Hopland, California: Solar Living Center

A kind of mini-theme-park for fun-loving (but earnest) environmentally-conscious people. "Grow-Thru Cars" -- trees growing through junked autos -- mock the Drive-Thru Trees found elsewhere in California.
Address:
13771 S. Hwy 101, Hopland, CA
Directions:
South side of town. On the east side of US Hwy 101 a quarter-mile south of its intersection with Hwy 175/River Rd.
Hours:
Opens daily at 10 am (Call to verify)
Phone:
707-742-2403
Admission:
Free (donations welcome)
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Grow Thru Car. Solar Living Institute

We were driving along Hwy 101 and spotted some 1950s cars with trees growing out of them -- so we decided to investigate! It's a treasure of a place called the Solar Living Institute, 12 acres with a biodiesel fueling station, organic farm, one of northern California's largest solar arrays, a huge teepee, a house make of hay bales, friendly goats rescued from the dairy industry (a super friendly girl who worked there let them out of the pen so we could play with them and hold them!), a bike station where you can generate electricity, a wonderful gift shop full of sustainable goods, and the garden of vintage cars with trees growing out of them that we saw from the road. The staff is very friendly and helpful, and it is an inspiring and interesting place to see!

[ashley shartle, 01/23/2013]
Contraption. Solar Living Center

Boasting "weird restrooms" along the side of Highway 101, the Solar Living Center has much more strangeness to offer. Electric Conducting Exercise Bikes, the largest Strawbale store in the world, houses made of mud, a solar powered playground, and a grove of "grow-through" cars as an answer to the drive through trees up north. The bathrooms are indeed odd, with walls made of recycled toilet tank lids, and counters and dividers made from recycled pill bottles. For the men, you can learn how the waterless urinals work as you stand there staring at the wall.

The is also a pack of goats who follow the caretakers around like dogs, and are friendly enough to pet. Goat treats are available to feed them.

[Sean Spicer, 01/23/2013]

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October 21, 2014

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