Ranches: Home on the Range in California

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The romantic and intriguing homes set in the idyllic landscapes of the great California ranches. The lure of the West has been strong in American history, representing the promise of beautiful, wild landscapes, broad vistas, clean air, and bright skies. Set on this magnificent land are the homes and their interiors—from the 150-year-old Rancho Camulos of Ramona fame to Jack London’s Beauty Ranch on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain to the working ranches of today. Ranches: Home on the Range in California presents an expression of a lifestyle steeped in self-sufficiency, love of the land, and unpretentiousness. Arising from the tradition of the Mexican land-grant ranchos and the spread of Spanish Catholic missions, the ranches of California have a long and multifaceted history, which is examined by author Marc Appleton, who himself can attest to the challenges and charms of ranch life. Located in dramatic landscapes of rolling hills, upon the sides of mountains, or in vast plains bordered by snow-capped mountains, the featured homes demonstrate archetypal types—from the Spanish-style hacienda form of historic Rancho Camulos, with its open porch and broad eaves, to the New England clapboard traditional, as seen in Jack London’s Beauty Ranch. At once a tribute to a historic form and a fading way of life, as well as a celebration of renewal, architectural beauty, and the romance of the West, this book offers the reader an immersive experience of living on the land.

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