From sound bathing to synchronized breath walks, the trend toward retooling the mind and body is the travel industry’s top market for 2023. Lifestyle recalibration is the buzzword, with many of us seeking more than a beach walk to bump up our well-being. This trend bodes well for Mendocino County, given its rich cache of ancient redwood groves to 90 miles of pristine California coastline. Add to that a host of newly-retooled inns focused on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and the time for heading true north is now.
RETOOLED WELLNESS RETREATS
New in 2022, SCP Mendocino Inn & Farm kicks things up a notch with its wellness, earth-friendly and socially-responsible ethos. Tap into 30 guestrooms set on 15 acres viewing the Pacific with wood-burning fireplaces and plenty of room to roam. Set in a “Scandi-boho” design style with a modern farmhouse twist, the majority of guestrooms are free of televisions, clocks and radios — offering you and yours a true back-to-nature escape rife with resident llamas, chickens and miles of pristine hiking trails in neighboring Van Damme State Park. A plant-forward Terra Kitchen Restaurant and initiatives toward sustainability and net zero waste round out the vision.
Practicing “Grounding Activities Rooted in Stillness” Mar Vista Farm + Cottages new owners mean business when it comes to a complete mind+body reset. Set along scenic Highway 1, the rustic outpost features eleven vintage cottages with fireplaces and a sensory throwback with farm animals and Mother Nature set at full throttle. The unique Anchor Bay location, combing nine acres of expansive organic gardens (pick your morning bounty) and ocean access, is ideal if you’re seeking a calm recalibration. Retreats include daily morning meditation, core wellness programs from the practice of forest bathing to beachside yoga, morning breakfast baskets with fresh farm eggs and evenings rife with stargazing, campfires or a solo session in the Japanese soaking tub.
Set in bucolic Boonville, Bell Valley Retreat is the stop for if you’re packing an extended family or looking for a like-minded group for an extended stay. Set on an expansive watershed spanning 600 acres, the property offers Spring in Harmony Yoga and Cultivating a Joyous Mind in Trouble Times retreats in 2023 as well as a variety of protocols including sound healing, meditation, massage and organic dining. Check out on five-miles of tended hiking trails, contemplate nature under the warm arms of old growth redwoods or recharge with a private tent for one. Lodgings include an eight-person Bunk House, Creekside Cottage, four-bedroom Toll House and 12 luxury tents spread throughout the property. Dialing out was never so easy.
A variety of regional properties that have long focused on wellness have upped their game as well. Stanford Inn by the Sea steps up with a mind-bending array of health and wellness-oriented programs at the 41-room retreat set on 10-acres overlooking Mendocino Bay. The Immune System Boost Package includes a three-night stay with a curated program designed by Sid Garza-Hillman, the Wellness Center Director. Here, you can tap into activities including meditation, a healthy living/nutrition class, outdoor adventures along Big River and three meals at the award-winning, organic plant-based Ravens Restaurant.
Other properties offering a wellness focus include The Little River Inn, Brewery Gulch Inn, Shambhala Ranch, and luxe Inn at Newport Ranch, set on a 2,000-acre private ranch north of Fort Bragg. The inn’s Restorative Wellness Retreat package includes a private 75-minute yoga session, two-hour guided walk with meditation and 60-minute couple’s Swedish massage with a two-night minimum stay. Situated with a nearly two-mile perch over the Pacific, this is the last frontier with vantages travelers seldom see. You can avail yourself to one of nine guest suites gracing the property, as well as a hot tub aptly perched atop the water tower for the ultimate chill down.
MIND + BODY EXPERIENCES
Tapping into a wellness vacation is easy given the wealth of practitioners offering everything from breath walks to elevated forest bathing and CBD massage. Why not book a day of play with Unbeaten Path Tours at Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands for the ultimate mind unwind. Call energy from the heavens, tap out a mantra or join a spirited walk across the energetically attuned environment. Focused on Restorative Realignment in nature, owner Margaret Lindgren has something for everyone. Wild Trails Mendocino is another option, offering you a variety of wellness workshops from the “Rise, Thrive, Revive” series to a focus on gut health and countering burnout. Forest bathing, sound healing and forest mindfulness walking tours deep within the ancient redwood groves are also available.
Sometimes, just adding a bit of water can kick off a sense of renewal. Enter Sweetwater Eco Spa, an old-world experience with a series of redwood hot tubs, cedar sauna and CBD-infused massage set to reduce stress, chronic pain and inflammation. Other top stops to soak away your stress include Orr Hot Springs, located next to Montgomery Woods State Park in the back country. This 27-acre bucolic escape is the real deal with secluded mineral tubs, communal pools and spring-fed plunge built into a rock sidewall set at a delightful 65–75 degrees. If you’re seeking a detox duo, the dry sauna and constant-flow steam room, from the same water source, does the trick; massage is also available. Orr also offers 23 guestroom cottages including six stand-alone yurts and cabins. Just outside Ukiah, California Landmark No. 980 – Vichy Springs Resort and Spa – boasts a 700-acre facility with America’s only warm and naturally carbonated Vichy mineral baths (and Olympic-size pool). Here, you can tap into creekside hiking and bed down in classic cottages.
If you are like one of the many who like to toke and travel, Mendocino’s Emerald Triangle legacy as a top-shelf producer is without challenge. Key takes on integrating CBD and flower products into your visit include a “puff & paint” session or getting “baked fresh daily” at Fort Bragg’s The Bakery, featuring artisanal flower products presented in bakery-style display cases. In Ukiah, drop into the Plantshop for a stash of local sun-grown herb or a medicated yoga session. On site, a spacious half-acre Consumption Lounge provides a safe and communal environment for imbibing. If the urge suits, you can slip into the Puff & Paint sessions every Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. Nearby, the Compassionate Heart – original home of the $5 pre-roll – offers a standout selection of local green, along with a playful alfresco smoke lounge. For a collective high, check out Kure Wellness, with three outposts, offering a hip, shaded smoke lounge and locally sourced product.
Located in the most southern tip of Mendocino County, Gualala’s High Tides offers up full service “compassionate cannabis care” with a focus on all things Emerald Triangle. Other key regional romps include a visit to the Bohemian Chemist in wine-centric Anderson Valley. This is the luxury stop with a bespoke line-up of notions and potions set in a vintage Art Deco apothecary. This is the stop for sun-grown products, edibles and tinctures – with a well-appointed Oak Terrace consumption lounge and two adjacent wine tasting venues on site. Stock pile Bohemian Chemist’s signature house products, as well as other small craft brands like Professor Snooks.