When contemplating a Southern California weekend getaway, you’ve received loads of choices to select from. A weekend by the pool in Palm Springs. Hopping a ferry to Catalina Island. Exploring the desert in Joshua Tree. Cruising alongside the coast to sip wine in Santa Barbara. There’s only one downside with all these locations: Everybody else is aware of about them. However that’s not a difficulty at Cuyama Buckhorn, a lately renovated Fifties motel tucked away in rural Cuyama Valley, about two and half hours north of Los Angeles. If spending an evening in a decades-old motel surrounded by carrot fields sounds just like the setup to a horror movie, don’t fear: This place checks all of the bins for a weekend getaway. Good meals, nice wine, and loads of desert allure—the Buckhorn undoubtedly deserves a spot in your hit record this 12 months.
The Buckhorn was in-built 1952 as a motel, located in New Cuyama, a city established within the Fifties after the invention of oil within the valley. It modified palms a couple of occasions through the years earlier than the present homeowners, two L.A.-based architects, bought the property in March 2018.
They set about giving the Buckhorn a radical refresh whereas preserving its historical past as a gathering place within the valley. The outcome? A 21-room boutique lodge with a farm-to-table restaurant, espresso store, and bar serving up craft cocktails for locals and guests alike. The sprawling car parking zone has been reborn as an inviting outside house full with olive timber, a pool desk and bocce ball courtroom, hearth pits (every visitor will get a s’mores equipment at check-in), jacuzzi, pool, and sauna.
The Buckhorn has lengthy been a preferred cease for motorcyclists, automotive golf equipment, and native farmers and ranchers—and that continues to be true in the present day. From the two-lane freeway that runs by city, you’ll first discover the lodge’s huge signal (now restored to its midcentury glory) and, as you get nearer, you’ll discover classic automobiles mingling with bikes and farm vehicles parked out entrance.
The valley is ringed by mountains, surrounded by miles of mountaineering and mountain biking trails. It’s additionally a stellar place for stargazing. However that’s only a sampling. Right here’s what it is advisable to know if you happen to plan a go to.
The place to Eat
For nice eating, the Buckhorn is just about the one recreation on the town, although that hardly looks like a compromise. The kitchen (helmed by chef Daniel Horn) has constructed a community of relationships with surrounding farms to supply recent, native substances for a spread of artistic dishes. That includes every thing from domestically raised eggs to olives grown only a few miles down the highway, the menu celebrates the abundance of the valley and likewise Central California delicacies, like Santa Maria barbecue. Don’t head dwelling with out attempting the incredible tri-tip sandwich, which is made with meat smoked over the Buckhorn’s personal purple oak grill.
The bar is one other spotlight. The menu options scrumptious cocktails, wines from the valley’s vineyards, and craft beers. The decor leans into the cowboy theme: You’ll be joined by a number of mounted bucks gazing out from the wall. If there’s daylight left, seize a drink and head outdoors to shoot some pool because the solar drops behind the San Rafael Mountains. It positive beats a night spent in a darkish, dusty dive bar.
Issues to Do
Most wine tastings comply with the same format: Present up at a stylish storefront or patio, get some information on every pour from the sommelier, sip, and transfer on. Sagebrush Annie’s is a markedly completely different expertise. The tasting room is a clapboard storefront that appears straight out of an previous Western, and the proprietor is real-life cowboy Larry Hogan, who labored within the cattle business earlier than beginning the vineyard along with his spouse, Karina. Sit down and he’ll regale you with tales whilst you sip award-winning reds constructed from grapes grown proper on the property.
Hidden Creek Ranch
Archery is enjoyable. Horseback driving is enjoyable. Why not mix them and unleash your interior Mongolian warrior with the horseback archery expertise at Hidden Creek Ranch? Heather Lomax, an skilled horse coach and knowledgeable in horseback archery, will likely be your information as you study the fundamentals of working with a bow, nocking an arrow, hitting a goal—then doing all of it whereas driving a horse. Even if you happen to miss your goal, you’ll actually finish the day a greater multitasker. And while you do land a bullseye? You’ll really feel similar to Genghis Khan (for a second).
Los Padres Nationwide Forest
The Cuyama Valley is surrounded by spectacular public lands and wilderness areas, together with the Los Padres Nationwide Forest. There are miles of mountaineering and mountain biking trails to discover—hike the McPherson Path for beautiful views of the valley and head over to McGill Path for a style of the realm’s twisty, technical mountain biking.
Carrizo Plain protects the biggest expanse of native grassland in California and is dwelling to the best focus of threatened and endangered wildlife within the state. In the event you occur to go to through the spring, that is the place to go for spectacular wildflower viewing—winter rains can create a blanket of wildflowers that covers the whole valley flooring and the encompassing hills, too.
The world across the Buckhorn, with its minimal mild air pollution, is among the finest territory for stargazing in the whole state of California. On a transparent night time, seize your star chart and drive as much as Mt. Pinos, an 8,800-foot peak that gives unimaginable views of the night time sky. (Try this information for tips about correct stargazing etiquette.)
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