About an hour north of the Pocono Mountains, are the Catskill Mountains. Similar to the Poconos, the neighboring Catskills offer amazing resorts, hiking, camping, dining and entertainment for all ages, like Pine Ridge Dude Ranch.
My goal of shared experiences with my family continually keeps me looking for unique places for us to spend time together.
So I was thrilled to discover something so novel was within driving distance, yet far enough that it felt like an escape from being home.
Horseback Riding Adventure in the Catskills
As the name suggests, Pine Ridge Dude Ranch is horse-focused. From the various designs throughout the resort, to the trails and trail rides, the love of equines is apparent.
Pine Ridge Dude Ranch's herd consists of a mix of different breeds such as: Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Appaloosas, Paints, Percherons, Clydesdales, Haflingers, Icelandics, Morgans and Arabians. All well taken care of, and personalities memorized by the wranglers. (I now understand why the jeans have this name.)
The Ranch offers walk only rides, walk & trot rides, and advanced level walk, trot, & canter rides. We're beginners, so we chose the walk only ride, which is 45 minutes (although from the time you are prepped until you are back in the corral, it is about 60 minutes.)
The evening before your trail ride, you are required to take a 1 hour educational class to learn more about the horses, and the specifics of riding a horse.
I'll be honest, it was a lot of info to take in, and I was a bit overwhelmed. I've never ridden a horse before, but 4 of my sons have, so they weren't as nervous as I was.
When you hop on a horse, you learn very quickly just how mighty these animals are. Their strength is intimidating. The trick is to remain relaxed at all times because the horse will feel your anxiety and react to it.
Easier said than done.
Thankfully, the wranglers match you to a horse they feel will best suit you. And my horse was lovely. Mid-way through the ride, I was comfortable enough with her to talk to her and pet her as she walked the trail.
Horseback Riding Programs
Aside from the trail rides, Pine Ridge Dude Ranch also offers pony rides for the littles, specialty experiences, and private lessons.
Upon pulling up to the resort, the forward facing part of the building you see, doesn't appear very big. However, looks are deceiving and the resort is actually very big with every inch offering something fun to partake in.
The resort amenities include: a spa, indoor pool, Starbucks, a grill & snackbar, a dining hall (with all inclusive meals), a hall for entertainment (dancing, magic, Dj's, etc.), a pool table in the lobby, a gift shop, arcade, snowtubing, paint ball, ice skating, archery, tractor rides, rock wall, bounce pillow, playground, outdoor pool, over-sized campfire.... I think you get the point.
There is A LOT to do here.
Fun For All Ages
My son's range in age from 4 to 20, and there were things to do that everyone could enjoy.
In the lobby area, my son and I played pool the night we checked in.
There was cornhole in the hallway, and a stack of board games that could be used by the fire, and an arcade for the video game obsessed.
At night they offer a bag of marshmallows for roasting by a huge stone-enclosed campfire.
Challenging my sons at archery was fun, too.
My youngest, enjoyed the tractor ride, playground and the enclosure with a variety of animals you could pet (and plenty of handsanitizer.)
If you have a large family like I do, then you know the pain of finding a getaway that is both affordable and has rooms large enough for you and your tribe of children.
We stayed in the newly renovated Dakota Wing, where rooms boast sleeping for 7.
We were pleasantly surprised to walk into the room and find a bunk bed, King and XL full bed (which looked like a Queen.) There are also cots available, should you need them.
Knowing that this wing was intended for large families, we knew it would not be very quiet. (It's not.) But we typically bring a white noise machine whenever we stay at hotels, so it came in handy here, blocking out the noise from the adjoining rooms, hallway and rooms above us.
Pine Ridge Dude Ranch has other rooms that can accomodate a variety of families - adjoining rooms that sleep 8 between them, rooms that sleep 4 or up to 6, suites, and quieter rooms for couples.
All rooms offer celebration accomodations, so if you are there to celebrate a special occasion, call the concierge ahead of time and they can arrange to have champagne, strawberries, cheese platters and decorations adorning your room.
While we chose to get away just after Thanksgiving, there were still things to do in the cold, as you can see from this article. There are equally fun things to do in warm weather.
And although the spa was completely booked during my stay and I was unable to get in, I hear it is wonderful.
So if you live in the tri-state area, or further, and looking for a unique getaway, give Pine Ridge Dude Ranch a look. I think you and your family will enjoy the experience.
** This trip was comped, but the review and experience are my own.