HERE COMES THE GUIDE, PUBLISHED BY HOPSCOTCH PRESS, PRINTED THE FOLLOWING REVIEW OF SHAMBHALA IN ITS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA 9TH EDITION. THE PUBLICATION PRINTS OVER 900 PAGES EVERY TWO YEARS AND IS A HIGHLY ESTEEMED RESOURCE FOR WEDDING AND EVENT PLANNING THROUGHOUT CALIFORNIA.

“The road to Shambhala has to be one of the loveliest in Northern California. It winds through cool, shady redwood, madrone and live oak forests and over rocky hills, covered with fields of golden native grasses that glow in the sun like honeycomb. Round a curve at the top of one of those hills, you are greeted by a breathtaking vista of distant mountains, hazy valleys and endless sky.

Shambhala is halfway between Ukiah and the coastal town of Mendocino and, thanks to the beautiful drive, we were already in a pleasantly altered state by the time we got there. “There” is a custom-built retreat and workshop center, nestled in 140 acres of rolling hills. The land was originally setted by Germans and Finns in the late 1800s, and you can still see an old wood building used for drying fruit just below the main house.

Stepping into the house only increased our sense of well being. It’s constructed of redwood (milled on the property), which lends warmth to walls, beamed ceilings and trim throughout. Arched brick fireplaces and entryways manage to be both rustic and elegant at the same time. Homey, personal touches abound: an eclectic assortment of masks on the stairwell walls, collectibles in niches, colorful area rugs and comfortable furnishings placed around the gleaming hardwood floors.

And of course there are windows everywhere, welcoming in the sunlight and views of the surrounding hills. The spacious meeting room, which can be used for meetings, yoga, indoor receptions or dancing, has its own sound system, and opens onto a large deck and lawn. Upstairs bedrooms are light and airy, and two of them share a deck with a view of the forested hills, and the glimmering pond. If you like, music of your choice can be played throughout the house and decks. And, as wonderful as all this looks during the day, nighttime at Shambhala is just as breathtaking: the house and grounds are subtly lit, and the clear sky may as well be a swath of black velvet, embedded with stars and the bright streaks of wayward meteors.

The grounds reveal more delightful surprises. There’s a spring-fed pond that’s excellent for swimming, and a clear stream with its own little waterfall and rock formations. Nearby orchards supply a variety of fruits, while vegetables and herbs are grown in a backyard garden area (which also happens to have patio tables and market umbrellas – in case you want to have a casual brunch or small reception). Your ever-thoughtful hosts have also provided a pondside hot tub with a massage table under the trees, for the ultimate relaxing experience.

Weddings, retreats, family reunions and private parties all find a serene and spiritually uplifting home here. Although the ranch is quite civilized, civilization as we generally know it intrudes very little — you won’t even see any electrical or telephone lines, as the center is solar powered. The quiet beauty of the landscape has a healing effect, which is only fitting for a place called “Shambhala.” The name comes from a legendary Himalayan kingdom, where an enlightened society lived by a set Tibetan Buddhist teachings. One of them is that there is some magic in everything, waiting for each individual to discover it. Shambhala Ranch’s magic lies not so much in its obvious natural gifts, but in the way it can help you find your own.”

MAKING YOUR WEDDING GREEN IN ROMANTIC MENDOCINO, PUBLISHED BY TRAVELROADS.COM, PUBLISHED A WEB REVIEW OF SHAMBHALA RANCH, SPRING 2008. BY RICHARD EVANS.

Stacie and Joey Shepp recently exchanged vows with the complete assurance that their weddig would leave no harmful environmental “footprint” behind. This momentous occasion took place on July 7, 2007, near the small town of Comptche, just miles from the romantic Mendocino Coast.

“We strive in our daily lives to conserve energy, reduce waste, and save water,” said Stacie. “So when we started planning our wedding, our first objective was to host an event that was in alignment with our values.”

At the Shambhala Ranch Retreat Center and Country Inn, they found their ideal venue. Innkeepers Stuart and Tara Marcus have gone to great lenghths to honor the land and the original inhabitants, the Pomo Indians, by creating an oasis that is sensitive to the environment and the pristine qualities of the land. Shambhala Ranch, known internationally as a popular Esalen-style retreat, is completely “off the grid,” relying on renewable energy such as solar power and on-site water sources rather than traditional public utility sources. Meals are often prepared using produce from their own organic orchards, vegetable and herb gardens.

“We have a private river beach, abundant gardens and hiking trails,” says Stuart Marcus. “We are also the closest Inn to Montgomery Woods, a forest of ancient Redwoods that is home to one of the tallest trees in the world.”

Stacie and Joey, who met almost four years ago in a Green MBA program, tried to ensure that their wedding would be as “green” as possible, including:

  • All the food was organic and prepared onsite by local caterer. Organic wine was provided by the near by Bonterra Winery and they served fair-trade Thanksgiving coffee, a socially reponsible business located in Fort Bragg.
  • Instead of printing paper invitations with reply cards, they invited people through their website, www.ecowedding.org, which is hosted by a provider company that is powered by wind energy.
  • The happy couple purchased carbon credits to offset the transportation energy used by the guests.
  • Where possible, tables were set with re-usable table settings.
  • The bride, who is part owner in and organic leather design company, had her dress custom-made from buckskin and recycled materials.
  • Their engagement and wedding rings were created by local artists from recycled platinum and emeralds.
  • Instead of creating a registry for physical gifts, the couple requested that guests bring “gifts” in the form of spoken words or a shared song.
  • Guests participated by taking photos and videos of the event, assisting the bride and groom in getting ready, or bringing handmade art.
  • The couple “gifted back” to their guests and to the earth by provideing each with a tree cutting, carefully prepared to that it would be ready for planting upon their return home.

After the wedding, the couple enjoyed and eco-honeymoonat the Maui Retreat. According to Joey, “It was like a tropical version of Shambhala Ranch.”

The couple is now busy operating their environmentally-friendly business, including www.ecowedding.org – their own wedding site that they plan to turn into a resource for other couples who are planning green weddings.

SHAMBHALA RANCH, IN COMPTCHE IS OFF-THE-GRID AND RUNS COMPLETELY ON SOLAR POWER, PUBLISHED BY WEDDINGS & HONEYMOONS MAGAZINE, MARCH 17, 2008. BY JOYCE BARSLOW (GREEN WEDDING CHOICE).

Couples who are choosing to go the green route when tying the knot sort through an array of green choices that can be overwhelming-from making smarter selections that are still luxurious, to staying in a place that is completely off the power grid.

This is the real wedding story of Stacie Wickham and Joey Shepp, who met in a Green MBA program, fell in love, decided to get married in the most eco-friendly way possible and found a place, the Shambhala Ranch Retreat Center and Country Inn, that helped them ro realize their dream.

The Ranch is a truly green, off-the-grid place near the coastal town of Mendocino in Northern California where you won’t see any electrical or telephone lines, as the center is run completely on Solar Power.

Mendocino County, CA – A pioneer in solar energy, organic wine production and conservation, Mendocino County was the first county in the United States to ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Many of the B&Bs, Inns, Hotels and Rentals in Mendocino County have been designed for the environmentally-conscious visitor, combining modern amenities with eco-friendly products and services. Several of the properties have organic bedding, water filtration systems, non-toxic, biodegradable and non-allergentic cleaning products, energy and water conservation systems and low impact waste practices.

Stacie and Joey Shepp recently exchanged vows with the complete assurance that their weddig would leave no harmful environmental “footprint” behind. This momentous occasion took place on July 7, 2007, near the small town of Comptche, just miles from the romantic Mendocino Coast.

“We strive in our daily lives to conserve energy, reduce waste, and save water,” said Stacie. “So when we started planning our wedding, our first objective was to host an event that was in alignment with our values.”

At the Shambhala Ranch Retreat Center and Country Inn, they found their ideal venue. Innkeepers Stuart and Tara Marcus have gone to great lenghths to honor the land and the original inhabitants, the Pomo Indians, by creating an oasis that is sensitive to the environment and the pristine qualities of the land. Shambhala Ranch, known internationally as a popular Esalen-style retreat, is completely “off the grid,” relying on renewable energy such as solar power and on-site water sources rather than traditional public utility sources. Meals are often prepared using produce from their own organic orchards, vegetable and herb gardens.

“We have a private river beach, abundant gardens and hiking trails,” says Stuart Marcus. “We are also the closest Inn to Montgomery Woods, a forest of ancient Redwoods that is home to one of the tallest trees in the world.”

Stacie and Joey, who met almost four years ago in a Green MBA program, tried to ensure that their wedding would be as “green” as possible, including:

  • All the food was organic and prepared onsite by local caterer. Organic wine was provided by the near by Bonterra Winery and they served fair-trade Thanksgiving coffee, a socially reponsible business located in Fort Bragg.
  • Instead of printing paper invitations with reply cards, they invited people through their website, www.ecowedding.org, which is hosted by a provider company that is powered by wind energy.
  • The happy couple purchased carbon credits to offset the transportation energy used by the guests.
  • Where possible, tables were set with re-usable table settings.
  • The bride, who is part owner in and organic leather design company, had her dress custom-made from buckskin and recycled materials.
  • Their engagement and wedding rings were created by local artists from recycled platinum and emeralds.
  • Instead of creating a registry for physical gifts, the couple requested that guests bring “gifts” in the form of spoken words or a shared song.
  • Guests participated by taking photos and videos of the event, assisting the bride and groom in getting ready, or bringing handmade art.
  • The couple “gifted back” to their guests and to the earth by provideing each with a tree cutting, carefully prepared to that it would be ready for planting upon their return home.

After the wedding, the couple enjoyed and eco-honeymoonat the Maui Retreat. According to Joey, “It was like a tropical version of Shambhala Ranch.”

The couple is now busy operating their environmentally-friendly business, including www.ecowedding.org – their own wedding site that they plan to turn into a resource for other couples who are planning green weddings.