Sunday, February 17, 2019

Family Fun Is Always on The Agenda at Pine Ridge Dude Ranch!

Let's face it, it's bitterly cold outside.  You may feel like it's difficult to stay indoors with young children who have energy and need to be entertained.  If you're looking to keep the kids active and happy, why not take a weekend trip to switch things up?

Pine Ridge Dude Ranch is an all-inclusive dude ranch located on 150 acres in the Hudson Valley with incredible mountain views.  It's less than 2 hours from NYC and will surely make you smile.  The ranch has 3 all you can eat meals a day, horseback riding, indoor/outdoor pools/tractor rides to their private lake, and a petting zoo.  If you thought that was fantastic, the excitement continues with archery, a rock wall, nightly entertainment, snow tubing and ice skating, a game room, kid's day camp and daily activities! Everything is included in one fixed cost with no hidden charges.  There's truly something for everyone at this resort and you'll never want to leave.  For those coffee lovers, Starbucks coffee is brewed onsite. A fitness center is on the premises so you can keep your fitness in check. This will surely be one trip your family won't soon forget.

The property was in business for 40 years and formally known as the Pine Grove Dude Ranch until the prior owner passed away.  In September of 2018, the ranch was closed for good.  34 horses were taken to an auction and 90 jobs were lost in a rural community that serviced 50,000 guests per year. The barn manager at the time organized a huge effort to save the horses from the auction himself and two private investors purchased the property and renamed it the Pine Ridge Dude Ranch.  Since purchasing the ranch, there has been $2 million in renovations to keep the property flourishing.

When we arrived at Pine Ridge, we were excited at our upcoming adventure.  Check-in was quick and efficient.  The front-desk staff were very friendly and eager to answer any questions we had.  At check-in you're given a paper that outlines all the various activities and the times they occur.  The activities change everyday to keep things fresh and exciting.  There aren't many things at night for the younger children as much as there are for older kids.  Keep that in mind if you're traveling with small children.  I was very appreciative that I was able to have my dinner and breakfast time adjusted as it was way too late to eat when traveling with a four year old.  The meal times are given at random, but if you find they are too late or too early, you can ask to have them adjusted.

The lodge is decorated exactly as you'd expect for a lodge.  Lots of bears, deer/rustic decor, antlers, wood, you get the idea.  There's an indoor swimming pool, a silver dollar bar which offer adult beverages and live music during the day, and the bullroom show room/dance hall which offers nightly entertainment for teens and adults.  If you get hungry during the day, The Chuckwagon snack bar offers eats for a fee that you can purchase.  Trailends, a coffee shop located by the main entrance is happy to provide liquid caffeine to buy during the day.  Don't forget on your stay you may be able to attend dance parties, a magic show, or juggling and performances. Don't forget to register for your horse or pony ride ticket time for the next day! You receive tickets at check-in and register between 5-6 PM for a morning time-slot.

There's a spacious lobby section of the lodge which has ample tables and seating for relaxing by the fire with friends and family.  A closet space by the front-desk has games that you can check out to play if you're inclined.  The games range from children to adult depending on what your needs are.  I saw many families at night kicking back at night with snacks and a game.  It's definitely a cozy place to be!

One we were all checked-in, we dropped our luggage off at the room.  We stayed in the Dakota section of the ranch which offers the largest and newly renovated rooms.  The spacious rooms sleep a maximum of 7 and the rooms are large to fit pack and plays and cots.  These rooms are ideal with large families and feature one king bed, one XL full bed, and 2 twin bunk beds.

Scarlett loved the bunk beds and she chose to sleep on the top bunk on our stay over.  I don't think she had previously seen bunk beds before so it was one big adventure for her!

After we got settled in the room, we chose to go snow tubing.  My tiny tot had checked another fun activity off her bucket list as she went snow tubing for the first time.  She couldn't get enough of it and must have went down the man-made snow hill at least 10 times.  Luckily at the time we went there wasn't many people there so there were no lines and she almost had the slope to herself! It was fantastic to see how happy she was, anything outdoorsy is right up her alley.  Children have to be at least 4 to go down the slope by themselves, so I know Scarlett loved not having to ride with my husband.  Walking up and down the hill after collecting your tube is certainly a work-out.

Once Scarlett had enough of the snow tubing, she couldn't wait to go inside the petting zoo and get up close with her animal friends.  What I didn't realize at first is that you can actually go inside the gates and pet the animals.  I thought you just could say hello to them through the fence.  Once Scarlett figured out she could go inside, she was so excited.  She said hello to the chickens and goats and spent a long time giving them a lot of love. At one point a chicken jumped on a goat's back and she thought it was the funniest thing ever.  The petting zoo is surely a hit for children of all ages.  Don't worry the animals are extremely friendly, although I had to stop a goat at one point from eating my jacket!

If you're looking for a break from the winter air, take a dip in the indoor pool.  There's two yellow flume slides for older children.  I do wish that younger children were allowed to go on the slides with an adult, but the pool is too deep to allow that.  Everyone loves being able to go swimming in February when it's in the 30's outside.  There's an arcade close-by if some of your children want to go swimming while the others would rather play games.

After the swimming was done, we went back to the room to get showered and ready for dinner.  I was happy that our dinner time was adjusted from 7:30 PM to 6 PM, because Scarlett normally eats dinner at 5 PM, so the 7:30 time slot would have been pure torture for her.  Once we were able to go into the dining hall, everyone was very much ready to eat.  You're given a menu with 3 choices on it.  We were able to choose from ribs, BBQ chicken, or chipotle lime fish.  There are chicken fingers and grilled cheese options for children as well as a veggie/vegan option for those with dietary restrictions.  A fresh basket of cornbread is on every table as well as plates for the salad bar that everyone can take a trip to.

Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase although water/tea/soda/lemonade is complimentary.  Since the meals are all-inclusive you're able to order more of something if you'd like.  My husband Jay had the ribs and absolutely LOVED them.  He couldn't get over the flavor and loved the seasoned coating of the roasted potatoes that accompanied them.  I ordered the BBQ chicken and thought it was good, just a tad spicy.  I'm not a fan of overly spicy items.  Scarlett had the kid's chicken fingers with fries and a chocolate milk.  Our server was attentive and came back to check on us several times to make sure everything was to our liking.

You can end the meal with an assortment of ice cream's, puddings, sorbet's, or even a piece of carrot cake.  Both Jay and I did not want ice cream, but Scarlett was thrilled with a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and sprinkles to end her meal with.  What child wouldn't be in sugar heaven with that?

To cap off the night, we attended the 8 pm campfire outdoors.  Many people didn't know but the front-desk supplies complimentary sticks and marshmallows for roasting.  I helped Scarlett with hers and she probably had more marshmallows than I should have allowed, but hey it was a special occasion.  Jay put his marshmallow too close to the fire and accidentally burned it.  Scarlett enjoyed asking him over and over why he burned his when she didn't burn hers.  Oh, kids!

The beds were cozy at night for sleeping and Scarlett enjoyed watching a movie in bed before she went to sleep.  Although she wasn't able to fall asleep right away because of the excitement of the day.  Let's say it was a long night and an early morning wake-up!

Breakfast in the morning for us was at 8 AM.  This meal was not sit-down but buffet style.  You are able to choose from breakfast favorites such as eggs, pancakes, bacon, fruit, breakfast potatoes, cereal, yogurt, etc.  There's even a made-to-order omelette station that allows you to add in whatever you want to your eggy goodness.  Everything was tasty and fresh.  You can't forget to try the blueberry muffins as well as coffee cake! Deeeelicious.  Coffee, juice, tea, and water are available at any time you'd like them.

Once breakfast was over, Scarlett went to her 10:15 AM time slot for the pony ride. It was chilly outside but she really wanted to take a ride on Jetta the pony.  She loved it and was all smiles for the ride.  The ranch has a professional photographer taking a picture of the children on the pony which is available for purchase if you'd like.

We checked out soon after that and headed back home.  We had a great visit and loved the opportunity to get out of town and do something different this weekend.  I can imagine the lodge is just as exciting in the warmer months of the year with outdoor entertainment as well as the outdoor pool!

If you're looking for a wonderful vacation to book for your family in the coming months, it's time to consider a stay at Pine Ridge Dude Ranch!

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Pine Ridge Dude Ranch for hosting our family for the weekend.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  

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