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Planning a family reunion

Jackson Hole Wyoming Family Reunions

Family time has always been important, but getting together for an extending family vacation now is as important as ever. Families are living farther apart than ever before. Yes we have the technology to stay connected, but is that really enough? It is no longer the era where cousins are spending entire summers together at the Grandparents farm; sometimes we are lucky to get together during the holidays. This is why multi-generational vacations are so needed. We need our children to know how fun it can be to play for endless hours with siblings and cousins making connections through experiences, and how cool and adventurous grandma and/or grandpa can be. This is a time to grow as a family and create lasting memories through adventure, education, experiences, and time spent together. This is a family reunion where you will disconnect from daily distractions and reconnect as a family making memories together.

There are a few key points to consider when planning a family reunion. Here are a few that we think are important to make this the best vacation and the easiest to achieve. Making lasting impressions and memories is the end result, but we want this to be great for even the planner. We love hosting family reunions and have had a many great experiences bringing families together from all over the world.

Planning: This can seem very daunting, how am I going to schedule 10 – 30 people a vacation and ensure all will have something they will love and enjoy. The best part of planning an all-inclusive family reunion at Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming, is that the planning ends when your vacation begins. Once you are on the ranch everything will be taken care of for you. From meals and lodging to activities and equipment. Let us help you plan your next extraordinary family reunion.

Choosing dates: Once you have the list of family members who are interested in attending you will need to have a list of the dates that they are available. Don’t forget that we are a small property and can book out 6 months to a year in advance. Something else to consider is the season on which to visit. If you have young children (ages 0 – 15) we recommend visiting us in July or August. For more mature families you might be able to find great options in either June or September. Each season comes with different weather and activities. Also, how long should you stay to make the most out of your time together.

Gathering Details: We are happy to send information via mail or email about what to expect, weather, activities, packing tips, food details, and more to all members of your family or just you to disperse. We feel the more information provided the better to ensure everyone’s expectations are met.

Choosing accommodations: Depending on your group size you might have the entire ranch to yourself or you might need just a few cabins. We are here for you to help arrange the best accommodations possible. What we will need would be age, gender, and desired lodging accommodations for each immediate family.

Helpful Information: It is very important for us to know as much about each family member as possible. We are interested in know if there are any dietary restrictions, allergies, medical conditions, special needs/requests, horseback riding level/interest, other activity interest, if there are any special occasions (birthday’s, anniversaries, graduations), or unique activities we can arrange (National Park trips, photographer), who is the main contact for us. All of these details will ensure that you are provided with True Western Hospitality and all your needs will be met.

Travel Insurance: We strongly recommend travel insurance to all our guests, but when you are dealing with multi-generations traveling together we feel it is even more important. When making a reservation with us you can opt into additional travel insurance that will cover all members of the traveling party and extended family member emergencies. It is always better to be prepared so you can be worry free.

Selling the “Dude Ranch Reunion” idea: There is something for everyone, from horseback riding to fly fishing and spa days to exploring days there is something for all ages and abilities to enjoy. We have a wide variety of activities that are great for those ages 6 to 86. For the younger children under six they can enjoy a nature walk, a UTV ride, pony rides, finger painting the horses, wagon rides and Indian arts and crafts. For those older a few activities are archery, target shooting, horseback riding, team penning, hatchet throwing, hiking, and UTV exploring. We are also able to organize a family photo shoot, this can be a group picture with matching tee shirts or cowboy hats, or a costume party for the holidays. This is a stress free holiday, where everything is taken care of for you. Trust your family with our family. Dude ranches were founded on the idea of bringing families together and opening our home to you so you can become a part of our extended family. These family excursions are important for child development and building of family relationships. If you have never experienced a dude ranch vacation, let us show you some true western hospitality and help you plan your next adventure.

Dude Ranch Family Reunion

2011 Tipi with Jeremy 111

Our ranch—with 11 cabins of varying sizes and maximum capacity of 35 people—is the perfect place for your family reunion. Whether your family is 4 people or 20, you will enjoy cabins that are within easy walking distance to visit your loved ones.

Goosewing Ranch is remote: an hour from the nearest town, with only one road in and out, nestled in the Gros Ventre River Valley. We are surrounded by natural, untouched beauty.

Our all-inclusive packages remove the stress from the family members trying to plan the reunion. The lodging is cozy and clean, we provide three delicious meals a day (plus snacks), and all ranch activities are included. We take the worrying out of your vacation—the only major decision your family has to make is which activities they want to do the next day.

Celebrate with Goosewing, where there’s something everyone can enjoy. Tour the area, with scenic views of the Tetons and other impressive landmarks; enjoy a family trail ride all together with knowledgeable wranglers; go explore the lakes and roads off the ranch in the UTVs provided at each cabin; try your hand at fly fishing, either taking a rod out on your own or taking a lesson on our stock pond; hone your aim and competitive nature (or simply have fun) with skeet shooting, archery, target shooting, and hatchet throwing.

We encourage guests to disconnect from their hectic lives and reconnect with each other. It’s easy to build memories that will last a lifetime when you can truly step away from your phone, tablet, and computer. Focus on the people who are most important in your life: your family.

Horseback Riding Vacations in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Goosewing Ranch, Riding the River sweet

Ever dream of being a cowboy or cowgirl, but couldn’t seem to swing it in the city (or suburbs) where you grew up? Here is your chance to test it out with an all-inclusive vacation to Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming! We feature three to seven nights deep in the beautiful Gros Ventre wilderness only accessible by horseback—just like in the old days.

How it works:
You will arrive on the ranch, check in, and then head down to the tack room to meet your horse for the week. Having your own horse lets you become comfortable with your mount and develop a bond that will have you saying “Remember Josh? He was a great horse,” for years to come.

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Josh posing for the camera with a teenage guest

From beginners to experienced, we have a horse for everyone. This wide variety ensures guests can enjoy all aspects of riding, both on the trails and in the arena, as well as feeling safe and secure with their horse partner. Plus, our kid horses take their job very seriously—the quintessential babysitter when a child is out on a ride.

Catch a glimpse of the impressive landscape surrounding the ranch on different length trail rides, and either return to the ranch for a hot lunch or eat a boxed lunch on the trail with unbeatable Wyoming views.

Goosewing Ranch, Riding the Meadows 3

For people wanting to spice up their trail rides and have the necessary riding experience to do so, we offer advanced rides. Get a chance to go on a loping ride or swim with your horse in the river! And if you don’t think you’re capable of loping or riding bareback, take a lesson from one of our experienced wranglers and work up to it.

Whether you’ve never been on a horse or were riding before you were walking, this horseback riding vacation is the perfect getaway if you want to experience the vast remoteness of the Jackson Hole Wyoming region from the saddle.

 

 

This post was written by Sara Massery.

Celebrate Your National Parks with Goosewing Ranch!

morman barn and tetonsThis year, the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday, and to celebrate, fourth graders are being given free park passes for them and their families.

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest park in the United States. It was established in 1872 as an Act signed by President Grant. It wasn’t until August 25, 1916 that the National Park Service was created to protect and preserve our beautiful parks, and since 1916 over four hundred parks have been created. The NPS has grown tremendously over the years. They rely on 22,000 employees and 221,000 volunteers to maintain the parks—and no wonder they need so many people, as Yellowstone alone draws over 4 million visitors a year, usually between the months of May to September.

Goosewing Ranch makes an ideal location to stay while visiting the parks. Not only can you take advantage of the free park pass given to your fourth grader—visiting the parks with ease from our location—you can enjoy the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the beautiful, untouched wilderness that surrounds the ranch, as well. The UTVs available for guests are a fun way to get off the ranch and explore everything nature has to offer.

This is a historic year for the parks. By celebrating 100 years of service, the NPS campaign has shifted public focus to the future, and preserving National Parks for another 100 years to come. This will be a celebratory year to visit Jackson Hole.

For your child to receive his or her park pass, go to everykidinapark.gov. Passes are valid until August 31, 2016. This year’s third graders are eligible to receive their park pass starting in September 2016.

 

This post was written by Sara Massery.

Top Six Reasons Why to Plan Your Escape to Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming This Summer

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Goosewing Ranch is a place to disconnect from your daily struggles and reconnect with what is really important: Family, friends, nature, and your inner self.

Here at Goosewing Ranch, we combine the lifestyle of ranching in the Wyoming wilderness with many of the modern refinements that make your visit with us especially enjoyable.

At 7,400 feet, the valley is the host to some of North America’s most spectacular game: elk, moose, mountain sheep, antelope, bear, eagles, geese, cranes, and much more–not to mention fantastic scenery. The Gros Ventre River, home to native cutthroat trout, runs through the meadows of our historic ranch.

With many different package options, we can truly customize the perfect all-inclusive vacation option for you. From pack trips to nights in Jackson, let us help make this year’s vacation the best ever. We invite you to come share this corner of North America’s wildest country just as it has been for over a hundred years – a working ranch reborn as an isolated retreat deep in the Gros Ventre River Valley.

1. Celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th Birthday! Stay at Goosewing Ranch and include a visit to our nation’s first National Park: Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park is near Goosewing Ranch, and we can help you plan your self or guided tour of this historic and amazing National Park. From wildlife viewing to hiking around thermal features there is much to see and do.

2. Yes, there is Yellowstone, but there is also Grand Teton National Park. With many spectacular Grand Teton views from the Goosewing Ranch trails, you won’t have to leave your saddle to experience this mesmerizing mountain. I can already imagine your new profile picture…you on a horse with the Grand Tetons towering behind you.

3. Historic Jackson Hole is a great place to stay before or after your package with Goosewing Ranch. While in town you will want to take in the shopping, dining, and history, but don’t forget about a white water rafting trip, scenic float trip, the rodeo, and the old west shoot out on the town square. Let the Goosewing Ranch staff take care of the planning so you can relax and enjoy your true Western Vacation.mg_5628f

4. It is an exclusive and all-inclusive vacation. Goosewing Ranch is a small unique property that offers packages that are all-inclusive of lodging, meals, ranch seasonal activities, taxes and gratuity. Being all-inclusive makes planning and organizing your vacation much easier; just tell us what you want to do and we can arrange the details. You won’t have to make dinner reservations, plan daily activities, and think of things to do that will please everyone, we have you covered. Goosewing Ranch has a wide variety of adventure based activities for all abilities and age ranges.

5. A chance to experience the Wild West and get a taste of it all. We have a great package that offers a bit of everything from a luxury night in Jackson Hole, a one night/two day spectacular pack trip, and three nights of rustic charm and all-inclusive activities at the ranch. Don’t fight the summer crowds, escape to beautiful Goosewing Ranch.

6. Make memories through adventure and experiences. Goosewing Ranch offers guests many opportunities to create life long memories and new family traditions through adventure and experience. This is a place where you can disconnect from distractions and truly relax and recharge.

The Whiskey Gentry meets Goosewing Ranch

The Whiskey Gentry

The Whiskey Gentry

Just over a month ago we had a very special band come visit us at the ranch. The Whiskey Gentry boasts an excellent collection of covers and original songs which they serenaded our guests with while they were here. It started with Jason, guitarist and overall band savant (on occasion referred to as “head honcho” if you will), and his arrival at Goosewing Ranch nearly two months prior. Then, he did not come as a rising superstar, but as one of two sons celebrating their father’s birthday.

Jason with his guitar and cowboy hat

Jason with his guitar and cowboy hat

It was easy to befriend Jason and Tim, as well as their enigmatic father, Bob. Soon enough, we learned of the Atlanta-based band, whose music shines a modern and edgy light on the blend of bluegrass and traditional country, and Jason’s casual mention that they would be in the Jackson area in a mere handful of weeks. Bob and his sons departed the ranch a few days later (not without style: never did I imagine my job would include banging on their cabin door at four thirty in the morning so they wouldn’t miss their shuttle to the airport), and three weeks passed before it occurred to me that The Whiskey Gentry should be passing through our area soon.

Price, quite happy about the double rainbow

Price, quite happy about the double rainbow

A few emails later, and we shook electronic hands that they’d come stay with us for two nights and give our guests some good entertainment. The ranch quivered with excitement; most of the staff recalled Jason and Tim with fondness, and knew the company he kept couldn’t be that bad. We were greeted with grins, and quickly introduced to the five strangers spilling out of the van after Jason; Lauren and Rurik, Price, Sammy, and Jeremy. Their energy was infectious, snaking through the ranch as they took it all in; it carried through to their performance.

Lauren and Jason

Lauren and Jason

We took them on a trail ride; besides being good musicians, they were funny, kind, and easy to get along with. They took goofy pictures and one brought home a souvenir: a baby elk leg we found along the trail next to some wolf prints. Overall, these were some pretty cool dudes, and you should check them out.

 

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This post was written by Sara Massery, who is experiencing her first season at Goosewing Ranch,as the Office Assistant. She hails from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has just completed her B.A. in English Writing and Literature at Emmanuel College. She was looking for an adventure, and she found one.

Survival of the Fittest

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Gros Ventre Slide seen from Shadow Mtn.

On June 23, 1925, a landslide on Sheep Mountain dammed up the Gros Ventre River with a high tower of rocks and dirt. Lower Slide Lake was born in the following flooding, only six miles from the town of Kelly, Wyoming. Over the next two years, the lake filled in, and the nature-made dam held. But in May of 1927, just before a huge election between Kelly and Jackson, a portion of the dam broke. The town of Kelly—which was favored to win—suddenly found itself under six feet of water, at least temporarily, and Jackson “won by a landslide.”

When you drive by Slide Lake, the scar of earth is still apparent on the mountain; an ugly welt of naked dirt among a landscape of crisp green pines. At the edge of the road above the lake you can see the gravel and rocks that were pushed as far as they would go and then abandoned, broken and forgotten about. Long-dead trees stand in solidarity near the center of the lake, barren and eerie but still very much present. There were things interrupted here, and the land can’t forget it yet.

Coming to Goosewing Ranch, I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to fall in love with the area, but I wasn’t sure if it was possible. I dreamed of being so happy here that I would stay, and that has a lot to do with where my life is headed: straight into a tunnel of Unknown, where thinking of my future is exactly like being caught in a landslide. When I got here, it almost felt like this was life pushing the pause button. Work here… and then what?

There is a group of trees at the base of Sheep Mountain that were not always there. Their place of origin was at the top of the mountain. When the landslide happened, the trees went with it. But instead of dying, uprooted, they replanted themselves. And we’re not talking a few trees, but a square mile of them. They found a safe place and stuck with it. The trees you can see today are the same ones from 1925, and that says something about these trees’ commitment to existence.

That’s the thing about sliding down a mountainside, or flying across the country to live in a new place: it’s foreign, it’s terrifying, but it’s most definitely survivable. And maybe it’s better than where we started, even if we don’t know how long this haven is going to last.

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This is Sara Massery’s first season at Goosewing Ranch, where she is the Office Assistant. She hails from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has just completed her B.A. in English Writing and Literature at Emmanuel College. She’s very excited for the summer ahead!

The Beginning of a Journey

sara at yellowstoneI graduated from college on May 9th, and six days later I was on a plane headed to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The time I spent in the airport—a total of about four hours across two layovers—didn’t feel real, and my impending adventure was suspended above my head. I had flown alone before to visit family, and this didn’t feel any different. When the plane touched down in Jackson—that was when it hit me: I was in for one unique summer. I walked off the ramp and almost stopped short.

Growing up in the western part of Massachusetts, I was used to the way the mountains encircled the town. We were in the foothills of the Appalachians, after all, and I liked their rounded tops and the way they protected my town from bad weather. These were different. These mountains were so sharp they could cut the sky if it got too close. Home, spring was in full bloom. Here, the air was crisp and light and there was still snow on the mountaintops.

On the day I arrived, the trees clung to the fog. The tops of the mountains were obscured by fat clouds that yearned to touch the ground. We passed Slide Lake and the Grey Hills, and around every corner I kept wondering, how close are we?

I know the distance of forty miles. On a highway, it would take less than forty-five minutes to drive. I thought the wilderness of the Gros Ventre River Valley and the Grand Teton National Park might be exaggerated, but nothing could have prepared me for the trek to Goosewing Ranch. The road passes the small town of Kelly and climbs upwards into the park. From there, it could be equated to a mild roller coaster ride. Sometimes you can see the road extend into the distance for a mile; other times you might question if it even continues after this hill; it is always winding and twisting. And my perception of forty miles changed—it took nearly an hour and a half to drive that distance here. Finally, there it was: the ranch spread out in front of us, as glorious (even in the rain) as the pictures that I had pored over during the previous months.

I wake up each morning excited for the day ahead, for the work we’re doing to make this ranch the best it can be for our guests. I am nearly bursting with excitement waiting for the guests to arrive, because they’ll make my new home come alive with activity. I’ve been here for almost a week, which is the same amount of time most of our guests will be here, and I know that’s not enough for me; I’m not done with this place yet. And I can bet you will feel the same.

 

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This is Sara Massery’s first season at Goosewing Ranch, where she is the Office Assistant. She hails from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has just completed her B.A. in English Writing and Literature at Emmanuel College. She’s very excited for the summer ahead!

Wild Western Weather

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When thinking of the Wild West one tends to imagine hot sunshine, beautiful mountains, majestic wild horses, and dusty old cowboys.  While some of those things are true and others have been somewhat tamed; the wild western weather still remains untamed and unpredictable.

Jackson Hole Wyoming is one of those places that is still a little wild yet filled with wonderful adventure.  Being in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem the area is prone to diverse weather patterns.  One thing you can count on with the weather in this vast area, is that no matter the season it could always snow on you.  Now, don’t let this turn you off and make you start thinking about that sandy beach vacation again….  Just because it could snow in July doesn’t mean that your experience will be any less amazing.

Weather in any mountain region can be difficult to understand.  Mountains produce their own weather and also make it difficult to see weather moving in; you just never know what to expect when setting off for a fun day hike or family horseback ride.  Most of the summer months are filled with warm, arid (dry) days and clear, cool evenings, and if weather moves in it is usually gone as fast as it arrived.  Some thunderstorms may only last about 10 minutes, and just because it is storming doesn’t mean the sun won’t still shine.  Then after the storm has passed the dust is gone, the air is fresh, the grass is green, and all is right in the Gros Ventre again.

This diverse weather pattern can turn the average day into a great story making adventure.  Just think about what the real cowboys and mountain men went through year after year, and take the weather in stride.  The horseback riding, and many other activities can still be enjoyed even when the weather is less than favorable.  A snowy June day can also give you a chance to relax by the fire, catch up with family and friends, and a reason to treat yourself to a soothing massage.  So, next time you are planning a vacation to the Jackson Hole area, remember pack a bit of everything, leave for activities prepared for anything, and take the weather in stride, because after the storm comes the most amazing rainbows!  Remember our guides and wranglers at Goosewing Ranch are trained to keep you safe, they have gear available for you to help you stay warm and dry, and will do their best to always make the best out of any situation.

Rainbow over Goosewing Ranch

Rainbow over Goosewing Ranch

Snowy Tipi at Goosewing Ranch

Snowy Tipi at Goosewing Ranch

Fire in the sky at Goosewing Ranch

Fire in the sky at Goosewing Ranch

 

Yellowstone, Tetons, Ranches and more…Jackson Hole

It’s that time of year again… the family is all together and it is time to decide on next year’s vacation destination.   It doesn’t matter if you are a young couple, mature couple, large family, or small the Jackson Hole area has something offer each diverse traveler.  Make this year’s vacation an adventure filled with new experiences, while exploring this educational and historic area.

Wyoming is home to our nation’s first National Park, Yellowstone National Park, founded in 1872.  However, Yellowstone is not the only park the neighbors Jackson Hole, there is also Grand Teton National Park.  Jackson not only has two historic and magnificent parks in its backyard, but is also home to many guest ranches and summer attractions.

Guest Ranches such as Goosewing Ranch are a great way to visit the area with the ease of an all-inclusive package.  While staying at a ranch you can enjoy many different activities from hiking, horseback riding, line dancing, spa treatments, rodeos, cookouts, off-roading, and more.  But, make sure you save some time to visit Jackson Hole for some shopping, rodeo, rafting and a quick history lesson, and then head into Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park.  There are many outfitters that will guide you through the parks in all fashions, but if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person here are a few tips.  I would suggest leaving your accommodations early in the morning and hitting the trail.  You should allow for a full day or more in each park, 12+ hours.  If you only have one day I suggest driving the lower loop of Yellowstone.  You will see such features as Old Faithfull, boiling paint pots, hot springs and swimming holes, water falls, grand canyons, and hopefully some wildlife.  There are many different board walks taking you safely around various features of the park, and many have interruptive rangers on site to answer questions.  Remember obey all warning and safety postings and keep a vast distance between yourself and ALL wildlife.  Yellowstone might have park behind its name but that doesn’t mean it is safe to play or recreate anywhere.

Grand Teton National Park has much to offer as well.  This is a great area to enjoy the water or spend the day hiking.  Grand Teton has hiking trails suitable for those looking for an easy family picnic and hike to the more adventurous climber and backpacker.  Grand Teton has many great opportunities to view wildlife and is a photographer’s dream.

Jackson, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Wyoming all have a lot to offer a diverse group of travelers.  With a history, adventure, and science rich environment you will return home with more than a vacation, you will return home with an experience.  Visit Jackson Hole, experience the Wild West!