Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks' cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.
Castle Rock Climbing School's expert guides eschew climbing walls for the raw stone faces of the Santa Cruz Mountains. PCGI-certified instructors spearhead trips ranging in duration from half a day to four days, spiriting intrepid climbers away for a nature-filled morning or 96 hours away from home to just let the neighbors get all the mail-stealing out of their system. Every guide boasts years of experience leading their wards up and down rocky inclines and is stuffed with local knowledge and teaching prowess. The school outfits climbers with the gear they need, including helmets, harnesses, and shoes, requiring that guests only take care of dressing themselves and deciding what song to yodel from the summit.
The Circuit Family Fitness aims to offer a venue for guests to infuse health into their lives, whether that stems from fitness or relaxation. The fitness side includes a fully equipped gym with free weights and cardio machines, as well as fitness classes, such as Zumba and cardio kickboxing. Guests looking for relaxation can recline in the infrared sauna, unwind with a Swedish massage, doze an aromatherapy body wrap, or enjoy a number of other spa services.
Situated in the Santa Lucia Highlands overlooking the Salinas Valley, Hahn Estate has converted what were horse and cattle ranches into the birthplace for award-winning wines. Among the first wineries in California to be certified for its sustainability, the facility spreads its production across six vineyards and more than 1,000 acres of Monterey County land. That land yields premium selections of pinot noir, chardonnay, and syrah, or as Hahn Estate views them, tasty celebrations of the estate's unique location.
At Manzoni Estate Vineyard, quality is more important than quantity. That's why the Manzoni family doesn't try to maximize the yield of their 6-acre vineyard—instead, they try to minimize it, culling just 3 or 4 tons of their best grapes each year. Since 1990, they have fermented these prize grapes into small batches of chardonnay with touches of apple and pear or black cherry–inflected pinot noir. Visitors can sample these vintages in the vineyard tasting room, which overlooks the craggy mountains of coastal California.
Carpenters are partial to hammers, hairdressers favor scissors, but massage therapist Bernadette's tool of choice is her hands. The specialist deploys them to perform an array of therapeutic massages, easing aches and pains with soothing strokes and essential oils. Bernadette also offers an array of rejuvenating spa services, pampering clients with relaxing stone massages, firming anti-cellulite treatments, and mango-scented scrubs.