Monday, July 13, 2015

Slow Down And Relax At Wilder Ranch State Park

During special living history days, you can ride in this horse drawn wagon.
Located on the Santa Cruz coastline, Wilder Ranch State Park is a hidden gem. Our family spends a day there every 4th of July, but you can tour the historical park on other weekends, and hike the nature trails any day of the year. I have yet to hike at Wilder Ranch so this blog will be about the historical preserve.

The Victorian home of Melvin D. Wilder 1896/97
The Victorian Kitchen, 1897
During living history days, docents dress like they did in the late 1890s. You can tour the Victorian homes, barns, and  cabins that were built by the various families who owned the land.  It was a bit confusing for me to figure out the history because I didn't take the time to study the signage in the Interpretive Center -

The Interpretive Center
 -  but with later study, this is the jist of it:
In the 1830s, the land was run by Maria Candida Castro and her husband Jose Antonio Bolcoff and was known as Rancho del Refugio. The ranch was known for its butter and cheese. Then in the 1850s, a large portion of the ranch lands was sold to Moses Meder. He expanded the dairy and farming production. Then in 1871,  partners Levi K. Baldwin and Deloss D. Wilder bought 4,160 acres and built a new creamery. Five generations of The Wilder family continued to work the land over the years. In 1974, California State Parks bought the property to preserve its natural and cultural environment.

Now back to the fun part -

The Bunk House - Inside is a blacksmith shop and woodworking shop powered by pulleys and water wheels.
They sell different sized iron hooks made by the blacksmith.
A master docent at work

The picture says it all
This drill is powered by a water driven belt system - no electricity!

We can attest - the home-made vanilla ice cream is delicious!
A spinning wheel demonstration
Our children always loved the old-fashioned games - nothing digital about them!
We always enjoy the wagon rides powered by these beautiful draft horses.

The cabins were built in 1932 by the Wilder Family.

The first time they built the chimney they used too many rocks and it collapsed.
Most people don't realize you can walk inside the cabins to take a look.
I believe this is the Cowboy Loop Trail
A Beautiful View
Old farm machinery can be viewed throughout the ranch
And I cannot leave out the best climbing tree around -  this red Cedar, 100-year-old beauty
This clump is even bigger than in the picture, and it has tunnels!

The Nitty Gritty: Wilder Ranch is free but parking costs $10. The Interpretive Center is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM.  The ranch grounds and hiking trails are open from 8 AM to sunset every day. There are living history tours during specific days on the weekend. Check out their calendar and call 831-426-0505 for more information.

Directions: google maps is the best!

Don't Forget: sunscreen, water, a light jacket, sunglasses or a hat. You can also bring folding chairs and a picnic. During living history days such as July 4th and the Harvest Festival, they usually have delicious food stands as well. And tell your kids to leave the electronics at home! ;-)

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