Alisal Guest Ranch: Sip, Saddle, Spa Package

Some clip-clopping, roping lessons, the Trail Blazer spa treatment, and more luxe-rustic extras await, near Solvang.

THERE'S SOLVANG, with its windmills and butter cookies and æbleskivers and beer gardens, of course, and you likely know it well, if you've spent any time gallivanting around The SYV (all gallivanters, by the way, call the Santa Ynez Valley "The SYV," because it sounds catchy and saves time). But just south of Solvang, or a few minutes away, is another prism in this jewel of an area, one that isn't about windmills and butter cookies but rather ponies and oak-dotted vistas and fishing and archery and all of the old-fashioned (but forever-current) pleasures of a classic dude ranch. It's The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, a sizable, find-your-space property that stretches, in terms of hospitality, back to the 1940s, though its recent history has roots in the 19th century and rancho life. You can feel that time-connectiveness, and while lazy walks help guests get a feel for the resort's layout and luxe demeanor, there are other doings to get done. There's a package that can help cover a lot of ground for the first-time guest, the...

SIP, SADDLE, SPA... package, and its name tells the tale. "Complimentary wine tastings" form the Sip end of things, as does "a bottle of Santa Barbara county wine with dinner" — you are, after all, still living The SYV life — while the Saddle comes along when you head out on a horseback ride and learn to rope (you'll also pick up important tips on horsemanship). The Spa? Count on a Trail Blazer treatment to help you wind it all right down after some scenic clip-cloppery. Other perks on the package, from a picnic lunch box to tennis court fees, help round out a very well-rounded ranch experience. Nope, there are no Solvang-style details, at least the ones we see on a lot of postcards, but this, too, is Solvang, and The SYV, in all of its home-on-the-range-y, hill-tastic, soft-blue-sky'd glory. And if you want a butter cookie on your way out? Well, the windmilliest town in all the land is just a ten-minute toodle up Alisal Road. Details, prices, and must-knows on the Sip, Saddle, Spa may be found here.

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