Cuyama Buckhorn Travel Guide: Hidden Gem North of L.A.

When contemplating a Southern California weekend getaway, you’ve bought 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 drawback with all these locations: Everybody else is aware of about them. However that’s not a problem 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 containers for a weekend getaway. Good meals, high quality wine, and loads of desert attraction—the Buckhorn positively deserves a spot in your hit checklist this 12 months.

The Buckhorn was inbuilt 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 number of instances through the years earlier than the present house owners, two L.A.-based architects, bought the property in March 2018.

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They set about giving the Buckhorn an intensive refresh whereas preserving its historical past as a gathering place within the valley. The end result? 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 area full with olive bushes, a pool desk and bocce ball courtroom, fireplace pits (every visitor will get a s’mores package at check-in), jacuzzi, pool, and sauna.

The Buckhorn has lengthy been a well-liked cease for motorcyclists, automotive golf equipment, and native farmers and ranchers—and that is still true at present. 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’s essential know should you plan a go to.

A room at the Cuyama Buckhorn hotel
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The place to Eat

For high quality 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 contemporary, native elements for a spread of inventive dishes. That includes every little thing from domestically raised eggs to olives grown just some miles down the street, the menu celebrates the abundance of the valley and in addition Central California delicacies, like Santa Maria barbecue. Don’t head dwelling with out making an attempt the unbelievable tri-tip sandwich, which is made with meat smoked over the Buckhorn’s personal crimson 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 exterior 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.

The patio and white chairs at the Cuyama Buckhorn hotel
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Issues to Do

Sagebrush Annie’s

Most wine tastings observe 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 outdated 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 comprised of grapes grown proper on the property.

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Hidden Creek Ranch

Archery is enjoyable. Horseback using is enjoyable. Why not mix them and unleash your internal Mongolian warrior with the horseback archery expertise at Hidden Creek Ranch? Heather Lomax, an skilled horse coach and professional in horseback archery, shall be your information as you be taught the fundamentals of working with a bow, nocking an arrow, hitting a goal—then doing all of it whereas using a horse. Even should you miss your goal, you’ll actually finish the day a greater multitasker. And if you do land a bullseye? You’ll really feel similar to Genghis Khan (for a second).

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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.

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Carrizo Plain Nationwide Monument

Carrizo Plain protects the most important expanse of native grassland in California and is dwelling to the best focus of threatened and endangered wildlife within the state. In case you occur to go to in the course of the spring, that is the place to go for spectacular wildflower viewing—winter rains can create a blanket of wildflowers that covers your entire valley flooring and the encircling hills, too.

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The world across the Buckhorn, with its minimal mild air pollution, is a few of the greatest territory for stargazing in your entire state of California. On a transparent evening, seize your star chart and drive as much as Mt. Pinos, an 8,800-foot peak that provides unimaginable views of the evening sky. (Take a look at this information for recommendations on correct stargazing etiquette.)

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