The Llamas of El Capitan Canyon

An animal-sweet dose of springtime, found close to a rustic beach.

WHETHER... March is in like a lamb and out like a lion, or vice versa, can confound some people, even people who use the phrase, year after year, to describe the season's famous bluster. But whether you feel solid in your lion-lamb usage, one thing is for sure: 'Tis the season to admire furry animals of a sheeply, pasture-pretty sort. Spring demands it, really, by its very nature, given that the world is in a state of renewal, and alongside that renewal come the newborn beasties. But you don't need to visit with a brand new baby animal to savor this springly connection; walking among sheep and llamas and goats, in a gorgeous, not-too-far-from-the-beach setting, should do the trick. As should a rustic-type stayover in a cabin, tent, or yurt. Nope, you can't visit with llamas at most hotels in the Golden State, or even casual countrified inns, but you can at El Capitan Canyon of Santa Barbara. They've got beasties on the property, and a beastie-inclusive package on for spring: The Springtime Adventure Package.

THE PACKAGE... is on through most of the spring, wrapping up on June 12. The deal? Two nights in a Creekside Canyon Cabin, a guided hike -- make that privately guided -- out to see the property's llamas, sheep, and goats, a massage for two, and hot breakfast coupons. Call it rustic posh, with some spring-furry animal admiring thrown in, to keep you grounded as to the time of the year. It's a Sunday through Thursday thing and starts at $795, with some extras and asterisk. We're not going to demand that you have some lamb- or sheep-type interaction, but, please: It's spring. You can see the springtime animals on greeting cards and wrapping paper or you can get out and enjoy nature in a natural setting for a few days. (Choose the latter.)

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