The brochure perfectly describes it. Ocean sunsets, sheep filled pastures, rocking chairs and award winning grounds. Piles of pillows and a cozy fire. Serenity and Relaxation.
On my side trip to Carmel I was taken to the charmingly historic Mission Ranch, one of the most spectacular spots on the Monterey Peninsula. It is a sight to behold with meadows stretching to the south which join the wetlands and Carmel River Beach. The exquisite views are unrivaled. Point Lobos, a scenic coastal natural reserve featuring a variety of sea life, wildlife, hiking trails and a whaling museum can be seen in the distance across the bay. Mission ranch is a place unto itself but close enough to the town of Carmel-by-the sea. You might just want to stay put because there’s also a great restaurant with a view and nightly live piano bar. On Sundays their live jazz brunch was voted “best brunch” by local newspapers.
A little history:
In the 1850’s, the property became one of the first of the early California dairies. The creamery, which supplied the county with cheese and butter, now houses the restaurant. The barns were used for hay and milking. The ranch has had some 17 owners.
The Ranch now encompasses 22 acres. Originally it consisted of 160 acres and was owned by Juan Romero, a Native American who is believed to have lived in the village next to the Carmel Mission. In 1852 he deeded the property to William Curtis, a Monterey storekeeper, for $300. The Martin family, who owned the Ranch for 60 years, also farmed potatoes for the Sierra gold miners.
The Ranch operated as a private club, an officers’ club for the Army and Navy during World War II. At that time the windows were occasionally blackened against a possible Japanese landing. It had a rollicking reputation, with dance bands and a lively bar scene.
In 1986 Clint Eastwood bought the Ranch, rescuing the property from an impending fate as a condominium development. Once again, Dirty Harry to the rescue! He sought out the best craftsmen for renovation, who have replicated moldings, door frames and hardware to match the style of the original buildings. Each structure reflects a different architectural period: from the 1950’s feel of the restaurant and dance barn, to the century old Martin farmhouse.
The one time Bunkhouse is the oldest structure on the Ranch. It’s nestled among historic cypress and eucalyptus trees, as well as newly planted gardens, which adorn the entire Ranch.
Sure beats the old bar he used to own in Carmel “Hog’s Breath Inn” although I’m told the artichoke soup is to die for.
Can’t wait to go back.