The Best in the West – Brush Creek Ranch
I have a little confession about my journey to Brush Creek Ranch, the luxury dude ranch voted number one resort in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards four times in a row and number one in the U.S. by Travel & Leisure, and visited by the likes of Tom Hanks, Katy Perry, Bruce Springstein and Seth Meyers.
It’s embarrassing for me to admit now, but my journey was initially overshadowed by a certain level of anxiety. I challenged myself to stay clear of electronics for 3 days! I tried to envision sharing acres upon acres of ranch with dozens upon dozens of cows, disconnected from the outside world.
The first few hours, I desperately wanted to reach into my suitcase and grab my cell phone. However, as I settled into the breathtaking surroundings of rolling hills and bright green pastures, surrounded by the smells of lavender and sage, I began to focus on this authentic dude ranch that truly captured the spirit and vibe of America’s west.
Rooms are exceptionally well equipped and immaculate. Guests could choose a charming private cabin or a room in the main lodge that’s connected to the formal dining room. Cabins offer slightly more privacy, and although close enough to the main lodge to walk, sometimes a golf cart is provided for easier access.
It was interesting that room keys were not provided and unlocked doors were the norm, which created a sense of “family” amongst the guests. A free guest laundry facility, found its value after I returned from horseback riding, with dusty clothes smelling of horse.
Activities – Opportunities for Adventures
The range of activities were vast, and there was an overwhelming sense of self-gratification that came from trying something new. There must have been 2 or 3 staff for each guest, each staff showing exceptional dedication and enthusiasm. Each activity was accompanied by a well versed, enthusiastic instructor, who effortlessly tailored the activity to the participant’s skill level and interest.
For the fly-fishing excursion, our group was outfitted with the necessary clothing, provided fly-rods and guided with utmost patience through a breathtakingly scenic river, until we finally understood the technique of fly fishing and actually caught some fish!
The gun range had several different types of hand guns, shotguns and rifles. We were offered stationary and moving targets, and were given expert instruction with a focus on safety. Most in our group had never held a gun before, and were thrilled by the chance to try a new sport that would not likely present itself again any time soon.
Other activities included horseback riding, archery, hiking, mountain biking, paintball, ropes course and rock climbing. If that’s not enough, there were outdoor yoga classes, lawn games, a full recreation center with a gymnasium, and an arcade.
Cuisine / All-Inclusive Redefined
Brush Creek Ranch redefines the meaning of all-inclusive, offering gourmet cuisine, with special cuts of beef, many of which came directly from the ranch. According to Mike Williams, the general manager who is instrumental in executing the vision of Brush Creek Ranch, “All-inclusive means more than serving meals and beverages; rather, it carries the promise of making new friends, learning new skills, and discovering an elevated form of hospitality in beautiful, serene Saratoga, Wyoming.”
A truly unique experience was the creekside cookout, where guests were driven to a remote location and served a magnificent bar-b-que of fine cuts of beef, lobster, wild salmon, chicken, and organic roasted vegetables, and parfait for desert. Each night was capped off with s’mores by the fire pit, while star gazing into a magical universe.
Brush Creek Ranch’s selection of wine and spirits satisfied the discriminating tastes of any connoisseur. There were nearly a hundred different bottles from around the world and staff persisted until they identified just the right pairing for each meal. Saloon staff added a dose of amusement as they experimented with unique recipes for the latest and greatest cocktails.
A Farewell with Lasting Memories
Arguably, the most memorable moment may have been watching guests, who on their last day turn to each other with a hug and say “It was such a pleasure meeting you! Shall we return here again same time next year, together?”
As I started my drive away from the property to go back home, I saw my cell phone at the bottom of my suitcase and I didn’t even think to switch it on. Brush Creek Ranch is most certainly a very unique experience with heart!
Consider booking directly with Brush Creek Ranch at http://www.brushcreekranch.com or call 307.327.5284.
Donna Salle is a feature writer with ETB Travel News and can be contacted directly at TravelsWithHeart@gmail.com.