Women’s retreat features female artisans, chefs, cowgirls
Following the event’s overwhelming success last fall, Alisal Ranch is bringing back its “WILDWONDER” retreat experience for women from Sunday through March 22.
The ranch in Solvang invites guests to embrace the spirit of the women of the Wild West, who are unafraid to try something new and explore uncharted territory.
Cultivating a community of inspiring individuals, “WILDWONDER” celebrates the modern woman by learning from leading lady pioneers who tell their stories and share their skills with guests.
The all-inclusive experience features a multi-day itinerary of activities and events with female artisans, chefs, winemakers, cowgirls, wellness leaders and more as guests make new connections and participate in experiences that spark self-discovery and growth.
In addition to the return of cooking demonstrations, line dancing lessons, intention setting, yoga and morning meditation walks, new programming for this year includes a coffee workshop, plant walk and a photography workshop.
Guests will also get to enjoy Alisal Ranch’s signature Breakfast Ride, which takes guests through the rolling hills of the property via horseback or hayride to a historic adobe where an al fresco, chef-prepared breakfast awaits.
Leading the various activities are:
— Elizabeth Poett, rancher and chef: Raised on her family’s 14,000-acre ranch on Santa Barbara’s Central Coast, Ms. Poett is a seventh-generation cattle rancher and the chef behind The Ranch Table, where she hosts cooking classes, special meals and private events at Rancho San Julian’s historic adobe. She also hosts “Ranch to Table” on Magnolia Network, on which she shares what ranch life is all about as well as flavorful recipes that are easy to make at home.
— Darcy Hemley-Casucci, photographer: Ms. Hemley-Casucci is a celebrated portraiture who creates an instant interest in her subjects through her use of light and intimate space. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, W, The New York Times, Dwell, Sunday Telegraph, GQ and more.
— Carrington Garland, actress and winemaker: A Santa Ynez resident, Ms. Carrington has always had a fascination with the West, and a few years ago, she dove into Western horseback riding. In addition to trail riding, cattle drives and team penning, Ms. Carrington also honors her family’s history by winemaking, working with local winemaker Fidencio Flores on the Sky Ranch Rose, her Santa Ynez property that houses a barn, a pasture for horses and a vineyard.
— Jeanne Kelley, culinary educator: Award-winning, six-time cookbook author Ms. Kelley is also a food writer and food stylist, who was on staff at Bon Appetit magazine for 20 years. She is an edible garden expert who specializes in seasonal and sustainable cooking.
— Tara Gomez and Mireia Taribo, Camins 2 Dreams Wine: Recognized as the first Native American winemaker in the country, Ms. Gomez brings a unique perspective to her winemaking style with a focus on minimum intervention, natural winemaking. She and her wife, Ms. Taribo, founded Camins 2 Dreams Wine. They source fruit exclusively from vineyards in Santa Rita Hills, and they work exclusively with organic, biodynamic, and SIP Certified vineyards. Ms. Gomez was also recently recognized as Tara’s VinePair’s “2021 Winemaker of the Year” and The Hue Society’s “2022 Winemaker of the Year.”
— Hayley Firestone, Zaca Coffee: A Santa Ynez local of the Firestone Vineyard, Ms. Firestone and Dennis Patrick started Zaca Coffee in 2020 as a result of a morning ritual during the pandemic. Today, they manage their 1,600-acre cattle ranch, where they raise cattle, llamas and alpacas and host special events. Together they run the growing coffee business, supplying retail and wholesale coffee as well as canned cold brew to restaurants, hotels, markets and coffee shops throughout the Central Coast.
— Sasha Emoniee, herbalist, cook, earth tender and artist: Ms. Emoniee spends her days facilitating full sensory herbal food experiences, creating a native and medicinal garden in Los Angeles, leading plant walks, creating herbal remedies for Commune Apothecary, writing seasonal recipe books and practicing living in the flow of earth’s rhythms.
— Jill Thiry, wellness leader: As a self-proclaimed “student of change,” Ms. Thiry is the founder of Club Change, a program during which participants support each other in making the necessary choices to enhance their bodies, minds, spirits and communities. When not leading Club Change Zoom events, she guides guests at Rancho La Puerta through the docent program and teaches chant, swimming, hiking pole use and intention setting and practicing.
— Stephanie Mutz, Sea Stephanie Fish: A curator of unique raw bar experiences, Sea Stephanie Fish sells live Santa Barbara sea urchins and other fresh, sustainable seafood directly to the consumer and to premier restaurants along the West Coast and New York City.
— Akasha Richmond, AKASHA: Akasha Richmond settled into the life of a chef quite by accident and has flourished in this role to become one of Los Angeles’s celebrated culinary names. She started her career as a private chef and caterer and eventually opened AKASHA in 2008. It is her first restaurant venture with husband Alan Schulman, whose menu reflects her love of global flavors. She has since created and led small culinary and cultural tours of India and Italy, curating unique itineraries for the bespoke traveler. Akasha is inspired by world cuisine and has traveled to India, Southeast Asia, North Africa, Italy, Australia, Eastern and Western Europe and Mexico.
— Janelle Norman, Cailloux Cheese Shop: Business owner and cheesemonger Ms. Norman followed her passion for cheese, wine, and charcuterie to own her own shop in Solvang. Cailloux, which is French for “pepple,” is an ode to Ms. Norman’s love for rocks, pebbles and all things terroir, which is also exemplified by her degree in geology.
With prices starting at $820/night for double occupancy, “WILDWONDER” room bookings include Western-themed accommodations, all meals, all non-alcoholic beverages and an extensive list of alcoholic beverages, one horseback ride, all scheduled group event activities, an extensive event swag bag and a Lovely Bird hat with custom hat band.
“WILDWONDER” is set for Sunday through March 22 at Alisal Ranch, 1054 Alisal Road, Solvang.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more about Alisal Ranch, go to alisalranch.com.