Meals at Tassajara are world-renowned and unique to Tassajara. The current incarnation of the vegetarian movement sprang from the hearts and minds of students that met in, and matriculated through, the Tassajara kitchen.
Three vegetarian meals are served daily to our overnight guests and are included in the accommodation rate. Breakfast is served at 9am, lunch at 1pm and dinner at 7pm in our dining room. The day's fixed menu is posted each morning outside the dining room, alongside a napkin with your party’s name on it.
Our breakfast and dinners are served family-style, and are best enjoyed close to serving time. The breakfast menu rotates each day: eggs or tofu; pancakes, scones, or breads. It is always accompanied by fresh fruit and hot cereal (often oats, but occasionally rice, amaranth, or polenta). Dinner has the widest variety of possibility: the main feature being a homestyle or ethnic vegetable dish, grain, salad, and other complements. Dessert (often gluten) is offered every evening.
For lunch, guests may choose between eating in the dining room or making a “Bag Lunch.” Lunch in the dining room is served buffet style: soup, salad, and bread. Alternatively, guests can make a Bag Lunch between 9:30-10:15am. Bag Lunch is a selection of vegetarian gourmet spreads, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, as well as vegetables, nuts, cheeses, breads and cookies. While brown paper bags are provided, we do recommend bringing eco-friendly storage containers (also available for purchase in the Stone Office) for traveling outside of the dining areas.
An afternoon tea, consisting of cold teas, fruit, and a light snack, is served from 3:00pm to 4:30pm in the dining room. However, coffee and tea are always available at the beverage service station in the courtyard. We recommend bringing your own water bottle or thermos to keep a delicious beverage nearby (also available for purchase in the Stone Office).
Guests are welcome to bring their own meal supplements and store them in the Guest Refrigerator, and label them for their own use during their stay. Please note that space is limited. Because of our little mountain critters, we ask that guests not keep food stored in their cabin. Guest use of our kitchen is not permitted.
Tassajara may not be suitable for guests with severe allergic reactions due to its remote location. For guests who have food intolerances, allergies, or other sensitivities, the daily menu board is labeled to indicate possible allergens. Generally, guests find that there are sufficient gluten-free foods offered at each meal.
Tassajara offers a supplement to the dinner meal, known as the Restricted Diet meal. The Restricted Diet includes a grain (gluten-free), a protein (usually beans), and a vegetable – all plainly prepared. Even though the Restricted Diet option is offered every day, we ask that you inform Tassajara Reservations of any dietary restrictions that you have, particularly if you have severe allergic reactions. Though the Restricted Diet meal supplement is not provided for breakfast and lunch, guests with dietary restrictions can supplement these two meals with options from bag lunch as needed.
Telephone and Electronics
Tassajara has only one public phone and there is no fax, internet, or cell phone reception. Because the center is off the grid and generates all it's own electricity, use of computers and all other electrical equipment is discouraged. There is a $10/hour fee for recharging laptops, digital camera batteries, etc. In order to preserve the quiet atmosphere of Tassajara, do not bring musical instruments, radios, or other audible musical devices.
Skirts, pants, and other casual dress attire may be worn for dinner. Please bring a bathing suit for the swimming pool and wear clothing over bathing suits in the public areas. Clothing is optional in the bathhouse. Please help support the monastic setting by not wearing revealing clothing. Slip-on shoes or sandals are useful at Tassajara, as shoes are not worn in the guest rooms or meditation hall.
It is strongly advised that guests experience Tassajara for themselves before deciding whether to bring their children. Due to the remote nature of Tassajara, we advise against bringing sick children or children with special medical/dietary needs. There is no childcare or designated children's play area, and children must be supervised by an adult at all times. Staff, students, and guests strive to maintain the quiet and tranquil atmosphere of Tassajara, and may request that a child's volume level is moderated. Certain cabins are more suitable for children; please inquire when making a reservation.
Pets and Service Dogs
Please do not bring pets to Tassajara; this includes the parking area.
New Service Dog Requirements:
1) At Tassajara, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
2) The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.
3) All service dogs must remain with their human needing service, at all times, while on-site.
4) Ideally, all service dogs should wear a service dog vest while moving among guests and in guest-accessible spaces (including but not limited to, guest housing, bathhouse, dining room, trails and retreat hall).
5) Emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals are not considered service animals and are not permitted at Tassajara.
*No animal can be left unattended in a vehicle, in the surrounding Ventana Wilderness roads or trails, or in/on/near Guest Housing. Anyone not complying with these rules, will be asked to leave Tassajara with no opportunity for a refund.
** Religious institutions and organizations are specifically exempt from the ADA. The exemption covers all of the activities of a religious entity, whether religious or secular. ** https://www.ada.gov/taman3.html
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
Those with pre-existing medical conditions should be aware that Tassajara is in a remote location in the wilderness. The nearest hospital is four hours away. Please come prepared with any supplies you need, as well as extra supplies. Tassajara is equipped with emergency medical equipment and excellent emergency protocol. Those with special medical equipment needs should speak with the Tassajara Reservation Specialist when making their reservation; Tassajara may not be able to accommodate them.
Tassajara may not be suitable for guests with severe allergic reactions due to its remote location.
For guests who have food intolerances, allergies, or other sensitivities, please know that Tassajara is not able to tailor the daily/weekly menu to specific guest’s needs. All visitors should inform Tassajara Reservations of any dietary restrictions, particularly severe allergic reactions, to determine if they can be accommodated.
The daily menu board is labeled to indicate possible allergens, and a supplement to the dinner meal is offered. Please speak with the Tassajara Reservations Office staff for more information about meals.
Road Risks & Rockslides
Weather changes our road conditions drastically, and can result in hazardous conditions. This is particularly true after heavy rains, freezing temperatures or snow. There are regularly occurring loose rocks, fallen trees, and wildlife.
Traffic on the road is two-way, with the majority of the traffic travelling between 11am and 4pm, and not all parts of the road accommodate two cars at the same time. Cars travelling uphill have the right-of-way, so please keep that in mind when negotiating in tight spaces. Here is a link to what it’s like to navigate the road itself.
Temperature and Climate
Tassajara is located in the Los Padres National Forest which is in a semi-desert ecosystem including chaparral and forested land. In the early part of the season (April), Tassajara weather is highly variable. It could be cold and rainy, or warm and sunny. Be prepared for nighttime lows in the upper 30s.
At the height of the summer season, Tassajara is very dry and hot. The warmest months are generally July and August, with usual highs in the 90s to 100s. Usual lows are in the 50s with occasional 40s. Those who come during these months should be prepared for the heat. Rainfall is unlikely after May.
Hydration & Hiking Safety
Please do not drink the creek water -- like many wilderness areas, Giardia intestinalis has been found in the creek in recent years. Tassajara's drinking water is from a spring and is thoroughly tested and safe.
Hiking concerns: loose boulders, mosquitoes/mucous flies, (near creek) slippery rocks, standing water, hidden snakes
The Los Padres National Forest, where Tassajara is located, includes some of the most rugged terrain in the country. Guests are asked not to go hiking alone unless they have hiked in the area before, and also asked to let someone know what trail they will be hiking and what time they expect to return to Tassajara. Stone Office is a great resource for more information about local interests, vistas, and other questions. Animals and Plants
There are also a number of potential dangers of which to be aware. There is poison oak on the trails as well as ticks, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and the very rarely seen mountain lion. There are several waves of insects throughout the summer season, depending on the time of year and other natural rhythms, that may cause discomfort. Please bring protection if needed, and an open-mind for our nature neighbors.
For those who do hike, Tassajara asks that they bring eco-friendly containers that animals cannot get into easily. Do not keep food, not even coolers, in cabins. There is a guest refrigerator for all food storage.
Tassajara is home to birds, squirrels, mice, raccoons and skunks. Do not feed any animals, no matter how friendly they may appear. Animals may pester those who eat outside.
For a more thorough explanation of the Los Padres National Forest, please visit this link for the USDA Forest Service.
During the summer months, there is always an extreme fire danger in the wilderness, and especially in and around Tassajara. No open flames are permitted in the forest except in authorized campsites. Smoking is not permitted in any buildings, on porches or decks, or on the trails. Please check with the Stone Office regarding directions to our designated smoking area. Do not burn candles or incense in cabins or rooms. Tassajara is exceptionally well-prepared for fire with fire crews and equipment.