Top 5 luxury ranches in North America


That is quite a bold claim and of course, it is subjective, but I think these are the best. They vary in size and facilities but they all offer exemplary service, excellent food, good riding and the wonderful chance to be the cowboy of one’s childhood dreams.  A ranch holiday is a wonderful thing as there is something for everyone.

All ranches make for an unforgettable family holiday for you and your children but these add a touch of luxury even though they are working ranches. They are also superb if grandparents want to join in the family holiday as four out of five of these ranches have multiple activities for all ages. A ranch also makes an amazing holiday for couples There is plenty of time and space for some high quality time together; singles will appreciate the chance to mingle with others on all the group activities.

Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort, British Columbia

Despite its name, Siwash is a working, family-owned boutique guest ranch lying in the middle of British Columbia’s cowboy country. It does not matter if you choose to stay in one of the luxury prospector tents or in the main lodge, you will be cossetted from morning to night whether you want to be out and about enjoying the many activities on offer or relaxing with a good book by the lake surrounded by beautiful meadows, forests and the horses.  With a maximum of 24 people including children during the summer holidays, you could take over the whole ranch with a group of friends or the extended family. Outside of the summer holiday period, Siwash is an adult-only ranch.

Aside from the riding, there is fly-fishing, target and clay pigeon (skeet) shooting, kayaking and swimming in the lake, mountain biking, outdoor yoga as well as foraging tours and a forest spa.  The children are well catered for with the Free-Range Kids Club. The Siwash Synergy with Horses™ is a unique programme regarded as the best in Canada. You will be able to ride through pristine wilderness of the Cariboo Mountains on a well mannered and trained horse chosen to suit your ability whether it is the first time you have ridden or are an expert before returning to the ranch house for a delicious dinner.  Food is an important part of your stay at Siwash; as much as possible is sourced locally and lovingly prepared for you.

The Resort at Paws Up, Montana

Apparently, Abraham Lincoln said “My favourite state has not yet been invented.  It will be called Montana, and it will be perfect”.  The Resort at Paws Up is an authentic working cattle ranch sitting on 37,000 rolling acres, surrounded by the magical Montana wilderness. It is vast and yet manages to be personal as well, partly because there is no main lodge.

You have a choice of staying in either one of the 28 luxury homes scattered in the woods or down by the riverside there are 6 safari style camps  offering super-luxurious tents with ensuite bathrooms where your neighbours are tall trees and undulating meadows. It is one of those places where you can leave the outside world behind when you land at Missoula.  The ranch will collect you from the airport and transport you directly to Paws Up where your rate includes all on-property transportation (each home has its own compact car), all meals including soft drinks, beer and wine and vast array of recreation activities. These will include horse riding, clay-pigeon shooting, a quad bike tour as well as boating, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, even a high ropes course and a whole host more.

Children aged 3 to 12 are well catered for with their own clubs monitored by qualified staff.  For a little extra cash, you can indulge in spa treatments, hot air ballooning, or a helicopter tour of nearby Glacier National Park. Like most ranches, The Resort at Paws Up is perfect for a large family gathering but if you are a couple, go in 2018 and stay in one of their new Cottage Suites, just perfect for two.

The Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana

Renowned as the only Forbes Travel Guide’s Five-Star Guest Ranch, The Ranch at Rock Creek, along with Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort, was selected by National Geographic as a Unique Lodge of the World and is a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux group. This should give you the idea that Rock Creek is a pretty special place and you are right. Back in the early 1900s Rock Creek was a working ranch homestead, however, since 2010 it has been metamorphosed into one of the most luxurious places to stay on the planet.

A maximum of 125 guests are accommodated in a variety of 29 rooms ranging from a one-room suite in the Granite Lodge to a five-bedroom log home.  In between you will find glamping canvas cabins and an historic barn. The cabins are my favourite as they are a lovely combination of wooden cabin leading into a tented sleeping area.  Any thought that you are camping can be banished as they have full private bathrooms, a gas burning stove and screened in porch many of which overlook Rock Creek.

Included in the cost of your stay are twice-daily guided on-Ranch adventures:  these include riding, fly fishing, archery, hiking, mountain biking, a ropes course and Stagecoach Rides.  The little ones are well taken care of in the Little Grizzlies Kids Club while the adults can indulge in spa treatments, golf or a heli-adventure. If you are thinking of getting married or celebrating a special occasions, Rock Creek would be a great choice.

Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming

Voted Number 1 Resort Hotel in the US and Number 3 in the World 2017 by Travel & Leisure Readers, Brush Creek Ranch actually comprises three guest ranches set on a 30,000 acre working ranch.  The main one is the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch which is a family-friendly lodge sleeping up to 150 guests.  At its centre is the timber built Trailhead Lodge with its 28-foot high ceilings and wonderful views of the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Snowy range. Here you will find the Great Room where you can enjoy a multi-course meal paired with wine chosen from the 800 bottle wine cellar, a vast fireplace and an expansive bar. Meal time is an important part of your stay at Brush Creek; try the feasts at the Chuckwagon or outdoor dining at the Creekside Dinner Camp. The historic Magee Homestead is perfect for a small group (maximum 27 people) and for the sportsman, there is the French Creek Sportsman’s Club on the Platte River Valley for exclusive fly fishing and shooting.

Wherever you choose to stay, you will have to make your way to the Outfitters Barn where the professional staff will prepare you for the day’s adventures.  These could be riding, fly-fishing, archery or hiking; there are over 75 miles of biking / hiking trails as well as ziplines and a ropes course.  All kinds of sports take place in the gymnasium, basketball, bocce, Pool, air hockey.  If you have heard of it, Brush Creek probably provide it.

Triple Creek Ranch, Montana

Hidden away in the Bitterroot Mountain range of the Montana Rockies is the intimate Relais & Châteaux member Triple Creek Ranch. This adult-oriented ranch, sleeping a maximum of 62 guests, focuses on its award winning cuisine accompanied by fine wines:  Triple Creek has been awarded a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since 2012.   If you plan your visit carefully, you will be able to join one of their Vintner weekends, the cooking school or an Artist Workshop.  Triple Creek is all about planning.  Meticulous care is paid to every detail and it shows in the exceptional personal service, the comfort, positioning and furnishings of the cabins of which there are a variety ranging from a one-bedroom cabin to luxury ranch homes.

Included in the cost of your holiday is a wide range of activities.  Depending on the time of year, you can choose from riding, hiking or snowshoeing, a fly-casting clinic, sapphire panning, tennis or archery.  If all this sounds just too energetic, you can always relax by the pool, kept at 84 degrees during the summer months.  For an extra cost, you can also whitewater raft, join a cattle drive or a guided ATV adventure among many other options.

Sandra Potter is Founder of Frontier Travel.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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Ride the open roads of the US and Canada




What better way to explore the open roads of the US and Canada than on a motor bike? Imagine the curves in the Rocky Mountains, the long straight sections of Route 66, or biking the Big Sur on the Californian Coast.

There are three ways to organise this.

You can rent a motorcycle and head off on your own from any number of locations around America and a few in Canada.  The range of bikes on offer is extraordinary; EagleRider offer 182 different motorcycles ranging from classic Harleys to trikes and Slingshots.

You can follow a pre-planned route with all your accommodation arranged in advance for you.  Self-drive tour packages include a late model motorcycle, hotel accommodations, a day-by-day itinerary with driving directions. Set routes have been carefully planned to guide you along the most scenic and attractive roads in the area or you can plan your own and still have the reassurance of a bed at the end of the day.

The third, and the most popular, is to join a guided tour.  These are great in that, not only are you riding with like minded people, but you will have the security of knowing that should there be a problem, your guide will sort it out for you; they will also sort out all the logistics leaving you free to enjoy yourself! Some hidden roads are easy to miss if you are riding on your own. On a guided tour, your guide will make sure to lead you along all the best riding stretches and also on certain tours like Route 66, uniquely you also have access to gated roads. There is a vast choice of routes both long and short, taking in all the must-visit places in America. Aside from the obvious Route 66, there is a 15 night holiday exploring the Wild West starting in Los Angeles and going inland as far as Monument Valley seeing the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Yosemite and San Francisco. You can go from coast to coast in 16 nights, enjoy a short on/off road adventure around Baja California, or perhaps my favourite:  riding from Seattle up into the Canadian Rockies (Banff and Jasper) and then following the Continental Divide all the way south through Glacier National Park and Yellowstone finishing in Colorado.

Harley-Davidson’s big 115th Anniversary is all planned for August 29 – September 2, 2018 in Milwaukee. The event is a call to all motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world to join in the grand, citywide celebration. The party is not just about a landmark anniversary of a brand that began in a wooden shed over 100 years but a chance for a great party attended by tens of thousands of motorcyclists.  Judging by past events, there will be headliner music, racing, foods from around the world, museum tours, custom bike shows, marriage ceremony packages, bike parade (which drew 6,000 motorcyclists for the 110th), probably dancing and extreme camaraderie.  The line-up has yet to be announced but at the 110th Anniversary the likes of Kid Rock, Aerosmith, ZZ Top and the Blue Oyster Cult were a few of the 28 headliner acts and 60 bands.

To make the party even more special, EagleRider, the exclusive US provider of rental and tours for Harley-Davidson, have put together four amazing trips riding through some of the most iconic motorcycling destinations in the world, culminating in Milwaukee in time for the party. There will be plenty of celebrations along the way as  each city along the route where there is a Harley-Davidson dealership is celebrating. The routes start in Portland, Maine, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale and San Diego.

Sandra Potter is Founder of Frontier Travel.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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5 Wyoming wildlife experiences – A Luxury Travel Blog



 



When reminiscing about Wyoming, a few things come to mind; western flare, skiing and, most predominately, wildlife. Thanks to the abundance of National Parks, nature preserves and protected land, Wyoming has a rich diversity of species roaming among the pristine terrain. Experiencing these creatures through tours by knowledgeable experts can be the most enriching thing you do while visiting the state of grassy plains and snowcapped mountains.

EcoTour Adventures

The highly educated naturalist guides from EcoTour Adventures provide a vast amount of knowledge while escorting passengers via safari style vehicle deep into the wilderness of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. With your guide’s trained eye, you’ll likely see a variety of animals and often tracks of those species more rare to catch out and about. Binoculars are provided to observe activity of animals further in the distance, and the rooftop hatches on each vehicle allow passengers to pop their heads out for a better look, while remaining safely within the vehicle. EcoTour Adventures tightly adheres to Wyoming’s conservation efforts by respecting the space of wildlife, staying on the same path through each trip, and using biodiesel fuel. Local snacks like bison jerky, fresh roasted coffee and organic muffins are a welcomed treat included in the tour.

ALTBecotour

National Museum of Wildlife Art

Composed of stone, wood and other natural material, the National Museum of Wildlife Art sits on a hillside parallel to the National Elk Refuge. “We exist to enrich and inspire appreciation and knowledge of humanity’s relationship with nature,” states the official site. While it’s not your typical wildlife adventure, visiting the museum is an important part of understanding not only Wyoming’s connection with animals, but the world’s. An extensive collection of sculptures, paintings and displays line the hallways and small rooms of the rustic styled museum. One special room, in particular, features a broad picture window complete with a telescope to view wintering elk in the refuge.

ALTBMuseum

National Elk Refuge

In 1912, the National Elk Refuge was developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide habitat for the diminishing elk population. Harsh winters in Jackson Hole proved to be detrimental, especially when the land became more populated. Protecting this species is important in preserving other animals in the Wyoming ecosystem. The refuge prevents elk from being disturbed and burning precious fat reserves. Around November, elk begin to trickle down the mountain and congregate in a group with up to 5,000 elk. Visitors can take a sleigh ride into the center of the action, and this does not disturb the animals as they cannot detect humans within the sleigh. You cannot simply walk out onto the refuge, but while in the sleigh you’ll be presented with photography opportunities of a lifetime.

ALTBElk

Mad River boat trip

Imagine floating down a calm, 13-mile stretch of the snake river while the morning sun reflects off the picturesque Teton mountain range. Mad River Boat Trips take you on a relaxed, inflatable raft trip where you can see a variety of wildlife, possibly grizzlies, black bears and birds, along the river bank. Guides take care of the steering and no paddling is required, so it’s a laid back choice, appropriate for all activity levels. Passengers will also be educated on the history and geology of the area.

Mad River Jackson Wyoming BN photo316P8110957

Jackson Hole Iditarod dog sled tours

While this tour is specific to the winter, you’ll want to book months ahead to secure a spot for this authentic experience. A previous Iditarod participant and 23 year dog sledding veteran, Frank Teasly, takes guests on half and full day sledding adventures between November and April. When taking the full day trip, you’ll be whisked to the famed Granite Hot Springs, where you’ll take a refreshing dip after enjoying a true Wyoming lunch complete with soup and warm beverages. You may see deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and eagles along the way. And yes, you get to guide your own team of dogs.

Dog Sled



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6 top sweet eats in Jackson Hole, Wyoming



 



Jackson Hole has a complex assortment of great food because of their commitment to source local, higher quality ingredients. You could spend weeks in the area and would still fail to try all the mouth-watering options. Those with a sweet tooth will be particularly intrigued with the quirky, yet simplistic treats in the area. Indulgences in Jackson Hole are typically made with real ingredients, not artificial flavors or sweeteners, taking taste to another level.

Roadhouse – Wyoming whiskey ice cream sandwiches

Countless Roadhouse ice cream sandwiches are prepared by hand every morning, not only to satisfy the taste buds of diners, but to stock the shelves of local grocery stores. Two mini, crispy cookies encase smooth, creamy, whiskey ice cream; dark chocolate sprinkles coat the edges. Authentic Wyoming Whiskey gives visitors a true taste of their distilling craftsmanship, without having to shoot it straight. Don’t worry, there are other flavors suitable for kids.

WhiskeyIcecream

The Handle Bar – s’mores at your table

Nothing says “cozy vacation in the mountains” quite like S’mores, and The Handle Bar has perfected the art. Hershey’s chocolate, house-made strawberry marshmallows, fresh baked graham crackers and a cup of The Handle Bar’s own chocolate spread are served on a rotating dish, complete with a tiny grill in the center. The best part may be that you get to do all of this at the warmth and comfort of your dining table, inside the restaurant.

Smores

The Bunnery – very berry pie

You haven’t truly had pie until you’ve visited The Bunnery. Made with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and a “melt in your mouth” crust, it’s nearly irresistible. Adding ice cream almost dilutes the robust berry flavor, so it’s best to eat it straight. Slices are enormous, being much thicker than your average portion; so eat light to save room, or perhaps have just dessert!

Very Berry Pie

The Alpine House – wild blueberry French toast

If you stay at this adorable, Viking inspired lodge, you’ll be treated to fantastic, chef prepared breakfasts every morning. Fresh made, locally sourced muffins, breads, granola and pastries are available while you wait for the main dish, which could be anything from a garden omelet with balsamic drizzle to an English muffin with black forest ham and egg. The French toast, with pure maple syrup, wild blueberries and cream is perfection. The portion of each ingredient is well balance, keeping the dish indulgent yet not overly sweet.

French Toast

Hayden’s Post cast iron cinnamon roll

Hayden’s Post is a contemporary, yet affordable dining option with a killer cinnamon roll. Since the world class ski resort, Snow King Mountain, is a Stone’s throw away, one might want to fill up before hitting the slopes, snow tubing or riding the scenic and exciting Cowboy Coaster. Smooth cream cheese frosting, with a hint of fluffy sour cream oozes down the sides of the cloud like cinnamon bread, into the large cast iron skillet in which it was fresh baked. You may want to split this enormous sweet roll with a friend.

Cinnamon Roll by Geraldine Mishev

Top of the World Waffles – any waffle

Situated on Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s highest accessible peak is a tiny cabin known as Top of the World Waffles, or Corbet’s Cabin. Whether you will be taking the famous “Big Red” tram, or skiing the daring slopes, the cabin is a welcoming retreat from the frigid temperatures. A few variations of “no syrup needed” waffles are on the menu, but The “Trad”, lightly coated with brown sugar butter, and the Peanut Butter Bacon are the best. The waffles aren’t thick Belgian style, but rather thin and slightly crispy with a fluffy center. Grab a cup of coffee or organic milk and enjoy the breathtaking view.

Waffle



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