Today, I woke up in my own bed and found myself a little upset that a truck was roaring up the road at 6:15 in the morning. Then, the dog needed to go out and then proceeded to bark for 20 minutes, then baby woke up...
Let’s go back to two days ago, when my little family woke up in a wagon at Conestoga Ranch. All was quiet, serene and nearly perfect.
Magic. Pure Magic.
While Stephanie and her family have stayed at Conestoga Ranch before, this was my first time.My husband and I have been talking extensively about what made Conestoga Ranch so magical, and while we haven’t been able to pinpoint one single thing, we have been able to point out MANY things.
So, here’s a first timer's list (in no particular order) of why Conestoga Ranch is so Magical.
My husband and I are known for choosing the cheapest hotel option…and sometimes the sketchiest option... when we travel. I honestly was super surprised to find out that a family of six could stay in a Conestoga Wagon for $85 a night (prices change seasonally).
Sure, there are more expensive options and even a Honeymoon Suite at Conestoga, but I seriously was stunned to find most of the options so affordable.
We at the Salt Project really do try to find activities that are family friendly, because know traveling with families is sometimes pricey.
We chose to stay in the Conestoga Wagon, because WHY NOT?!
It sounded so exciting and I knew our kids would love it. Heck, I loved it. While the wagons don’t have any amenities other than a heater, it was perfect. We had two sets of bunk beds, naturally, the kids chose the top bunks and then a King Size bed for us and just enough room for a pack ‘n’ play for Baby.
I also loved that the wagons were circled around the giant fire pit surrounded by lush green grass.
We found ourselves sitting out of the grass or picnic table, just enjoying the weather and watching our kids run wild.
The wagons had a big window at the head of our bed, so it was hard to keep the kids away. They loved unzipping the window because there was a seat right up there for them to enjoy.
Plus, the wagons were centrally located near all the activities, front desk, restaurant, and bathrooms.
One kind of feels like one is in Disneyland. The staff was extremely friendly and always smiling. If you don’t feel like taking the short walk up to your tent, they will give you a ride in the golf cart. They’ll even load up all your luggage and take it straight to your tent for the night. (We even showed up at 10 pm and someone chauffeured us to our tent.)
Even though we were camping, we didn’t bring any matches or wood. Why? Well, the staff brings the wood and starts the fire for you. I kid you not when I say that this was a highlight for the younger kids.
To make things even more magical, you want s’mores, right? Well, just ask the front desk and they will provide you with all the s’more fixings and fire roasting sticks. My kids said their favorite part was the “smarshmellows.” Out of all the fun activities, there’s just something special about family time, sitting around the fire eating mallows. (Dans favorite hat is from our favorite Stock&Barrel)
I think my kids spent 50% of their time in the covered area with the hammocks. Then they would saunter over to the playground or play on the volleyball field of grass.
Stephanie and her family spent an evening lassoing each other.
I don’t think we even set foot in the arcade tent, but a favorite activity was all the BICYCLES!
You’d think the kids and parents had never seen bikes before. Stephanie's kids for sure spent some good quality time on the bicycles, going all over the trails. There were bikes with training wheels, cruisers, tandem bicycles and some bikes with tug-a-bugs on them. My little Orion (4) isn’t big enough to ride even the smallest bike with training wheels, but never fear, his dad put him on the tug-a-bug bike and he loved every second. As we were packing up, my husband loaded the bags up for fun on the bike, just because he could.
We even ended up buying a locally made bow and arrow from the gift shop. My kids were in heaven.
Much of their time was spent shooting arrows just so they could run and pick them up. We even started a game of trying to shoot the arrow through the wagon window, then Dad got involved and it became a competition to see who could shoot an arrow from the back door all the way through the wagon and out the front window.
Who’d have thought a homemade toy could make so many ages so happy.
The Green Grass and the Fields.
A Barefoot delight. My kids ran around wild without shoes 80% of the time. The mix of nice soft green grass, gravel trails and fields of long grass and local plants made the look and feel of the area just right. With canvas tents, large and small, and wagons circled around the fire pit, it all just gives it just the right touch.
There are many different tent options. Some were huge, like Stephanie’s (You can read about them more extensively here about the Do's & Don'ts) that could sleep 8 while some of the tents were smaller and had private fire pits.
The Campfire Grill Restaraunt
While we were super close to food options in Garden City, we were lucky enough to try out The Campfire Grill Restaraunt. Buffet style for Breakfast ($15) and Dinner ($30).
For breakfast, we had a smorgasbord of options.
One morning was biscuits and gravy, breads of all kinds with homemade jelly (rhubarb!), sausages, delicious potatoes, bacon, omelets & waffles made fresh how you want them, fresh fruit, parfaits, oatmeal, juices, fresh honeycomb, and croissants. YUM, if only breakfast was like that at home too.
Usually, my camping breakfast includes a large amount of ash on the food. This is definitely glamping food for sure.
For dinner, we had another large buffet of options. Different salads, rolls with fresh jelly, salmon, brisket, roasted chicken, ribs, collard greens (my personal favorite, I went back many times just for my greens) roasted veggies, and apple cobbler.
If only I wasn’t so pregnant…I wanted to eat so much, well, I did eat a bunch, but my mind definitely wanted MORE!
Lovely, clean, amenities.
Who doesn’t love a clean bathroom, especially, when there are many bathrooms! Simple, clean and loaded with lemongrass soap, one certainly, didn’t feel like they were camping.
Even the wagons and tents themselves seemed extremely clean. I kind of expected a good amount of dust and dirt, but everything was quite tidy.
The people you love. We at The Salt Project hope you agree, doing things with those you love versus buying things is what makes life magical.
The feel of it all. I can’t quite explain it.
There’s something about being able to watch your kids playing hard, running around for hours, romping through the great outdoors. At one point, the clouds in the sky were heavenly and all the kids were trying to lasso Dan (Stephanie’s husband.) We were watching from the fire pit, watching Dan get more and more tangled up in the ropes and all the kids were laughing and smiling. Life doesn’t get much more amazing than this.
One could almost feel slightly pioneer-ish, gazing at the fields of canvas tents and wagons circled.
Thanks to Conestoga Ranch for hosting The Salt Project and for all our readers, we have a special discount for our followers!
Use the code "saltproject" for 15% off! Code is good through June 30, 2018.
#thesaltproject when you go!
OH! We've hidden a Salt Project GeoCache on the Ranch. See if the clue can help you out for a prize!
And if you are looking for other things to do nearby, check out other activities here.