Heathcote FAQs – general

Where is Heathcote located?

Heathcote is in a narrow creek valley in Freeland, Maryland. The property is about a mile south of the Maryland state line with Pennsylvania. For directions, look here.


When can I visit? Can I come any time?

Heathcote accepts non-member visitors mostly by arrangement. Overnight visitors include overnight travelers who have come from a distance, researchers, and some non-resident members, always by arrangement. Arrangements are made by our on-site contact form, or through the sponsorship of a resident member responsible for them. Visitor Days are held usually the third Sunday of each month in March through December. Visitor arrival is usually just before 1pm, but times may vary depending on event planning. See Visitor Day page for details.


Are there better times to come?

Weather and resident and task availability is always a factor. There is much less public involvement during the coldest days of winter in January and February, while larger groups and more events tend to happen in the summer. Check our website periodically for events and updates.


Is Heathcote a non-smoking space?

We request you not smoke while at Heathcote outside of designated areas.


Can I bring children on my visit to Heathcote?

Children are a resident presence here, and families with children are welcome.


Can I bring pets to Heathcote?

We ask visitors not to bring pets for short-term visits. Some members have pets, but this is arranged on a case-by-case basis, depending on the animal and purpose.


Do I need to bring food to Heathcote?

Heathcote members do not share meals except on special occasions. On Visitor Days and for organized events, we usually provide snacks and drinks to participants.


Is Heathcote’s public space available to other organizations or events, such as seminars and retreats?

Heathcote has specific partnerships, such as for retreats and special projects. We are open to developing other arrangements as well as in mutually supporting activities. While our mill space is under reconstruction, we will only have outdoor events.


Does Heathcote have a staff?

There is no staff. Resident members pledge to contribute 5-9 volunteer hours of work to Heathcote projects every week, in addition to paying rent and fees. Most residents hold jobs off-land or have other sources of income. Non-resident members also fulfill many roles as volunteers or project partners.


Do you ever need volunteer leaders/organizers for Visitor Days or other events?

Heathcote couldn’t exist without volunteers and donations. The contributions of non-resident members, interns, and volunteers from the general public are vital in sustaining infrastructure and programing. Many former members occasionally provide services, on a paid and unpaid basis, and Heathcote has worked with many partner projects over the years.


Do I need to come to Heathcote to volunteer?

Many people help out at a distance. These can be formal projects, the bulk of which is done at home, to simply participating in a crowd-funding drive or showing up for a short time at a farm stand.


Is Heathcote accessible by car and public transportation?

Heathcote is in a rural area near Freeland and Maryland Line, Maryland. Heathcote is at the end of a narrow access road. It is less than 2 miles from the interstate 83 exit, making it remote but still car commuter convenient; Unfortunately, there are no local or long-distance bus stops nearby nor in the nearby towns of Freeland and Maryland Line. For more details, see directions.


Is Heathcote accepting new residents and members?

We have room available in some shared residencies. See housing for details. We are always accepting non-resident members.


How many people live at Heathcote and how many non-resident members do you have?

Heathcote has 4 adult human residents and 2 children.


What is the weather like at Heathcote?

Heathcote is in a coastal inland area, at an altitude of around 700 ft.. During the summer, Heathcote gets hot but is not as warm as Baltimore. It is humid, averaging over 60% in the summer, with frequent but not regular summer rain for the past couple of years. Due to the creek that runs past the mill, Heathcote has also been increasingly subject to occasional seasonal flooding during the spring, sometimes isolating residents by blocked roads for the day.

According to bestplaces.net, July is the hottest month here, but it is still cooler than most places in Maryland. The number of high heat days is rapidly rising in this area as it is elsewhere, but averages 18 a year overall. The most pleasant months are September, June, and May. January sees the coldest nighttime temperatures here, averaging 21 degrees Fahrenheit during that month, which is colder than most places in Maryland. On average per year, there are 114 nights here that fall below freezing. https://www.bestplaces.net/climate/zip-code/maryland/freeland/21053



Who owns Heathcote?

The Heathcote property is owned by the School of Living land-trust, which granted Heathcote a 99-year lease. Heathcote, in combination with private owners, owns the physical structures and developed property sitting on that land.


Is Heathcote or the Heathcote Education Center a 501(c)3 non-profit?

Heathcote is a private for-profit entity, but School of Living (SOL) is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Heathcote Education Center is a fiscally sponsored project of School of Living. This means that donations to HEC, which owns the mill and funds the Activities Center and outdoor semi-public spaces are tax-deductible through the School of Living trust.


What is Heathcote’s mission and purpose?

Heathcote Education Center continues the School of Living missions of educational and social activities that include our residents and neighbors, enabling a space that is pleasing and healing through growing nutritious food and living in a healthy environment. Heathcote and its sponsored programs address land management; racial, gender, LGBT, and environmental justice, improving physical, social, and personal access for those of other-abilities. Heathcote is dedicated to eventual BIPOC member transition. Heathcote aspires to provide a place promoting safety and a feeling of belonging, while developing structures and tools to individual and collective transformations.


How do you make decisions?

Heathcote is member governed.


Is Heathcote affiliated with or follow any specific religious organization or spiritual path?

Neither Heathcote community nor Heathcote Education Center and its activities have any religious or spiritual affiliation, though religious or spiritual groups are welcome to participate in retreats and events. Heathcote is a multi-faith project informed by a variety of religious beliefs and experiences, including rejection of all deisms and religions.


What kind of diet do people at Heathcote eat?

Heathcote is mostly vegetarian or vegan, but individual residences may have their own agreements. Current residents of Polaris are vegan, as are those in the FarmHouse residence.


Can Heathcote accommodate my disability on a visit?

Heathcote is making efforts to make the land safer from covid and physical hazards and more accessible to those with physical limitations. In 2023, we intend to install new lighting in our parking area, to install a temporary handicapped ramp to the mill, and to install an accessible public bathroom. Some parts of Heathcote property are in a steep, wooded area with rudely built trails that some here with physical limitations find difficult. The center is on flat land and the FarmHouse has an other-abled resident. The residences, the FarmHouse and Polaris, are accessible by car. For visitors and residents, in many cases accommodations have been made for physical limitations. When in doubt, signal your disability when contacting us about visiting so we can arrange something to help you.


Can I charge my electric car at Heathcote?

There are out-door outlets at Heathcote, including in front of the mill, but they may not be convenient for extended charging. They are not in our parking area. The nearest public charging stations are the Tesla station in York, PA and a general charging station in Sparks, MD, on the north edge of Baltimore, MD.


Do you have virtual tours?

We announced our first virtual tours in the winter of 2023. We may host more in the future.


Can I camp out at Heathcote?

We regret that due to zoning enforcement and neighbor complaints, visitors are no longer allowed to camp at Heathcote.