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Though less famous than nearby Esalen Institute and even the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the hermitage offers unique lodging and enlightenment for as little as $125 a night, robust vegetarian meals included.
Three new private retreats are being built among the other personal and group accommodations and monk housing, with their own beds, kitchens, bathrooms and decks, with South Coast views to match those of spendier Big Sur resorts.
Don’t leave without packing home a bag of their popular Holy Granola.
After making sculptures for high-end hotels, he entered a double-blind open show and was the only sculptor chosen to join the Society of Portrait Sculptors, where he worked in tandem with the sculptor to the royal family.
Whyte created busts of more than a dozen CEOs, politicians and athletes, including the Duke of Westminster, financier Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and the late Australian Prime Minister Sir Joseph Cook.
Six of Whyte’s memorials are in England, and there are 10 in the United States, including the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military, and the Tribute to Fallen Deputies, both in San Diego; Martin Luther King Jr.
Sleeping in a human-size nest made of woven wood is a far cry from a night at a nearby Hyatt.
 hospitality experts in Monterey County say these days, more visitors are looking off the beaten path for places to stay.
Many say the breathtaking views of redwoods, mountains or the open sea, and the chance to step away from iEverything are more appealing than concierge service and free toiletries.
(It) makes you learn how to exhale and breathe again, said Rita Wheeler, a staff person at Treebones Resort in Big Sur, where the human nest is located.
From the outside, the “adventure tents” at Fernwood Resort look a lot like typical canvas tents, and each has a picnic table and fire pit for late-night s’mores and campfire songs.
 inside, guests are met with a queen-size bed, linens, bath towels, electricity and heat.
Beyond the redwoods and nestled in the hills of nearby Carmel, a guesthouse at Mackillie Farm offers visitors a chance to experience rural life without the commitment of becoming a farmer.
The 1,200-square-foot guesthouse has two bedrooms, a kitchenette, outdoor paths throughout the farm’s gardens and a tree house for children.
Instead of continental breakfast, guests have access to seasonal fruits and vegetables growing on the property and fresh eggs from the farm’s many chickens.
Lunch and dinner served Wednesday through Monday at Wild Coast Restaurant & Sushi Bar.
While most of Monterey and Carmel’s summer guests arrive by car, winter brings an impressive number of travelers by air and sea: migratory wildlife, ranging in size from delicate monarch butterflies to sturdier-winged ducks and seabirds, on up to massive gray whales, whose trajectories sometimes overlap with those of humpbacks.
These spectacular creatures in turn attract adventurous humans who don’t mind braving cooler (and occasionally rainy) days to see them in their winter haunts.
 even on the most inclement of days, indoor exhibitions and visitor centers can offer intriguing insights into their journeys here.
“Some could be coming as far away as British Columbia, some could have been hanging out in Salinas or the Central Valley,” explained Allison Watson, education programs manager for the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.
Weather and volunteers permitting, museum docents will be on hand at the sanctuary from noon to 3 daily — the peak period for butterfly activity — through February.
Ten blocks away, the natural history museum provides year-round guaranteed viewing in its Monarch Gallery, with an entire room devoted to the butterfly, famed for its long migrations and short life spans — a month or so in summer, six to eight months in winter, according to Watson.
“Not only do we have great videos that show the monarch in different phases of its life cycle, we have a native butterfly chrysalis receiving room,” she added.
The monarch butterflies that hatch out of them are not released into the wild, so if it’s pouring rain at the sanctuary, you can come into the museum and at least see a couple there.
Winter, however, brings particularly intriguing shorebirds, seabirds and ducks, according to Tricia Wilson, visitor center associate at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Watsonville.
The reserve offers a free birding tour along boardwalk trails at 8:30 a.m.