Nestled in the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo County, Critter
Creek Ranch is set amid the rolling Cabernet wine grapes that support
the wine industry flourishing on the Central Coast. Designed and
built by John and Michele Rickwald, this 10 acre ranchette is the
culmination of 5 years of combined efforts to build a unique location
to showcase local events and group functions. Born and raised in
southern California, John and Michele sold their towing service
and relocated to the Central Coast with their two sons in July 1994.
Raised in and around the motion picture industry, John learned his
trade from his father, a set painter for 20th Century Fox Studios.
John spent his younger years playing in and around sets like Daniel
Boone. This early exposure is probably the most burning reason for
John's desire to live in an old western town.
A first generation American (a Brit at heart), Michele would tell
anyone who would listen that she was a displaced country girl. She
learned at an early age that hard work and dedication reaped tangible
results. Her father, a landscaper by trade, was raised on a farm
-- and they say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Combine John's creative nature and Michele's stick-to-itiveness
and you get Critter Creek Ranch. It started as 10 acres of hardpan
with an old dead cornfield that was surrounded by aging barb wire
fencing. Today it boasts a pole barn, cattery, is cross fenced with
corrals, animal pens, green pastures and a raised garden. The orchard
has been regenerated and is producing multitudes of fruit for Michele
to can. One of 18 facades is finished and John is constantly adding
more lighting and effects to show off his creations. Michele and
John are constantly working to keep moving forward. Friends and
neighbors alike stop by regularly to see the new additions and get
ideas on improvements that might make their properties more like
that of Daniel Boone.
Epilogue: How did it get it name?? Michele emailing her trials
and tribulations to a friend about critters migrating through the
dry creek that runs through their property jokingly began referring
to her place as Critter Creek Ranch... It stuck!