Escape the madding crowds at these tranquil hotels, including a Zen retreat and one of Queen Victoria's favorite hideaways
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
800/734-5611 or 859/734-5411
Experience the contemplative peace of the material-world-shunning Shakers—without the burdensome celibacy requirement—at this 2,800-acre village, the largest restored Shaker community in the country.
Just beyond Los Padres National Forest, Tassajara became the very first Buddhist monastery outside Asia, in 1967. Most of the year, Buddhists train here to become monks, but in summer, this spiritual retreat is open to guests, who are welcome to take part in Zen prayers and ceremonies.
This eight-room inn on 14 lush acres in the heart of Wales used to be one of Queen Victoria's retreats. The bird sanctuary next door provides untouched woods to explore (and very melodious wake-up calls).
Cinque Terre, Italy
Trattoria Gianni Franzi
A mountain range and winding roads have kept this region ravishingly unspoiled. The small fishing village of Vernazza, home to a mere 500 souls, is one of the most peaceful—with the crashing surf of the Mediterranean the loudest noise in town. Call early for space at Trattoria Gianni, an intimate inn near a harborside castle. Its 23 rooms fill up quickly.