Autumn is my favorite time for short weekend or day escapes. So many towns have seasonal celebrations from craft and farmer's markets to state fairs and sprawling corn mazes. These day- or weekend-long festivals are such a lovely way to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of fall.
Too often, I never make it further north than Santa Barbara for the weekend, when just a little farther up the road there's a wild and natural playground waiting to be explored. And The Alisal Ranch is the perfect place to begin.