Home on the Range

Business Traveler (USA) - - GATHERING PLACES -

Ranches can run from the small with only a few cab­ins to the quite large, with fa­cil­i­ties that can han­dle up to 250 guests for a meet­ing or event. Most ranches of­fer meet­ings fa­cil­i­ties for around 40 to 50 peo­ple, Hod­son says, and most ranches in the Dude Ranch As­so­ci­a­tion have added these fa­cil­i­ties and sup­port­ing tech­nol­ogy in the past few years to meet the steadily grow­ing de­mand.

“For the larger groups, you re­ally have to book a year in ad­vance, and that does not in­clude the sum­mer months, which are mostly given to fam­i­lies. Group meet­ings and re­treats re­ally get go­ing in the shoul­der months of Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber and May and June,”she adds.“Only a hand­ful of ranches are open year‘round.”

Sev­eral of those four-sea­son ranches in the lux­ury cat­e­gory are in Mon­tana. These in­clude Triple Creek Ranch, the Ranch at Rock Creek and Paws Up, among oth­ers.

At Triple Creek Ranch in the Bit­ter­root Val­ley some 75 miles south of Mis­soula, you are as likely to find your­self sip­ping a 2010 Château Mar­gaux with the for­mer In­tel CEO who owns the place as you are don­ning cow­boy chaps and mount­ing a Paint in the cor­ral. The ranch has 30 rooms, most of them large, in­de­pen­dent cab­ins with a wood-burn­ing fire­place.

As a Re­lais & Chateau prop­erty the pam­per­ing is no­tice­able. Sim­i­larly, din­ing here is an event with a fo­cus on French culi­nary and even a cook­ing school at the ready for cus­tom­ized pro­grams.

As with most ranch op­er­a­tions, just about all guest re­quests are pack­aged in the nightly price, which is more geared to small groups

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