Spirits in the Night, or Day if you prefer!

If you’re looking for a spirited adventure this fall but haunted houses and ghost tours aren’t really your thing, consider seeking spirits of a different kind. We’re talking about the kind of spirits you can drink, and you don’t need complicated equipment to find them. Simply check out these distilleries below to find the kinds of spirits that will keep you in good spirits!

Trinity River Distillery, Fort Worth TX:  Housed in an historic landmark dating back to 1913, this distillery uses natural rainwater in their distilling process. Tours are just $10 per person and include samples of the distillery’s products which include Silver Star Vodka, Silver Star Whiskey and Silver Star Texas Honey Liquor. After the tour, enjoy some specialty drinks at the bar like the Silver Stargarita, the Texas Honey Mule, or the Toxic Whiskey. www.trinityriverdistillery.com

(Cozy cabins at Bay Landing are less than 50 miles from the distillery)

Cannon Beach Distillery, Cannon Beach, OR:  The spirits produced here are about as homegrown as you can get. Every liquor produced is done so on site – from fermentation to bottling. Considered an artisanal distillery, the batches are small and not mass produced so a trip to the tasting room is the only way you are likely to taste what they have to offer. Sadly, they are closing up shop within the year, but they are still open and plan to release four whiskeys before year-end. www.cannonbeachdistillery.com

(Cabins and yurts at Pacific City are about an hour from Cannon Beach)

Sound Spirits Distillery, Seattle, WA: Located under the Ballard Bridge in Seattle, Sound Spirits offers tours of the distillery which produces some unique liquor varieties including aquavit and herbal liqueurs, as well as gin and whiskey. www.drinksoundspirits.com

(Cabins and yurts at Tall Chief is about 35 minutes from the distillery)

Lost Spirits Distillery, Los Angeles, CA:  According to reviews, this is more than just a tour and tasting, and is instead akin to an adult version of the tour portrayed in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Tours are $37 per person and reservations are required, but the experience is well worth it. A mix of science and spirits with a special “ride” to reach the tour are all part of the fun, not to mention the whiskey and rum tastings. www.lostspirits.net

Palm Springs Oasis
Colorful cottages at Palm Springs, less than two hours from Lost Spirits Distillery.

Goleta Red Distilling Company, Goleta, CA:  Rum is the spirit of choice here with three different varieties as well as a rum liqueur, but they also have gin and a “Fiesta” Agave Spirit, too! The tasting room is open Wednesdays through Sundays and you can also enjoy cocktails on the patio at this very welcome addition to the fun found in Santa Barbara. www.goletared.com

Rancho Oso
Cozy cabins, teepees, and covered wagons at Rancho Oso are less than 30 miles from Goleta Red Distilling Company.

Florida Distillery Trail, Various Locations:  Follow the Florida Distillery Trail which runs across and around the state offering roughly 15 distilleries to visit. These distilleries offer everything from rum to whiskey to moonshine. Florida Cane Distillery, in Tampa, offers not only tours, but also a Distillery After Dark option where you can mix your own signature cocktail or a 3-day Whiskey Workshop that offers insight to whiskey making (www.floridacane.com). In Sarasota, award-winning Siesta Key rum flows at the Drum Circle Distillery where tours are free and the tasting room is open seven days a week (www.siestakeyrum.com). Down in the Keys, enjoy a free tour at Key West First Legal Rum Distillery (keywestlegalrum.com) or visit (by appointment only) Key West Distilling which offers craft distilled rum, vodka, gin, and whiskey (www.keywestdistilling.com).

Tropical Palms
Colorful cottages from Tropical Palms, about one hour from Loggerhead Distillery along the Florida Distillery Trail near Orlando.

(Petite Retreats locations near the Tampa and Sarasota distilleries include Tropical Palms, Orlando, and Peace River while Sunshine Key is near the Key West locations)

Cider Sippin’ Spots

Cider Sippin’ Spots

When they say everything old is new again, they may very well be talking about cider. Did you know cider was America’s beverage of choice during Colonial times? In fact, the Mayflower possibly carried the first cider press to be used in America aboard the ship that also brought the Pilgrims to our shores. Of course, they couldn’t do anything with it until the apples were harvested from the first apple trees planted here after they first landed. Fast forward some 500 years, and cider is again very popular. To clarify, that’s hard cider versus soft cider. The difference here being that hard cider has an alcohol content while soft cider can be enjoyed by all ages! And, while Americans may not be drinking the 35 gallons of hard cider they apparently averaged annually during Colonial days, they are certainly taking it up once again, as evidenced by the popularity of cideries sprouting up across the country. To produce cider, according to ciderscene.com, there are four steps. Pick, press, punish, and produce. Again, a differentiation is required. The apples used for cider are typically not the same apples that you would eat or cook with. Cider apples tend to be dryer and less sweet. The four-step result is a crisp, refreshing alternative to other spirits, including beer and wine. Here are some cideries to check out this fall season:

Bishop Cider (Dallas, Texas):  Gluten-free and vegan friendly, the people behind Bishop Cider began making their own cider at home because they felt the commercially available cider in Texas was “trash” because it was too sweet. Started in 2014, Bishop Cider Co. now offers a variety of ciders and has a tasting room that typically offers six different ciders on tap. For more information, and to check out the unique Cidercade, visit www.bishopcider.com.

Bay Landing • Bridgeport, TX
Bay Landing • Bridgeport, TX

(Nearest Petite Retreat option is Bay Landing in Bridgeport, about 80 miles away)

Cider Bite (Portland, Oregon): Another cidery that grew from the idea that there was just no place to get good cider, the Cider Bite bills itself as a Cider House and focuses not only on making exceptional cider, but also on the history and production of cider. In fact, founder Jeff Hanneson’s great-grandfather was a cider-maker. Offering 32 ciders on tap, cider flights, and nibbles, the Cider Bite is the place to get your cider cravings satisfied. Visit www.ciderbite.com for more information.

Mt Hood • Welches, OR
Mt Hood • Welches, OR

 (Nearest Petite Retreat option is Mt. Hood in Welches, about 36 miles away)

Santa Barbara Cider Company (Santa Barbara, California): Come visit and see what’s on tap for the day as they offer 12 rotating taps of their delicious cider varieties which may include a coffee-based cider, a tea-infused cider, or one of several fruit ciders. All ciders are gluten-free and the cider makers say the majority of the ingredients they use can be found in your own kitchen cabinets, like cinnamon and brown sugar. They do have a tasting room and food trucks and other food providers are on hand during the weekends for nourishment while enjoying the cider offerings. For more information, visit www.sbcider.com.

Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA
Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA

 (Nearest Petite Retreat option is Rancho Oso, about 30 miles away)

Island Orchard Cider (Ellison Bay, Wisconsin): Visit the Tasting Room and Cider Pub in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin, where you can see the cider making process as well as enjoy the flavors of Island Orchard. Visit www.islandorchardcider.com for more information.

(Nearest Petite Retreat option is Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, about 36 miles away)

Oh, Hello, Ojai!

Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County, CAIf someone was tasked with writing about the Top Ten things to do in Ojai, California, let’s hope they have a diligent (or understanding) editor….because you can’t stop at 10. This beautiful valley city, located about 90 miles north of LA and just 30 miles from Santa Barbara, is a bundle of charm, rolled up in a mix of culture and arts and displayed in a setting so scenic and serene, your Instagram posts will be nonstop!

So, we won’t stop at 10 or 15, but just show you some highlights to send you on your way to discover all there is to see and do in Ojai.

The first thing you will notice is the surrounding countryside. There are citrus groves, vineyards, and the Los Padres National Forest. Filled with wildflowers, wildlife, hiking and biking trails and beaches, Los Padres is a wonderland for wanderers. You can also choose to fish, horseback ride or enjoy a lazy picnic with nature as a side dish!

Enjoy a tour of an olive grove at the Ojai Olive Oil Company (www.ojaioliveoil.com) or sample some of the wines at the various wineries located in and around Ojai (visit www.ojaivisitors.com for a listing of wineries). If your visit to Ojai begins after June 1, definitely stop by Frog Creek Farm (www.frogcreekfarmojai.com) to enjoy the lavender and also mark your calendar for the Ojai Valley Lavender Festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 29, at Libbey Park.

In town, you want to make sure you visit the Ojai Certified Farmers Market for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meats and seafood, honey, jams, soaps, and candles. The Market is open every Sunday, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For a list of fruits and veggies in season, visit www.ojaicertifiedfarmersmarket.com.

Also, you can’t miss Libbey Park, which is located in the center of the town and contains walking paths, a fountain, a bandstand, Libbey Bowl, a renowned concert venue, and of course tennis courts as it plays host annually to the oldest amateur tennis tournament in the US, “the Ojai,” in late April. The park will also host Art in the Park, an annual event since 1977, allowing local artists the opportunity to showcase and sell their work. This year’s event is scheduled for May 25.  Just one week later on June 1, the park hosts the 2019 Ojai Blues Fest, followed by the Ojai Musical Festival, a four-day event featuring classical music that will run June 6-9.

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort, Santa Barbara, CA

There are also plenty of dining options from gourmet to farm-to-table and shopping possibilities include clothing boutiques, antiques, jewelry stores, and trinket shops, art galleries and of course Bart’s Books. Bart’s is the largest independently owned and operated indoor/outdoor bookstore in the US. The store’s collection of more than 1 million books overflows to freestanding bookcases outside the store, which are paid for by customers on the honor system! Inside, visitors will also find rare, first editions and specialty art books.

And, when your perfect day, or days, in Ojai are coming to a close, don’t miss the “pink” sunset where, thanks to a combination of the mountains, the valley, the sun’s location, etc., the sky takes on a pink glow at dusk that can only be described as indescribable!

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort, Santa Barbara, CA

If you want to make your own To-Do in Ojai list, consider a stay at Rancho Oso, in Santa Barbara and book one our unique Petite Retreats. Check out www.PetiteRetreats.com to see what options are available to make your home base while exploring nearby Ojai.

Fall for Santa Barbara

There’s no doubt about it – any time of year is a great time to visit Santa Barbara. Thanks to its mild climate that boasts a steady mid-70s year-round and the constants of the Santa Ynez Mountains as a backdrop, stunning Pacific Ocean views, and the rich history of this charming town, a visit to Santa Barbara is always a good choice.
But come fall, when the summer crowds have gone, Santa Barbara is still a classic beach town with plenty of events dotting the calendar. Book a stay with us at Rancho Oso RV Resort and mark your calendar for these fun-filled fall events.

Rancho Oso RV Resort | Santa Barbara, CA
Rancho Oso RV Resort | Santa Barbara, CA

On Saturday, September 29, Santa Barbara hosts the second annual California Brew & BBQ Festival! This event features over 50 breweries, cideries, and wineries at an oceanfront venue complete with live music and delicious food. BBQ highlights include a BBQ competition and an appearance by World Champion Pitmaster, Doug Scheiding. Admission includes unlimited tastings and a souvenir tasting glass. Designated drivers can obtain reduced admission tickets. Admission is restricted to those 21 years and older. For more information visit californiabrewfestival.com.

Learn all about the history and architecture of Santa Barbara with an easy walking tour. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., you can enjoy a guided tour of the city led by docents of Santa Barbara’s Architectural Foundation. Learn all about the rich architectural history of Santa Barbara and all its amazing architectural detail (think wrought iron, stonework, arched entries and more). Visit afsb.org for more information.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Downtown Santa Barbara. Photo courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara by Blake Bronstad.
Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Downtown Santa Barbara. Photo courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara by Blake Bronstad.

Foodies should make note of two major events happening this fall in Santa Barbara – the Harbor & Seafood Festival, scheduled for October 13, and the Santa Barbara Chowder Festival, set for October 21. The Harbor and Seafood Festival is all things seafood including lobster, oysters, crab, and albacore with a nod to sustainable harvest. Admission is free and in addition to the seafood, there are a variety of entertaining activities for both adults and children. The Chowder Festival is a friendly competition for the bragging rights of the best chowder. Proceeds benefit the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara and event-goers can also enjoy tastings from area wineries, live music, and of course, chowder!

Rancho Oso RV Resort | Santa Barbara, CA
Rancho Oso RV Resort | Santa Barbara, CA

Make Rancho Oso RV Resort your home base as you enjoy America’s Riviera, aka Santa Barbara, and take it one step further by booking one of the resort’s cozy cabins or one-of-a-kind covered wagon. The resort’s location is another plus to a Santa Barbara stay – Rancho Oso is bordered by the Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Ynez River and offers guided horseback riding and hiking adventures onsite.