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An Argentinean Ranch Weekend: Beef, Cowboys & Country
April 12, 2010 at 11:42 am 2
As a huge advocate of getting WHATEVER you want out of life I wanted to share some of the recent go-ings on happening in my life. I love to travel. Every time I open a magazine and see a beautiful picture of somewhere I’ve never visited I try and figure out how I can get there asap. Last year was a big year for travel, with a big trip to Italy and many smaller trips to Washington, Charleston, Savannah, and all around Ontario. This year is shaping up to be another big year for travel. So far I’ve been to Mexico (ok, it was to get married…but it still counts!). And this week I’m in Argentina! We arrived earlier last week and have been mostly visiting family and taking care of business…until this weekend, when we had the ultimate Argentinian experience.

The Santa Maria Ranch Main House

The Santa Maria Ranch Main House

We went up to the Entre Rios province, about 2.5 hours outside of Buenos Aires, to a ranch! The ranch, called Estancia Santa Maria, offers the Real Gaucho (Cowboy) Experience…and I wanted to see how these Argentinian cowboys do it! We arrived late Saturday afternoon, and after we settled in our room we were offered tea in the dining room. We had tea, toast with dulce de leche and some little baked goodies. Of course that was far too exhausting for us, so we retired to our room and napped for 2 hours! The rooms at the ranch are comfortable and clean, and very country cute!

Cute & cosy rooms at the Santa Maria ranch

Cute & cosy rooms at the Santa Maria ranch

We had a nice dinner of meat empanadas, and a chicken risotto main course. The ranch offers a set menu for all meals, so if you are a picky eater this is not for you. For us it was amazing, to pay for the hotel and four meals and have everything included (except liquor) and not have to make any decisions. We were there to relax! After dinner we watched a movie and then spent some time looking up at the stars – the stars are always amazing in the country! In the morning it was time to go horseback riding with the gaucho. It was a strange (and a bit nerve wracking) experience in the beginning. It’s been years since I’ve been on a horse. But after a few minutes it was more comfortable and it was gorgeous to ride the horses through the pastures, next the sheep, by the cows, and past some very noisy birds. It was nice to just let our thoughts wander as we were riding to the rhythm of the horse. There was no stress, no big decisions, just a nice slow rhythm of the horse.

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When we returned to the farm house we were treated with the original asado – Argentinean barbecue. There were blood sausages (not for me, but others seemed to like them), chorizo sausages, potato salad, green salad, and a gorgeous barbecued beef. It was definitely tasty!

The Argentinean wood burning barbecue

The Argentinean wood burning barbecue

After lunch it was time for another nap…which we managed to do for two hours! The great thing about the ranch is that your stay is for 24 hours… so if you arrive at 5pm you can stay until 5pm the next day. It was much better than having to check out of a hotel at noon, like most North American places. It was a wonderful relaxing weekend out of the city, seeing the countryside, and tasting the local foods from field to table. If you are going to Argentina, a farm experience is not to be missed.
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Travel
Weekend Warrior: The Perfect Romantic Getaway
September 8, 2009 at 2:02 pm 1
A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I took a last minute weekend getaway to Langdon Hall, a country house outside of Toronto. I wasn’t sure what to expect…it was a pretty pricey place and I was worried that it would be a bit stuffy. But when we pulled up to this country house, which really is a country mansion, I realized I was dead wrong. Instead, Langdon Hall is a beautifully manicured property with lovely gardens and an outstanding restaurant. We arrived on Saturday afternoon and were upgraded to a split level suite – quite nice indeed! After settling in we had a relaxing glass of wine in our room, got ready, and then we went for dinner at the restaurant. It was lovely. I had truffle and asaparagus salad and a wonderful steak, and of course, a few glasses of wine that the in house sommelier picked out for me. It was so nice to get to dress up for dinner and go to the formal dining room. And best of all, the crowd in the restaurant was mixed – some young families, couples celebrating their anniversaries, a few older ladies who lunch types. The next day we completely missed breakfast, but instead went down for an early lunch. And since we were at a fancy country house, why not start the day with champagne! After having a lovely lunch on the outside patio we just lounged around, took little walks, read outside in the garden, watched the fish in the pond, and relaxed. It was wonderful. It turns out my worries that it was going to be a stuffy place were totally unfounded. Everyone was lovely, the service was great, the restaurant was outstanding and the country mansion was beautiful. My only caution - my boyfriends dinner, a kobe beef steak, was very pricey at $60, and not amazing. We didn't want to be restaurant complainers, so we didn't say anything, but it was nothing short of highway robbery for a mediocre main.
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