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.

Culture

How to Score Discounted Tickets to the Best After-Party in NYC this Weekend

If you're a record collector in New York City, then we've got your weekend plans set. On Saturday, July 27, Discogs -- one of the top names in the vinyl-selling business -- is hosting a sweet festival in Times Square.
Fashion & Style

The Best Messenger Bags for Men to Lug Around Your Stuff in Style

Messenger bags aren't just for boys and bike couriers.
Food & Drink

The Best Wine Country Regions in the U.S. for Outdoor Adventures

Want to experience the great outdoors while also drinking wine? Here are the best places in the United States to go for a rugged wine country experience. You'll probably want to take your wine to go.
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.
Travel

Find the Most Unique, Undiscovered Campsites in the U.S. With Hipcamp

Booking the perfect campsite doesn't have to suck anymore.
Travel

12 Most Over-the-Top Hotel Pools for Extravagant Views

From an infinity pool high above Santorini to a two-story waterhole in the rainforests of Bali, these are the best hotel pools across the globe.
Travel

You Need a Vacation: 5 Midwestern Camp-Style Lodges Where You Can Unplug

Believe it or not, rustic woodland getaways still exist. We've pulled together a shortlist of the finest hotels located within some of the country's most beautiful, largely overlooked natural settings.
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?
Travel

Travelers Can Now Bring Some CBD Products on Airplanes (Sort of)

Technically, the TSA is cool with it, but like everything the government touches, it's not as simple as it appears.
Travel

This New York Hotel Is Actually a 3D-Printed Mars Habitat

We can't yet escape the sea of humanity here on Earth, but this might be the next best thing.
Travel

What Americans Need to Know Before Traveling to Cuba

Heading to Cuba? Don't be caught unprepared -- here are the essential things every American should know.
Travel

Trek the Arctic Circle Like a WWII Soldier with Ex-U.K. Special Forces

Because some travelers appreciate doing a hard thing just for the sheer pride of knowing they did it.
Travel

Sweden’s Viking-Inspired Arctic Bath Is Now Taking Reservations

This retro-future, floating hotel spa is straight out of Westeros.
Travel

Help Wanted: An Idyllic Scottish Island Is Looking for a Sheep Dike Repairman

If you love sheep, idyllic islands, Scottish accents, and mending walls, there's a job in Scotland with your name on it.