Posted by: charityliz | December 30, 2010


There’s nothing like ditching the city life for a bit of country livin’.
About a year an a half ago, I was traipsing around Italy with my two favorite travel buddies–AprilMae & KBaby.  One of our favorite experiences was ditching our hotel in Florence after two days and transferring to a tiny little bed & breakfast in Tuscany–which we found off an AgriTurismo website. [Note: Agritourism is defined most broadly, as any agriculturally-based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. –Wiki].  Our little B&B was one of four buildings in a tiny village outside of San Gimignano. The village was so old and untouched that we literally felt like we were falling back into the 16th Century while we stayed there.  It was beautiful.  That was the closest I ever thought I’d get to AgriTurismo….
Until this week. For the past three days, I found myself with the same fabulous travel buddies, but this time much closer to home, having yet another AgriTurismo adventure.  We called it HuasnaTurismo! 

Huasna is a small town site just outside of Arroyo Grande, CA.  When I moved to Shell Beach 6 years ago, I was fortunate enough to land a roommate who grew up in Huasna (not too far away from our Shell Beach home).  When I first discovered Huasna, it was love at first sight. As if Shell Beach and the Central Coast in general weren’t already gorgeous enough, discovering Huasna pretty much put me over the top–with it’s vast landscapes of rolling hills,  dressed with huge oak trees, speckled with horses and cattle, and marked with just a few homes.  This is legit country for sure; true ranch land that conjures up feelings of the old west and makes me want to be a genuine cowgirl for the rest of my life!
Now I’ve spent many a random nights and weekends out in Huasna–which usually includes a great BBQ and time in the hot tub.  But for this visit, we decided to experience  the “real life” of the Huasna local–agriturismo style!   Like true agritourists, we got our hands dirty and jumped on board with anything that was on the usual list of “things to do” for the day.  A few of my favorites…
1.  Turn on the well water. (Yup, the house is connected to a well, about a mile away, which must be turned on every so often to pump water up to the holding tank at the house.  We were sent to “flip the switch”, which seems simple enough until…
2.  Drive on muddy road, through 2 small creeks to get to well….and try to avoid getting stuck in the mud from all the heavy rains lately.  WE GOT STUCK!   It was late at night, so after trying every trick I knew (letting air out of tire, putting something hard under the tires, and putting weight in the back of the truck),  we ditched the truck and walked home under a blanket of the most brilliant stars.
3.  Dig truck out of mud. (This time we returned to the truck with shovels, boards, and more manpower.  It worked.)
4. Fix the “Hick Tub” –this is the old-school hot tub, made out of a huge oak barrel. We helped replace the lining.
5. Sand bag the drive way (After all the heavy rains, the huge fishers in the driveway–which is .5 miles long– needed to be filled with sandbags to prevent further erosion).
6.  Split firewood (with an ax!)
7.  Kill some time shooting guns…just for target practice (turns out we’re all a pretty good shot)
8.  Warm up by the old wood stove inside.
9.  Start up the outdoor BBQ pit.
I mean seriously…when was the last time you had a “To Do” list that looked like that?
Thanks to AprilMae, Captain Hawkins, and Barbara for sharing your Huasna life with me!  I love having you as my surrogate family on the Central Coast and I always enjoy my stays in Huasna!

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  1. Kbaby says: We need to plan another agriturismo soon!
    Aprilmae says: Its not a HICK TUB!

    We both say: We love being with you and sharing such fun times together!

  2. hey Charity,
    I know how you feel about Huasna and thank you for sharing this secret place. I too have been able to experience Huasna. Every year my Quilt teacher Bobbi Porter invites 8 or 10 us avid quilters for a sewing weekend to the Porter Ranch. This is the last Ranch in the Huasna valley. the end of the road! Bobbi’s great, great, great grandfather discovered this place with Jedediah Smith in the 1800’s and claimed many acres that where occupied by native americans. sad but true. But its such an amazing area with its own climate. We have so much fun Quilting, eating, yaking and walking. its great you have had this opportunity too to enjoy this place. I actually came along a bear at the last road bridge, by myself late at night when i was leaving the ranch to go home. I was getting out to open the huge ranch gate and there he was. He looked more put out that he had to move out of the way of my car. i jumped in the car and took off.
    gwen 🙂

    • Omigosh, Gwen! That’s crazy that you encountered a bear out there–though I believe it! Glad you had a good time out in Huasna with your friends as well!!

    • Gwen, that is so cool you go to the Porter Ranch every year! I used to go to their yearly round up and branding when I was younger, and it was so much fun to get to ride back in their hills, and then an amazing BBQ. Isn’t that old ranch house amazing? I would love to see it again now that I am older and would appreciate the history even more.

  3. Ain’t No place like Country place!!!

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