Whole Life Magazine

January/February 2015

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Page 27 of 43

photo top right: Jack Burke photo top right: Jack Burke T here's a reason California is one of the four most popular honeymoon destinations in the country, and it's not just our gorgeous scenery and superb weath- er—we're actually brimming with heavenly dream getaways. WLT chose four geographically diverse options that are both romantic and committed to preserving the natural world. From a coastal retreat nestled in the hills above the sea to a historic resort sprawled in a magni cent state park, one of the loveliest perks at all of them is when you wish on a star together, there won't be anything obstructing your view. W ellspring Ranch (www.wellspringranch.com) is nestled in the hills above Cayucos, a charming coastal community just north of San Luis Obis- po. Innkeepers Jennifer and Richard Arfa have lived on this stunning wooded organic farm since 1997, but this is their rst season open to the public. Guests choose among gorgeously appointed yurt cabanas with gas replaces and skylight (glamping at its nest), a sleek airstream trailer, rus- tic-chic main lodge and converted barn. A stellar outdoor kitchen and al fresco dining areas, spacious yoga studio, koi pond, rose garden, high-thread count sheets and luxurious bathrooms with private outdoor showers beneath towering oaks make this a special spot for guests seeking a retreat from urban life. Filtered well water, solar energy, recycling and biodegradable cleaning products all contribute to the eco-friendly atmosphere. Opportunities abound for hiking and biking, or relax in a hammock, explore the sustainable garden and wander among 300 organic avocado trees. In the evening, toast veg- an marshmallow s'mores over an outdoor re pit and enjoy a clear view of the night sky. e ranch serves vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free hot and cold breakfast, organic and locally sourced. Tuesday and Friday night tapas include delicate potato tacos and house-made guacamole with chips crisped in coconut oil. Dinners otherwise are at guests' discretion, and a private chef is available. J ust an hour north of Palm Springs is Joshua Tree Nation- al Park, an otherworldly wilderness of massive rock for- mations that appear to have been tossed by a giant. Close to the park's western entrance are the Highlands Houses (www.joshuatreehighlandshouse.com), which include the Artist Retreat, Luna Mesa, 1800-square-foot Sky House and Villa Roccosa. Each is an architecturally stunning vacation rental on ve acres, o ering indoor/outdoor access, vast mountain and rock views, and an easy bike, drive or hike into the park. We stayed at Villa Roccosa, a sleekly modern spin on a homesteading cabin, built into a rock outcropping with boulders extending dramatically into the living room. Win- dows frame Joshua trees and rock formations like perfectly centered photographs, and there's a fully equipped steel and concrete kitchen, indoor and outdoor replaces, and large hot tub, perfect for enjoying sunset or moonrise. Guests bring their own food; breakfast is best enjoyed at a cluster of Adirondack chairs overlooking the desert wilderness. Own- er Frederick Fulmer provides recycling and uses eco-safe cleaning products, and the properties utilize energy-sav- ing appliances. Massage, Pilates and yoga classes can be arranged in each private retreat. Heavenly Getaways 28 wholelifetimes.com

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