My 11yo son and I thoroughly enjoyed our 2 nights/3 days at Flip Flop Ranch. There weren't many reviews about the ranch (the few reviews were positive), but with the Living Social deal, decided to take to take a chance. As it turns out, we had a great time and expect to return.
The hosts Sirena, Tashelle, and Thomas are excellent. Accommodating, gracious, informative, flexible, and totally committed to making sure we got to do whatever we wanted to do. I was constantly asking questions and Serina/Tashelle/Thomas never seemed to tire of answering the questions - even though they've probably been asked the same questions a gazillion times. And when it came to letting us participate in the chores, they were patient and helpful. I milked my first goat and one of the other guests enjoyed it so much that she made it her "chore" twice a day to milk all 4 goats. Other farm activities (each of which are totally optional) included feeding the cows, goats, chickens, geese, turkeys, and horses; collecting the eggs each day; harvesting the zucchini; and checking on the hatchlings.
The days were hot so we either stayed inside playing pool in the game room, or swam in the pool. The nighttime sky was incredible - saw the Milky Way for the first time in years. It was a sky I remembered from my youth, but the light pollution makes it impossible to see where I live. The handcranked, homemade ice cream was delicious and enjoyed around the bonfire.
It may be obvious to some, but a ranch vacation is not for everyone. Except for the abundance of kittens and puppies, my daughter would probably not have enjoyed the trip as much as my son and I did. You will likely get dirty if you have anything to do with the animals, and a bit dusty at best. The accommodations are a work in progress as the family has been updating/enhancing the buildings/ranch since they moved in.
For the uninitiated, signing in at a ranch is quite different from a hotel. For example, there was no visible sign to announce we had arrived at the ranch. Although there were a few dogs around who barked as we pulled up, there was no one around and it was unclear where to "sign in". There are three main buildings on the ranch - two "homes" and a barn. As it turns out, the only "sign in" procedure is to be shown to your room, which would be in the middle building.
My son's review: Flip Flop Ranch was a great place to go. Playing with the kittens was one of the day's highlights. I enjoyed doing the chores and eating breakfast with the owners and other guests. I liked spending time with my mom, even when we cleaned out the barn. I really want to go back soon. Big Mac, the cow, was one of my favorites.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Stay in a rural farm house 20 minutes away from Big Bear ski resorts. Located on a real farm, you can feed animals, milk the goat and enjoy the quiet solitude of the countryside. A safe place for your kids to run around and be kids! The Space Farmstays offer a peek into a rural lifestyle that disappeared for many when the family farm was sold, often generations ago. There is a pace to life on the farm that starts with the early morning wake-up call by the rooster and the sound of the farm equipment and that ends with quiet and the total darkness at night, except for a fantastic view of the stars. The Flip Flop Ranch farmstay has sheep and lambs, pigs and piglets, cows, chickens, bunches of barn cats (with plenty of kittens), geese, ducks, turkeys, goats, horses and more. Host a family get together, a business retreat or a hangout with friends! "Just being on a farm is good for the soul."-Scottie Jones farmstay US Your visit starts off with a tour through the farm to learn where things are and to gain some basic knowledge about what we do and the types of livestock we raise. You are welcome to join us for feeding and milking in the morning and afternoon! Main home Beds are as follows: 2 full beds in room 1 downstairs, 2 full beds in room 2 downstairs, 2 queens in master bedroom upstairs, 1 king in bedroom upstairs, 1 full in bedroom upstairs. All beds will be freshly made with clean white linens and there will also be fresh bath towels and courtesy soaps provided for all our guests. There is no smoking permitted inside the home and unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate any pets. Guests found with pets at the property will result in an immediate forfeiture of the remaining reservation days and loss of $500 security deposit. Basic rates (Including 8% Trans Occ Tax), depending on season are: $300/night mid week (Sunday-Thursday). Weekend rates (Friday-Sat)are $400/nt and Holiday rates are $450/nt with 3 night minimum. Specials or last minute discounts may be available within 10 days of a reservation booking. For actual rates on your trip date please refer to the calender. Signing of a Guest Occupancy Agreement and copy of drivers license will be required upon confirmation of reservation and may be sent via e-mail, text or US mail. ***We try our best to keep the calender updated but in the event of a conflict we will notify you within 24 hours of booking. Guest Access The entire farm house is yours to use, including the kitchen with full amenities. Feel free to wonder the farm and go into the petting zoo pen whenever you like to hug the fluffy sheep. Interaction with Guests All guests get a free tour of the farm and can join the farmers for feeding and milking in the morning and evening when possible. This depends on our schedule and whether or not you are around when we feed. Feel free to ask us about feeding times as it changes. Guest may be greeted by the farmer but if we are out running errands a combo lockbox is on-site for 24 hour key access upon arrival. Other Things to Note The home is located on a working farm surrounded by miles of beautiful desert with hardly any neighbors. Plenty of space to go hiking. Located five miles down the mountain from Big Bear and the ski areas. We're also only 22 miles (about a half hour) from Means Lake in Johnson Valley where King of the Hammers takes place. Johnson Valley also offers fantastic off highway vehicle areas for dirt biking or rock crawling all year long. ... more less