I thought I would share with you some of the very special Retreat Locations wherein I have been able to refresh my focus and perspective on life – to step away from the busyness of life for a few days. You may also be in need of such a retreat – be it a religious one that is in line with your faith, or a non-denominational one; a yoga-focused one, or a thought-provoking one. There are retreats that offer workshops, and there are retreats that give you an opportunity to decide entirely how you want to spend your time – with no special focus in mind. I am always grateful after having spent some time at one of these retreats, for the refreshing way I feel about so many things that may be requiring my attention once I am back home and in my usual routines.

GREEN GULCH FARM

Escape to the Marin Headlands for a day or weekend retreat at Green Gulch Farm, part of the San Francisco Zen Center. Green Gulch Farm combines the mindful setting of an organic farm and garden with the Japanese Zen Buddhist practice — with the added bonus of a view of the Pacific Ocean. I have spent time at Green Gulch may times, both to attend special events, and just to be by myself, wandering the magnificent outdoors, organic farm, and to walk along the ocean.

The price includes organic tea, coffee, snacks, and three amazing vegetarian meals every day. Green Gulch periodically offers retreats during the holidays.

SAN DAMIANO

San Damiano is a Catholic retreat center in Danville CA with a Franciscan presence. It is a place where people of all faiths can come anytime they like to walk the grounds, or to attend day-long and week-long retreats. Although I don’t practice the Catholic faith, I live not far from San Damiano and I have visited occasionally for a nice walk in the peacefulness to get a fresh perspective.

MOUNT MADONNA CENTER

Here, you can practice yoga in the redwoods, high in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mount Madonna Center is the perfect place for a personal retreat in the forest. I have taken yoga classes, gone for long walks on the redwood forest trails, and indulged mysef in a massage. They serve healthy, nutritious vegetarian meals at Anjaneya’s World Cafe with a spectacular view. 

COSTANOA

This perfect beach retreat is close to home for me and is an eco-adventure resort that focuses on healing, wellness, and rest. It’s an hour and fifteen minute drive south of San Francisco, and close to beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and Coast Highway 1.  The Costanoa KOA is right next to the Costanoa Lodge, so I have chosen to sleep outside on elevated platforms so I can hear the ocean waves, 

ESALEN INSTITUTE

This is one of my favorite get-aways. It is perched above the beautiful ocean in Big Sur, just south of Carmel. Esalen is dedicated to synchronizing your body, mind, and spirit. I have attended workshops, and just gone for a couple of days with no agenda in mind. The hot tubs are an experience in and of themselves, being located literally on the edge, overlooking the ocean. It is here where I viewed the most magnificent Milkey Way ever because of the stunning clear night sky.

*Due to the heavy rainfall this past winter and the closure of Highway 1 in the Big Sur area, Esalen has been closed and will reopen on July 28, 2020.

SPIRIT ROCK MEDITATION CENTER

This is another one of my favorite get-aways. Over the years, I have attened  workshops and spent time in reflection in this Marin County center. At residential retreats, you can stay for up to nine nights while learning about awareness and mindfulness, how to let go, and find joy in your life. You can also attend one of the drop-in workshops, which is what I have frequently done, when I don’t have several days to give up to be away.

1440 MULTIDVERSITY  CENTER

This an interesting facility that I had to try out, being one of the newest Bay Area centers. They have progams (self-guided or group settings) to consider a healthier lifestyle, emphasize inner fitness, and cultivating successful leadership. They offer what is known as luminary thinkers who help you question, strategize, and think ouside the box. 

 The facility is named for the number of minutes in a day, 1440 is a principle1440 minutes in each day to be more aware, authentic, empathic, connected, and present. The focus is in building compassionate communities around the world . . . one person, one relationship, one connection, each minute of each day, one resilient act at a time.