The Road Less Traveled
Wonderous Wedding Locations Off the Beaten Path (but well worth the drive!) in Northern and Southern California.
Midway between Ukiah and the coastal town of Mendocino
The road to Shambhala winds through cool, shady forests and over rocky hills, covered with fields of dry grass that glow in the sun like parched honey. Hidden away in this idyllic countryside is a 140-acre sanctuary, aptly named for an ancient mystical civilization thought to inspire Nirvana. This green wedding location includes a solar-powered main lodge, crafted from redwood timbers, that speaks of both untouched wilderness and sublime refinement in the same breath. The interior seduces with a gorgeous juxtaposition of handcrafted woodwork, plush furnishings, and eclectic decor. Windows are everywhere, bathing guests in sunlight and scenic panoramas. The sprawling grounds, filled with oak trees, orchards and creek-fed waterfalls, entice most couples to stage their event outdoors. Choices include the Ritual Meadow, view-filled wooden decks, or the intimate herb garden; later, husband and wife can privately toast their newly wedded bliss in a pond-side hot tub.
Built in the ‘30s, Highlands House reigns over 43 acres of verdant county parkland. In front of the mansion, a vast lawn is ringed by towering oaks and redwoods. Say your vows in the gazebo at one end, and have an al fresco reception at the other. Or fête your guests inside the house, where multipaned windows look onto the garden, abloom in spring with whisper-pink camellias and magnolia trees. A selection of pleasant salons lets your gathering really spread out—gifts, buffet, cake and dancing each have their own attractive space. You’ll also appreciate the sizable changing room upstairs—you can even toss your bouquet from the balcony! Highlands House has a laid-back environment—and a low rental cost—sure to soothe wedding jitters.