Mini-Moon: Vista Verde Ranch – by Darren Elms
Ready for a little romance way out West? Well, technically it’s east, for us Californians, but you can’t get more authentic than Colorado’s Vista Verde Ranch.
YES, it’s a luxury ranch, and you get to sleep indoors, but as a guest of Vista Verde once told them, “We were treated like royalty, but made to feel like family.”
Check out the property year round, but especially in autumn when Steamboat Springs explodes in seasonal color. You just don’t get that same experience in the Golden State.
Recommended Resort: Vista Verde Ranch. The facilities are rustic yet romantic, the setting breathtaking. Hosting no more than 40 folks at a time, the atmosphere is intimate and accommodating, and the staff is a joy to interact with.
The quiet, luxurious cabins are all standalone units, not duplexes, and range from one to three bedrooms and one to three bathrooms with living rooms, wood stoves and private hot tubs out on the deck. The spacious lodge rooms are very convenient and have sitting areas, balconies and gorgeous mountain views.
Check In: Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. 800-526-RIDE, vistaverde.com
Check Out: The Culinary Adventures. These weekly classes are held most of the season and offer a new kitchen challenge each session. Designed for skilled chefs, those who have trouble boiling water and everyone in between, there’s always something fun and new to be learned in the kitchen. Also, be sure to stop in to one of their wine tastings and pick up a whole new wine vocabulary along with techniques for picking the best bottles.
Don’t Miss: The horses. These creatures are the heart and soul of the ranch, offering talented instructors and first class facilities for a truly special experience. There’s nothing like saddling up and heading out to the breathtaking natural beauty that surrounds the ranch. For beginning riders, they provide training everyday and teach the various aspects of horsemanship. Rides happen in the mornings and afternoons, with day treks that stop for a picnic lunch at destinations like Pearl Lake or Elk River. Even if you travel in the snowy winter months, you can enjoy a ride in a full-sized indoor arena.