Terra Casa Retreat Center has been a long time coming. In the late ‘90’s John saw a local hillside
stripped of trees and replaced with houses. Being a nature man this struck a card with his need to preserve nature…there has to be a better way to live. Researching on how to live with nature instead of on it, lead him to design and build an earth sheltered home. Terra Casa became a soul project for John that he wanted to share with others. He knew he wanted Terra Casa to inspire others to live with nature instead of against it.


In 2005 another development was talked about being put up on the 150 acres of land behind John’s
property. John didn’t want to see another forest be knocked down so close to home. He decided to take out a large loan to buy the 150 acres, knowing he would have to log off some of the forest to afford it. John spent a few years figuring out how he could continue to pay off the large land purchase on his tree service salary. When he was nearly giving up, he met Amber. Amber brought a spiritual and nurturing outlook to John's journey. She helped him work things out about himself that lead him to rethink his life and land.


Terra Casa Retreat Center started with a door, literally and figuratively. A neighbor gave John a
door from his house. He then decided to build a cabin with this door. Ideas to save the property and forest kept coming in one after another. After their dear friend and bhakti yoga teacher came to tour the property, he shared his vision of Terra Casa being a retreat center with Amber leading community meals, spiritual development, artmaking, yoga and hospitality. He saw John providing all the necessary structural and grounds components, along with woodworking, and nature exploring to our future guests. After visiting a great friend of John's in VA, he shared his vision of us creating a community garden where people could immerse themselves in nature and the start to finish process of organic gardening.


Another main component of drawing an audience to the earth berm came in, with a couple in our
circle who suggested we open the earth berm house to Airbnb and VRBO, while we stayed in the tiny log cabin. Amber was asked to teach weekly yoga classes down the street at TinRoses Bungalos, which brought spiritual neighbors together. All of these events, one after the other gave John the hope that saving the land was possible. With everyone participating, the birth of TCRC occurred and more and more doors are
continuing to open up.


This past summer 2016, we had our soft opening. We are continuing to invite guests to tour, visit for Holidays, give feedback, host HelpX & Workaway volunteers, and stay in our accomodations 

as we continue to bring our full vision of TCRC together for a full season starting May 2017.


Terra Casa was such a lovely home! Tucked away in the woods, it was a serene get away and peaceful stay during our daughter’s graduation week at West Point. The home was beautifully decorated and felt like a home away from home. We were so pleased with John and Amber’s kindness. There were plenty of towels, kitchen ware, and the outdoor patio with tiki lights and bbq grill were and added plus to make us feel even more welcome and at home. We would recommend this home to anyone at anytime and look forward to visiting again. We are so grateful to have stayed in such a wonderful home.
Thank you so much!”

Dianisha H.


“We had a wonderful experience at John and Amber’s unique yet cozy home! Amber’s yoga class in the morning was just what we needed before a long drive home. We enjoyed great conversation by their wood burning stove and the house was clean and tidy. A quick breakfast before we hit the road was very nice and communication throughout our reservation and stay was timely and helpful.”

Kasia & Chris W.

East Aurora, NY

“John and Amber were wonderful hosts. They were quick and friendly with communication and were eager to make sure we had a pleasant stay. The house is quite a wonderful gem, with an open living room for lounging or doing yoga in front of a real wood fireplace. For those coming from the city, you’ll definitely appreciate the generously sized kitchen and bathroom. Also - it’s quiet! No sirens, no cars, no craziness. This is the place if you want to unwind without completely unplugging. The house is built into an inclined part of the land so you can actually walk around outside and end up on the roof. I’d highly suggest to try some stargazing at night from that vantage point. Outside also is a wonderful fire pit area with tiki torches and suspended lighting. Take the chance to unwind outside with some wine.

Jonathan R.

San Francisco, CA

“Was a nice secluded house that was not too far from town at all. We really enjoyed the privacy and it stayed warm even though we visited during the coldest part of the year. We will surely call John and Amber again if we ever make it back to NY! Thanks guys for a great trip!”


Driftwood, Texas

The Loft in the Tiny Log Cabin
The Loft in the Tiny Log Cabin
Tiny Log Cabin & Community Garden
Tiny Log Cabin & Community Garden
Large rock formation in the woods
Large rock formation in the woods
Relax on the patio
Relax on the patio
Terra Casa
Terra Casa
Share the fire pit
Share the fire pit
Bring your own Bikes
Fire Pit
Community Cooking
Eco Toilet
Electric Shower

I’m John, one of the co-founders of TCRC. From a young age the outdoors has always drawn me, finding peace and solace from the dysfunction at home. Years spent in the forest, fields, and lakes has taught me invaluable lessons about nature and myself. This led to a forestry degree from the College of Environmental Science & Forestry at Syracuse. I learned about the complexities and interactions of nature fighting flies and gypsy moths, building osprey platforms, tree-care, and logging. All this has taught me to live with the earth I love, not on it. Seeing woods and fields be converted to houses and malls disconcerted me. There’s progress and then there is mindless progress. People need houses to live in and shopping in stores have become a life necessity, this is progress. Not using natures resources to benefit us is mindless progress. This awareness led me to build with as low an impact as possible. I built the earth sheltered house, Terra Casa in this likeness. Sharing my knowledge and journey with others so that they can progress into the future with nature. I look forward to working with you. John



Welcome everyone! I’m Amber one of the co-founders and creators here at Terra Casa. I wanted to share with you the essential moments on my path that have brought me here today. The experiences that have given me gift and talents to share with you all.

Nearly a decade ago I had a shift to a deeper spiritual path when I was brought to yoga. I was in search of healing and relief from a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Yoga started to become my lifestyle and freedom from dis-ease that has been continuing to come ever since.

I began to see spirit in everything. I started turning inward more and listening to the divine wisdom that had always been inside of me. My body has been one of my greatest teachers. Through practice and teaching yoga I found how to deeply nurture and to love myself and others. My ability to listen and empathize became stronger. I learned how to be more in the flow of life through travelig and working in alignment with my values and relationships. Throughout those experiences I experimented and educated myself about different diets, healing foods, food combining, organic and inorganic sourced food, cooking with love and adapted a conscious vegetarian diet in 2014. Now in 2016, I am feeling incredible relief in my body, mind, and spirit and want to share this wisdom of attunement with others. I feel so honored and blessed to be a part of Terra Casa Retreat Center because it allows me to live a lifestyle where I get to just be myself. I get to teach yoga, artmaking, leading our community meals, garden and do organization and marketing for the center. I am so looking forward to our experiences together. With love, Amber