groups as well, or recreation groups. We’re open to all,” Chick says. “We have a lot of space and can handle two groups at a time.”
The minimum group size is 15. Single overnight stays are not offered. Rates start at $129 per person per night, which includes accommodations, three meals per day, and use of the venue. In the winter off-season, prices go down.
Shuttle service to and from the airport is available. Group tours of area attractions are also provided.
The Peace Center has hosted school graduations for Southwest Open High, and is ideal getaway for teacher training. The natural surroundings attracts a writing group from San Juan College and the dark night skies bring in astronomy groups. Chiropractors and doctors hold retreats at the Center as well.
“We’re booked April through September. There is so much love put into the food and taking care of our guests,” Chick says. “People are blown away by the energy and quality of the place.”
For more information, contact Elaine Chick at (970) 882-4920.