This summer has turned out to be quite a special one for us, with memories fresh on our minds from camping at Mendocino Magic, and Oz Farm for Hipcamp’s “Under the Stars.” We were still buzzing with excitement and since summer is not quite over yet we decided to visit another one of Hipcamp’s Land Share Properties.
“Rancho Santa Rita” is the name, a working farm tucked away at the edge of the wilderness in Santa Barbara’s beautiful wine country. With a tranquil two and a half hour drive from Los Angeles, you will be there before you can finish your Venti double shot caramel frappuccino.
We arrived at the ranch just before noon and received a warm welcome by two beautiful human beings, Nathanael and Rebekka. Husband and wife who along with their kids and farm dog named sugar, live and work at the ranch.
A quick rundown and tour of the ranch and we were off, free to roam the property. This place is beautiful but made even more beautiful by the people and farm animals that live there; we fell in love and instantly felt at home.
You’re quickly transported to a simpler time, with a multitude of small delights, oak covered hills, trails in all directions, with cows and goats roaming free throughout the ranch.
“Just follow the dirt road” Rebekka said, “It is beautiful up there.” With boots laced up, a pair of peaches and water in our pack, we began our ascent up the hill along the main road. It is an easy climb up, with views of the neighboring farms and hills that surround them. On clear summer days like this one, if high enough, the views extend out to the Pacific Ocean.
A tree provided shade for a quick pause, a few minutes of reflection and silence. Two peaches later and we made our way back down.
At the bottom, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and roosters are just a few of the beautiful faces you will see. The goats are ready to say hello and eager to have their portrait taken. Sticking their heads through the fence, they enjoyed nothing more than having their head scratched.
There is much to be done, and the owners encourage to take part in a few of the daily task that keep the farm running, but we decided on a more relaxed approach and spent the afternoon climbing trees, rope swinging and lounging on a hammock we strapped to a tree.
As evening drew near, we set camp at the edge of the property overlooking the ranch.
Before the sun drifted behind the hillside, we quickly converted our vehicle into a small kitchen. Within a few minutes we grilled a few franks, sliced some onions and heated a cup of chili, and filled our bellies with savory chili dogs.
Mornings begin pretty early for me. Before the sun can shine thru the morning fog, a freshly brewed cup of coffee is just what my belly needs to start the day.
Before heading out, Nate recommended visiting a few of the neighboring farms or a quick drive to the beach. If we were hungry he recommended driving out to Solvang for lunch at “Bacon & Brine.”We took his advice and did just that.
We left Rancho Santa Rita with two bags of fresh almonds from Nathanael farm, big smiles on our faces and a deeper appreciation for a simpler way of living.
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