Last Sunday as we pulled away from the Historic Reesor Ranch, and headed toward the Cypress Hills Winery for one last stop, following a girls weekend in the beautiful Cypress Hills my passenger started flipping through brochures.
“I am giving these to my mother, I have a feeling she would love this place,” she said.
That was precisely how I felt as I drove down the same road last May. I don’t think a person can properly appreciate the pull of the Ranch until they spend a weekend there drinking in the quiet, atmosphere and sense of tranquility.
“Nestled into the base of the Cypress Hills tucked in near the provincial border is the Historic Reesor Ranch. A few weeks ago I had the chance to sit down and visit Scott and Theresa the owners …. It looks like the perfect setting to have everyone get together, relax and visit,” I wrote on June 2, 2012 as I prepared a post about my first impressions of the guest ranch, focusing on the Bed & Breakfast in the old house.
Admittedly, our decision to go there last weekend was on rather short notice. You see, I needed to organize a girls weekend. There was no shortage of criteria to consider. One girl wanted to go hiking, another needed to know there were clean washrooms and showers nearby, there needed to be beds to sleep in and a solid roof over head (aka no tents), and the last request was to make the weekend as “Glamping” as possible.
The term “Glamping” is a new one to me. Anyone who has a bit more insight into the topic is welcome to comment.
The first plan was to get a couple of trailers hauled into Cypress Hill Interprovincial Park for the weekend. Unlike Gail I still go camping with my tent and portable stove. Unfortunately there hasn’t been a lot of moisture in the Southwest and with near freezing evening temperatures and a fire ban we decided that wasn’t the most fabulous option and we would explore elsewhere.
Enter Historic Reesor Ranch. On a whim I called them up to see if they had adequate accommodations. Lucky for me the barn had room. Since there were only six of us we compromised with Scott and Theresa and had access to the loft rooms, two washrooms, the kitchen and game room. This was more than enough since the barn is designed to accommodate more than 40 people.
From the exterior, the 100-year-old barn is a picturesque display nestled into a valley as you drive along the winding road from the ranch gates. Completely renovated with refurbished materials and artifacts gathered from a number of surrounding historic ranch families the eclectic display of decorations hold an intriguing rustic charm. We kept joking that we could kill a couple of hours playing I spy.
During the day we enjoyed a self-guided tour through the property as we hiked to the conglomerate cliffs on the ranch, spread out a blanket underneath the trees in the yard and had a “Wine”-nic (Picnic with the main course being wine. NOTE: we brought our own wine glasses with us).
I can’t forget to mention our companions for the weekend, Justice and Dolly, the docile ranch dogs that hung out on the doorstep and followed us wherever we went. As we ventured out on our hike to the cliffs they even led the way. It was tough not inviting them into the barn to stay with us, but like Scott Reesor said on his guided tour to familiarize us with the place, “Even if the dogs say they are allowed inside, you aren’t to believe them.” :(.
One thing I can’t neglect to mention is the darkness of the barn. The upper loft has no exterior windows. At 10:45 when we finally woke up each one of us proclaimed that we had an exceptional sleep. However, we would warn anyone else that the first dose of morning sun will catch you by surprise as you step outside to reach the washroom. Although there are 8 rooms with double beds in the upper loft the rafters are open and the floors are wooden planks. This means that sound easily travels. So if you are light sleeper and/or there is a snorer in your group I would talk to the Reesor’s about accessing one of their other accommodations, ie the cabins or hauling your own trailer.
Good to Know:
When renting the barn the Reesor’s ask that you help keep the place clean. This means wiping out the fridge after you use it, taking out the garbage, cleaning any spills you may have made in the stove and cleaning up excess water in the washroom. The Historic Reesor Ranch is more than a century-old family run facility. While staying there you can also book horseback trail rides or wagon rides.
How to get there:
The easiest route, particularly if the Historic Reesor Ranch is the first stop as you head into the Cypress hills is following the blue tourism signs posted at Walsh, Alberta. The turn off is just west of the community that borders the Trans-Canada Highway. From there you just follow the grid south for 30 km. You will see the Ranch signage on your left. You have a couple kilometres of winding road until you see the standout-red roofs in the yard. When you first arrive pull up to the white sheds with the black silhouettes and check in at the house.
We lucked out and were able to book on short notice. That is partly because we were booking during shoulder season. The Barn is winterized to accept guests year round. While reviewing the guest book we discovered it is a popular Christmas and New Years destination.
Phone: (306) 662-3498
There are washroom and shower facilities on the ranch. They are clean and comfortable. My favourite was the sauna-like smell as the steam from the shower filled the room.