Start a New Family Tradition at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

Feb 26, 2017

A friend warned me that if our family spent a weekend at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, we’d end up booking our next trip before we even left the property.

Nestled in the scenic rolling hills of the lush Santa Ynez Valley, Alisal is a full-service 10,000-acre, all-inclusive resort/dude ranch experience that combines the elegance and comfort of the western lifestyle with a working cattle ranch where 2,000 head of cattle and 100-quarter horses leisurely graze.

Beautifully manicured lawns characterize the grounds of the main “resort” - connecting 73 California ranch-style cottage studios and suites to restaurants and recreational facilities.

Historical perspective

Since 1843 when conquistador Raimundo Carrillo received a land grant and became the first cattle rancher of the Santa Ynez Valley, the Alisal (meaning “grove of sycamores” in Chumash, a Native American language) established itself as a working cattle ranch. In 1943, the property was purchased by The Jackson Family and evolved into a guest ranch. The exclusive hideaway opened its doors to summer vacationers with 30 initial guestrooms converted into bungalows.

The Alisal’s rich heritage and idyllic setting make it a haven for rest and relaxation and one of American’s most prestigious properties boasting a well preserved civilized past. Couples honeymoon here, families enjoy reunions and executives find a welcome respite from urban life.

In our case, we were looking for a brief respite from the day-to-day without having to travel too far from home. While Alisal is only a three to four hour drive from Orange County, it feels worlds away – the property is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and hiking trails meander around the resort’s rich flora and fauna (nature lovers can take a self-guided hike through Deer Canyon where some 64 different animals including deer, possums, bobcats, mountain lions, wild boar and black bears reside).

Back at the ranch, children as well as adults can participate in the caring of the ponies, bottle-feeding the goats, calves, exotic miniature horses and sheep seven days a week at The Alisal Barn Yard. Because our kids (ages 8 and 9) were to be first-time horseback riders up to the historic Adobe Camp for pancake breakfast the morning after our arrival, we “practiced” riding around a corral atop a gentle horse that spends a few hours each day tethered to a tree so the resort’s youngest guests can have their parents lead them around the corral at their leisure). Kids can also participate in egg gathering, grooming and exercising the animals in the corral.

A recreation center unto itself, the 100-acre spring fed Alisal Lake, filled with bass; trout; and bluegill, offers “catch-and-release” fishing. You can rent a boat or fish off the dock – our son caught his first fish (a Bigmouth Bass reeled in with Daddy’s help) by casting (also with Daddy’s help) from the dock. This sportsman’s paradise attracts bird watchers and guests with canoes, rowboats, peddle boats, kayaks or sail boats. As one of two California properties to be an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing operation, Alisal offers fly-fishing and boating lessons for children and adults.

Visitors rarely leave the Alisal during their stay and for good reason. Leaving at dawn, guests enjoy more than 50 miles of equestrian trails on horseback circling the magnificent hills and sycamore groves. Twice daily group rides, private rides and breakfast rides to the historicAdobe Camp round out a stay.

Aspiring equestrians can hone their riding skills at the corral with private lessons. Children delight in the Alisal Rodeo with stick horse and gunny sack races and boot relays in an authentic western arena.

Wranglers show off with quick draw demonstrations, calf roping and barrel racing. Following the rodeo is an extravagant western barbecue with live entertainment and traditional line dancing.

For those seeking more civilized pursuits, two 18-hole championship golf courses – the par 72, 6,500-yard Ranch Course and the par 72, 6,800-yard River Course with four lakes - provide impeccably manicured fairways and greens with spectacular views of the Santa Ynez River and nearby Santa Ynez Mountains. A full range of facilities and services are offered at both courses including a clubhouse, driving range, putting green and pro shop. Private and group lessons by PGA and LPGA professionals are also available.

A full-service Tennis Center with a well-equipped pro tennis shop is situated on a scenic area of the Ranch. Tennis buffs can choose from seven hard courts. Tennis professionals, one of whom is nationally ranked, offer both clinics and private lessons by appointment.

After a lengthy day of horseback riding, the Alisal’s outdoor heated swimming pool and adjacent eight-seat spa are the perfect way to unwind.


Frontier fare

The Ranch Room, the resort’s restaurant, serves American and western style favorites. Guests enjoy a choice of a hearty a la carte American breakfast menu items that include Linguisa scrambled eggs over a Grilled Portobello Mushroom, savory Huevos Rancheros and the Alisal’s own Buttermilk Pancakes. A lavish Ranch Room breakfast buffet of Eggs Benedict and Corn Beef Hash is also served with freshly squeezed orange juice and homemade baked muffins, pastries and breads.

Dinner is formal (dinner jackets are required for the men - and a great excuse to get gussied up for the girls) and frontier-size portions of juicy barbecued steaks, tender prime rib of beef and the fresh catch of the day including swordfish, John Dory and Seabass are guest favorites. Specialty dishes such as Osso Bucco, Hickory Smoked Briskett and slow roasted Farm Raised Wild Boar are prepared with the freshest ingredients for the guests’ dining pleasure. The Alisal features a Modified American Plan. Menus are rotated seven days a week, year round.

At the historic Adobe Camp, the resort treats guests to a full ranch breakfast including buttermilk flapjacks, scramble eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and more complete with a whimsical performance by Jake Copass, resident wrangler and cowboy poet, accompanied by Dave Stamey, the Alisal’s award-winning singing cowboy on guitar.


Accommodations

Alisal’s 73 guest units are decorated in classic California ranch design and configured as either comfortable studios or spacious one-bedroom suites. Each unit, designed for maximum privacy and comfort, includes a wood-burning fireplace with complimentary firewood; high-beamed ceilings; Western art; refrigerator; coffee maker (coffee and tea supplied in rooms), and filtered water dispenser. To maintain the cozy, quiet atmosphere, there are no in-room televisions or telephones; however, complimentary wireless Internet is available throughout the ranch.


For more info, call (800-4-ALISAL), e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.alisal.com.

Latest News

Sorbet Magazine Celebrates Its September Issue!

Business Showcase Sorbet Mag

Sorbet Magazine Celebrates  Its September Issue!

It’s impossible to say what we love most about our issue release parties, especially the most recent one at V...

The Escher String Quartet Opens Segerstrom Center’s 2018-2019 Chamber Music Series

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

The Escher  String Quartet  Opens  Segerstrom Center’s 2018-2019  Chamber Music Series

Thursday, November 1, 2018 in Samueli Theater Segerstrom Center for the Arts launches its 2018-2019 Chamber Se...

Segerstrom Center Kicks Off Its 2018-2019 Jazz Season With Jazz Master Ahmad Jamal

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom Center Kicks Off Its  2018-2019  Jazz Season  With Jazz Master Ahmad Jamal

Segerstrom Center for the Arts presents Grammy® Award Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Ahmad Jamal for one pe...

Beyond the Books Nadia Milner delivers "Top Notch Services"

Entertainment Jody Robinson

Beyond the Books  Nadia Milner delivers "Top Notch Services"

I remember when one of my college friends was appointed Payroll Specialist for a large company in Pasadena. Whe...

Ready for Open Enrollment?

Health & Wellness Sorbet Mag

Ready for  Open Enrollment?

In a few weeks, you’ll be making important choices about next year’s health plan. As you consider your opti...

Making Educated Choices for Your Loved One’s Care

Education Jody Robinson

Making Educated Choices for Your Loved One’s Care

A Q & A with Derek Mannion, founder of Alliance Eldercare You think it might be time to consider options f...

Lea Michele and Darren Criss Continue LM/DC Tour With North American West Coast Dates

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Lea Michele  and  Darren Criss  Continue LM/DC Tour With North American West Coast Dates

November 2, 2018  in Segerstrom Hall Following the demand of fans and rave reviews, actors and musicians ...

Drug Free, Surgery Free & Needle Free: A New, Proven Treatment to Reverse Erectile Dysfunction

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

Drug Free, Surgery Free & Needle Free:  A New, Proven Treatment to Reverse Erectile Dysfunction

A Q & A with Dr. Michael DeYoung, M.D., LaSara Medical Group Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) often suff...

Pilates and Yoga for the Neck

Health & Wellness Align Pilates Team

Pilates and Yoga for the Neck

There is no shortage of reasons why people suffer from neck pain, but primarily, the root cause is due to impro...

How Can I Tell If I Have Skin Cancer?

Health & Wellness Kristy Fleming, MD

How Can I  Tell If I Have  Skin Cancer?

People of all ages get skin cancer. Checking your skin can help you find skin cancer early when it’s highly t...

Broadway’s Smash Hit Beautiful The Carole King Musical returns to Segerstrom Center for the A…

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Broadway’s Smash Hit Beautiful   The Carole King Musical   returns to  Segerstrom Center for the Arts

October 9 - 14, 2018 Back by popular demand, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical returns to Segerstrom Cente...

The Art of Craft @ The Brewhouse in San Juan Capistrano

Business Showcase Jody Robinson

The Art of Craft @ The Brewhouse in San Juan Capistrano

Let’s play a quick game: I’ll say a word and you write down the first thing that comes to mind. Ready? Beer...

Thinking Inside the MedBox. The New Standard in Medication Management Offers a Better Way to Dispens…

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

Thinking Inside the MedBox. The New Standard in Medication Management Offers a Better Way to Dispense Prescriptions

In a recent conversation with my mother, I discovered something. Something that was a cause for pause as I pond...

Upcoming Events at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Upcoming Events  at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

The Australian Pink Floyd Show September 6, 2018 Segerstrom Hall The 2018 Australian Pink Floyd Show Tour is ...

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces  2018 – 2019  Jazz Series

Ahmad Jamal Quartet and Shahin Novrasli Kenny Barron Quintet • Kurt Elling Christmas Branford Marsalis Quarte...

Compassionate Caregiving: Your Home Care, Inc.

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

Compassionate Caregiving:  Your Home Care, Inc.

In-Home Care and the New! Senior Social Club & Stay Care Center in Laguna Woods Village Over the past deca...

RODAN + FIELDS: Changing Skin. Changing Lives.

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

RODAN + FIELDS:  Changing Skin.  Changing Lives.

Friends are good for a great many things. Laughing with you, getting out of tight spots every once in a while, ...

Get Your Game Together with No Bogeys Golf

Entertainment Ann Laurence

Get Your Game Together with No Bogeys Golf

Everyone knows that you’re not supposed to pick favorites when it comes to family. But let’s be honest, we ...

Medicare: A + B = ? Where does D come in?

Insurance Denice Merrill

Medicare: A + B = ?   Where does D come in?

I’m getting so much information in the mail! What do I need to keep? I am the presenter at the Mission Hospi...

Johnny Mathis “The Voice of Christmas” Returns to Segerstrom Center for the Arts With a Speci…

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Johnny Mathis  “The Voice of Christmas” Returns to  Segerstrom Center for the Arts  With a Special Holiday Concert

The legendary and undisputed “Voice of Christmas,” Johnny Mathis will brighten the holiday season when he r...