Last month, I was invited to visit The Ranch at Bandy Canyon located in Escondido, not far from the Safari Park. The property is situated in the hills of Escondido and offers up individual cabins ranging in sizes to fit your party.
The history of Bandy Canyon begins in 1870 when John D Bandy staked his homestead by filing for 80 acres of land in the mouth of the canyon. It was a turbulent time and after selling to William H Thompson in 1875, the land boom went bust and the bank foreclosed the property in 1887.
In 1900, Henry Fenton, whose mother Emma was hired as a cook for the property by Thompson, was 28 years old at the time. He saved enough money and purchased 1000 acres of land in the San Pasqual Valley at just $3 an acre. Thirty years later, Fenton created a camp at the ranch for under-privileged boys to experience summer camp.
Fenton passes away in 1951, at which time, the ranch was a massive 4000 acres. His widow Justine Fenton sold approximately 3300 acres to the city of San Diego for $1 million the following year. The deal secured valuable water rights in the San Pasqual Valley, and much of that acreage today houses the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
We arrive at The Ranch just as the sun sets and it is getting darker by the minute. Since we are unfamiliar with the property, we decide to park in the parking area adjacent to the horse stables. We flag down a guy driving by in a golf cart and he immediate ask if I’m “Lau” (he said Luau hehe) and offers to drive us up to our cabin-style cottage — the Eagle. We load up the cart and Robert gives us a little background about the property.
After checking in, Robert helps us with our luggage into our cabin. It is quaint and adorable. The little cottage has two levels with a living room and kitchenette, as well as a bedroom downstairs. The loft upstairs is another bedroom with a bathroom attached.
If you’re looking for a getaway with the family sans electronics, this is the place to go! The cottages are all sans TVs – by design – and the signal is pretty spotty all around. There is wifi available, but you don’t have to tell the kids if you don’t want to.
If you’re not looking to stay overnight, there are other attractions at The Ranch, including horseback riding, and a petting zoo for the kids. The Ranch is also a perfect location for birthday parties, company picnics, or weddings to remember.
Check out their website for more information.