Speak of the Devil
I couldn’t have been more unsuspecting. An invitation to Devil’s Thumb Ranch to celebrate the opening of a new wing of accommodations and amenities was something I was viewing as a welcomed respite out of town but I couldn’t have imagined what I was in store for over the following 48 hours. I couldn’t have scripted it any better and, as a result, it ranks as one of my favorite places on the planet. Here’s why…
I’d drive two hours for this soup. It’s a smooth curry carrot masterpiece here at Heck’s at Devil’s Thumb Ranch and if I could pour some in my pockets to enjoy for later then, believe me, I would. Growing up, our next door neighbors were from India, so those delicious flavors wafting over our way is where I set the bar. In this instance, Tabernash, Colorado could give dear Mrs. Pinto a run for her money.
Heck’s itself is a sight to behold and, bestill my heart, there’s a movie connection to its history. Heck’s – as in “Hex” for hexagon – was designed and inspired by a hexagon room that is featured at the Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood, Oregon. So what’s the link to Hollywood? The Timberline Lodge was featured as the Outlook Hotel in The Shining where Jack Nicholson ran into so many problems. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Ranch House Restaurant, however, is the true jewel of the property when it comes to culinary treasures. Food from scratch with thoughtful creation by chef Evan Treadwell with cuisine ranging from Roast Bone Marrow, Brioche Crusted Abalone and House Cured Charcuterie to NY Steak au Poive, Bacon Wrapped Elk Tenderloin and a Chef’s Tasting Menu that boasts the best of everything on and off the menu including wine pairings from around the world. In addition, all the beef is 100% pure-bred Colorado Wagyu. Then there’s the masterstroke of pastry chef Benji Puga, whose desserts will make you think you died and gone to heaven. For me, Ranch House completely redefined the concept of the ultimate in dining atmosphere. How many people can say they’ve feasted on 5-star fare from the edge of a vast meadow with unparalleled views of the Continental Divide? Ho-hum.
When my palette wasn’t being indulged, I found myself pampered 100 yards away at Ranch Creek Spa. I can’t think of a better sequence than wolfing down a Reuben sandwich and then laying down for an hour while some masseuse from the heavens works out the kinks in my lower back. The poor soul who drew the short straw and had to work on me was Mary Leduc. I haven’t had a better massage anywhere and that’s saying something. It was everything you’d expect…arms, legs, shoulders, wrists, fingers, back, hands, feet and then my favorite…the scalp rub. In a word, “un-be-liev-able.”
Outdoors was just as sublime.
I had never ridden a horse before. Other than betting on the ponies from time to time and celebrating the Kentucky Derby every first Saturday in May, my relationship with the equine species was relatively unacquainted. This was all until visiting the Cabin Creek Stables. You take one look at these gorgeous animals, couple that with a staff that teaches you how to ride, and suddenly an hour-and-a-half trail outing doesn’t seem nearly long enough. It was truly a newly discovered world for me. This is the place to be a cowboy.
Owners Bob and Suzanne Fanch have thought of everything. How about 6,000 acres to play on for the likes of hiking, biking, fishing, yoga, stand-up paddle board and archery to name just a few? Ziplining on runs called The Take-No-Prisoners Line will give you a true appreciation for high end (pardon the pun), challenging and thoughtful runs that will leave you breathless from the views and your own adrenaline.
Couple all of this with the Fraser Valley surroundings of mountains and timber and the kind of Colorado skies that we’ve become spoiled by and you’ll be looking for ways to extend your stay.
*One last suggestion with regards to meals if you find yourself in this paradise…order bacon with everything. You can always say the devil made you do it.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch
3530 County Road 83, Tabernash, CO 80478