Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rancho Siempra Verde

Don't let all that orange distract you from the fact that Ronan is indeed driving a tractor

Welcome to RSV. The orange sign = win. 'nough said.

Getting a Christmas tree should always be fun; sadly, this is not the norm. Some people hastily grab a tree (along with the weekly groceries) at the supermarket, others the local nursery, or some pull the plastic tree out of the attic, dust it off, and grumblingly assemble it (here's looking at you, Nana). Many people approach this annual event as a chore.

Ronan's happy march back to the car, our tree in hand

Fortunately for Ronan, a colleague of Mom's has owned a coastal ranch near Pescadero for over 45 years. At Rancho Siempra Verde find-and-cut-yourself trees are available for the holiday season, as well as pre-made and make-it-yourself wreaths. Really, though, getting a tree and wreath is just an excuse to make a visit.

Soaring over the ranch in a toddler swing

What makes this place so special? The people who staff it and it's serene location, for sure, but it's the fun activities available to families make it a great way to spend a few hours. As Uncle 'S' noted during our time at RSV, "This is the most low-tech fun I've had in years."

Yes, giant xylophones (even those out of tune) are a blast

What activities? To start with, there is a roaring bonfire coupled with plenty of marshmallows to keep you both warm and hyper. A half dozen large tree swings and a couple of tire swings are perfectly suited for the adventurous.

For young kids, in addition to friendly dogs, hay, and lots of places to explore, there are a handful of Little Tykes Cozy Coupe to putt around in.

Less impressive in some ways than the tractor, but it does have a door, a roof, and a wreath, so there's that

A highlight of the trip for Ronan (and me) was not just riding but *driving* a tractor around the parking lot. Instead of boasting the predicted wild grin and cackling of elation, Ronan was serious and focused on making sure the tractor was piloted safely. A surprising but fortunate development indeed. One week later Ronan still recounts the story of him being behind the wheel.

The tractor, post marshmallow snack

So, for those of you in the Bay Area (or even those visiting), next December RSV should be on your list of must-visit spots for weekend fun.

The three (three-and-one-half?) of us loving the swing at the top of the hill


Todd said...

Wow, those photos are so precious. The one with E carrying the tree looks like it should be in a REI add (says melissa).

Holly said...

You have to remember I bought that tree with the Long's discount [charleston?] when YOU worked there, Erik! I got a lot of years out of it. I love the orange sign. +1 Seriously, though, that looked like SUCH a fun outing - you can hire Ronan out for farmwork next summer :-) Great shot at the end of the 3.5 of you! Enjoy your nice tree because there isn't one here!

Erik said...

Ya, next year you guys should join in the fun... it was a blast.

CalBadger said...

I wonder who had more fun: Ronan or the parents? Seriously Erik, I couldn't imagine giving you an axe as a kid to chop down a "Christmas" tree--I have visions of "The Shining" streaming through my head! I must admit, though, that that was a brilliant piece of work getting Rachel to run along side the tractor taking the video while you rode-good job! Beware however, that Rachel is already telling you how to drive, albeit a tractor! I fear for your future in the drivers seat!