Given that we are still in lockdown here in California, I know it’s strange to be sharing a trip here with you. We took a road trip to The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort more than a month ago and I am just getting around to gathering all these photos. Hopefully they can serve as a bit of inspiration for a road trip in 2021 when California opens back up again. I realize that not everyone has the ability to take a mid week staycation and times are very strange in this Covid pandemic and hard but I wanted to share my experience with you in case you are itching to find a safe and friendly place to visit. Blake and I did a lot of research on where we could drive to that wasn’t too far (since driving with a toddler is NOT fun) and a spot that has lots of open space and outdoor amenities so we can stay away from other people and safely be outside the whole time besides being inside of our room. We LOVE Santa Barbara and it’s about a 2.5 hour drive for us so right at or driving threshold with Otis.
For our trip, we decided to book a mid-week getaway since hotels are usually less busy during the week days. Blake was able to take a few days off from work so it was perfect. Check-in was done by walking up to a checkin window outside which was great and easy. Our room was great with a working wood fire place and view of the horse fields right out front. Everything was sanitized, wrapped noting it’s sanitation. I was impressed. Felt good to know that things were properly taken care of. We had a 1 bedroom room that actually had 2 bathrooms making it easy to put Otis’ travel crib in so we still had access to our bathroom without having to walk to another one on the property. We also used the fireplace every night. Such a cozy way to unwind from the day and such a treat since we don’t have a fireplace at home.
As far as food goes, breakfast and dinner were organized through reservations at their restaurant and I was able to secure outdoor dining. It was cold while we were up there but it wasn’t a problem since they had lots of heat lamps. Also to note, there were not weird tents surrounding the outdoor dining so it was truly outdoor with the addition of the heat lamps. Indoor dining was also open but we opted for outside for a safer experience. The food was SO freaking good. The dinner menu changed each night and the dessert menu was INSANE. I feel I would go back just for the dessert. We picked 2 things each night just to share and try something else and then took home a home baked chocolate chip cookie. For lunch, they have a casual restaurant you can get togo food which was actually great as well. I indulged in the bbq chicken sandwich which I got 2 days in a row because I loved it so much. There were also plenty of kid friendly options which made it easy for Otis. We would either sit at a table outside or bring lunch back to our room.
When it came to activities, traveling with a toddler can be unpredictable so we didn’t plan too much. They have a barn (which is all outdoors) that is open daily which was great to be able to walk in and pet and see the barnyard animals. Otis was obsessed with the duck and chickens. You didn’t need to schedule to go there so we could come and go as we please. We also brought Otis’ scooter so he could get his energy out and enjoy the outdoors. We visited the pool once which was heated but obviously it was cold so not ideal in the Winter. Otis did have a blast though. They have ride along horse rides for toddlers and little ones also. We tried to put Otis on a horse.. let’s just say, it didn’t go well. He started crying so we took him off. I posted a photo above for the .5 seconds that Otis was on the horse. Next time! I think the real gem of this ranch is the horse back riding which we sadly didn’t get to experience because we couldn’t do that with Otis. But it was still really cool to be able to see, pet and interact with the horses on the property daily. There is something to calming about being around those gentle giants. It was a highlight of each day waking up and seeing them from our bedroom.
Each day when Otis would nap, Blake and I would sit outside on our patio in our lounge chairs, grab a glass of wine, and just watch the horses and relax. The resort is a true hidden gem and feels like time just magically stands still. Nestled into the valley the mornings are foggy and cool and we would light our wood fire to heat the room.
One important thing to note was the my phone reception and internet was spotty. Yes we had access to wifi, but it was spotty for me personally. Also the rooms do not have a tv. So it’s truly about being mellow, enjoying each others company and being present in this special place. Did we miss the tv? YES. HAHA. But was still nice to chill and relax and just giving you a heads up if you plan to visit! Get into the ranch vibes people.
One of my favorite moments of the trip was our wagon ride to breakfast. You can check the hotels website for a list of daily activities for each day. On Wednesdays and Saturdays they have a wagon ride (or horseback ride) to The Old Adobe. You take the wagon to a ranch-style buffet breakfast at the historic Adobe Campsite (accessible only by horse or hay wagon), complete with campfire, fireside sing-alongs, cowboy poet, and famous buttermilk pancakes. The live music was SO freaking cool and it really felt like a slice of another time. The wagon ride itself was also a great way to really see how large the property is and to also get a glimpse of the other wildlife out there. This was by far one of my favorite experiences of the trip. Such a unique breakfast experience I highly suggest it if you visit.
Besides eating, watching the horses, playing on Otis’ scooter and visiting our barnyard friends, that was pretty much it on our agenda. It was the perfect escape and I can not wait to go back in the future. Was such a great gem of a spot to be able to be outside the whole time and enjoy some much needed relaxation as a family. Feel free to ask me any more questions you may have in the comments below.
Also! Something fun and random to note was that we had 2 monarch butterflies in their chrysalis state that we brought with us on our trip. We were lucky enough to see one hatch into a butterfly while we were there. Our butterfly friend Billy wanted to live at the ranch. So that was a really beautiful moment to share there. Hope he is enjoying life as a ranch butterfly.
hat: preston & olivia / dress: the great / sneakers: p448
hoodie: the great / jeans: jbrand / sneakers: p448
otis hoodie: the great / jeans: zara kids / shoes: vans / hat: beau hudson
sweater: the great / jeans: jbrand / boots: ugg
jacket: aritzia (similar) / sweater: naked cashmere / jeans: jbrand / sneakers: p448