by Kristen Kucharski
AN OFF-THE-GRID EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER
I have been on many adventures over the years with #MomsLittleBlackBook and Glancer Magazine. I have researched, planned, organized, scheduled, and choreographed anything from two hour activities, to all day adventures, to cross country road trips; but never have I ever been on a vacation where everything was done for me!
We headed out west to discover an all-inclusive ranch located on the outskirts of Steamboat Springs, CO in the small town of Clark, CO which boasts a population of only 765 people. Coming from my hometown of Naperville of about 150,000, I was apprehensive at the wonder of how this tiny town could possibly entertain us; however, also thoroughly engaged at the knowledge of all the activities presented on their website.
I just had to find out for myself, so I packed my bags and took along someone I thought could keep up with my desire to conquer every activity possible within a 72 hour period! I then quickly realized we needed to bring a whole bunch of winter gear and did not want to check luggage, so we partnered with Kit Lender who made traveling as simple as point, click, submit. They provide snow, ski, tri, swimming, camping, and hiking gear and send it directly to your destination of choice. I received a FEDEX tracking number and our coats, snow pants, boots, gloves, hats, wool socks, and goggles arrived before we did!
As soon as we landed at Yampa Valley Regional Airport and the ramp was wheeled to our airplane door, we knew we embarked on Small Town U.S.A. Our driver was easy to find inside the terminal as he waited patiently with his broad smile, flannel shirt, cowboy hat and boots holding a Vista Verde Ranch sign to welcome us.
During the hour drive to the ranch, we felt immediately at home knowing the ranch is owned and operated by Chris and Laura Jones of Wheaton, Illinois who have immersed their family culture, morals, and values throughout the ranch staff, and have been very intentional in their ultimate mission of providing personalized Western hospitality within an all-inclusive AAA Four Diamond Ranch Resort.
Open year round to all ages, we found the perfect mix of peace, relaxation, and adventure where every detail was handled for us. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served on schedule and offer elegant and decadent menus filled with options and choices to please any palette. Beyond meals, drinks are also included, and a daily 5:30 p.m. Happy Hour embraces the culture of meeting new friends and enjoying unique appetizers.
Staff members take care of every detail and you don’t even have to leave the table to plan your next day’s adventure as they diligently advise of all the experiences on the following day’s agenda. Your individual passions and stamina drive your selections by the hour, or by the day, as ranch life is extremely flexible to ensure your vacation meets your every want and need.
Our 72 hour stay was filled with two-step dance lessons, snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, horse trail riding, tubing, wine tasting, feeding the horses, trivia; and yet, wonderfully balanced with new acquaintances, gregarious laughter, afternoon naps, and evening hot tubs. We ate, drank, played, relaxed, and completely enjoyed our off-the-grid experience. We then labeled our winter gear box and left it for FEDEX pickup back to Kit Lender.
I think I fully met my adventure match at Vista Verde Ranch and cannot wait to head back some day soon to take in the variety of activities offered in the spring, summer, and fall as well.
Indulge in this casual and inviting active atmosphere while feeling like you are in the midst of luxury!
–Kristen Kucharski, Features Writer