Where do I begin…Hidden Meadow Ranch is located on 150 acres in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona and is one of those locations that you say, “You just have to go to really understand how wonderful it is.” But today I will try my best to give you a glimpse of this bit of paradise.
Service. My husband and two tots were kindly invited up for the weekend by Hidden Meadow Ranch and we knew immediately that we were somewhere special when we checked in and were offered homemade lemonade. From that moment on, we found the service and kindness of every employee to be impeccable, or as my husband described, “The service was first-rate every time.”
Sweet Accommodations. Our two-story rustic cabin was absolutely charming. We stayed in the Elkhorn (each cabin has a unique name and theme). It has a wood burning fireplace, a stocked (soda, water, and juice) mini-fridge, board games for the family, a master suite downstairs and loft bedroom upstairs. Even the shower/bath has a cowboy soaking tub.
Unplugged. For a truly unplugged experience, this is it. There isn’t a “guest office” temping you with the internet every time you walk by. In fact, it wasn’t until we left that I realized there weren’t TVs in the cabins. There is a TV in the Ranch House loft and rooms do have wireless internet but I didn’t feel the need to check email or look for the remote, none of us did, as we were all completely distracted by the fact we were in a log cabin in the mountains.
No worries. When we travel with the kids there is rarely such a thing as 100% relaxation. We’re always concerned the kids might wake up our hotel neighbors or are we’re on guard because we’re playing on the beach or by the pool, but this time was different. At Hidden Meadow Ranch we opened the back door and let the kids run around gathering treasures (pinecones, wildflowers, and rocks).
Relaxing Options. Speaking of relaxing, if you want to put your feet up, but don’t want to stay in the cabin, kick back in one of the many hammocks on the property (I did!) or hit the outdoor hot tub.
Kids’ Paradise. In the center of the ranch is a huge sprawl of grass with a bucket of balls, a large made-from-logs swing set and an amazingly huge log teeter-totter – even I became a kid again.
All Inclusive. I’m a huge fan of all inclusive properties for several reasons, but mainly, it’s just a simple way to vacation. You don’t have to dig into your wallet every meal and the staff gets to know your preferences (and the kids’). (FYI, alcohol, gratuities and tax are not included. You also have the opportunity to leave more than the 15% gratuity, which we did, and even single out special employees) There are two packages at Hidden Meadow Ranch, one includes activities and the other doesn’t, which brings me to…
Outdoor Adventure. You can be as active as you want at Hidden Meadow Ranch, but if action is your scene, activities include horseback riding, mountain biking, archery, fly fishing, hiking…and even leather crafting and woodworking (the kids left with awesome birdhouses).
Fantastic Food. I’m not exaggerating when I say the food here is superb. My husband and I agreed every dish at the Ranch House was the freshest we have ever had. The filet mignon melts in your mouth, the cream of corn was obviously fresh off the cob, the blueberry pancakes and the made-to-order omelets were divine. The menu changes with the season.
Thistle and Iris. Next to the playground is a pen where the ranch donkeys, Thistle and Iris, hang out. They’re kind of like the ranch mascots, everyone loves them.
Wildlife. It’s hard to be in nature and not run into wildlife. We saw numerous bird species, including a blue jay, but the absolute highlight of the trip was seeing the two local elk who came down to the pond at sunset.
Personal. Every evening during turn-down service, in addition to melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, the housekeepers leave a handwritten note or poem on each bed. Each morning the “Hidden Meadow Harold” is delivered, left on each cabin’s front doorknob. The Harold wishes a personalized “fond farewell” to the day’s departing guests as well as a schedule of the day’s events, activities, weather and meal times.
Other Fun Highlights. Saturday afternoon we sat outside and enjoyed a BBQ lunch. That evening, after dinner, we made s’mores and sipped snifters out on the Ranch House deck with other guests. Sunday morning we were greeted with a hardy, and quite tasty, Cowboy Breakfast at the Fire Circle and took a carriage ride around the grounds with “Tom” the carriage horse.
Lovely Every Season. While our trip was over the summer (and the weather was absolutely perfect as well a great escape from our Tucson heat), Hidden Meadow Ranch is a year-round ranch which means you can head up this winter to play in the snow, enjoy the crisp autumn or colorful spring. Besides, I don’t think one visit to Hidden Meadow Ranch is enough. If you go, please let me know how much you love it – because believe me, you will!