For more than 40 years, Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort in Ulster County was a popular destination for those looking for a dude ranch experience. But when its owner David O’Halloran passed away suddenly in 2017, the resort closed and more than 100 people were without jobs.
One of those people was Mike Offner, the barn manager, who wasn’t ready to let go that easily. When 34 horses were sent to auction, he stepped in and raised enough funds through a GoFundMe page to buy back 16 of them. The rest are happily retired at a Rifton farm. “These horses were like family to us,” Offner says.
The next hurdle was purchasing the resort itself. Offner joined forces with two former guests and bought it on January 29, renaming it Pine Ridge Dude Ranch.
After a million-dollars-plus in updates, the all-inclusive resort is once again a vacation destination. What’s most impressive is what’s been preserved. For example, hallways are lit by the Southwestern-style ceramic sconces that graced them decades ago. Carved wooden horses await tiny riders in the lobby. And you can “saddle up” — on a real saddle — at the Bull Room nightclub.
Typical dude ranch activities are still available, such as archery, a day camp for the younger set, paddleboats and fishing on the lake, and campfires under the stars. New ones include an outdoor bounce pillow, a rock-climbing wall, a fitness center, spa massages, an indoor pool with twin flume waterslides, and laser tag.
Of course, the biggest draw is horseback riding. Offner enthusiastically relays plans for romantic sunset rides to the lake, and family-friendly rides that culminate with a BBQ dinner. Day passes are also available 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.