Silvies Valley Ranch: Part I – Simply AMAZING

Silvies Valley Ranch

Part I – Simply Amazing
Featuring the Resort, Spa & Kitchen

Back Story …

I first learned about Silvies Valley Ranch somewhere in between 2016 and 2017. I’m not sure exactly what date I was first aware, I’m not even sure what time it was when I realized what the whispering was about. I was working at the Cattlemen’s Association at the time; overtaxed, exhausted, and barely keeping my bearings as I lived in constant fear (another story, another time). Former OCA President, Curtis Martin, was in town to testify during the legislation session on a water bill. I believe this particular bill was about how they wanted to regulate water at points of diversion and, although it may sound like a great idea to regulate to someone sitting in an office who lifts a pen for a living, it was an absolute impractical for the farmers and ranchers of Oregon. It was our duty to share this knowledge and our firsthand experience with legislators to assist them in making, hopefully, the right decision.

On the testifying panel, I was required to take pictures (this is a part of that “another

17349744_10154931790157881_6535926750599078561_o
Photo from the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Facebook Page – “Mr. Campbell testifying, OCA then-president John O’Keeffe, and past OCA president Curtis Martin.

story, another time” line) and was tasked with getting the names of the other two individuals who sat with Curtis at the table. One was a “Mr. Campbell,” who was the son of Doctor Scott Campbell. A local law student, he was there on behalf of his family ranch. First and foremost, I respect just about any profession that a ranching family’s child takes as they grow up but I have a lot of respect for those who take a more legislative or political tagline as NO ONE knows more what the land and the industry more than them; they’ve lived it. Combine that with the right education, professors, internships, and opportunities and what you get as a result is a dynamic individual who could help better the world for those who produce our food.

Curtis then went on to explain the “amazing Silvies Valley Ranch!”
Taking it all with a grain of salt, I wasn’t quite sure I believed this “amazingness” that he was discussing. He talked about the vintage restored wagons that were decorating the property, the golf course that could be played both directions, the top chef, the ranch, everything.

Fast Forward to May 25th, 2018…

… and through some crazy coincidence, I got the opportunity to go to Silvies Valley Ranch and take a ranch tour. Let me tell you… it was … simply amazing!

As I detailed in my June 1st life update, I somehow found myself from freelance work, as the assistant editor for two different magazines; CATTLE MAG & AG MAG. Working with BR9 Publishing has been a blast and a great opportunity for me to showcase more of the stories that I see happening everyday on more than just my That Western Life page. Throwing out content ideas, I was excited when my idea for a feature on the agritourism concept of Silvies Valley was picked up by CATTLE MAG. You can find the article here once it has been published.

silvies
Photo from Spike’s Peaks.

My only complaint after an entire day spent at the ranch, was how impossible it seemed to be to find. I stopped at the only service store in the small town of Seneca after being beyond amazed and in love with the scenic drive from Prineville to Seneca. En route to our trip to North Dakota, Macy (2016 Miss Rodeo Washington), Kody (her boyfriend) and I had come up with the concept of “Fender.” Fender is basically Tinder but for farms and ranches so you can check out the local land plots around you and, potentially, any eligible bachelors or bachelorettes in the area. THIS was the perfect drive for Fender! Stopping at the small country store, I couldn’t help but laugh as they seemed really shocked to see me as a stranger.

When I asked if I was on the right track to Silvies Valley, they looked equal parts confused and humored. I assumed that they thought I was some city slicker lost en route to my spring break getaway; for their sake they aren’t totally wrong with my city slicker, “I’m LOST” routine. Especially because I was paranoid that I was a million miles off base seeing as how the GPS on my phone couldn’t even locate their address. What was more confusing, was that they told me that it was “about 10 miles down the road,” but “we aren’t sure.” They aren’t sure? Out here, in the middle of nowhere, where driving an hour one-way is considered average, they weren’t sure about something less than 10 minutes down the road?

I somehow ended up at ranch headquarters to which a disgruntled human being sent me back down the road to the “main lodge” because I was “obviously not supposed to come here.” I was nervous as to how this entire meeting was going to go. Nothing was bad from there snout.

Silvies Valley Restaurant & Culinary Arts

Arriving at the beautiful location, I walked through a large open style front office. Individuals were working on booking guests over the phone at their computers and I was greeted by Marissa Williams, a young lady who had intercom’d me down at the gate at the base of the road. Colby was the individual tasked with giving me a tour but was out on a “shooting experience” with guests so arrived late.

I didn’t mind as it meant that I got the opportunity to tour the resort side of Silvies Valley and, my favorite place, the KITCHEN & RESTAURANT! Marissa was charming and fun; I learned that she used to work for the Elkhorn Media Group where, when she was there they had been nominated for a Pulitzer Award. I immediately felt all sorts of intimidated.

During her tenure, Williams oversaw the Eagle’s Pulitzer Prize nomination for coverage of the Aryan Nation and its failed attempt to establish a headquarters in Grant County and the creation of the Eagle’s social media presence, which now has more than 8,500 followers.”

{Read more about Marissa Williams at the article above the details her leaving of the Elkhorn Media Group and the subsequent management of the Eagle Paper for her new position at Silvies Valley Ranch.} 

Upon learning more about her, her daughter is 16 years-old and is coached by her husband in softball where they had won their game the night before and had advanced in state playoffs, showed me that Marissa was not my age. That surprised me greatly and I secretly found myself hoping that I can look as good and, more importantly, be just as successful as she is when I reach her age!

I try not to be an introvert but, sometimes, I can’t help it. I was self-consciously aware of my weird background of information and news. I rodeo, worked in ranching, writing, and a hotel service where I jumped in to cook on the line, turned over rooms, inspected rooms for Quality Assurance, ran banquets and events, and so much more. I felt weird. I also felt like a small child in a candy store when I was in the restaurant.

I have always said that I want my own steakhouse and dance hall and I’m pretty sure someone from Silvies Valley’s Resort team stole into my dreams in the middle of the night and copyrighted my ideas. One of the unique ideas that I have always wanted is a long table for family style dinners. Their beautiful table was covered with the most exquisite and artistic copper tableware I have ever seen. Every night they change the style of the tableware so that it’s always different for the guests.

Guests have the choice to sit at booths or tables inside or outside on the patio OR, my favorite option, the family style long table where you can sample a seven-course meal passed around family style. Yup. It’s definitely my kind of place! Even cooler? On Fridays, the ranch hands come down or a sample of them do, to the patio where they have a BBQ and guests can ask them questions about the ranching, animals, conservation and the land. Pretty cool right? It’s a unique aspect to combine agriculture/ranching and a demographic that literally knows barely anything about their food.

Silvies Valley Resort

The hotel rooms were absolutely stunning. I couldn’t help but be in awe of the detail that went into each of them. The bunkhouses that had come with the property had been picked up, moved, broken in half, extended with a communal living area in between each of the two rooms, and then furbished with a mother’s love. I got to tour one of them and was amazed!

Renting options are either of the two sides OR you can rent the whole piece together. Each side room has a king bed and then the inner communal area has a table, a small family room, a kitchenette complete with a wine cooler and a washing machine.

Decorated with a rustic feel, Pendleton patterned robes hanging in the bathrooms, and a HOT TUB on the deck for each of these cabins makes them the perfect getaway for a girls weekend, a guys retreat, family vacation, bachelor/ette parties and more.

If you don’t need the full area, you can also rent hotel rooms which are large, stunning, and also include the attention to detail that the others have. Most notably are the metal framework whose laser cut outs of local wildlife species and the ranch brands (a multitude noting Silvies Valley, the ranch, the different golf courses, the spa, etc), which are all created by Ty Campbell, one of the family’s sons.

Silvies Valley Golf Course

Heading up towards the golf course, I was greeted by the same beautiful rustic architecture of everything that graced the property of Silvies Valley Ranch. The golf course is going to be one of the bigger draws for Silvies Valley and here’s why:

  • Craddock Course (named after the four Craddock sons who originally settled the valley) – 18-hole course whose direction is reversed each day to create a different layout with a variety of pin placements.
  • Hankins Course (named after the pioneering Hawkins clan who homesteaded much of the original ranch) – 18-hole course whose direction is also reversed each day but is highlighted by the “Hixson Hole” which presents the “12 legal advantages in golf to  ensure players will ‘nail it’ off the tee and send the ball on the longest drive of your life.”
  • Chief Egan (named after Chief Egan, the last War Chief of the Paiute Tribe) – 9-hole par 3 course designed by Dan Hixson and includes water on every hole.
  • McVeigh’s Gauntlet Course (named for Myles McVeigh, an original pioneer who settled on the Paiute River and was a drinking buddy of the Craddock Brothers and Hankins Boys) – 7-hole course that is a fun, carefree opportunity to get out and have fun with your friends through a variety of undulating par 3’s and 4’s.

 

THEY HAVE FREAKING GOAT CADDIES. I kid you not, this is not a drill.

goat2
Photo from the Silvies Valley website.

Colby literally had my on the ground rolling with laughter over this but it’s totally true! Silvies boast GOAT CADDIES that are going to be the next big thing after goat yoga, I tell you what!

Each of these goat caddies are well loved, trained, and great at what they do as you can’t take a golf cart on the small McVeigh Gauntlet Course. Each goat can carry beverages, a specially made golf bag for your clubs and peanuts because, like anybody, they are smart and do not work for free.

More than anything, however, is that the golf course is getting a lot of national attention from publications like Golf World, Links, and even the Golf Channel came out and made a video about the course.  Please! If you get the chance to go golf these courses, please post pictures, videos, write reviews and LET ME KNOW! I fear I am not a talented enough golfer to take on this course but my new mantra of #DoItForTheGoatCaddies is going to inspire me to get out on the courses this summer through fall!

 

 

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