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Wellness Experiences in California

Discover great ways to relax and rebalance on your next Golden State getaway

On this Episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson explores a few of the many ways to experience wellness in California with three knowledgeable experts. First, Johnson connects with Les Alfred, creator of the Balanced Black Girl website and podcast. Alfred shares highlights from a recent wellness getaway in Sonoma County, including biking trips, unique spa treatments, and an experience that combines forest bathing with wine tasting amid towering redwoods. Alfred, a wonderful storyteller, also gives tips on how to leave your travels feeling restored and refreshed.

After that, our host talks to Nancy Furst, resident spiritual artist and advisor at the renowned Ojai Valley Inn, located east of Santa Barbara. Furst takes Johnson on a spiritual journey as she describes one of her healing sessions—a truly unique experience involving crystals and sage. She also shares the joys of blending wellness with nature at this picturesque property in the Topatopa Mountains.

Finally, Johnson heads to the desert for a day of pampering with Kelly Steward, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Steward sets the stage for an over-the-top luxury spa experience at the award-winning resort with treatments ranging from aromatherapy showers to relaxing massages and breathing exercises.


Les Alfred, creator of the Balanced Black Girl website and podcast

Nancy Furst, spiritual artist and advisor at the Ojai Valley Inn

Kelly Steward, general manager of Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage


Les Alfred, founder of the Balanced Black Girl website and podcast, shares a few of her favorite experiences in Sonoma County.

Balanced Black Girl

Balanced Black Girl Podcast

Sonoma County

Santa Rosa

Flamingo Resort

Osmosis Day Spa

Red Car Wines

Bodega Bay

Getaway Adventure Bike Tours

Russian River Valley

Plank Coffee

Avid Coffee

Café Frida Gallery

Bird & The Bottle

The Barlow

Fern Bar


Nancy Furst is the resident spiritual artist and advisor at the Ojai Valley Inn.

Ojai Valley Inn


Santa Barbara

Spiritual Wellness – Ojai Valley Inn

Golf Course – Ojai Valley Inn

The Farmhouse at Ojai Valley Inn

Kelly Steward is the general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, located two and a half hours east of Los Angeles.

Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

Rancho Mirage

Coachella Valley

Spa at Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage      

Santa Rosa Mountains


Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis in 2016. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson uses the California Now Podcast platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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