Remember when Mama was complaining about how a vacation is just not a vacation with kids. No, Mama hasn’t changed her mind, it’s never really a vacation when the kids are in tow, it’s just a “trip,” but now you have the amazing opportunity to ditch the Mickey Mouse ears and embark on a cultural adventure…right in your own backyard.
No, Mama is not talking about border hopping over to Tijuana (not recommended by the way…) but look east to a tiny border town that is brimming with culture and beauty, Tecate, Mexico, where there is no border traffic, no smog…just beauty among the hills. Tucked about 3 miles in you’ll find one of the most amazing places — Rancho La Puerta. Founded in 1940 as a complete health and wellness resort by Edmond and Deborah Szekely, the resort is a sprawling 3,000 acres and boasts an organic farm, award-winning cooking school, hiking and walking trails, pools, a labyrinth, numerous fitness rooms and gardens. It’s beautiful, serene and just the kind of place that you want to go to on vacation to relax and rejuvenate…with your kids.
Yes, that’s right for the first time in three decades, the award-winning Rancho La Puerta is opening its doors and inviting families with kids ages 7 and up to join them for Family Weeks, August 4-11 and August 11-18, 2012. While children that are 14 years of age are always welcome at the resort accompanied by an adult, younger children are usually not invited to the resort. As part of a program to reconnect and enrich families, Rancho La Puerta’s Family Weeks will consist of carefully planned activities that will give parents the opportunity to enjoy the Ranch’s traditional fitness and wellness programs like nutrition lectures, spa services, fitness classes like spinning, pilates, yoga, and dancing, while giving the children the opportunity to experience and explore the Mexican culture with local children from Tecate.
Children’s activities/classes include: animation (drawing/painting) with a former Disney animator; bio-construction; family concerts, cooking classes, farm tours, photography, story-telling and martial arts. Children will be split into groups by age, 7-11, 11-14 and 14-17 and all activities are taught on property with the Ranch’s trained staff. While the kids are away, it’s YOUR time to do what you please — take a fitness class, listen to health lecture, go for a swim or perhaps, just take a much needed nap in one of the property’s many hammocks.
Many people seek out the Ranch when they are going through a life transition, however, there is no better transition that Mama can think of than reconnecting with your family and doing it in a healthy way. As the CEO of the Ranch put it, “we want to help you raise your family to be healthy, caring individuals.” Exactly! Mama couldn’t have said it better herself. Other than the scheduled activities available to your family, you also have the opportunity to discover the Ranch on your own by doing as much or as little as you would like. Perhaps just a day by the pool is all you desire — then do it. Or maybe a nice family hike — go for it. There is no-one to tell you what to do or when to do it but everything is suggested for your ultimate enjoyment.
The accommodations are quite beautiful nestled among the walking trails are casitas that have one, two, and three bedrooms as well as studio options for those that choose to come alone to the Ranch. You walk out to a view in every location and can head out on your day’s adventure.
Now this is a vacation that everyone can enjoy…no long lines, no scary characters, no churros, no traffic…just the family together, reconnecting and unplugging. Did Mama mention that there are no TVs, no cell service and no distractions?! (Okay there is cell service and Internet in the lounge but try NOT to go there). Instead of the TV, you are welcomed by a HUGE stack of books for you to read, expand your mind and enjoy…think of it as “brain food” for the week.
The best part for Mama was the amazing organic farm and Culinary Center. Everything you eat is locally sourced or grown on the property. You can pick it and eat it the same day. The eat seasonally ensuring that everything is fresh, fresh, fresh! Mama even got in the kitchen for the lesson (we all know what a terrible cook Mama is…) which was making Paella with seven different grains. Mama intends to share the recipe with you…perhaps later this week but look what Mama made!! It was delicious thanks to the instruction by Executive Chef Denise Roa.
Can’t you just see Mama kicking up my heels at the pool while Lily-girl explores and makes an adobe house with the locals?! Why, yes, yes Mama can!
While Mama’s kiddos are just a little too young to enjoy the Ranch, you can bet that Mama will be embarking on her own adventure there very soon with their new Saturdays at the Ranch program. For $290, you get a full day to enjoy the Ranch as a normal week-long guest including a 50-minute spa service, free time to explore the fitness classes, lectures and other activities, as well as a dinner and cooking lesson at the Culinary Center. It also includes round-trip transportation with pick-up from Balboa Park and returning to the same location, but it would be good to read about the uber rates in this guide just in case. The day begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. Make sure you bring your passport!
For more information on Family Weeks and Saturdays at the Ranch visit www.rancholapuerta.com. Don’t just take Mama’s word for it — experience it yourself and tell them Mama sent you!!
***Mama was invited to experience a day at Rancho La Puerta to learn about the family weeks and other events at the Ranch. Mama was not paid to say this but you can bet…Mama will definitely be back!