Wander in Peace Through our West Hartford Retreat Center Campus
Copper Beech is located on the idyllic campus of Holy Family Retreat & Conference Center, which has been a refuge for those seeking quiet, contemplation and peace for more than 60 years. Operating independently from the historic Catholic retreat center, we occupy a renovated, handicap-accessible wing of the facility with 210 dedicated beds and access to the space’s stunning grounds.
The campus features lovingly maintained perennial gardens, sculpture gardens, labyrinth and wooded trails. Other amenities available to all our guests include healing art therapies, conference rooms and dining areas. Copper Beech is located minutes from I-84 in West Hartford, CT—a bustling and beautiful town, ranked by Kiplinger's in 2010 as one of the Top Ten Best U.S. Cities for the Next Decade. We are just a 25-minute ride from Bradley International Airport, and 15 minutes from Union Station, Hartford's Train and Bus Station.
Welcome to Copper Beech Institute
The Significance of the Copper Beech Tree
The copper beech tree is an ancient symbol of wisdom, revered throughout the centuries for its unique beauty. Used by the Romans to craft paper, the copper beech came to represent preserving and entrusting revered wisdom to the next generation. This majestic tree creates a dense shade with its distinctive copper leaves, providing a place of solitude and sanctuary for all who slip beneath its branches. In parts of Europe, it was customary to plant beeches at crossroads, making the copper beech a symbol of intersection and decision.
The copper beech is also an image of mindfulness practice, with the tree’s growth expanding outward even as it sinks roots downward. In Autumn, this slow growing tree sends out new growth as it surrenders its leaves—a reminder that life and death are constantly commingled. Four copper beech trees were planted on the grounds of Holy Family Retreat Center and Monastery, the home of the Copper Beech Institute, in 1951 where they continue to flourish today.
The Retreat Center Labyrinth
Nestled in the woods of our beautiful campus is the labyrinth—an ancient symbol of wholeness and a metaphor for life’s journey. At the center of the labyrinth is a circular sculpture created by master stonemason Dan Sieracki. The empty circle at the labyrinth’s center reminds us that in emptying ourselves of illusion we can know ourselves as full of compassion, love and peace. Open daily to the public and accessible by wheelchair, it is a place of quiet and contemplation, where visitors can be reflective and at peace.
Learn More About Our Labyrinth >
Shoreline Retreats in Madison, CT
Copper Beech Institute offers retreats on the Connecticut shoreline through a partnership with our friends at the gorgeous Mercy by the Sea in Madison. Overlooking Long Island Sound, Mercy Center’s 33 acres of breathtaking waterfront property are graced with more than 45 different species of trees, including the copper beech. Amenities include a beautiful private beach, outdoor gardens and a seaside meditation room. Join us for a day or overnight program; like our home campus in West Hartford, you will feel welcomed, safe and peaceful here.