Tag Archives: what to do at alisal

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

The Alisal Experience | Horseback Riding

alisal guest ranch horseback ridingTake a Ride Through the Heart of California

Explore Alisal from an unforgettable vantage point. Ride horses through canyons, shaded hillsides, past grazing cattle and babbling brooks. Our string of 100 horses can accommodate first-time to advanced riders. Small groups are provided personal attention by our experienced wranglers. See below for the variety of rides we offer. Continue reading The Alisal Experience | Horseback Riding

Meet Alisal Staff: Yoga Instructor Cori Lassahn

View More: http://maryjaneweddings.pass.us/vineyard-yoga
Photo by Mary Jane Photography

Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort‘s legendary reputation is largely based on the “family” of dedicated employees serving the guests and making sure that all guests receive the complete Alisal Guest Experience.  While there are so many activities from which to choose and many guests opt for outdoor activities such as horseback riding, tennis, golf, archery, fishing and more, there is another option that is complementary to every stay and activity at the ranch:  yoga.  Alisal Yoga instructor Cori Lassahn brings her passion, experience and love of yoga to the ranch and welcomes all levels.  Her best advice for newcomers to yoga?  Read on.  We think you will enjoy learning more about Ms. Lassahn and perhaps even want to take one of her classes on your next visit to Alisal.

How long have you lived in the Santa Ynez Valley and what do you love about it?
I moved to the Santa Ynez Valley in 2004, so it’s been ten, almost eleven years. I love the wide-open spaces, the majesty of the oak trees, and not having traffic to contend with. What always surprises me is going about the most mundane errand but having my breath taken away, for example, by the golden hue of vineyards in the fall. Beyond all that though, what I really love about living here is the people and sense of community. Small-town values are still alive and well here.

Where have you traveled to that you simply must return to or been to and never want to go back (and why)?
Italy and Costa Rica are two countries that I really want to experience a second time. In college, I spent a month in Italy savoring the gastronomical delights, expanding my art history knowledge, and getting lost in cobblestone alleys . And in my mid-20’s I spent a month in Costa Rica getting my yoga teaching certification. I’d love to go back with my husband and kids so they can fall in love with the howler monkeys, warm water surf, and laid-back lifestyle.

Where did you live prior to Santa Ynez Valley ?
I was born and raised right up the coast in San Luis Obispo, but went to college near San Francisco. Once I graduated, I worked in corporate events and public relations in San Francisco where I planned everything from sophisticated million dollar affairs to strategic press conferences in City Hall. I would walk to work downtown every day from my North Beach neighborhood. I explored every nook and cranny of that city on foot. That’s one thing I miss about living in San Francisco, is being able to walk everywhere. It’s slows you down and asks you to pay attention to things you miss when you’re in a car.

View More: http://maryjaneweddings.pass.us/vineyard-yoga
Photo by Mary Jane Photography

How did you come into Yoga?
I took my first yoga class at a Bally’s Fitness in San Francisco in 1999. A friend took me to a yoga class there after work one night. I floated out of that class more relaxed than I’d been in months. I was hooked. It was a great way to cope with the stress of an intense corporate job. So I continued to take yoga classes at the gym and I would also follow along with VHS tapes at home. After a few years of regular practice, I wanted to take my yoga practice to the next level and looked in getting certified. That’s when I found the yoga school in Costa Rica.

What is one of the biggest myths about Yoga that you would like to debunk?
That you need to be flexible to do it! No one starts out that way. That’s the benefit you get from doing it regularly. The other myth I’d like to debunk is that it’s all just a physical practice. The postures in yoga are just the jumping off point. Yoga includes breath work training, meditation, focusing of the mind, and more. It’s an all-encompassing practice that will (hopefully) leave you feeling physically challenged, mentally calm, and spiritually connected.

What advice do you have for first timers who may be hesitant to try yoga?
Start with a beginner class and work your way up from there. And not all yoga classes are the same. Explore different styles and teachers. There really is a yoga class for every type of person, so it may take a while to find what works best for you.

What do you do when you are not teaching Yoga at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort?
When I’m not teaching at the Alisal, I’m teaching weekly yoga classes at Bloom Yoga in Solvang and the YMCA in Santa Ynez. I’m also teaching monthly vineyard yoga classes at area wineries in my new series called Vineyard Yoga SYV.  It’s a unique concept of taking yoga in the beautiful setting of the wineries and vineyards in our area.  The yoga is what I consider my “fun job” and when I’m not teaching classes, I’m busy with my event planning company Avante Events .  I’ve owned Avante Events for the last ten years planning mostly weddings in the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara.  And when I’m not working, I relish time with my husband and two kids hiking Grass Mountain, climbing around the tide pools at Gaviota beach, or camping in Big Sur.

Cori IMG_1939
Photo by Mary Jane Photography

What inspires you most in life?
Nature. The hot-pink magenta of the constantly-in-bloom bougainvillea bush. The way the fog curls around the mountains in the morning. The sound of a creek moving among rocks. The smell of the forest floor after a rain. I get uncomfortable if I’m away from nature for too long. It’s easy nowadays to find yourself surrounded by walls, screens, and artificial light all day, so I make a point of getting out into the wide open spaces to let my mind and body go wild and free.

What is your favorite food?
Ohh, this is a good one because I love to cook and I love to eat. Locally, my favorite foods are the pizzas at Industrial Eats in Buellton (better than Italy!), the veggie tacos at El Sitio (also in Buellton), and any of the homemade dishes from the deli case at New Frontiers natural foods (in Solvang). I also love making the ten-minute trek up the freeway to Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos. Their food is cooked with love and you can taste in their hyper-seasonal menus.

Alisal Traditions

alisal guest ranch jakeIn a fast-paced world full of technology and hectic schedules, finding time to create family traditions can be a challenge. Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort provides a legacy-rich platform of helping to build family memories steeped in tradition that lasts for generations.  Alisal stands out because their traditions 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.

What exactly are the traditions that Alisal holds so dear as part of their legacy?   There are many.  Some of most famous traditions include one of Continue reading Alisal Traditions