Maple Ridge Community • Ulster Park, NY

About Us:
Ours is the second Bruderhof settlement established in New York State, just five miles away from our Woodcrest location. We are a large, interdependent community made up of families and singles of all ages. The Community Playthings business is based here, and our members work in the workshop in addition to their other duties.

Setting:
Easily accessible from Interstate 87, Maple Ridge is located in the Hudson Valley halfway between New York City and Albany, just a couple miles west of the Hudson River and the Esopus Meadow Preserve. Our property, which includes an old apple orchard and former lodge, sits at the base of the three-hundred-foot-high Hussey Hill, from which we can view the majestic Hudson River. Our settlement also has several residential apartment buildings, an elementary school, a dining hall, and a workshop. A garden and greenhouse provide the Maple Ridge members with fresh produce year-round.

Connecting with Neighbors:

It’s important for us that our children be involved in interacting with our neighbors. Several times a year, the kids will help host public school groups that visit Maple Ridge to enjoy maple sugaring, horse-cart rides, local wildlife, our sports fields, the stream, and the nature preserve. Children are also involved in our work with local soup kitchens, helping to prepare and serve produce from our farm. Adult Bruderhof members have an active ministry at the Ulster County jail, visiting inmates, listening, and offering hope. Throughout the year we invite friends and neighbors to join us for Saturday dinners or longer visits, and we participate in bigger community events, such as the annual Messiah Sing-In held at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kingston.

Point of Interest:
On our property we have a 1840s house, which has been renovated by our high school students. In the old days, Wild Flower Lane was the name of a thoroughfare that passed by the house. African American abolitionist and orator Sojourner Truth, who was born and spent much of her life in this area, would have traveled back and forth along this thoroughfare in the early 1800s.

Meet some of the people who live at Maple Ridge:

IanWinter

Ian: The finest thing about living on these five hundred acres of forest, field, and plough-land is its people! You see, having housed here in Maple Ridge community for over twenty years, I’m seen as one of the old farts around here. That’s not a bad thing mind you, in fact (except for aging aches and pains) it’s rather fun. Besides, I firmly believe any intentional communal life needs a few old sheep too who can clap for, or laugh and cry with, the young. We’re over three hundred folks around here and I know them all, and they in turn have a pretty good handle on me and my dear wife of almost-fifty years, Janet (at least they think they do).

Once I week I get to take the three-year-olds out, which has become a highlight in my day-to-day work. Harness up the pony Blaze, and away we go to some distant, less-frequented location for play and popcorn. It’s so simple really. And amusing. The child to my left asks “Grampa Ian, who made Blaze?” I say, God made Blaze. But the little fella to my right is puzzled and a little green maybe, then blurts out “God didn’t make Blaze!” Oh? Who made him then? “He just growed and growed!” Out of the mouth of babes as they say – life together can be that uncomplicated!

Pete Weeks

Pete: I am forty-six years old, living at Maple Ridge with my wonderful wife Tiffany and our six children. We have been here for two years. We enjoy this large Christian community, sharing and helping out where we can. Maple Ridge is a walk away from the Hudson River and a quick drive to the Catskill Mountains – if you don’t find us at home, try looking either place. During the day I work as an architect designing various projects for our other intentional communities. At the end of the work day, I walk away from the office and take up my real life’s work as a father to my children. Our family enjoys doing things together. We like to garden, work in the barn, take the horses out, fish, hike, and enjoy God’s creation.

My wife and I choose to live in this Christian community because it is a way to put all the teachings of Jesus to work in our everyday lives. The trust and common unity between members is something we treasure.

Meghan Zimmerman

Meghan: Hi, my name is Meghan. I live at Maple Ridge, an intentional Christian community in New York with my husband and our four youngest children who still live at home. We’ve lived here for less than a year, but we’ve lived here before so it certainly feels like home.

We travelled from our Midwest home to visit the Bruderhof communities for the first time in 1999, with our oldest three children. We felt called by God to join, and became members in 2001. Since then, we’ve lived at our communities in Pennsylvania, New York, England, and Australia. (You may be wondering if it’s hard to move that much. The answer is that we always have to say goodbye to beloved neighbors, friends, and places, but we love discovering new neighbors, friends and places! We’re so glad we’ve had these chances to live together with so many different people.)

Here at Maple Ridge, I’m the office manager for our Community Playthings’ local sales office. My husband and I are youth counselors for our teenagers, so we enjoy lots of work projects, games, singing, camping trips, and of course snacks together! This is definitely one of my favorite parts of living here.

After living in Australia, I also enjoyed having a real winter again. Not that I’ve ever liked cold or snow but sledding and skating seemed to be a renewed novelty. My husband drives the team of horses we have here, so we took the kids on a late-night sleigh ride (in sleds pulled behind the horses), which is always nerve-wracking for the mother, but exhilarating for everyone else!

Please come visit us, and see how we work and play (and struggle) together, following Jesus as best we know how!

Simeon Wareham

Simeon: Hi my name is Simeon Wareham and Maple Ridge is my current home. It’s is a beautiful place tucked into a rocky New York Ridge. I have lived here for a little over two years and work as the community’s electrician. What I like about Maple Ridge is the mix of open fields, woods, ponds, and its relative proximity to nearby towns and cities, which opens many possibilities for outreach and contact with other New Yorkers. Maybe the best part is the varied cross-section of people in the community here, sharing a laugh over a cup of coffee, relaxing at a friend’s house and sharing stories, or going to the sauna after a grueling eighteen-hole course of disc golf at the town park. One of the more memorable activities from my time here is the thirty foot Class C camper we fixed up. We found one in decent shape for a good price and then totally reworked it and gave it a new look inside and out. We tricked it out for comfort for people of any age and hope it can start putting some miles on the odometer. Anyway, come and pay us a visit we love to see new faces and share new stories.

Shannon Bazely

Shannon: Hi there! I’m Shannon and I look forward to meeting you when you visit Maple Ridge! Our family has been here for nearly eight years and we love it! Surrounded by woodlands and with a lovely ridge to climb right out back of our house, we reside in a children’s paradise. Just a couple miles away is one of our favorite destinations: the mighty Hudson River, where we are sure to meet other nature lovers.

I love my day job as a sales and customer service representative for Community Playthings, and find it rewarding to be able to provide the top-quality products and services for children and their caregivers. Living in an intentional community is a joy, but a good dose of shoulder-rubbing comes with the package! In my department, it is not unusual to have character clashes; however, it is essential to come to peace so we can do our work properly and passionately😊. 

Life is never boring being around children, at least not in our home.  Our daughter and twin sons never have enough time to do all the things they would wish to: maple sapping, hiking, feeding the barn animals, gardening, making culinary inventions (more about this another time), playing with the baby, singing, board games, football, visiting neighbors, camping…and on and on… 

One of the most memorable things I did (or at least, what other people remember) is when a crowd of parents put on the musical “Mary Poppins” for the kids. My husband and I took the roles of Bert and Mary, which was good for a laugh but also left an excellent take-away message: “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Life has its bumps along the way, but humor and a positive attitude sure make all the difference!

Alan Loewenthal

Alan: Hi, my name is Alan and I live at Maple Ridge with my wife Lydia and our four children. Christian community can take many different forms: large or small, rural or urban. Lydia and I were married on the roof deck of our small urban community house in Harlem, New York. During the years we we lived there our first child, Davis, was born and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting and connecting with many people from all walks of life.

Nevertheless, we were happy for the opportunity to move upstate to Maple Ridge, where we have lived for the past five years. Here at Maple Ridge I head up our Records and Immigration Office, which assists members who need passports and visas. As the Bruderhof is an international communal movement with locations in Europe, Korea, Australia, and South America, there is a lot of travel between our communities.

The great thing about living in community, however, is that the external setting doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the people you are living with are all committed to the same thing: following Jesus. The scenery can only make it better: I enjoy mountain biking on the beautiful Shaupeneak Ridge that overlooks Maple Ridge or skipping pebbles with my kids into the nearby Hudson River. Just as enjoyable were the kick-ball games with Harlem House community residents at Heckscher Fields in Central Park, or soccer games with the locals at Riverbank State Park.

Contact Information

Maple Ridge
10 Hellbrook Lane
Ulster Park, NY 12487
United States
Tel: 845-339-6680
Email:  mapleridge@bruderhof.com

Established: 1985

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