Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Jul 06th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Harbin Hot Springs

blog_harbinSoak your way to serenity at this natural retreat center
There’s a getaway, and then there’s a getaway. The kind where you find yourself totally unplugged, cell phoneless, surrounded by beauteous nature, and getting a little closer to a place of pure calm. This is the type of getaway you can expect with a visit to Harbin Hot Springs.

Located way up in the middle of nowhere (also known as Lake County, Calif.), Harbin was, once upon a time, a gathering place for Native Americans, and then became Lake County’s first resort when it opened as a developed destination in the 1860s. Harbin as it is today—a nonprofit retreat center run by the Heart Consciousness Church—was founded in 1975.

Although Harbin now owns nearly 10,000 acres, most of it is undeveloped land that serves as a buffer from the outside world. About 1,700 of those acres are usable by guests, and include mapped hiking trails and the retreat center—the heart of it all, where guest accommodations cozy up with community spaces and the hot spring pools.

Lodging options are plentiful, ranging from private cottages ($170 weeknight, $230 weekend), to a basic room (think no frills hotel room with a shared bathroom, starting at $60 a night), to camping ($25 to $35 per night) in the peaceful nearby campsites, as well as many other options.

blog_harbin_yogaTucked above the lodging are the famed pools—including three silent “meditation pools” (cold, warm and hot), a cold dunk pool, a kids warm pool (heart-shaped and conversation-friendly), and a regular swimming pool. Also available are a dry sauna and a steam room. The meditation pools are the essence of Harbin Hot Springs, where visitors turn inward while suspended in natural mineral water. Fellow visitors are mere skin-colored blurs across the thick steam that tops the warm (97 degree) and hot (112 degree) pools. The hot pool is decorated with fantastic metalwork by Master Welder Mark Nichols, including a beautiful whale that spouts the scalding hot spring water out beneath an altar with candles. (Nichols’ work and other artistic touches are sprinkled throughout the property, making for an atmosphere of positive creative energy.)

The pool area is “clothing optional,” and folks in bathing suits are definitely the odd-ones-out at this free spirited retreat center. Might as well go big or go home, no? Rest assured, just as there is little-to-no conversation in the pools, there is also no funny business. People here take their soaking seriously, and etiquette and safety rules are strictly enforced. Where else can you sunbathe on beautiful redwood decks without worrying about tan lines or about creepers (no photography is allowed anywhere, anytime at Harbin)?

Although a weekend at Harbin could easily be spent going to and from the pools and sauna (with plenty of re-hydrating in between), the center has a slew of other activities and offerings that aren’t to be missed out on, either. To get the full Harbin experience, be sure to attempt to fit all (or at least some) of the following into your stay:

-Hiking: Whether you’re in the mood for a casual nature stroll or a more serious day hike, there are plenty of trails to choose from.

blog_Harbin_pool-Massage: You simply cannot come to Harbin without partaking in their trademark WATSU massage—a water shiatsu that was created in their renowned School of Shiatsu and Massage. But any type of massage from their certified practioners is a guaranteed out-of-body experience.

-Eat: Just as varied as the lodging options are the eating choices. Bring your own food and make use of the Fern Kitchen (no meat allowed). Or, enjoy a delicious meal at the Harbin Restaurant, where the menu includes everything from Jamacian Red Bean Curry to Grilled Salmon to Vegan Lentil Coconut Soup. There is also the Blue Door Café, where you can get your java fix, and the Harbin Market, a natural foods store full of goodies. Tip: Indulge in a raw, homemade chocolate at the Market and thank me later. Yum.

-Play and Learn: Take advantage of the free-for-guests daily yoga classes in the awesomely funky Temple building, or join in one of the many other events, like the sacred kirtan, reiki healing circle, hula-hoop jam, tantra for couples, and much more.

When you need some downtime, pluck a book from the giant Harbin library and curl up by the fireplace to read, or burrow into giant, plush sitting pillows in the movie theater for one of the many free movie screenings.

Whatever you decide to do with your stay at Harbin, you’ll leave renewed, detoxed, glowing and hoping to come back again, soon.


Visit harbin.org for more information.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food