We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Relaxing, Homestyle Summer Camp for Adults”
Review of Blackbird Farm

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Philo
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Blackbird Farm
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed July 12, 2009

This was our second guest ranch in the past couple of years. We chose Highland Ranch over others since its - driving distance for us (3 hrs), gourmet food and wine, located in a great location (wine country and Mendocino Coast), small (< 25 guests), and plenty of trails for riding.

We were not disappointed. The food is excellent. We had fresh garden grown salads every meal, fresh veggies, and a great variety of meats and fish. Vegetarians got special treatment too. The ranch provided wines from the local wineries. Every night there was a nice fire on the deck for the guests to enjoy as the kids played in the fields. Musical instruments were available, and guests would play.

Riding was good (not great). Two rides a day, but you need to sign up each day since there is limited space. The rides were tailored to the group. The scenery was very nice. I really enjoyed the morning rides. They start at 11am (it would be nice if they were earlier).

My daughter (9yo) made friends at the ranch, and had a blast.

We will be back.

Recommendations
- bring bikes if you like to bike
- bring riding boots and gloves
- spend more than 2 days
- plan to visit the wineries since they are real close

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank jtooley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (47)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

15 - 21 of 47 reviews

Reviewed June 15, 2009

Megan and I made sure that the Highland Ranch was one of the first places out of our home state of Illinois that our son, Casey, would visit. It's like being with family. We love the ranch and love the people that work there. If you're visiting Philo, I'm not sure why you'd stay anywhere else.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank newtonpea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2009

This place is a dream! It is even prettier than the pictures on the website. The surrounding forests and trails are beautiful and well maintained. The horses are very well mannered. The cabins are warm and cozy. Best of all, the food is great and it is healthy! If you are looking to get away and relax, this is the place to go.
Our group was treated just like family by all of the staff. The organized trails rides through the forest were well guided and suited our group perfectly. We took an afternoon away from the ranch and went wine tasting at some of the many wineries in the area (within a few miles). Lots of fun. Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank jengregsmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2009

I have been coming to Highland Ranch every year for five years typically with one or all of my kids. Isolated in the hills and redwood forests of rural Mendocino County, all you hear is the wind blowing through the trees and you see the stars at night. This is one of the most beautiful settings you can imagine. It is where I bring the family for down time and to unwind.

The Gaines family has run the place for many years and are wonderful, down to earth hosts. Rob is a fabulous cook and is now co-manager. The food is plentiful and delicious, and Rob always accommodates my dietary peculiarities.

My family's favorite activities are horseback riding and hiking on the forest trails, fishing in the ponds, swimming in the pool or ponds, reading in one of the hammocks, playing board games in the main house and some tennis. The boys are particularly excited to come shoot clay pigeons. A variety of cats and dogs roam the property and we usually bring our golden retrievers along.

Highland Ranch is a rustic, family-style place. Beautiful but not elegant. The cabins are old, creaky and drafty. The main house is warm and cozy and a great place to hang out. If you are looking for fancy rooms and elegant dining this is not the place.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank OaklandNative
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2009

The setting for this rustic, laid-back lodge is gorgeous, the food very good, and the staff exceptionally nice and friendly. There is much to do here, but I recommend that you really understand in advance what you are paying for up front and what will be additional cost. While it was a wedding event, with three meals arranged and paid for by the bride and groom, there was still outlandish ranch fees for daily meals and "facility use." Since it was October and no pool, there were hiking and other "activities" to do, but really we were there for a wedding and all wedding activities were provided by the bride and groom. On top of your daily "facility use" fees there are fees for each horseback ride, etc. which makes an already expensive stay even more expensive. I went into it knowing the expense and thinking I was subsidizing the wedding, but really I was padding the pockets of the owners for fees they really didn't "earn" for meals and activities already paid for by the bride and groom.

  • Stayed: October 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank daytripper081
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2008

Friends of mine had a wonderful wedding at the Highland Ranch, and although the setting and event were fantastic, the surprise at the end was highly disappointing. My wife and I were going to spend the night outside of the ranch, but a friend--who'd already paid to stay on the premises and needed to leave early--offered that we stay in his stead. We took him up on his offer and after brunch-- which the wedding party paid for--we told Jim, the owner of the ranch, that the door of the place we stayed was open. He turned around and charged us day use fees and food and beverage fees for the past 24 hours despite the fact that wedding party had paid for everything, that we didn't use the facility nor eat his food, and too, that our friend had already paid for everything.

Based on fees listed on the Highland Ranch Web site, he may be absolutely technically correct, however, his approach, opportunism, and desperation were highly questionable and showed to us that this is not the kind of place we would want to stay and would never recommend. I've traveled to many places and stayed in many amazing and questionable places, but never have I had the mean-spiritedness that we experienced here. Lodgers beware!

  • Stayed: October 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank skiprudolf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2008

we loved Highland Ranch, great place to stay with families or with a group of adults- you could rent the entire place out fro a weekend and feel as if you own a ranch, but without all the work!

It is rare living in the bay area and find a place that the kids can roam free, enjoy a hourse back ride, fishing swimming tennis and just haning out doing art projects. we never wore are watch and I loved how you could arrange your own scedule- yoga on call or sit and do nothing on a hammock. The food and wine was absolutly 5 star. and the atmosphere was comfortable and friendly great host and hostess. we had a blue grass band come one night it was a real treat great music. It is rare to find this much of a jewel.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank balco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these Philo hotels
0.6 mi away
The Madrones
The Madrones
#1 of 4 in Philo
143 reviews
0.4 mi away
Indian Creek Inn
Indian Creek Inn
#2 of 4 in Philo
23 reviews
2.7 mi away
Philo Apple Farm
Philo Apple Farm
#2 of 4 in Philo
25 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Blackbird Farm? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing