Malibu Dude Ranch – When You Just Need to Get Away!
Whether you’re a deep-rooted “horse person,” or a city slicker in search of a break from the stress of urban life, or someone who just wants to get away from it all, there’s a place in the Pocono Mountains that’s waiting for you. It’s nestled into the town of Milford, Pennsylvania, but it’s so close to the New York metropolitan area that the journey to get there is pretty easy. It’s titled the “Malibu Dude Ranch,” but don’t let the name trick you into thinking of laid-back beaches!
As the oldest and most-enduring destination of its type on the East Coast, Malibu Dude Ranch serves up an assortment of experiences and activities that help preserve the “western hospitality” way of life. It’s a working horse ranch, but it blends laid-back luxury with natural hands-on encounters in a fashion that can bring out the inner “cowboy” in just about anybody. From experiencing a genuine Championship Rodeo to relaxing in the comfort of an honest-to-goodness Western-themed saloon, the Ranch can transport you to a place where the excitement of the outdoors is co-mingled with down-home tranquility that only nature can provide. In fact, one of the hallmarks of the ranch is the nearly total absence of technology (that means no cell phone, no cable, and no Wi-Fi!).
Malibu Dude Ranch is owned and operated by Allan “Doc” Detweiler and his wife Phyllis, a couple dedicated to keeping America’s western heritage alive amid the frantic pace of the 21st century. The Detweilers acquired the 800-acre ranch in 2010, rescuing it from what was likely to be its transformation into a townhouse residential community. They spent their first year renovating the facilities and breathing new life into a venerable establishment now approaching 90 years of service to a loyal constituency. Their official “grand re-opening” took place in 2011, during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and featured an inaugural professional rodeo that has become a staple of the Ranch’s local presence.
The Malibu Dude Ranch operates under the slogan “Live Wide Open,” and the range of activities available to guests affords the opportunity to do just that. There’s horseback riding, archery, row boats and paddle boats on the lake, and fishing (and, of course, ice fishing in the winter!), as well as a rifle range staffed to accommodate shooters from novice to expert. There’s even a heated, zero-entry indoor pool and a mini-golf course available to entertain all age ranges. And if its snow sports you’re seeking, the Ranch can set you up for snowmobiling, skiing, and snow tubing. And on top of all that, the Ranch’s front desk can get you hooked-up for activities like ziplining, paintballing, ATV touring, and a variety of other pursuits designed for a well-rounded experience.
Perhaps the centerpiece of Malibu Dude Ranch’s entertainment portfolio is its Championship Rodeo, a major league event presented in a 2,000 seat professional arena. Thousands of guests have experienced this spectacle, complete with rodeo clowns, a Wild West Show component, barrel racing, cattle roping, exciting displays of trick shooting, and bullwhip demonstrations. With all of this carried out under a patriotic theme, there’s an appeal to young and old alike. And there’s the after-show opportunity to partake of country music and libations in the Ranch’s saloon, where the bravest of guests can take a shot at the mechanical bull!
Malibu Dude Ranch programs and day-to-day operations are directed by Scott Fahley, Ranch Manager. Fahley is an authentic and accomplished wrangler who’s charged with organizing the facility’s varied operations, overseeing a staff of roughly 30 ranch hands and activity organizers dedicated to making the experience the best it can be. “Our program is continuing to grow,” Fahley notes, “and with it we have the normal challenges of running a business. We use two-way radios to communicate on the property, but other than that, we operate just like the ranches of decades ago operated.” Fahley notes that one of the biggest challenges they face on a continuing basis is the constant need to round up firewood for cooking and heating!
Malibu Dude Ranch offers visitors the opportunity to experience a world that delivers escape from modern life and the burdens that come with it. As a practicing Long Island, New York family physician, Doc Detweiler is well aware of the importance of the occasional “retreat” from the frenzy of the modern world, and he and his family take great care to ensure that life can in fact be made simpler. It’s a way of vacationing that is like no other, and it’s one that offers appeal to everyone in the family!
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