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“The Dusty Cowbelles Love Highland Ranch!!!”
Review of Blackbird Farm

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Blackbird Farm
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed July 5, 2011

For several years now a group of women friends, A.K.A. "The Dusty Cowbelles", have indulged our love of horses with an adventurous get together. Each adventure has been unique, but the Highland Ranch stands out as superb on on every level. The location and grounds are awesome, with seemingly endless miles of trails, well cared for horses and very capable guides that will tailor a ride according to experience levels, a rare treat!

The accommodations are very comfy, the food and wine was excellent and the hospitality was genuine and heartfelt! There is a great variety in activities and no shortage of places to relax either and being "dog friendly" the whole family can enjoy!
Absolutely loved this adventure!

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank mulegemama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 - 14 of 47 reviews

Reviewed May 23, 2011

If you like to feel special and taken care of in the great and beautiful outdoors, you need to look no further than the Highland Ranch in Philo,CA. The guests are number one and the hospitality is beyond belief.
There is no end to activities that are at your fingertips and there is no end to the non-activity.

It is all about you and whatever you want.

The guests and their wants are what matters.

Great food too!

It is a perfect 10 in my book and I am picky.

Thank you Highland Ranch for making my stay so warm and comforting.

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  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled on business
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4  Thank pattimchughrames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2010

Spent a June weekend here with my hubby, toddler (almost 3), and my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (well behaved dogs allowed). I first visited in the late 90's (I had purchased 4 nights as part of a silent auction donation for charity) and stayed one other time about five years ago. Wish it hadn't been so long. Why? Well, if you like friendly, down to earth people, good food, horseback riding, beautiful scenery and interaction with a small set of interesting hosts and guests (one couple was from Shanghai, the other from LA), the Highland Ranch is the place for you. The cabins are modest (yes, updating would be nice) but quite roomy and appropriately rustic. Our cabin had two queen beds and a window view to one pasture where horse Thunder grazed, which was thrilling for our son and more than made up for the lack of a "Westin Heavenly Bed". The setting of the ranch is remote - you take a 2 mile drive through hills to arrive at the ranch. However, if you are there longer than a weekend, you might consider an excursion to the cute hamlets of Philo or Boonville or visit the surrounding fantastic wineries such as Breggo or Husch. We so enjoyed the long horseback rides, and we appreciated our gracious hosts arranging for us to have a wonderful sitter who walked/played with our son for a couple of hours so we could enjoy a scenic ride together. Our son can't stop talking about his "pony rides" and I can't stop thinking about the all the smiles (even dog smiles).

And, as I saw a few comments on pricing - prospective guests might want to consider the costs associated with hiring a staff to care and maintain a ranch (grounds, dining, cabins) and full stable . This isn't a B & B nor is it a hotel nor a corporate hotel backed enterprise. It is a unique place in the world where time perhaps stands still but all the essentials of hospitality are always in place. This is a family run operation that was developed because one special man, the owner, wanted to retire and have the world come to his guest ranch. I count myself lucky to have found it as I'm sure there aren't many such places. I'm currently putting together our next trip with various friends in a few months. Considering all the "priceless" aspects of the vacation, it is well worth it.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
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3  Thank kalexia123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2010

We had a family renion at the ranch and everyone had a great time. Ages ranged from seniors down to babies. Food was outstanding, staff was extremely friendly and the wide variety of activies kept everyone happy.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank travelingcouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2010

Whenever I want to get away, I go to Highland Ranch. I find everything I need there. Caring excellent staff, beautiful horses, beautiful scenery, excellent food and wine. The ranch motto "Thou shall not hurry", is felt throughout the stay. I bring my dogs, I bring my son, I bring my husband sometimes. I've stayed at HR for riding clinics, yoga clinics and other wellness retreats. If you're an outdoors person, there's something to do for everyone. Fishing, Hiking, Biking, Riding... HR has it. I love that the rates include all meals, beverages and most activities. Great value in terms of dollars and relaxation.

  • Stayed: January 2010
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1  Thank Zodi11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2010

I will never, ever forget my trip to Highland Ranch. It was a life changing experience and I know that I will be back again. You drive up a winding dirt road canopied by huge trees. As you get to the end of the road, the most beautiful ranch opens up at the end of the road. Sprawling meadows, a great barn and the cutest most picturesque main yellow house. There were hammocks outside where you can lounge and have an afternoon glass of local wine.
The food was excellent and you feel like your being welcomed into a relatives house for dinner. The atmosphere is lively, loving and a home away from home.
The cabins are older, classic ranch style. No frills, so don't expect the Ritz. However, I could not have asked for a better weekend getaway.
Horse back riding, hikes in the Redwoods and wine tasting...the perfect weekend.
You can also arrange for a private dinner up by the pond...how romantic!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank FreqDiner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2009

We stayed at the ranch for a week with our young family, and from the moment we arrived we were made to feel at home. Nothing is too much trouble, the service is excellent, and the children were free to play around the ranch (subject to a couple of safety rules!), which freed up some grown up time.
The scenery is spectacular, and if you don't fancy the horseriding (which is fantastic, and caters for all levels) you can go off hiking / biking / running / fishing / swimming.
The food is all home cooked and of a great quality. The bar is open, and excellent wines are served with lunch and dinner.
We had a fabulous time, felt totally relaxed at the ranch, and hope to go back some day.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX928
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Blackbird Farm

Address: 18601 Van Zandt Resort Rd, PO Box 198, Philo, CA 95466 (Formerly Highland Ranch)
Location: United States > California > Mendocino County > Philo
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Philo
Price Range: $300 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on a 250 acre estate in the Anderson Valley Wine region. Blackbird Farm is a peaceful guest ranch and farm. Located an easy 2 hours north of San Francisco. With eight clean and comfortable guest cabins surrounding the charming 100 year old Main House where delicious, fresh and wholesome meals are served. Open for vacations, weddings, reunions, retreats and dogs welcome. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Highland Ranch Hotel Philo

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