Lily Dale is a lake-side hamlet of Victorian homes and cottages. It is both quirky and peaceful; a spiritual community like nowhere else on Earth.
Lily Dale’s year-round population is estimated to be 275, with 160 private residences. Each year brings approximately 22,000 visitors, so if you do plan on meeting with a Medium, make reservations in advance.
We visited Lily Dale because my daughter wanted a reading, and I have always been intrigued by its unique spiritual history and small cottage community.
Lily Dale has 2 seasons
We first visited during the off-season, actually the week before opening weekend around June 21. It was quiet but for maybe 50 others we saw strolling around the town, plus several Mediums who were open for business.
We were able to appreciate the serenity of Inspiration Stump, Forest Temple, the Fairy Trail and other sites that make up the Lily Dale community. There were gift shops open, plus a lovely cafe!
Off-season, it is free to roam, though most facilities are closed and many summer-only residents have left for their winter homes. The cost of a reading varies by medium, and are available year-round (make an appointment well in advance!).
In-Season at Lily Dale
Lily Dale’s in-season is roughly the week before Independence Day to Labor Day.
During this time you’ll find days packed with activities: ghost walks, sweat lodge, lectures, yoga, seances, historic walking tours, lectures, workshops…
Take a look at their 2019 Brochure which you can reference electronically to help you navigate your day. To make the most of your day trip, arrive early and either go with a plan or wander aimlessly and see what you can discover.
Leolyn Woods, Inspiration Stump, and the Pet Cemetery
“Inspiration Stump is a retreat found at the end of the calm and quiet trail of the Leolyn Woods. It is not unusual to become more aware of the spiritual energies while in an open and receptive state at the Stump.
“You are invited to participate in the service held twice a day in the grove at no charge. Demonstrations of mediumship are presented by the mediums giving short messages to those in the audience. These services have been held since 1898.”
“Since the 1880’s, the Assembly Hall with its gallery of portraits of many of the historic leaders in the Spiritualist Movement, many of whom resided in Lily Dale, has been a hub of activity in the community. The home of the Church of the Living Spirit, it is the center for workshops activity during the summer season.”
“The Forest Temple, located on East Street, is an area of tranquility. It is here that messages from Spirit are delivered through mediums that are registered on the grounds as well as those who are visiting or are students. The Temple has been operating since 1894.”
Lily Dale’s beautiful Victorian cottage neighborhood
Interested in buying a home in Lily Dale? Find out which ones are for sale!
The Fox Sisters, Wayne County, and the Birth of Spiritualism
“One of the greatest religious movements of the 19th century began in the bedroom of two young girls living in a farmhouse in Hydesville, New York.
“On a late March day in 1848, Margaretta “Maggie” Fox, 14, and Kate, her 11-year-old sister, waylaid a neighbor, eager to share an odd and frightening phenomenon. Every night around bedtime, they said, they heard a series of raps on the walls and furniture—raps that seemed to manifest with a peculiar, otherworldly intelligence.
“The neighbor, skeptical, came to see for herself, joining the girls in the small chamber they shared with their parents. While Maggie and Kate huddled together on their bed, their mother, Margaret, began the demonstration.”
More information about Lily Dale
Cost: From roughly Independence Day to Labor Day there are Gate Fees (see site for specifics)
Located in Lily Dale, roughly 2 hours / 125 miles from Rochester (get directions)
More information: lilydaleassembly.com/
Rather than an escape, I prefer to think of these as transcending places that encourage us to transcend space, time, and state of mind.
Have you spent time in Lily Dale?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!