Life at Haystack

Whether you have years of knowledge in a specific discipline or have simply always wanted to see what might happen if you tried something new, there are incredible discoveries to be made by coming here.  


American architect Edward Larrabee Barnes designed the Haystack campus on Deer Isle, which opened to the public in the summer of 1961. The architectural plan encourages community and interaction while seeming to float above the forest floor and in 1994 was awarded the coveted 25-year award from the American Institute of Architects. As an organization, we are stewards of this architectural treasure and the delicate landscape on which it sits, and believe these to be defining characteristics of the school.


Haystack is located in a remote setting and both cell reception and internet access are limited. To maintain a retreat setting, we ask that you refrain from cell phone use in the studios, cabins, dining hall, and the deck, and limit usage to the upper portion of the campus and public spaces.

Studios at Haystack are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally the school maintains a library with a collection of books on craft, art, design, and architecture as well and a store that sells materials and supplies.

Haystack is located in Downeast Maine on Deer Isle, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge over Eggemoggin Reach. It is approximately 500 miles from New York City, 250 miles from Boston, 160 miles from Portland, and 60 miles from Bangor. There is transportation by both air and bus to Bangor, and taxi service from there to Deer Isle.


Weather on the coast of Maine is unpredictable and temperatures can range from a low of 40 on cool evenings to a high of 90 on extremely warm days throughout the summer. Layered clothing is suggested and to be best prepared bring clothing ranging from shorts and pants to sweaters, sweatshirts, and rain gear.


The cabins at Haystack are an integral part of the campus design and we have several options that range from dorms (that house up to eleven people), triples, and doubles—all located near a central washroom; as well as a quad, doubles, and limited singles with private bathroom facilities. Some are accessible to those with mobility issues and we will work with you on meeting your needs as closely as we can. Cabins at Haystack do not have heat and participants should be prepared for cool evenings. All accommodations have twin beds and a lightweight blanket and pillow are provided. Please bring a sleeping bag or additional bedding.


The dining hall at Haystack is a central meeting place where participants enjoy delicious meals prepared in our kitchen by our head chef and talented staff. We work closely with many local farmers and food producers on the Blue Hill Peninsula and surrounding region and vegetarian options are available at each meal. The kitchen will try to accommodate dietary restriction when possible—please indicate this on your application and contact Haystack if you have any questions or concerns.


You can always call our office in Deer Isle and talk with someone about workshop descriptions, life at the school, what to bring, travel questions, or anything else you need to know about Haystack. We can be reached between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm EST, Monday through Friday, at (207) 348-2306.

Haystack is committed to a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We do not discriminate against any individual or group of individuals on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identification, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, or veteran status. All are welcome.