The new owner of a Kerhonkson dude ranch is giving new meaning to the words “Happy Trails.”
The Pine Ridge Dude Ranch, formerly known as Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort, cuts the ribbon on its grand opening at noon on May 25. The story leading up to the ribbon-cutting is as amazing as a herd of horses thundering down the trail.
Mike Offner was the barn manager at Pinegrove last year when then-owner David O’Halloran passed away. Four months later, in September 2017, after the last guest checked out for the day, employees gathered in the dining room and were told the resort was closing — right then and there.
“I said that day that I would do everything I could to reopen,” Offner says.
Things looked bleak. A total of 34 horses were sent to auction, their futures unknown. “These horses were like family to us,” Offner admits. He raised enough funds through a GoFundMe page to buy back 16 horses. The rest were bought by a family who frequented Pinegrove when it was open. They are now living out the rest of their lives on a farm in Rifton, Offner says.
The next hurdle was purchasing the resort itself. Listed at $2.5 million, it had other buyers interested in the 150-acre property for use as a religious camp. Offner joined forces with two other investors who were former guests of the resort. Together, the trio bought the resort in its entirety on January 29.
Since then, hard work has made the resort sparkle. About a million dollars have been spent so far on details like new bathrooms, carpeting, and other updates, all of which were installed with the help of local contractors. The indoor pool, with twin flume waterslides, has been updated. The arcade room has games at the ready. There’s even Starbucks coffee available onsite.
What’s most impressive, however, is not what’s changed, but what’s been preserved. The resort is all-inclusive, with three meals a day and one free trail ride per stay. Newly carpeted and freshly painted hallways are lit by the Southwestern-style ceramic sconces that graced the space decades ago. Carved wooden horses (the site of many family photo ops) await tiny riders in the lobby. And you can “saddle up” — literally, on a saddle — at the bar in the Bull Room nightclub downstairs.
Activities that thrilled families years ago are still available: archery, a day camp for the younger set, paddleboats and fishing on the lake, and campfires under the stars. An outdoor bounce pillow, a rock-climbing wall, a fitness center with massages available, laser tag, and visiting Kawasaki the bull and the resident goats and chickens mean there’s no shortage of things to do. Of course, the biggest draw are the trail rides. Offner enthusiastically relays plans for romantic sunset rides to the lake and family-friendly rides that culminate with a BBQ dinner. Guests come from far and wide, although Pine Ridge also offers day passes for locals who’d like to ride.
“The heart of this place is that families come here and make friends,” Offner says. Thanks to him and his partners, that pulse is still beating strong.
30 Cherrytown Road, Kerhonkson; 866.600.0859