We wanted to share this wonderful article by Ranch guest, Tanya Devernoe…enjoy!
Saturdays at The Ranch in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, is not your typical experience of spa treatments and fitness classes, but more about reconnecting with your own inner peace. The Saturday I traveled to Rancho La Puerta (fondly known as “The Ranch”), I was in the middle of packing, with movers coming two days later. Although I was nervous to go to considering the sea of boxes in my house, I went. In retrospect, I don’t think I would have survived the move without the respite at The Ranch.
For Saturdays at The Ranch, a bus leaves from a parking lot in Mission Bay to take visitors over the Mexican border, directly to the resort. Most of the passengers were with either at least with one friend or a group. I was alone and happy to have the time to myself. I knew that the bus ride back and forth would probably be the best chance at sleep I had until my move was over. I was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t get any. The woman sitting next to me was traveling with friends, but they were separated on the bus. It was refreshing to meet someone outside of my daily routine. We talked almost the entire hour and half it took to arrive at The Ranch.
It was a cold and cloudy day at The Ranch, atypical for this time of year in Tecate. When we arrived, we were guided to a dining area where a healthy breakfast was waiting consisting of fruit, muffins, cereal, granola, coffee, tea, and other healthy treats. The room was warm and inviting and since I was traveling alone, I appreciated the cozy environment.
Every guest received a personal itinerary detailing the time of the spa treatment they had chosen and a list of the fitness classes and activities they could join throughout the day before the 2-mile hike to the La Cocina Que Canta – “The Kitchen that Sings.” I chose a deep-tissue massage and decided my goal for the day was to feel and explore The Ranch rather than taking fitness classes. However, I participated in one group activity at the very beginning of the day, the labyrinth. The labyrinth is described as:
A powerful walking ritual to open your consciousness set deep in an ancient oak grove on our full-scale replica of the classic labyrinth found at Chartres Cathedral. Rancho La Puerta’s labyrinth is a non-denominational experience for the mind, body and spirit.
The labyrinth, set in the woods below old, massive trees with branches that look like hands, reminded me to breathe and let go of the stress in the outside world, if only for a little while. By the time I finished the labyrinth, I was ready to walk around in silence and absorb The Ranch’s beauty.
The highlight of the day was the hike to La Cocina Que Canta, the cooking presentation and dinner itself. The 2-mile hike ended in the Ranch’s 6-acre organic farm with rows and rows of fresh fruits and vegetables. When we arrived at the kitchen, Chef Denise Roa, welcomed us. The warmth of the kitchen was perfect on a cold day. During the presentation, she informed us that almost all of the ingredients for their dishes came from their organic farm. The presentation engaged the audience by including guests to assist with the cooking and passing around the fresh ingredients that were being used. The kitchen was also large enough so that everyone could approach the stoves and islands to taste the food. Everyone wanted to see the preparation of the food up close.
After the presentation, Chef Roa made a thoughtful and delicious dinner for the guests. The ingredients included carrots, leeks, quinoa, walnut oil, shrimp, potatoes, and other fresh vegetables from the garden. Even though most guests were probably full from the Mediterranean lunch, everyone, including myself, filled up again solely because the food was so fresh and overall irresistible.
One unexpected aspect of the day was the camaraderie that formed between the guests. Although most came with their own groups or companions, by the end of the day, everyone was animated and interacting as one cohesive unit, discussing what they loved about their experience at The Ranch. I was no longer a loner, which can only be attributed to the soulful experience that brings people together to enjoy the quiet and clarity of nature. Saturdays at the Ranch create a taste of the peace and tranquility that everyone craves and needs. I hope to go back as often as possible.