The Margaret Austin Center is a rural retreat center established to provide a quiet and inexpensive setting for retreats and meetings in the rolling hills outside Chappell Hill, Texas. Originally the vacation home of Margaret Austin, the Center has welcomed retreat groups for almost 20 years. Margaret died in 1992. Beginning in 1993, the Center has been operated as a non-profit organization. Our goal remains the same: to provide hospitality to people from every walk of life. We hope to give all our guests the opportunity to explore their chosen path, to experience the open countryside, and to relax and renew their spirits. This is Margaret’s legacy.
While serving primarily groups with a spiritual, educational, or healing focus, the Center is available to any group whose members need time and space in which to withdraw and renew themselves. Retreats may be scheduled year round for any length of time. The Center is open to all beliefs and all paths, and welcomes the diversity of its guests. When you come to the Center, your retreat or event will be the only group in residence.
The buildings at the farm are grouped near the center of a 40-acre tract that includes a creek and eight acres of woods along its western border. The Center’s buildings are sheltered under a cluster of tall native pecan and other trees, and are surrounded by open fields on all sides. Bordered by woods on the west and by gently rolling hills to the east, the Center’s improved area consists of six acres of landscaped grounds, including a permanent open air labyrinth. Outdoor furniture dots the lawns. Because we are so far from large communities, clear nights offer a spectacular view of the starry skies.
One of the gifts offered by the Margaret Austin Center is the chance to reconnect with the earth. What is your favorite season? Winter at the Center will greet you with crisp air and a landscape rainbow of browns, reds, creams, and honey gold. In the spring, soft, warm breezes waft through our open windows, and the fields are perfumed by blue, orange, pink, yellow, and purple wildflowers. Summer buzzes with cicadas and the pastures shimmer with heat, while you laze under the canopy of trees, in the air conditioned buildings, or from a chair on the breezeway. Autumn isn’t colorful in a splashy way, but watching thousands of geese wing their way south across a china blue sky is reason enough to be here. Rain comes at all seasons, sometimes pinging down on the metal roofs, sometimes blowing in fiercely across the meadows. When was the last time you actually experienced rain?
The Margaret Austin Center is a unique experience in this age of sterile, look-alike accommodations. We invite you to enjoy the experience of community in our open setting