Friday Feature: Conestoga Ranch
Last year, I swore off Bear Lake. I remember rather vividly thinking I will never, ever go back to Bear Lake. Why? Because of a disastrous attempt at camping with my 15 month old. I’m pretty sure I had been looking at Instagram accounts of amazing, overachiever moms and thought to myself, “I’m going to be like them. And do all the things cool moms do!” Well, I quickly learned I don’t want to be just like them and camping with a 15 month old was terrible idea. Thus, my disdain for Bear Lake.
Fast forward a year, and I’m given an opportunity to visit Bear Lake! No joke, I almost laughed out loud when I read about the trip, and thought there’s no way I would be able to convince Ian to go back. Keep in mind, he also experienced last year’s debacle.
And then I realized there was one way I could convince him. Actually two ways:
- The kids would stay in with Nana and Grampy (I think I had him with this alone)
Glamping, for those who don’t know, is glamorous camping. Some may question how camping could possibly be considered glamorous. But fortunately for Ian and I (yes, I did convince him), we had the opportunity to experience glamping at the beautiful and unique Conestoga Ranch.
Here’s a bit about my Bear Lake redemption…
Conestoga Ranch offers several accommodation options, and Ian and I got to experience a Couple’s Wagon. I’ve got to admit, at first it was a little strange staying in a wagon, but it was actually quite comfortable. With plenty of room to fit a king size bed, two chairs and a dresser, I was pleasantly surprised. An added bonus, the bed was comfy. Like “sleep until noon” comfy.
The bathrooms and showers were located in the Bathhouse, which was about 50 yards from our wagon. There were plenty of bathrooms/showers, so I never had to wait. They were also clean. Immaculate to be more precise.
Even though you can grill your own food at the Rendezvous BBQ Tents, Ian and I sampled the dining options at the Campfire Grill Restaurant, which is located on the property. We both shared the Garden City salad which came with arugula, raspberries, local honey comb, sunflower seeds and a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. While the honey comb was a little clumpy, the raspberry balsamic paired perfectly with the peppery arugula.
For a main entree, I enjoyed the burger and fries. While it was nothing over the top, it absolutely fulfilled my burger craving. Ian devoured the BBQ rubbed bone-in pork chop with house BBQ sauce and kalettes (a cross between brussel sprouts and kale and my new obsession). Seriously, where have kalettes been my whole life? While the pork chop was not cheap, it was huge and cooked beautifully. Probably the biggest pork chop I’ve ever seen.
The restaurant offers a dessert menu, but we passed because guests of the Conestoga Ranch are given the fixings to make s’mores. Our fire pit, which we shared with 3 other wagons, was ridiculously convenient. We just called the main office and someone came and lit it. Even though I kind of missed watching Ian struggle to make and keep a fire alive, it was nice having the picture perfect fire within minutes. And camping or glamping is not the same without stuffing my face with s’mores.
Taking a dip in the lake is an obvious activity, but Conestoga Ranch offers free bike rentals, a game tent, playground, yoga and massages if the lake isn’t your thing. It truly creates a glamorous effect around camping. Just don’t expect to be nestled within the mountains. While it’s located on the outskirts of Garden City, I could still see houses and other buildings. While this was a bit unexpected, it didn’t deter from my experience. Also, rates are not cheap. But you do get a lot of amenities that traditional camping doesn’t offer – king size bed anyone? For me, it was a win-win.
As we drove away from our staycation, I couldn’t believe Bear Lake had made it back on my good list.