Hippie Weekend Getaway: I Think I Tried Too Hard…

Before I left this weekend, I did my best to put myself in a hippie mindset. I dug out my most hippie apparel (think yoga meets the outdoors), downloaded Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success for my drive, gathered healthy snacks (dried organic mango, anyone?), and made a vow to go make-up free (thanks for the inspiration Twenty-Something Travel).

Turns out I may have been overdoing it a bit. As soon as I was out of my car and had a good look around, I realized the clientele of this little hot springs retreat outside wine country was more diverse than I expected. In fact, pretty sure you could picture anyone in your mind and someone similar was there. Young, old, plump, thin, rich, struggling, tattooed, clean-cut, foreign, hippie, otherwise.

I guess when I heard naked, I thought it would be a specific kind of person. But really, people from all walks of life seemed to be alright with it, minus, of course, me. I was one of maybe four people who opted to remain covered. The others were all women, (interesting, right?), of various ages and backgrounds.

I did feel a little bit like the weirdo for keeping on my suit, but there are some things I’d rather keep a mystery. Likewise, I could have done without seeing everyone else’s mysteries, although I totally got that I was on their territory, so if I didn’t like it, I could leave. Regardless, the whole time I found myself wondering where should I be looking… Do I look people in the eyes and nod hello? Do I avert my gaze whenever I cross someone’s path? Is that old woman really talking to me with her legs wide open like that?

Fortunately, the vibe was definitely not sexual. It was more like visiting a different country with alternative norms than my vision of some hedonistic hippie hang out. Signs even reminded people to honor each other’s personal space. I never once felt intruded upon.

Cameras are not allowed... Probably because of the nudity around the pools. I still snuck this one from my favorite reading spot. Those figures in the distance aren't naked people, they're Buddha statues.

Cameras were not allowed… Probably because of the nudity around the pools. I still snuck this picture from my favorite reading spot. Those figures in the distance aren’t naked people, they’re Buddha statues.

Out of my element or not, it was a good adventure. It kind of reminded me of that family resort on Dirty Dancing, complete with activities, a movie theater, a restaurant, and charming, if not slightly rustic accommodations. There was even a community of people who live and work there full-time, not unlike the movie.

While I did get a little restless without my phone, or laptop, I enjoyed the beautiful grounds, mellow vibe, sound of running water, hiking trails, labyrinth, free yoga three times daily, massage, and sunshine warm enough for sunbathing in January. I even allowed my mom to wake me up at 5:30 in the morning to hit the hot springs in the dark, when the pools are practically empty. As I floated on my back and stared up at the stars through a canopy of evergreen trees, I understood the allure of the place. Pure magic, clothing or not.

Even though I had a relaxing time, I would only return again with someone who really wanted to be there. It was not entirely my thing. I don’t love soaking in water shared with naked strangers, no matter how progressive I like to think I am or how wonderful the yoga offerings were. I prefer the ocean and a little technology, I suppose.

The room decorations were cute, although everything felt a little dark/rustic. You definitely wanted to be outside...

The room decorations were cute, although everything felt a little dark/rustic. You definitely wanted to be outside… As for me, I tried a little too hard to fit in… Next time maybe a pair of jeans and a little make-up won’t ruin anything.

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11 thoughts on “Hippie Weekend Getaway: I Think I Tried Too Hard…

  1. kingmidget says:

    “Is that old woman really talking to me with her legs wide open like that?”
    This tells me this is a place I don’t need to visit. But, then, the secret picture you took gives me pause. I think there are places like this — retreats, away from the hustle and bustle and technology, etc. — and people keep their clothes on. 🙂 This is the one I want to go to … http://www.sfzc.org/tassajara/

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Haha, well, there are definitely A LOT of naked people… But only one talked to me… The grounds were beautiful and the yoga was awesome. Everyone has their clothes on in the restaurants/etc., so it’s really only by the pools…

      That place looks great!

      My hippie bucket list is this place: http://www.esalen.org Also clothing optional in the pools, but tubs over the ocean… The idea of a full moon/the ocean is enough for me to give it a shot.

      • kingmidget says:

        Yes. Esalen is a possibility also. Unfortunately, it has a negative connotation for me. When I was a kid, good friends of my parents had an experience there that turned their marriage upside down for awhile. The husband got very into it and the sense I had from my parents was that it was almost cultlike. I’m sure it wasn’t that bad, given my parents very conventional, traditional and narrow-minded view (most decidedly unhippie) of how one acts … but … the memory remains.

      • oliviaobryon says:

        Interesting. I could definitely see how that could happen… Esalen is super expensive, too, so another downside. I’ll be curious to hear about wherever you end up! 🙂

    • oliviaobryon says:

      PS. This was the place this weekend: http://www.harbin.org

  2. jeffo says:

    Sounds like it was relaxing–except for when the naked people were around!

  3. Kozo says:

    I hope the yoga was not naked. haha. Great post, Olivia. Sounds like you did recharge even though you kept your clothes on. Welcome home.

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