In the early 90's, a fifth generation cattle-ranching family decided that they wanted to share the beauty, history, and heritage of the land that they'd been working since 1940... and, so, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch began extending their country hospitality to overnight guests.Located in Idaho's scenic Panhandle region, the 1,100 acre ranch has spectacular views of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains, as well as being adjacent to thousands of acres of land for horseback riding or cross country skiing. Owner Janice Schoonover tells us that they enjoy four true seasons and "the landscape is stunning with the changes that each of the seasons bring."
Guests staying at the ranch can enjoy different activities, depending on what time of year they visit. Summertime brings all-inclusive guest ranch packages, which feature horseback riding as the main activity, with additional opportunites to enjoy wagon rides, working with cattle, skeet shooting, and archery. Guest may also enjoy a dinner cruise on Lake Pend Orielle, or canoeing down the Packriver.
In the winter, there are horsedrawn sleigh rides, cross country skiing, and snow shoeing. Right now, in the fall, it's an excellent time for leaf peeping - taking in all the gorgeous autumn colors.
The lodge - made of handhewn logs - has six private rooms with private baths, plus a rec room, a great room with a large riverrock fireplace, a loft sitting area, and a hot tub. There are also four private log cabins with private baths that each sleep six. The cabins have furnished kitchens and wood stove heat.
Western Pleasure Guest Ranch welcomes group retreats, family reunions, corporate retreats and provides a beautiful and unique setting for weddings. Beginning September 30th, the ranch will host Bed and Breakfast stays - an example of the different offerings that change with the seasons.
To learn more about Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, take a look at the video below, and then visit their listing on Farm Stay U.S. Now is a great time to book for a winter getaway, or start thinking about a guest ranch adventure for next summer!
NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!
Today we are extending a hearty "welcome!" to CA Bull Elk Ranch, in Richfield, Idaho.
Located on 800 acres of pristine recreational and hunting habitat, CA Bull Elk Ranch is a working elk and upland game bird operation. Visitors can take part in fishing, hiking, bird watching and wildlife viewing, upland game bird hunting, snowshoeing and x-country skiing, photography, or just unplugging from the hectic world. There are also some of the usual farm animals, like chickens and geese.
There are four guest rooms with private baths, along with a large common area for relaxing, reading, or exercise. The stay also includes 3 meals a day prepared from food raised primarily on the ranch and by other local producers. Children under 12 are welcome at the ranch.
To learn more and plan a visit, check out the CA Bull Elk Ranch listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!
(Photos courtesy CA Bull Elk Ranch)
Please join us in extending a warm Farm Stay U.S. welcome to Heirloom Blooms at Acres Wild Ranch!
Take a bite out of history! Explore and enjoy the heirloom vegetables and herb gardens, and the heritage fruit tree orchard. Learn about sustainability through composting, recycling, and energy/water conservation. Take a hike on the nature trail and view some wildlife. It's a "choose your own adventure" kind of vacation.
There are four guest cottages at Acres Wild Ranch, sleeping anywhere from 4 to 6 people, and pets are welcome for an additional fee. Meals are self-prep, and the cottages all have either a kitchenette or a full kitchen. The ranch offers a wide range of amenities, and they welcome children under 12, wedding parties, and other special events.
To learn more and start planning your adventure, visit the Heirloom Blooms at Acres Wild Ranch listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!
(Photos courtesy Heirloom Blooms)
Here's a very belated welcome to M Diamond Ranch, a new member of Farm Stay U.S., who joined the site back in January!
It's "horseback riding heaven" at this 100-year-old working cattle ranch, with trail rides and cowboy cookouts, featuring some of the best views in Sedona. The ranch is completely surrounded by the Coconino National Forest, rural but not too remote, and close to a number of archaeological sites.
The historic, 1930s guest house has a fully equipped, full-sized kitchen, and sleeps up to 10 people. The five bedroom house is updated and comfortable, with amenities like a flat screen tv, wireless internet, and a full size washer and dryer. Even the horses can stay at the ranch's Horse Hotel!
To learn more about M Diamond Ranch, visit their Farm Stay U.S. listing.
(Photos courtesy M Diamond Ranch)
Check out this video from Men's Journal featuring Red Reflet Ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming! Guests, in this case Ryan Van Duzer, help with herding cattle on this 27,000 acre ranch in the Big Horn Mountains.
We asked Ryan some questions about his cowboy experience.
The wrangling experience was like nothing I've ever done before. I've ridden horses but never surrounded by hundreds of stinky, stubborn little cows. It surprised me at how difficult it was to make the herd travel in the direction we wanted, I thought they'd just get in line and march off to greener pastures. There was one moment when a rather rambunctious cow picked a fight with my horse, causing it to rear up and I almost flew off. Clay, the head cowboy said in a soft tongue, "We almost lost our host on that one." From that moment on the 'real' cowboys kept the fighter far away from me.
The absolute best part of the Red Reflet are the owners Laurence and Bob, they treated us like family and after four days together we really didn't want to leave.
The best advice is to have an open mind and be willing to try everything. Staying at a ranch is much different than staying at a resort because you get to participate in activites alongside real working cowboys. There really is nothing like it and the charm of ranch life is sure to make anyone fall in love with the western lifestyle.
The alpacalypse is coming! Here, this llama will explain...
Okay, all jokes about the end of the world aside, farms are
great places to learn a skill or two that might see you through
some tough times -- or at the very least, impress your friends at
parties. (Seriously. Homemade cheese? I would be so impressed while
I hid it all in my purse to take home.) (I like cheese, is what I'm
Day 5 - Bread, Butter,
and Cheese Making; Canning
and Preserving; Soap Making; Teaching
Farms; Teaching Ranches; Cooking
Fresh, whole ingredients, usually straight from the source. A
knowledgeable farmer or rancher to teach. These are some invaluable
The Farm Stay U.S. search
page can help you find all kinds of new skills to learn. Just
click on "Show More Search Options" and select an activity to see
what our members have to offer.
Please join us in giving a hearty welcome to four new site
members who joined us in October! Here are some quick highlights
from their listings:
Triple Creek Farm
Berger Guesthouse at Triple Creek Farm is located in
Franklin County Missouri in the middle of Missouri Wine Country....
We are located just a few miles east of Hermann, Missouri or a few
miles west of New Haven, Missouri. We are a working farm. We have
an apiary (bees), berries, vegetables, eggs and sell at the local
farmers market. We have a two suite guesthouse and love to welcome
visitors to the area all year round.
Territorial Bed and
Breakfast and Barn
Junction City, Oregon
We have a cute and cozy 50's style farmhouse and a working
stable located in the heart of Oregon wine
country. Immerse yourself in country living, enjoy a morning walk
in the pasture, pet the horses, play with the goats, and experience
farm life. Plenty of opportunities to groom and help care for the
horses, help out with barn chores, work in the garden and green
house, or sit back on the deck or patio in the back yard, watch the
animals, and enjoy a good book or a relaxed conversation.
Fox Haven is a historic farm located along the Catoctin
Creek in Jefferson, Maryland. Organic gardens, hens, walking trails
and wildlife make this farm a must-stay. You are likely to see
nesting bald eagles, beaver splashing, great blue herons, foxes and
a multitude of birds during your visit. You may choose to help in
the organic gardens, gather eggs for breakfast, help plant trees in
our American Chestnut research orchard, or simply enjoy the peace
and quiet of the breathtaking landscape with a cup of coffee and a
B and B
Fly Creek, New
B & B Ranch, Guest House & Spa is a Country Inn in
rural Fly Creek New York. It's also a Community Supported Farm, a
producer of natural gourmet foods, a horse stable and riding
center, and an exceptional Central New York vacation on 340 acres
of forest, farmland and open pasture. We raise Piedmontese beef,
Berkshire Pork and provide a wonderful break from the ordinary with
our 5 unique guest suites and an indoor swimming pool. We can
promise you rest, relaxation, and the best the country has to
Writer and librarian Lili DeBarbieri recently published a wonderful
A Guide to Southern Arizona's Historic Farms and Ranches, Rustic
We talked with Lili about her book, Southern Arizona, her travel
adventures, and farm and ranching trends. Fascinating stuff --
please read on!
Lili: I think first became aware of the term 'farm stay' in
association with the volunteer opportunities that the organization
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) offers. This was
more than ten years ago but I distinctly remember reading an
article about volunteer vacations on Hawaiian farms through WWOOF.
I do have to give credit to my home state of Pennsylvania for
bringing the more leisurely alterative to WWOOF in the form of
'farm stays' again to my attention. Once I saw that staying on a
working farm (in Lancaster County) was the same if not cheaper in
price than a hotel or motel but offered such wonderful
learning opportunities as an added bonus I was sold! A few years
ago, I worked and lived on a historic guest ranch near Santa Fe and
that was my introduction to that vacation option.
This month we feature an interview with a very dynamic duo,
ranch stay members Ron and Chris Wilson of Lazy T Ranch in the Flint
Hills of Kansas.
A 4-H member, FFA officer, farm radio broadcaster,
Congressional staffer, association executive, rural
director, corporate vice-president, small business co-founder,
ticket-taker, Sunday School teacher, diaper changer, bottle
tractor driver, posthole digger, thistle chopper, haybale
fence fixer, calf holder, manure scooper, and tail
Ron & Chris: Five years ago we moved back to the ranch and
built a new home. Mom moved up with us two years ago, leaving
her house empty so it was available to remodel and serve as a guest
Ron & Chris: You've heard of flat, treeless Kansas?
This is the exact opposite. We are nestled in a region
called the Flint Hills, with tall hills, deep draws, plenty of
native stone, and lots of trees and brush. We have four
distinct seasons, each of which has its appeal.
Ron & Chris: Guests can enjoy their privacy if they like,
because we are in a secluded spot although close to Manhattan, but
usually our guests choose to visit our historic stone barn, feed
horses and goats, and enjoy the landscape. Sometimes a family
will gather eggs from our chickens and have them for breakfast.
Ron & Chris: This is generally cow-calf country, with herds
of brood cows populating the rangeland. Cattle feeding is not
predominant here, although there are some feedyards. Cattle
feeding has become concentrated, particularly in western Kansas
where several large packers have located. Beef is our state's
largest single ag industry, still dominated by decentralized groups
of producers (as opposed to pork and poultry, which have become
more unified or vertically integrated). In addition to
ranchers, there are lots of farmer-stockmen raising grain and
Ron: I grew up here on the ranch and have always been a cowboy
at heart. Years ago I was at a conference in Colorado where
they had a cowboy poet as entertainment. I had never heard or
seen such a goofy thing, but it was definitely entertaining.
Years later I tried my hand at writing and performing it
myself, and have had a great time since. Overnight guests
don't get cowboy poetry as such, but they do if they schedule one
of our beef barbecue suppers.
Ron & Chris: Most of our activities are done by appointment,
such as when tour groups or organizations book an evening for
supper and entertainment. However, during weekends in
October, we hold our Fall Festival which is open admission for pony
rides, pumpkin patch, hayrack ride, kid activities, etc. In
2012, for the first time, we hosted a National Day of the Cowboy
celebration and had about 50 people come out for speakers, picnic
supper, and western entertainment. It was a lot of fun and
would hope to do it again.
Ron & Chris: The guest house is a remodeled and expanded
family farm home, with three bedrooms and a large common living
room. It has satellite television, but it also has card games
and marks on the wall to mark the kids height on their birthdays
through the years. The front porch is native stone and the
house is nestled into our corner of the river valley, surrounded by
the Flint Hills.
Ron & Chris: We offer lunch and supper but supper is our
most common offering: beef barbecue with all the trimmings.
Ron & Chris: A
friend of ours has a saying: Horses are magic. We have
had visitors who apparently have never seen a horse up close and
personal, and they seem to find them fascinating. People love
to pet and feed them. The goats will eat feed right out of
kids' hands, which tickles their palms and causes them to have a
blast. Kids have described their birthday parties here as
their best ever.
For more information on Lazy T Ranch, visit their Farm Stay U.S. listing or
their website: http://www.lazytranchadventures.com/
Wilson Ranches Retreat is our
featured ranch stay of the month! The ranch is a 9,000 acre cattle
ranch in Fossil, Oregon, with plenty of opportunity for scenic
horseback rides and cattle roundups, hiking, and scouring for
prehistoric fossils. The Wilson Family has deep roots in the area
and a fascinating story. Here's our interview with Nancy
Phil and Nancy's families homesteaded in Wheeler and Gilliam
Counties in the 1870's. They travelled on the Oregon Trail in
the early 1850's to the Willamette Valley before coming to North
Love of the land and Phil didn't have enough sense to
leave. Phil came home to the ranch
after graduation from college. This is a great life and the
Blessings are many!
Wilson Ranches has gone from the horse-drawn age to the
combustion mechanical age to the computer age. The only
aspect of ranching that has been little affected is the cattle
operation. The LE brand has been in the family for four
Wilson Ranches follows a "green-friendly, twice over" grazing
program to increase grass production. Each pasture is grazed,
rested, and grazed again in a rotational system with multiple
pastures. Wilson Ranches is managing the resources of the
ranch for future generations.
The deck at Wilson Ranches Retreat is a great place to watch the
cattle or deer grazing. The Retreat is shaded by trees, which
are often alive with a variety of birds as this is a songbird
migratory route. This incredible secluded scenic area with
spectacular sunsets and brilliant star-studded nights will
Our guests enjoy horseback riding in a geologically
and historically rich area of Wheeler County, or a quiet hike to
view the wildlife and diverse plant life on Wilson Ranches.
Guests are welcome to help move cattle from mid-spring to late
fall. A 4-Wheel Drive Sunset Tour is also available.
This tour is approximately five hours and will give you a
magnificent view of the Cascade Mountain Range (Three Sisters to
Wilson Ranches Retreat is a great place to headquarter your
exploration of the Clarno, Sheep Rock and Painted Hills Units of
the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. It has the
richest find of prehistoric fossils in the world. Public
fossil digging is available behind Wheeler High School in the town
of Fossil. The John Day River offers world-class small mouth
bass fishing and river rafting trips.
Wilson Ranches is a diverse area with an extreme mixture of
geologies with formations from 50 million years ago to the present
time. Rolling hills to deep basalt canyons, high lava ridges
and buttes with amazing views of the Cascade and Blue Mountain
Ranges. The landscape is covered with wild flowers in the
spring and early summer.
The climate is semi-arid with an annual average rainfall from 12
to 16 inches per year. Temperatures in the winter are usually
mild but can go as low as 15 degrees below zero for short
periods of time. Summer temperatures vary from 70 to 100
Breakfast is served family style each morning at 8:00 am with
the Wilson Family sharing their experience of life on the ranch and
interesting and entertaining stories by Phil. The breakfast
menu includes bacon (sausage, ham or beef little smokies), farm
fresh eggs, biscuits (blueberry muffins, coffee cake or German
pancakes), fruit, and Bob's Red Mill oatmeal with all the fixin's
(pecans, brown sugar, raisins and craisins).
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