When it comes to being married and having kids, it can be difficult, if not impossible seeming to get some quality time to yourselves. Flying to another country or overseas even to the Hawaiian Islands is exceeding crowded with EVERYONE else doing the same thing. Save yourself the hassle and experience the Texas ranch you never knew was perfect for a couples getaway.
A Not So Secret Texas Ranch and More
Chelsea and I have been working like maniacs since the end of August last year and doing our best to raise our four growing boys. We've done our best to take advantage of the Idaho winter and have gone snowboarding, ice skating, visited our local hot springs, and realized that as much as we love doing things with the boys, we desperately need a romantic getaway. I basically looked at everything from flying to San Francisco to a jaunt in the Blue Ridge Mountain Range and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I was looking of a destination that was a little more hands on than just wine tasting and hiking trails. And then, out of nowhere, I got an invite from some people I work with to visit a Texas ranch out in West Texas near Big Bend National Park. This place promised to be everything we could want.
Choosing the Best Romantic Weekend Getaways
When it come to choosing a romantic place to go, most people think of tropical islands or the somewhere like the white sandy beaches of Pensacola but those destinations can get a bit crowded. What you want is a destination that gives you both not only time to focus on each other but also a place that can raise your pulse a little, outside the premium bedrooms. And THAT is exactly what we found at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in West Texas.
We decided to fly to Midland Texas and then drive down through the small town of Marfa in a rental car. This gave Chelsea and I plenty of time to just sit and cruise while listening to an audio book. As it turns out, this portion of Texas was more than just flat ranches and oil wells. This is actually the mountain lands of the Lone Star State.
Staying at a Texas Ranch Resort
We got into the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport mid-day which meant we wouldn't get to the Cibolo Creek Ranch until dusk. We drove as fast as we could and got there jus as the sun was setting. As we pulled up to the Cibolo Fort of the Bison, we saw a lone cowboy standing outside the fort walls enjoying the sunset.
I parked the rental car outside the massive walls and was suddenly greeted by the cowboy who somehow knew us by name in a warm Texas accent. “Howdy! You're Nate and Chelsea right?” He quickly answered our slightly shocked expressions with, “Nice to meet you. My name is Tom and I am the general manager her at Cibolo. Leave your car there, we'll get your bags, get you a drink, and I'll show you to your room.”
As Chelsea and I walked through the massive open gates, we couldn't help but wonder about the history of such an interesting fort now preserved on the grounds of a working Texas ranch. Those questions weren't left to rest in our minds as Tom told us the history of the fort and local mission as he escorted us to dinner. We soon found out that the entire grounds were open to explore and use for relaxing.
Texas Ranch Style Dinner
After finding us a cold drink, we were shown the way to the dining room and lounge area. Everything about this place was so cozy and perfect, from the roaring fireplace, sitting room, and ranch style dining area with fully decked out kitchen.
Chelsea's gluten free dietary needs were already known and her meal was tailored to suit her. Of course, this wasn't hard because we were served a “field to table” dinner… Texas style. A dish of mixed roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and quail that had literally been hunted a few hundred yards from where we sat just hours before we arrived. This meal was absolutely delicious and almost impossible fresh!
Ranch Style Lodging
After dinner, we were shown to our room. This massive living quarters opened right up to the spring fed lake and its own massive fire pit seating area. It not only had its own real fireplace and supply of wood but a massive tub with jets big enough for two.
With no city around for miles, the sky was clean and clear of any light pollution. This area of Texas is known for its beautiful skies and star viewing and we quickly saw why.
Taking in the Texas Ranch Sunrise
It was so quiet on the ranch that Chelsea was not only able to sleep in but seemed to have melded with her bed. I on the other hand took advantage of the morning sunrise and decided to do what I love and go strolling hand in hand with my camera. It's my version of meditation.
I walked the massive grounds and took in all the fresh air. I went to take a look at the pool and hot tub's facility, the corral, and even the source of the resorts water. As it turns out, the entire Texas ranch facility is fed by the same natural spring.
As the sun crested the nearby mountain tops, everything began to glow with a golden hue. The song of the morning was chosen by the birds with an occasional distant horse solo thrown in. I almost forgot I still had a whole day ahead of me.
The Slow Paced Life
Chelsea finally emerged from her deep sleep and came out to watch what was left of the beautiful sunrise. There was nothing fast paced or pressured about life on the Cibolo Creek Ranch. We were informed by staff that breakfast was ready to be made for us whenever we were ready and only needed to seat ourselves in the dinging room.
Chelsea's favorite “off menu” morning activity was being greeted by Rosie the ranch dog. This sweet and quit little pup loved to say hello and Chelsea couldn't get enough of her. I couldn't tell who was happier to see who.
How to Choose Texas Ranch Activities
There is no shortage of options for anyone staying on a Texas ranch, as this isn't some bed and breakfast. Everything from couples massages, Yoga, Skeet and trap shooting, horseback riding, ATV riding, tea ceremonies, and even big game hunting for outdoor enthusiast and sportsman like myself.
With over 36,000 acres of land to explore, Cibolo Creek Ranch has so much to see. From the wild deer and pheasant to the exotic aoudad, black buck, wildebeest, buffalo, llamas, and of course roaming horses, donkeys, and cattle. During the ATV tour, we were even taken to see petroglyphs that predated the United States of America itself.
After our first round of excitement, we came back to the ranch for a gourmet lunch of steak tacos. Of course, when they said “steak tacos”, they meant massive tacos made from a ribeye cut made just that day. The food served here was absolutely amazing.
One of the reasons I was so excited to stay at Cibolo Creek Ranch was not only because it was a wonderful opportunity to get away and spend some quality time with Chelsea, but it also was one of the few places that served a number of real outdoor activities that genuinely interested me. As an avid learning hunter and sportsman, the chance to spend time on a premier long range course with some of the best equipment on the market was a thrill.
Horseback Riding on a Texas Ranch
Not only that, we had the chance to hop up on ranch horses and set off into the hills together. The breeze, wide open spaces, and warm sun made the ride magical. We were all smiles the entire time.
If getting out on the water sounds like something you might want to do then forget paddle boarding. Despite the ranch meaning to give younger visitors something to enjoy, Chelsea jumped at the opportunity to man her own peddle boat in the lake outside our room. We later found out that the front desk kept fishing gear for guest to try their hand at hooking the large mouth bass stocked there.
Visiting Big Bend National Park
One of the big draws to the area is actually just a short drive down the road. Big Bend National Park is a unique place to see and especially diverse compared to the rest of the beautiful Texas landscape. As one of the United States' 63 National Parks, it is a must see. If you want to stay on the smaller side of parks, you could always quickly drop into the Big Bend Ranch State Park and see the Hoodoos and walk on the Balanced Rocks Trail.
Marfa and The Prada Art Installation
If you are looking for an quirky little town to visit, shoot on up to Marfa and check out the shops and historic buildings in town. If you are hankering for a fun Instagram must see, the Prada Art Installation is just outside of town. I'm happy to report that Chelsea was excited to see it.
Family Friendly Destination
If you are interested in staying at a Texas ranch resort but don't feel like leaving the kids behind, there is actually plenty for children to do on location. For younger kids there is a game room with a number of movies to watch as well as the pool, fishing, the previously mentioned peddle boats and a number of the listed activities for older children to partake in.
I for one am looking for a chance to take our boys to come experience a wonderful section of Texas ranch life.