Darling Destinations: Cuyama Buckhorn

Nothing signals the start of a great weekend away more than being greeted by rolling hills of wildflowers and a larger than life red sign welcoming you to your destination. A few weeks ago this is exactly how we were greeted for a 2 night stay at the iconic Cuyama Buckhorn located in New Cuyama, a former oil boom town that is now home to ranches, an airstrip, and of course, the roadside motel.

Originally built in 1952 as a community hub during the peak of the oil boom the Buckhorn has been thoughtfully restored for today’s traveler with coastal cowboy touches throughout. We arrived and made our way to the cozy lobby that feels more like a rustic cabin than a hotel lobby. There is a large fireplace with the smell of red oak waffling through the room, bookshelves filled with books & games, and a record player with an impressive vinyl collection. We were quickly checked in and given a property map before heading to our room.

We stayed in a Deluxe King room which was perfect for our weekend away. The room felt warm and inviting with a leather butterfly chair, fun tiled floors, and a collection of vintage cowboy hats hung above the bed. Our room also offered a large patio with a view of the grassy outdoor area. After all my years in hospitality I am always extra excited when a room has a large shower and a comfy bed…the Buckhorn offered both plus a robe (YES!) and steamer which was a welcome surprise (I always pack one).

Since we arrived after 7pm we made our way directly to the Buckhorn Bar to enjoy dinner and a drink. Sam, the bartender, made us a round of incredible cocktails (bourbon for me, tequila for Chris) and served our dinner at the bar. We snacked on Butternut Squash Queso Fondito, a BBQ platter with tri-tip & pork, and a side of fries. The food was innovative and incredibly delicious…especially the queso (which we had a second time during our stay) but the ambiance is what I enjoyed the most. To describe the space as a cowboy bar really doesn’t do it justice…it’s more curated than that but feels authentic, homey. There are candles burning, old concert tickets & currency lacquered into the bar top, deer antlers on the walls, and a bar filled with every whiskey you can imagine. After dinner we spent the rest of our night sipping some wine around one of the 3 outdoor fire pits.

After a great night of sleep we made our way to the Buckhorn Restaurant for coffee and breakfast. The restaurant still has the original counter from 1952 which is where we enjoyed our breakfast. The 2 eggs with bacon was perfect and came in a small cast iron skillet…such a fun idea! Over breakfast we made our plan for the day.

New Cuyama is a tiny (itty bitty) town and the Buckhorn is truly the center of it. Many guests spend their days exploring the Carrizo Plain National Monument or checking out Blue Sky Center. We decided nothing sounded better than a day of absolutely NOTHING! We walked a block to the local vintage shop (open weekends only) that is filled with colorful vintage glass, records, and other curiosities. I was on a hunt for a vintage belt buckle and mission accomplished! After vintage shopping we made our way back to the Buckhorn for some time in the hot tub, some lawn games (there are plenty around the property) and a long nap.

We rounded out our stay with another dinner at the Buckhorn Bar (why mess with perfection?) and drinks by a different fire pit before a good night of sleep and drive back to Santa Barbara. I am a huge fan of the Buckhorn and especially grateful for an opportunity to truly disconnect. The property is super dog friendly (hello, Hogan) and hosts tons of unique events for guests to enjoy. We can’t wait to return and enjoy another weekend of delightful food and time to relax.

Thanks for having us, Cuyama Buckhorn!


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