Holman Ranch In Carmel Valley, California: The Perfect Place To Unwind And Celebrate

In 1928, a San Francisco businessman, Gordon Armsby, came upon the lovely rolling hills of Carmel Valley and decided this would be the place to establish himself and create one of the most historical and picturesque ranches in the area. With that vision many years ago, Holman Ranch was created as a working ranch as well as a getaway for the rich and famous (Charlie Chaplin was such a frequent visitor that he had his very own room). The ranch has changed hands several times since the 1920s, but the 400 acre ranch is now as lovely as it was many years ago.

Holman Ranch, with its breathtaking views and rustic, elegant surroundings is a favorite for vacationers and special event planners. The manicured lawns, historic buildings, and sweeping mountain views make this ranch a perfect place for weddings and personal milestones.

Thomas and Jarman Lowder purchased Holman Ranch in 2006 with the dream of making great wines and tasty olive oils. Along with that dream, the property also spoke of the days gone by as a place for respite and celebrations. After the purchase, work began to completely refurbish the property maintaining the ambience of the original glory days with the most modern upgrades. The Lowders have kept the original charm of the property and with the help of their daughter Hunter have transformed this icon to a special event mecca and a world class vacation retreat.

We were fortunate enough to spend a lovely evening at this historical property along with a meal at Carmel Valley oldest restaurant, Will's Fargo Steakhouse + Bar. We could not have found a better spot to start our journey to the central coast of California. 

Holman ranch offers many special events that can accommodate almost every need or desire. From themed retreats, outdoor and indoor event space available this idyllic property is the perfect space for multi-day retreats, or single-day offsite events.

Our room was something out of early California history. The homey cabin has a welcoming porch, rocking chairs and even a friendly peacock roaming among the towering oaks. This was truly is a great place to find the quiet away from the dizzying pace of today's society. The outdoor facilities have been restored to the original 1920s history. The carriage house is a perfect place for hosting dancing or dinner. The old-fashioned game room includes a vintage juke box and pool table and all the modern amenities for a fun filled night. There is also a conference room for seminars and a peaceful chapel for those who choose to tie the knot while visiting Carmel Valley.

The lovely manicured lawn and veranda lends to the best place for weddings or special events as it overlooks the towering mountains that surround the valley. We enjoyed our stroll through each section of the property and noticed the original Carmel stone work and tile that was carefully retiled in the restoration of the property. Keeping the property as historically true as in its glory days was a must for the Lowders. The first original in-ground swimming pool built in 1920s is still as pristine and inviting as it was back in its original setting.

We traveled through the undulating hills of horse property into the small town of Carmel Valley.  Next, a stop at the Jarman wine tasting room to sample wines from the ranch itself.

Greeting us with a warm welcome and a refreshing glass of the Holman Ranch Chardonnay was the gregarious owner Hunter Lowder.  Enthusiastically, Lowder told us about the history and the passion of the vines, wines and of course the newest addition to their hospitality portfolio, Wills Fargo, the adjoining restaurant that has been a local culinary icon since the 1950s. [pullquote:right]

Upon entering Will's Fargo you can feel the history and the ambience of a time that has passed but a place that has kept pace with today's demand for exceptional food and overall experience. Outside boasts an intimate courtyard patio offering seasonal outdoor dining. After enjoying some of the Holman Ranch award-winning wines, we were escorted into this rustic restaurant that has been serving locals' favorite steaks, chicken, and seafood for many since the days of bobby socks and Edsels.

The times may have changed but the quality remains as Will's Fargo is still bringing in droves of locals and tourists alike to feast upon locally sourced proteins and seafood. Tonight we started with the customary Will's relish tray and the classic French onion soup that came with a heaping amount of gruyere cheese atop of golden onions in the rich classic broth. This was indeed great way to start the palate in a good fast forward motion right into the entrée of roasted free range chicken, moist and tender, with a creamy potato au gratin.

For our second entrée we enjoyed the goat cheese ravioli with tomato, garlic, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cream. The pasta was tender and plump with the fresh goat cheese. The Parmigiano-Reggiano cream added the textural richness. We always try to leave a little room for the dessert and we were glad we did. The warm truffle chocolate cake along with homemade ice cream form the Holman ranch and decadent caramel sauce was excellent.

Contentedly feed we bid farewell to our kind and generous hosts and made our way back up the hilly road to our cabin that was now under a blanket of twinkling stars. We were well on our way to the start of another California adventure and were glad to have started with this piece of California history that has stood the passing of time and is now ready to engage the discriminating traveler of today.