Marywood, Local Hidden Treasure
Marywood is known to the local Catholic community as a place for retreats and retired priests.
This retreat area in Switzerland, Florida is that and so much more. Marywood Retreat Center also has opened a bed and breakfast on site. Beyond the spectacular views and serenity you will find God’s grace. Past all the hustle and bustle of our busy lives. On the banks of the St. Johns River lies a piece of heaven on earth.
We stayed in the Fountain room, adorned with decorative drapes and ornate rugs. The pillow top king bed provided some much-needed tranquil sleep. The spacious room is rich in colors that feel like home. Comfortable chairs and a writing desk overlook the history below.
There is a pool, tennis and basketball courts. Nature trails that weave through the campus of old trees. The bed and breakfast are nestled in the center of the retreat. Rooms each decorated with care and prayerfully attended. A small chapel overlooks the riverbank below. A dock stretches out into the sunset on the river.
The weekend we stayed there was an engaged encounter and marriage retreat on site. Even with all the other people we never felt crowded or uptight. We were given full access to the retreat and all it’s offerings.
We shared dinner on the back porch, taking in all the beauty. Spent time in the chapel reading scriptures together. Took a walk in the moonlight up to the church on site. Marywood has become such a peaceful getaway.
I had heard of Marywood, just never had a reason or chance to visit. The bed and breakfast are open to the public for all your overnight needs. Even though it resides amongst Catholic tradition. It is open to anyone that is in need of a stay and getaway. You may not find telephones or a television, but you will find you won’t miss them. There is high-speed Internet available if needed but I would suggest you forego it.
The coquina house that now houses the inn was built in 1939 by George Hodges. 100 acres was purchased by the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine in 1958 to create a summer camp.
Marywood has been used as a retreat area since 1989. The inn itself is used for retreats, parish outreach and spiritual reflection. Under the guidance of Bishop John Snyder Marywood has become a place of refuge and peace for the community. There are several buildings in addition to the Marywood Inn on the property that can facilitate weddings, conferences and many other events.
Marywood Inn is a retreat that many of the even the local community do not know exists. It is a beautifully serene campus that I personally will treasure. I would recommend whether it is for a weekend getaway, business event or a wedding that you would consider Marywood and the Marywood Inn as the retreat of choice.
Have you had a chance to visit Marywood Retreat Center, better yet stayed at the Marywood Inn? Would love to hear your thoughts on this hidden local gem.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.