Take a deep breath and let 2016 go. It’s been an exceedingly stressful year, and while January is usually a time for resolutions—February is for broken promises—what if this year didn’t have to be about immediate results? What if this year was about doing things the right way, and slowly but surely getting healthy and happier in mind, body and spirit? We’ve compiled some of the best activities to get out of the house, get some exercise, become closer with nature and nurture one’s health.
Blue Lotus Meditation
If your New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to slow down and be more present, look no further than Blue Lotus Meditation and Yoga Center, which offers year-round courses in yoga, qi gong, tai chi spiritual living and meditation for all levels and ages. All of the center’s classes are aimed at relaxing the body and mind and open the heart in the spiritual tradition of Kriya Yoga, and a majority of the center’s weekly offerings are free or donation-based.
Relax and rest by the tranquil waters of Coyote Lake, Gilroy’s 449-acre water source and premier recreation spot for boaters, fishers and birdwatchers. With a world-class population of black bass, bluegill, black crappie, and Eurasian carp, the lake is ideal for catching fresh fish during the fall and spring months. The park is also home to a rare western turtle pond and over 219 wild bird species, including the bald eagle.
Green Glaze Pottery
Sit down, relax and get the creativity flowing at Green Glaze Pottery, a DIY ceramics studio that offers clay classes and paint-it-yourself pottery projects for beginners. Patron seeking an ideal after-work or rainy-day activity choose from dozens of pre-made ceramic items to paint and design with friends, kids or even solo. With pieces ranging from $3 to $30 and a sitting fee of $9 for adults and $7 for kids, Green Glaze is a budget-friendly way to spend an afternoon crafting a customizable and useful gift for yourself or a friend—all pieces are microwave and dishwasher safe.
Find your balance at Yoga Bella, a unique yoga experience that couples small, individualized classes in a tranquil studio space. Offering drop-in and unlimited package deals, you can craft an exercise routine based on skill level, intensity of practice or interest; courses in qigong commeditation and prenatal stretching are offered weekly. The studio is conveniently located next door to a sister storefront, the Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic of Gilroy, with services ranging from aural alignment to facial rejuvenation.
Breathe San Benito
Unwind and relax at Breathe San Benito, Hollister’s go-to destination for yoga newbies and even the most skilled yoginis. The studio offers weekly classes that build up yoga basics like vinyasa flow in addition to offering massage and aromatherapy services to center yourself after a long day. If yoga still sounds too new-agey, drop in on the first Friday of every month at 6pm for $1 yoga, open to all ages and levels of practice.
Eat with the seasons at Farmhouse Café, a multi-farm, community-supported agriculture eatery uniting all of San Benito County’s organic food producers. With a seasonal, all-organic breakfast and lunch menu, the café serves up feel-good, balanced meals for even the pickiest eaters with a customizable sandwich menu, light breakfast options, and freshly made pies, cookies and baked goods.
Hollister Soap House
Located in the historic downtown district, this artisan storefront and community workshop offers a variety of handcrafted, small-batch soaps, bath bombs and other skincare goods made from locally sourced ingredients. Stop by to grab a bar of coconut- or goat-milk-scented soap, or stop in for one of the Soap House’s Make-n-Take nights, drop-in crash courses on making your own bath bombs, lip balms and aromatherapy sachets.
The Grove Restaurant
This farm-to-table restaurant, bakery and market is an artisanal foodie’s dream spot. With a lively outdoor atmosphere and an inspiring seasonal menu that features a variety of locally produced goods, The Grove appeals to vegans, carnivores and everyone in between. Live music is played every Friday and Saturday from 6:30-9:30pm, and guests can dine al fresco while getting exercise by playing on one of The Grove’s six bocce ball courts—free for lunch and dinner patrons.
Align your mind and body into perfect form at the Dailey Method, an innovative workout studio that combines Pilates, yoga, dance and ballet barre for the ultimate full-body workout. The Dailey interval class combines high- and low-intensity movement with the latest dance music for a short but killer 45-minute workout. Bring the little ones along, too; complimentary childcare is available for most of the studio’s classes while you “get your Dailey on.”
Henry Coe State Park
As the largest state park in Northern California, Henry Coe is a must-visit destination for hiking enthusiasts, amateur photographers and wilderness explorers alike. With more than 87,000 acres of open space, the park offers unique opportunities to exercise in the open air and see the beauty of the Diablo Valley from a variety of lookouts, trails and terrains. Try tackling part (or all) of Henry Coe’s 290 miles of trails open to mountain bikers, or take a backpacking trip to one of the park’s 60 campsites.
Located in the heart of downtown Morgan Hill, the Pop-Up Park is the perfect space for families to take a break and explore their creative side in between shopping or dining downtown. The temporary installation space offers seating and moveable tables for picnicking, chalkboard walls for kids to doodle on, a free urban library for visitors to exchange books and even a baby grand piano hand-painted by Morgan Hill artist Lina Velasquez for the next budding Mozart to practice.
Uvas Canyon Waterfalls
Take the leisurely hike up the banks of Swanson Creek to the Uvas Canyon Waterfalls, a hidden treasure tucked away in the picturesque, heavily wooded Uvas Canyon County Park. Measuring just over a mile in distance, the trail is wide and easy enough to bring kids and pets along. Bonus points for checking out the self-guided nature tour which points out dozens of native flower and