Woodcrest Community • Rifton, NY

About Us:
Woodcrest is the oldest Bruderhof community in the United States. We are similar to other large settlements in that we are made up of a lively mix of families and singles, young and old. Bruderhof children attend our elementary school, and adults work within the settlement.

Easily accessible from Interstate 87, Woodcrest is located about ninety miles north of New York City in the bucolic Hudson Valley. We enjoy stunning views of the Catskill Mountains and the Shawangunk Ridge. On our Ulster County acreage we have apartment buildings and other common buildings, including an elementary school, laundry facility, medical clinic, dining hall, and administrative offices. A workshop for the Rifton Equipment business is located here. And down the road you’ll find our mostly organic farm, which provides the majority of Woodcrest’s produce.

Connecting with Neighbors:
We regularly welcome friends and neighbors for communal dinner on Saturday evenings, and we host seasonal, public events throughout the year, such as a summer barbecue and carol singing around Christmas. During the summer, children from the local Boys and Girls Club come to enjoy gardening and outdoor games. In conjunction with local towns or nonprofits, you might find us repairing a bridge, building a playground, or replacing a roof. Woodcrest is also blessed to be located near the eight-thousand-acre Mohonk Preserve, a true New York jewel; we help maintain trails and participate in mountain bike safety patrols on weekends.

Point of Interest:
Over the years, our elementary students have built a straw-bale house to experiment with alternative building methods and sustainability.

Meet some of the people who live at Woodcrest:
Several current residents describe life at the Woodcrest Bruderhof:


Lori: I’m forty-six years old and single, living in intentional community here at Woodcrest. I love the mid-Hudson and Catskill region with its access to nature, both river and mountains. I’m a physical therapist, providing services for the members of our Christian community together with the medical staff here. I’m also involved with our Rifton Equipment business of designing and manufacturing products for children and adults with physical disabilities. For Rifton, I help to provide online website resources as well as conduct equipment-related workshops, both of which I love to do. Working and living together with brothers and sisters who share the same faith and goals is rewarding and fun.

Steve Swinger

Steve: My family arrived for a one year visit in June of 1959. Woodcrest, an intentional Christian community, had started four years earlier and was still in its pioneering years. As I child, I was reminded of the Brethren Church Family Camp that we attended every year, but this place was far better – this was camp all year round, and it was like heaven on earth: in summer there was exploring, softball, football, fishing, swimming, hiking, and camping in the Catskill Mountains; in winter there was skating, sledding, and maple sapping. My parents soon found that Woodcrest was an answer to prayer: a place where they could live out the Sermon on the Mount daily with brothers and sisters of the faith, sharing everything in common. You guessed it – that “visit” turned out to be “home.” My final five years of grade school were spent in the Woodcrest School, overlooking the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountain ranges. After that, I attended Kingston High School for four years – sometimes up to forty students from Woodcrest, which just about filled a bus. Summers were great fun, with trips to the ocean or mountains, sometimes camping in the Adirondacks where Indian Lake was a favorite destination. I later went to college, where I studied printing technology. Then, when I thought I was “done with schooling,” I was asked to study nursing, as our communities needed more nurses! Soon after graduating, I married Rhona. We’ve been married for forty-six years now, and are blessed with eight children and twenty-nine grandchildren. We have encouraged them, as our parents did for us, to love and respect each person, to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Over the years it’s been a privilege to work in our medical clinic and homecare settings, caring for each person from birth to death. When I’m not doing that, I work for Rifton Equipment , where we design and manufacture adaptive equipment for people with disabilities. And then, of course, there are times when we can just be “Grandpa and Grandma!”

Annette Goodwin

Annette: Hi – my name is Annette. At the age of five, my family moved from Paraguay to Woodcrest, a Bruderhof in upstate New York, where I spent the rest of my childhood and adolescent years till I got married. After our wedding, my husband Herbert and I lived on other Bruderhof communities for several years while raising our six children. This included those in England and Australia – great opportunities for our whole family. Herbert and I also travelled to Haiti with World Vision, spent some weeks in Seattle with community friends, and made a visit to Paraguay, the country of my birth.

Back at Woodcrest, I enjoy my customer service work for Rifton., and depending on the season, other activities and hobbies will find me in my flower garden, picking berries, and visiting or Zooming with friends here in Ulster County. Now I’m in my sixties, our own children are out of the house, but it is never empty. Young people drop in (always with an appetite, luckily, because I like to bake and cook) and otherwise I enjoy a good book with a glass of wine on occasion to round out my day. Most recently, I’m loving being a grandmother to our first grandchild. 

Each of our communities is blessed with incredible natural beauty, but Woodcrest seems to wear the crown: the “Gunks” are close by and the Catskill Mountains span the far horizon. I never tire of the wide and ever-changing view that is so much a part of Woodcrest.

Contact Information

101 Woodcrest Drive
PO Box 903
Rifton, NY 12471
United States
Tel: 845-658-7700
Email:  woodcrest@bruderhof.com

Established: 1954

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