Maine Astronomy Retreat

A Vacation for You and Your Telescope

No need to bring a tent, or sleep in a sleeping bag, or eat so-so food. Medomak has comfortable, private cabin facilities with real beds, hot showers, electricity, and amazing, chef-prepared food. Limited to 40 observers and it’s all included in your tuition.

Power ready observing pad

And it’s only a few steps away from your cabin. Convenience is key, and our camp is ready for it. You’ll enjoy convenient stargazing at any time of night. Sign up using the Registration Form below.

Limiting visual magnitude of 6.3

(SQM value of 21.3 MPSAS) From relatively dark suburban areas, the Limiting Magnitude is frequently close to 5 or fainter, but from our site in Maine the Limiting Magnitude is higher than 6, allowing a much greater viewable spectrum.

IDA compliant facility

for unhindered observing. We are dedicated to preserving the night sky by reducing sky glow and limiting light pollution. This results in some of North America’s best viewing conditions.

COVID-19 Statement

Dear Medomak campers and retreat participants,

It is with a very heavy heart that we are cancelling our summer 2020 season. In order to inhibit the spread of Corona virus, the Governor of Maine has extended through the month of August a 14-day quarantine period for ALL people entering the state. The specifics of the quarantine are such that no stays shorter than 14 days are permitted, thus impacting every one of our programs. While we are devastated, we fully support the Governor’s decision, as the health and welfare of our campers and participants, staff, and local community is, has, and always will be, of our upmost concern.

In the 116 year history of Medomak, never has there been a summer where the camp was unable to open its doors, and these past six weeks have been frenzied with developing contingency plans and imagining various scenarios of how we could best operate safely amidst a pandemic. Ultimately the decision was made for us. And while we are feeling a small sense of relief, knowing that the weight is off our shoulders, we are also grieving. Grieving for you and your missed experiences at camp, grieving for the staff we cannot employ, and grieving for the lasting impact COVID-19 will have on the local, national, and global community.

It is our sincere hope that from this experience we will all safely emerge. The decision to close for the season helps ensure that we do. Rest assured our resolve moving forward is to focus on the future of Medomak and our summer community— including how best to adapt to possibly changing requirements and standards, meeting the needs of our campers and participants, and maintaining our meaning and purpose. We will remain in contact to keep you apprised of our progress and status. Please stay tuned, stay in touch, stay safe, and remember the other fellow.

The Medomak Team

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

Our Star Guides

J. Kelly Beatty

J. Kelly Beatty

Sr. Editor for Sky and Telescope magazine

J. Kelly Beatty


Kelly writes many of the feature articles and news items found in Sky & Telescope and on its website.

He joined the magazine’s staff in 1974 and served as the editor of Night Sky, a magazine for beginning stargazers, in 2004-07. He also teaches astronomy at the Dexter-Southfield School in Brookline, Massachusetts. Kelly and his writing have been honored with major awards from the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society, the Astronomical League, and the American Geophysical Union. You’ll occasionally hear his interviews and guest commentaries on National Public Radio and The Weather Channel. Kelly enjoys speaking to audiences of all ages and interest levels about his passion for astronomy. He observes when he can through one of his eight telescopes, and he is active nationally in the fight against light pollution.Close

Bruce Berger

Bruce Berger

Amateur astronomer, telescope builder and Director of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston Research and Imaging Observatory (ARIO).

Bruce Berger

Bruce-ProfilePicBruce is an avid amateur astronomer, tinkerer, designer, and observer who loves to get involved in astronomy projects.

His first telescope, an 8-inch reflector made from scratch, won an Optical Excellence award at the annual Stellafane Convention, and its unique mount took an award for Innovative Mechanical Design.

Since then Bruce has built, rebuilt, refurbished or repaired many different telescopes, mounts and observatories. Bruce helped design and now serves as director of the ATMoB Research and Imaging Observatory featuring a .35 meter telescopic imaging system. He has also roamed the world in search of astro-adventure – trekking to California, China and the South Pacific to view solar eclipses. He has taken part in Minor Planet research with a leading university, receiving NSF funding to gather data on minor planets at the Mexican National Observatory in San Pedro Martir and Fortaleza Brazil.


Sara Seager

Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, currently the Deputy Science Director for  the MIT-led NASA mission TESS.

Sara Seager

Sara Seager is the Class of 1941 Professor of Planetary Science, Professor of Physics, and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her past research is credited with laying the foundation for the field of exoplanet atmospheres, while her current research focuses on exoplanet atmospheres and the future search for signs of life by way of atmospheric biosignature gases. Professor Seager is involved with a number of space-based exoplanet searches including as the Deputy Science Director for the MIT-led NASA mission TESS, as the PI for the on-orbit JPL/MIT CubeSat ASTERIA, and as a lead for Starshade Rendezvous Mission (a space-based mission concept under technology development for direct imaging discovery and characterization of Earth analogs).

Before joining MIT in 2007, Professor Seager spent four years on the senior research staff at the Carnegie Institution of Washington preceded by three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Her PhD is from Harvard University, and her BSc from the University of Toronto. Among other accolades, Professor Seager is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow.



A star party like no other

This gathering will provide activities for amateurs, to deep-sky observers and astrophotographers. Enjoy engaging presentations given by J Kelly Beatty (Sr. Editor, Sky & Telescope), Bruce Berger (Amateur astronomer, telescope builder and Director of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston Research and Imaging Observatory (ARIO), and Babak A. Tafreshi (Founder of The World at Night or TWAN program and a photographer for National Geographic).  Here’s a partial list of the presentations planned:

  • An Introduction to Light Pollution
  • A Tour of the World’s Greatest Observatories
  • The Search for Another Earth
  • Meteors, Meteorites, and Meteorwrongs

  • Mythology and Lore of the Night Sky
  • Portraying the Night Sky
  • How Accurate were Lowell’s Martian Canals?
  • Top 20 Summer Deep-Sky Objects That You’ve Never Seen

Lake & Activities

Medomak shines during the day as well.

Medomak is located on a beautiful Maine lake that’s perfect
for swimming, paddling, sailing, fishing, or just relaxing
on the docks. 

Play. Relax. Indulge.

You can play basketball, hike the property or settle into an adirondack chair in the shade and enjoy a good book. Mornings are free time, designed to let you have fun, explore the region, or just sleep in. 
Each afternoon will feature a series of presentations designed to teach you about astronomy, the night sky, telescopes, and how to view/photograph all those celestial wonders, also included in your tuition.
Ping pong
Massage Therapist (on site)
Board games
Blueberry picking
Milking Perry (the cow) (optional)
Overnights at North Star Lodge
Morning walk
Local Beer & Cheese Tasting
Gallery Visits
Stand Up Paddle boards

Lodging & Food


Each private, one-room cabin has a bathroom and a shower. Simply put, our cabins are simple, in the New England tradition. Cabins are supplied with linens and towels for each guest. There are a few creature comforts like reading lights, rocking chairs, comfortable beds (two twin beds that can be pushed together), and a writing table. Outside each cabin you will find two adirondack chairs to enjoy the warm days and a good book.

If you are staying up late to watch the sky, it is nice to comfortably sleep in through the morning, and get a nice hot shower.

The Food
All our meals are chef-prepared, small batch and from scratch.

This isn’t institutional food. We grow many of our own organic vegetables, we milk our own cows, and bake our own breads and desserts. There is always plenty to go around of our hearty, healthy, comfort food. Coffee, tea, fruit and snacks are available all day and well into the night, so you can keep your eyes open waiting for that next brilliant shooting star.

Medomak has two organic gardens that supply many of the delicious ingredients for our meals. And we also have a local organic farmer.

Milk from our cows enable us to produce fresh milk, yogurt and other dairy products. We are also commited to using fresh produce and other products produced by local farmers such as jams, fruits, honey, eggs and poultry. And, of course there is our abundant Medomak blueberry patch. Blueberry pancakes anyone?

Maine Attractions

Local Attractions

Medomak is just minutes from the picturesque towns of Rockland and Camden and a 2-hour drive from Acadia National Park. Local attractions include:

Farnsworth Museum and Wyeth Center in Rockland, Maine

Baxter State Park/Mt. Katahdin

Maine Lobster Festival – if you’re coming to camp at the end of July or the beginning of August you might want to plan a side trip to the festival.

Windjammer Schooner Tours out of the beautiful town of Camden.

Owl’s Head Transportation Museum

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Rockland Golf Course 1/2 hour from camp

Samoset Golf 1/2 hour from camp

Birch Point State Park – One of our camper’s favorite box lunch day destinations. Great tidal pools where the pines meet the Atlantic ocean.

A fun activity is to plan a sea kayaking trip with Maine Sport.

Monhegan Island is an artist colony with plenty of walking trails. Drive to the coastal town of Port Clyde and visit the lighthouse highlighted in the film “Forrest Gump”, stop in to the Dipnet for a lobster roll & root beer and take the Laura B to Monhegan Island.

Dating to the 1700’s, one of the United States’ oldest surviving wooden military buildings can be found at Old Fort Western. This is a National Historic Monument located in Augusta, Maine.

Camden Hills State Park has beautiful views of Penobscot Bay and groomed trails for hiking. Head into town to Cappy’s for their clam chowder for lunch.

Places, Restaurants and Wineries

Liberty Graphics – Everyone’s favorite 2 dollar t-shirts

Excellent community radio station broadcasted out of Blue Hill

L.L. Bean

Spruce Mountain Blueberries excellent blueberry chutney and other blueberry things.

Cellar Door Winery

Hope Spinnery is a small wind-powered fiber processing mill a few miles inland from the Coast of Maine in the town of Hope Maine. The owner, Bill Huntington, is our lead instructor at our Knitting Retreat.

Seacolors is a source for high-quality wool. All their yarns are sun dyed in seawater using colors inspired by nature. Their wool is grown on the backs of fine-wooled sheep and goats still grazing on the hills of our farmstead in Maine. The farm is located in Washington Maine.

Black Locust is a Bed and Breakfast and cashmere goat farm located in Washington Maine.

Savage Oakes Winery a great place to stop on box lunch day!

Sweet Grass Local wines and distilled brandies and gin.

Moody’s Diner featured on CBS’s Sunday morning…you gotta try the pie. Check out the Four Berry Pie, yummy!

Union pottery – Hand painted stoneware this quaint shop is close to camp. A perfect spot to pick up a Maine souvenir.

A-1 Diner in Gardiner Maine, 30 minutes from camp, has been highlighted on the Food Network’s popular show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Day-long horseback riding camps in the town of Washington.

Red’s Eats in Wiscasset. Some say they have the best lobster roll in Maine!

Sweet Season Farm, Market and Cafe…Dave’s favorite place to eat on his day off. Locally sourced produce and meat, pick your own berries and ice cream, too! Plus the best burger in the mid-coast!

Primo Restaurant in Rockland

Café Miranda in Rockland


Information on Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park area

Town of Belfast chamber of commerce site

The Maine Office of Tourism offical website.

Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, of which we are members, has great info on regional businesses and attractions.

Union Chamber of Commerce has interesting facts on the towns of Washington, Appleton, Hope and Union.

The Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau

Towns close to Washington, ME

Pictures of Pemaquid light house (most photographed spot in Maine)

The Official Flag of Washington, Maine

Other Neat Things

Old farmer’s almanac–good stuff about New England



May I bring my personal telescope?
Of course, this is a vacation for you and your telescope. There is plenty of space to set up and observe.

How can I store my telescope?
We provided dedicated space to store your equipment in our main activities structure. You are also welcome to store your equipment in your private cabin, as there is plenty of room.

How secure is my telescope?
Very. Medomak is private property, set several hundred yards off the main road in a secluded setting. Our retreat is limited to 40 participants, so all persons on property are very well known to management.

Do we provide telescopes for observing?
Medomak has a 12” Dobsonian mounted reflector telescope, which we keep pointed upwards all evening. Our facilitators bring along various other reflector and refractor scopes, as well. Participants are more than welcome to join us for observing, instruction, and learning.

I’ve got a great new telescope…can you help me learn how to use it?
Absolutely. Our facilitators are here to help show you how to get the most of your equipment.

Can we provide extension cords?
Medomak has a healthy supply of extension cords to supplement you in case you forget to bring your own, or yours is not long enough.

Light Etiquette

What are the rules governing use of white lights?

Car lights
No cars will be permitted beyond the parking lot after sundown. This is so you don’t light the observing fields if you need to leave the property after observing has begun.

Flash photography
No flash photography will be permitted after sundown.

Low power red light flashlights are fine as long as they are directed downward and not flashed in the eyes of observers.

Computer/Tablet/Cell Phone Screens
Devices with lit screens may only be used on the observing field if equipped with a red filter.

Is the facility Red Light equipped?
Main buildings are equipped with red bulbs. Outside cabin lights have red bulbs. Cabin interiors have a desk lamp outfitted with a red bulb. Bathrooms have night nights with red bulbs. Please refrain from using the interior overhead white lights from 30 minutes after sundown on observing nights as the lights can shine onto the observing field. We are happy to tape your light switches if you think you might absent-mindedly forget in the middle of the night.

Observing Field

How far from the cabins is the observing field?
Most are a couple hundred feet away or less”.  Others are a short walk down a hill, but right next to our dining hall and lodge

Can you describe the observing field?
The most open horizon seen from observing field favors the southern sky. The perimeter of the field does have trees, however their height is not overly tall. From the center of the observing area we estimate that approximately 80% of the sky is visible favoring the southern sky.

Is there wifi on the observing field?

Is the observing field ‘power ready’?
Our observing pad is power ready. If you choose to set up anywhere else on the field, you will need an extension cord, which we are happy to help you with.

What are the general rules of etiquette on the observing field?

Aerosols/Bug Spray
No aerosol sprays on the observing field. One drop can permanently damage the delicate optics of a telescope or binoculars. If you apply insect repellant, carefully and thoroughly wash your hands afterward.

No loud music on the observing field. If your neighboring observers ask for you to turn down your music, you will be expected to abide by their request. Headphone use is preferable.

Help us keep the facility looking nice and presentable. Please clean up after yourself. Trash cans and redeemable/recycle bins are located in the main areas and your cabin.

Smoke can be harmful to telescope optics. No smoking on the observing pad or around people’s equipment. Smoking may only take place in the designated smoking area, and NEVER in cabins or buildings.


What are the cabins like?
Cabins are simple and uninsulated, but clean and comfortable.

Are there bathrooms and showers in the cabins?
Yes, cabins have private bathrooms, and hot showers.

Do we need to bring linens?
No, we provide a pillow, blanket, sheets and towels. If you have your own favorite blanket or pillow, you might want to bring it along for your own personal comfort.

Are the cabins red light equipped?


What is the food like?
Our food is delicious! We cook in small batches, with most things from scratch. We buy most produce directly from local farmers. We are a certified dairy, and our milk comes directly from our cows on site. You can even milk them if you like. We pasteurize our milk. Sorry, we cannot provide raw milk.

Do you serve Lobster?
Of course! This is Maine!

Can we accommodate food allergies and concerns?
Yes, with appropriate notice, we can accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose free, and most other concerns. When you register, please let us know what your dietary concerns are, and we will call you to discuss how we can best accommodate.

When are meals served?

COLD Breakfast (breads, cereal, yogurt, fruit) is served from 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
HOT breakfast is available anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

Lunch is served at 1:00 p.m.

Dinner is served at 6:30 p.m.

How are meals served?
Meals are served family style, plattered on the table. Help yourself, don’t be shy, and eat as much as you like.

Are there snacks and refreshments available throughout the day and into the evening?
Yes, coffee and tea are available all day and late into the night. Fresh fruit and snacks, too.

Is alcohol permissible?
Yes, but we ask that you drink in moderation, and be a good neighbor to your fellow participants.

Alcohol is BYOB. There are fantastic breweries in Maine, and we even have a local gin distillery, which is amazing.

Is there a place to store any personal food and/or beverages?
Yes, we have a common refrigerator in our dining hall that is available for your use.

Can we keep food in our cabins?
We highly discourage it, as it attracts unwanted “guests.”


What kinds of activities are available on the property and the surrounding area?
See Maine Attractions

Tell me about the lake?
Washington Pond is the centerpiece of the property. During the day, please enjoy a cool dip in the lake, a nice canoe, kayak, or sailboat excursion all around the lake. It is lovely.

Are Laundry machines available for use?
Yes, you may do laundry for $2/load (wash and dry). We provide soap.

Cancellation Policy

What is your cancellation policy?

Prior to April 1st, 2020 tuition is refundable less the 10% deposit.

After April 1st, 2020 tuition is refundable, less a $250 cancellation fee and $100 deposit.

Cancellations made less than 8 weeks from the date of your arrival will render tuition non-refundable unless the vacated accomodations are filled by others on our waiting list. In the case that an accomodation is filled by someone on our waitlist, tuition will be refunded less a $250 cancellation fee and a $100 deposit.

Cancellations must be made by speaking with a Medomak Director.

A $25 cancelled check fee will be charged for returned checks.

Eric at scope JPEG
Babal photo workshop
Maine Astronomy Retreat



June 5-August 31

178 Liberty Road
Washington, ME 04574
(207) 845-6001 


Until June 5

12230 Clarksville Pike, Suite C
Clarksville, MD 21029
(301) 854-9100
Toll-free 1-(866)-MEDOMAK

We would love to hear from you.

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