|Chileno Valley Ranch
The stately, two-story Victorian stands proud against the Emerald green
pastureland of Marin County. It's nestled amidst colorful flower and vegetable
gardens. Mike and Sally Gale turned it into the Chileno Valley Ranch and
Bed and Breakfast. You wouldn't believe the condition this majestic Italianate
home was in for nearly 80 years, until the Gales poured their love and
their know how into restoring it. Quite simply, this place was a wreck,
having fallen victim to vandals and the weather. Contractors advised tearing
it down and starting over.
Sally, in particular, was not going to let that happen. "This was
a family home, built by my great-grandfather. I wanted to do the right
thing an that was to save it," Sally said. In 1993 the Gales went
where they'd never been before, undertaking a massive five-year renovation.
The Gale's hard work hasn't gone unnoticed. In 1997 they were given an
award from a preservationist group.
The Gales, who had other careers in Hawaii hadn't intended to turn the
inherited home into a bed and breakfast. They'd planned to be ranchers.
They soon learned they wouldn't be able to make a living and needed another
income. They do raise Angus cattle, filling a niche market by selling
grass-fed beef directly to consumers. "We have more control over
the health of the animals. We don't use any growth hormones or antibiotics.
We don't use any pesticides or herbicides," said Mike Gale.
Gale is more than willing to take ranch visitors aboard his truck for
a ride to the Pasteur. Cavorting with the cows is just one of the unique
experiences guests enjoy. "One of the things that we have for our
guests that they really appreciate is the peace and quiet, as well as
the beauty of the area," Sally said. Birds thrive here thanks to
the Chileno Creek the Gales lovingly restored. They planted 200 native
trees along the bank and fenced it off to keep the cattle from trampling
Guests also enjoy taking in Sally's carefully tended garden. The fruits
and vegetables are often used in the hearty breakfasts they serve in the
expertly restored formal dining room. Sally's flowers adorn the table,
as well as the four uniquely decorated guestrooms and cottage. It's just
more evidence of the care that' taken to preserve this farm's great heritage.
"Unless these ranches are able to sell their product or survive with
other businesses like a bed and breakfast they're going to disappear,"
Knowing the Gales, they won't let that happen!
Chileno Valley Ranch is a little tricky to find. There is no sign because
the Gales want to blend in with the area. To contract them log onto www.chilenobnb.com or call 707 765-6664 or 877-280-6664.