Alisal Guest Ranch

The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort has hosted numerous celebrity guests over the years. 

Solvang's 10,500-acre iconic property, Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, has officially joined more than 315 hotels in the annals of the Historic Hotels of America, the resort announced Tuesday. 

The honorary induction will be celebrated in tandem with the resort's 75th anniversary this year, a resort spokeswoman said. 

“It is a true honor for the resort to be recognized by the Historic Hotels of America,” said Kathleen Cochran, general manager of The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort. " ... everything including our décor, culinary programming and activities all take inspiration from the rich history of the property and the region of California."

To be selected for membership, according to Historic Hotels of America, a hotel must be at least 50 years old, posses a designation by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The property also must be recognized as having historic significance.

The 32-year program is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Deep Valley roots

A long history of the Alisal as a California rancho — working ranch — reaches back to 1843 when the property was known as Rancho Nojoqui, according to historical records.

In 1868, it was renamed The Alisal, meaning Grove of the Sycamores in the Chumash language, and later became today's hotel when Charles Pete Jackson Jr. and his family opened the guest ranch for lodging in 1946.

Over time, Western roots and hospitality were maintained at the ranch, where deer can often be seen grazing and horses and cattle roaming grass-covered hills that have changed little since the days of the Spanish vaquero, the spokeswoman said. 

Today, the property is known for playing host to celebrity weddings and championship cycling training as well as 18-hole golf courses for recreational use. The Alisal also is the birthplace of Flying Ebony, the 1925 Kentucky Derby winner.

Other notable ranch traditions include the celebrated Santa Maria-style barbecue and rodeos, both of which are direct ties to the history and culture of the region.

For more information on the hotel’s history or to make a reservation, visit www.alisal.com/explore/history.

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record. 

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