What’s Inside:


Summer is here and the heat is on! Thankfully, it’s always a bit cooler out in Goshen and mornings are the perfect time to experience Three Sisters Sanctuary! We open at 8am with birdsong filling the air, butterflies bending the blossoms in the breeze, and for photographers- that extra special morning light filtering through the trees. Not to mention a few hours of exploring the grounds while the temperature is relatively low.

The same is true in the early evening, as we are open until dusk. The birds and butterflies are active, filling up on fuel to last through the night. The long rays of sunlight once again create shafts of light through the trees and cast a golden glow to the gardens and art.  Join us in these special hours at the Sanctuary! We hope to see you soon!

Special Requests

Whenever we have asked for assistance, our many Friends have responded! We need your help once again, this time spreading the word about Three Sisters Sanctuary! Please write a review on Tripadvisor and share or like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!  Your efforts help us broaden our audience and reach new friends and potential visitors that support and sustain us.

We are also still looking for volunteer gardeners. There is great satisfaction in knowing you have helped maintain a treasure of the community and that your work will be admired and appreciated by so many! If you love to garden, we would love to have you! Contact info@threesisterssanctuary.com to get in touch with us about a volunteer opportunity.

Don’t Forget Our AirBnB!

Enjoy Three Sisters Sanctuary under the stars, in the moonlight, around a glowing campfire, making s’mores and memories! Discover the magic of the gardens in the morning light before you explore the surrounding area- including the nearby DAR State Forest and its cooling waters! Book a stay in our charming AirBnB and see why we garner rave reviews! https://threesisterssanctuary.com/stay-with-us/

In the Gardens

Gardening with Cesi at the Sanctuary

by Cesi Marseglia

After a long, hot summer, we longingly wait for the slight cool in the air at the end of August, a welcome reminder of the one thing you can always count on: that everything will and does change, in nature and in life. 

August at the Sanctuary is a time of transition. Cicadas hum in the trees and crickets chirp insistently in the evenings, signaling the ripeness of summer and the coming of fall. Grasses go to seed and fruiting plants berry, attracting all manner of birds from the wetlands to feast on the bounty. 

Dragonflies feed on insects, pivoting rapidly from point to point in the air, catching them in their basket arms. If you’re lucky, you might see a hummingbird hovering between flowers on a trumpet vine, or a snake sunning itself on a flat rock, or the large snapping turtle that lives in the wetlands floating lazily on the surface. Marvel at the countless varieties of daylilies at the Sanctuary!

All of the summer flowers, including daisies, milkweed, lilies, black-eyes susans, hosta, and echinacea, attract a host of colorful butterflies. You may even glimpse a monarch flitting through the plants by the bank of the wetlands. A word to the wise butterfly-lover: Look, but don’t touch as the scales on their wings are easily damaged. Scales form the colors and patterns butterflies need for mate selection, camouflage, predator avoidance and thermoregulation.

Monarchs have a long way to travel in the upcoming months. They are one of so many species that practice the rite of exodus to and from our backyards to Mexico and Central America, including goldfinches, hummingbirds and cedar waxwings. Borders are petty things in the face of a force as eternal as migration.

A Walk With Richard: Magic in the Sanctuary

By Richard M Richardson, Environmental Artist
Creator and Caretaker

I never tire of walking through the Sanctuary at daybreak. There’s this sense of excitement and anticipation in the air, and, yes, a sense of wonder and magic. The rose-colored clouds reflecting in the wetlands, the symphony of birds singing and echoing through the forest, the sunlight beginning to edge over the treetops…everything feels new and fresh again. 

So new and fresh that I feel like I rediscover the Sanctuary every day. As I walk the grounds, I am perpetually astonished. How did I get here? How did this all happen? Where did this come from?

I have no background in stonework or landscape design. I had honestly never heard of the term “environmental art” until a few years ago. I was “that wood stove guy,” not a trained artist. 

I am completely self-taught and always feel like I was purposefully driven to create the Sanctuary. It’s as if I could just “see” where things should be placed. It never felt like the ideas and design were coming from me, but rather coming through me.

And that does feel like destiny, or alchemy, or some sort of mystical inspiration, some sort of magic. We say Three Sisters Sanctuary is a place where “Art and Nature Merge.” The goal was to use nature as an artistic canvas, an artistic vision. However, I have learned that nature has its own seemingly magical directives, its own vision and I am forever in awe of its subtle, yet powerful intelligence and magnificence.

Take for example the “Emerald Green” arborvitae trees. I initially planted several of these conifers known for their year-round, deep-green color, hardiness and conical shape. They are very popular for hedgerow use and perfect for delineating the different gardens and areas within the Sanctuary. 

Four years ago, an Emerald Green seedling appeared where I had not planted and grew twice as fast as the ones that I had. Nature was now dictating the new garden borders and I stood witness to that perfect placement and began to work with it. 

Near the entry of the Dragon Labyrinth, an Emerald Green split in two at the base, forming what looks like two separate trees although they share the same root system. Months later, I noticed at the exit of the Labyrinth, another Emerald Green had done the exact same thing. Coincidence? I think not.

Let’s talk for a moment about the Power of the Standing Stones. Buried deep in the Land of Goshen for eons, they were dumped by the highway department during the construction of Route 112, long before I acquired the property. Discarded nuisances suitable for landfill. Too big, too heavy, too unwieldy.

I cannot tell you what possessed me to hire a heavy equipment operator and convince him that they must stand on end. I just know that I was driven by some unseen force to unearth and honor them. And now they stand in the sunlight, surrounded by the colors of the seasons, in the midst of birds and butterflies, falling leaves, wind-driven rains and blankets of snow. They are sentinels in the moonlight as the cosmos spin and time ticks on. 

Magic indeed!

Meet The Artist: Melissa Pandina

 by Dawn E Dobson

Since the beginning of language, every culture has created their own mythology. Timeless tales of quests are filled with immortals, cunning animals that speak, powerful wizards that use potions and magical words of transformation, all spun into fantastic adventures fraught with challenges, danger and unexpected beauty. 

These stories entertain while teaching lessons, sparking our imagination and broadening our perceptions. Do we believe them, or do we still yearn to believe as we did when we were children, our minds alive with the possibilities? 

Step on a magic carpet ride back to decades past, when a little girl lived with her military-based parents in Germany. Innately creative and artistic, she was enchanted by ancient fairy tales, the deep energy of the legendary Black Forest, and the soaring cathedrals and museums she visited with her mother. And since the time she could hold a crayon, she drew. And drew. Encouraged by her parents, she kept drawing, began painting and stepped firmly onto the path of an artist.

Meet Melissa Pandina, an Easthampton artist who submitted the winning entry to our logo contest (see image below). Pandina is an alumna of prestigious MassArt, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Her imaginative work is grounded in the intangible world of folklore, fantasy and spiritual mysteries. Working primarily in oil, pen and ink, and watercolor, Melissa Pandina has been internationally published, teaches non credit art classes at the Holyoke Community College, and often participates in public art events. 

A longtime fan of Three Sisters Sanctuary, Pandina jumped at the chance to design a logo. “My goal with this design was to represent a few of the elements that make the Sanctuary a local gem,” she states. “I was inspired by the earthworks of the Dragon’s Den and I wanted to incorporate how the dragon rises from the stone wall into my design.” 

Pandina continues, “Once I stacked the words, the spine and wings of the dragon became evident in the shape of the words. I finished the design by grounding it with the stone wall and a bit of the garden Three Sisters is known for.” 

Melissa Pandina’s portfolio is evocative and mesmerizing with elements of mysticism, animism and shamanism. There is a recurring theme of self-discovery and connecting to nature. “Much of my artwork depicts another realm, an attempt to experience that which lies behind what you are actually seeing,” says Pandina. 

Her work also includes large, folkloric puppets that she uses in her stage show, Menagerie Fantastica.   “Tomte,” a traditional Nordic mythologic character, is well-known in Sweden and the “Mari Lwyd”, is a traditional Welsh wassailing prop consisting of a horse’s skull mounted on a pole with a sheet to cover the individual manipulating the puppet. Both are used to tell stories and interact with an audience, bringing art to life. 

Congratulations, Melissa Pandina! We look forward to using the logo graphic and hope to collaborate again in the future!  To view more of Melissa Pandina’s work, please visit www.deshria.com

From the Community:

We are excited to be highlighted in two recent publications! Summerfest 2020, a Turley Publication, featured Three Sisters Sanctuary in an article by Elise Linscott, “Creating an Oasis at Home.”  https://view.publitas.com/turley-publications-1/summerfest2020_lr/page/12-13   Editor Hope Tremblay of The Westfield News wrote about her recent visit to Three Sisters Sanctuary on July 16, 2020. You can read the article here https://thewestfieldnews.com/daytripper-three-sisters-sanctuary-merges-art-and-nature/   Please note: You can now pay for admission to The Sanctuary by cash, check, Venmo, PayPal and credit card. 

Newsletter Sign-Up