Serenity Reigns Supreme at Ojai Retreat Casa Barranca

Goodlifer: Serenity Reigns Supreme at Ojai Retreat Casa Barranca

There are some places where you just feel like the world stops turning for a minute and all the worries in the world seems to just disappear into the sunset. Casa Barranca in Ojai, California is such a place. Located on a seemingly perfect plot of land on one of the amazing vast hillsides of the area, the main estate was designed by architects Greene and Greene for oil man and Pratt Institute endower Charles Pratt in 1909. The Japanese-inspired Arts and Crafts structure is a model of perfection, which is embodied in the play of light over the polished wood in the v-shaped building. The absence of decoration and straightforward practicality is apparent everywhere. While most of the original furniture has been sold off and replaced with period-appropriate pieces, there are a few original stained glass Tiffany lamps. Wherever in the house you are, you always have a view of the outside. On the second floor, three sleeping porches offer a night under the stars when temperature allows.

Some grapes are grown on the property, but most are cultivated (organically of course) on land throughout Santa Barbara County.

Some grapes are grown on the property, but most are cultivated (organically of course) on land throughout Santa Barbara County.

Being surrounded by all this scenic beauty will make anyone have a bit of a spiritual experience, and it is only appropriate that Casa Barranca is frequently used for yoga retreats. The Shala is a wonder of natural light streaming from the windows facing the valley, and hardcore yogis have the option of rooming in sleeping tents, called tea houses, on the property. Besides yoga, hiking is a great physical activity to partake in while here. About an hour walk up the mountain, you can actually see the ocean.

The amazing Yoga Shala.

The amazing Yoga Shala.

Sleep outside in one of the tea houses.

Sleep outside in one of the tea houses.

The estate is totally off the grid, powered by solar, keeping true to it’s Arts and Crafts ideals. The winery is completely organic, grapes are biodynamically grown, and many of the wines are vegan as well. The wines are handcrafted in the underground stone winery and no toxic solvents or cleaners are used in the facilities. Many of the wines have been awarded in categories competing against conventional wines, a good step toward obliterating the notion that organic wines are inferior. Our private tasting was quite enjoyable, the Pinot Noir or Syrah are probably my favorites, but the Viogner — the only white produced — is really good as well. All wines can be purchased through the Casa Barranca Winery website.

The breathtaking beauty of the Ojai Valley, used by Frank Capra as "Shangri-La" in his 1937 film classic, Lost Horizon.

The breathtaking beauty of the Ojai Valley, used by Frank Capra as “Shangri-La” in his 1937 film classic, Lost Horizon.

Waking up to the sun rising over the mountains is such an amazing experience. After a morning stroll on the grounds, we sat down to have a cup of tea (no coffee here) and a quiet moment with Mother Nature before reluctantly heading into the town of Ojai for breakfast, already making plans to return.

Fresh citrus fruits of all kinds abound in the orchard.

Fresh citrus fruits of all kinds abound in the orchard.

Search for yoga retreats online or contact Casa Barranca directly for more information.

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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