Talk of New Year’s Eve plans are in the air, and the thing I keep hearing is that everyone wants to get out of town for their end of year break. Let’s face it, we’re obligated to spend all the other winter holidays with our family, but New Year’s is our one chance to get away from it all before the start of another year’s grind. So, let’s talk about New Year’s Eve plans that don’t include another awkward party, funny hats, and more confetti. Instead, I offer you the top 5 places out of LA to plan an intimate gathering– because as everyone knows, when your New Year’s get-together is also a getaway, things are bound to get a lot more interesting…
With its dramatic cliffs and roaring tides, no wonder it appeals to the most significant storytellers of our times, both Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac have written books and gotten thoroughly sloshed here. Get your beatitude on when you visit the Henry Miller Memorial Library, and the Bixby Creek Bridge near where Jack Kerouac spent his days seeking respite at Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s cabin. Stay at the rustic Deetjen’s Inn and check out the restaurant, it has an “excellent” Zagat rating. Other secret hotels include Treebone’s Resort, Glen Oaks, and the Davenport Roadhouse. Do it right and bring your favorite malt liquor and whiskey.
Tucked comfortably between the majestic San Jacinto Mountains, Idyllwild is a magical forest full of tall pines, fragrant cedars, and “Legendary” rocks (according to their website). We hope it’s not legendary with a capital L because of all the deaths that have transpired from climbing the Suicide Rock… Rest assured, Suicide Rock is so named because long ago, a native princess threw herself off the rock with her lover rather than be separated as the Tribal Chief had ordered. What could be more romantic than spending the weekend thinking about tragic love and sipping wine with your boo inside a cozy cabin? Check out Rainbow Inn, Quiet Creek Inn, or get a cabin rental from Idyllwild Cabins.
Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is exactly as it sounds. A kitschy, magical place where you can catch some awesome live acts almost every single day of the year and enjoy gigantic portions of meat and potatoes, but you guys already knew that, right? Stay at the Pioneertown Motel and you’ll be close by to all the action. Rimrock Ranch Cabins and The 29 Palms Inn are only a few miles away. Mojave Sands is one of the more unique boutique hotels, featuring rustic mid century modern decor and a sauna in every room. Burn off the meat and booze from the night before with a sunset hike into Joshua Tree National Park, then reward yourself with a healthy vegan treat from The Natural Sisters Cafe.
Ojai has become known as a spiritual retreat of sorts for southern Californians. Among the restorative things you can do there is take a bath in the natural hot springs. As told to me by a friend, it’s “off a cliff in the hills of Ojai,” or according to a map, it’s north on the 33 for 3.8 miles, to a place called Matilija Springs where you’re bound to spot a few naked hippies. Stay at the Emerald Iguana Inn and be sure to dine at both the Ranch House, a restaurant surrounded by a lush garden with enough green foliage to make you feel like you’re in a forest, and The Farmer and The Cook, a true farm-to-table restaurant with a CSA and a grocery store.
San Luis Obispo
SLO takes much pride in being named “the happiest place in America” by Dan Buettner, author of Thrive. Rent or bring bikes, it’s the best way to get around due the city’s massive bike infrastructure. Take a hike at the Montana de Oro, where you’ll get to explore miles of sandy beaches, golden bluffs, and cool caves inside the cove. Stay at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort for a doubly regenerative experience or book a stay at the fabulous Madonna Inn to really get your kitsch on.
Nicki Wong is a writer in L.A. focussing on fashion, culture, and travel. She strongly believes in not taking anything too seriously and always sharing your food.