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- Karen Brown's Recommendation:
It is hard not to notice Beltane Ranch, a pale-yellow board-and-batten house encircled on both stories by broad verandahs, set on the hillside off the Valley of the Moon Road. Check in at the cozy country kitchen when you arrive: if no one is around, you will find a welcome note on the chalkboard hung by the back door. The house has no internal staircase, so each room has a private entrance off the verandah—which was probably very handy when this was the weekend retreat of a San Francisco madam. Incidentally, this also explains the southern architecture of the house as “madam” hailed from Louisiana. The bedrooms, decorated in family antiques, have a very comfortable ambiance. Bathrooms are basic. Chairs and hammocks are placed on the verandah outside each room and offer a wonderful spot to settle and enjoy peaceful countryside views beyond the well-tended garden. A small yellow cottage behind the main house with more contemporary decor enjoys a snug sitting room opening to a private patio and has breakfast delivered into its “silent butler.” Beltane produces its own estate-grown Sauvignon Blanc as well as its own olive oil. For the energetic, there are local walking trails and a tennis court. Beltane Ranch continues to remain a personal favorite.