We just came back from our latest visit of a California ranch. As I mentioned earlier, we have been visiting several dude ranches in California over the last few months and we have enjoyed them all. With the weather getting colder, many ranches have closed for the winter, but The Alisal in South California remains open all year. This is where we decided to spend Thanksgiving and we were not disappointed. It was the perfect time to visit the Alisal and we had a wonderful time.
To be honest, I was a little skeptical first. The ranch is very expensive and I was not impressed by the initial contact I had had with them. I was told we had to book rides in advance because space was limited; and the back and forth was quite painful. I thought it was disappointing for such a high-end resort. But I learned later on that they were short-staffed because of Covid, and that horseback riding was not necessarily the primary activity for the resort so they were juggling a lot of priorities.
But once we arrived, everything sent very smoothly. The weather really played in our favor and the rides were amazing. The surroundings are amazing and seeing the Santa Ynez mountains with their fall colors was such a great experience. One morning, we participated in the morning ride to the "adobe" to have breakfast in a grove in the forest. It was a cold and early morning, but it was still worth it. My daughter, advanced rider, was allowed to participate in the loping rides, and she loved it! Outside of riding, we enjoyed the pool, the fun petting zoo, and the evening activities. We also were impressed with the food. The buffets were spectacular and varied. Accommodation was OK, but overall the resort is nice and welcoming.