Lily Dale Assembly: A First Timer’s Guide to the Beautiful Spiritualist Community

lily dale assembly first timer's guide

Lily Dale Assembly has been a spiritualist community for well over a century and had become a peaceful respite for guests that want to connect with nature in a spiritual way. But, what’s it really like to visit Lily Dale and what do you need to know? Here’s my honest take on a recent visit. 

lily dale assembly gate fee

Disclosure: Lily Dale Assembly is a spiritualist community and offers daily services. In no way am I trying to sway your religious opinions or trying to convert you to spiritualism. 


If you’ve never heard of Lily Dale, let me give you the 60-second tour. Since 1898, it’s been a spiritualist community in Pomfret, New York. If you’re wondering where Pomfret is, it’s one hour southwest of Buffalo, NY. Its name has changed a few times until Lily Dale Assembly was locked down in 1906.

Offering daily services and events when in season, you can attend a meeting that includes mediums and may receive a reading from a friend or loved one “in spirit “ or can pay a fee for a personal reading. 

Many of the mediums live in Lily Dale in one of the eclectic, colorful homes which you can visit directly or ask for an over-the-phone reading. Each is a registered medium and offers a different style and approach. 

For example, one may give colored drawings based on poignant times in your life; others may relay messages from those that have passed on. With this, each medium has a set time table and fees (you can find the list of Lily Dale registered mediums here. )

If you’re unsure of which medium you’d like to connect with, my suggestion is to attend the daily services and see if you get a good vibe from one.


Lily Dale Gate Fee & Tickets

There are several types of Lily Dale tickets or “gate fees” that give you access to all of the complimentary sessions and events. With a paid gate fee, we were able to walk around the community, browse shops, walk on the beach, and simply enjoy the surroundings. 

Daily Gate fees in 2021 range from $17 per day to a season pass for $238. If you’d like to visit after 6pm, pricing is $8. Children 17 and under and folks over 80 or active military are free. 

You may purchase gate passes online or pay at the gate – your choice. 


What’s it Like in Lily Dale?

lily dale assembly mother earth

If you’ve never been to Lily Dale or another spiritualist community, it was a feeling of calmness for me the second I parked the car and began walking around. It was as if all of the stress of the day instantly washed away and I could focus my attention on my surroundings. 

I talked with my teen daughter about how she felt and, without giving my takeaways to her, she felt the same way. We felt safe from harm and it was as if everyone around embraced us. And to you I give my word on that feeling; it’s like getting an embrace from nature. 

lily dale leolyn woods

If it wasn’t for the rain and mosquitoes on the day we visited, there were plenty of walks throughout the 10-acre Leolyn Woods including a Fairy Trail and Inspiration Stump services.

FYI: make sure you take bug repellant or use Vicks (I have a friend that swears by putting some behind your ears) to keep the little beasties at bay. We quickly walked through the pet cemetery and it was such a beautiful tribute to beloved pets that have passed on. We learned that you can bring a photo of your pet and it will be added to a glass-enclosed board as tribute. 

lily Dale Pet Cemetery
Lily Dale Pet Cemetery

If I can compare it to a popular beach, it’s nothing like it at all. There aren’t folks walking around trying to sell you things. There’s no one coming up to you and asking you to pay for services. It’s up to you what you want to attend and if you want to get a reading from a medium. 

If you visit during off season, there is no gate fee and hotels are closed. 


Lily Dale Events & Activities


Almost hourly, Lily Dale has activities located throughout the community. On our visit, there were meditation, worship, and healing services, and several message services. There are some paid activities including a walking tour of the community and a smaller message service, but you don’t have to attend if you don’t want to. 

Again, it was our very first time visiting and I didn’t know a lot about the mediums, so going to a couple of message services with mediums giving readings was an ideal way for me to dip my toes into a spiritualistic community. 

lily dale inspiration stump
Inspiration Stump in Leolyn Woods.

At message services, each medium does two or three readings based on what he/she feels or which spirits come through. For us, we witnessed messages from loved ones and even family pets. If offered, definitely check out the Inspiration Stump service in Leolyn Woods with some mediums. 



Maplewood hotel lobby in Lily Dale.
Maplewood hotel lobby in Lily Dale.

There are several hotels and guest homes at Lily Dale during the season. Prices vary depending on time of year and day of the week and weekends fill up fast. We decided to stay off property in Jamestown, NY, for our first visit, but i’m definitely staying in the community the next time I visit. 

If you have a camper or RV, camping space can be rented. 


There are two that we really enjoyed: The Lily and The Sunflower. Both had a ton of items that we would eat in a hot minute including a sweet potato bisque that I’d love to recreate at home. Only a few steps away from each other, The Lily offers indoor seating while The Sunflower has picnic tables and patio chairs. 

Off Season

During the colder months, Lily Dale goes into off season. There is no gate fee and you’re more than welcome to walk through the woods, visit the beach, and attend limited services. 

Hotels are closed during off season, too. There are a few gust houses that stay open, so check the link above listed earlier for current information. 

But happily, several mediums live full time at Lily Dale and offer both phone and in-person readings. My advice is to call the medium you’d like to connect with well ahead of time and learn his/her schedule. 


There are several shops at Lily Dale including a bookstore where Lily Dale branded merchandise is sold. Hours vary, so make sure you check the guide you’re given at the gate for details. 

It’s also home to the Marion Skidmore library and its own fire department. Additionally, the Lily Dale museum is a must-see if you’re interested in its detailed history. 

Did I Get a Reading?

If you’re wondering if I received a reading, I’d be curious to know, too. For me, it wasn’t my time but my daughter did during the final message service of the day. And if you’re wondering if it was spot on, it was, indeed. The message from my mother (her nanny) brought her to happy tears. 

Honestly, hearing from her nanny it was the one thing she truly wanted and her good vibes and intent certainly helped. Dr. Neil told my daughter that her grandmother was coming through.

He mentioned that she loved fancy things (true) and she had several of her tchotchkes (again, true) that she kept. There was no way that Dr. Neil would have known that my mother enjoyed fancy decor, lace, and the Victorian style. 

And call it sheer coincidence or divine intervention, but one of my best friends since 6th grade was there. Neither of us had any idea that the other would be there on that day!  But, seeing her sitting on a bench before a message service made my mouth gape open! 


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