Digital Detox: Leave Annoying Technology in the Dust at the Supremely Relaxing Alisal Guest Ranch

Alisal Ranch
Deloitte has revealed that Americans look at their phones a collective 8 billion times a day. Individually, we look at them roughly 46 times per day. Emails, Tweets, cat videos, carefully curated Instagram photos… it’s easy to become stressed and isolated by our technology. Studies are finding social media is linked to increased rates of depression. Fortunately, there’s a remedy to our technological addiction and psychological distress: go outside!

Alisal Guest Ranch, in one of the most beautiful parts of California, is the perfect place to disconnect from artificial life and re-energize. It’s a 10, 500 acre ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, which is about 30 miles from Santa Barbara. The land has long since been a working cattle ranch and in 1946, the Jackson family opened up the Alisal Guest Ranch (Alisal is the Chumash word for “grove of sycamores). Ever since it’s been a favorite of Hollywood royalty: Clark Gable was married there and Doris Day was a regular guest. It’s not hard to see why Alisal has been so consistently considered the perfect escape…

Dotted along the green, hilly countryside are 73 cottages, offering you a private retreat. Each cottage has a working fireplace, but no televisions and no phones. It might be tough, but you’ll have to remember how great life was before 2004 (an arbitrary year that feels like it was pre-smartphones). It was awesome–calmer, slower, saner. No one could bother you about something unless they were physically there, left a message on your answering machine, or mailed you a letter. Bring a book, whittle something, meditate. Okay, fine, there is Wi-Fi, but as soon as you see the natural splendor around you and check out all the badass stuff you can do, the last thing you’ll want to do is look at a Facebook newsfeed.

Go for a horseback ride, kayak on the spring-fed lake, or go fly fishing (take a lesson or even a guided trip). You can golf on one or both of their two courses. Play tennis. Try archery or take an air rifle class. There are miles and miles of nature walks and bird watching. Rent a bike and try out the routes fit for anyone from beginners to hardcore cyclists. The Alisal staff will even pack you a picnic lunch. Sit out under the massive blanket of stars with a glass of whiskey and try to figure out what the universe is in. (Seriously, if it’s true it’s expanding, what’s it expanding into?)

The Breakfast Ride is really not to be missed. You have the choice of riding a horse or taking the hay wagon out to the original adobe abode located on the ranch. Enjoy a breakfast cooked outside over a crackling campfire.

Once you’ve worn yourself out with all this endorphin-creating physical exertion, head over to their 6,500 square foot spa and get lost in some well-deserved, manly pampering. They offer massages, facials, even a gym with cardio equipment and classes. Take a private yoga class and become truly zen.

Dining is another highlight. Executive Chef Pascal Godé uses local, seasonal ingredients and sustainably sourced seafood. Being a cattle ranch, they naturally focus on using only the best meat available. The cuisine has a Western flavor– the barbecue uses house made rubs cooked over locally sourced oak.

The Oak Room Lounge is the perfect place to start your evening, which offers cocktails, beer, and wine with complimentary hors d’oeuvres after 5 pm. Live music starts at 6:30pm and goes on until 10 pm. The Ranch Room and Sycamore Room are two places to eat that maintain the tradition of actually dressing for dinner. That means gents over 16 need to have on at least a sport coat and ladies should opt for similar level of snazziness.

Alisal is a luxurious yet rustic retreat from technology. It allows us to indulge in everything good: physical activities, nature, human connection, and delicious food. We bet even that occasional phantom buzzing you imagine you’re feeling in your pocket will subside.

Food & Drink

This Pulled Pork Walking Taco Recipe Is a Delicious Twist on Frito Pie

Portable pulled pork is the perfect picnic pickings.
Outdoors

The Best Cooking Gear for Car Camping and Backpacking

We’ve rounded up the best camping utensils and appliances to help you make the perfect meal right beside the truck or 20 miles from it.
Living

A Simple Swedish Cabin Gets a New Addition and a Japanese Twist

The two styles have more in common than you think and Archipelago Sommarhus is proof.
Grooming

How to Give Your Partner a Romantic Massage

We chatted with Swedish Institute-trained and licensed massage therapist Rich Kiamco about how to give the perfect massage.
Food & Drink

Heading to Hawaii? Make Your Reservations at Manta Restaurant to Eat Big Island Beef

How can cattle raised in Hawaii stand-up to beef carefully coddled for years in Japan, Australia, and the mainland U.S.? Pretty damn easily, that's how.
Living

Detroit’s Shinola Hotel Has Us Feeling Right At Home

With stylish guest suites and a social “living room,” the Shinola Hotel honors the Motor City’s past while looking to a bright future.
Travel

‘App in the Air’ Could Help Travelers Survive the Next Government Shutdown

It's like an airport survival kit in your pocket. It will be handy long after the government shutdown ends (again).
Travel

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet?
Outdoors

4 of the Most Dangerous Hikes in the World

You'll need a healthy dose of fear and a desire to push your self to the edge — just not over it.
Travel

The Palms Casino’s Newest High-Roller Suites Have a Bowling Alley and Whiskey Room

The Hardwood Suite is a basketball-centric masterpiece, while the Kingpin suite is a bowling bro's paradise.
Travel

Celebrate Your Single-ness This Valentine’s Day with a Cheap Vacation

Contiki is looking to make solo celebrations even better with deeply discounted travel packages for Singles Awareness Day.
Travel

Win a Private Island Getaway for You and 7 of Your Closest Friends

Bring the entire squad on an ultra-luxe Belizean getaway worthy of a one-percenter.
Travel

10 Reasons to Visit Norway in 2019

The picturesque ruggedness of Norway is just part of the appeal of what may arguably be one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
Living

The Jamaican Villa Where Ian Fleming Created James Bond is for Rent and It Is Amazing

You can vacation at the birthplace of secret agent 007, complete with butlers to make your martinis.