From the minute we crossed over the cattleguard fence under the iron sign, Magee Homestead made my husband Matt and me feel at home. It was the perfect spot for our romantic getaway with its sweeping views of the Sierra Madre and Snowy Mountain ranges where painted horses and ten-point bucks dotted the landscape. Part resort, part adult summer camp, this sophisticated Relais & Chateaux property is a 30,000-acre resort that caters to those who appreciate the outdoors… fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, and shooting; but who also crave spa treatments to relax aching muscles, sipping a smooth Wyoming whiskey at happy hour, feasting on an epicurean meal, and sun-downing with cognac and s’mores under the stars by the campfire.
The Homestead is an all-inclusive ranch with so many options when it comes to the activities that we were glad the concierge sent us a preference sheet prior to the trip so we could hone in on what new and exciting sports we wanted to experience.
Our Favorite Expeditions
Fly Fishing: guide Phil was just what first-timers needed, a young patient knowledgeable avid fisherman of the highest caliber. He was indispensable to novices like us, but we could tell that he would be valuable to experts as well. He knew the Gold Medal (5,000 fish per mile) streams’ nooks and crannies where the trout were hanging out like the back of his hand. Along with proper casting, Phil taught us the “art of the release” as to minimize the trauma to the fish. Matt caught a gorgeous 20” rainbow trout but it was hard to tell who was more excited, him or Phil. I was not so lucky, however the fall foliage in the Platte River Valley was at its peak, reflecting golden hues off the calm shallow pools, so I was completely at ease.
Tip: Because Magee is part of the Brush Creek Luxury Ranch Collection, an Orvis endorsed lodge, top-notch Orvis gear from waders and boots to poles and nets are provided.
Hiking: Our adventurous guide, Corbin, brought us over to Brush Creek to hike some lower level elevations as the 12,000 foot high Medicine Bow was snowed-in. We were thrilled that he was as keen as we were to go off-piste, meandering upwards through the scrub to the top of the rolling hills. Our reward was the picturesque vista below. On the way back down, we opted to cross frigid, rushing white-waters verses backtracking to find a bridge. We took off our boots and socks, rolled up our hiking pants, and gingerly stepped on the slippery moss-laden rocks to the other side. The icy water actually felt quite good as it soothed our aching feet.
Tip: If hiking is not your thing but you want to visit the National Forest, book an all-terrain Polaris Ranger vehicle tour (supplemental fee applies).
Horseback Riding: One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the range is on horseback among one of the many trails at Brush Creek. It was Matt’s first-time riding, and while I have been a few times before, I still consider myself a novice so we requested docile horses and a patient wrangler. Our guide, Garrett, got us fitted with riding boots, cowboy hats and paired us with two easy-going horses for our ride. It proved to be the perfect introduction for greenhorns like us.
Shooting Range: lead by former police officer and experienced marksman Eliel, we hit the pistol range first. He suggested that I try the Ruger Mark III stainless steel version. It has a bull Barrel with a length of 5.5 inches and an adjustable rear sight with front fiber optic sight that made it even simpler to hit the targets. I hit 10/10 targets in succession moving from left to right and back again. We then took our turns shooting clay pigeons with a 20 gauge over-and-under Beretta shotgun. I told the guide that in previous outings my shoulder got bruised and was sore afterwards. The first thing he helped me to correct was the position to place the butt of the gun, nestled next to my cheek and into the snug pocket between the joint and clavicle. I wish I had figured out this posture years ago!
Back at the Homestead
Relais & Chateaux properties are known for hospitality and exceptional food and wine. Magee is no exception. Our “Woods” Cabin (believed to be named after the original settlers) was cozy and decidedly decorated western chic. Five-star amenities and unique touches like their own bottled sunscreen and lotions are a nice touch.
Tip: While the property is adults over the age of 21 only, you can rent out the nine cabins (max. capacity 27) for family gatherings or special events.
Food and Libations
Chef de Cuisine AJ Buchanio and his team employ a farm-to-table approach that utilizes as many regionally-sourced ingredients as possible. Currently their red meat source is from their own ranch-raised Akaushi herd, and they have an enormous on-site greenhouse that produces 100 different items used throughout the property. Even the morning cup of Joe is from nearby Laramie – Coal Creek coffee brewed with a French Press tableside.
Signature cocktails and mocktails inspired by local spirits and healthy ingredients are their specialty. Granny’s Boy is a concoction of French butter-washed Wyoming whiskey, granny smith-fennel syrup, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Thyme for Beets is a tart wellness drink of beet juice, ginger syrup, lemon juice and fresh thyme.
Because of its remote location, Magee is an all-inclusive resort. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining lodge. There is a plethora of creative dishes to choose from at every meal. Nighttime norm is Happy Hour in the bar sitting by a roaring fire in the winter and out on the patio for sunset views in the summer. We joined fellow diners for a sing-a-long during our last night while local musicians kept us in harmony while sipping cognac post-supper. There is an extensive red wine list (large emphasis on California) and a hearty white wine list, but one can tell that the owner, Bruce White, has a strong preference for the reds.
The time flew by, yet we never felt rushed during our time at Magee Homestead. Fresh mountain air, robust physical activity with super guides, wonderful food, creative libations and cozy accommodations made for the ultimate romantic getaway for active people like us who also love to relax in style at the end of the day.