Highlights of a Week at Paradise
As I answer questions for potential guests on the phone during the winter, my favorite part is explaining our day to day experiences. Every time I go through it, I get excited about each week's fresh star and new faces. Each week brings new family to Paradise and each day brings different adventures to experience. One of the best parts of Paradise is the variety of activities that can be experienced so that each guest can use to create their own perfect trip. One guest's week may look completely different from another. With being blessed with fifteen weeks each season, I thought I would share my favorite aspects of each day during a typical week. While each Monday or each Thursday can look different from week to week, there are always a few constants that I can always count on to make me smile.
I love that my desk sit right in front of our big office window that looks out on the road that enters into the ranch. Before I go out to greet our newcomers, I love watching their first reactions to our beautiful valley. Whether it be a little girl's face light up as her family drives past the barn or a boy who sees the pool and already has his family's first activity planned. The magnitude of Fan Rock often brings pointing with dropped jaws. Adults often love to see that each cabin has a comfortable porch that looks over the gorgeous view of our ranch. Whoever it is, those reactions always help get me jump started for the new week ahead.
Picnic on the hill renders one of the best views of our ranch. Sitting down and getting to know our guests as we take in the snow capped peaks behind the ranch is a great way to start the week. It is always a joy to hear everyone sharing they excitement of their first day of riding and fishing.
Whether they are old pros at guest ranching or this is the first time a family has ever been dudes, you can feel everyone start to settle into a pace on Tuesdays. Team penning is the highlight of my Tuesdays. The smiles and laughs of the guests pushing the cows in fun competition are extremely contagious. I love hearing whooping and hollering all the way in the office because I know people are making great memories.
The French Creek Saloon activities make your day of FUN last all through the evening. Talent show on Wednesdays never gets old as we have new talent every week. I love the blend of truly impressive skills such as singing, piano playing, daughters singing while their daddy's accompany on guitar. Comedy, goofy skits, impressions and even chicken hypnosis mix in light hearted giggles throughout the night. Clay as the the annual host, never fails to entertain with his jokes and commentary.
Thursday brings out the fancy shoes on gourmet night. The conflicted feeling of, “My taste buds are so amazingly satisfied right now,” with “I can't believe I ate that much!” is inevitable every Thursday after dinner. Our kitchen staff truly shows off their true skill with perfectly blended flavors. Every meal at Paradise will astound you in quality, but Thursday makes you feel like royalty. The dance of flavors that our chef uses make me look forward to the next Thursday before my dinner even digests.
Chuck wagon is a highlight of the week for our guests. Bridling our beautiful Belgium Drafts and Draft Mules to pull the wagons and packing up the delicious barbeque really creates that old west feel across the ranch. Somehow barbeque always tastes better when it is devoured around a fire.
As mini cowboys and cowgirls run around and get ready of the kid's rodeo, I can't help but stop each one to have them model their adorable painted faces. You can always see their eyes light up with anticipation to show off their riding skills in the rodeo. Even the little ones that aren't quite old enough to ride the big horses are filled with excitement to ride the ponies, play the rodeo games, or get lassoed by our rodeo clowns.
As sad as it is to watch new friends drive away and back into their everyday lives, there is always a bitter-sweet satisfaction in the reassurance that Paradise has left an impact on each one.
Photos: Ramona Swift