Yurt Love at Wellspring Ranch in Central California

Genie Davis November 1, 2015 No Comments

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What child would not love a yurt? Or at least the yurts at Wellspring Ranch in the hills high above Central California’s Cayucos beach town.

Wellspring Ranch – photo – Wellspring Ranch

Wellspring Ranch is a beautiful organic farm owned by Jennifer and Richard Arfa, whose loving care and devotion to detail has resulted in one idyllic, pampered, yet rustic resort. The road up from Highway 1 is only partially paved, but worry not, any passenger car will do just fine on the hardpack dirt.

Inside a cozy and plush yurt at Wellspring Ranch – Photo- Jack Burke

ACCOMMODATIONS

The accommodations include a lodge, a converted barn, a sleek silver air stream trailer, and the yurts. Carpeted canvas enclaves, the yurts have a magical, fairy tail quality to them. Possibly best for families, the Jane Suite in the main lodge has two rooms. No matter where you stay, your family will enjoy hammocks, a self-serve yoga studio, the thrill of private outdoor showers (along with private, full indoor bathrooms), graceful trees, and great evenings star gazing.

DINING

Twice a week, the resort serves up delicious tapas at both a screened-in dining area and an outdoor dining spot with heat lamps and paving stones. The kids will love the crisp, house-made tortilla chips, fresh guacamole and salsa, delights like a four-cheese quesadilla or thick, rich posole. After dinner, there’s a fire pit, s’mores are set up and ready to go. There’s nothing better than not having to make the campfire to make the s’mores. Stump seating offers just the right angle to hold skewers of marshmallows and create the perfect outdoor dessert. Breakfasts are offered daily, and while adults may adore the house-made almond milk, or the delicious, organic, local fruit; the kids will go wild for dishes like French Toast with an ‘egg in the hole,’ or cashew nut pancakes with fresh syrup.

Making s’mores – Photo – Wellspring Ranch

RESORT ACTIVITIES

Calories can be burnt off walking the easy-for-all-ages fire road to stellar views of the sea; older kids will enjoy bike rentals along the same road. On the ranch itself, trails criss-cross streams, lead across meadows and up lush green hillside. Or settle in beside the koi pond, where pomegranate trees blossom, and resident cats and dogs offer friendly playtime. The epitome of rustic chic, the tall oaks, rose garden, clusters of lavender, olive trees, comfortable loungers all combine to create a restful, blissful family experience. The family will also love the living room yurt in the center of the compound, with gas fireplace, board games, books, and a skylight that offers a glimpse of the stars and trees. We spent hours on games like Scrabble and Trouble; rain pattering on the yurt’s taut canvas, the cozy fire warming the spot. Kids love that yurts are round – what child wouldn’t love a round house – so be prepared for pleas to make your own abode corner-less when you head home again.

OFF-SITE FUN & DINING

Should you actually leave the property – we found it difficult to tear ourselves away – good side trips include the town of Cayucos, with its flat, broad, long beach and Morro Rock view. If the weather’s warm for sunbathing and sand castles, or warm enough for a walk, along with Cayucos State Beach, there’s Morro Bay and San Simeon State Beach, as well as the golden cliffs and sandy trails of Montana Del Oro State park. If you are driving north, check out the enormous elephant seals at a preserve just north of San Simeon. An easy boardwalk viewing spot above the seal’s favored beach is perfect for small fry. Another worthwhile spot includes the small artist’s enclave of Harmony, once William Randolph Hearst’s dairy farm. The kids will love watching the glass blowers at work here on the weekend, or picking out an inexpensive pottery elephant at the pottery shop. It’s fun to drive into Cambria, north of Cayucos from the ranch via Old Creek Road, a tree-lined, quiet passage.

No visit is complete with a stop for an ice cream cone at Cayucos Candy Counter, the ice cream and candy shop at the base of the pier – which is presently being rebuilt from winter storms. Duckie’s, famous for clam chowder and fish and chips, is a fine stop for lunch, and Ocean Front Pizza’s thin crust offerings are perfect, inexpensive family fare. Casual Skippers has to-die-for onion rings and fries, and soft serve ice cream, too. The kids will enjoy a look at the dolphin statue at the pier, or a quick scramble over not one, but three playgrounds, including one near the pier.

For more information on Wellspring Ranch visit www.wellspringranch.com.

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Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling. www.geniedavis.com

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