V6 RANCH – RANCH LIFE (Part 1 of 3)
What a fun and random place to stay! This town is about halfway between LA an the SF Bay Area. Population ranges from either 17 (if you believe the sign on the way into town) to a whopping 34 (if you believe what’s painted on the side of the tank). Either way, this is the definition of small town. For eating, you’ve got one (1!) option – the V6 Café. Though, I will say that is some goooood eats. They’re a working cattle farm so talk about fresh and local. I even bought some meat with me to cook at home; it’s THAT good. There’s essentially three (3) lodging options – standalone Water Tower, standalone former Post Office and the rooms attached to the lodge. We chose the Water Tower and it was a great option for us. If we went back, I think I’d choose one of the rooms attached to the lodge. The 2nd floor is more of a mezzanine so your kiddo (esp. if you have a little one) is not so out of sight. Plus, the lodge is a little closer so you can always go hang out in there (though the lodge is available to everyone, regardless of your lodging choice).
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
- Absolutely do not arrive when it’s late / dark / café is closed. The entire town will be shut down and even though they knew we were coming, I couldn’t find anyone for about twenty (20) minutes. There *are* wild boars (hence fences & gates everywhere to keep them out) so wandering in the dark is not recommended.
- The café hours, though listed, are APPROXIMATIONS. They definitely weren’t open till 9 PM and they didn’t open at 11:30 AM. Roll with it. It’s part of the charm of small towns!
- The road in is a small, windy country road with no lights. You’ll be on this road about ½ an hour. Plan accordingly. The town is about halfway between the 101 and the 5.
- On the way out, you can drive up the hill about fifteen minutes to see the ridgetop view. If you are driving down south on your way out, this is fifteen minutes in the wrong direction.
- Food options are limited. Basically, there’s only the café, though they do sell meat if you wish to grill. The Post Office standalone lodging option has an awesome grill out back. If you are planning on hanging out, bring food with you. There’s a super charming fire pit with metal work detail depicting a cattle drive (see the stills at the end of my video). Bring some hot chocolate, and stuff for smores.
- There is a large gathering space between the Water Tower and the Post Office – perfect for picnics, cheese and wine or enjoying your BBQ. Pack accordingly. You will need the plates, utensils, etc.
- Even though it’s California, it gets cold in the winter…bring layered clothing so you can walk around the ranch in the early mornings and at sunset.
- Bring swimsuits! There is a small hot tub, pool area and ping pong table. The pool is a pretty modest size, perfect for children so you can keep a better eye on them. It gets pretty cold here in the winter (30s/40s) so although the pool is open, I would think hot tubbing is really the only option. Bring your bathrobe to make the trek back to your room!
- Their big event is the Bluegrass Festival which draws about 2,000 people on Mother’s Day. That’s a TON of people for a town that usually has 30-something people. All the lodging is reserved for the bands so camping is the only option. We were planning on going to this because they said it’s super family friendly, but something about 2,000 people camping in a relatively small area unnerved me a bit. I think that’s 2,000 people using the great outdoors as their facilities…hmm. They have some photos here that show some RVs so if you’re planning on RVing it, this looks like a great getaway. Maybe they bring in port-a-potties for us camping in a tent folks, but still. Twenty years ago, I would have been all about this, but at this age, it’s another deal.
- Their other big event is their Rodeo. I thought this sounded like a fun family event, but in the evening there is a fair amount of drinking and debauchery (in a good way) so maybe not the best event for families. When we come back, I think I’ll stick to one of the Cattle Drive weekends (long live City Slickers!) or the photography workshops. They seem like more my speed.
- We came on the last weekend of winter before they shut down to the public. It was a quiet weekend so apart from eating at the lodge,the kiddo playing in the Tree House or the Pirate Ship, swimming and bocce ball, there’s not much to do. Long story short, if you come at a time when there’s no formal activities, 1 or 2 nights seems like plenty.
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