Divorce recovery: where to go, what to read
September 26, 2014 4:37 PM   Subscribe

tl;dr: My life fell apart, I'm exhausted and not really sure where to go from here. Thinking seriously about a vacation/retreat; looking for suggestions on where I might go, and books/workbooks to take with me.

Okay, so, the past 2 years have been chaos and exhaustion. I'm looking for a place to go that has some or all of the following:

* some sort of nice nature (mountain, forest, beach, desert - anything but the plains, really)
* a spa
* yoga, but not too woo
* coffee shops with beat up old couches, good for reading in
* a walkable main street or downtown
* good food
* the chance to do something constructive, like, take art classes or something, IF I feel up to it

I'm thinking about a week, and my budget is about $2500.

And I'm looking for some good stuff to read/work through while I'm there, to consider what my next steps in life may be. The reason for the divorce is that my spouse underwent gender transition, so there's probably not any workbooks specific to my situation, but if there's anything you've found helpful in the realms of healing/starting over/reevaluting your life, please pass them on.
posted by hishtafel to Human Relations (14 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know exactly where to tell you to go (though the amazing air you'll find in the redwood forests of West Marin would be _my_ destination to clear out my head and heart), but it's the duration I wanted to address: a week might end up being really short, I'd move mountains to make it at least 2 weeks at the least. Best of luck to you!
posted by dbiedny at 4:43 PM on September 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

Louisville, Kentucky is a longtime favorite of AskMe people, and with good reason. They've got a fun old school downtown full of restaurants and neat shops, there are historic things to see, even the nicer hotels aren't overly pricy, and they're next to the Falls of the Ohio park and the Bernheim Arboretum. You can have some nice meals, take some tours, and enjoy a decidedly low key southern vibe. We did our summer vacation there this year and my only regret is that we couldn't stay longer.

Also: be well. Divorce is hard. It's the death of your entire idea of what the rest of your life was going to be. I'm glad you're trying to take a breath. This is going to be a rough stretch.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:44 PM on September 26, 2014 [8 favorites]

Also, the book that pulled me out of my divorce funk was Sharon Lebell's fairly loose and breezy translation of The Art of Living by Epictetus. I've ended up buying copies for a half dozen people and it's won a lot of converts. It's very terse, common sense stoicism.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:52 PM on September 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Fort Collins? Some friends of ours had their wedding there, and the downtown was great. Coffee shops, bookshops, a bike library!, and lots of beautiful nature nearby. Best of luck.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:49 PM on September 26, 2014

Fort Collins will be lovely for about 1 more month. It's amazing here in the summer, but once winter starts to set in, the weather can be dicey. We definitely check all your boxes above for coffee shops, restaurants, non-woo yoga, and walk ability-- at least if you stay downtown. . Stay in the Armstrong hotel or one of the bed and breakfasts near downtown. Mountains are viewable and you can bike to them, but the 5 mile walk from downtown into the foothills is a bit long to do round trip. We probably fit your budget. If you can spend just a little more, steamboat springs is like Fort Collins in the mountains. Be well.
posted by u2604ab at 6:05 PM on September 26, 2014

Healdsburg, CA. It's a charming town in California wine country. Much of the area is comfortably explored by bicycle. There are innumerable things to do and the weather will most likely be clear until Hallowe'en. From there it is a shortish drive to Orr Hot Springs, which is a funky, comfortable, nearing-paralytic zone of calm. They have day use and stay-there-a-while arrangements. It is a couple steps up from camping but the nearest town is Ukiah where your supplies should come from.

It hurts to divorce, I have been there. You are smart to change perspective.
posted by jet_silver at 6:09 PM on September 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

There are some really lovely, walkable, peaceful towns with fantastic B&Bs and available spas in Vermont if you fancy fall weather. Or were you thinking of something more like Sonoma? You can stay at the Inn at Occidental, which is a very very cute town with lots of classes and events, and visit the amazeballs Osmosis spa.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:15 PM on September 26, 2014

I went to Sedona, AZ for 4-5 days last February, and stated at ‘Enchantment Resort’ - tucked away in Boynton Canyon, just outside the city. Aside from the cheesy “woo” name, it was really a lovely, relaxing, incredibly beautiful and peaceful place that provides nature, a spa, yoga, and other activities if you wish to partake in them.

This was the view from my balcony. And from the bed. My camera couldn’t capture all the amazing stars you could see at night, with little-to-no light pollution. Paid in the $300 range a night for a “casita” which was well worth it (if your legs can handle the hike up, ask for a room higher up - or they can drive you via golf cart). Check their website for packages and specials.

You can do some light hiking and walk some of the paths right from the resort, or you can rent a car and explore more of Sedona’s beautiful red rocks, and the town itself. I didn’t frequent any coffee shops while there, but I’m sure there were many cozy nooks. The town itself was very easy to navigate, and I felt very safe hiking some of the other trails. If you're up to it, you can also take a day trip to the Grand Canyon. But I had a lovely experience in Sedona, and the experience of staying right in the middle of one of the red rock canyons was breathtaking and rejuvenating.
posted by raztaj at 6:29 PM on September 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

How about something like this somewhat luxurious women's hiking adventure?
posted by mareli at 6:35 PM on September 26, 2014

Bar Harbor, Maine?

Or maybe Ogunquit?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:37 PM on September 26, 2014

Port Angeles Washington? I'm sure there's B&B's in town, & it's hip for a small burg. Bookstores, restaurants, etc. Ferry to Victoria, which is a quaint, quiet town to walk about. 20-minute drive to Hurricane Ridge. 20-minute drive to Lake Crescent, which also has a lovely lodge with a good restaurant, right on the lake. An hour to Sol Duc falls, which also has a lodge, cabins & hot springs, & great day hikes up into the hills of the Olympics.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:30 PM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is indeed a B&B in Port Angeles, Toadlilly. I know the owners and can highly recommend.

I was going to suggest Port Townsend. It's still close to that awesome nature, but has a little more upscale feel, with the spas and yoga and art and a cuter downtown area, imo.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 1:45 AM on September 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Esalen has everything you're looking for except a main street, but it's a magical place if you can get to CA.
posted by namesarehard at 6:32 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

St. Augustine, Florida, is lovely, and this is the "slow" period right now, so prices are very reasonable. The weather is just about perfect, and it's my favorite time of year to visit the area, for sure. The crowds are also fairly low for another few weeks.

The downtown is very walker-friendly and full of delicious restaurants, there are tons of great beaches nearby, and plenty of relaxing spas, a great vineyard to tour, and lovely old buildings and museums. It's a great mix of history, culture, and relaxation. There's also a ton of great stuff within easy day trip distance, like DeLeon Springs (my favorite), Anastasia State Park, and lots of good stuff.
posted by PearlRose at 8:21 AM on September 29, 2014

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