A few weeks back we were flying high in a F-16 cockpit speeding along at a roaring 500 mph with rockets and guns, while shooting at other competitors.
Okay, in reality it was a flight simulator and we weren’t really moving at all, yet in my mind I was high in the clouds flying the powerful jet myself.
This week we are actually moving again although at a mere one mile per hour as we take a horse drawn buggy ride in the San Pasqual Valley located in Escondido, California.
This ride didn’t exactly activate the adrenaline, however, that wasn’t the purpose. The goal was to enjoy the warm open air and appreciate the beautiful valley view while relaxing in a comfortable buggy seat. Adding to the peacefulness, the clip clop of the horse’s hooves generated a relaxing sound no different than the ambient sounds of ocean waves lapping the shore.
The hour or so ride started at the Bandy Canyon Ranch and ended back through the impressive gates of this grand estate. During the route we passed by sod farms, orange groves, and sun flower patches. The valley was spread out and you could see the other vineyards in the distance with their tasting rooms beckoning wine lovers from near and far.
I didn’t even know this area existed so it was nice to make yet another wonderful discovery.
A Tranquil Gathering Place:
The Bandy Canyon Ranch is 144 acres of serene charm. The grounds consist of 9 rustic cottages for overnight stays, hiking trails, an equestrian center, a pool, spa, and a large lodge style room.
While we were exploring the grounds, the remains of a wedding and reception from the night before told a story of dancing, liquor, and obviously, a good time had by all. Bandy Canyon Ranch offers wedding packages and as we continued to investigate the area, it was apparent that this would be an awesome place for a wedding.
Not just for weddings, any group could stay in the cottages and there were numerous places to house a large assemblage of people either inside or out.
The expansive pool area had seating all around and there were various sections on the ranch where you can congregate for drinks, swimming, poker, or spend a relaxing evening around the outdoor fireplace.
The grounds themselves were lined with palms, eucalyptus trees, and decorative lanterns. A small creek passed under various bridges with the bright orange hues of the Koi fish contrasting against the vibrant green of the plants and trees.
Up the road a little ways sat an additional gathering area with pizza ovens and another large seating area and just beyond that, a small vineyard.
Although it was closed the day we visited, there is also a small café near the overnight cabins which looked like it featured coffee and snacks.
At the stables, horses were being saddled up for riding and one lady told us she came every week to ride since this area had perfect trails and great scenery. There are plenty of trails to explore the hills and valley on horseback or walking.
Back to the Carriage Ride:
Our buggy drivers Mandy and Danielle were friendly and left us alone except to ask the occasional question on where we were from, etc. If we had a question, they were only a few feet away to answer.
We just sat back and enjoyed the peace and quiet and the relaxing rhythm as each hoof softly hit the pavement. An old abandoned dairy building made it feel like we had gone back in time yet a car passing by us once in awhile reminded us that we hadn’t.
The sod fields were a dazzling green with the fresh grass appearing ready to be transported to a new home while the orange trees looked recently harvested and bare of its amazing fruit. I am sure in peak season the groves are overflowing with the sweet smell of delicious citrus.
After about an hour the buggy turned around and headed home. We were glad we went in the morning as the powerful rays of the sun were popping out of the clouds ready to boil this inland valley.
The carriage ride also featured a small box lunch which we enjoyed at one of the picnic tables near the stables.
All and all it was a pleasurable activity. My heart didn’t race like it did in the flight simulator, however, sometimes you have to slow the heart down and just enjoy nature. The world has a lot of wonderful surprises, Bandy Canyon Ranch is one of them.
Parting shots:A candle by the stream, a water feature near one of the gathering places, and a nearby vineyard.