Want to get away from it all, but don’t want to drive far? Check out Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. Just one hour north of Denver, once you arrive at Sylvan Dale you’ll feel a million miles from civilization. In fact, you may feel as though you’ve time traveled to another century.
We had the opportunity to spend a night at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch during their “Swing into Spring” getaway weekend. Traditionally a guest ranch where guests stay for a week at a time, Sylvan Dale has recently added short-term stays to their offerings.
When we arrived, Susan Jessup gave Ryan and I a tour of the property. She knows the ranch really well; after all, she grew up there. Her father bought the ranch in 1947, and Jessup’s love for the place is palpable. And it’s easy to see why – after less than 24 hours on the property, we had fallen in love with Sylvan Dale too.
When I think “cabin” I think rustic, but the interior of the Mr. Alexander Cabin was more like a first-rate hotel and includes a sitting area, bedroom and large bathroom with a claw foot tub. This is my kind of “roughing it!”
Once we arrived, Ryan and I felt like we were starring in our very own Western. On Saturday afternoon we took a hike. We made our way through the underbrush, over a small creek and then hoofed it straight up the mountain to the top of Green Ridge. As you can see, it was worth it.
After our two plus hour hike, we dined al fresco with the other “Spring into Spring” guests. Sylvan Dale raises their own grass fed beef, so our delicious hamburgers were definitely “sourced locally.” Food at the ranch is a big part of the experience and Chef Scott keeps Sylvan Dale guests well fed.
Our dinner entertainment was provided by a pair of Canadian geese that had moved into the front yard of the Heritage Building where we were dining on the expansive patio. When another pair of geese landed on the property the show was on. It was a festival of honks, squawks and head bobbing.
Dinner was followed by a campfire next to the Big Thompson River. The river flooded its banks in September 2013, and Sylvan Dale lost some buildings and wedding sites, but the folks at Sylvan Dale are strong and proved it. They were back up and running by June 2014. The scars of the flooding are still visible, but the property is a testament to Mother Nature’s power and the resilient nature of human beings.
As Susan played guitar and we sung “Ghost Riders in the Sky” around the campfire and made s’mores, I couldn’t help but think of all the ghosts who call this 100-year-old ranch home. I have no doubt that they were singing along with us, smiles on all their ghostly faces and cowboy hats on their ghostly heads.
Check back for more posts about our adventures at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch including our horseback outing with Buckaroo and Gemini.