By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas
Hello, dear escapees. Congratulations. We have spent four days since the end of daylight saving time last weekend. I hope you have now set back your clocks an hour and started to adjust to our shorter days.
The first is easy – the second not so much.
That’s why I had the pleasure of reuniting with the home of my LA Times colleague Jessica Roy guide to staying sane this winter. I was also struck by the similarities between some of his tips (walks, projects with loved ones) and travel.
In this edition of Escapes, you’ll find peaceful places to stroll – and soak up the much-needed sun – with friends, as well as a fun and fantastic event perfect for families spending the weekend together.
Of course, as Roy points out, don’t hesitate to see a doctor if symptoms of seasonal affective disorder begin to seriously disrupt your life.
Where do you like to seek solace during the winter months? Send me an email, and I will present your ideas in a future edition of Escapes.
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ð´ Find a real-life oasis
Just five miles from the glitz of Palm Springs, there’s a true oasis to explore.
Andreas Canyon, run by the Cahuilla Agua Caliente Band of Indians, is one of the places highlighted in the recent article by Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds on 22 Instagram mirages he found in the desert of southern California.
As with any true oasis, Andreas Canyon depends on its water source, a creek that flows even in the hottest temperatures. It provides food for the Californian palm (a rare palm species native to the region) as well as other plants that inhabit the canyon.
Visitors can experience the canyon with an easy mile-long loop trail. Admission is $ 12 for adults.
Want to deepen your canyon experience? Ranger-led canyon hikes take place at 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday with visits departure from the car park.
?? Visit a secret garden
If you are looking for the Taft gardens and nature reserve on Google Maps, you won’t get very far.
As Times editor Jeannette Marantos reports, the entrance to the southern California destination is not listed on Google Maps to discourage walk-in visitors. You will only receive instructions on how to visit if you book tickets. âJust getting to Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve is an adventure,â writes Marantos.
The destination of Ojai region is well worth the effort to get there. Once you arrive at Taft Gardens, you are entitled to “15 acres of otherworldly trees, bulbs, herbs, succulents and shrubs, as well as native oaks and spongy lawns,” reports Marantos. âThere is no traffic noise and the trails are animated by birdsong and the sudden rush of lizards. “
The park, home to towering South African Goliath aloes, is a succulent stans feast. The garden offers visitors “a chance to see what succulents look like in the wild,” said a volunteer guide.
Tickets cost $ 20 and must be purchased online at least 24 hours in advance.
?? Barcelona-inspired accommodations in Ojai
Speaking of Ojai, you might be wondering where to stay while you’re there. There’s no shortage of luxury accommodations in the New Agey community, but if you’re hoping to dive deeper into the artistic vibe of the area, you can book a stay at Emerald Iguana Inn.
Billed as a “bohemian boutique inn,” the Emerald Iguana Inn is the brainchild of Julia Whitman, who incorporated furniture she bought on her travels in Europe, Asia and Mexico. The hostel itself was built by her husband, architect and artist Marc Whitman, who took inspiration from buildings in Barcelona – and GaudÃ – while also designing the arcades, tile mosaics and games of hostel water.
In addition to typical hotel rooms, the hostel offers a variety of larger cottages to choose from. The Frog Suite, with a fairytale-lit patio and stone walls dating from 1906, looks particularly dreamy.
Room prices start at $ 358 for a two night stay required.
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ð§ââï¸ Meet mermaids (yes, really!)
You read correctly. From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, the mermaids will be at the edge of the Santa Barbara harbor, meeting and taking photos with children of all ages.
The fantastic event is part of the new exhibition at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum: Mermaids: visualize myths and legends. The exhibition features images taken as part of an underwater photography course taught by artist Ralph Clevenger, based in Santa Barbara. During the course, professional sirens posed under the waves for students learning photography off the Channel Islands.
The meeting with mermaids costs $ 30 for a group of up to four non-members. Reservations must be made in advance. Admission to the museum costs $ 8 for adults and $ 5 for children 6 and over. Children under 6 enter for free.
You’ll also find this idea included in the latest edition of The Wild, written by my friend and outdoor expert Mary Forgione. For all kinds of outdoor activities and tips, subscribe here.
What i read
- When you travel to the United States (and many places beyond), you are traveling to stolen native lands. Elizabeth Rhodes rode a guide to visit native lands with respect in Travel + Leisure.
- A curious anomaly has turned a landfill north of San Francisco into a destination. Ashley Harrell reports on how Glass Beach was born in SFGate.
- Get instantly transported to Hana in this retrospective of “Life’s Swell,âThe story that inspired Hawaii’s surf movieâ Blue Crush. âDaniel Duane interviewed reporter Susan Orlean, who traveled to Maui to report the story in 1998, for this Outside Online story.
- âSome people go to Bali to meet up. I went to look for my father, âwrites Atsuko Okatsuka. Read about her experience rekindling her relationship with her father – on a terrifying extreme sports outing – in Afar.
- Do you like to read travelogues? You can enjoy âA Salad Only the Devil Would Eat: The Joys of Ugly Natureâ by longtime traveler Charles Hood, which was recently reviewed by Nathan Deuel for the Los Angeles Times.
Photo of the week
Song of the road
Song: “Found” by Tems with Brent Faiyaz
Favorite Lyrics: “Before it gets out of hand, no more distance, let’s dance.” “
Where to Play: Drive along California State Route 18 to or from Arrowhead Lake at sunset.