Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Circle S Ranch

Long ass vacation post ahead….grab a coffee and settle into your butt groove on your couch….

So, do you know how much a vacation without kids can rejuvenate you??  A lot, let me tell you…..a lot.  The hubo and I decided to take a long weekend away and found an awesome deal through Groupon for the Circle S Ranch in Kansas.  That’s right…we wanted to go AWAY away.  And it was glorious…GLORIOUS!!!!!  (much like Heather…picture me, arms spread out, twirling away with my face up to the heavens…….).

We flew into Kansas City, Missouri….which is right next to Kansas City, Kansas.  I’m sorry, Midwest, but that was the most confusing thing in the world.  I fully thought our GPS was broken because it kept telling me we were in Kansas when I could have sworn we were in Missouri.  Anyway….we knew….despite which Kansas City we were in that we had to stop for some BBQ.  We always like to do an “ask the local” about where to eat because they know the best places.  Our local was the guy who helped us with our rental car.  As good as this place was…it looked a little commercial for me.  But what can I say…a cute local boy with the sweetest accent suggested it and we couldn’t refuse.


After noshing we were headed on our way to the ranch.  Can we say gravel roads???  Barely, because those things just don’t exist in New Jersey, at least not where I live in NJ.  And they certainly don’t exist in California.  I was a bit frightened I’ll tell you what.  I thought Kansas was flat.  Not so.  There were some SCARY steepness on some of these roads.  I almost regretted getting the $15 a day Yaris instead of springing for the $35 a day 4x4.


But we got there.  And again….GLORIOUS!!!!  This place is a 12 room B&B that does lots and lots and LOTS of weddings…but we were the ONLY people there the whole weekend.  And not just alone in the fact that we were the only patrons….the STAFF LEAVES at 7….so we were literally ALONE in this huge place.  In a way, it was awesome.  It also scared the living chizz out of me the first night (that story is a completely different post.  I thought I was going to die all horror movie style).  Anyway, the good part was we totally got catered to!  We arrived to Linda and her 2 adorable boys serving us THE BEST lemonade I’ve ever had and some homemade hummus with a southwestern twist.  Delicious.  I question if that was a lemonade mix or homemade…but it was outstanding either way.


Then we had dinner there our first night (the Groupon included this.  We could have picked between spa treatment and dinner….of course I chose food!).  Linda made us Southern fried chicken with a pan gravy that I could have eaten with a spoon, fantastic and fully loaded mashed potatoes, and green beans.  And you have to love that everything had some bacon in it.  Mmmmmmmm….hard to believe there was a time when bacon made me literally throw up.


The Ranch itself is just gorgeous.  So much open space, and so much to do, even though it seems like there is nothing to do!  We rocked on the porch for hours, stared at the roaming bison, watched the cattle come in, played chess every night, swung on the swing, drank coffee on the porch….I mean, I cannot even tell you how relaxing this place was.  It was really like all my stress and the hustle and bustle of life just melted away.  Except for the barn.  Beware the barn.  Especially right before sundown unless you want to spend the night thinking that you are going to die.  Again…that story deserves its own post.  Oh yeah….cliffhanger….


A fishing trip or a horseback riding trip was also included in part of the Groupon deal, and even though I probably would have chosen the horsies, I knew Craig would love to fish so that is what we chose.  Ok…not only were the poles and the gear all ready for us, but they packed us a darned cute picnic lunch too!  In a darned cute picnic basket!!  I was throwing up from the cutness.  Just over the moon.  Really.  And fishing was a blast.  I haven’t been since I was little and it was like riding a bike.  Even though Craig thought it was funny that I didn’t want to touch the fish.  Hey…that’s what my dad was there for when I was little.  I just reeled them in.  I guess it’s not EXACTLY like riding a bike, considering I didn’t hook a fish, but caught a nice frog instead.  Seriously, I don’t know how I did it, but there he is.  Poor guy…He looks like he’s saying “just take the damn picture and let me go you crazy tourists.”  Aw.  Craig caught a nice looking fish though!  Dinner!!  Just kidding…we let him go…we are so animal friendly like that.


The ranch is also right outside of the town of Lawrence, KS…which is home to the University of Kansas…so it’s really NOT a small town.  But it’s fantastic!  This is where we went to dinner the second night.  There are so many cute shops and restaurant there, and if my camera battery hadn’t died I would have taken many pictures of it.  All the more reason for you to go and check it out yourself!  But in accordance with our “ask the locals” policy…we went to Free State Brewery (which is where the cute young girls that worked at the ranch told us to go) and had some good brew and beef.  Mmm..the steak was deeeeelish!  And the owner of the little quilt shop that I had to pop into and grab some fabrics told us to definitely try Sylas and Maddy’s ice cream shop.  OOHHHH….key lime pie ice cream is HIGHLY recommended!


This trip really was just the refresher that Craig and I needed.  I felt so relaxed, and was actually desperately searching for a pen and paper to write down all the ideas I had for the house, for my shop, for the summer to do with the boys.  I wanted to get home to get started, and I guess that’s a good sign!  If anyone wants someplace to go to realize what is needed to get a fresh jumpstart to your otherwise monotonous life…I TOTALLY suggest the Circle S Ranch!  It’s really amazing and really a trip that I’m never going to forget.

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