Date: October 14th, 2014
Over the course of the summer, Erica (in charge of our kids program) has sent me photos from her adventures out in the mountains around Vista Verde. Always by her side is her trusty friend Goldie.
We’ll throw our friends at the Honest Kitchen some love here in mentioning that Goldie is one of the ranch dogs fueled by the Honest Kitchen. These fine folks provide our ranch dogs with all natural human grade dog food products, using dehydrated whole foods. Their pet foods are produced in the USA from non-GMO produce, hormone-free meats and some organic, fair trade ingredients. Try some out for your cat or dog!
Now, back to Goldie’s adventures. In each batch of photos, there is a perfectly posed photo of Goldie with some absolutely amazingly scenic backdrop. This dog was meant to be a model, and loves being in front of the lens! I’ve had fun posting these photos throughout the summer on our social media channels. With the season coming to an end, I thought I’d take a walk down memory lane via Goldie’s adventures. It has been an amazing season. We’ve had pretty much a full house all the way up until last week, when things started to get a bit quiet. The season will come to an end after this week, and we’ll shut down for a few weeks while we wait for the snow to start accumulating. So, enjoy this tour of the summer and fall seasons through the adventures of Goldie.
Date: October 8th, 2014
As we near the end of our season, we are all enjoying the last days of guests at the ranch. Come October 18 things will get awfully quiet around here. The last guests will be gone, the staff will be packing up and heading out for adventures, and the horses won’t be running in and out from their pasture each day, but just staying out there on vacation.
Between now and then, we’re enjoying the beauty of the transition of fall. This has been the longest fall foliage season I’ve ever experienced. Since mid-September, the colors have been gorgeous. Instead of all the aspens going at once, they’ve been changing bit by bit. One stand will change while another stays bright green. Over the course of the past month, the forest has let the colorful show linger. We’re still seeing some stands of aspens just starting to change to yellow, orange, and red. So, chances are that this show will last until Halloween!
The weather this October has been a mixed bag, from snow to rain to bright sunny days. We’ve had freezing weather and we’ve had 70 degree days. As one guest from San Diego pointed out to me this morning, welcome to Colorado! No matter what the weather, our guests have gotten out there and made it happen. Add a jacket, some gloves and a rain slicker and off we go into the woods. A good attitude and a sense of adventure can go a long way on a rainy day!
The elk finally decided it was fall, and have started keeping people awake at night up on the hillside. It’s such an eerie sound to hear them bugling back and forth. There is nothing like waking up to a herd of elk outside your bathroom window.
The days keep flying by, and the season continues to transition as we make our way toward winter. For now, we’ll all take a few more days (can we even request a few weeks?) of gorgeous fall days like today. In fact, we all sat out at lunch today just to soak up the wonderful sunshine, not something you can do all the time in October. As our season comes to an end, we’ll reflect back on a huge year, figure out what we want to change for next year, and how to make the guest experience even better. Then it’s time to start planning for winter. December 13 is opening day for the winter season, and then we’re off to the races again!
Date: September 24th, 2014
Date: September 23rd, 2014
We are in our 5th adult-only week of the fall season. So far, we have had some gangbuster weeks with a ton of great guests, lots of wonderful adventures, a mix bag of weather ranging from rain, rain go away to what we all call “hot” (If you’re from the southern part of the States, yes you can laugh at us for calling 80 degrees “hot”.) Through all this, it’s been wonderful to watch the transition of the seasons. The grass has turned golden, the aspens are at this very moment exploding with color, and the scrub oak and ferns are alternating on the spectrum of yellow, orange and red.
One of the fun changes we make to our schedule when we shift over to adult-only weeks for the fall is to add in a wine pairing dinner one night. The Chefs get to flex their creative muscles, play around with some different wines and food options, and wow the guests a bit. It’s a fun night, and we always just hope that after a long day of adventures on the trail no one ends up asleep in their plate.
The other evening, Chef Hannah captured some amazing shots of the food. Just to tantalize your taste buds a bit, here are some of these wonderful shots, along with the menu from one of the evenings we enjoyed with great guests and fabulous food.
Date: September 22nd, 2014
Vista Verde Ranch’s “Plus One” Service Makes it a Prime Retreat During Any Season
Posted: Apr. 24th, 2014 | By Katherine Bond
“I’ve never seen so much snow,” I told my travel companion. “Wow. Neither have I,” she responded. Granted, we’re two Southern California gals with little appreciation for 15 inches of fresh powder, but still, the beauty of Vista Verde Ranch seems to impress guests from every climate. Read more…..
Date: September 22nd, 2014
All-Inclusive Properties in the U.S. for Every Traveler
By Anne Roderique Jones
For contemporary cowboys and cowgirls: Vista Verde Guest Ranch
Date: September 17th, 2014
Something hit me the other day as I was talking to a couple guests at lunch. They were telling me how they just love how we all seem to just be so happy. What resonated with me was a word that I’ve heard over and over in that same context. “Seem” As I listened to Devyn (who was sitting next to me and also engaged in this conversation) explain, with her beaming smile and infectious laugh, how it’s really true that we’re all happy folks, I started to think about why is it that the guests regularly mention to me that they are pleasantly surprised at how happy we all “seem” to be.
Part of it is the people we hire at the ranch. As Devyn was explaining, there are “Vista Verde people” and there are people who aren’t. Nothing wrong with those folks, but we do tend to select a person who has a zest for life, a love of taking care of others, and a true investment in the human experience. Oh, and they are typically pretty adventurous, educated, and interesting too. So, take that, and then you add in…..
Nature and Endorphins. Today I had an hour free at the end of the day before I had to pick up my kids. I had a choice. I could definitely have done a bit more work. I could have gone all super-momish and finished up laundry, prepped dinner, etc… I could have written this blog, as it was on my mile long to-do list for the day. Like most of us, the list is never-ending. Instead, I decided that I would be a fool if I didn’t take that 59.9 minutes and head into the woods. I hopped on my trusty mountain bike (the horse wasn’t available at the moment) and took off on a trail. About 30 minutes into the ride I had that moment. Euphoria hit in. The happy juice. Fresh air, dirt, trees, leaves, sunshine, and a fair amount of sweat…..all of it came together and my soul was soaring. Getting out in nature and sweating a bit makes us happy. And, at the ranch, we get a lot of opportunities to do just that.
The internet stinks. So, let’s be frank. The internet access 25 miles outside of a small, rural Colorado town isn’t exactly lightening fast. But, you know what? Besides the frustrations that we all face (ok, even cowboys need to send emails and might even prefer to pay their bills online), disconnecting from the world a bit seems to change people. We look around more. We talk to each other more. We go for moonlight hikes instead of streaming Netflix (now, having said that, Nathan is the biggest Netflix, the old fashion kind where you mail it in…, junkies out there). But, I believe that stepping away from all that does make people a bit happier, once they accept it and embrace it. (PR disclaimer….guests can still access emails for those who need to work on vacation, and we are constantly exploring ways to increase the bandwidth as we do recognize that to function as a business we do need better access.)
What we do is fun. In any business, and any time you are dealing with people, there are stresses. But, what is so great about this business is that we get to see people when they are at their best. We get you at your happiest times, and we get to play with you, share experiences with you, and become friends with you. Sure, we throw our heart and souls into serving our guests, and that can exhaust even the chippiest Devyn out there. But, what we get to do each day is fun.
So, don’t be fooled. We can all get tired, we can all get stressed, we can all get grumpy. Because, it’s just normal life for us with family issues, health issues, and an imperfect world. Even through those down days, there is an inner happiness, a contentment, and a joy that oozes through. But, just know that if you come here as a guest, I can assure you that it’s not an act. It’s happiness. Drink some of the Koolaid (aka Rocky Mountain spring water), and you might feel it too!
Date: September 15th, 2014
10 Amazing Ranch Vacations in the US
Ranch vacations offer couples and families a unique way to relax in a natural setting while enjoy an array of new activities. Whether you are looking for a week-long dude ranch vacation, complete with horseback riding and fly fishing, or a quiet stay at a country lodge surrounded by wilderness, here are some of the top choices in the United States. Read more…..
Date: September 11th, 2014
FALL TOURISM RISING: FEWER CROWDS, NICE WEATHER
Date: September 10th, 2014
Vista Verde is often seen as being a “resort” as many folks can’t wrap their head around the fact that a guest ranch, or dude ranch, can be something more than what they saw in City Slickers. So, when people see us as a luxury property, they change guest ranch to resort. Now, there is nothing wrong with being considered a resort. But, there is something about a ranch that is different. For example…..
We make our guests work:
During one of our formal dinners this week, Larry donned his white shirt and jeans, just to look like the servers. Mid-service, Bubba got Larry a bolo tie and an apron, and brought him into the kitchen to help the servers for a few minutes. And, in the process, gave the chefs a mild panic attack. That’s a ranch for you.
Nappy Cat has earned a following from guests around the globe. CC is here right now, with her stash of Fancy Feast, and Nappy is purr-fectly happy. Then, add to that Diane comes in and gives Nappy Cat a haircut in order to get rid of the….nappies. Next week, Nappy Cat will go back to helping us with mice control. That’s a ranch for you.
The traffic around here stinks:
It seems to be that the cows know to block the road just when it’s time to drive up to one of the many hiking trail heads. It doesn’t matter which trail head we choose, they seem to know where we’re going to be headed and settle down right in the middle of the road. Having said that, when we go out on horseback to round them up, they suddenly disappear. That’s a ranch for you.
The band is inclusive:
Go to a resort and sit down at the bar after dinner to listen to the band, and you’ll probably enjoy a nice evening of music. At Vista Verde, if you have musical talent, you very well may find yourself being the entertainment. Several times this summer, the Friday night music has included guest performers. Sometimes they are even better than the band, but don’t tell the guys.
Those are just a few anecdotal examples of things that happen here at Vista Verde that make us all laugh and say, “Only at a ranch.” For guests who have been here before, please share any of your own stories in the comments!
Date: September 5th, 2014
Rediscover romance: 5 Autumn Escapes
Janene Mascarella, NowU
IF YOU feel like you and your partner are two ships passing in the night, fall is a fabulous time to plan a romantic getaway and reconnect. It’s known as the shoulder season, and that means more chances for glorious weather, fewer crowds and, very often, lower rates.
From early morning sunrises to evening strolls under the stars, here are five spectacular destinations where you can fall in love all over again:
Date: August 26th, 2014
A couple weeks ago, the VVR kids got crafty and creative when they decided to raise some money for animals in need. As they went through yard after yard of friendship threads (if you’re a parent of school-age children, I suspect you are finding remnants of friendship thread all over your house these days as well), they came up with a plan. The girls developed their product, did a market analysis, studied their demographic, compared their pricing strategy with the competition, and agreed upon their marketing plan. Then they put it all into action.
The target audience? Unsuspecting parents and staff at the barn dance.
The product? Colorful friendship bracelets handcrafted in the kids hut.
The pricing plan? Donations only. That opens the door for a higher price point for those who don’t want to be called “cheap”.
The competition? Just Ben calling square dance moves. Not too hard to compete with, for sure.
The revenue goal? As much as possible.
So, how did they do? Well, let’s just say these ladies have a future in business and philanthropy. They made a really nice card, bundled up the $75 they raised, and sent it off to the ASPCA. They recognized that not all horses have the luxe life of a Vista Verde horse, and wanted to do something good for horses who don’t spend most of their days in knee deep green pastures.
Way to go girls!
Date: August 25th, 2014
By Land or By Sea – Destination I Do Magazine
By Carolyn Steere
One may not think “dude ranch” and “romance” belong in the same sentence, but Vista Verde Ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colorado will make you think twice. Nestled in a valley bordering the Continental Divide, this unique property combines luxury, pristine beauty, extraordinary cuisine and a stress-less agenda of unique, year-round activities.
Read the full article by picking up the latest issue of Destination I Do.
Date: August 18th, 2014
There is a great amount of pleasure taken in watching our guests have epic adventures on their vacations here at Vista Verde. I love hearing the stories, seeing the photos, and watching their faces light up as they recall their amazing experiences. But, it doesn’t stop with the guests. Hearing about the epic adventures our staff have is also just as much of a treat. Most of them come to work at a dude ranch because they love people, the outdoors, and want to experience Colorado. So, it makes sense that on their days off, they go off and try new things, explore the state, and see new places. Some end up making this home, and this just becomes their lifestyle. Some are just here for a few months, so are getting out as much as possible before heading back home to school or another job.
Sit back, and enjoy a little armchair adventure through the eyes of some fabulous dude ranch staff members.
Last weekend JT, Goldie and I summited Flat Top mountain right in VVR’s own backyard along the continental divide. It was a 17 mile round trip hike completed in one day.
We climbed over 4,000 feet in elevation, talk about a workout! The wild flowers are gorgeous up there right now.
This weekend we are backpacking into the Flat Top Wilderness in the White National Forest with Isaac and Zach.
Jen Parent, SallyMcEwen and I went on the Devil’s Causeway hike in the Flat Top Wilderness. It was thrilling and terrifying crossing over the causeway which is at it’s narrowest, four feet wide. A picture could never do it justice. One of my favorite things about Vista Verde is the community and doing an incredible hike like this only bonds us even more.
Ashley Boyd (Kid’s Wrangler)
The “Tuesday Crew,” Ashley, Brandi, Emily and Paul, took a road trip earlier in the summer to The Great Sand Dunes National Park. We camped the night before, and then spent all day climbing the dunes and sand surfing down.
More recently the “Tuesday Crew” plus Jake, decided to explore in their own back yard! We completed a 24 mile hike in the Zirkel Wilderness Area which included summiting Lost Ranger and hiking along the Continental Divide. It was amazing to see the incredible beauty that is so close to the ranch!
Date: August 8th, 2014
Maple glazed sticky buns (makes approx. 2 dozen rolls)
Danish dough, one sheet, 17” x 25”
1 pound unsalted butter, whipped
1 Tblsp. Ground cinnamon
8 Tblsp. Granulated sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup maple syrup
8 ounces melted butter
- If the dough is frozen, allow it to warm slightly, but not too much, if too soft it will be difficult to roll, if too frozen, it will crack!
- Whip the butter in a mixer with a paddle attachment until very soft and spreadable. Spread the butter evenly over the entire surface of the dough with a spatula.
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over the entire surface of the dough.
- Tightly roll the dough evenly into a log. Wrap the dough first in plastic wrap and then in foil. Refrigerate overnight to set up.
- The next day, combine the pecans, maple and melted butter in a bowl and spread on the bottom of a baking pan, Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator, remove the foil and plastic, and slice into 24 pieces. and arrange in the baking pan.
- Bake the rolls for 12 minutes, rotate the pans and bake another 12 minutes until done. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack.
- Turn out onto a platter to serve. Enjoy!
Date: August 8th, 2014
With seat bones sore and bodies worn out, paddle boarding has been a great mid-week option for our guests on a warm summer day. Paddling around a lake, taking in the scenery, and just relaxing with a cool breeze has left folks refreshed and ready to hit the trail the next day! Learn more about summer vacation activities at Vista Verde Ranch.
Date: August 6th, 2014
The kids are back in school after a fun-filled summer of family time. What better way to celebrate – ahem, I mean grieve – than to plan a little weekend getaway with the hubs. Read more about fall vacations for grownups.
Date: July 29th, 2014
Our foals have been growing up so quickly! Here is a quick update to catch you up on who is who among this year’s foals and the personalities they are growing into. All of these foals are by our stallion Gunshy Ganster.
Registered Name: Fully Baretta
Filly or Colt: Filly
Dam (mom): Full Persuaded a.k.a. Rachel
Qualities: Fiesty and Spunky
Registered Name: Calamity Jane
Filly or Colt: Filly
Dam: Mary Jane Reyn a.k.a. M.J.
Qualities: Refined and Loving
Registered Name: Shootin Sage
Filly or Colt: Filly
Dam: Emmie Oaklys a.k.a. Oakley
Qualities: Sweet and Sassy
Registered Name: Gunninfortubbychics
Filly or Colt: Colt
Dam: Reynyday Whoamann a.k.a. Teletubby
Qualities: Calm and Carefree
Date: July 23rd, 2014
7 Awesome All-Inclusive Family Getaways
Please the whole brood with these beautiful, exciting, and luxurious pre-paid vacations.
A trip for the whole family
Date: July 17th, 2014
Going down to the mare barn to visit the mares and foals is always a great time. But this year there has been an extra special source of fun down there. It’s an unlikely friendship between Bandit the cat and the foals. I saw it first this spring, when we had only two foals on the groud, and many more to go. But, as the other foals have arrived and settled into the herd, we’re learning that Bandit is not exclusive in his friendship with the foals. He likes them all!
Now, let me explain, this is not just a cat that likes to sit on the fence near the foals. This cat gets in there and loves on these foals like you can’t imagine! His first pick is a snoozing foal as that makes for the best cuddling. Even better is when he can roll around and get some nuzzles as that gets all those itchy spots on his back.
Believe it or not, the foals love him! They follow him around, nuzzle him, snuggle with him and even sometimes nibble on him. They do draw the line when he starts to knead with his claws too much. Who wouldn’t?
Enjoy these amazing photos, most of them captured by staff member Suzanna Bloom. Even better, come join us for a ranch vacation and you can join the foal clinic and see Bandit in action!
Date: July 16th, 2014
Back at the Ranch by Dan Armitage
Date: July 8th, 2014
Vista Verde Trout Fishing
By Bill Vanderford
Skip to page 18 to read the article.
Date: July 8th, 2014
If you’ve been following the ranch on our various social media outlets, you’ve already met Cori Webb via her photography. I figured it was time to officially introduce her so people could know the person behind the lens.
Cori is originally from Indiana, and attended Indiana University to study elementary education before making Vista Verde her home. She is in her 5th season working at the ranch and has a wide variety of experience from working as a kid supervisor, housekeeper, teen wrangler, and my favorite spot for her in the front office (Cori would disagree as she prefers to be outside, but we’d have her back any day!).
So, how does Cori end up with all these phenomenal photos? She isn’t a trained photographer, but has always been drawn to the camera and capturing moments around her. Cori’s interest was piqued after a photography class in high school, and she has been shooting ever since. Being at the ranch, she mostly takes photos of the natural world, but she would really like to spend some more time taking photos of people going forward. She loves children, so maybe there’s a future in family photo shoots? Possibly as a side gig as her main focus is elementary education.
As with any great VVR staff who settles at the ranch for a while, and much to our chagrin, Cori’s time is coming to move on in life. After this summer she will be heading down the mountain and giving city life a try in Denver. She’s hoping to find a teaching job there so she can start applying her talents with children in the classroom.
When asked what she would miss most about the ranch, Cori answers, “”There are so many incredible aspects to the ranch, but the community is definitely what I’m going to miss the most. This place has become home over the last few years.“
It’s been a gift for us to have Cori as part of the family all these years. On top of her great contributions to the guest experience, and our staff community, we’ve been able to share the beauty of the ranch with so many people through her photos. We hope you enjoy her photos throughout this summer!
Date: July 8th, 2014
Western Horsemanship and Riding Clinics
Looking to expand your western riding skills and natural horsemanship knowledge? Here’s a look at three educational opportunities for riders who want to try something new and improve their riding.
by Jocelyn Pierce
Riders of all levels can benefit from additional training and instruction to improve riding technique. Whether you’re a developed western rider determined to hone in on specialized skills, an English rider wanting to try to a new discipline, or a beginner, there are countless educational programs available. We look at Vista Verde Guest Ranch, The Home Ranch, and Horse Show by Appointment–all fun, comprehensive, and quality programs suitable for any rider.
Vista Verde Guest Ranch
Vista Verde Ranch Guest Ranch offers clinics and horseback riding daily and also hosts an annual Horsemanship Retreat. Located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Vista Verde’s riding program is a well-rounded educational experience that will leave guests with expanded horsemanship knowledge. Read more….
Date: July 4th, 2014
Ingredients (cake batter):
1 ½ cups cornmeal
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound butter, soft
3 cups granulated sugar
8 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sour cream
Procedure (cake batter):
1. Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside.
2. In the Hobart mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
3. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
4. Add the vanilla and sour cream and combine until smooth.
5. Add the dry ingredients and combine until incorporated. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
4 ounces butter, divided
1 cup brown sugar, divided
6 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1. Melt half the butter in each of the cast iron pans, add the brown sugar and cook until it bubbles together.
2. Divide the blueberries into each pan and remove from the stove. Top with half of the cornmeal batter and place on a sheet pan and then in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.
3. Allow to cool slightly for about 15 minutes, run a knife around the outer edge and invert the cake onto a cutting board for slicing. Top with vanilla whipped cream.