Places to Visit in Northern California | Crystal Hermitage

I heard of this magical place filled with 10,000 tulips. Oh how I longed to see it! I finally got the chance this past weekend with my son. It is called the Crystal Hermitage at the Ananda Retreat, Nevada City & it was as magical as I envisioned. Strange as it may sound, I felt a warm sense of peace driving through the area. The road meandered through Shire-like fields; we even saw some people working on the land & signs to watch out for "kids and goats" - I am not kidding!

Glasslike tulips at the Ananda Retreat in Grass Valley CA

This year, the volunteers and grounds people have planted nearly 17,000 tulips in 150 flower beds in the gardens all over the estate. Interspersed with the tulips are over 8000 pansies & forget-me-nots. The variety of tulips were a wonderful sight to see & I wish we could have spent more time there. As I mentioned, though, my son came with me, so I didn't want to push my luck ;) He did mention that they offered a season pass - could he have been hinting that he wanted to visit again as much as I did?

Forget-me-nots at the Crystal Hermitage

Swami Kriyananda,  J.Donald Walters and founder of the Ananda Community, became a follower of Paramhansa Yogananda in 1948. Kriyananda  bought the land in 1968, although the actual Hermitage wasn't built for another 20 years. He dedicated his life to furthering his master's mission of helping people everywhere find inner peace & self-realization. He built several Ananda Communities, all centered on the deeper teachings of yoga & Christianity. He died in 2013, but his community still lives on, honoring his memory by sharing his joy, friendship, & kindness that he showed when he was alive. 

Purple Tulips at the Crystal Hermitage

No matter what your faith, this is a beautiful place to visit. If you want to know more, visit their site

Beautiful red tulips at the Crystal Hermitate in the Ananda Retreat

Claire Toney is a Northern California photographer based in Rancho Cordova. She loves visiting new places, especially ones as beautiful as this little piece of heaven. Currently, she is obsessed with creating magical spring child portraits & photographing Moms & their kids. To book a session, send her a message at or call her at (916) 769-5482