Get lost in thought walking the half-mile stone-lined labyrinth at the Ghost Ranch resort.
Get lost in thought walking the half-mile stone-lined labyrinth at the Ghost Ranch resort. Jen Judge

We are weary. We're tired of the economy. Tired of politics. Tired of texting and cellphones. We could all use a serious time-out in a soft place with gentle pursuits, natural beauty and people who understand the restorative power of quiet.

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Luckily for us, America has surprisingly affordable retreat centers where you can unwind and come home refreshed and ready for another round of life in the 21st century.

Note: Unless stated otherwise, rates are the lowest available per person, per night, meals included. Activities often cost extra.

EarthRise Center at IONS

Petaluma, California
$310, single; $275 each, double occupancy (for the weekend, with meals)

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell founded IONS — the Institute of Noetic Sciences (from the Greek nous, or "inner knowing") — two years after he visited the moon.

A scant 35-minute drive from San Francisco, EarthRise is IONS' retreat center. It's a place where guests are invited to contemplate, in Mitchell's words, a world in which people are "concerned with greater good for all."

"The only path to a sustainable future on Earth," he says, "is with individuals who are free, responsible, concerned with greater good for all, and willing to put those needs ahead of personal aggrandizement."

Where to sleep

The lodging is rustic but spotless, set among 194 rolling acres in the Petaluma hills. (Don't miss the uphill hike to the sweeping view from Guardian Rock.)

How to unwind

EarthRise takes its proximity to Sonoma's famous vineyards to heart. Besides offering the chance to ponder big questions, the place also has superb California haute cuisine - ginger-miso salmon with Chinese black rice with wine, anyone? (707-775-3500; noetic.org/earthrise)

Deep Bay Retreat Center

Lakeside, Montana
From $2,050 a week per house (8 to 12 people in a house)

Set on 10 acres of Rocky Mountain wilderness — less than an hour-and-a-half drive south from Glacier National Park — this nonprofit, nondenominational retreat overlooks Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River.

Where to sleep

Visitors can choose from four first-rate timber-frame guesthouses named Earth, Wood, Fire and Water. The houses have large picture windows, with views of the nearby Mission Mountains' snow-topped peaks. Each house has a full kitchen; catering is available in the town of Lakeside.

How to unwind

Deep Bay has its own private cove, a picnic area, and a boat dock and a sun dock for swimming and sunbathing. A short but challenging hike on a woodland trail leads to the shores of Flathead Lake, whose clear green water originates in Glacier National Park. (406-844-2611; deepbay.org)