Glamping in Santa Barbara County

Last year during the amazing superbloom California was blessed with I discovered Carrizo Plain National Monument. In December I booked a stay at nearby Blue Sky Center in New Cuyama for April, hoping that we would get enough rain for a repeat performance of endless carpets of yellow, orange, and purple flowers this spring. That was a bit greedy and the rains didn’t come, so neither did the flowers but I enjoyed glamping in the middle nowhere (or close enough, some people do call the area home) for the night, alone with my books, thoughts, and space heater just the same. Along the way I stopped through Santa Barbara county, preferring the long route to the drab drive up the I-5. After visiting Carpinteria I stopped into the Quicksilver Ranch in Los Olivos, near Solvang. It’s a ranch that houses mini ponies and oh my god if that isn’t cute enough, spring meant they were having babies. Mini pony babies, people. Ugh. After that I headed up to Figueroa Mountain in Los Padres National Forest to enjoy what wildflowers were on show near my final destination.

Finally, I drove through wineries and nothingness to reach the campground, which consists of five beautifully minimalist huts that sleep anywhere from 1 to 4 people. I laid in a hammock for hours until stars appeared in the night sky, warmed myself by the fire lit by Blue Sky Center staff, and ate cookies while huddled under the blankets of my hut’s bed. If you’re preternaturally cold like me bring a companion-lol-or many layers as the huts are exposed to outside air and the space heater in the room turns off after a certain point. Still, I left the center so utterly relaxed and refreshed despite the 40 degree temperature inside the hut that morning. It was a truly lovely getaway. While I was there my neighbors were a couple and their dog, another (same-sex) couple, and four friends in the middle of a cycling journey to Texas. This place is inclusive, warm, and fun and I would love to revisit it in the future (perhaps in summer though…)

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Lunch pit stop between Carpinteria and Los Olivos. It feels like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves run this place.
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Mini mini pony and mini pony!

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Figueroa Mountain swathed in California poppies.

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One of the many nearby wineries. I only stopped to pee, sadly, but enjoyed the wisteria magic outside.
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Shelton huts at Blue Sky Center.
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Gable Hut, my charming home for a night.

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Inside Gable hut.

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