17 July 2012

Romantic Santa Barbara Mountain Getaway

My girlfriend Shoree and I recently celebrated our one year anniversary, and being the modern woman that she is, Shoree insisted on taking me on an overnight getaway to celebrate. She told me she'd book a hotel, but that she wanted to keep the exact location a surprise. I figured we would be going to a nice bed and breakfast in Santa Barbara or Solvang, or something else simple and affordable.

The day of our trip finally arrived; I was driving, and Shoree was giving me directions to the hotel. She directly me up Hwy 154, and I thought to myself "Ok, we're going to Solvang." You can imagine my surprise when I was told to turn right up Painted Cave Road, and I realized that Shoree had something much more special in store for me than just a hotel.

After a few miles we turned off Painted Cave Rd onto a private road which narrowed and quickly became quite bumpy. The trees overhead grew thick, giving the feeling of driving through a tunnel, as anticipation grew in my mind about where we were going. We pulled up to an opening in the forest, and Shoree announced "This is Headwaters Ranch, and we will be staying in their guest cabin tonight." My mind was blown! I never expected that we'd be staying in a cabin tucked away in the beautiful Los Padres National Forest.

Headwaters Ranch Guest Cabin

The ranch is owned and occupied by Jim and Cathy who advertise their guest cabin for rent via craigslist and their website. Jim greeted us in the driveway as we pulled up, and directed us to a driveway in front of the guest cabin. He then took us inside and showed us around in what was the cutest cabin I have ever personally seen. This cabin is around 100 years old, and was originally built to house miners working at a near by quarry. Despite it's age, the place was very comfy and welcoming; it was clear that someone had put a lot of love into fixing the place up, and every detail was meticulously attended to, as one would expect from a luxury vacation home.

The patio off the kitchen offers a gas BBQ,  an outdoor
fireplace, and comfy seating to enjoy the view.

View of the ranch property

Guest Cabin Back Deck, off of the living room.

The cabin feels spacious with lots of natural light. The doorway from the patio leads into the beautiful, recently remodeled kitchen. Off the kitchen is the bedroom and bathroom, and on the other side of the bedroom is the living room which has a wood burning stove and giant windows looking out on the creek below.

View from the back deck.

View of the driveway and cabin.

The cabin has beautiful landscaping and is tastefully decorated. I felt right at home, and did not want to leave after our stay!

Wood Stove in the living room. Firewood is provided!

The original entrance door added a very quaint touch.

The oldest portion of the cabin, which today serves
as the master bedroom.

Headwaters Ranch has many miles of hiking trails which guests can use. The terrain is relatively steep, so be sure to bring good hiking shoes, but the views are breathtaking and Jim takes great care of the trails. The cabin seems very remote, but it's less than twenty minutes from Downtown Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley, so there is pleanty to see and do during the day before returning to this lovely hide-a-way at night. The next time you need some time away to relax and take in nature, grab a loved one and head up to Headwaters Ranch (after making a reservation, of course) for a taste of life at a slower pace.

For more info, visit the ranch's website. Here you can read about the ranches history, view more photos, review rates and booking info. Jim and Cathy are old school, however, so to make reservations you will have to give them a call.

Please explore the interactive map of our drive to the ranch. I recorded our path (the brown line) using my handheld GPS receiver.

View Larger Map

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