Browsing all posts by Starre Vartan, Author at Eco-Chick Escapes
On Wednesday, supermodel Karlie Kloss and her bestie, singer Taylor Swift, too a road trip to sightsee and hike around Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (one of my fave places in the world, ever!).
‘Beach, forests, cliffs, Northern California, sand, flower picking. Best road trip ever,’ Taylor tweeted. Check out the elephant seal behind the girls in this shot—its huge!
All these cute pix are from Karlie and Taylor’s Instagram accounts, and I love how earthy and natural they both look; so different from their typical high-glamour shots.
‘Adventure of a lifetime with my girl!’ Kloss Tweeted.
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My first visit to the Oregon coast, a couple of years ago, was during the winter; I came with my boyfriend, who is a native of Corvallis, a town that’s about an hour from the ocean, and who spent his childhood years vacationing in Yachats, Florence and Manzanita, the small towns that dot the coast. We took a day and a night out from our city time in Portland, Vancouver and Seattle and I feel in love with the Pacific yet again. Since I was born and spent my early years in Sydney, I have always love the Pacific Ocean, but this was another side of the vast sea—all shades of grey and mist and barely there rain and real rain and peeks of sunshine. (Sydney tends to be all contrasty sun and sea, gorgeous sunsets and drama-drama, in the best possible, but totally different way.)
Needless to say, for a romantic writer/creative-type, I love the curtains of grey, the layered light of the Oregon Coast, the non-rain rain, and I recently returned, now that I’m living just 40 minutes away in the middle of the woods in the Cascade Range.
First stop was Devil’s Punchbowl, a state natural area that’s meditative and interesting to watch, since the sea water gushes in and out of this epically large natural ‘bowl’ that “was probably created by the collapse of the roof over two sea caves, then shaped by wave action.” The area is popular for surfers and whales, so keep an eye out for people and cetaceans.
I wanted to stop for some coffee and a warm-up, so we found the well-rated Pirate Coffee Company just up the coast from the Devil’s Punchbowl (and any drive around here is worth doing, since they views along the coast highway are neverendingly gorgeous).
A well-made cappuccino and some coffee cake and we were ready to go play on the beaches!
We headed down to Beverly Beach and checked out about a half-mile of beachfront; it was lovely, quiet and misty. All around I discovered these rocks with depressions in them. Turns out they are made by piddock clams that start small and then grow about 5 millimeters a year; the slowly-but-surely wear away fingertip-sized holes in the rocks that then wash ashore.
Next we headed south, along the Oregon Coast Highway. We stopped at Moolack Beach next; you can really see the long, shallow beachfront here, and the density of the mist, which obscures the line between thy sky and the sea. Since I was wearing my rubber boots, I could walk out into the water and let it rush around my feet – fun!
I came across the beautiful dead gull, which had obviously been picked at by fellow birds. A little bit creepy, but the color contrast between the bird’s blood-red interior and the shades of grey at the beach was impossible to ignore. Not all gorgeous things are “pretty.”
All sorts of natural beauty jumped right out at me from the sand, like these gentle grasses enmeshed with the grains. What a lovely striped pattern.
The bright green of fresh seaweed was a friendly reminder that beneath the grey waves was a forest of underwater plants!
When we needed a rest, and just wanted to stare at the water for awhile, I constructed this rock bench, since the sand was a bit damp (and I don’t love having a damp butt). The rocks were dry, and it looks kind of lovely too.
This is, without a doubt, the best video I’ve ever seen that encompasses all that you really should (and shouldn’t) do when you are visiting New York City—including getting out of Manhattan and checking out the other wonderful boroughs!
Photo Credit: John Fraissinet
A couple weeks ago, we reached 10K Twitter fans! To celebrate, we’re giving away a bunch of cool stuff, valued at over $150. Included are the following awesome eco travel and sustainable items—think of it as an ethical travel pack for your next adventure:
-1 Very lightweight A Lot to Say Scarf
-1 Tom’s of Maine Naturally Dry Antiperspirant Deodorant
-1 Preserve Toothbrush
-1 People Towels hand towel
-2 packets Bath Petals bath salts (travel size)
-Miessence Sunflower Body Wash (1.7 oz)
-Whole Foods 365 Hand Sanitizer Spray (2 oz)
-Kelly Teegarden Organics Alive Rose water spray (2 oz.)
-Kelly Teegarden Organics The Secret Anti Aging Facial Cleanser (2 oz)
-John Master’s Organics Lavender Rosemary shampoo packets (4)
-1 pair PACT socks made with 100% wind power (star pattern)
-Eco Lips Lysine and Tea Tree organic lip balm
How to Win: Leave a comment below with your fave item from the above list. Then, head over to Facebook and like our Escapes page (we won’t take over your feed, promise!). We’ll cross reference the name in the comments with the name on Facebook, so be consistent. There is one winner, and contest will run through Tuesday, November 5th at noon EST. GOOD LUCK!
Written by Jane Webb
Certain places lay claim to your soul as though you were revisiting a beloved home from a previous life. Still Waters Retreat Center was like that for me.
Coming from the city the first thing that is clear is that the air quality is something entirely different- a luxurious and potent entity being exhaled by ancient woods and deep earth: pure, rare and endangered.
When I alighted from my generic faceless rent a car Amy came rushing with her two rescue dogs (a Lab and a Poodle) to help with my luggage trailing vapors of spent smudged sage and geranium essential oil, full of hugs and good will. After we deposited my 20 plus pounds of Produce and raw/vegan snacks ( one can never be too prepared) in my cottage she gave me a tour.
Several rustic/chic cottages surround a large pond and verdant lush woods.
One can easily imagine idling away an afternoon kayaking, meditating by the stream or perfecting a headstand on the outdoor yoga platform while the wind chimes lull one into a deep trance.
It is obvious that two artists own this place and their aesthetic sensibility informs every room and vista in this 100 acre paradise. Amy is accessible and engaging in a sincere manner that puts you right at ease. You know that you could say practically anything to her as though she were an old friend. She led me to her kitchen where we sampled her delicious well water and discussed the merits of various supplements she was taking. We marveled over the reishi mushrooms that she had foraged on her property. Her large kitchen in the main house is a chef’s dream and the adjacent dining room with it’s large fire place was a magnetizing gathering place for all that weekend.
It happened to be Amy’s birthday and she had arranged for Brendan Burns to perform a sound healing ceremony that evening which as it turned out was the perfect way to kick off the weekend. Amy’s husband Tao brings a strong design sensibility to all of his modifications and designs on the property. It is clear that this is an ongoing life project. I have no doubt that each year will bring more cottages, consciousness and great art to this land.
One of the great surprises was coming upon Tao’s (and his friends) art on our nature walks. I particularly loved the Rose’s Thorns and also The Alice In Wonderland plundered tea party that resembled Miss Havisham’s wedding al fresco.
The following day mycologist Ryan Bouchard presented a lecture on the treasures of the forest: mushrooms- benign and otherwise. Afterwards we went in search of the funky fungi and what was truly impressive was the sheer vastness of the property that belongs to Still Waters. We also found a very large Hen Of the Woods mushroom but unfortunately bugs had found it first so we left it behind.
Our evenings ended around a huge bonfire that leapt in the crisp October air and made one supremely happy to be alive.
With two large spaces for yoga (indoors and outdoors) it is just a matter of time before the yogini stampede begins in earnest… and lucky and happy they will be to have found this place.
The cottages are well appointed and spacious with fully equipped kitchens and comfy porches that invite you to wile away the afternoon reading that book that has been collecting dust by your bedside for the last few months.
Random seating areas around the pond present the perfect day dreaming/meditating spaces to fall in love with all of god’s creation. This place was designed for the perfect zen moment and if you string those all together you have a pretty stunning day.
On a more practical note: Another detail that was a welcome relief was Amy’s willingness to eschew using any fragranced products in my room prior to my visit. She also expressed an interest in learning more about how to be truly green and I applaud that and think that that will create another demographic to appeal to. The person who wants to vacation in a place that is as non toxic as their own home.
It is always amazing to me that in the closets of so many eco-resorts, health spas, yoga ashrams and health food establishments are still the toxic standbys of Clorox, Windex, Ajax, Tide, heavily fragranced soaps and various pesticides…Didn’t they get the memo? This stuff is bad for the individual and the environment and there are safe and effective alternatives that have no negative impact at all. Come on, hippies! Let’s get it together.
The very beautiful Still Waters is open from May to October for groups and individuals.
I will definitely go back.
Amy & Tao are excellent hosts with a glorious space in a dramatically stunning location. Dare I say it is a spiritual mecca, a vortex of sorts and a very cool place to spend time: Plan to stay for at least a few days to truly unwind!
If you pass Fairfield, Ct on your way here be sure to stop at Catch A Healthy Habit which has superb raw vegan food.
Also nearby but I didn’t get a chance to visit is G-Zen in Branford, Ct which was just voted Connecticut’s Most Sustainable Restaurant. Next time…G-Zen!