Emily Dickinson: Amherst, Massachusetts


April 16th - April 19th, 2020

Join Common Ground Pilgrimages and Professors Amy Hollywood and Stephanie Paulsell of Harvard Divinity School and Vanessa Zoltan, co-host of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, for one of the most sacred traditions: a walking pilgrimage. We will spend time walking in the Amherst and Holyoke woods. Allowing the space to inspire us, we will read the poetry of Emily Dickinson as if they were sacred texts.

Throughout the trip, we will be asking ourselves: what is the purpose of our solitude? During this pilgrimage, we will think about the opportunities we have in our lives to grow and where we should focus our energies. We will think about what recharges us and what isolates us.

We will share our meals together, and most days will include either a museum visit or a visit from an outside expert. We will have time and space for writing, reflection, reading, silence, ancient reading practices like lectio divina and PaRDes and of course, for walking.



Amy Hollywood has taught at the Harvard Divinity School since 2005. She is the author of The Soul as Virgin Wife: Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart (University of Notre Dame Press, 1995), which received the Otto Grundler Prize for the best book in medieval studies from the International Congress of Medieval Studies; Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History (University of Chicago Press, 2002); and Acute Melancholia and Other Essays (Columbia University Press, 2016). She is also the co-editor, with Patricia Beckman, of The Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism (2012). She is currently completing Don't Touch Me: Essays on Difficulty and Faith: Three Explorations in Religion, Literature, and Politics, co-authored with Constance Furey and Sarah Hammerschlag.



Stephanie Paulsell joined the faculty of HDS in 2001 as Lecturer on Ministry and was appointed associate dean for ministry studies in 2003. She served in the post of associate dean until 2005, when she was appointed Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies. For the 2007–08 academic year, she was also associate dean for faculty and curricular affairs. Before coming to Harvard, she served as director of ministry studies and Senior Lecturer in Religion and Literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Paulsell studies the points of intersection between intellectual work and spiritual practice, between the academic study of religion and the practices of ministry, and between the contemplative and active dimensions of the vocations of minister and teacher. She is the author of Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice and co-editor of The Scope of Our Art: The Vocation of the Theological Teacher. Her current research is on Virginia Woolf and religion. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

What's Included:

  • Three nights in a private or shared room in the Allen House or Amherst Inn

  • All meals from dinner on Thursday to breakfast on Sunday

  • Transportation around Amherst once we gather

  • Museum visits, private tours, picnics, and talks with local experts

  • A guided hike through the Mount Holyoke Range

  • Customized journal

  • Time and space to reflect on your life and on classic pieces of literature


  • Register using the above button. Registration is first-come, first-served.

  • We will reach out to the first registrants with a link to make an initial $800 deposit within 72 hours of receiving their registration link.

  • The total cost of the trip is $1800 for a shared room or $2100 for a private room. The rest of the payment will be due eight weeks from the day the deposit is made for the remaining $1000 or $1300.

  • When you sign up through our registration system, it will act as a waitlist once the places are full. If we have a cancellation, we will go down the wait list and send out offers for the place via email as needed.

  • If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at commonground@notsorryproductions.com. 

Refund Policy:

These trips involve a lot of planning, logistics, and up front costs. Because of this, we cannot guarantee refunds in event of a cancellation. Please be sure you can attend the event before booking. If an unforeseen circumstance does occur, we will do our best to find a replacement for you. If we are able to get someone to take your place, we will refund your full payment minus a service charge (usually 7.5% of the deposit depending on the credit card processing fee). For cancellations within six weeks of the beginning of the trip, we are not able to find replacements. If you can find a replacement independently, we are happy to transfer your registration to them after receiving the new participant's payment and refund your purchase minus a 15% service charge. We strongly urge you to purchase travel insurance in the event of a personal conflict, health issue, or unexpected circumstance.