Travel to find your inner zen at the Ghost Ranch

by Angelica Leicht

If you’re looking for an alternative way to heal your soul, you might try checking out the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú, New Mexico. The 21,000-acre Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center was once home to the painter Georgia O’Keefe, and now welcomes visitors from all over the globe, all of whom are looking for the same thing: some inner zen.

Whether it’s by painting, writing, hiking, riding horses, or just staring in utter awe at the towering rocks and beautiful sparse surroundings, people flock to this northern New Mexico retreat in droves to help renew the spirit and cleanse the soul – and likely ride some horses in desert paradise. That shutting off process is pretty simple, because the Ghost Ranch is almost completely devoid of modern technology, not that Sprint could get a signal out there if they tried. It’s a step back in time, one that will force you off of your screen and into the present, willingly or otherwise.

Not that being forced off of your screen is a bad thing, mind you. If you manage to tear yourself away from nonstop communication, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning vantage point for the ranch’s colorful vistas, sandstone cliffs, cottonwoods, and the looming mountains that set the tone for this desolate destination.

And, once you’ve sufficiently taken in your fill of the views, you can opt to take part in retreats or workshops, including retreats within the ranch, like Hiking, Writing, and Yoga for Women, a six-day retreat focused on high-altitude hiking, all levels of yoga, and writing sabbaticals in between the physical challenges. There are also men-only retreats, art workshops where you can work with mixed media or photography, or just about any other topic one could conjure up. There’s even a museum series. The Ghost Ranch offers over 300 courses each year, so even the pickiest of participants will be able to find something that tickles their desert fancy.

Or, if you’re lucky, you might be able to snag a spot on the Georgia O’Keeffe at Ghost Ranch Landscape Tour, which takes folks behind the scenes – well, it takes you to a restricted part of the ranch, anyway – where you’ll be privy to the locations that inspired O’Keeffe’s paintings.

But perhaps typical lodging or educational courses aren’t your thing, and you want a more rustic, unplanned experience. Well, we’re glad it’s you and not us, but if you’re into it, there’s always the option to camp at the ranch. The campgrounds are open from mid-May through early October, which means you have PLENTY of time to still make plans for an epic camping trip.

Or, you know, you could just find a middle ground between rustic and daily showers by staying at the ranch in their no-frills lodging – no daily maid service in this place. Do whatever soothes the soul, guys. That’s what this place is all about. Take a class, don’t take a class, but go check out this Ghost Ranch either way. You won’t regret it.

Angelica Leicht


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