Make Myself at Home: Rancho Dos Vistas

Stunning Gaviota Coast Beauty in Any Weather

Address: 2381 Refugio Road, Goleta

Status: On the market

Price: $11,995,000

Let me be perfectly clear: I am not complaining about this weekend’s rain. We need the rain. We want the rain. I’m super happy that we finally got a taste of the sweet wet stuff falling from the sky. However, I did not miss the irony this past Sunday when I took the drive up to the top of Refugio Road to view Rancho Dos Vistas – and there was absolutely no view. Remember Sunday? It was pouring. I could barely see four feet in front of my face, let alone enjoy the panoramic view.

From its name alone, one would expect a worthy view from Rancho Dos Vistas. To add to my anticipation, I had previewed the property’s marketing materials. They were full of gorgeous photos of the views and promised “some of the best views that Santa Barbara has to offer of both the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Valley.” So you’ll forgive me if I was the tiniest bit disappointed that the rain completely prevented me from seeing the views for which the ranch was named.

There were multiple consolation prizes, however. On the drive up to the house, I saw two deer scamper across the road and climb up a steep hill. I also experienced the rare treat of watching and listening to the falling rain while I was cozily ensconced inside the beautiful ranch house. There was plenty to enjoy on this stormy Sunday visit.

Rancho Dos Vistas, which literally means two views, is composed of 1,440 acres full of history and scenic splendor. The land includes a private pond and more than 40 miles of roads and trails with caves and rock formations. While most of these features were off-limits to me on Sunday because of the weather, the boulders and oak trees that I was able to see were stunning, rivaling any scenery that I’ve seen in any part of Santa Barbara.

One of Rancho Dos Vistas’ most notable details is its location. The ranch is adjacent to former president Ronald Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo, known as the “Western White House.” The two ranches sit behind one gated entrance and share a private road dubbed Pennsylvania Avenue. Signs of the Secret Service activity from Reagan’s term of residence — such as additional fencing and signage — are still in evidence as one drives that road today.

Since the weather forced me to limit my explorations to the house, I got a good look at every room. The main house consists of three distinct levels that flow together well, giving an overall impression of spaciousness yet still providing separate, defined areas. The front door opens into a dining room and living room combined into one great room that unabashedly focuses on the ocean view beyond the house. The far wall is all windows and glass doors, bringing the outside in and inviting visitors to step out onto the flagstone porch beyond. Around a corner is another living room opening onto a side porch, sharing the same amazing view but in a cozier space. 

Back at the front door, up a few steps to the right, is the kitchen. It is an understated room, with a mix of natural materials blended beautifully into a functional yet minimalist space. A rustic white-tiled backsplash combine with subtle blue-patterned tiles above the stove for the only real decorative touches in an otherwise neutral palette. The kitchen has its own views, both out the front and back of the house, plus skylights for even more light. There is a big island in the center of the large room, as well as a breakfast nook in one corner. A separate laundry room behind the kitchen provides further convenience and smart use of the space. 

Upstairs is the master suite, where the huge bathroom features a rainfall shower and double walk-in closets. The whole house feels like a hideaway, but the master bedroom is the pièce de résistance. With big windows facing three different directions, it’s easy to imagine waking up in that room, to those views, and never wanting to leave this haven.

The entire house has beautiful hardwood floors, beamed wooden ceilings, and myriad touches throughout combining natural materials and state-of-the-art convenience. One example is almost invisible retractable screens on every window, providing unobstructed visibility with the option of screens at your fingertips if you want to open any of the windows at any time.

Almost connected to the house, and functioning as an additional wing, is a separate one-bedroom, one-bath guesthouse. Built with the same substantial feel and understated yet impeccable style as the main house, it is one long wing with a living room, a bathroom in the middle, and a bedroom on the end. It doesn’t have a kitchen, but a coffeemaker sitting out on top of a console in the bedroom made me feel like I could easily live in the guesthouse. Food? Who needs food?

As I drove back down the hill, I felt awash in the awe of nature and enveloped in the Zen bubble of supreme calm and privacy that Rancho Dos Vistas exudes. Nothing about the house screams for attention. Rather, it sits regally and comfortably, content to take a backseat to the natural beauty of its surroundings. Even without experiencing its namesake views, I had fallen in love with the house and the setting of Rancho Dos Vistas.

Rancho Dos Vistas is currently for sale in Gaviota, listed by Kerry Mormann and Associates of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Reach Kerry at (805) 689-3242 or


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