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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Banish the Big City in Big Sur

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5. An Oddball Day


Monks performing liturgies at New Camaldoli Hermitage.  

To really purge yourself of worldly cares—if only for a day—head 25 miles south of Big Sur village to Lucia, where you’ll find the New Camaldoli Hermitage ($60 suggested donation), an 899-acre monastic retreat set 1,300 feet above the ocean. (Keep a lookout for the large wooden cross on Highway 1 signaling the monastery’s entrance.) Guests are welcome to visit for the day, partaking in prayer with the monks and wandering the gardens. Or you can book one of nine rooms reserved for overnight “retreatants.” Each comes with a private garden and buys you three vegetarian meals a day, and as much monkish silence as you can handle.


May 16, 2007 issue of New York Magazine

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