• Travel: Chic ChÂteaux
    From legendary retreats to new offbeat oases, MARK C O'FLAHERTY picks the world's most inspiring, free-spirited travel experiences

    Big Sur,
    California :

    The Esalen Institute

    From Jack Kerouac's cabin in the woods to the Patti Smith poetry readings at the Henry Miller Memorial Library, Big Sur is a slice of counterculture legend. The Esalen Institute has been offering personal-growth retreats since the '60s: Hunter S. Thompson and Joan Baez were both residents. Non-residents can skinny dip in the cliff-side hot springs, but only between 1am-3am. For serious luxury, stay off-site at the adults-only Post Ranch Inn. Weekend workshops at Esalen, from US$405 per night; esalen.org; The Post Ranch Inn, from US$675 per night; postranchinn.com

    Find inner calm
    at The Esalen Institute

    The Edit

    Photographs: Doug Ellis

    Photography; Amanda Marsalis

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