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Archive for the ‘Family Vacations’ Category

The Best Dude Ranch Vacations: K-Diamond-K Guest Ranch

October 30th, 2012 by Kim Jacobs

The Dude Ranchers’ Association is very fortunate to be supported by some of the greatest alliance partners and one of these is Justin Boots!  Please take the time to visit the Justin Boots website and while you are there check out their blog Justin America.  You will find some great articles and stories one of which is featured below.

October 26, 2012

We’re happy to introduce the Dude Ranchers’ Association destination for the month of October. The traditional 16,000-square-foot log lodge, K-Diamond-K Guest Ranch, is a cattle and horse ranch located in eastern Washington.
As the cooler days and nights of autumn settle in, guests can enjoy horseback riding, fly-fishing in nearby lakes and streams, hunting, hiking, mountain biking and even panning for gold along the scenic acreage of the Pacific Northwest.
Currently open year-round for the all-four-seasons experience, K-Diamond-K Guest Ranch first opened its doors in the 1960s as a cattle ranch and veterinary clinic by the Konz family. Today, the second generation of the Konz family still owns and operates the ranch and feels it’s their duty to carry out the family’s passion for the spirit and adventure of the American West. An ideal vacation experience for those looking for a little relaxation, guests feel at home at K-Diamond-K Guest Ranch and experience “more to life than just skyscrapers and sidewalks,” as the Konz family says.
Be sure to check back with JustinAmerica next month for another Dude Ranchers’ Association-approved recommendation and find out more about “the best of the best” ranches across the country by visiting www.duderanch.org

Flathead Lake Lodge: A Guest Ranch with Lakefront Property is a Family Vacation Dream!

October 22nd, 2012 by Kim Jacobs

I found this blog on Trekaroo and thought it was such a great review of Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch in Bigfork that it would be a crime not to share it.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

By on October 4, 2012

This August, we took our four California native kids on a big road trip. Our destination: a guest ranch in Montana known as Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge. This historic ranch is located on the east shore of the largest lake west of the Mississippi, Flathead Lake. For over 60 years, the Lodge has been host to guests coming for a great family vacation filled with horseback riding, water sports, and relaxing, Montana-style. None of us had ever been to Big Sky country, and we were greenhorns when it came to riding horses. We had no idea what lay in store for us at this guest ranch, but our family motto for the week soon became, “Be willing to try new things.”

Family Flathead Lake Lodge

We didn’t know a soul when we arrived, but we gathered with a large and friendly group of parents and kids in the Main Lodge on Sunday afternoon to meet our host and owner of the Lodge, Doug Averill. He introduced us to the events of the week and went over the general schedule, which typically includes horseback riding in the morning, followed by watersports, boating, and swimming in the afternoon, then trail rides and special events in the evening. He surprised us by saying that most families enjoy breakfast together and then may not see their kids until lunchtime. To our way of California living – where you pretty much keep your kids in tow, in the house, at school, or under supervision – this was a new concept!

Horses Flathead Lake Lodge Collage

Our two oldest boys, eleven and nine, had never ridden or even been interested in riding a horse before, but on Sunday afternoon they found their first test of “Be willing to try new things.” They listened carefully to the wrangler’s instructions, were helped onto one of the gentle steeds, and headed out for their first trail ride.  I rode with them, four other kids, and another mom, as a wrangler led us up the trail through the ponderosa pines forest. We enjoyed beautiful glimpses of Flathead Lake, and as we rode we played “pass the stick,” a simple game where one rider places a stick on a bush or tree for the next rider to pick up. Our boys both did great, but it was our nine-year-old who realized that he really loved riding horses. Our oldest was the first one willing to scoop poop and help in the barn, and he loved doing both. Our motto was paying off! (read more)

For more information or to make reservations at Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch please call 406-837-4391 or visit www.flatheadlakeladge.com

Travel: North Fork Ranch / Dude ranch vacations are back in style

October 15th, 2012 by Kim Jacobs

Peggy Sijswerda is a travel writer that visited North Fork Ranch.  Following is the article she wrote and had published in  Dallas Fort Worth North Texas Child.

Nestled in a verdant valley about 70 miles west of Denver, North Fork Ranch looks like something out of a storybook. With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, the ranch sits next to a sparkling river surrounded by green pastures, where horses graze peacefully on lush green grass. My family has been looking forward to our first-ever dude ranch vacation for months, and as we drive into this hidden valley, I’m pretty sure we’ve chosen the perfect spot.

I know, dude ranches seem so ’70s, but today’s ranches offer families more activities than ever. Besides horseback riding (natch), you can go fly-fishing, white water rafting, mountain biking, zip lining, hiking, and more.

Then there’s the food – no more beans and franks. In fact, North Fork Ranch, is nicknamed a “food ranch” – the meals are that good. After checking in and getting settled in our cozy cabin, my husband, Peter, son Ross, and I head over to the ranch house, where meals are served family style, and chow down on a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, prepared by owner Karen May, who runs the ranch with her husband, Dean. The couple met in their 20s working at another dude ranch and have welcomed countless happy guests in the 27 years since North Fork opened.

Their son and daughter help on the ranch, too. The next morning we meet daughter Hayley, who will take us on our first ride. I’m amazed at how clean the stables are – no flies – and the horses are super gentle and well behaved. In fact, kids as young as 6 can ride, and for the pre-K set, pony rides are available. Horses are assigned to guests for their entire stay. Mine’s named Dundee, Peter’s is Jaybee, and Ross gets Rosco. We ride through woods, across meadows, and up slopes where amazing views of the Rockies unfurl. The weather during our late August visit was perfect – stunning blue sky, wispy white clouds, and gentle breezes.

You can ride as little or as much as you like. What’s unique about North Fork Ranch is there are lots of options if someone in your family doesn’t enjoy riding. For example, you can spend an afternoon fly-fishing with an Orvis-endorsed guide right on the ranch. That afternoon, my family and I relax by the pool and watch guests reeling in good-sized speckled trout from the river. Nearby a hot tub bubbles, and Ross jumps in to soak his muscles. For those who like a little more in-depth pampering, you can get a deep-tissue massage on site as well. (read more)

High Lonesome Ranch Review – A Colorado Dude Ranch that is the West at its Best

September 6th, 2012 by Colleen Hodson

Splash Magazine published a great review of The High Lonesome Ranch so I wanted to share it with you.  Hope you enjoy it!

By Andrea Gross; photos by Irv Green

With well over thirty dude ranches in Colorado, you wouldn’t think that there was a need for another one. But in May of 2012, High Lonesome Ranch, a luxury getaway for fly fishermen and big game hunters, began welcoming wannabe cowboys as well.

The property, which is situated on the west slope of the Rockies, consists of 300 square miles of leased and permitted land. As such it is bigger than 25 of the nations 58 national parks. Paul Vahidiek Jr., a Houston attorney who began buying some of the property in 1994, is determined that this land—a mix of high mesas covered with sparse vegetation and deep valleys filled with greenery—be preserved and protected from rampant development. Opening the ranch to guests year round helps fund the conservation and restoration projects that take place on the ranch, but even more important, it imbues young children with an appreciation for all that nature has to offer.

“We want children to experience and appreciate the great outdoors,” says Scott Stewart, general manager of the dude ranch. “They are the policy makers of tomorrow, and we want them to understand the importance of land conservation and preservation.”

The new ranch aims to differentiate itself by offering guests an almost totally customizable experience. Yes, the main focus is on equestrian experiences, but there are also plenty of activities for the non-horsey set.

My family and I are among the first guests, and we bring new meaning to the phrase “beginning riders.” All of us—grandparents, parents and two kids—are admittedly, if sadly, city folks through and through, more at home with four-lane highways than with four-legged creatures. We eye the other guests warily. Will we be the only novices in a group of experts?

The answer becomes clear the next morning when we go down to the stables for our first horseback ride. Everyone else is wearing a cowboy hat or riding helmet. We, on the other hand, are decked out in baseball caps and bonnets. Oh dear! (read more)