While everyone knows about the TVGR horseback riding programs for the beginner and experienced rider- I want to tell you about the hidden gems. When at the ranch, try a moderately strenuous mountain hike. The guides are friendly and talkative about the route and will tailor the hike to the participants. I have been going to the ranch for over 10 years and I now hike more than I ride horses. It is a great workout and different way to see the dessert.
Another fantastic non horseback riding gem is the tennis. One of my favorite things is to play tennis in the morning with the pro- who often plays classical music in the backgound during warmups- or even lively jazz in the late afternoon before watering time. You can always find a serious game or friendly doubles match.
Also- not to be missed- are the breakfast rides and Cottonwood Grove luncheon picnic (TVGR also has dinner cookouts with live country music). When attending these events- enjoy the serenity of the wind blowing through the cottonwoods and make sure to indulge in the homemade chili- cheddar jalapeño corn bread muffins, cactus cookies at lunch; and for the breakfast rides enjoy the ranch scrambled eggs, hot trail-strength coffee and hot off the griddle blueberry pancakes (or chocolate chip ones for the kids) made by Bob Cote himself.
Finally- you cannot miss the Prickly Pear Margarita or other purely medicinal cocktails at the “Dog House” after your full Arizona day. Even more special is to take your libation on to the deck to watch the beautiful Arizona sunset or to come back after dinner and enjoy a fire and watch the brilliance of the stars. The TVGR staff if also the nicest around and if there is anything thing that they can do make your stay more enjoyable then just ask.