A weekend adventure in Ulster County with our friends from Football Food and Motherhood is just what Gia and I needed to get us through the end of Summer blues.
Living in New York most of my life I am aware of the beauty it beholds, and I am talking beyond New York City friends. Think big beautiful picturesque mountains, and countryside views all within your reach in Ulster County.
The beautiful Kelders Farm, offers rows of fruits and veggies ripe for the picking and a yummy lunch with a view. Kelders Farm also has activities for the kids which include a playground and a jump pillow, not to miss out on the fun the adults gave it a go as well. Check out our Instagram Highlight Ulster County to see the Fun Times!
After visiting Kelders Farm be sure to stop across the road for pierogies! Believe me you will not be disappointed. Be sure to stop in early, because Helene’s Pierogies sell out quickly and you do not want to miss out.
Where to stay when visiting Ulster County
Lodging within Ulster County includes a pair of dude ranches. Both are tucked away within the beautiful landscaping of the countryside and offer a different experience at each. We had the luxury of experiencing both ranches and recommend you do the same this Fall.
If you are a New York city slicker anxious for an outdoor adventure but still prefer the luxuries you are accustom to, the all inclusive Rocking Horse Ranch is the resort for you and your family.
From horseback riding to spa treatments, entertainment wildlife exhibits, and more, Rocking Horse Ranch has something for everyone in the family.
With COVID still a part of our reality, it’s important to know that Rocking Horse Ranch is taking a multi-faceted approach to your family’s safety. Working with both CDC and local health department guidelines, the ranch has taken precautions to ensure that each and every visitor to their resort enjoys a safe experience.
- Contactless temperature checks upon arrival
- Mandatory mask-wearing while indoors
- Buffets are no longer self-serve
- Reduced guest capacity to ensure social distancing
- Housekeeping service is now optional
Riding Levels—From Beginner To Expert
Riding trails at Rocking Horse Ranch are open all year round, with each season offering its own beauty to discover.
Perfect for first-time riders is the walk/ride option for those who just want a laid back experience. Raises Hand! This is for my family, we seek a laid back experience while exploring the path, and enjoying the outdoors. A walk/trot and cantor experience is also available for intermediate and advanced riders.
The trail travels through the property and lasts about 45 minutes. It is easy enough and guided if you should have any concerns. We were laid back and relaxed as we enjoyed the sights.
Eager to learn more about the world’s largest saddle horse operation? Sign up for a Barn Tour and learn all you can from an experienced wrangler who will guide you through the huge 115 stall barn.
Dining consist of both indoor and outdoor seating.
Breakfast is a full breakfast buffet with over 40 items including Eggs Ranchero, Texas Size French Toast, omelets, and more and is available in the Longhorn Dining Room. Not to worry social distancing is in effect, and the servers who deliver drinks and condiments are all masked up.
Both Lunch and Dinner are served under the outdoor tented area, and requires a reservation time to ensure social distancing requirements are being followed. With a rotating menu featuring soups, salads, appetizers, and entrees like strip steak, salmon, chicken, spare ribs, barbecue, and more.
Activities for all to enjoy!
Disconnecting begins now, well for the kiddos at least.
Mining was high on the activity list from our directors Max and Gia. They were on a search for arrowheads, a shark tooth and gems.
Mountain Tubing: The kids road the Magic Carpet Lift to the top of the Big Hill and zipped down. This was such a cool experience minus the extra layers of clothing.
Super Bungee Jumpers: Let the kiddos strap in and have your cameras ready as the they jump and flip 25 feet in the air.
Rock Climbing: No matter your skillset, you will undoubtedly be able to climb to the top of the rock climbing tower on one of the available levels.
Water Sports: Head on over to the private lake and enjoy kayaking, paddle boats, and more. Before you dry off don’t forget to stop and feed the fish. We all got a kick out of the feeding frenzy that ensued with each droplet of food.
We definitely made a Big Splash as we all enjoyed watery fun year-round in the heated pool area.
Mini-Golf: A mini-golf course is tucked away beside the lake that is fun for the whole family.
Always the life of the party and eager to join in on the fun, naturally I became part of the comedy show! When the comedians asked for a volunteer I of course raised my hand, without knowing what I was getting myself into.
I was asked to make all the sounds from their act, let’s just say I don’t know who was laughing more, me, the comedians themselves or the crowd! Fun times friends. If you are asked to participate, go for it!
Rocking Horse Ranch accommodations are AAA 3 Diamond-rated and offer free WiFi, cable, flat-screen TVs, Simmons Plush Top mattresses, refrigerators, and fun rustic themes. With so many options Rocking Horse Ranch Resort can accommodate families of any size.
Just 40 minutes away, with lots of amazing view in between is Pine Ridge Dude Ranch. Nothing says authentic roughing it, dude ranch, like Pine Ridge. Go ahead and ditch your devices asap because your room does not have wifi. Ok calm down, you are here to enjoy your time outdoors not work! All of your comforts of home are gone with the wind, as you indulge in ranch life.
Upon entering the ranch your temperature is checked, once in the clear and you are masked up you are permitted entrance to the ranch. Masks are required at all times unless eating, or in the pool. There are also hand sanitizer stations available everywhere, our rule was every sanitation station we pass, we go ahead and indulge. Never could be too careful.
- contactless thermometers
- Check-in limits touch interaction with others
- All guests will be required to disclose if they have symptoms, been outside of the USA, or been in direct contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
- Masks are required in public areas
Saddle Up Folks
Your ride will take you through miles of wooded trails that overlook the scenic Shawangunk Ridge with views of the Mohonk Mountain.
Again we are a relaxing, walk only type of family (at the moment), but Pine Ridge also offers walk & trot rides, and exhilarating advanced level walk, trot, & canter rides. Each ride goes approximately 45 minutes from mounting to dismounting. Experienced wranglers are on hand to guide you through the trail ride providing tips like to back up when the horse in front of your own is perked up, because he needs his space. Be on the lookout for wildlife, we caught a glimpse of deer up close on our ride two days in a row.
Time to Eat
Food is served three times a day, in one hour time slots each, it’s a ranch friends. Meals are included with your stay, and served via buffet style from the Ranch staff and consist of bbq favorites, like country fried chicken, pulled pork, and baked breads. The Chuckwagon bar and grill is also available for late night eats but we never visited it. They servings are big enough, and you really filled up at each meal.
Of course no one can do anything in the morning without a caffeine fix, and you’d be excited to learn Pine Ridge happily serves Starbucks! And afternoon happy hour served poolside, which is perfect for relaxing while the kids play in the playground area.
A big hit before our morning horseback ride was the petting zoo. The kids loved to venture down the long road as the adults lagged behind to get to the goats and say good morning.
The pool area is equipped with a double slide, which was super fun to watch the kids race down. One slide clearly loops around and is longer so we chuckled at the kids every time the kid on the shorter slide won.
Just beyond the pool but still visible as you longe on the pool deck is a playground, basketball court and bean bag toss. Everything is conveniently located within your view throughout the property which makes it easier for parents to relax.
There is also a jumping pillow, rock wall, archery and more in the back of the property. Which we visited at night after dinner when we ditched our phones. It was the perfect activity to burn off any extra energy that remained.
A campfire and sing along, with s’mores is always a win. Marshmallows and roasting sticks are available free of charge and s’mores kits are available to purchase at a small fee. They’re also karaoke nights, you can’t imagine how hysterical it was to hear Max’s voice bellowing through the speakers as we sat fireside clueless.
Derby races, live shows, performers, dancing and so much more, are waiting for us when we return in the Fall!
The rooms are basic, but you aren’t coming for the room decor. The bunkbeds in our room were a big hit with the kiddos. They really enjoyed having their own space, and we enjoyed having the queen size beds to ourselves.
Ready for a Road Trip?
In addition to what I mentioned above there are a variety of hiking trails (plan to arrive early), parks and great lookout points. Checkout my instagram highlights on Ulster County for more.
All is waiting for you about two hours north in beautiful Ulster County. Visit the Ulster County Tourism site for more info.When will you plan your visit? Where will you stay?
We are heading back in the Fall, and can’t wait to share our next experience with you!