I wish I could have written my review as soon as I returned so things were fresher in my mind... but because I had been to Pinegrove less than 3 months prior and written a review then I had to wait...so things may be all over the place but ...Here it goes...
My daughter (8) and I had a blast at the beginning of the summer with our first trip to Pinegrove. We fell in love and purchased the ranch rewards at the end of our visit (200 dollar deposit - completely refundable - book within the year and you get 100$ credit - a no brainer since we knew we'd be back). With the school year starting late we decided we couldn't wait to go back and this time spent 4 days 3 nights. We went during a time where it was one free child with one paying adult. We purchased rides for each of us for 3 days and the value was awesome.
When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to have a free upgrade to Wyoming -again - and in the room we stayed last time which we loved and mentioned during reservations. I didn't think that would happen. (Thanks Barbara!) I also felt welcomed back when I found a bottle of wine and welcome back card in our room. Nice touch!
So...since we had been to the ranch already, we spent little time unpacking. Off to the pool. Had a blast on those slides. Spent some time at the bounce pillow and even took a shot at archery. We had to stop at the arcade (and we did often - it's easy to spend lots of money there...so I suggest budget per day...I did not..oops...but we won lots of Key Chains in the Road Trip game).
Night one was a blast. There was a ranch organized game of manhunt for the kids. There were little ones and not so little ones but they made it work! My daughter had a blast getting to know other children and getting to roam the ranch. Later that night we actually played games with two of the girls she connected with at Manhunt. While she played manhunt I had a chance to read my book.
The food was decent. Some things were better than others. I was really impressed with the salads this stay. Also, the menu varied each night which it had not our first trip. I think this is because there were fewer guests...but I think that made it kind of fun - you'd get excited to see what was on the menu. I do think they should have had more than one kids option per night but thankfully I do not have a picky eater so we were fine. Breakfast was always a hit! We also had a great server! I wish I could remember his name but we were at table 6. Or 9...my daughter kept turning the number upside down. One night we asked if my daughter could just have cucumbers...instead of a salad...and he hooked her up with an entire plate!
We loved the snack bar! Nothing like french fries and cheeseburgers whenever you want them. My daughter was a big fan of the slushies. I would love to see pizza at the snack bar (not just at lunch) and possibly something healthy, even if leaving out bananas and apples...as sometimes your stomach could use a break. They offered a 5$ cup that you could refill with soda, tea or lemonade for our entire stay. I purchased it but don't think I really needed to. Thankfully I brought a gallon of water. It would have been nice to have water stations around. But since everything is so close it was no biggie to go ot the room to refill my water bottle if needed. I suggest packing your favorite beverages and travel bottles for your room.
Horseback riding was awesome! The weather was beautiful. We had great rides every day. The wranglers were wonderful. They answered questions and really made us feel at ease. Kelly was our favorite wrangler. She had the best personality. She had a very gentle approach and she knew her stuff. She really paid attention to my daughter and answered all of her questions. We also got to see deer everyday. The horses were sweet as pie!
I do wish that we could have signed up for the BBQ ride. It is advertised as only for advanced riders. We were ready and willing to pay the extra money. However since the trip, I have emailed them and it sounds like when we return we may have the chance to do this. We can't wait!
More walks around, more bounce pillow, more bounce pillow, did I mention more bounce pillow? That thing was a blast - we were on it at least twice a day. It will make you sore though...so day two is a bit rough, but after that it's all smiles and giggles. I love that the grown ups can be kids here! The atmosphere really lends itself to good family time. For me, having that time to be away from the computers, work, laundry etc and just be with my daughter, truly enjoying each others company was the most valuable thing!
Some other things - My daughter loved the petting zoo. The goats adored her and she fell in LOVE with the chicken, who surprisingly let her pet her.. We tried our hand at Sharp Shooting by the indoor pool at night. Not too expensive and actually kind of fun. My daughter even hit some targets! We had drinks and snacks at the Cocktail and coketail hours (a nice bonus before dinner) We played board games in the lobby, played some air hockey and went on the playground. Though the playground is a bit run down, the kids all seem to love it. I think because it's one that allows kids to be more creative when playing. It's different than the ones you usually see. We attended a bonfire and ate marshmallows. My daughter climbed the rock wall and when she couldn't climb to the top the staff member pulled her up so she could ring the bell.. We went for a VERY BUMPY but fun ride to the pond and had a great guide Ashley. She was so friendly!.
I will say the only bad part of the trip was some of the guests; We dealt with some young teenage boys that were bullies to many guests, kids and grown ups alike - including myself. Also, someone had knocked over a half barrel on the chicken so she was trapped. Had my daughter not been looking for her who knows how long she would have been stuck. I also heard a grown man yell at a kid for splashing his daughter and almost get into a fight with the mother of the boy. It's hard for staff to be everywhere and to even intervene in these sorts of things but I wish those folks would have left the negativity at home and just relaxed.
I do have to comment on another thing - before we left we were provided with a room to change as we needed to change from pants (because of our last ride) to shorts after check out. We were provided a room in the Mesa Verde area and yes it smelled pretty bad. I had read many reviews about rooms having a bad smell but had not experienced it prior to this. I assume this is one of the older areas. I will say though, it still seemed very clean.
The positive definitely outweighed the negative and we purchased our Ranch Rewards again because we know we'll be back!. We love Pinegrove. It's big enough to roam around and find things to do and yet small enough that you don't get lost and you get to know folks. I felt comfortable letting my daughter go to the snackbar or the gift shop on her own. I gave her her own room key. It's nice in this day and age to just enjoy the simple things and I think most of the folks that come here get that and make it a pleasant place to be. The staff were really great too (I so wish i could remember everyone's names because there are so many more people I would love to recognize).
Anyway if you aren't afraid to get a little dirty and are really looking to get back to basics and enjoy family time don't hesitate to give it a shot! I suggest going during a time when kids are free to make it more affordable (even though without the deals it really is quite a deal compared to other family vacation spots). It has also not been so crowded during those times. We did two nights three days our first trip - It felt cut short. Having only one really full day just isn't enough. I suggest at least 4 days 3 nights. That seemed to be a great amount of time. Definitely get the rider package! Daily rides make the trip!
Thanks again Pinegrove for giving my daughter and I some of the greatest memories this summer! Hope to see you soon!!!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Family Dude Ranch. Packages include Room, Meals, Activities & Entertainment. Choice from Restaurants plus a Food Court for lunch and Free Snack Bar from 11am to 11pm. Horseback Riding, Hayrides, Indoor & Outdoor Pools with Doubleflume Waterslides, Kids Playground, Bouncing Pillow, Mini-Golf & More. Family Fun at Afforable Rates! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pinegrove Ranch And Family Resort
- Pinegrove Ranch & Family Hotel Kerhonkson
- Pinegrove Ranch Resort