By ManAboutWorld Correspondent Aaron Drake
The slow pace of Wildcatter Ranch is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s a lovely spot for a romantic getaway or outdoor adventure destination or if you and your man like a little action (hey, we’re talking about archery or Skeet shooting!). While you can come to simply relax at the pool or spa, you’ll definitely want to partake in the activities here to get the full ranch experience.
From $149 to $449 a night depending on room selection. Check the website for special getaway packages for two.
The ranch is located 90 miles northwest of Fort Worth, Texas, making car rental a necessity if you fly into Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. You’ll pass by many picturesque small Texas towns on the almost two-hour drive over, so allow a little extra time if you want to stop and look around (warning: this is the red state of Texas so be careful if you do make a pit stop. We can’t tell you how progressive the small-town folks here may be). Wildcatter is out there, so once you arrive, you’ll be reluctant to drive off the ranch for anything so you may wish to make a stop before arriving at the hotel to pick up bottles of water and other sundries.
Wildcatter Ranch is a 1,500-acre ranch in Graham, Texas. Graham is located in Young County, an area with a colorful history that you might recognize in the background of several movies; it’s exactly the type of place you would see John Wayne shooting up the bad guys. The ranch has 34 rooms available, and often hosts weddings and large events — there’s no shortage of space. Luscious green hills roll for miles, and there’s an array of outdoor activities waiting for you. With that said, you’ll want to make sure you pack at least one pair of long pants and closed-toe shoes, regardless if it’s wintertime or prime Texas heat. There is a swimming pool and hot tub on the property, too, so don’t forget your swimsuit.
The sixteen luxury cabin suites are decorated (and named) after historical events in Texas (we stayed in the Oil Boomtowns suite). Each has a stone fireplace, granite countertops, WiFi, satellite TV, DVD player, coffee service, microwave, refrigerator, and wooden rocking chairs on shared back porches overlooking beautiful stretches of Texas countryside. There are also 16 hotel rooms available, on the second floor of the ranch’s hotel, with king or queen-sized beds, each decked out in western décor. If you opt for extra privacy, the Homestead is a quaint cottage with two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and open living/dining room, perfect for families or groups. It’s located right in the heart of the ranch, so if you came to see some real-life cowboys in action, this is the spot. For maximum privacy, O.T.’s Cabin is a guesthouse reminiscent of the cabin suites, featuring two king bedrooms, a full kitchen, dining and living room complete with a fireplace. Cabin suite bathrooms have separate rooms for the commode and shower/tub. The hotel rooms each feature one bathroom, the Homestead cottage has one full bathroom, and the O.T.’s Cabin comes with two private bathrooms, one off of each of the two bedrooms.
Strap on your boots and explore the Texas wilderness through horseback riding, archery, Skeet shooting, Jeep tours, hiking, canoeing, tank fishing, bird watching, wagon rides, horseshoes and washers, sand volleyball or fossil hunting, all offered on-property. Get in the Texas state of mind by borrowing an old Western film, feeding the ranch’s resident longhorns or dropping in on one of the ranch’s periodic talks in its series on local history. For those looking to relax, the ranch’s spa choices include Swedish, deep tissue or Brazos Stone massages, and sits close to an infinity-edge pool and hot tub. Experience true Texan hospitality with a piquant Michelada — a Mexican beer prepared with beer, lime juice, and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers — wine or fireball whiskey shot at the ranch’s own Blowout Saloon, and you’ll want to grab yourself a seat at the award-winning Wildcatter Steakhouse to enjoy a hearty dinner, with Texas-sized portions, no less. As you wind down the day, don’t miss a sunset from the back-porch rocking chairs, and stick around for a spectacle after the sun goes down: You’ll see more stars than you even knew existed when you go stargazing here. There are a few off-property activities if you feel so inclined to get your bearings of the land around the ranch including: boat rentals nearby on Possum Kingdom Lake; Possum Kingdom State Park; Young County Arena, which holds many concerts, tractor pulls, concerts, and rodeos throughout the year; Graham Drive-In Theatre; and the Old Post Office Museum and Art Center. By the end of this visit, you’ll realize how much good a little country can do for the soul.
Food and beverage service is offered, but we highly recommend you bring along anything you think you’ll need since you’re out in the country — a good drive from anything substantial, and even all rooms are a short walk from the ranch’s front desk, steakhouse and saloon.
There’s nothing explicitly gay about this property, and might be a turn-off for gays who don’t like a little dust on their shoes, but the staff is gay-friendly and the activities will appeal to any guys who love a little country fun and adventure (or admiring handsome cowboys). You’ll need a love of all things outdoors, and we suggest bringing your significant other or a friend (or two or three).
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