When Mike Offner was a 7-year-old living in Westchester, he started coming to Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort in the foothills of the Catskills with his family. He loved it so much, he ended up working there as a teen, and later as barn manager. When the ranch’s owner died in 2017 and the resort was closed, Offner and two other former guests bought the property and 16 of its horses, put in $2 million of updates, and reopened it in May 2018 as Pine Ridge Dude Ranch.
Offner’s goal was to provide guests with the Western dude ranch experience he had as a child — where families make new friends, and return year after year to vacation with those friends — but with the modern conveniences that travelers expect. And he has accomplished it. Walk into the lobby and you are greeted with a highly polished vaulted wood-beamed ceiling and the original wooden horses you can “ride” — as well as a Starbucks and WiFi.
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Your all-inclusive stay includes three all-you-can-eat country-style meals per day, entertainment (dance parties and magicians!), and more. Everything is under one roof, which makes it easy for kids to run from their rooms to the pool and the arcade — and for parents to relax or play along. There are the usual dude ranch activities such as line-dancing lessons, campfire sing-alongs with s’mores, and water balloon battles, but there is also (for an additional fee) massage therapy and a spa, and paintball and laser tag.
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Last, but certainly not least, is the horseback riding. Each guest gets one free trail ride per stay, led by wranglers who take you through the wooded trails that overlook the Shawangunk Ridge. Lessons are also available to new riders.
One thing that stands out about Pine Ridge Dude Ranch is the staff, who appear to love the ranch as much as Offner does. “We want to share our love for horses with every guest that walks through the door,” says Offner. “The connection between a man and a horse is very special. It is a way of life that, in today’s world, is mostly forgotten about.”