Ghost Ranch, the retreat center located near Abiquiu, New Mexico, has a cult following. At least two thirds of the guests I spoke to while I was here have been here before...some many times. Ghost Ranch runs a huge variety of programs, including writing seminars, many art classes, and hiking. I was here for the 'Hiking to ancient sites, ancient waters' program with Martha Yates and Willie Picaro. Willie came to the ranch 30 years ago to work for a summer and fell under its magical spell, then stayed on. Martha is an enthusiastic archaeologist.
You come here for the programs, mainly. If you plan to do a program at Ghost Ranch, send your money in EARLY and ask for one of the newer rooms 'up on the mesa'. The rooms in 'corral block' are JUST like you remember your cabin in summer camp, 1965. I did not book soon enough, and consequently was stuck in this block of rooms with a shared bathroom. Five women used this bathroom, and the toilet 'stalls' did not have doors...just curtains. However, the rooms on the mesa are newly re-done and are very, very nice. The food is adequate but nothing special, perhaps a step up from dorm food. That said, no one comes here for the food or even the rooms. They come here to enjoy the spectacular outdoor setting. Mountains and mesas encircle the ranch. The ever-changing light is fascinating. Our hiking program was really fun and informative. We learned a lot about ancient culture. Single women can come here on their own, fit right in with many other single women (although there were quite a few husband-and-wife couples). It's the people connections that keep people coming back. The instructors are wonderful, and the environment makes you forgive the uneven facilities. Everyone has fun and relaxes. Cell phones do not work here, although that may improve by next year. If you hike a ways up the Chimney Rock trail, you can get cell phone reception. I recommend the hiking programs. I also recommend renting a car for the week, perhaps skipping one day of your program, and exploring the environs! The scenery alone is worth the trip.
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