From the moment you drive through the gates of Holman Ranch, you have entered a world apart, and a simpler, more gracious century. Reminders of the ranches' historic roots as an escape for Hollywood dignitaries await at every turn as you wend your way to the gorgeous stone hacienda, hewn from Carmel stone and roofed with handmade terracotta tile. Horses swish their tails in the comfort of their stalls, no longer called upon to haul carriages of guests up the hill to the gardens and lawn overlooking the Carmel Valley wilderness to the south and west. Behind you, towering golden hills rise up to catch the sun, now laced with vineyards and estates. Hillsides are browsed by cattle in the tall grass, and hawks patrol the azure skies. All around you, the Holman estate vineyards ring the native, drought-resistant plantings that form a floral boundary to the event site, anchored by a set of steps that create the perfect platform for a wedding ceremony. Roses abound and tall white poppies create a joyous accompaniment to the lavender-scented breezes that rustle the ancient oak trees. Play bocce on the lawn, or sit on the porch of one of the 10 well equipped, western-themed lodging units that beckon you to relax and enjoy the tranquil setting. In room spa treatments are available, as are custom activities like horseback trail riding, skeet shooting, falconing and archery. There's a gorgeous old pool and fitness center, and you can hike through the vineyards and hills to your heart's content.
All the romantic cowboy era furnishings and decor are in keeping with the old rancho theme of Holman Ranch, and encourage restful reflection. Time seems to stand still here in the land of blonde grass and wizened old oaks: it looks much the same as it did in the 19th century when the 400 acre property was secularized as part of Mexican land grants. You can't help but feeling a connection to history as you sit out under the sumptuous stars, listening to the chorus of tree frogs while you roast marshmallows in the horseshoe-topped fire pit to make s'mores. You'll sleep deeply in the lush linens, while you dream of another time and place. And thankfully, when you awake, you will still be there, watching the sun crest over the same ancient fog-touched hills as it has done for centuries.