By Ron Stern | Global Gumshoe
Nestled in a tranquil valley between the Sierra Madre Mountains to the west and the Medicine Bow National Forest to the east, Saratoga, Wyoming is where you will find an elegant guest ranch that is a peaceful respite from the world.
Striking a harmonious balance among luxury accommodations, stellar service, diverse activities, wellness programs and exceptional cuisine, the Magee Homestead offers the ultimate rejuvenating getaway for the soul.
Part of the Brush Creek Luxury Collection owned by Bruce White of White Hospitality, Magee Homestead and the other two properties each has its own particular identity and ambiance.
The Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek was voted the “No. 1 Resort in the USA” three years running by Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2016. This property is family-friendly, can accommodate up to 150 guests, and caters to a wide range of outdoor activities.
French Creek Sportsman’s Club is located on Sanger Ranch in the Platte River Valley. This exclusive 12-guest property is where sportsmen can indulge in their hunting and fishing fantasies in this private wilderness resort of ultimate luxury.
Magee Homestead is an ultra-luxury, adults only, guest ranch on 7,500 acres that includes nine cabins, each of which has been historically restored and named after pioneers of the American West.
During the westward expansion of the late 1800s, settlers found the Saratoga region of Wyoming to be a desirable location due to the fertility of the land and the natural hot springs. Homesteaders built the first log cabin in 1884 on what would become Brush Creek Ranch property.
Arranged in an oval configuration, the cabins are surrounded by lush and verdant landscaping, an oasis in the high desert of Wyoming. While rustic on the outside, the cabins inside have modern conveniences such as plush bedding, climate controls, heated bathroom floors, upscale bath amenities, and even a large stacked stone shower.
The small number of guests (27 maximum) ensures an intimate and restful experience where everything is customizable and centered around your particular desires. The property includes Magee Lodge with a private dining room, an outdoor patio with expansive views of the prairie, a full bar and a billiard table.
The luxury pavilion has an outdoor pool, private cabanas, a poolside salon, a grill and a library. Just adjacent is the Magee Spa, offering a variety of body treatments, an exercise room, a steam shower and the large grotto whirlpool soaking tub.
The ranch offers all the conveniences of a five-star hotel along with many of the amenities and all-inclusive factors of a top-rated cruise line. All of your gourmet meals, wine and spirits (except for some exclusive wines), and most activities are included as part of your stay of three, four or seven days.
After the staff parks your car and takes your luggage to your cabin, they present you with your pre-approved itinerary, which can be customized upon request. You can choose from any number of activities such as horseback riding, fly fishing, ranger tours, mountain biking, clay shooting, and spa and wellness services. Or you may choose to do nothing at all and just relax and totally unwind by the pool or on your own personal creek-side bistro deck.
The culinary program is one of the highlights of any visit, and the chef prepares the menu depending upon the season, and sources what is fresh and available. To ensure that guests receive the highest quality food and produce, the owner and staff have introduced some remarkable programs.
The first is the construction of a dedicated greenhouse with the goal of total sustainability. Using three large bays, staff will grow their own produce and vegetables such as lettuce, microgreens, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and herbs. Fruit trees, from which they can make jams, jellies and infusions, are also in the plans.
The second is their Akaushi beef program with their dedicated herd of Japanese Akaushi cattle. Prized for its buttery flavor and tenderness, this brand of beef also has a higher ratio of healthy fats and is a natural source of heart-healthy oleic acid.
So what would your day look like at Magee? Totally up to you, but a sample itinerary might look like this:
Start with breakfast in the Magee Lodge on the patio with freshly squeezed juice or a smoothie such as a Golden Child with orange juice, carrots, ginger and turmeric. Then, try lemon ricotta pancakes with blackberry compote.
In the morning, you could hop on a mountain bike or take a horseback ride along the ranch’s vast trail system. You might see some of the local wildlife like the pronghorn antelope (second-fastest land animal in the world), mule deer, mustangs (or bucking horses, as they are known here), and even an occasional moose.
Next, you can indulge in one of their signature spa treatments such as the Wind River Hot Salt Stone Massage or the Infinity Facial, which uses high performance products designed to rehydrate your skin and reduce fine lines.
At lunch, have a signature cocktail created by their mixologist, like Ruby Red made with Meyers’s Rum, fresh-squeezed grapefruit, pineapple juice, simple syrup and Teapot Bitters.
Lunch might include an iceberg lettuce wedge with sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, corn, sweet pepper, bacon, white cheddar and buttermilk dressing.
Then get your taste buds ready for the Akaushi beef burger with tomato jam, caramelized onions and white cheddar cheese.
After a well-deserved nap, you will be picked up for your scenic float down the North Platte River. Not whitewater rapids, just a relaxing and serene float down the river with your guide pointing out some of the local flora and fauna. Your food and beverage staff will have thought of everything and provided an insulated bag full of snacks and some of your favorite beverages. If you’re lucky, in addition to limestone rock formations, you might even see a bald eagle or two.
After you return, it is time for another great meal while you are entertained by local musicians. Two of the perennial favorites are a couple known as Davis & Maverick, who sing and play acoustic guitars. They have a quite a repertoire, and don’t be surprised if you get caught up in the fun and find yourself singing along with tunes from The Beatles, Mamas and Papas, and other pop groups.
As the sun starts to recede into a crimson and orange sky, the fire pit outside is ready for you to reflect on your day. Your hosts have thoughtfully provided a large basked filled with everything you need to make your own s’mores as you enjoy the sunset. At nightfall, a blanket of stars and the Milky Way become visible as the ranch is far from any light pollution. Perhaps this is the way life was meant to be lived — slowly and with each moment savored. Either way, your visit to this boutique guest ranch on the plains of Wyoming will likely be among your most precious memories.
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