Living the ‘Western’ Life at Holman Ranch!
Nestled high in The Carmel Valley, 20 minutes from Carmel by-the-Sea, lays over 400 acres of hiking trails, horse stables, vineyards, a wine tasting room, olive groves, hotel rooms and a land chock full of history. Welcome, my friends, to Holman Ranch!
Prior to my visit (which is definitely the first of many), I was unaware Holman Ranch is truly a one of a kind, unique visit and a true treat to have the chance to stay overnight. Instead of being a traditional bed and breakfast with a ranch motif, Holman reserves its majestic, rural, ‘back in the saddle” style accommodations to their Wine Club members, members of the media and events where they often rent out all the rooms and banquet hall for a wedding, or family reunion. From their web-site:
“In 1928, a San Francisco businessman, Gordon Armsby, was attracted to the rich farmland and leisurely pace of Carmel Valley, and purchased 600 acres in the Los Laureles area of the Valley, including what would be Holman Ranch.
Armsby hired Clarence Tantau (of Del Monte Hotel fame) to design the home that would reside on his new property. Tantau and Armsby chose a classic Spanish-style hacienda, which proffered impressive stone walls—all built from local Carmel stone. They installed handmade Mexican terracotta roofing and hand-carved oak-beamed ceilings. Nestled in a stand of mature oaks, nicknamed “Casa Escondida”, or “Hidden House”, the estate served as an exclusive hideaway for many Hollywood celebrities including Charlie Chaplin and Theda Bara.
In the 1940s, financial troubles hit Armsby, forcing him to sell his Carmel Valley property. Clarence Holman, the eldest son of the Holman’s Department Store (in Pacific Grove) family purchased the ranch and transformed it into Holman’s Guest Ranch.”
Holman Ranch has had 4 owners in total, with each family bringing their own, custom flare to the ranch while able to retain its old, rustic charm.
After you check in inside their tasting room (about 3 minutes down the road), you will head on up to find a group of gorgeous rooms that will transform you back to The West; Our room had an awesome “Back in the Saddle” Gene Autry poster, while our bed was dressed with pillows in suede cases.
I was delighted for our evening tour of the property with Holman Ranch owner, Nick Elliott. Nick’s family owns the ranch and its clear to see how devoted the entire family and team are to making your trip up to The Carmel Valley a most memorable experience.
As they’re in the middle of remodeling their beloved and local favorite, Wills Fargo Steakhouse, that did not stop Nick and his wife, Hunter, to ensuring their media group of writers like myself not get a scrumptious dinner….complete with plenty of what they do best: Wine!
With their .5 Brix flowing, the 2014 Pinot Gris was a true winner. It paired perfectly with their mouth-watering catered food from local favorite, Wild Thyme, which included a baby greens salad with goat cheese, nuts and cranberries and the main entrée: their polenta lasagna. The flavors and strong flower-y, bright notes to the dry Pinot Gris went expertly well with the mellow cheese and spinach loaded into the polenta.
Then, it was announced what Wild Thyme had brought dessert: A flour-less chocolate cake! Extremely dense (as many flour-less chocolates are), I opted to try out a .5 Brix Cabernet with this rich dish. Luckily, as a bolder red, it actually felt like I was enjoying a strong, great cup of coffee with my cake. Bring on the bold, no?
After dinner, Mike and I were ready to hit up a must at Holman: The game room! Also where they host their morning breakfasts, the game room stays open 24 hours for their guests enjoyment. We met up with another great writing couple from LA and played a few rounds of pool and darts while sipping more of that fabulous Pinot Gris. It really IS the life when staying at Holman Ranch!
In the morning, their continental breakfast featured an array of pastries, muffins as well as plenty of fruit and my new favorite, Larabars, along with Keurig coffee. Apple pie Larabar, great organic French Roast coffee, and hundreds of acres to explore? Bring it on.
With a 12pm check out, Mike and I packed up the car to exit our room, but, at Nick and Hunter’s urging, we stuck around a bit to pet the horses and take a gorgeous hike up to the top of one of the mountains that over looks Holman’s vineyards. Hunter told us of 3 great trails. Reason enough we’ll be back.
If you’re in search of a gorgeous wine valley vineyard for your wedding, business trip or maybe somewhere to truly get away from it to revisit with your family at a reunion, Holman Ranch is perfect and diverse for all ages.
Learn more HERE and make sure to tell them Along Comes Mary sent you! xo
(*Disclosure: I was invited on a media trip to experience Holman Ranch. All opinions are my own and a huge thanks to Nick and family for hosting us!)