CALIFORNIA CLASSIC: Funny thing about horseback riding on the beach; it is by far and away one of the largest and most prominent of the fabled California dream-things. You know what we mean when we say "California dream-thing." A dream-thing is that ideal or perfect picture that a person has about the state; it can be an activity or a place. It can also be something you must do or enjoy at least once, a bucket-lister if you will (rollerblading at Venice Beach is another one, as is enjoying a dry martini at the Top of the Mark). But, anecdotally, we suspect that horseback riding along the Pacific shore is something a lot of people put off or never get around to, even though they'd love to give it a go. We're going to recommend that you stop procrastinating and saddle up, say, at Ricochet Ridge Ranch, which is on the Redwood Coast.
WATER TO REDWOODS: There are many fine places up and down the Golden State in which one can saddle up and ride, but Ricochet Ridge has the benefit of being redwoods-adjacent, meaning you can walk your maned beauty next to the Pacific and next to the tallest living things on earth, all in a single vacation. Ricochet Ridge just posted its 2012 schedule, so we're giving a shout about it here. Summer Coastal Cool-Off Days in late August? Spring Wildflower Extravaganza in May? Yes and yes. Lari Shea -- pronounce her name "Larry" -- is the charming proprietress. You want a charming proprietress leading you through the foam via magnificent ponies, yes? We do. And we want to be in Mendo this instant, thinking ocean-stretching thoughts while atop some pretty steed. Off to daydream now.