I came across yet another incredible deal on Living Social that I just had to check out. The deal was for a two-day retreat on the Sonoma Coast in the middle of the Redwood Forest. From checking out the photos and reading up on the place, it seemed like a dream land. My roomie Kara and I bought in on the deal together and decided to head out last week for a few day getaway.
We drove five hours from Tahoe to the coast through Napa and wine country during harvest season, which is always absolutely stunning, then made our way to the Pacific Ocean a few hours north of San Francisco. Living in Cali my whole life I am ashamed to say I had never been through that section of the coast. It is more rugged than Southern Cali with spread out houses and farms right up to the water. It was pretty cool to see.
We passed through Bodega Bay which is infamous as the backdrop to Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “The Birds”, finally reaching the road to the turn off. We drove another 10 miles on an unpaved one-lane road through the forest and reached a white fence, which was said to be the first sign of the retreat center. A gold embossed colorful labeled Ratna Ling gate welcomed us and we entered in following the road to the lodge.
Upon entering the property there was a powerful sense of stillness and calm. It was like entering a world of instant relaxation complete with a beautiful mountain backdrop, trees, plants, flowers and wildlife roaming around.
Chelsea, who lives and works on the property checked us in and filled us in on the resort itself. Ratna Ling was established in 2004 as a center to preserve the Tibetan culture. The property spreads over a hundred of acres and contains gardens and green houses where everything is grown and made on-site. There are ponds, a meditation room, library, courtyard and 20 single cottages that house workers and guests. Ratna Ling’s main mission is to print and bind Tibetan texts and raise money to preserve the culture itself. It is a spiritual community, opening to the public a year ago.
While there was a sunrise yoga class every morning all that was really planned out are times to eat. The vegetarian meals were absolutely delectable. From eggplant parmesan and potato leak soup to granola and pumpkin bread, the food was such a treat.
Ratna Ling was the perfect place to get away from it all (cell phones rarely work and there are no t.v.’s in the cabins). There were no more than 6 other guests staying at the retreat besides the 12 people who live and work there full time. Hiking trails are prominent in the area and it was a quick and stunning hike through the Redwoods to the beach. Kara and I literally wandered around, drank tea on our porch overlooking the mountains, played card games, painted our nails and chilled.
The private cottages were way larger than the photos led on. We were overly surprised and stunned by the size, design, and cleanliness. We talked several times about duplicating the floor plan since it would be a perfect Tahoe cabin. Just hanging out at the cottage, relaxing by the fire, jacuzzi-tubbing it up and taking in the absolute silence was amazing enough. If you’re thinking about getting away from it all and finding your zen I highly recommend Ratna Ling.