Gene Kilgore’s Ranch Vacations

Ranch Vacations
The Leading Guide to Guest and Resort, Fly-Fishing, and Cross-Country Skiing Ranches in the United States and Canada, 6th Edition.

Mom, writer, dude ranch fan: Nancy Schretter

IMG_3807SMART RANCH TRAVELER

At the recent Dude Ranchers’ Association Annual Convention in Cody, Wyoming, one of the keynote speakers was Nancy Schretter (at left), Managing Editor of The Family Travel Network. That’s the award-winning family travel site featured on the The Today Show, CNN, America Online, Parents Magazine and in USA Today.

Ranchweb’s own Gene Kilgore attended the conference and was impressed with Schretter’s talk. “It was upbeat and positive,” says Kilgore, “ explaining how much guest ranches have to offer to families and how guest ranch owners can position a ranch vacation as a multisport family travel outlet.” So we set out to learn more about Schretter and her online Family Travel Network (FTN).

Launched in 1995, FTN serves readers as an’ unbiased source of family travel advice, reviews, bargains, and articles by travel industry experts’. According to the website, FTN is the nation’s ‘oldest and most comprehensive free online site devoted exclusively to family travel and planning great vacations with kids’. Based in McLean, VA, FTN is produced by Beacon Interactive, a division of The Beacon Group, Inc.

FTN’s Managing Editor, Nancy Schretter,  is an award-winning travel journalist and editor, mom, and a busy gal. But in between deadlines, we pinned Schretter down for a brief chat with her to talk about how she got into the world of family travel,  how dude ranches can work best in a families’ vacation plans, and how ranchers can work smarter to appeal to families.
Here is Ranchweb’s  Q&A session with Schretter:
Ranchweb: How did you get started with FTN?

Schretter: The Beacon Group (parent company of the Family Travel Network) was publishing  newsletters in 1995 and we saw the need for more information on family and multi-generational travel. America Online (AOL) came to us to talk about partnering to take some of our other newsletters online. I told AOL about the family travel newsletter and they suggested that we do it online with them. It turned out to be a winning combination—we launched and grew with AOL, reaching hundreds of thousands of families. Eventually, we moved out onto the Internet where our content can be seen by everyone.

Ranchweb: How is FTN’s coverage different from other travel sites?

Schretter: The Family Travel Network is an independent, award-winning online travel magazine providing unbiased coverage of family travel destinations and lodging options. The site provides extensive firsthand destination information and city guides; detailed reviews of resorts, cruises and lodging options; lots of family trip planning advice; a wide variety of vacation ideas; “been there-done that” family travel tips; money-saving hot deals; and more. We do not sell travel of any kind, so we can cover whatever we think is best with no hidden agendas. Our articles are written by seasoned family travel journalists and travel industry experts who are also moms and dads who travel extensively with their own families. Our coverage is widespread, so we have information on great family places that are around the corner or across the globe.

Ranchweb: We heard you’ve taken a ranch vacation in New York. What did you love most about your dude ranch trip?

Schretter: Our family loved the horses, the outdoors, and all of the cool things there were to do. My kids and I were very into horses and animals, so that was a huge attraction. There were lots of activities that we could do as a family, which made for great memories and bonding experiences. In addition to all of the horseback and pony rides, there were sports activities, water fun, kids programs and lots of evening activities, too. The kids liked the sing-alongs. We packed a ton of fun into our short time there. The fact that it was all-inclusive was also a big plus.
Ranchweb: How can the dude ranching industry (and ranches specifically) work harder to get its message out to the world of family travel – especially to moms?

Schretter: Picking the right ranch can be a confusing process, and Moms are always stressed for time when searching for the perfect family vacation. That’s why I love Ranchweb. It’s a great informational resource for families. Ranchweb cuts through all the Internet clutter and helps parents find the perfect match between their family’s need and interests and what individual ranches offer. That’s a real time saver!

When I started looking into ranches, I was blown away by the number and types of ranch experiences that are available for families. There are so many different options, and there’s definitely a ranch to suit almost every type of family. There’s no one “set” ranch experience, so it’s important to get rid of any preconceived notions. Parents need to understand that there are also so many different things that families can do on a ranch. It’s more like a multi-sport vacation: you can do horseback riding, hiking, fly fishing, rafting, swimming, mountain biking, and so much more. It’s impossible to get bored!

Moms need to hear how well a ranch vacation works for all ages – from younger children, ‘tweens and teens all the way up to grandparents. Ranches need to get their message out to everywhere moms are: online, via social media, print, and broadcast. It’s also important to hear the message from moms who have taken ranch vacations so they can get firsthand information and an accurate feel for all the activities and what makes ranches so great for families. I also think that people need to understand how great the owners and staff are. That’s definitely a big part of the ranch vacation appeal. It’s families catering to families, and that makes it very special.

Ranchweb: Thanks, Nancy! We hope moms who follow the Family Travel Network will try Ranchweb to help them in their search for the perfect ranch vacation. And we’ll make sure to ask our readers to take a gander at The Family Travel Network.

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Dude ranchers to meet in Cody, Wyoming

The Dude Ranchers’ Association Annual Convention is next week in Cody, Wyoming. Held at the Holiday Inn, January 18th – 22nd, the convention is a great place to meet the ranchers, show off  products and services, and be involved in useful seminars and informal discussions. (Our Ranchweb guru, Gene Kilgore, will be attending and when he gets back, he’ll give us a full report.)

The DRA Convention showcases numerous speakers and seminars related to the various aspects of the industry, hospitality, marketing, etc.  In addition, there will be fun events, entertainment and the annual Dude Ranchers’ Educational Trust Dinner and Auction.

The agenda includes seminars on Adventure Travel Media;  PR 101 + What is the Media Looking For;  Epic Processing:  The Best Solution for all Payment Solutions; Amanda Esch, Davis & Cannon, LLP:  The Best Defense is a Good Offense; Peter Askew of DudeRanch.com on  Google Analytics 101.

Guest speakers include Nancy Schretter, Managing Editor, Family Travel Network; Dr. Sorensen-Equine Learning Center of America. There’ll be a DRA Hall of Fame Presentation, a Horse Safety Program Report, time to meet vendors, and the big President’s Banquet at the famed Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

The Convention is the largest attended DRA Event of the Year. For more information, contact the DRA office at info@duderanch.org or 866-399-2339.

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Want a mention in Ranchweb’s Oct. blog? Tell us!

Fall colors at the dude ranch–that’s the topic we started this blog with in, gulp, 2008. And it’s what we want to write about in October. Now you can help us. Post a note on our Facebook page.Tell us what kind of fall color trees your ranch guests can enjoy, when the fall color peaks, and how late in the year you’re open. We’re waiting to hear from all you Ranchweb members!

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Eco-friendly and ‘green’ dude ranch vacations

Green dudes

What better way to vacation ‘green’ than to visit an eco-friendly dude or guest ranch. After all, ranches have had years of practice in being careful stewards of their lands in order to be successful.

In recent years, many dude or guest ranch ranches have gone beyond their regular practices of ensuring streams stay clean and pastures stay healthy. Now they’re actively working to make sure they use less energy, recycle, re-use, and compost whenever possible, and grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Some have harvested the power of the wind, others tap into geothermals, and a few have put lands into conservation easements, making sure they’ll stay ‘green’ for generations to come. If you want a fun, relaxing vacation that lets you stay ‘green’, think of a dude and guest ranch vacation. Here are some places to start:

BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa

Echo Valley Ranch and Spa

Echo Valley Ranch and Spa

Owners Norm and Nan Dove believe that “our responsibility as stewards of the land extends to the community with whom we share this wilderness. We believe that all cultures can live and learn from each other in harmony, and make every effort that our staff reflects the traditions of many nationalities. This includes our working alongside the local First Nations peoples whose territory lies at our door, as well as with others in our local community so that we all might prosper.”

Since 1998, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa has embraced the values of a Triple Bottom Line philosophy (sustainability in environmental, social, and economic terms). Caring as much for its people as it does for the environment, the ranch has long enjoyed success as an eco-aware destination (in fact, well before ‘living green’ went mainstream).

Some of the things are possible simply because it is a ranch and not a hotel, including:

Food recycling: Echo Valley is practicing zero-waste in its food acquisition and production. “We have pigs–enough said!!”

Composting: The ranch composts everything it can for the organic vegetable gardens (including beans, beets, leeks onions, peas, salad greens, and more).

Recycling. Water: “We operate our own wells and have a large septic field so what come in goes out ( we do have ultra low flush toilets and water saver shower heads).”  Water comes from natural springs on site. Other: Guest rooms have recycling boxes for various recyclables, from paper to tin and plastic.

Energy: low energy light bulbs are in place throughout the ranch. Two self-sustaining geothermal systems heat the Baan Thai, swimming pool and Lookout Lodge. It works as a heat exchange system (owners say it’s “expensive to install but once its in, its pretty foolproof”.) Supplemental energy is generated hydraulically or with propane, both of which deliver zero to a low C02 emissions
Packaging and water bottles: They reduce the amount of package that comes into the ranch and provide all guests with stainless steel water bottles.

For more details, visit the sustainability section on their website.

COLORADO

Coulter Lake Guest Ranch

Coulter Lake Guest Ranch is nestled in a small mountain valley
twenty-one miles Northeast of Rifle, Colorado. Situated in the White River National Forest, the ranch is home to incredible natural beauty as well as a wide range of wildlife. That’s why being eco-friendly is so important here. Owner Jack Allard writes to tell us, “We are off the grid, using hydro, some solar, and a propane generator for our backup on all electrical needs.  And our water comes from underground springs.”

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

The new buzz—Going Green— isn’t new at Sylvan Dale.

According to ranch history, green practices have been in place on the ranch since 1946. Today, their philosophy—Renewable, Sustainable, Responsible— reflects their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices.
In fact, the ranch has been green ever since the lessons of the Great Depression. “Our parents, being children of the Great Depression, knew what it meant to recycle.” Which meant that nothing was ever thrown away. “Mom recycled plastic bags, and tin foil. Dad put things in storage, saying ‘We’ll use that some day!’”

In the 1990’s, the ranch made a major commitment to go green, initiating conservation easements. To date, Sylvan Dale has preserved over 1700 acres of foothill views and wildlife habitat.

“We’ll continue to follow the example our parents set to save the planet. It is so gratifying that doing the right thing and upholding the sustainable values we have held for years have become popular and important in today’s world,” says Susan Jessup, a second generation owner of the Sylvan Dale Ranch.

Sylvan Dale Ranch has a special Sustainability logo to reflect their Sustainability Mission: “To apply practices in our daily work routine that support a sustainable operation in harmony with the natural environment through the principles of “Reduce – Reuse – Recycle”.

(Congratulations:  Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, a Ranchweb Member, was recently selected as a member of The Green Hotel Association reflecting its status as an eco-friendly place to stay.)

MISSOURI

Buck and Spurs Guest Ranch

A  haven set in the scenic Ozark Hills, Buck and Spurs Ranch has ‘just enough comforts to let you enjoy roughing it’. The 700 acre ranch has cattle, horses, and wildlife along with 2 miles of private frontage on Big Beaver River. At the ranch, you can try your hand at fishing, swimming, canoeing, and, of course, you can ride Missouri Fox Trotter ranch horses (famed for their smooth gait) trained by a ‘Horse Whisperer’. The ranch also specializes in natural horsemanship clinics.

But when I speak to Sonny Huff about their ‘green’ practices at the ranch, you can hear the excitement in her voice. “We started several years ago adding solar and wind generated power to the ranch,” she says. “And our guests often ask for a ‘solar tour’, so we know they’re interested, too. She ticks off a list of what’s powered by alternative energy: a solar well, the lights in the new barn, a solar kiln, blowers, and fan in their small sawmill.

C. Huff (nobody has called him Cecil since his school days) confirms that  “our barn, where we train our horses, is powered by wind and solar, including our lights and small tools.” How well does it work? “When its cloudy and the solar panels don’t get a full charge, then its windy, so the combo works well.” They recently added a solar well–it has four panels and two strings of batteries that runs the pump. “So during the day, those batteries are getting a full charge, so I could potentially pump water three or four days without any sun,” he says. “And here, its unusual to have more than four cloudy days.” The ranch guests are very curious when they see the solar and wind power setup. C notes that, “I’m happy to show them how it all works!”

Initially, the cost of running electric lines to their new barn was what drove them to explore alternatives. But then, it took on new meaning. “It’s nice to know we are using nature for our power, and not adding to the problem of energy use,” Sonny notes. “And of course, there’s never a shortage of wind and sun out here!” When a recent storm blew through, knocking down power lines to the house, she explains, ‘we simply took our coffeemaker down to the barn, plugged it into the solar-powered system, and had a high old time!”

WYOMING

T Cross Ranch

The T Cross Ranch lies inside the Shoshone National Forest at an elevation of 7,800 feet, surrounded by an untouched country of pine forests and open meadows, trout-rich streams and small lakes, country that is scenically magnificent. This historic (1920’s-era) dude ranch is protective of its magnificant mountain setting and pristine wilderness. Threaded by trout-rich streams and dotted with breathtaking alpine meadows of the greater Yellowstone area, the T Cross is both unspoiled and environmentally friendly.
Owner Gretchen says “We have a wind turban and we raise our own beef!”  And, the ranch has “always followed the principle of treading lightly in our wilderness, leaving no trace behind.”

The ranch opened in 1918, first called the Hermitage. But to ensure that this beautiful place will always retain its original beauty, the T Cross has been on a conservation easement since 1978. Beyond that, the T Cross has gone further in the green direction:

Once you reach the ranch, most transportation is done “a horseback” (There are no excessive greenhouse gases here!). The ranch raises its own beef to ensure a high standard of quality meat with no hormones and no steroids. And, as of 2008, the ranch is powered from a wind turbine, harnessing the wind and conserving energy.

The goal of the T Cross? To “provide an opportunity for all to come and enjoy their public lands, while working toward another 90 years.” Sounds pretty good to us!

Newsflash

Hot off the presses: Gene Kilgore’s latest Dude Ranch Vacations guide

There’s a NEW BOOK out that wraps up the world of dude and guest ranch vacations in a neat, well-organized and well-written package. Gene Kilgore’s  Ranch Vacations 2011 ($22.95), the ultimate guidebook to all the best dude and guest ranch resorts around. Featuring more than 100 ranches across the country and the world, the guide this year takes on a new format and an easier-to-use size.  Featured on the cover is Montana’s newest ranch, the luxurious Ranch at Rock Creek.

The book, Ranch Vacations 2011, is available now on Amazon and also on Ranchweb.com. Look for it!

Newsflash

Find our page on Facebook!

You know we love dude and guest ranch resorts. Now we’re telling the world of Facebook all about the world of dude ranching. Come pay us a visit.

We share ranch news, deals, features, and even a few laughs. Tell your friends about our new Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/3v7cwdg) on your Facebook page. And if you want to keep up with what we’re doing, become a fan and “like” us.

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How to pick the perfect dude ranch; spring ranch vacations

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Tips from the ranchers

Match the right dude and guest ranch with your family’s needs

Our mission at Ranchweb is to help you match the right ranch with your family. When you get that perfect match, you can form a lifelong connection, and have a dude ranch vacation you’ll never forget. But what kind of ranch to visit–luxury resort, working cattle ranch, kids-oriented or spa-oriented, or a combo of several types? And do you want to go to Wyoming, Colorado, or a state much closer to home? Given the hundreds of dude ranches there are, finding that match can be like, well, herding cats.

At Ranchweb.com we’re here to help. Gene Kilgore and his team have personally visited  ranches throughout the world, and have documented all the details (and photos) you could ever want about hundreds of ranches. And the amazing search programs at Ranchweb will make your search a computer-aided breeze. Click over to it and you’ll find several special features to help narrow your choices (and we provide detailed information on more than a hundred ranches located  all over the country).

Check out our exclusive Space Availability Finder and the Dude Ranch and Guest Ranch Search Engine helps you check out ranches and lodges that meet your preferences. For example: the price range, ranch activities you want, and whether or not you will be traveling with children.

Then, narrow the list by selecting a specific state, province or country, and click one of the resulting ranches or lodges to find more details on activities, accommodations, rates, food, kid’s programs and an array of photographs.

Or just go to the Ranch Categories page, showing more than 100 categories designed to help you find ranches that meet your specific interests. Want to combine some fishing with your guest ranch vacation? Click on Fishing and more than 80 ranches show up. Golf? See about 75 ranches. Or look for ranches with spas, pack trips, winter programs, conference facilities, riding specialties, resorts, working cattle ranches, cattle drives, and so forth.

At Ranchweb’s Interactive Map, you get a bird’s-eye view of the area you would like to travel to. Click on an area of the map and zoom into a state or province to see a listing of dude ranches and guest ranches. Then, just click on a ranch listing for more information; use the navigation tools at the top or bottom of the page or use the back button on your browser to review additional ranches and lodges. Finding the right ranch for you and your family can be a breeze.

Newsflash

Hot off the presses: Gene Kilgore’s latest Dude Ranch Vacations guide

There’s a NEW BOOK coming out soon. Gene Kilgore’s  Ranch Vacations 2011 ($22.95), the ultimate guidebook to all the best dude and guest ranch resorts around. Featuring more than 100 ranches across the country and the world, the guide this year takes on a new format and an easier-to-use size.  Featured on the cover is Montana’s newest ranch, the luxurious Ranch at Rock Creek.

The book, Ranch Vacations 2011, will be available on soon on Amazon and also on Ranchweb.com. Look for it!

Hot Deals

Spring ranches: Arizona and California

pic3-1ARIZONA

It’s peak season in Arizona right now. From the Bar 10 Ranch to the White Stallion Ranch, Arizona has great spring weather and a ton of variety.

Bar 10 Ranch

Bar 10 is near the magnificent Grand Canyon and serves up a choice of western ranch activities, delicious country-style meals, and real western hospitality, and lets you combine your trip with an exciting river rafting trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Its run by the Heatons, fifth generation ranchers on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

White Stallion Ranch

White Stallion is set in the wide open, unspoiled Arizona desert, yet is easy accessible to Tucson. With the the True family at the helm, White Stallion Ranch has established a reputation of caring about customer service and a real dedication to providing quality family vacations. The southwest ranch style cabins offer everything from small rooms for singles to deluxe suites. All rooms have plenty of comforts: air conditioning, private bath, tub/shower combination. Most have a queen bed plus a twin bed or a king and the deluxe suites have fireplace, whirlpool tub, king-size bed.

CALIFORNIA

Ranches in the land of Hollywood, movie stars, and Silicon Valley? Yep! Ranching has a long and fabled tradition in the golden state, and you can still tap into that history at some seven dude and guest ranches here, from the lovely Alisal Guest Ranch in SoCal to the luxurious Sierra Ranch Retreat in the high country. Spring is glorious in California (and so are the spring package deals).

Alisal Guest Ranch

Golf, horseback riding programs, and fabulous dining. A storied past includes visits from the Reagans, the Clark Gables, and many more celebs who didn’t want their names mentioned (no pictures, please!). What more could you ask (except, maybe 73 cottages range from one-bedroom studios to executive suites).

Sierra Ranch Retreat

In the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sierra Ranch Retreat is just two hours by car from Reno and a world away from stress. This six- bedroom custom-built log home features six river rock wood burning fireplaces, a complete gourmet kitchen, private baths in each room, Jacuzzi tubs and spectacular views. This is just the place when you want your vacation to be truly “one of a kind.”

Find Ranchweb on Facebook!

Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ranchweb) for news, fun, and even a few horse laughs.

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Sunset Magazine features Ranchweb member ranches!

Newsflash

Check the May issue of Sunset Magazine: their great cover story on ‘Camping in Comfort and Luxury Adventures’ features several dude and guest ranch resorts that are Ranchweb members.

Look on pages 68 thru 71 and you’ll see terrific small articles on The Resort at Paws Up and Wyoming’s Hideout Guest Ranch. And our feeling is that any positive publicity for dude and guest ranch resorts benefits us all. Great job, Sunset. Thanks!

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Ranchweb is on Facebook!

Newsflash

You know we love dude and guest ranch resorts. Now we’re telling the world of Facebook all about the world of dude ranching. Come pay us a visit.

We share ranch news, deals, features, and even a few laughs. Tell your friends about our new Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/3v7cwdg) on your Facebook page. And if you like what we’re doing, become a fan and “like” us.

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Newsflash: Colorado’s Zapata Ranch featured

Green Dudes

The media has finally found out what we’ve known all along:  Zapata Ranch is terrific. Built on an original homestead site, Zapata uses utilizes its own grass-fed beef and bison, along with local San Luis Valley produce. Their style is ‘down home, gourmet and meals are served family-style’. Below we list a sample of the attention this Mosca, Colorado, ranch is getting. pic3

MAGAZINES

Conde Nast Traveler Magazine: 1 of 3 Best Ranches in America for a Real, Working Ranch Vacation. The Conde Nast Traveler article discusses how conservation and ranching go hand-in-hand and how guests can take part in it all through real, working ranch vacations. And Conde Nast Traveler Magazine lists Zapata as The Best Ranch Lodging and Dining in Colorado.  Western Horseman Magazine: 1 of 15 Best Holidays and Riding Vacations to Book Today; the article describes Zapata as “…one of the world’s most spectacular and diverse landscapes.”

VIDEO

America’s Heartland TV Show: Featured as an Unforgettable Experience in the World of Agriculture.  CBS Denver News: 1 of 5 Top Ranches in Colorado.

Our hats are off to Zapata Ranch!

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Eastern dude ranches, spring dude ranch vacation specials

pic1Newsflash

Eastern dude and guest ranch news

You may not think about taking a dude and guest ranch vacation in the states east of the Mississippi, but there are several terrific guest ranches there, especially in New York and North Carolina. This month, we’re putting the spotlight on ranches with an eastern twist. Now’s the time to start planning your summer dude and guest ranch vacation way down east.

NORTH CAROLINA

Clear Creek Ranch (near Burnsville)

With 68 horses on the ranch, every guest at Clear Creek Ranch is sure to have a horse suitable to their taste. Riding is big here. Just ask owners Rex and Aileen Frederick. “Riding is definitely a top priority,” says Aileen. “We offer an 1-1/2 ride in the morning, and either a 1-1/2 or 2-1/2 hour jaunt in the afternoon.” And don’t forget their lunch ride on Wednesday, and rodeo on Saturday.  “We also have what we call The Junior Wrangler Ride for kids on Friday,” Aileen adds, explaining that the Junior Wrangler Ride is a lunch horseback ride with tubing on the river after the ride. Cool!

But there’s so much more, including line dancing, carriage rides, swimming and volleyball, cookouts, and plenty of quiet spots for just relaxing. Nearby outings range from exploring the Roaring Fork waterfall, to tubing or whitewater rafting on the South Toe River, dropping a line for some fantastic trout fishing (brook or wild mountain trout), or challenging a championship golf course. For a change of pace, you can fit in visits to local craft studios.pic4

They’re not in the West, but Clear Creek takes full advantage of their position. “We are quite unique because we are the only “true” dude ranch in North Carolina, and in fact, most of the East Coast,” remarks Aileen. She notes that, while there are some other establishments with horses, “they charge extra for riding, and are more of a resort type environment.”

This year, Clear Creek is planning to offer team penning as a new activity, and they are also adding square dancing to the program, joining their popular line dancing program.

Details: Open Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day and October. Some specials: in spring and fall, they are offering 25% discount off the posted price.

NEW YORK
Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort
Ranchweb has a cool a new member: the Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort. Set on 600 acres in the serenely lovely Catskill Mountains of New York, the Pinegrove Ranch is accessible by bus from New York or flights into nearby Newburgh. It’s open year- round, located in Kerhonkson, New York.

Family run and dedicated to family fun: that’s the motto of 126-room Pinegrove. And boy, do these easterners know how to entertain their ranch resort guests. The ranch boasts dozens of activities, from horseback riding to a workout in the fitness center, fishing, paddle boating on their private lake, or chilling out in the spa.

And for the kids, it’s a slice of Heaven. Sure, beside horseback riding and hiking, there is traditional outdoor fun from archery, basketball, miniature golf, and volleyball. But there’s plenty of indoor fun like laser tag, karaoke and a heated pool with a new double flume water slide, plus coin operated air hockey and arcade games. And parents needn’t worry: the kids are all right, well taken care of in the new ‘Barn Brats” program or the “Junior Wrangler” program.

Of course, while the kids are off romping around, some parents want to just relax by the pool in a classic Adirondack chair. For the rest, there’s plenty of activity in the fresh air. The resort offers three full meals a day (including special kids menus) and an all day snack bar (and in the evening, there are cocktail parties for the grownups.)

Details: Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort offers lots of specials, from midweek summer vacation packages to family group discounts. Call 800/ 346-4626 and tell ‘em Ranchweb sent you. look for them on our website soon or click here.

Hot Deals

Spring dude ranch specials

MONTANA

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch

Look for exquisite service, a terrific children’s program, fine dining, and riding and hiking on more that 6,000 scenic acres. Special: Spring into paradise, May 26 – 31, 2010. Cool crisp mornings; bright, brilliant sunrises; and roaring fireplaces to curl up to in the evening. Join us in beautiful Paradise Valley, just south of Livingston, Montana, for a getaway you’ll always remember.

Details: $ 325.00 per night; includes accommodation, meals, all on-ranch activities and gratuities.
Daily Activities: 
7 a.m. Sunrise Hike; 
9 a.m. Ride or Hike; 
2 p.m. Ride or Hike.
Fly fishing instruction, Yoga classes, and an all-day ride or hike are also available.
In addition to on-ranch activities, you may want to tour Yellowstone National Park (extended stays available during our Visions of Yellowstone Package, June 1 – 7).

The Ranch at Rock Creek

Bring together Montana’s Big Sky and the Ranch at Rock Creek’s super luxury and you have a spectacular marriage. You’ll always be comfy at this amazing and beautiful ranch, where accommodations range from the Granite Lodge, the Luxury Tent Cabins, and the Log Homes. It’s near Philipsburg, MT, and is open year-round.

Amanda at the Ranch at Rock Creek dropped me a note the other day. “Just wanted to be sure you have our two latest Spring Packages!”

Memorial Day Weekend – Stay 4, get 1 free.

Validity Dates: May 20 – June 5, 2011 – This offer is not valid for groups of 10 rooms or more.  Kick off summer at The Ranch at Rock Creek.  The ranch is all about having family fun–parents and children will enjoy creating memories that will last a lifetime.  For those visiting for Memorial Day Weekend, enjoy horseback riding, clay pigeon shooting, archery, guided hikes and mountain bike treks, paint ball, photo safaris, fly-fishing Rock Creek and more. Applicable Room Categories: All Accommodation Categories Rates: Enjoy Four (4) nights for the price of three (3) Minimum Night Stay: Four (4) nights Additional Fees: Spa Treatments, reserve wine & spirits and off ranch fishing are not included. Plus note details/restrictions below.

Wildflowers and Wildlife Spring Package

Validity Dates: May 15 – June 15, 2011.  This offer is not valid for groups of 10 rooms or more. Ride through spring wildflowers and newly greened pastures looking for shooting stars, fairybells, lilies of the valley and more. Or dive into any of a number of world-class usual activities such as archery,  clay pigeon shooting,  fly-fishing Rock Creek, guided hikes and mountain bike treks, horseback riding, paint ball, photo safaris,  and more!

Uou’ll get four all-inclusive* nights in luxurious accommodations  and all Spring activities listed above, a daily children’s program, and more. The package represents a 20% Rate Discount. Applicable Room Categories: All Accommodation Categories. Rates: From $720.00 per person, per night (Minimum Night Stay: 4 nights . No Blackout Dates. Additional Fees: Spa Treatments, reserve wine & spirits and off ranch fishing are not included.

For both packages, Amanda spells out the details: “Our Rates Include: Luxury accommodations, all gourmet dining options, top shelf bar, wine and non- alcoholic beverages, horseback riding, private water fly fishing on over 4 miles of Rock Creek and several private trout ponds, hiking, archery, paintball, mountain biking sporting clays, hiking, daily children’s activities, excursions to the 19th century town of Philipsburg, Gem Mountain Sapphire mining, Silver Dollar Saloon activities including movies and television programs on our 14-foot HD screen, billiards, darts, ping pong, shuffleboard, karaoke and bowling.  Long-distance phone calls, internet access, taxes are included.  Not included: Airport transfers, reserve wines & liquor, spa treatments, and off-ranch guided fly fishing excursions. The packages are valid for new bookings only.

Contact: Reservations 406/859-6027 or by email reservations@theranchatrockcreek.com.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Tod Mountain Guest Ranch

Spring is a great time to visit the ranch. Everything is lush and green and the wildlife return to the valley after the long winter. They’ve got some great deals for guests throughout May and June.

3 Night All-Inclusive Ranch Stay – $695 per person. “Available on all dates throughout May & June, including weekends, this package is great value for those looking for a short break. This rate includes 3 nights accommodation and 2 days horseback riding.”

5 Night All-Inclusive Ranch Stay – $1,135 per person. “This package includes 5 nights accommodation and 4 days horseback riding. A great value package that is available at this rate on all dates throughout May & June.”

Mother’s Day Celebration.  May 6 – May 8; $545 per person. “This is a special time of year to celebrate Mothers and show our appreciation for all that they do. Arrive in time for dinner on Friday, and spend the weekend riding and relaxing, leaving the ranch after a special Mother’s Day lunch on Sunday. Rate includes 2 nights accommodation, horseback riding on Saturday (morning & afternoon) and Sunday morning, all meals snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, wine & beer with dinner each evening, use of all ranch facilities during your stay.”

May Long Weekend:  May 20-May 23; $745 per person. “It’s Victoria Day in BC on Monday 23rd, so that means a long weekend off work for Canadians. Arrive in time for dinner on Friday, and spend the weekend riding and relaxing, leaving the ranch after lunch on Monday. Rate includes 3 nights accommodation, horseback riding on Saturday, Sunday (morning & afternoon) and Monday morning, all meals snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, wine & beer with dinner each evening, use of all ranch facilities during your stay.”

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Wyoming’s newest dude and guest ranch resort: The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek

Lodge_exteriorSet in south central Wyoming’s wild and beautiful North Platte River Valley, Brush Creek Ranch has been a homestead and ranch since the 1880s. Now, its long and storied history bears a new coda: The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch. Ah, but that’s not how the last chapter of the tale of Brush Creek Ranch was initially supposed to be written.

In late 2008, the Chairman and CEO of premium hotel brand White Lodging, Bruce White, bought Brush Creek Ranch, outside of Saratoga. His intent was to create a family sanctuary and perhaps even a place to hold charity functions for the Bruce and Beth White Family Foundation. “The White family has had a passion for service and hospitality for more a quarter of a century and as our next venture, we wanted to create a Western getaway that utilized our vast experience in the industry while striking a perfect balance between wholesome recreation, economic sustainability, environmental stewardship and preservation of the culture of the West,” said Bruce White. “The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch is the fulfillment of this vision and exemplifies the true spirit of the West.”

End of story? Not exactly. Eventually, the Whites realized they wanted to share this truly luxurious setting in the heart of the American West. So they’ve opened it to guests who are looking to ‘experience authentic outdoor adventures along with a spirit of genuine hospitality’. Set for a spring 2011 Grand Opening, the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek is now accepting some ‘pre-opening reservations for weddings, corporate retreats, individual guests, and group events in an all-inclusive format that includes accommodations, food and beverage and activities’.

But it is all done in the spirit of responsible conservation. So a big chunk of the ranch is preserved in a conservation easement, and White and the staff are committed to ‘harmoniously balancing the needs of wildlife, livestock, the land and watershed through an ongoing land, stream, pond and forestry restoration and management plan, ensuring that Brush Creek Ranch will flourish for generations to come’.

Casual sophistication best describes the facilities. And while it is still a real working ranch, there’s plenty to do besides ride and rope; in fact, there’s a long list of activities in all seasons. The ranch sits on 13,000 acres of private land and borders the vast Medicine Bow National Forest, so the fund can include riding, hiking, hunting mountain biking, and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and more.
Fishing_in_BC
But perhaps the most amazing experience here is for anglers. In the Orvis- endorsed fly fishing program, guests can cast a line into six miles of sparkling private waters on the ranch (including 3.5 miles on Brush Creek, known for its incredible wade fishing), plus there’s pond fishing (great for beginners) and float fishing.

The Lodge’s facilities offer yet more: a spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, the Cattle Baron’s library, a covered U-line equestrian center, a mustang arena, and a sports and recreation center that features a large indoor center court and cross court for basketball, volleyball, broomball. Want more? Then choose indoor simulated golf and shooting, shuffleboard, air hockey or foosball.

Lodging options in 37 spaces accommodate 150 guests and range from Log Cabin Residences, to Trailhead Lodge Rooms and Cabin Rooms & Suites; all are complete with luxury amenities.

Details: Lodge Rooms start at $720 per night (off-peak) to $1,300 per night (peak).  Cabin Rooms & Suites start at $720 per night (off peak) to $1,600 per night (peak). Log Cabin Residences start at $1,800 per night (off peak) to $6,600 (peak).     Pricing is per unit, per night (not per person, not based on double occupancy). For more, click here.

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