100 Miles From Here: Mt. Madonna Stables

First off, I can’t believe it has been over a month since I have posted. #badjessica

I am doing some very deep work on what my purpose and mission is and haven’t felt like sharing about it. Yet. #youknowiwill

So, for now, my apologies for going off the grid. But it has been essential. And good.



Speaking of streams…yesterday we were lucky enough to ride by one.

On horses.

Yes, you read that correctly!


We rode in the redwoods on Mt. Madonna.

Mt. Madonna County Park is over 3,000 acres of gorgeous redwood forest and meadows. There are camping spots, hiking trails, picnic areas as well as an archery range and an amphitheater.

It is located between Gilroy to the east and Watsonville to the west in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

I have been up to the Mt. Madonna Conference, Retreat and Yoga Center several times before, but have never hiked – much less ridden – on the mountain before.

It was gorgeous!


When we first arrived at Mt. Madonna Stables we were a bit early for our 11:30 scheduled ride so we wandered around the impressive facility and introduced ourselves to the horses.

They have some beautiful horses there and I was excited to see a gorgeous Arabian stallion. When I was little it was my dream to be an Arabian horse trainer. 🙂

Our trail guide was late in getting back from a previous ride, which irked me a little, to be honest, since no one there acknowledged us, or the other couple who was wandering around for over 30 minutes too.  But once she got back and we got our gear on any hard feelings dissipated quickly. I mean, how can you be mad when you look so attractive? #cowboysarecooler


The ride was my gift to my sweetie who had never ridden a horse. Well, at least not properly. There was that one time a long time ago when he had been drinking and decided it was a good idea to jump a fence into a pasture and try to ride one of the horses in it. Let’s just say his ride was short lived and the horse seemed to know just where the berry brambles were. #smarthorse #badman

Once I explained to him that horses are prey animals and a big guy launching himself onto the horse’s back and grabbing on to it’s neck must have felt just like a giant predator attacking,  I think he regretted his actions. Thankfully he has shifted his energy and attitude about horses and did a great job with Gio. #betterwithasaddle


I was so happy to be back in the saddle again and even though the ride was slow and steady,  given that most of the riders were inexperienced, I loved every minute of it.

This is truly one of my happy places! #favoriteperspective


The best part of the day was watching my sweetie feed the horses carrots after the ride. He really enjoyed himself! Yay!

We stayed and groomed the horses afterwards and as I curry combed and brushed, I daydreamed about working there –  tacking up for trail rides, grooming, mucking stalls, and all that horse-y stuff.  #dreamjob

Afterwards we were super hungry so we headed down the mountain and took the back way behind Elkhorn Slough to Moss Landing for some yummy food (and a margarita – or two – for me) at The Whole Enchilada.

We shared some deep-fried artichoke hearts that came out super fast, super hot, and super tasty with a spicy dipping sauce.


I had a sweet corn tamale that came with unexciting rice and beans on the side. The tamale was yummy though, stuffed with shredded chicken and served with a big dollop of sour cream on one side and fresh guacamole on the other. The salsa verde on top was a little heavy handed, but it had a good, mild flavor. The dish was delish, but totally over-priced in my opinion,  at $17. The menu said tamaleS, but it only came with one. #sadface

The margaritas were really refreshing and had those old school plastic mermaids perched on the rim. Do you remember those?

Sweetie had the namesake dish – The Whole Enchilada – which came with a delicious red sauce and was filled with perfectly cooked fresh white fish. He really enjoyed it!









All in all we had an epic day at #MtMadonnaStables and filled our tummies to the brim afterwards at #TheWholeEnchilada.

And it was all within 100 miles from here. #bonus

What are your favorite spots around town? Share in the comments!

Think Globally and Travel Locally,





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