In my last blog, I recounted my visit to Bandera, and promised to tell y’all about my stay at the Mayan Dude Ranch. Bandera is called the “Cowboy Capital of Texas”, so what better way to experience this town than to spend a few days on a ranch among the real cattle rustlers and perhaps even try my hand at being one? My wife and I have stayed at a few dude ranches before and always enjoyed ourselves so we were anxious to see what this was all about.
The Mayan offers several accommodation options. You can stay at the lodge, which has beautiful views of Bandera and the hills, or in one of their rustic, western cottages. We opted for the cottage and thought it was quaint, comfortable and had everything we needed…especially the right western ambiance.
The ranch is run by the Hicks family, and their wonderful hospitality begins in the morning; a ranch hand comes to your door bearing a hot cup of Joe, some freshly squeezed orange juice, and a newsletter which lets you know what events will be on hand for that day. Then it’s on to the corral for a hayride or a horseback ride to the Cowboy Breakfast location. And as much as I enjoyed the ride, it paled in comparison to the breakfast! We were served bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, biscuits, grits, you name it. Make sure you slather on some of Timmy’s famous Texas gravy, which is out of this world. Now if eating outside isn’t for you, you can opt to eat in the dining room…with the rest of the dudes!
After breakfast it was time to get back in the saddle for a nice, guided trail ride. The horses are very well trained and the cowboys seem to instinctively know which horse is the best fit for each rider.
In true cowboy-wannabe fashion, I also tried my hand at spinning a lasso, just one of the many activities at the ranch. Trust me…it’s a lot harder than it looks. My wife was especially good at cracking a whip…but no surprise there! (Sorry, Honey!) I bombed at archery, but I succeeded mightily at the hearty buffet lunch. They have so many homemade dishes to choose from, and everything was delicious.
After lunch, you can take another trail ride, lounge around the pool, play games by the fireplace in the main building, or just chill out and take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife. We especially enjoyed spending time by the crystal clear Medina River, and taking in the scenery while hiking nearby trails. But whatever you do, make sure you’re around for dinner! We’re talking mouth-watering brisket, T-bone steaks to die for, and the best chocolate brownies I’ve ever tasted.
After a day of playing cowboy and stuffing my face, I was usually ready to turn in early. But if you’re a night owl, there’s always some type of entertainment going on: country dancing, plays, musical acts, etc.
I always say there’s a little cowboy in all of us, and you and your family can discover yours at the Mayan Dude ranch in Bandera, Texas.