From the moment our first guests walked through the door on June 14th, it just felt right. This ranch is meant to be a place for people to come to recharge, relax, heal, and connect with nature, animals, and people. Although it was an intense push to get everything in place and ready, we all took a collective deep sigh (into our masks of course) once that day arrived.
Week two is almost over now, and we can report that despite the superficial changes, the heart and soul of VVR seem to be purring along without pause. You may laugh, but one of our benchmarks for whether we are doing a good job is to see if the kids cry on Sunday morning when they depart. And we had some bawlers this past Sunday!
The changes we outlined on our website a while back are still in effect, but we are learning that they have less of an impact on the experience than we originally anticipated. The reality is, it is easy to spread out when you are on 600 acres of private land surrounded by millions of acres of USFS land, with so many options for activities and a limited guest count. Of course, it is unrealistic to host dance nights with 6 foot spacing, so we’ve had to modify those two evenings. But we had some families point out that the option for less active evenings is nice, while others have jumped on the campfire and fire pit experiences we have created. The biggest piece we all miss is being able to dine together as one big family. So we walk the line, with options available that are intended to honor guests who want more space while at the same time inviting some of the staff to join in for those who are looking to mix a bit more.
Overall, we are feeling great about what we can offer guests this summer. Nature is healing and allows us the space to think or just be without thought. Animals bring us joy, give us wings, and challenge our skills. Being outdoors connecting with people is refreshing and does the body good. And parents getting a break from their kids, only to have them returned filthy, happy, and worn out, is a gift.
Here’s to long days on the trail, relaxing soaks in the hot tub, and s’mores galore around the campfire!