But Don’t Take Our Word For It: Real Guest Stories

alisal guest ranch jakeWe certainly charm our guests with unique outdoor adventures, fine dining, and endless fun, but these stories are theirs alone. We’re proud to share our guests’ reminiscences with you and invite you to create your own cherished memories on your next visit to Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort.

Thanks for the Great Memories!

We just spent 4 wonderful and memorable days at Alisal. My brother and his family have been coming for the past 6 years and have always told us how great it is. They absolutely love it there and thought that it would be a good idea to get our entire family there as a mini reunion. So with their prodding, we were able to get 21 family members (three generations) together for a fabulous time. Four family members actually travelled all the way from Hawaii to share the experience with us! We had so much for riding horses, visiting the petting zoo, fishing for the first time, golfing, playing flag football with other families there, and of course eating the fine cuisine. I must also admit that the hot chocolate is the best I have ever had!

We enjoyed ourselves so much that we will be coming back next year! Such a wonderful and magical place!

Thanks for the great memories,
Melissa Parker

I Look Forward to Many Return Trips

My trip began with a beautiful drive from Oregon down the mountain through the tall pines that reach up to the heavens and the winding roads through the mountain passes. My soul breathed in the excitement of the adventure with my son. We looked in amazement at the scenery as we passed through each territory and new wilderness.

We drove through the scenic picturesque towns of Santa Ynez and Solvang before arriving at the beautiful Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort. The front desk staff was welcoming, efficient, and kind. They went over the grounds and activities and created a wonderful sense of anticipation for the days to follow. On the first night, we enjoyed a lovely dinner of salmon followed by the famous peanut butter pie. The guests names are listed on the menu. It feels intimate, as if one is attending a family reunion.

Our first full day we took advantage of a leisurely morning with coffee and chocolate milk in the room. We attended an early lunch served by the lovely Maria of homemade tortilla soup for me and peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my son. Of course the crust was cut off and served as triangles, just how he likes it.

As the sun reached noon, it was time for Will’s lesson with one of the ranch’s wranglers. He got paired with Bullwinkle, the 30-year-old horse–perfect for Will’s first experience using reins. Hanna, our wrangler was patient and received a rating from Will after his lesson of “awesome.”

The rest of the afternoon was spent playing at the Alisal pool soaking in the California sun. It was a perfect day.

It was a wonderful first time trip for my son and I. The great blue heron and the nesting bald eagle graced us for a moment with their presence on Lake Alisal. We casted with earthworms along the bending lake reeds. I was excited to catch a few myself, and as our time came to a close, our guide, Mitch let Will to drive the boat a bit around the lake to see the wildlife and practice steering.

I look forward to many return trips to this beautiful guest ranch. You have a great staff and are lucky to have them.

Kindest Regards,
Lisa Hornsby-Daws

We Had Such a Great Family Time

My family and I just returned from an incredible vacation at Alisal. It was my first time there, but my wife came as a young girl with her Mom growing up. We had such a great family time doing so many wonderful things, that I can’t wait to try and come back again. Everything was perfect–from the food to the staff to the rooms and the grounds, it was all so nice. I’m sure you have heard it many times, there’s something special about Alisal and I am just so glad I finally got to experience it after hearing about it for so many years.

I should add one more thing: There was one moment when I was fishing on the dock with my five-year-old son Owen, trying to get that elusive worm on the hook. It was a perfect day and only a few people were on the lake. My son and I looked up and a bald eagle swooped down right in front of us and grabbed a fish right out of the water, then flapped its giant wings, up and away into the trees. It was incredible.

– Nate Kuchera Family


Fantastic Birthday Weekend – We All Want to Come Back!

It NEVER gets old! I want to thank you all for a fantastic birthday weekend with our friends to celebrate. Everything was handled so well in the preparation. The weekend went so smoothly and everyone (especially the birthday boy) really enjoyed themselves, enjoyed the meals and activities and relaxed a lot. Even our small changes were handled very smoothly and I felt on vacation as well, which is a huge gift to me. The lake staff was so nice and helpful too. A few of our friends had been to Alisal many years ago but most had never been. I think a few of them either booked trips back or are looking at dates to book trips because they enjoyed it so much. Thank you so much!

– Susan Kavanaugh

Continue reading But Don’t Take Our Word For It: Real Guest Stories

Traditions at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

alisal guest ranch horseback ridingLet’s face it, in our fast-paced world full of technology and hectic schedules, finding time to create family traditions can be a challenge. That’s where Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort comes in! One thing that sets us apart from other resorts is that we value certain traditions–many which are rooted in decades-old practices. It is these traditions, along with the one-of-a-kind feel of Alisal, that keep our guests coming back year after year.

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Expert Tips on the Do’s & Don’ts for Maximizing Your Alisal River Terrace Event

Alisal River Terrace. Photo by: Kacie Jean Photography

This article originally appeared in a publication that featured local wedding planner expert  and author Kerry Lee Dickey of Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events talking about her top tips for weddings at Alisal River Terrace.  Here is a summary of her “do’s” and “don’ts” to help better-prepare for extra seamless weddings at Alisal River Terrace when you say ” I do”:

Continue reading Expert Tips on the Do’s & Don’ts for Maximizing Your Alisal River Terrace Event

Thinking Ahead: Holiday Private Parties At the Ranch

by Chelsea Elizabeth Photography
Alisal River Terrace by Chelsea Elizabeth Photography

While most folks right now are in the throws of lazy, hot summer days, delicious BBQ, and sipping a lemonade in the shade of a Sycamore by a lazy river, savvy event planners are busy at work thinking ahead to the holiday season and special dinners and parties they need to plan for their company or clients.  They know that prime event days during the holidays get sold out earlier in the year, and when an event is routinely held at the same traditional location annually, it can make it even more challenging to find an alternative date the closer December comes. Continue reading Thinking Ahead: Holiday Private Parties At the Ranch

What is the Difference Between a Wedding at the Ranch vs. Alisal River Terrace?

imageAlisal Guest Ranch and Resort has had their decadent weddings featured in many national publications and highly-regarded wedding blogs.  It has also been the chosen destination wedding spot of many a celebrity over the years.  While there are many locations in Santa Barbara’s wine country that offer gorgeous backdrops for exchanging nuptials, Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort offers something unique:  a variety of location types, exclusivity (more on this in a moment) and the legendary service of a major resort and culinary skills of a world-renowned Executive Chef.  In some cases, Alisal Guest Ranch also offers guests the opportunity to stay at the same location – just steps from the wedding taking place.  Convenience can be such a necessary comfort. Continue reading What is the Difference Between a Wedding at the Ranch vs. Alisal River Terrace?

The Healing Effect of Nature Vacations

boat on waterPlenty has been written about the benefits of taking a vacation/break (even if short): from lower stress and anxiety, less risk of heart disease, the ability to accomplish goals better, and an overall better outlook on life.  Regular guests of Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort know this well, which is why so many return – some a few times a year- to renew and restore.

Continue reading The Healing Effect of Nature Vacations

Real Guest Stories: As Shared By Alisal Guests

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Alisal fans are not shy to share their Alisal Guest Experience, and we couldn’t be more glad!  It is through your eyes that we (and others) get to see what makes Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort truly legendary.  Here are some highlights from some of our fans.  Keep them coming!

Make sure you visit our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages to continue sharing and hashtag #AlisalGuestExperience. Continue reading Real Guest Stories: As Shared By Alisal Guests

The Power of the Night Sky: Top 5 Benefits to Stargazing

Star Gazing Inspiration & Photo from Ben Casnocha

Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is nestled in Santa Barbara’s own wine country:  the Santa Ynez Valley.  One of the benefits of this valley is that it is relatively removed from major city lights and provides the opportunity for beautiful night skies.  The exact positioning of the ranch is tucked away in an area protected by surrounding hills and peace and even greater chances of beautiful star-gazing than in some of the neighboring quiet valley towns.

While star-gazing may be considered by some to be a romantic activity of the past, there are some  benefits to gazing at the heavens and we are proud to say, one of the loveliest – and complimentary – most memorable experiences Alisal guests can have while visiting: Continue reading The Power of the Night Sky: Top 5 Benefits to Stargazing

The Alisal Experience: More Than Just an Overnight Accommodation

12301461_10154357637457137_3362536187649845215_nIf you are looking for a place to “spend the night” while on a road trip, don’t bother with a reservation at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort.  Whoa!  Did we actually suggest that we may not be the place for a potential guest?  Yes, we did.  The reality is this:  if one is looking for a hotel room for a night, Alisal’s rooms (which generally have a 2 night minimum year-round, may not even be available and are often sold-out year round because they are booked for weeks on end for returning guests), may seem outrageously pricey at first glance.  Continue reading The Alisal Experience: More Than Just an Overnight Accommodation

The Art of Mindfulness: Wellness Retreats

Attendees Enjoyed Poolside Lunch between Yoga & Activities | Photo Credit:  Cori Lassahn

It is no secret that businesses and companies seek out Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort to host inspirational planning retreats, reward hard-working employees, or provide team-building retreats to rev up the engines for better productivity and teamwork back at the office.  While the ranch’s staple core activities delight guests from all over: from horseback riding, archery, fishing, hiking, bike riding, tennis, golf, and more, we take pride in customizing a retreat that accomplishes the meeting planner’s goals.  From a ropes course to yoga, to dance fitness classes to a new class we just introduced for a group visiting the ranch:  a Wellness Retreat that included a Mindfulness Class.  This type of class is enjoying increasing popularity in a society that needs a time-out to regroup and re-focus, and the ranch is the perfect setting just for that.

Continue reading The Art of Mindfulness: Wellness Retreats