A Western Themed Stay at the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
Located in the town of Solvang, just 30 minutes outside of Santa Barbara, California, is the charming Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort. A 10,000 acre property with Western charm and a high-class resort feel. Omeed and I got to enjoy a romantic 3-day 2 night stay at the Alisal. Maybe some of you have had this feeling as if you have been transported to another world or living in a beautiful dream. That is how this place felt… magical.
Time with the Horses…
We took some time to tour around the property before getting a private trail ride with one of the ranchers. I have been riding horses all my life and truly believe it is by far the best way to experience nature at her best from the back of a horse. We toured around the grounds and even went all the way around the beautiful Alisal Lake.
BBQ by the Lake…
Our first night at the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort we took a hay ride down to the lake. The chefs prepared a delicious surf and turf style buffet fresh off the grill. Omeed and I sat in a spot close to the lake as the water glistened from the reflection of the sun. After dinner we took a leisurely canoe ride on the lake as we watched the sunset over the mountains. It was peaceful on the lake with just a few ripples of the water and a rustling of the leaves from a light wind.
There are no televisions or telephones in the rooms so after dinner Omeed made us a fire as we cuddled enjoying a glass of wine. It was one of those romantic settings you see in the movies come to life right before your eyes.
Cowboys and Pancakes…
One of the experiences the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort offers is called the Cowboys & Pancakes experience. It starts with an early morning trail ride out to the historic adobe where you’re greeted by cowboys making you pancakes and warm biscuits. I could not tell you who loved this experience more, myself or Omeed. It was all made better by our western themed outfits complete with cowboy hats.
After our ride, I got to check an item off my bucket list… learning to shoot a bow and arrow. I earned the nickname “Katniss” with my shooting skills, a nice reference to the Hunger Games series if any of you remember those. The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort offers a ton of activities you can sign up for aside from horseback riding including fishing, fly fishing lessons, guided tours on the lake, all kinds of boat rentals, archery and air rifle lessons, cycling, tennis, golf, arts, and crafts for the kids. I hear they even have a weekly rodeo!
A Trail Blazer Spa Experience…
As if the day couldn’t get any better, we then headed to the spa for a 90-minute trailblazer treatment. It combines a full-body exfoliation scrub down followed by a relaxing massage to relieve tense muscles. It was so relaxing I fell asleep as soon as I laid on the massage table. My skin felt revived and my body completely a peace afterward.
Romantic Dinner for Two…
Part of the authentic western theme of the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is how they for-go the normal room service of traditional luxury resorts and instead focus on everyone gathering for dinner at one of their restaurants. After our romantic dinner by the lake the night before I did not think that could be topped, but I was mistaken.
Our reserved table was directly by the large stone fireplace at the Ranch Room. We shared a delicious assortment of fresh warm bread followed by the Ceasar salad, prime rib, and fried chicken entrees. We were about to pass on dessert when our waiter told us they are made fresh daily by the Alisal’s pastry chef we could not resist. The combination of the rhubarb with sweet strawberries and a flakey crust on the pie was out of this world!
The night ended with chatting with fellow Alisal guests by the fire pit as we roasted smores. On the walk back to our room we looked up and saw millions of stars, unobstructed by any buildings or clouds. I took a deep breath in and just wanted to remember these past few days for the rest of my life.
Our breakfast that morning was bittersweet as I was so happy to be there, but did not want to leave. We had the same reserved table for two and got to see families sitting around us having their breakfast. I could see why people would come and stay for a week year after year, some for decades. I thought of how much fun it will be to bring my kids here one day and possibly my grandchildren after that. A yearly summer tradition!
Packing Essentials for the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort…
For a trip to the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, here are a few packing suggestions:
- cowboy hat (any hat will do, but it is fun to be in theme. If you forget yours, the spa has a few available for sale.)
- swimsuit for the pool & jacuzzi
- bug spray, you’ll be out in nature of course, especially in the evening by the lake
- riding boots, something comfortable with a slight heel
- jeans for riding
- men- dinner jackets are required for dinner. Ladies the equivalent (a nice dress or slacks.) Jeans are okay if they are on the dressier side- not any holes in them.
The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is located in the Dutch-inspired town of Solvang. Definitely worth a visit to enjoy their Danish pastries and over 75 vineyards and lots of wine tasting.
Dress in Theme…
One of my favorite parts of any trip is getting to dress in theme and it made visiting the Alisal all the more fun. Here are the looks I wore on our trip.
SHOP MY LOOKS FROM THE ALISAL GUEST RANCH & RESORT:
Photos by Ali Beck Photography