Review of: Texas Ranch Life
by Stacy Curtis
A Laid-Back Adventure!
Our family loves exploring interesting overnight venues. We recently discovered a place with a laid-back lifestyle and quite an adventure rolled into one...Texas Ranch Life! Many pieces of Texas history are preserved on this 1,800 acre ranch just an hour West of Houston.
Check out our reviews of other Texas and Midwest locales too!
Owners John and Taunia Elick provide guests the best ranch experience possible. Eight different historic houses (and a church) have been saved from demolition, moved, and lovingly restored by Taunia who furnishes them with antiques and Texas pieces.
The appeal of the guest ranch for families is the ability to experience a different lifestyle, a slower pace than the normal hustle and bustle of activities. That doesn't mean folks are bored or have nothing to do. We enjoyed being together in a different environment... certainly just a bit outside our comfort zone. It required us to use common sense and be independent which is very empowering!
We took advantage of many of the activities the ranch provides. Cowboy Robert showed us "the ropes". He was the real deal, too. He'd grown up on a ranch and had been doing it all his young life. We didn't have to follow a schedule, our time was his, so there was no need to rush. Here's a taste of the fun we had:
- Fishing in a fabulous watering hole (OK, it was one of their many ponds...but it sounded better like that) and all of us caught multiple fish (and a big turtle)
- Horse-back riding around the ranch and the rolling hills - after Robert taught us a bit about them...most importantly how to approach and get on
- Kawaski tour of the ranch land....where we met some deer, some buffalo, a beefalo, the longhorns, and learned quite a bit about nature
- Skeet shooting...a first for some of us, and quite fun!
- Tomahawk throwing...there's a technique to that. See who "sticks" it.
- Touring the historic homes salvaged and moved to the ranch
- R-e-l-a-x-i-n-g and just doing nothing!
Other activities that are available include:
- Cattle Drive - The ranch uses traditional methods and modern equipment influenced by its Spanish history. Certain times of the year allow for this activity.
- Ranch Work Demos - This is a working ranch, so cowboys are always working
- Kids Corral - While kids try on cowboy gear and learn about the ranch lifestyle, parents can play billiards or hang out in the barn alley
- Mountain Biking - Thousands of acres of trails and uncharted forests
- Hunting - Deer, quail, dove, wild birds, coyote and raccoon with limitations
- Painting and Photography - This is the perfect place to practice your skills here. 20 mile vistas, pencan bottoms, bluebonnets, San Bernard river, old barns and log cabins...you get the picture.
A Laid Back Lifestyle
John and Taunia have been ranching and living on a ranch the entire 36 years they've been married. John loves horses and cattle and Taunia loves restoring the homes and hosting guests. They got started blending the two passions into a business where they can share their lifestyle with guests who don't normally have access to that. Both grew up with grandparents who had farms and they spent most holidays and vacations in the country. Unfortunately, many kids don't have that opportunity these days. Many adults say it reminds them of when they visited their grandparents farms growing up.
Who Stays Here?
Some folks stay for a week or two, others for just a night. Texas Ranch Life hosts many international guests, weddings, family reunions, family getaways, corporate meetings, church groups, and just couples wanting to get away from the city. Many of the guests come back with their families. Anyone who wants to relax in the country and either watch or experience ranch life is welcome. The Elicks work to customize the perfect getaway for groups and individuals.
For activities, children as young as 10 are generally allowed to ride out in the open range if they follow the cowboy's instructions and can handle their horse. Occasionally, for younger children, the cowboy will lead them out with the group. They don't allow any double riding. The ranch is very safety conscious and if they see a potential dange they will stop the activity to avoid injury.
The Big Question
I know you're all dying to ask...does the ranch have internet and wifi? Will my phone work? The answer is yes! Cell service is good all across the ranch...and even the barn has wifi. However, you might want to encourage everyone to leave their electronics at home for the time being. Just in case there is a big game on, the ranch has cable in each house as well.
If you're going to venture off the ranch, consider strolling around Chappel Hill, Bellville or even downtown Brenham areas and shops. If you're headed into Bellville, you can consume some fabulous barbecue at the Silver Saddle Smokehouse....owned by the Elicks. They use beef raised on the ranch and their ribs were a hit with our family. If you really want a taste of heaven, try a slice of their buttermilk pie (you'll thank me for telling you about it)!
Many folks love to visit the Blue Bell Creamery for a tour and Washington-on-Brazos State Park and Museums. Taunia says that once folks get to the ranch, they usually don't want to leave.
Have I whet your appetite for your own ranch adventure? Feel free to contact the Elicks at:
10848 Cactus Lane, Chappel Hill, TX