With 90 miles of prime Pacific coastline, more than 90 wineries and beautiful mountain and cliff backdrops, Mendocino County has guest ranches and farms that can be paired with unique team-building and free-time fun.   

1. THE INN AT NEWPORT RANCH debuts as part of a 2,000-acre private preserve and cattle ranch fusing luxury lodgings and magnificent views. Architectural standouts include 20-foot-wide, walk-in stone fireplaces, a building supported by 24 individual redwood trees from base to cathedral-like ceiling and a hot tub perched atop the water tower with commanding views of sea. The Main Inn, with impressive redwood paneling and flooring, has an open kitchen, dining room and plenty of brainstorming space. 

ACTIVITY PAIRING: 20 acres of trails for ATV safaris, hiking and shore walks. South of the inn, at MacKerricher State Beach, go horseback riding in the surf with Ricochet Ridge Ranch. 

2. YOKAYO RANCH, situated on 40 acres inland off the Inspiration Highway (101) in Ukiah Valley, is a working ranch retreat with eight guest accommodations within two combined homes and pool cabanas, the Great Room for meetings, and alfresco event space for 50. Draft horses till Yokayo Roots Farm, and creative culinary sessions are a specialty of the property. 

ACTIVITY PAIRING: Nearby, Parducci Cellars is the stop for a group gathering around prized Pinot Noirs. North of Yokayo Ranch, Seabiscuit Stud Barn at Ridgewood Ranch offers walking tours that showcase restored stud and mare barns, memorabilia and viewing of “Li’l Biscuits,” descendants of the legendary racehorse, and docent-led nature tours of ranch grounds.

3. BLACKBIRD FARM AND FARM STAY INN, set on 250 secluded acres in the heart of a booming wine region, are great options for groups seeking a more in-depth farm and meeting experience. In addition to riding and hiking trails, the property offers four cabins, two farm houses and yurts as well as classes through the farm’s Foodology University such as cheese making, preserving, and mustard and jam crafting.  

ACTIVITY PAIRING: Visit a handful of the 24 wine tasting venues nearby and Pennyroyal Farm Tasting Room and Milking Parlor, which opened in 2016 and features estate vineyards and a farmstead cheese operation housing more than 100 sheep and goats. Tour the creamery, milking parlor and solar-powered barn, learn the methods behind crafting cheeses and wrap up with a wine and cheese tasting. 

There are all sorts of happenings for meeting and event planners to plug groups into in Snowmass Village this summer, taking some of the pressure off building a memorable and effective agenda. 

 

In the soon-to-be released Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Mountain Meetings, I write about Mountain Activities 101. That’s not the official title of the article—it’s actually Mild to Wild—but it is a primer about the many amazing activities groups can enjoy in the mountains, from cave tours in Bend, Oregon, to a kayaking, hiking and hot springs excursion near Boulder City, Nevada. 

 

With meetings returning to normal as the COVID-19 pandemic levels out, outdoor mountain pursuits are finding more time on meeting agendas. Taking events outdoors not only boosts attendees’ comfort level as they ease back into in-person meetings, time spent in nature is proven to improve brain health and stimulate creative thinking as well.

We’ll be looking at this topic in-depth in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Mountain Meetings. Consider this as an introduction to some of the possibilities.