By Norah Bradford
There are a few vacation destinations that transcend the mentality of the star-rating system. These places have managed to define their own ethos which—while in some ways unconventional—have guests cherishing the experience, and seeking to enjoy the same feelings again and again.
The Home Ranch is definitely one such place. Ann and Steve Stranahan, originally hailing from the east coast, fell in love with the idea of a ranch destination for themselves, their friends, and guests. Initially, their search for the ideal property proved unsuccessful, but they did find the right people for their venture—those with the authenticity and capability to manage the undertaking. The Stranahans’ solution to the property challenge was to find their own land and build upon it an authentic ranch operation.
Today, the Home Ranch has grown to some 4,000 acres in size. Guest accommodations are either in a central ranch house or in cabins that combine privacy with proximity to the ranch house, where guests dine together under the supervision of General Manager and Executive Chef, Clyde Nelson.
At the core of the Home Ranch experience are its activities; in summer, they include horseback riding, fly fishing, and hiking. Winter opens up possibilities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or downhill activities, either locally or via a shuttle to bustling Steamboat Springs.
The uniqueness of the Home Ranch lies in how quickly guests are brought together through activities throughout the day, all of which involve guidance by a member of the Ranch, and then evening activities that feature wine and spirits tastings, outdoor dinners, and a band. To wrap up a week’s visit, an outdoor cookout includes guests and the Head of Operations, Mike Moon, and Ranch Operations Manager and his wife—who are accomplished country singers—serenading one and all.
Dining is a communal experience, complete with excellent haute mountain cuisine provided by the kitchen. One of the highlights of dinner is having the Chef de Cuisine, Craig Singer, coming out of the kitchen to greet guests and inform them on the preparations of the day. The Ranch has a burgeoning garden operation, creating the the shortest possible transition from garden to kitchen to table—another experience for guests to tour, speak to, and even participate with the garden staff.
As a testament to the beloved experience that is the Home Ranch, once a year there is a week for guests who have been returning for twenty years, many of whom bring their children and growing families. The Home Ranch has become a second home for many, and in a new development, a carefully considered and designed subdivision nearby offers guests the opportunity to create their own piece of home.
or more information: