In addition to our homes and cabins, Chinook features a number of large and small gathering spaces including a conference hall, a non-denominational woodland Sanctuary, and a challenge ropes course.
Thomas Berry Hall
Thomas Berry Hall is an inspiring gathering place for conferences, retreats, lectures, and community gatherings. It was designed by Ross Chapin Architects and built by Kamera & Gilles. Thomas Berry Hall accomodates about 150, and includes a fireplace, sound system, theater lighting, and a vaulted ceiling with expansive skylights. The building also includes our bright and beautiful dining room, a chef's kitchen, coffee and tea bar, restrooms, and downstairs offices for Institute staff.
The timber-framed Sanctuary was designed by Ross Chapin and built by community members, including Kim Hoelting and the team at Live Edge Woodworks, with wood largely sourced from on-site using horse logging and traditional woodworking methods. It has been described as "a place where the echoes of the forest meet the stillness of the heart and the spaciousness of Spirit." It is a non-denominational sacred space, used for meditation, movement, dance, and contemplation as well as for small group gatherings and conference break-outs.
The sauna at the Whidbey Institute was constructed around the turn of the 20th Century by the Pietilas, a Finnish family. It has been structurally stabilized, and can be used by arrangement during retreats, workshops, and conferences.
The greenhouse, in our Westgarden, is used by staff, apprentices, and volunteers during the growing season and provides a warm, casual gathering space for luncheons, potlucks, and garden workshops during the cooler seasons.
Storyhouse is tucked away in a serene pocket of our Legacy Forest. In addition to providing a quiet space for break-outs, smaller gatherings, and conversation groups, it is often used as a home base for social artists and youth groups who come to Chinook to work, camp, and play in the surrounding meadow.
This rustic outdoor shelter sits at the center of our Chinook Heartland. In the summer months, it's a hub of arts, crafts, and creative expression during our conferences.
Workshops and Staff Cabins
Our heartland is also dotted with workshops and cabins—some dating back to the historic Pietila farmstead. These structures include a caretaker's cottage, once home to Chinook founders Fritz and Vivienne Hull; a staff workshop, where we store and maintain our tools and equipment; and a staff cabin built by Kim Hoelting and his team at Live Edge Woodworks.
Synergo Challenge Ropes Course
The challenge course at the Whidbey Institute offers a unique space in which to develop confidence, build team relations, deepen in your own understanding of yourself and your abilities, and have an incredible, life-changing experience with friends and colleagues. The challenge course is maintained by Synergo, and all activities on the course are arranged through and supervised by Synergo's experienced staff of trainers and facilitators. Synergo's goal is to provide a place for people of all backgrounds to become better individuals through challenging outdoor adventure experiences.