Mountain Home Ranch Resort
A Place for Gathering Since 1913
Echoes From the Mountain January  2014

Upcoming Events


BayNVC Leadership Training

January 4 – 11

Sold out



Pathways Institute

January 11 – 18

B & B rooms available



Painting from the Wild Heart

January 18 – 24

B & B rooms available



California Forest Soils Council

January 24 – 26

B & B rooms available



Jewish Youth Group

January 31 – February 2

B & B rooms available



When you are planning your next gathering, or know someone who is, please think of us. We appreciate you helping us continue for the next 100 years.














Our Animal Friends

As you read this we are sitting on a beach in Hawaii enjoying a little break and finally celebrating the turning of half a century that my Twin sister and I did last August. The sad part was revising the feeding list for our menagerie for the staff that are tending them while we are gone. We lost two four legged friend is past year. Willy the Billy and more recently Barney, our large wether (male sheep) who was struggling with kidney failure. We tried both western and eastern medicine practices, but sadly were not able to turn it around. It is always so hard to lose a loved one, especially one we have bottled fed since he was 5 days old, but sadly it is a part of the cycle of life. He is feeling better now and will help the Almond tree we planted over him, grow big and strong. We were fortunate to find a female sheep at the local animal shelter, who got to meet Barney before he left us, and is now good buds with Betty, Barney’s sister. Wishing you and yours good health.


This is the statement that we lived with when we first took over running the Ranch. When you come to the Ranch, it is posted on the front of the lodge.





“When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly.”


Patrick Overton














We Want Your Feed Back


To help us into the next 100 years, we would like your input.


Three simple questions:

How do you feel when you come to the Ranch?

What make us unique?

What needs to be improved?


We look forward to hearing from you!




How’s the Weather Up There?

We often are asked questions like:  “What is the weather like in December [or February, or May]?”   We no longer know what to say.  So far, this year is shaping up to be the driest year since records have been recorded.  Last year we had heavy rains in November and December.  By the middle of December last year, the lake was going over the spillway – completely full.  Now it is over six feet below capacity.  The groups this past month thoroughly enjoyed the warm dry weather, but we worry about the effect on our native plants and animals.  Normally by now the canyon trails are literally crawling with our cute little newts, enjoying the return of wet weather to lay their eggs and we would go to sleep to the serenades of a thousand mating frogs.  Mother Nature is resilient, and we are confident that she will outlast the things we humans do to mess with her, but still we worry.

New Year!

What an amazing Centennial Year. The highlights of the year: an open house in April, our family reunion in July, and a family wedding in September. The best part is a renewed commitment to welcoming in the next 100 years. Our family has been through so much in 100 years: two world wars, a great depression, catastrophic forest fires, house fires, births, deaths, life at its’ fullest, and still we come through it all and say, ‘let’s do it again’. The beauty is we know what we are made of: perseverance, commitment, strength on charactor and most importantly love. A love for one another and this land that we have been so richly blessed with. We know we can do this and with your continued support, we look forward to what the next 100 years will bring.

Much Love

Suzanne & John

Centennial Moment 

The more things change the more they stay the same


Seventeen years ago, George was trying valiantly to keep the Ranch going as a restaurant and inn, even after losing his wife Joey to cancer and battling illness himself. With such challenges the upkeep of the Ranch was not a high priority. The Ranch was having financial problems and the infrastructure was falling into disrepair. John and Suzanne were living on the property but working professional jobs. On the weekends they hiked the land, reopening some of the old trails and doing what they could to help with maintenance, pools being an easy target, since John spent his childhood working on them. Then one October morning they were awakened to a fire on the ridge of the canyon facing their home. With 65+ MPH wind gusts a tree came into a power pole and started a fire. Fortunately the winds were blowing away from the Ranch, but still made them pause at 2:00AM. They evacuated the few animals they had at the time. What was important ‘stuff’ wise fit into the trunk of the car. What was really important was saving the land. So the first phone call was to friends that would take the animals, and the parents of their baby god son that was with them that night. The next phone call was to a neighbor with a large dozer who was asked to come put in a fire trail down in the canyon. At 4:00 AM a dozer with head lights was making its way up the canyon and a phone tree had been established with friends that were ready and willing to come up and help fight the fire. This was their wake up call.

That winter the family had some hard decisions to make. Who could take over running the Ranch or were things to be sold off? John and Suzanne, along with one other family group put together business proposals and in December the family voted to allow John and Suzanne the opportunity to make a go of the Ranch. So quitting two professional jobs, they took deep breaths and jumped in with a new vision: supplant the bed-and-breakfast model with one that featured group retreats. They converted the old “kids bar” and the original Mountain Volunteer Fire House into two meeting rooms with the hope that “if you build it, they will come.” And come they did. Just take a look at this month’s calendar – a month that traditionally the Ranch stayed empty. New roofs were needed on virtually all of the buildings. John’s job was to fall through, a la “Tim the Tool Man” thereby finding the dry rot. Thankfully we enjoyed the help of Steve Hall, a master carpenter and Suzanne’s step-dad, who filled the role of “Jack-of-all-trades” formerly performed by Duane Sands, John’s step-dad. Over 500 hundred gallons of paint have been applied everywhere. The cabin names were changed from things like “Alcatraz” and “City Hall” to the qualities of our vision: “Peace”, “Love”, “Beauty” and the like. The orchards, once so prevalent at the Ranch were slowly replanted and are now literally “bearing fruit”. The bar and restaurant were closed, but the tradition of serving wholesome, home cooking to the guests staying here remained. The vision included continuing the Ranch tradition of serving youth. For years, the Ranch was home to foster teens – both official and unofficial. We now donate or reduce rates for youth programs for foster children, church youth groups, school groups and several times a year the “Every 15 Minute” drunk driving awareness programs at most of the Napa and Sonoma County high schools. They are proud to have received a certificate signed by Arun Ghandi, the grandson of Mahatma Ghandi, recognizing their efforts towards peace and making he area a better place to live. They were honored to sit and talk with him and hear his stories of growing up with his grandfather. The vision also includes animals, and now feeding carrots to the cows and other Ranch animals is a large part of the Ranch experience. They are dedicated to preserving the land, not only for the future generations of humans, but as a habitat for the animals who are increasingly being fenced out of the countryside around us.


Our commitment to this land.


The permacultural practices we brought to this land 7 years ago are starting to show the benefits. Wheel barrel loads of fruit from the trees, no major bug infestations and the berms with put in we noticed this summer are keeping the water ways flowing late into the season. A little bit of a challenge for both the family reunion and wedding, but some last minute ditching and laying down of straw took care of that. We are seeing more bird and a more diverse variety of them, happily fluttering around, eating the insects and fertilizing as they go. It feels good to know that every day we do things for this land, to keep it happy and healthy.

Thank You     Thank You     Thank You    Thank You
Thank you for your continued support. It is because of you that we are here starting our next 100 years.
Your kind words on TripAdvisor continue to make us one of the top choices for the Napa Valley/Calistoga/Wine Country. Keep them coming! If you have any photos, please add them they are making a difference!!!
Write a review we need your support:
Contact Info
Suzanne Pasky Fouts


2014 Special

2014 Special. Anyone driving up in a hybrid, electric or bio-diesel vehicle will get $20.00 off their total bill. Thank you for your commitment to our mother earth.

Offer Expires: December 31, 2014
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Mountain Home Ranch | 3400 Mountain Home Ranch Rd. | Calistoga | CA | 94515