Category Archives: arizona travel

Top Dude Ranches for The Ultimate Escape

Waunita Hot Springs
Waunita Hot Springs

Courtesy of the Dude Rancher’s Association, if you’re looking for the ultimate winter escape, look no further than these all-inclusive dude ranches, each of which offers cold weather retreat in some of the most breathtakingly beautiful parts of the country.

Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado
The outdoor activities are just as invigorating as the inside comforts are cozy at Latigo Ranch. Experienced skiers know Latigo has some of the best snow conditions and finest cross-country skiing in Colorado. Other winter activities include snowshoeing and tubing, or enjoy the quiet and seclusion from the front porch of a historic log lodge with a panoramic view of 100 miles of the Continental Divide.

Latigo Ranch – Kremmling, Colorado

Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, Montana
Things move a little slower at Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana, and that’s just how it’s meant to be. Treat yourself to horseback riding, sleigh ride dinners, square dances, snowshoeing, ice skating, dog sledding and ice fishing. Cap off the day with a soak in the hot tub, a game of pool, or a relaxing book and some music. And don¹t forget to leave time to enjoy a magical sleigh ride accompanied by hot chocolate or even dinner.

Bar W
Guests ride a horse drawn sleigh at the Bar W Ranch near Whitefish Montana

The Home Ranch in Clark, Colorado
When the legendary snowfalls blanket the Elk River Valley in powder, The Home Ranch transforms into a sparkling white wonderland and becomes one of the most beautiful cross-country ski resorts in Colorado. Located just north of Steamboat Springs, the ranch offers some of the best Nordic skiing in the world, rustic accommodations, and a world-class chef that prepares what he calls ‘haute mountain cuisine’ for every meal. A typical day during a winter vacation could even include helping feed the ranch¹s herd of 100+ horses with a sleigh.

Home Ranch
The Home Ranch – Clark, Colorado

Western Pleasure Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho
A favorite activity of visitors to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in North Idaho is a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride powered by one of the ranch’s draft teams. A two-mile loop trail takes passengers through a dense forest, treating them to fantastic views of the Selkirk Mountains. Sleighs are available in sizes ranging from two-passenger to 12-passenger. Western Pleasure also has ski trails for all levels.

Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
An all-inclusive winter vacation to Vista Verde Guest Ranch combines the amenities of a luxury Colorado resort with the relaxed and intimate atmosphere of a ranch vacation. Hide out in a cozy log cabin with a private hot tub and enjoy delicious, freshly prepared meals in between snow-filled adventures. Winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, tubing, sleigh rides, culinary classes, yoga and photography classes.

Lone Mountain
Lone Mountain – Big Sky, Montana

Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana
Lone Mountain Ranch offers the ultimate winter adventure. The ranch is perfectly situated just six miles from some of the best skiing in the country and was voted as the No. 1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine. Winter activities include skiing (Nordic, downhill and backcountry), snowshoeing and sleigh ride dinners. Guests can even take a short shuttle ride to explore Yellowstone National Park or the Gallatin National Forest by skis or snowshoes.

C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado
The winter weather is surprisingly mild at C Lazy U, thanks to the bright sunshine. Backcountry snowmobile and horseback riding tours, snowshoeing, private on-property snowcat skiing, ice skating, tubing and the C Lazy U Luge are favorite activities among winter guests. There¹s even ice hockey on the pond, as well as major ski resorts nearby.

Seven Devils
Seven Devils Lodge – Council, Idaho

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch in Council, Idaho
Located in central Idaho, just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch lies in a unique area, neighboring jutting canyons, high desert, and soaring mountains. It offers some of Idaho’s finest backcountry boondocking, with terrain for all levels of riders. The ranch tailors the experience to match each guests’ riding style and even offers Back Country Basics riding clinics for those looking to improve their skills.

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado
Winter is Bed & Breakfast Mountain Lodge season at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch. Guests are welcome to come for one or two nights, or for a week, during which time they can enjoy lodging, meals and morning horseback rides. Even four-legged travelers are welcome during the off-season! Sundance Trail is popular during the winter for family reunions, romantic getaways, and even honeymoons and elopements.

If an escape from the cold and snow is more your speed, check out these two all-inclusive guest ranches this winter:

Hideout Ranch – San Simon, Arizona

Hideout Ranch in San Simon, Arizona
See the West the way it was meant to be seen ­ from the back of a horse. Hideout Ranch’s strategic location along the Arizona-New Mexico border provides easy access to thousands of miles of mountain and high desert riding trails ­ trails no other ranch in Southeastern Arizona rides. Prepare to let your stress melt away in the bright blue Arizona sunshine and crisp, clean mountain air.

Tombstone Monument Ranch in Tombstone, Arizona
Travel back in time to the era of the cowboy at this unique ranch, which is set up like an 1880s Western frontier town. Each of the ranch’s 18 rooms has a special Western theme and is decorated in turn-of-the-century style. Explore miles of open country by horseback, enjoy live music around the campfire, or take a walk to the monument of Ed Schieffelin, the founder of Tombstone, located right on ranch property. The ranch offers trails for all levels of horseback riding.

5 Top U.S. Culinary Adventures

Mirbeau Inn and Spa
Mirbeau Inn and Spa at The Pinehills – Plymouth, Massachusetts 

These days, we in the mood for easy luxury. Perhaps we’re getting accustomed to comfort, perhaps we need to be waited on hand and foot, perhaps… we just won’t settle for mediocre. We want more!

So here are five properties in the US that promise to tickle your taste buds and treat you well:

1.      Mirbeau Inn & Spa at The Pinehills (Plymouth, Mass.): Guests with a penchant for foraging can join Executive Chef Stephen Coe at nearby Plymouth Rock Oyster Farm for a tutorial on picking and shucking oysters. Groups of up to 12 are privy to a farm dinner thereafter including oysters, scallops, lobster, saltwater corn and prosecco ($75 per person). The program launches today and continues through early autumn.

1,000 Islands Harbor
1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel – Clayton, New York

2.      1000 Islands Harbor Hotel (Clayton, N.Y.): Another off-site adventure awaits in upstate N.Y., where guests head out on the St. Lawrence River to fish with Captain Jeff Garnsey.  The day’s haul is then cooked over a hardwood campfire for a traditional Shore Dinner (a Clayton staple since 1872). In a single cast iron skillet, Captain prepares salt pork sandwiches and fried fish, followed by French toast, served with local maple syrup.

Chatham Bars Inn
Chatham Bars Inn- Chatham, Mass.

3.      Chatham Bars Inn (Chatham, Mass., on Cape Cod): Not every culinary moment can or should be planned. The oceanfront resort’s luxury fleet stands ready to whisk guests to sea for big game sport fishing, among other leisure pursuits. (The biggest guest catch was a 350 lb. blue fin tuna.) When opportunity strikes, Executive Chef Anthony Cole will greet boats at shore and immediately filet fish for fresh sashimi, served gratis to guests on the beach with the fisherman’s OK.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Kaiseki Canapes
The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Kaiseki Canapes – Cary, North Carolina

4.      The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, N.C., outside Raleigh): Herons’ seven course Kaiseki dinner by Executive Chef Steven Greene begins with a spectacular tableside tea ceremony (this video captures the wow-factor of the process). The drink is served in custom dishware by potter Ben Owen, whose large-scale works are showcased throughout the art-centric Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond hotel. This unexpected start to the dinner experience is a perfect complement to the “source local” mentality at The Umstead, which relies heavily on N.C. products and produce from its own garden and nearby farm.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain – Scottsdale, Arizona

5.      Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.): The “Mi Casa, Mi Chef” package takes the relationship between diner and chef to new dimensions. From the arresting vantage point of Sanctuary’s Mountainside Estates, guests work hand-in-hand with a Sanctuary chef (like Food Network star Beau MacMillan) to plan and execute their customized dining experience, letting the day’s best fruits, vegetables, fish and meat dictate the menu.  They join the chef in the kitchen of their private home, working side-by-side to prepare the feast. In-home spa treatments take the package over-the-top.

Shitkickers and S’mores: Wickenburg, Arizona

Wickenburg, AZ

Wickenburg is probably responsible for some of the happiest moments of my youth: hayrides, s’mores, making art, punching holes into hand painted leather belts, and riding horses (of course). There’s really little not to love about this old style Arizona ranch town. In fact, it’s one of the oldest, most beloved towns of it’s kind. So, this fall, we say… lasso up the kiddes and check out their 32nd Annual Four Corners States Bluegrass Festival which will welcome musicians and spectators from around the great southwest and beyond from Nov. 11 – 13 at Wickenburg’s Everett Bowman Rodeo Grounds.

Sponsored by the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce, the southwest’s bluegrass festival will feature bluegrass greats The Brombies, Sonoran Dogs and Thomas Porter & Copper Creek, in addition to performances and contests by lesser-known enthusiasts competing for cash and prizes in more than 13 categories including open fiddle, mandolin, guitar and banjo. Yeehaw!

Gates open at 11:00 am. Friday, with live entertainment running from 1pm – 5:30 pm. The best part for the chilluns? Saturday and Sunday’s lineups feature a pancake breakfast beginning at 7 am.

Additional festivities will include food and drink concessions, arts and crafts, and a designated Kid Zone for the smaller budding enthusiasts. Single-day tickets purchased in advance are only $15 for adults, $8 for children and $12 for senior citizens. Three-day passes are also available for $40, $20 and $35, respectively. Tickets purchased at the gate will be higher.

The Everett Bowman Rodeo Grounds are located at 935 Constellation Road, just 1/2 mile east of Highway 60/93 in Wickenburg. Reserved self-contained RV camping may be arranged in advance through the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce. While general bleacher seating will be available, spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. Just note that outside alcohol, dogs, food and coolers are prohibited.

For more info on where to stay or what to do:

Paradise Valley, Arizona: Find Your Sanctuary

Mercury is in Jaunt Magazine’s 8th House – which also means – time to look inward. Since looking inward can be a little tough when you’re busy slaving away in the City of Angles, sometimes, we think the best way to look inward is to look upward into the heavens for a little celestial guidance.

That’s where the desert retreat comes into play. Astronomical offerings seem to be the latest and greatest summer travel trend at properties located near starry skies and sweeping vistas. So, whether you’re watching the sun rise from the tumbling red rocks of Camelback Mountain or gazing up at the stars during a crisp desert night, it’s time for a little reflection.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona recognized in 2006 as The Top Resort in the United States by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (and included on T + L’s “T+ L 500” list), is inviting guests to celebrate extended summer hours… swanky Sonoran style.

Sanctuary’s Light & Harmony experience offers three distinct activities to experience the resort’s desert locale:

1. An invigorating “Camelback at Sunrise” guided morning hike up the northern slope of Camelback Mountain

2. An “Early to Rise” match of tennis on one of the resort’s five Deco-Turf championship courts

3. An evening of stargazing with a professional astronomer via Sanctuary’s high-powered telescope

You can pick and choose (and that’s why we like it).

As the sun warms the day, you can cool off in Sanctuary’s infinity-edge pool (the largest of its kind in Arizona) or relax in the Sanctuary Spa with a Signature Summer spa treatment. Named 2008 “Most Excellent Spa Hotel” by Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence, the Sanctuary staff recommends indulging yourself in a Rosemary Citron Body Scrub, which combines a mineral-rich sea salt infused with rosemary, lemon and mint or an Aloe Skin Quencher Body Wrap, combining the soothing comfort of an aloe moisturizer with calming effects of lavender mist after a long hot day in the desert sun.

Sanctuary Infinity Pool, Night

And sunsets in Paradise Valley, well, they’re paradise. And we should know, we lived there. Magentas, pinks, baby blues, purples, and plenty of orange. Ricky Lee spoke about them for a reason. Take in the Arizona desert views, contemplate existence, and then have a cocktail at Edge, Sanctuary’s new outdoor bar. The next step in the path to personal growth is always having an honest look within. We hear the Chamomile Breeze, a mixture of gin, honey, and lemon steeped with loose chamomile tea leaves, is a top-notch way to do it.

Finish it off with dinner at their restaurant, Elements, where Chef Beau Macmillan (whose Kobe beef beat out Iron Chef Bobby Flay on The Food Network), whips up seasonal delicacies like slow-roasted kurobuta pork with cilantro pesto, pickled melon & cashew salad, steamed little neck clams with green onion, dashi broth & crispy lob chong or grilled hawaiian opa with cumin, pine nut cous cous, jalapeno, mango and crab.

An evolved menu where desert, island, mediterranean, and asian cultures unite.

Take in the stars for dessert.

Sanctuary’s ‘Light & Harmony’ experience includes:

* Two (2) nights in a Mountain Vista Casita or Spa Casita
* Breakfast for two daily
* Choice of an activity, per couple/per stay:
* Guided hike on Camelback Mountain
* “Early to Rise” tennis instruction
* Sanctuary Stargazing by moonlight
* Choice of one Sanctuary Summer Signature Spa Treatments (60-minute)
* One dinner in Elements for two

The two-night Light & Harmony experience is through Sept. 12, 2008. $652 for single occupancy/ $1,093 for double.

A little about Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain: One of the country’s most lauded luxury resorts, Sanctuary is a striking boutique property, internationally acclaimed for contemporary design, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and the native desert history. Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” and a “Reader’s Choice” winner since it’s opening in 2002.

So it may not be budget, but it is beautiful.

Stay tuned next week for the very first in a 3 part series on:
Where to go, What to do, and Where to Shop in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Siyanora, sweetcheeks.

A Carefree Spa Retreat: The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, AZ

Feeling Carefree? It’s in the stars. As we amp up for our next spa wellness retreat, we caught wind of an all new four-day/three-night ‘Carefree Spa Getaway’ package at The Boulders’ Golden Door Spa in Carefree, Arizona and knew we’d have to throw caution to that wind and give ourselves a little ‘us’ time. Enveloping guests in a holistic experience that claims to be ‘nothing less than life changing,’ the package includes astrology, hikes, rock climbing clinics, cooking classes, spa treatments AND meditation, all designed to tune the body, inspire the spirit, and open up that precious mind. Phew. We could use somma that. It also draws emphasis on the power of the universe — something we’re always down to delve into. Available only once a month, during, you guessed it… the Full Moon.
The 2008 dates are:

June 19-22
July 17-20
August 14-17
September 18-21

The Carefree Spa Getaway package includes:

• Daily morning group hike in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert
• Unlimited fitness classes and a Professional Fitness Assessment
• Three 50-minute spa services (choice of massage, wrap, facial, scrub
• Daily meals (breakfast, lunch, Golden Door Spa Tea and dinner)
• Daily lectures on nutrition, health, fitness, wellness and astrology
• Interactive Cooking Demonstration
• Group activities such as Labyrinth Walks, Yoga/Meditation in the Organic Garden, and Boulder Rock Climb
• Welcome gift and nightly turndown gifts that include a “Carefree Companion” with a personalized daily agenda, pedometer & walking program encouraging 10,000 steps a day, a fitness class schedule, and recommended reading guide.

Gastrological Dinners (a combination of gastronomy & astrology), are also planned during the Fall & Spring Equinox and Summer/Winter Solstice. An evening of celestial wonder in the resort’s Organic Garden, guests get to experience a gourmet dinner under the night sky with renowned astrologer, Tom McMullen, who explains the symbolic language of Astrology, the movement of the constellations, and how the planets influence our lives.

We love this exclusive desert hideaway and The Golden Door Spa at The Boulders for many reasons. The main one being that Arizona is a land filled with a spirited past. Not to mention the fact that the spa drew it’s inspiration from the ancient Honjin inns of Japan where weary travelers sought sanctuary. Incorporating elements of feng shui and the Zen-like ambiance of the original Golden Door while staying true to the Native American influences of The Boulders, it has a labyrinth, a Tipi for guided meditation, an affirmation rock for individual guest reflection, fitness center, mind, body and movement studios, a café and sweeping views of the 12-million-year-old boulder piles, along with Black Mountain.

What else?
160 guest casitas, 55 one-three bedroom villas, 7 restaurants and a lounge, 2 championship Jay Morrish-designed golf courses, and 8 tennis courts (including three classic clay and five premier cushion courts).

Only 12 guests will be accepted each month.

So really, if you’re not going to listen to us, listen to Uranus.
(Sorry, we couldn’t resist)

Rates start at $1,399 per person or $1,199 double occupancy.