ABOUT THE RANCH
Nestled in the rolling hills of Cayucos and overlooking the Pacific Ocean is where you’ll find Swallow Creek Ranch. 617 acres of grazed ranch land is home to about 60 head of happy cattle, hundreds of nesting cliff swallows as they migrate in the spring, a beautiful colony of Monarch butterflies in the winter and the Waddell-Grafton Family.
We feel very fortunate to call the Central Coast and Swallow Creek Ranch home. My dad, Duane Waddell, began running cattle here in the 1980's and was responsible for the majority of riparian restoration and tree plantings on the ranch. He was also involved with the Cayucos Land Conservancy, which helped acquire the land that is now the Estero Bluffs State Park, directly across the highway from Swallow Creek Ranch.
Duane, now in his 80's, has turned over management of the ranch to me, his daughter Kyla. Myself, along with my husband Paul, and our two little busy bees, manage the event barn and all the happenings on the ranch. We can’t wait to chat to you about your upcoming celebration!
SUSTAINABILITY AND CONSERVATION
We take our role as stewards of this land very seriously and make habitat preservation and conservation a priority. We have fenced off and restored much of the Swallow Creek riparian area and replanted thousands of native plants. In addition to these efforts, we have obtained a Safe Harbor Agreement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and work in conjunction to protect California Red-legged frogs and Western Pond Turtles, two species of special concern.
Swallow Creek Ranch is also a working cattle ranch producing grass-fed, hormone free beef. We understand the delicate balance between grazing and a more natural and native habitat. Therefore, we focus on sustainable practices and have partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Council and Cal Fire to eradicate invasive plant species, enhancing the range land while encouraging regrowth of native bunch grasses.
There is a rich history on this land that extends back millennia to Native American Chumash settlements. In 1769, the first Spanish land expedition was recorded here referring to the area as Estero. This land became part of the Mission San Luis Obispo and now includes Estero Bluffs State Park.
Later, the large Ranchos were subdivided and sold off. Many Italian speaking Swiss immigrants came to coastal California in the mid and late 1800's. In 1890, Celestino Filipponi purchased the ranch and raised dairy cattle here. Three generations of Fillipponi's contributed to the agricultural development of the ranch and most of the historic buildings on site were constructed under their ownership. The old creamery, restored and now serving as the bridal suite, was used to hide rum during prohibition and during renovation, an old still was found!