Winter Dude Ranch Vacations

November 27th, 2014 by Ashlie Dove

Enjoy the Cold Season in a Rustic Setting of a Dude Ranch

If you want to enjoy the beauty of winter in a setting different from home, you’ll be glad to know that dude ranches are open during the colder season. In addition to allowing you to watch the falling snow while cozying up with a loved one in front of the fire, ranches open in winter host a different set of winter activities like snow-shoeing, ice skating and horseback riding through snow. So if you’re sold to the idea of heading to a dude ranch this winter, here are three great options you should seriously consider.

#1) Echo Valley Ranch and Spa

Nominated as TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice, Echo Valley Ranch and Spa is nestled in the mountains of British Columbia. A few hours away from Vancouver, the ranch is an all-natural treat where Canadian wildlife grazes peacefully around and the mountain spring water reflects the same purity as the air. On the inside, the rooms are warm and comfortable while the exclusive Royal Suite promises privacy and total relaxation. However, if you’d rather stay at a cabin, you can take your pick from a number of unique types available at EV Ranch.

If you’re in the area during winter, make sure to avail the Winter Ranch Vacation Getaway between December 12, 2014 and January 5, 2015. Some of the great offerings of this vacation package include:

• A glass of champagne or mulled wine on your arrival
• Guided snowshoeing walks every day
• Ice fishing at the nearest lake with the ranch’s own equipment
• Cross Country skiing
• Thai yoga stretching classes every day
• Weekly Thai banquet and Thai dancing
• Weekly cooking demonstrations

For a minimum of $186 per person per night (Canadian $210), you’ll also get to use all the ranch’s facilities, including free Wi-Fi, a heated swimming pool, games room, Karaoke, and fitness center.

Echo Valley Ranch

Echo Valley Ranch

#2) Lone Mountain Ranch

Established as a cattle ranch in 1915, Lone Mountain Ranch is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Montana. It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places, giving it a significant role in the history of the state as well as the guest ranch industry nationwide. You can still see many century-old original structures on the dude ranch, including the Meadowlark guest cabin, corrals and barns. Lone Mountain also flaunts exclusive Northern Rocky Mountain cuisine delicacies such as elk chops.

If you want to head to Montana this winter and rough things up a little, the Winter Discovery Package at Lone Mountain Ranch will cost you $2,300 per week per adult. For this price, you’ll get the following perks:

• A choice between cabins and rooms in Ridgetop Lodge
• Access to Nordic trails and snowshoe trails
• Sleigh ride dinner
• Ski and snowshoe rental
• Gourmet BBQ trail lunch between January and March
• Evening programs at the Ranch saloon

For a little extra, you can add other things to this list, including Yellowstone Park snowcoach tours, ski lessons, and massage therapy.

Lone Mountain Ranch

Lone Mountain Ranch

#3) Big Bar Guest Ranch

Six hours away from Vancouver and nestled in the Marble Range of the Southern Cariboo in British Columbia, Big Bar Guest Ranch is the perfect place to experience rustic living just like the cowboys. Its main attraction is the Harrison House, which was built on the land in 1936. On the inside, it welcomes guests to relax and enjoy the warmth of a fireplace built with rocks from the Fraser River. Surrounding the house is an extensive lawn where you can play soccer, badminton or even horseshoes. After a long day, you’re welcome at the communal dining room where you can enjoy authentic ranch delicacies in hearty portions.

Now if you plan to head to Big Bar Guest Ranch during the colder season, be prepared to be welcomed by plenty of snowfall. The serenity of the area combined with the cozy atmosphere inside the cabins will make you forget your worries back home. You can also visit the nearby pond to skate, go ice fishing, or explore the surrounding country either on skis, snowshoes or even horseback. Currently, the winter rates are $150 per night for cabins, $25 per stay for the ski pass, and $65 per person for each ride.

One thing you should know is that the dude ranch’s restaurant will be closed, so you’ll be cooking your meals in your cabin’s fully equipped kitchen. However, if you plan to be at the ranch during Christmas, you can celebrate with a traditional meal with the ranchers and other guests for an additional fee.

Big Bar Ranch

Big Bar Ranch

So whether you plan on spending your winter dude ranch vacation indoors or out in the snow, check out these three options first for the best experience around.

 

Ranch at Rock Creek Beet Salad

November 18th, 2014 by Ashlie Dove

The Ranch at Rock Creek combines modern  luxuries with rustic ranch living and their Granite Lodge is where all the activity begins. Inside the Granite Lodge is the Great room, dining room, Silver Dollar Saloon, the Granite Spa, outdoor pool with patio, jacuzzi and  Mercantile. Executive Josh Drage serves up world class cuisine featuring Montana raised beef, lamb and chicken accompanied by local organic produce. This Beet Salad is an example of the caliber of dining you can expect at the Ranch at Rock Creek.

Ingredients

6 medium-large beets
1 lemon
1 orange
3 twigs of thyme
olive oil
sea salt
1 bunch of watercress
1 small bunch of parsley
1 kumquat
Marcona almonds to taste
1/2 cup goat cheese
1 cup olive oil
fresh mint
1/2 cup white balsamic
salt and pepper

 Directions

  1. Trim and clean the ends of the beets and place on a long piece of aluninum foil.
  2. Halve the orange and lemon and place on beets along wiht a dash of olive oil and fresh sprigs of thyme
  3. Fold foil over and fold again on edges to create a sealed package. Roast in a 400F oven for an hour. The foil will puff to create a pillow shape
  4. Remove from the oven and let rest for an hour without puncturing the foil
  5. In a blender, add the goat cheese, mint, white balsamic, salt and pepper. Turn blender on and add olive oil by drizzling it through the top of the blender until fully mixed
  6. Remove beets from the foil and trim tops and bottoms again. Peel off skin with a paring knife and quarter.
  7. Trim the watercress and slice the kumquat removing any seeds. Pick the parsley.
  8. To serve, place a small puddle of vinaigrette in the center of the plate and build the salad on it.
  9. Garnish with the almonds, white anchovy and parsley
Beet Salad

The Creek Beet Salad

Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch

November 10th, 2014 by Ashlie Dove

Rediscover the Wild West Experience at Colorado’s Oldest Dude Ranch

Log cabins, authentic Wild West meals, horseback riding, hayrides, and campfire – these are most of the things you may have on your list while vacationing at a dude ranch. However, at Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch, these are just some of the numerous attractions and activities you can indulge in. Perched at 7,500 ft. elevation in the southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park, this friendly guest ranch will give you a taste of days past while relieving you from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine in a peaceful valley on the banks of the Colorado River.

Bar Lazy J Ranch

Bar Lazy J’s Origins

Bar Lazy J takes pride in being the oldest continuously operating dude ranch in the state. Named the Buckhorn Lodge originally, the ranch was purchased in 1904 by James S. Ferguson and Edgar M. Messiter. James, his wife Florence and Edgar then decided to turn it into a resort, a profitable idea considering that many people stopped by during the travels. Even after James passed away, Florence married Edgar and continued his dream.

To add a dash of class to their resort, the ranch had a newly out debutante acting as the social secretary. In addition, guests had to produce a letter of reference before staying at the ranch. This was all the invitation Colorado’s elite needed, all of whom paid the then-hefty price of $5 for the American Plan, i.e. lodging, meals, horseback riding, fishing, singing and square dancing, and cookouts.

The Buckhorn Lodge has undergone many changes since it opened its doors in 1912. Under the ownership of Jerry and Cheri Amos-Helmicki since 1995, it became less of a posh resort and turned into an original dude ranch that radiates hospitality and friendliness while promising a quality ‘Western Experience for everyone’.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pasta Fagioli From Sugar & Spice Ranch

November 5th, 2014 by Ashlie Dove

With the cold weather comes the crock pot. Here is a recipe from the folks at Sugar & Spice Ranch that will warm your tummies in the Winter. Here’s a great recipe for Pasta Fagioli that is bound to be a hit with your family. It feeds a crowd so you can freeze the rest or make it for party.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. of ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomato’s, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (16 ounce) can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 (10 ounce) cans of beef stock
3 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. pepper
5 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. tabasco sauce (optional)
1 (20 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
8 ounces of pasta

Directions:

  1. Brown the beef and drain the fat and then put into crock pot with all other ingredients except the pasta.
  2. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on High for 4-5 hours. Add the pasta 30 minutes before eating.
  3. Serve with crusty warm bread!!! Note: if you do not have a large crock pot, cut the recipe in half.

Note: Pasta Fagioli also freezes wonderfully, so you can make a big batch and freeze the rest!!! Enjoy everyone.

Pasta Fagioli

Bar 10 Ranch

October 29th, 2014 by Ashlie Dove

Discover Western Hospitality at the Grand Canyon

If you want to wake up to the delicious smells of an authentic cowboy breakfast, explore on horseback the marvels of the Grand Canyon, and go boot stompin’ in the evening, Bar 10 Ranch is where you should be. The working cattle ranch is just nine miles from the Grand Canyon in one of the remotest areas in the west, allowing you to truly leave behind the city life and enjoy the simple life the Wild West became famous for.

History of Bar 10 Ranch

Bar 10 Ranch has been the home of five generations of the Heaton family, starting from Tony Heaton and his wife Ruby. The founding couple expanded their little home by purchasing nearby small ranches over the years. Today, Bar 10 is stretched over 10,000 deeded acres and continues being built by Tony and Ruby’s six children and their own little cowboys and cowgirls.

However, it was Tony himself who turned the ranch house into a travel destination. Realizing that most river rafters traveling down the Colorado River would have had their fill of the cold water and sun, he offered rafting companies and their clients the chance to stop by his ranch. There, they could include a visit to the Grand Canyon to their vacation itinerary and later use his ranch’s airstrip (nicknames as Whitmore International Airport) to travel back to Las Vegas.

Why 13,000 Visitors Drop by the Bar 10 Ranch

From 125 visitors in the 1980s to over 13,000 in the 2000s, Bar 10 Ranch has become a popular destination on the Arizona Strip. In addition to authentic western hospitality, the following factors make it one of the excellent dude ranches to stay at:

Two Accommodation Options for Varying Tastes

You can choose between staying at the Lodge or in one of the ranch’s 13 Conestoga Wagons. Built in 1983, the Lodge boasts an Old West theme through small details such as wagon wheel chandeliers and wood beams. The building overlooks the Grand Canyon and offers you a full view of lush surrounding lawns. On the other hand, the covered wagons come with double mattresses, electric lanterns, and a bench seat. These promise visitors a peek into the lifestyles of cowboys and early settlers.

 

Bar 10 Accommodations

Conestoga Wagon Accommodations

Bar 10 Accommodations

Lodge Accommodations

Authentic Western Meals for Hearty Appetites

Mealtimes are special at Bar 10 Ranch. Not only do you get to swap stories and meet new friends around the table, but you get to taste western dishes cooked in Dutch oven pots for authentic flavors. As the ranch takes pride in being self-sufficient, the cowgirls in charge of the kitchen prepare homemade rolls and deserts which complement delicious, slow cooked roasts. However, what truly makes mealtime stand out is that meals are served buffet style. So you can go for seconds or even thirds if you want to without paying extra.

Bar 10 Ranch Dining

Bar 10 Ranch Dining

Variety of Activities, Especially Near the Grand Canyon

Whether you’re staying overnight at the dude ranch or simply dropping by for the day, be prepared to enjoy fun-filled activities at the Grand Canyon. You can take part in an ATV adventure that can take anywhere between 1.5 hours to a full day. On the other hand, if you prefer exploring scenic areas cowboy-style, you’re welcome to go horseback riding on short trails near the lodge or opt for longer rides to secluded areas. Other activities you can enjoy at Bar 10 Ranch are hiking into the Canyon, river rafting in the Colorado River, skeet shooting, and helicopter tours. You can also get up, close and personal with the area’s flora and fauna at the Nature Center or end your day around a campfire or singing and dancing with the cowboys and gals of Bar 10.

Bar 10 Ranch A

ATV Tours in the Grand Canyon

Tempting Packages with Equally Attractive Prices

The Basic Overnight package, which is designed for ATV and short-term visitors, offers dinner, lodging and breakfast for as low as $115 per person per night. The dude ranch also offers exciting packages for vacationers, such as the Grand Canyon-Colorado River Rifting Trips package. Offered between May and September, this package allows you to explore the vistas and canyons of the Colorado River before touring Arizona’s geological marvel. However, if you don’t like any of the packages available, you can easily get Bar 10 to customize one according to your requirements.

The Bottom Line

Despite being a functioning cattle farm, Bar 10 Ranch is fully dedicated to making its visitors’ experience a unique one, be it through the authentic accommodations and food or variety of activities offered. So make sure to check this ranch out for your next vacation.