Calm Guide: Los Angeles

June 01 2016

When it comes to relaxation, Los Angeles is a land of dichotomy. It is home of both the juice cleanses and mind numbing traffic, the cookie diet and botox. For Angelenos, self-improvement and the search for wellness is deeply ingrained in the collective culture. This is the city founded by dreamers, who left their homes in search of a place where the sun always shines and opportunity was plenty. Many found their opportunity and sunshine in the city of Los Angeles, itself a product of much reinvention. What to do when you’re looking to chill out in a city known for long lunches and poolside lounging? We say get out of town. Just beyond the limits of greater Los Angeles are some of the most beautifully entrancing locations in all of California. So pack a bag, hop in a car and get yourself to some of our favorite spots to chill out in Southern California.

 

Integratron Sound Baths

Long / Lat : 34°17’40.2″N 116°24’13.4″W
Founded : 1954
Travel time from LA: 02:14
Level of Activity: 2

One can’t really speak to the Integratron (“In-teg-ruh-tron”) – home of the meditative quartz sound bath – without delving into the complexity of its roots.

The structure, located in the sparsely-populated Mojave Desert community of Landers, California, was erected by aeronautical engineer George Van Tassel in the late-1950s. Van Tassel claimed to be in contact with Venusian space people, and – as he explains – was invited onto their space ship in 1953, where he was given instructions on how to build a machine that would extend the life of man. Van Tassel spent the next 25 years building that machine, what is now known as the Integratron. He referred to the structure as a rejuvenation machine, an anti-gravity device, a time travel device and a tabernacle. The Integratron, which was intended to recharge human cell structure through use of a powerful negative ion field, was modeled after biblical structures, and designed to be an electrostatic generator.

The building itself was never completed largely due to Van Tassel’s sudden death in 1978. The Integratron was left as a wooden structure, constructed completely of Douglas fir, except the outer metal ring. The shape and the materials lent incredible acoustic qualities to the building. In 2000, after decades of sales, preservation and beautification, the property changed hands to the Karl sisters. Their deep connection to the Integratron, in combination with their spiritual studies in sound, led them to further transform the structure into a meditative oasis.

Today, many make the spiritual pilgrimage to the Sound Baths at the Integratron. The sixty-minute meditation sessions are accompanied by the sounds produced by quartz crystal “singing bowls.” Certain tones created by the quartz bowls are said to affect one’s chakras, aka the human body’s centers of spiritual power, thus making the Integratron a retreat that truly heightens one’s awareness.

What to Pack

Ojai Rancho Inn

Long / Lat : 34°29’39.3″N 119°14’23.0″W
Founded : 1970
Travel time from LA: 01:31
Level of Activity: 3

The town of Ojai is nestled in the eponymous valley, northwest of L.A. and just east of Santa Barbara. With the Nordhoff ridge on the north side of the town and Sulphur Mountain to the south, the valley is well-known among Californians as a rustic-yet-cool retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And the Ojai Rancho Inn is the spot to stay in the area.

“Ojai is a spiritual vortex, says Ojai Rancho owner and co-founder of the Shelter Social Club Kenny Osehan. “The Chumash first settled in Ojai because they recognized the valley’s healing properties. Krishnamurti called Ojai home for the very same reasons. Beatrice Wood followed Krishnamurti to Ojai to be close to him and thus Ojai became known as a center for spirituality and the arts. We wanted to pay homage to this history through incorporating subtle nods to the spiritual vortex and bringing together the artistic community.”

 

Kenny explains the reasoning behind the inn’s vibe, which he calls “rustic California nostalgia meets spiritual vortex. “We intentionally used triangles throughout the property, as polygons are meaningful to many paths of spirituality. We also have clusters of crystals and evil eyes to ward off bad spirits and attract the good energies. At check-in we encourage people to take a palo santo stick to smudge their room with.”

Kenny, along with Chris Sewell, brought in a community of artists to make the property feel special and unique by collaborating with them on different elements to bring into the rooms and communal spaces. “Heather Levine made the ceramic lamps in the lobby, bar, and rooms. Carly Margolis of All for the Mountain did paintings of her interpretation of spiritual portals in each room. Other artists contributed work to display throughout the property, like Elena Stonaker’s all beaded piece above the fire place in Chief’s Peak, Karen Scott’s ceramic tiles that line the bar, and Eric Junker’s illustrations on the walls and gates of the Rancho.”

Perhaps the most glorious aspect of Ojai is its famed “pink moment” at sunset. The fading sun washes an awe-inspiring pink light over the Topatopa Bluffs, and for several minutes a day, the entire town is engrossed in an overwhelming sense of calm. Kenny explains that the sunset is said to contain healing powers. “Since the Topatopa mountains are said to emanate a spiritual energy, that pink moment is basically a big dose of healing vibrations that spreads itself like a super comfy blanket over all of Ojai.”

What to Pack

E. Waldo Ward & Son

Long / Lat : 34°09’53.7″N 118°02’49.5″W
Founded : 1891
Travel time from LA: 01:04
Level of Activity: 3.5

Between 1909 and 1949, Los Angeles was the largest agricultural country in the United States. The city itself – which began its real estate boom thanks to the need for neighborhoods for agricultural workers – is built on what were primarily citrus groves, and most of the current populous knows nothing of the area’s rich agricultural past.

Located just 30 minutes northwest of downtown L.A. is the city of Sierra Madre. Located in the picturesque foothills of the San Gabriel Valley, Sierra Madre is home to the historic company E. Waldo Ward & Son. Founded in 1981 when the town was still an agricultural hub, the company specializes in gourmet canned goods, syrups and jams and jellies which are made from the oranges from the groves located on the property.

On the property sits a largely unchanged estate. The beautiful and well preserved home and barn were built by Edwin Waldo Ward Sr. in 1900. The small canning factory – which still boasts about 10 employees – is tucked behind the house, and is just barely visible from the street.

The company welcomes guests to explore the property, and to gain an understanding of what the area was like in the days of yesteryear. Visitors can wander the citrus groves, pick their own fruit, tour a small museum housed within the historic red barn and pick up products at an old-timey gift shop.

Spending a day at the E. Waldo Ward & Son, smelling the orange blossoms and roaming the orchard, Angelenos can get back to their roots, even if they didn’t know what those roots actually were.

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