When I was a kid, I had family who lived in the Monterey area, which meant I spent time there building sandcastles, digging clams, and eating ice-cream on Cannery Row.
Remember the movie Splash? During a tough time in his life, Tom Hanks’s character longs to return to Cape Cod. That’s the same kind of draw that Monterey and Carmel have for me. Whenever I’m down, I want to pack my bags and head to that rugged coast.
I’ve had a mini-vacation planned for a while now. As part of a media tour, Holman Ranch hosted me and four other bloggers, including our guests, for a wonderfully-relaxing stay. The timing couldn’t have worked out any better because my life has been bitter chaos lately. Holman Ranch turned my salty tears into a rainbow of serenity.
Holman Ranch is located in the picturesque town of Carmel Valley, a two-and-a-half hour drive south from San Francisco.
Think of Carmel Valley as the new Sonoma. Wineries span the whole area, but there are numerous tasting rooms within walking distance of each other. You can literally hop from one tasting room to another, have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and not even have to drive.
Holman Ranch is a major business venture comprised of vineyards, olive groves, event space, accommodations, horse stables, and the newly acquired Wills Fargo restaurant. Both the ranch and the restaurant have been open since 1928! Charlie Chaplin frequented the property so often he had his own room. Other celebrity visits included Vincent Price, Clark Gable, and Marlon Brando. Check out this picture of Joan Crawford milking a cow.
Our stay in the hacienda couldn’t have been more relaxing. I swear I could have jumped into the historical pool (first one built in Carmel Valley). And this is the month of December! The weather was gorgeous.
To say that we were wined and dined is an understatement. The winemaker Nick gave us a tour of the vineyards and the wine cave, where we got to taste straight from the barrels. What an amazing experience, especially since these are award-winning wines. Make sure to check out the Holman Ranch tasting room in town.
The highlight for me was dinner at Wills Fargo restaurant, now owned by Holman Ranch. The food was decadent–exactly the way I like it–ending with a molten lava cake. OMG! Plus there was live music. We were boogeying and getting down with the locals. I had such a great time.
I am trying to figure out how to host my own event or family reunion at the property. Given the backdrop of vineyards and rolling hills, the estate is a stunning venue for weddings. While walking around the ranch, I kept envisioning what a beautiful wedding we could have had there. Maybe one day we will renew our vows when Franco is all grown up and running his own startup.