If you don't have a chance to venture into rural America this summer, you and a group of friends can at least pretend you are there for an evening at Red Barn Stables in Malibu.
The stables offer an old-fashioned stagecoach and hayrides for groups of 20 to 25. "We've had all kinds of groups do this," said Tricia Gerhardt, who books the evening rides. "We've had family groups, Girl Scouts and a group of square dancers who did little dance moves with their fingers when their caller called them out. And once we had a stripper." So much for the Norman Rockwell image.
"She was included in a group by a guy who wanted to surprise his buddies," Gerhardt said. "In the middle of the ride she just stood up and started to take it off. It certainly was a surprise!"
The basic fee is $150 for about a 45-minute ride through the nearby Calamigos Ranch. The group can bring along its own entertainment, but remember, straw is scratchy.
Red Barn Stables is located on Mulholland Drive about half a mile west of the intersection of Mulholland Drive and Kanan Road in Malibu. Information: (818) 707-9395.