How about a winter ranch reunion?
If you're planning a reunion during the heart of the winter, warmer climates of the Southwest feature horseback rides and cattle drives. Ranches in the central or northern Rockies offer adventure-packed excursions into the snowy high country. Ranches in more northerly states are open for the winter season with an emphasis on guided snowmobile tours, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice climbing or downhill skiing. Some ranches also offer guided elk- and deer-hunting.
At many ranches you’ll find an all-inclusive vacation experience that includes wine cellars and pairings, sumptuous meals and relaxing massage treatments in addition to the cowboy experience.
Ranch cuisine is often an unexpected experience for many first-time guests. Numerous ranches combine ranch fare with gourmet cuisine. Ranch cuisine has evolved into multi-course gourmet dishes and healthy alternatives, alongside all the old ranch classics like barbeques. “Never-empty” homemade cookie jars, other homemade treats and bowls of fresh fruit are always on hand. In addition, many ranches utilize organic and/or local produce and some employ farm-to-table practices.
Many ranches have their own wine cellars featuring international and domestic wines, and offer wine pairings as well as, in some cases, wine tours to local wineries.
The Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association (CDGRA) is comprised of 28 certified ranches located throughout the mountains and mesas of Colorado. For more information and/or to request your free Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch vacation guide and DVD, visit www.duderanching.org.
The Kades love C Lazy U Ranch
Winter reunions at C Lazy U Ranch are cold, crisp and exciting!
Known for its “Five Spur Service,” Granby, Colorado’s C Lazy U Ranchclazyu.com) is a popular reunion locale and hosts groups large and small year-round. The Kade family has had more than 15 annual Christmastime reunions at the ranch. Four generations, 25 total, travel from as far away as Maryland to visit the ranch, approximately two hours from Denver. The Kades’ favorite activities include riding the ranch’s Snowcat, skiing, sledding and snow tubing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, playing a friendly ice hockey match and skating on C Lazy U’s Zamboni-groomed pond. The older generation enjoys watching the youngest generation experience the same winter experiences they did earlier, especially the magical moment each Christmas Eve when Santa arrives at the Lodge in a horse-drawn sleigh. Some of the children have come back as seasonal employees to work at C Lazy U Ranch.
Horseshoe Canyon Ranch
In the shadows of the Ozark Mountains, you’ll experience an authentic dude ranch, wrapped in homespun Southern hospitality. The Johnson family welcomes you to their conveniently located 500-acre spread in the Buffalo River wilderness area near Jasper, Arkansas http://horseshoecanyonduderanch.com/.
The Horseshoe Canyon Ranch meets challenges faced by the family reunion planner. The ranch accommodates up to 75 people with more than enough activities to keep everyone occupied. All-inclusive rates are reasonable, with group discounts. Rates include plenty of trail riding, accommodations in rustic yet deluxe cabins, maid service, three delicious meals each day and a special children’s program. Young kids create crafts, ride ponies and work as “cowhands” on "Little Buckaroo Ranch." Older kids like to play “Frisbee” golf, go skeet shooting, ride the zip line or go rock climbing. Families can swim, fish, watch birds and wildlife, soak in the hot tub under the stars, or explore old Indian caves.
Each family leaves feeling a little closer and with a saddlebag of memories to last a lifetime.
Tanque Verde Ranch is a Travel Channel Top Ten for Families
Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson, Arizona (tanqueverderanch.com), is an all-inclusive upscale dude ranch-resort that takes pride in offering something for everyone in the family. For bonding time, families can partake in the ranch’s newest group activities: Ride and Seek takes teamwork to solve clues and make your way to designated locations found on the ranch map, and Horseshoe Hunt turns the entire resort into a scavenger hunt on horseback; find painted horseshoes and exchange them for prizes.
Tanque Verde’s children’s programs for Buckeroos (ages four to six) and Wranglers (ages seven to eleven) include daily horseback lessons, trail rides, tennis, swimming, games, arts and crafts, hiking, educational nature programs and more. Offered daily from 7AM to 3PM, activities include breakfast and lunch in the children’s dining room. Parents are welcome to accompany their children for activities or pursue other activities.
Tanque Verde Ranch features 76 well-appointed rooms and suites, all with breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert and Rincon and Catalina Mountains. All-inclusive room rates include all meals, snacks, daily activities and evening entertainment.
The Utzinger family enjoys a ride at Nine Quarter Circle
Montana tradition and hospitality Lifelong memories and familial bonds are just two of the amazing “side-effects” of a Dude Ranch reunion. While deep rest and relaxation rejuvenate you, awesome scenery will feed your soul. Finally, and most long-lasting, are memories and improved relationships your family will experience.
Adjacent to Yellowstone Park and surrounded by millions of acres of National Forest and the Taylor-Hilgard wilderness area, Nine Quarter Circle’s reunions feature riding for all ages and all levels of horsemanship, blue-ribbon fly-fishing, incredible scenery and traditional hand-crafted log cabins – all combined with the West’s best hospitality! In addition, there are campfires, hayrides, square dances and more! These all blend to create a unique and ideal location for your family reunion.
Owned and operated by the Kelsey family for over 60 years, the Nine Quarter Circle (ninequartercircle.com), Gallatin Gateway, Montana, is “magical,” “where time stands still.” The ranch celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012.