VA­CA­TION

Manteca Bulletin - - On The Road -

The home-cooked food is where most lux­u­ri­ous guest ranches shine — am­ple help­ings of beef, pork, chicken and many other ba­sics are avail­able ei­ther buf­fet-style or in fam­ily-style serv­ing dishes ready for guests on the ta­ble.

Most ranches of­fer all-in­clu­sive rates that in­clude lodg­ing, food and ac­tiv­i­ties, and some­times un­lim­ited horse­back rid­ing. These are not es­pe­cially cheap va­ca­tions, al­though the all-in­clu­sive as­pect does mean you’ll spend money on noth­ing else dur­ing your stay. Prices for a week at a guest ranch can run from $800 to $1,400 per per­son, per week, depend­ing on the sea­son and whether horse­back rid­ing, taxes and gra­tu­ities are in­cluded. Daily rates are avail­able at some ranches while oth­ers re­quire a one-week min­i­mum. Also ask for fam­ily or group rates, which may save you money if you’re tak­ing a fam­ily.

There are sev­eral lux­u­ri­ous guest ranches lo­cated in var­i­ous parts of Cal­i­for­nia, most sit­u­ated in moun­tain­ous, wooded ter­rain but eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by car. Here are three ex­am­ples of Cal­i­for­nia guest ranches:

Green­horn Creek Ranch — Lo­cated near Quincy, Cal­i­for­nia about 70 miles north­west of Reno, NV, this ranch has been cater­ing to Cal­i­for­nia trav­el­ers for many years. For the last five years, Ralph and Tr­ish Wil­burn have op­er­ated the ranch, steadily build­ing clien­tele and adding ameni­ties. This heav­ily tim­bered part of Cal­i­for­nia is known for its many lakes and streams, and ranch guests are al­ways im­pressed by the area’s over­all beauty. The ranch can ac­com­mo­date up to 80 peo­ple in 16 cab­ins and 12 lodge rooms. A week-long stay at Green­horn be­gins with a one-hour rid­ing les­son and ba­sic ori­en­ta­tion that matches each guest with the ap­pro­pri­ate horse. Through­out the week, guests can get ad­di­tional in­struc­tion and ride on var­i­ous ter­rains rang­ing from gen­tle slopes to dirt and gravel roads to trails. Other ranch ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude trout fish­ing in the ranch’s own pond, swim­ming, frog-rac­ing, square and line danc­ing, hayrides, bon fires, golf, hik­ing and even a rodeo. For more in­for­ma­tion, phone 800-587-2418 or visit www. green­horn­ranch.com.

Cof­fee Creek Ranch — This is an­other North­ern Cal­i­for­nia va­ca­tion hotspot and is about 72 miles north­west of Red­ding and lo­cated in the heart of the Trin­ity Alps. This moun­tain­ous lo­ca­tion is quite wooded and has long been known as an out­doors­man’s fa­vorite. Ali­cia Ryan is a third-gen­er­a­tion owner of the ranch and has put to­gether a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing horse­back rid­ing, swim­ming, gold pan­ning, archery, skeet shoot­ing and tar­get prac­tice, fly fish­ing, tub­ing on a lo­cal creek, kids’ games, hayrides, bon fires, line and square danc­ing and even a tal­ent show. All horse­back rides take guests into the high coun­try and many in­clude meals or overnight stays. There is about one ranch em­ployee for every two guests, and typ­i­cally the ranch will ac­com­mo­date around 50 peo­ple. Hik­ing trips can be planned, and moun­tain bike trails par­al­lel the wilder­ness area. Sum­mer youth pro­grams are spe­cially de­signed by age group. The ranch even has its own mu­si­cal group, the “Rat­tlesnakes,” to en­ter­tain guests. For more in­for­ma­tion, phone 800-624-4480 or visit www.cof­feecreekranch.com.

Cir­cle Bar B Ranch — This is a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia va­ca­tion al­ter­na­tive, lo­cated in the Santa Ynez moun­tains near Santa Bar­bara. It’s just three miles from the fa­mous Rea­gan Ranch, where Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan lived, worked and played. Owner Kathy Wil­liams and her fam­ily have been en­ter­tain­ing guests for many years not only with the ranch and its ac­tiv­i­ties, but with a din­ner theater that was started 34 years ago. Pat Brown, Kathy’s brother and ranch co-owner, has bus­ied him­self build­ing cab­ins and ren­o­vat­ing rooms to the ex­tent that the ranch now has an overnight ca­pac­ity of 45 guests. Out­side the main lodge is a swim­ming pool, set in a grassy area amongst the oak trees that pop­u­late many parts of the prop­erty. Not far away are the barns and cor­rals, and a group of mild-man­nered horses that, sev­eral times each day, take guests onto many miles of nearby trails and roads. The rides at Cir­cle Bar B are gen­tle. The ter­rain is gen­er­ally easy for their well-trained horses and al­lows for good foot­ing and enough space be­tween horses so that you don’t run into prob­lems even if one of the an­i­mals be­comes a lit­tle spir­ited. The hearty meals at the Cir­cle Bar B are fam­ily style and the ranch own­ers min­gle with guests at al­most every meal. For more in­for­ma­tion, phone (805) 968-1113 or visit www.cir­cle­barb.com.

OTHER DESTI­NA­TIONS: If a stay at a guest ranch is your idea of a great Cal­i­for­nia va­ca­tion, be sure and check out other Cal­i­for­nia Week­end ar­ti­cles on river raft­ing, Lake Ta­hoe and Twain’s Cal­i­for­nia.

Get­away Me­dia Corp pub­lishes web­sites fo­cused on get­away travel, in­clud­ing www. cal­i­for­ni­aweek­end.com and www.north­west­trav­e­lad­vi­sor.com. If you en­joyed read­ing about these lux­u­ri­ous guest ranches, be sure to visit our sites and read the hun­dreds of fea­ture ar­ti­cles on the many get­away travel desti­na­tions in our cov­er­age ar­eas. Like these lux­u­ri­ous guest ranches, these other at­trac­tions are worth in­clud­ing in a your up­com­ing va­ca­tion or get­away. If you think about it, we’re for­tu­nate to live in a place where we can en­joy desti­na­tions such as these lux­u­ri­ous guest ranches with­out trav­el­ing thou­sands of miles. This is why Get­away Me­dia Corp sites are so pop­u­lar with the trav­el­ing pub­lic -- they show­case at­trac­tions that are close by and easy to visit on your next va­ca­tion or get­away.

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