What’s Inside:

We’re back!

As spring arrives this year we realize it’s been a long time since we put out a newsletter. Much has happened over the course of the last three years. In 2019, we built a new website to keep the public apprised of our latest developments. This has been key to updating and keeping you informed on the many wonderful, dynamic and healing offerings at Three Sisters Sanctuary, and broadens our reach beyond our Facebook and Instagram following. We’ve also gone a long way towards finishing the Dragon Labyrinth, our spring perennials are budding, and we have a new addition or two in the garden that we’re excited to share with you.  Most critically, we end by addressing the state of the Sanctuary in relation to COVID-19.  We hope you enjoy the newsletter and as always we are actively looking for any input or feedback you might have for us.

A Note From the Creator and Caretaker Richard Richardson

Dear Friends of Three Sisters Sanctuary, I’m heartened and grateful to have this opportunity to connect with you during this challenging time. Nature, art, and our own healing processes are coming to the forefront of our daily lives. It’s in these moments that what matters most in life becomes clear. Perhaps now, more than ever, we need a Sanctuary from the stress-filled, manufactured world. A place where nature and art come together, providing us with rejuvenation and hope.

I originally built these healing gardens with this intention when my brother passed away 27 years ago. My bother said to me in the last year of his life, “Some of us are annuals and some are perennials.” Since then, the Sanctuary has been here for people to come from around the world and experience healing and peace while escaping the speed and anxiety of civilization for a moment. This past year, I began building a labyrinth that for over 10 years I have felt called to bring to life and which adds great significance to the Sanctuary.

I felt the necessity to build this wonderful installation that would both help heal and ground people as well as offer a place to let go of their burdens. Much time and planning has been needed to create it. In 2019, I completed the first of three labyrinths that are the body of the Dragon. All my projects are on a grand scale! This was a more difficult project than I ever imagined. How do I build a dragon that has three labyrinths built inside of it? This was my challenge. No wonder it took me a decade before I got started! I began a blog that combines my love of storytelling and documenting this monumental project. You can read about it here: http://www.threesisterssanctuary.com/through-the-eyes-of-the-artist/

I invite you to come visit and, most importantly, walk the Dragon Labyrinth and experience its power for yourself.

Soon, the early spring-blooming flowers will greet you, the song of migratory birds will fill your ears as they return to the land of Goshen, and the standing stones and art installations will glow with appreciation towards the warming sun. Looking forward to seeing you when we can all join together once again.

Richard M. Richardson, Environmental Artist
Creator and Caretaker, Three Sisters Sanctuary

Introducing a 4-Week Online Group “Cultivating an Inner Sanctuary”

We are excited to be able to offer a weekly online Zoom program, “Cultivating an Inner Sanctuary,” from Linda Tumbarello in partnership with Three Sisters Sanctuary. If there was ever a time when we need a sanctuary, both an inner and outer one, it is now. We need to feel connected to ourselves and to each other. We need to see smiling faces and hear each other’s stories of how we are coping– what’s helping us and what’s difficult in our lives. We need strategies to re-balance each day and to have moments where we create a refuge. We are planning a month’s offering to keep up our resilience, to renew our hope and to feel support from community. You can join us on any or all of the calls. For more information about Linda Tumbarello: https://lindatumbarello.com

Here are the 4 upcoming offerings:

  • A Time to Connect to Ourselves and to Each Other
  • Cultivating Inner Kindness and Support in the Hard Times
  • Cultivating Joy in the Hard Times
  • Transitioning Back

If you are interested in joining, please email: info@threesisterssanctuary.com We will email you the dates/times and the Zoom sign-in information.

Upcoming Events

Currently, all events have been postponed due to our temporary closure and are waiting to be rescheduled as soon as possible. You will be the first to know about new events when you subscribe to this newsletter.

In the Garden

Emergence. That is the word that best defines early spring at Three Sisters Sanctuary. In April, the first tiny leaves of the array of perennials in the gardens begin to rise up amongst the stones and lingering patches of snow. Spurred by the lengthening days and higher angle of the sun, shoots of Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox), Vinca minor (periwinkle), and various Hemerocallis (daylilies) reach upward. At the Dragon’s Den, the melting snow reveals hardy succulents- the Sempervivums (hens and chicks) and the aptly located and named, crimson-colored Sedums (dragon’s blood). Some are nestled between the rocks and the myriad of keepsakes, others are rooted in whimsical planters- all remarkably unscathed by winter’s icy touch. Early spring offers a more angular landscape at the Sanctuary. The walled gardens, cone-shaped poplars and sculpture are in sharp focus. The vistas sweep across the gardens, from the immense standing stones to the wetlands beyond the new Dragon Labyrinth. Bare branches of deciduous trees are brightly stark against the deep greens of the pines. The still waters of the wetlands reflect the changing sky and there is a sense of anticipation in the air. Spring is here!

What’s New in the Garden:

Over 25 years ago, I installed a 50 ft. long pergola in an area that separates the Sanctuary from Route 112. Initially, I planted pachysandra, ground phlox, hostas and daylilies in front of the pergola. A decade later, grout weed, that invasive bane of northeast gardeners, set in and my 15 year struggle to get it under control began. Eventually exasperated, I decided to take this particular garden out.

The new garden I am creating is set further back and will accommodate a large group of people observing the Dragon breathe fire. I also want to install four pieces of new artwork in this area. Late last fall, I dug out the design of the garden and then in early spring we went back and dug an additional 8 inches down. This allowed us to spread pea gravel which will serve to highlight the art. It will also be easy to walk on with a minimal amount of seasonal maintenance.

There will be seating for people to comfortably spread out and watch the dragon breathe flames of fire which is an exciting highlight of the Sanctuary. There will be a stone bench that will allow onlookers to step up an additional 3 feet to observe the fiery dragon and provide excellent photo opportunities. The front of the pergola will be reserved for daylilies and phlox. There will also be ground phlox surrounding the outside of the stonework.

I’ve included a photograph of the original layout for the garden and I will give you an update next month on our progress. This new garden will be a wonderful addition to the Dragon’s Den and to the gallery that is next door so the artwork will flow from one area to the next. I look forward to continuing to update you all throughout 2020 so stay tuned!

In the Spotlight: Update on the Dragon Labyrinth

A wonderful milestone has been achieved at the Sanctuary- the new Dragon Labyrinth’s first spiral is completed! Labyrinths are man made pathways, most often shaped in a circular pattern, that have been used since ancient times to represent the search and discovery of an inward quest. It encourages those seeking a deeper meaning in their lives to journey within as they outwardly traverse the winding paths.

“Labyrinths are used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, recover a balance in life, and encourage meditation, insight, self-reflection, stress reduction, and to discover innovation and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural blueprint for well-being. The practice of labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind and the mind with the spirit.” – Veriditas Website


In these challenging times, we need beauty, hope, and a place of refuge to find peace and recharge in nature. Recognizing this and driven by an inner calling, Richard M. Richardson began building the first segment of a three spiral Dragon Labyrinth in 2019 as a contemplative tool for the community. His vision is a combination of ancient designs in relation to the unique stones and topography of the Sanctuary. It’s a labyrinth like no other!

With the completion of the first spiral, visitors can now walk the labyrinth and tap into the power of their inner strengths and conscience. Richard’s blog documents and tells the story of the Dragon Labyrinth, from conception to construction, as this first segment is formed. You may read it on our website and we will continue to update you through our newsletter and blog: https://threesisterssanctuary.com/labyrinth/the-birth-of-three-sisters-sanctuarys-labyrinth

Three Sisters Sanctuary is now Temporarily Closed

In compliance with the Massachusetts state-wide mandate to close all non-essential businesses, Three Sisters Sanctuary is temporarily closed. Events are currently canceled or indefinitely postponed. Please check our website for the latest information.

Special COVID-19 “Go Fund Me” to Support the Sanctuary

The temporary closure of Three Sisters Sanctuary due to COVID-19 has hurt us. We completely depend on monies from admissions and events to maintain the grounds and gardens- funds that are now gone. With your help, we can continue to sustain Three Sisters Sanctuary for the benefit of our entire far-reaching community and be ready to re-open as soon as we are allowed. If you are able, please make a donation on our website. The Three Sisters Sanctuary is currently participating in a Go Fund Me campaign specifically designed for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. It pledges a $500 matching grant if we reach at least $500 through donations. All donations, no matter the amount, are greatly appreciated and every penny will go directly to maintain and sustain the Sanctuary at this most critical time. I am so very grateful for your support and generosity. Together, we can ensure the Three Sisters Sanctuary will continue to be an incomparable garden of inspiration and healing, a true sanctuary for all. https://threesisterssanctuary.com/support/

Richard M Richardson, Environmental Artist
Creator and Caretaker, Three Sisters Sanctuary

We Need Your Feedback!

We are actively looking for suggestions to improve our newsletter. If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@threesisterssanctuary.com

Contributing writers: Richard M. Richardson, Liam Gude, Dawn E. Dobson, Alexandra Mello.