I’m often asked, “How did Feasting Fort Collins start?” People never expect to hear the truth. “It was a fluke. This all started as an accident.”
About 10 years ago I was at the peak of my personal training career. I designed a nutrition plan for my clients that (if followed) produced some fantastic results. There was nothing gimicky about it. That was the problem when I set out to write it up as a book.
When you see nutritional books on the shelves of a bookstore there’s something catchy about each one. Most people don’t want to buy technical nutrition books. Everyone is always looking for the fastest shortcut, the next diet fad, the next quick fix. As a professional blogger for years, I’d had freelance fitness articles published by news organizations, but it was all technical writing, nothing that would sell books. So, that’s how Feasting Fort Collins started – it was a space to practice creative writing about food and I never intended for it to become what it has.
The book? It’s never going to happen now. Feasting Fort Collins took over and I don’t have one ounce of regret. Sometimes life presents you with different roads that look like better adventures (and they are).
My travel writing career happend the same way. Travel writing is one of the most competitive writing genres in the field. I hit another stroke of luck a couple of years ago when a rafting company in California knew my writing from Feasting Fort Collins and asked if I wanted to write a story about a 5-day rafting trip in Oregon. Are you kidding me??? Hell yes! And that was how my travel writing career began.
Since then I’ve been contacted by other publications and resorts to write about my travel experiences. It’s almost unbelievable that I’ve been able to develop a travel writing career simply from writing restaurant reviews in Fort Collins. But, when life presents you with those unexpected roads, travel them! You may not get another chance.
A couple of months ago The Home Ranch in Steamboat invited me to come out to write a travel piece. I brought The Husband along with in hopes of getting some winter fly fishing content and other things that I might want a different perspective on.
We had a clear drive out to Steamboat, eagerly anticipating the mountain weekend vacation and all that was in store. We got there just in time for dinner. Now, this is where I was impressed as a food writer. Usually you don’t expect 5-star food at ranches. I certainly wasn’t. But there were were, at the ranch cocktail hour, drinking glasses of wine and nibbling on house-cured charcuterie, prosciutto-wrapped figs, cheeses, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables. I knew that we were going to enjoy cuisine beyond our wildest imaginations this entire trip. This was haute mountain decadence.
At dinner all of the ranch guests gathered in the dinning room to enjoy a three-course dinner together. The chef starts the night by announcing the menu made with locally sourced ingredients (many that actually come from the ranch, like pork and wild game), and the whole menu is paired with the wines that were served during cocktail hour. Entrees over the weekend ranged from roasted duck with housemade Spätzle, ranch-raised pork tenderloin and gnocchi, Elk filet mignon, glazed local salmon (yes – local!) with roasted squash puree, not to mention desserts like basil cheesecake, peanut butter chocolate pies… the menu was filled with overwhelming options of gourmet deliciousness every single night.
After being sufficiently stuffed, each night was spent back at our private cabin that had a hot tub on the deck. We relaxed under the soft moonlight watching the gentle snowfall in serenity of the mountains. It was spectacular. It was rejuvenating. It was the type of vacation that dreams are made out of and it was only a few hours away from our home in Fort Collins.
Each morning we woke up to enjoy a gourmet breakfast that went beyond expectations. Brioche french toast, chocolate chip pancakes, house-made jams, hearty omelets, eggs Benedict with rich hollandaise sauce, arrays of freshly baked pastries, fresh orange juice, creamy lattes – all tantalizing and rib-sticking meals that provided us with the energy to explore the terrain while snowshoeing by the river under a glorious bright winter sun that made the snow sparkle.
Afternoons were spent relaxing, catching up on naps, reading by the wood-burning stove in our cabin and simply enjoying every minute of solitude. Lunches were light yet still as tasty as other meals during the day – Asian shrimp salad, beef vegetable soup, burgers grilled on the deck with fresh-cut french fries, and so much more.
This ranch indulged my culinary cravings in an unreal mountain adventure. I could enjoy the fresh mountain air, horseback riding, fishing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or simply melt away the pent up stress from the toils of life in the hot tub or silence of the cabin, all while eating incredible meals that never missed a beat.
I’m fortunate that I gave up on the idea of publishing the nutrition book to write Feasting Fort Collins. I’ve met wonderful people and there have been so many unexpected opportunities - like travel writing. Sometimes life presents you with different roads that look like better adventures…and they are.
The Home Ranch
54880 County Road 129
*not rated as this was sharing details of a travel assignment invitation