Introducing the Little Red House Vacation Rental/Bed & Breakfast in Cottonwood Canyon, West Cuyama Valley, Santa Barbara County, California. Travelling via Highway 166, we are 45 minutes east of Santa Maria and a little over an hour west of Bakersfield, but most would agree we’re right in the middle of nowhere!
Our “Little Red House” has grown from its original 1895 beginnings when homesteaders built a 10 ft. by 10 ft. structure to “prove up” on their claim to free land. Imagine the entire family lived, ate & slept in that one room!
Today’s visitors to the Sleepy Creek Ranch have a choice of three guest rooms: two queen rooms with a shared bath and a master suite with king bed and private bath. All three rooms are newly built and offer views of an oak-studded canyon, Cottonwood Creek and the distant Caliente Mountains.
Host Bonnie Goller, a retired archaeologist, loves to share the cultural history of Cottonwood Canyon and Cuyama Valley. The 115-year-old homestead was built on top of a prehistoric Indian village; many prehistoric archaeological sites are still visible along the banks of Cottonwood Creek. The Little Red House was also the last known home of Nancy Kelsey, the first American woman to cross the plains in a wagon train and enter California in 1841. Nancy is buried in an historic gravesite nearby; laid to rest in 1896 beside her baby grand-daughter.
The 700 acres of Sleepy Creek Ranch offer miles of trails through oak savannahs, riparian habitat, juniper-sage woodlands and chaparral. It’s a hidden gem for springtime wildflowers, a busy flyway for migratory birds, as well as a resident population of wild turkey and occasional California Condor visits.
Deer, fox, coyote, ring-tailed cats, black bear and mountain lion round out the mammalian population. It is not uncommon to wake and find deer in the yard feasting on the apple tree, a wary fox drinking from a rustic water fountain; or a heron plucking goldfish from the horse trough.
After a strenuous day of enjoying the wilderness, you’ll appreciate relaxing alongside our streamside water feature with a glass of wine from a local vineyard (two just up the road!), and a loaf of fresh homemade sourdough bread to dip into our locally grown extra virgin olive oil.
Don’t feel like leaving the Canyon for dinner? Our local BBQ catering crew offer a delicious varied menu: baby back ribs with handcrafted bbq sauce, grilled salmon basted with our own zinfandel wine jelly, roasted fresh veggies, a traditional Santa Maria style trip-tip bbq, fresh garden greens, steaks, chicken and more. Dutch oven desserts are a speciality—the raspberry 7-up cake is amazing and our Cuyama River Mud Cake is almost sinful!
Of course breakfast is included with your overnight stay and ours are a treat to wake to! While you can always count on complimentary mimosas (as well as coffee, tea, milk, and hot chocolate), you never know what we’ll whip up in the morning—French toast crafted from our homemade apple/oatmeal bread and the neighbors’ farm-fresh eggs; banana pancakes, blueberry waffles, sides of home-grown bacon or sausage. Breakfast is usually served al fresco on the patio, serenaded by the local birds.
We are completely solar-powered here, as are most of the 17 land-owners in Cottonwood Canyon; so if you’re looking for a quiet, off-the-grid (literally and figuratively) weekend retreat—we invite you to give us a call.
Sleepy Creek Ranch
Little Red House
2255 Cottonwood Canyon Road
805-680-7220 Box 206
New Cuyama, CA 93254