New Camaldoli Hermitage
Nov26

New Camaldoli Hermitage

Big Sur, August 2013

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Monastic Meditations
Dec19

Monastic Meditations

The New Camaldoli hermitage perches atop a mountain just south of Big Sur. The dozen or so Benedictine monastics who call the hermitage home earn a portion of their living from fruit and date nut cakes and a small bookstore and gift shop. But their primary source of income is a retreat house and guest hermitages dotting a precipitous, dubious hillside held in place by the will of eucalyptus, oak and pampas grass roots.

Accommodations include all meals for a suggested $100 a night, but guests are welcomed even if they can pay nothing at all. The hermitage has a four and a half star rating on Yelp, though the number of reviews is small and reviewers are quick to point out that the experience is not for everyone. One person praises it as the closest to a hostel one is likely to find in pricey Big Sur but complains that food preparation is “uneven.” Most everyone else comes for the spiritual atmosphere and is not particularly concerned about the quality of dinner.

I’ve come to write. All I want from a meal is that it be hot and I neither have to cook it myself nor speak to anyone to obtain it.

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