RanchSeeker Blog

How Dude Ranches Are Making the World a Better Place

10/11/2013 5:00:42 PM

If you have ever visited a carnival, you may be familiar with a particular game often called ‘whac a mole’. The objective is to continue to hit the imitation mole-like critters that pop up out of holes in the game board until the time is up. They keep popping up, and you must continue to bonk them on the head. You may be now wondering of what relevance this is to dude ranches, and how this might relate to dude ranches making the world a better place, so we will now continue with an explanation.

Whack a mole

Common today are rising stress levels, and the familiar feeling that regardless of how hard you try to resolve all the challenging situations you are facing in your life - there is always one more waiting to ‘pop up’ through life’s game board. Taking a much needed, wind down style vacation can be the very thing needed to recharge and reset your priorities. Sometimes you can not change the types of challenges you may be dealing with, but you can adjust the way you approach them - and form new, healthier patterns that will be more positive. Today’s technology driven society inundates us with ways to ‘connect’. Dude ranches are unique in that they offer a place to ‘reconnect’ with natural elements in a comfortable, laid back style. Whether you search out a dude ranch that offers luxurious accommodations in a picturesque location, or a more rugged terrain back to basics style ranch - you will without a doubt leave behind the cares that weigh you down as you look up at a star filled sky, and enjoy an open fire cookout. Trail riding may just be what is needed to open your mind to the idea of new paths ahead in your life, and the adventure of a staying at a dude ranch may be enough of a jolt to your routine that you make up your mind to accept whatever comes your way.

Echo Valley Ranch
 Echo Valley Ranch in British Columbia

By offering to visitors a place to tune out the anxiety, and tune in to the simple pleasure of delicious food, warm hospitality and a close to nature experience - dude ranches provide a destination that can truly impact their visitors. With long lasting memories of the calm, relaxing environment, one can benefit from a dude ranch vacation for years on into the future. We may find ourselves trying to succeed at ‘wacking the moles’ in our life. What we may really need to do however is to find a new perspective, with a balanced and simple approach to success - and find a better way to play the game. A dude ranch vacation can re-energize our thinking, and remind us to not take ourselves quite so seriously. There are dude ranches to suit many traveler’s preferences, and all types of reasons for gathering. Whatever we have in mind for our dude ranch vacation - with a little research and planning, we will without a doubt agree that this type of vacation is in fact making the world a better place, one visitor at a time!

If you want to find that dude ranch perfect for you, Ranchseeker’s dude ranch search tool refines the choices so you just get the dude ranches that fit the parameters you choose!

Chocolate Satin Mint Cake

10/1/2013 1:17:34 PM

This delicious decadent dessert recipe is brought to you by the lovely folks over at Elk Mountain Guest Ranch in Colorado. The guest ranch is convenient 2.5 hour drive from Denver Airport. It's unique for it's spectacular location, horseback rides of unmatched beauty, large variety of activities and superb menu.

Filling:

1-8 oz. cream cheese
 ¼ cup sugar
 2 Tbsp. butter
 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
 1 egg
 2 Tbsp. milk
 ¾ tsp. peppermint extract

  1. Beat cheese, butter sugar and cornstarch.
  2. Add egg, milk and extract.  Mix until smooth.
Cake:

1 devils food cake mix
 1 cup water
 1/3 cup vegetable oil
 3 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Spread 2 cups batter in a greased and floured bundt pan.
  3. Place a center tube of filling.
  4. Slowly pour remaining batter over filling.
  5. Bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes.  Cool
Glaze & Drizzle:

1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup whipping cream
 6 squares (1 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate squares, chopped
 2 squares (1 oz.) white chocolate squares, chopped
 2 tsp. vegetable oil
 ¼ tsp. peppermint extract

For glaze, bring corn syrup and whipping cream to a simmer, stirring constantly with whisk.  Remove from heat.  Add semi-sweet chocolate, stir until smooth.  Spread 2/3 cup glaze over top and side of cake.  Freeze cake for 5 minutes until glaze is set.  Meanwhile, keep remaining glaze warm over low heat.  Slowly pour over cake.  Let cool in refrigerator. For drizzle, microwave white chocolate and oil about 1 minute or until mixture is smooth when stirred.  Stir in extract.  Let cool and drizzle over cake.  Refrigerate.

Why Are Dude Ranch Vacation Trips Special?

9/17/2013 1:41:00 PM

Ranch vacations are becoming more and more popular today, but what makes them special? For many avid ranch-vacationers, it is not always the luxury that makes the vacation special. Sure, you may not have the same fancy dinners and spa treatments as last year’s Caribbean vacations or you may not be able to party like you did in Vegas but still, there is something magical about being in a place that is more laid-back, relaxed and in tune with nature. Dude ranches are places where you can get in touch with yourself and the people you are with.

With that said, it is a perfect destination for couples or families looking for a new kind of vacation experience where bonding with loved ones is the main focus. Many families love dude ranches because there are so many things to do for everyone. Most ranches ask visitors to stay for at least a few days to fully enjoy the activities. Others require at least a week’s stay. It does not matter if you stay for two days or five, because you can be sure that there is something for everyone. There are activities that the whole family can enjoy, and there are also things that people can do individually before getting back together at the end of the day.

The Apache Spirit Ranch in Arizona offers a Family Vacation Summer Special every year. This ranch offers in addition to horseback riding other activites such as horseshoe pitching, roping dummy, swimming, Jacuzzi, pool/billiards, Indian storytelling, cowboy school, reptile shows, saloon parties, campfires, live music and poker nights.

Apache Spirit Ranch
Apache Spirit Ranch

On a dude ranch vacation, you don’t have to worry about where you next meal is going to be. Most dude ranch vacations include meals and some luxury ranches even have top chefs developing gourmet creations. With breakfast, lunch and dinner taken care of, you can focus on those you are with and the time you are spending with them. Some dude ranches will even accommodate special dietary restrictions or grown their own cattle and produce.

Echo Valley Ranch features a “100 meter diet” and grow their produce and raise their own cattle, pigs, turkeys and chickens. You won’t go home with “vacation coma” with all the healthy meals served at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa.

Organic Produce
Organic Grown Produce at Echo Valley Ranch

Next time you are planning a vacation, consider a dude ranch vacation and start your planning at Ranchseeker.com. Our dude ranch database puts hundreds of dude ranches at your fingertips.

Romantic Couples Getaways At Dude Ranch Resorts

9/7/2013 1:03:18 PM

Most people planning romantic getaways initially think of beach or island resorts. However, did you know that you can also have a perfect couples getaway on the mainland? Indeed, you can experience fun, romance, adventure and relaxation all at once at dude ranch resorts.

Romantic Dude Ranch


What Are Dude Ranch Resorts?

Dude ranch resorts are ranches with an orientation on tourism. The location is usually at an actual dude ranch complete with the typical ranch features such as stables, grazing areas and riding arenas. In the past dude ranches started off as working ranches that offered a place for travelers to sleep. Today, dude ranches have evolved into some destinations featuring resort-like ambiances providing visitors with a more luxurious version of ranch or cowboy life. However, even with the popularity of dude ranch resorts, there still exist authentic working ranches where people can go to experience the actual daily activities and living conditions of a cowboy life. So, given the ranch setting, how can dude ranch resorts be a great place for romantic couple getaways?

Relaxing and Comfortable Dude Ranch Resorts

With new developments, dude ranches are no longer what they used to be. There are now many dude ranch resorts that aim to provide guests with the authentic outdoor experience in the most luxurious and comfortable manner. This makes them a perfect option for nature seeking types for individual vacations, family trips and romantic couple’s getaways. Many dude ranch resorts offer private cabins away from the main lodge for extra privacy.

One of these is Echo Valley Ranch in British Columbia, Canada. The level of comfort in dude ranches is steadily rising, but most ranches still keep a rustic theme. In dude ranch resorts you will most likely find very comfortable and charming furnished rooms.

Some resorts even offer high end ranch spas for the relaxation and rejuvenation of their guests such as Rancho De Los Cabllaeros. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a romantic couples spa treatment with your partner after a day of outdoor activities? Most dude ranch resorts serve gourmet home-cooked ranch meals as part of their Western theme and if requested romantic private tables can be arranged.

Boundless Activities At Dude Ranch Resorts

Regardless of the level of accommodations, dude ranches usually put emphasis on the outdoors and have a wide range of outdoor activities you can enjoy with your partner, such as cookouts and campfires, barn dances, horseback rides and even western dance lessons. Some ranches have other outdoor sports amenities such as tennis and volleyball courts, kayaks, mountain bikes and the like. Some ranches even have outdoor trails where couples can go for a private hike or bike ride.

If you are planning a Winter getaway, some ranches, such as Lone Mountain Ranch , have an extensive list of snow activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing. With so many things to do together at dude ranch resorts – there is no question why it is a great place for romantic couple’s getaways.

During the day, couples can choose from amongst the vast array of fun outdoor activities. If they want to spend the day in the shade, they can always relax in the comfort of their luxurious cottages or cabins. At night, they can sit in front of the campfire or enjoy a stroll under the cool night sky. They can also spend their time getting pampered by getting spa treatments and of course, if there is nothing else to do, couples can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the view of the great outdoors and each other’s company.

So, if you are thinking about taking a vacation that’s different from the usual beach or poolside trip, a quick weekend at a dude ranch would definitely be a good choice. An easy way to find a dude ranch is by using Ranchseeker’s dude ranch search tool. You can search by type of ranch, location and even activity.

Drowsy Water Ranch Chocolate Chip Cookies

8/20/2013 3:55:23 PM

When guests from the Drowsy Water Ranch leave to head home from their dude ranch vacation, sure they talk about the fun they have had horseback riding. They also may talk about the great food and the how much the kids enjoyed themselves. But, they will surely talk about the Drowsy Water Ranch Chocolate Chip Cookies. These chocolate chip cookies are large, round, gooey and full of chocolate! We are very lucky that the nice people at Drowsy Water Ranch have generously shared their recipe.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
6 oz chocolate chips chopped pecans or walnuts to taste

Preheat over to 350 degrees F In medium bowl, combine the baking soda, baking powder, salt, flour and oats. Mix gently to combine

Making Chocolate Chip Cookies

In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat until combined. Next add eggs one by one. Lastly add the vanilla

Mixing Chocolate Chip Cookies


Now it is time to add the dry ingredients to butter mixture. Use a wooden spoon or mixer on low to mix well.  Next add the chocolate chips and nuts stirring well. The dough will be stiff. This will be an arm workout.

To shape the cookies, drop about ¼ cupfuls onto greased baking sheet with 3-4 inches between each cookie. Using an ice cream scoop is a good way to get uniform sizes.


Dropping Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees until edges are golden brown but middle is still spongy. Cool for a few minutes before removing from cookie sheet and enjoy.

Drowsy Water Ranch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Guest Ranch Activity Options for Kids

8/8/2013 4:07:20 PM

Family vacations are supposed to be fun, but with kids along, your vacation can easily turn into a hair-raising, stressful time away from home. Most people agree that the key to any stress free vacation is to leave the kids out of it, but for most people, that set–up can be a difficult thing to do. If that’s the case for you, it doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to years of harried vacations spent with cranky kids and an even crankier spouse. You can still enjoy a vacation with the kids – as long as you know where to go, and a guest ranch would be an ideal choice for these kinds of situations.

Kids Guest Ranch
Kids Activities on a Guest Ranch

Not Your Typical Vacation

A guest ranch vacation isn’t like your typical beach or amusement park trip, but it still has its perks. You don’t have to line up for rides or fall into a frenzied state as you realize that your child is lost among the crowd. You don’t have to drive around to look for restaurants that aren’t full, or start your day early just so that you can beat the rush of the crowd. Guest ranches offer a laidback lifestyle, and offer all fun activities right in one place, so you don’t have to continuously hurry from one place to another.

Fun Activities That Your Kids Can Enjoy

Guest ranches may be laid back, but that relaxed and laid back atmosphere does not immediately translate to boring. There are plenty of fun activities to do at the guest ranches, and there’s certainly something that your child will enjoy. Here are some fun activities to keep your kids preoccupied and happy throughout the whole stay.

Horseback RidingHorseback riding is a popular ranch activity, and is available for everyone.

Fishing – Your kids can fish along with you, or there might be organized mini – fishing activities for children.

Nature Trekking – Teach your kids to appreciate nature by going on a nature trek. A guest ranch should have plenty of nature trails available, and there should be ones that are suitable for kids.

Arts and Crafts or Cooking Classes – Most guest ranches offer free fun classes for children, and these classes or sessions usually involve arts or crafts projects or cooking. Activities like these allow your kids to meet other children, socialize and enjoy.

Campfires and Cookouts – At night, you and your kids can have fun at campfires. Tell stories, sing songs, roast marshmallows or even enjoy a thick juicy burger over the fire under the night sky.

Wildlife Watching – Guest ranches are usually situated near forests, lakes and other natural environments, so they are very likely to have some friendly and not-so-friendly animal neighbors. Kids will certainly enjoy bird and wildlife watching or petting the friendlier ones at the ranch’s petting zoo.

Sports – Most guest ranches have sports facilities such as tennis courts, basketball courts, pools and the like where kids can play games and have fun with new found friends. Younger children should be able to enjoy as well, since guest ranches also have play facilities such as slides, monkey bars, sandboxes and see-saws.

Children’s Programs – Your guest ranch of choice may also have supervised children’s programs. Supervised programs may involve some of the activities mentioned above, or may also include a number of other activities. Letting your kids join a supervised program for an afternoon gives you some time off to be alone with your spouse. With trained counselors and fun activities to offer, you don’t have to feel guilty if you wander around and enjoy the rest of the guest ranch, or catch up on some R and R while getting a back massage.

Kids really do have short attention spans, so what better way to keep them preoccupied than providing them with one activity after another right in one place? A guest ranch allows you to relax, unwind and enjoy the slow pace of life even with your kids around. So, if you’re planning a trip with kids and you want this time to be a successful one, then make sure you’re going on a guest ranch vacation. Find a guest ranch with activities and programs for kids using the Ranchseeker guest ranch vacation search tool.

Breakfast Ride Potatoes

7/23/2013 10:42:50 AM

This great breakfast recipe is courtesy of White Stallion Ranch a dude ranch in Arizona. It's very easy to put together and you can  prepare the potatoes and bacon ahead of time so that you can serve these quicker to the hungry masses in the morning. Serves 10-12

Breakfast Potatoes
Breakfast Ride Potatoes   

  1. At 350 degrees bake 8 medium size potatoes, buttering the tops first.  Cool the potatoes overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Fry or bake 10 pieces of bacon until they are crisp.
  3. Dice the potatoes to the desired size.
  4. Crumble the crisp bacon into the dices potatoes.
  5. Season the potatoes with:2 Tbs. paprika, 1 Tbs. onion salt, 1 Tbs. Granulated onion, 1 Tbs. pepper
  6. Mix the potatoes in a little oil in a medium heated cast iron skillet - over a mesquite fire in the breathtaking SonoranDesert at the White Stallion Ranch! - Until they are browned and hot.
  7. Ready to serve!
 

Glamping It Up At Dude Ranches

7/13/2013 10:53:26 PM

Camping has its charm and draws many people, but not those who hate the idea of roughing it up in the outdoors. With that, many people choose to stay in cozy hotels instead of staying in tiny tents and sharing communal toilets with other campers. However, many facilities and institutions offer the chance to commune with nature without giving up most luxurious conveniences through what they call “glamping.”

What Is Glamping?

The term is a portmanteau of the words glamorous and camping, since it is a form of camping that involves facilities and accommodations that are more luxurious in comparison to those which are associated with traditional camping. Air conditioned tents? Check! Private toilets? You’ve got them! King sized beds? Why not? Glamping is offered at many dude ranches across the country. Here are just some of the ranches that offer this kind of outdoor experience:

Bar W Guest Ranch

Bar W Guest Ranch is known for being a marvelous western hospitality venue. This dude ranch has evolved into a glamping villa from being just a camping ground Embellished with rolling ridges and stunning scenery, this cozy dude ranch encloses an elegant 6200 square foot main lodge, six comfortable bedrooms, three pleasant common areas, and an amusing game room. You can never fall short of fantastic vistas from your decks. From there, you can bask in the view of the arena, the back horse pasture, and even the wetlands around Spencer Lake. After a tiring day packed with camping activities, you can glamorously relax and bathe in the hot tub.

Glamping
Glamping at Bar W Ranch

The dude ranch offers glamping from May 1 to October 31, as these months are the perfect time to do so. You get to experience the best of two different worlds at the same time. Bar W presents two high-class canvas tents beautifully adorned by Bar W. It showcases simple luxury combined with traditional western casualness. Each of the tents feature a full-sized log futon, a comfy queen-sized log bed, a cozy private porch, a kitchenette and a trendy Western interior decor. Both glamp tents include an exclusive bath situated only a few feet away.

The Resort at Paws Up

The Resort at Paws Up is a place where pristine wilderness and luxurious accommodations meet. The venue is distinct from other Montana luxury resorts, as it provides a captivating escape into the solace and splendour of Montana's peaceful countryside. With its beautiful views, fun-filled activities, high class lodging and relaxing amenities, Paws Up can adequately provide your glamping experience. At Paws up, you can devote your day to horseback riding, fishing or just walking around to see where the beaten path takes you At the end of the day, you can choose to retire in one of their twenty-eight high-end getaway houses or twelve perfectly designed glamorous camping tents. All of these accommodations feature rustic but contemporary fittings. Aside from plush beds and linen, the rooms also include LCD televisions with DVD players, high speed wireless internet connection and hot tubs.

Glamping
Glamping at the Resort at Paws Up

Next time you get the urge to go camping why not consider glamping at one of these dude ranches? Find one using the Ranchseeker dude ranch search tool.  

Romantic Honeymoon Ideas At Luxury Ranches

7/7/2013 10:15:23 PM

In the past, guest ranches were simply working ranches that provided fuss-free accommodation to travelers who happened to pass by along the way. Today, however, guests ranches have become a booming part of the tourism industry in Northern America, and have become popular destinations for individuals, families and even couples for their honeymoon. So, if you’re thinking about spending your honeymoon in a luxury ranch, here are some excellent honeymoon ideas to consider before deciding and planning your trip.

A Rustic Romantic Honeymoon

Luxury Ranch Accommodations After the stress of making sure everything goes right for your wedding, it’s high time to unwind and relax during your honeymoon. Most guest ranches nowadays have comfortable accommodations, but if you are looking for top of the line and luxurious accommodations, then luxury ranches are the best option for you. Luxury ranches such as the Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado feature spacious lodge rooms or deluxe log cabins. The cabin accommodations have a private hot tub on the deck.

Outdoor Activities Most guest ranches feature outdoor facilities for typical ranch activities such as horseback riding, cowboy cookouts and barbecues, nature trekking and trailing and hiking – which can be a great experience if you have never been to a ranch before. But, luxury ranch resorts have even more than that. There are facilities and amenities that allow you to enjoy golf right on the premises or somewhere nearby. Some other common activities in luxury ranches are wildlife viewing, sports (such as tennis and volleyball), white water rafting, kayaking, yoga classes and photography trips.  Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa in Utah even has hot air balloon facilities. These activities are great romantic honeymoon ideas that you can share with your partner and you can spend the whole day trying all of them and having fun.

Communing With Nature Although there are a wide range of activities that you can do in luxury ranches, you do not have to try them all. In fact, another fun romantic honeymoon idea is to simply do nothing. That’s right; you can simply kick back and enjoy the view. Whether you’re soaking in the hot tub while enjoying the view of the natural forest or sitting on the cabin deck and breathing the fresh mountain are taking a night walk along under the bright moonlight, a honeymoon spent at luxury guest ranches allow you to commune with nature.

Spa Services Although located in the middle of the wilderness, luxury ranches are also like five star resorts that feature spa facilities. Spending the whole day getting pampered in the spa is one of the best romantic honeymoon ideas, and you can experience it right in the premises of the venue. You can choose from relaxing massages, body scrubs or facials. Relaxing spa services are great after a full day’s worth of tiring outdoor activities.

Some Romantic Guest Ranches

Echo Valley Ranch is situated in BC and has a private cabin just for honeymooners. It’s located on the edge of the ranch resort so you can have privacy but still be close enough to the main lodge. There is an on site European and Thai spa so pampering is often part of the agenda. They even have a Cariboo Honeymoon Package to make things easier for you. Indeed luxury ranches such as the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa offer these services and features and more, which can be perfect romantic honeymoon ideas. So, go ahead and experience the best romantic getaway by booking a stay at a luxury ranch today.

Honeymoon Ranch
Echo Valley Ranch

The Resort at Paws Up is a luxury ranch located in Montana which offers 2 types of accommodations for honeymooners: a luxury home or a glamping tent. Each of these can offer the privacy honeymooners are seeking. They provide various honeymoon packages with activities such as massages, horseback riding, canoe trips and more. You will surely have a honeymoon like no other at The Resort at Paws Up

Honeymoon Ranch
The Resort at Paws Up

Need to do more research? Find more luxury ranches using Ranchseeker's easy free dude ranch vacation search engine.

Some Great Deals at Tod Mountain Ranch

6/22/2013 4:01:11 PM

Only four hours away from Vancouver, Tod Mountain Ranch is nestled in Louis Creek Valley. Albeit small and modest, the guest ranch presents an exclusive, peaceful, and serene atmosphere to savour a special, hands-on horse riding adventure. Here are some of the specials that the ranch has to offer:

Tod Mountain Ranch

Canada Day Weekend

Take advantage of three-night accommodation, full meals and snacks, and use of facilities at the ranch from June 18 to July 1, 2013 at only $745 per head, tax exclusive.

August Long Weekend

For only $845 per person, you can indulge in a three-day weekend of riding adventure from August 2 to 5, 2013.

Labour Day Weekend

On Saturday, people can head over to Barriere to explore the many exhibits at the Fall Fair & Rodeo. After lunch, experience the Rodeo, Chuckwagon Racing and Chariot Racing. Following the Rodeo, you will eat your supper at a nearby bistro before heading back to the Tod Mountain Ranch. You can leave on Monday following the afternoon meal. Get this special offer on August 30 to September 2 for just $845 per head.

Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend

This special offer is valid from October 11 to 13 for only $745 each person. The Thanksgiving Weekend package covers three nights of fun-filled riding, meals and lodging.

Winter at the Ranch

Here’s a great deal for those who want to go somewhere for the winter. For only $1000 per night, you, together with up to twenty-four friends, can exclusively use the ranch. This is valid from November 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.

With all these great deals why not consider a guest ranch vacation at Tod Mountain Ranch?

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