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My romantic weekend at Brasada Ranch (and how you can win your own!)

Blogger Tawna and her husband, Craig, enjoy a romantic evening by their private fire pit outside their suite at Brasada Ranch.

Blogger Tawna and her husband, Craig, enjoy a romantic evening by their private fire pit outside their suite at Brasada Ranch.

When the folks at Brasada Ranch invited me to spend a weekend there familiarizing myself with the trappings of a romantic fall getaway, I was horrified.

“You want me to sleep in a luxurious suite, eat delicious gourmet meals, get massages with my husband, and go mountain biking at sunset to take in the beautiful mountain views?” I asked. “Why must I suffer so?”

As you might imagine, my romantic fall getaway at Brasada Ranch was no great hardship. Lucky for you replicating it for yourself is just as effortless (and could be even easier if you win the giveaway I’ll tell you about at the end of this blog post!)

So let me tell you about my weekend…


The digs

The last time I visited Brasada Ranch, I stayed in one of their luxurious cabins with my husband and two stepkids. While the cabins are amazing and perfect for a family outing, the Ranch House Suites are the place to be if intimacy and luxury are what you’re after.

The Ranch House boasts an array of deluxe suites, plus fine dining all under one roof.

The Ranch House boasts an array of deluxe suites, plus fine dining all under one roof.

These adult-only rooms are spacious and luxurious with all the bells and whistles—king beds with deluxe linens, a gorgeous two-headed tile shower, and a private patio with our own beautiful fire pit (plus access to a big hot tub reserved only for Ranch House Suites guests).

Simply stepping into the space was enough to drain all the tension from my shoulders and leave me feeling like I’d escaped from the stress of day-to-day life. Of course, the next segment of our journey is where the real relaxation got started.


The spa

One of the main reasons for our visit to Brasada Ranch was to check out Spa Brasada their expansive day spa and learn about the one-of-a-kind Couples Massage Workshop they offer.

But first things first.

Tawna enjoys a private massage before the Couples Massage Workshop.

Tawna gets a private massage before the Couples Massage Workshop.

Relaxation and romance was the order of the day, so my husband and I got checked in and bundled into soft, plush robes. We each spent a few minutes in the steam rooms in our respective dressing rooms before meeting up in the “relaxation room” (you know it’s relaxing if they name the room!) There, we nibbled Spa Brasada’s signature lavender honey shortbread cookies and sipped tea by the fountain until our massage therapists came to lead us into massage suites for one-hour private massages before our workshop.

I picked the East Meets West massage, a unique mix of Swedish techniques blended with acupressure points, polarity, and energy-based techniques. To say the whole experience was heavenly doesn’t begin to do it justice. It was an hour of pure bliss at the hands of a highly-skilled, supremely friendly therapist.

Thoroughly relaxed, I headed into another private massage suite for the second part of our experience. My husband and I met with Michelle, who talked with us a bit about what we hoped to get from our Couples Massage Workshop. “I want to learn new ways to touch my wife,” my husband offered helpfully.

Tawna and Craig enjoy the glorious Couples Massage Workshop.

Tawna and Craig enjoy the glorious Couples Massage Workshop.

Michelle had us begin with me on the table, tastefully draped. She patiently explained a variety of techniques and strokes, demonstrating on my neck, back, shoulders, and legs while my husband followed along and practiced her suggestions. Michelle encouraged us to offer feedback about what felt great, and she gave plenty of encouragement as we went along.

Halfway through the session, we switched spots. It was my turn to practice on Craig, which was fun as well as enlightening. I’ve admittedly never been the world’s best massage giver, but Michelle showed me ways my 5’4” self can exert the desired pressure on my 6’1” husband without breaking my own back. Knowing we don’t own a massage table of our own, Michelle even offered tips for how we can replicate the techniques on a bed in our own home.

I’ve always said that learning something new with a significant other is the best way to bond as a couple, but learning massage? On each other? It doesn’t get any better than that. Seriously, this is one of those bucket list experiences you need to try at least once with your honey. Put it on your Valentine’s wish list or tuck a gift card in your sweetie’s Christmas stocking. The spa is open to the public, so you can book their services even if you aren’t staying as a guest.


The grub

During the busier summer months at Brasada Ranch, guests can pick between Range and Ranch House for dining, but things are a bit quieter in the off-season when Ranch House is your go-to spot for chow.

Cheers to our romantic weekend!

Cheers to our romantic weekend!

Instead of feeling limiting, it was actually quite nice to enjoy all of our meals in this quaint, cozy space with servers who remembered our names and little details like how Craig prefers his coffee.

There’s a surprisingly wide variety of cuisine in a single restaurant. The breakfast menu is teeming with creative twists on omelets and benedicts and waffles, while the lunch menu has a nice mix of sandwiches and salads and flatbreads. On one afternoon we had to hustle into town for my stepdaughter’s soccer game, and the kitchen crew helpfully packed up a pair of turkey club sandwiches for us to take on the drive.

Mmmm...pork chops!

Mmmm…pork chops!

But dinnertime was the real highlight here. The massive heaters on the deck allowed us to sit outside one night enjoying the glorious sunset and sweeping mountain views while we sipped creatively-prepared (and delicious!) cocktails. The views were still stellar even on the night we dined inside, and it was spellbinding to snuggle up together with a glass of wine and watch the sun sink behind the mountains.

The entrée selections were delectable, with a heavy emphasis on locally-sourced, regional selections. Steak, pork chops, halibut, even burgers were done with a creative flair I couldn’t possibly replicate at home, and the wine selections perfectly complemented the menu offerings. Dining at Ranch House certainly set the stage for romance. And speaking of romance…


The romance

No, I’m not going to give you intimate details of our romantic weekend. But I will tell you that Brasada Ranch excels at setting the stage for romance in everything they do, even the really simple things.

Tawna and Craig toast s'mores at their private fire pit.

Tawna and Craig toast s’mores at their private fire pit.

On one night we rented bicycles for a sunset pedal to Spirit Rock. The friendly attendant gave us a map and directions and helped us time our outing to maximize the colorful views. When we joked about bringing a bottle of wine, he pointed us to the General Store where they sell a surprisingly great selection of vino at ridiculously reasonable prices.

Then there were the s’mores. For years I’ve heard people talk about the s’mores at Brasada Ranch, which come with locally-made chocolate from Goody’s and marshmallows made fresh daily by Brasada Ranch’s award-winning chef, who also makes the graham crackers from scratch with hints of ginger, cinnamon, and honey. Guests get to toast the whole thing up in the fire pits on the back deck, but since our server knew we were staying in the Ranch House Suites, she offered to box up all the ingredients so we could take them back to our private fire pit.

The s’mores themselves were divine, but cuddling by the fire with the sound of crickets and coyotes around us and stars overhead was simply out-of-this-world. And being able to do that a mere 15 steps from our room was heavenly (not to mention convenient).


The deal

Okay, so by now you might be feeling a little jealous. “Hey, Tawna,” you may be asking. “How can I enjoy the same sort of romantic weekend you got to have?”

Tawna walks her bike (hey, it was steep!) up to Spirit Rock for sunset.

Don’t miss the sunset bike ride (or bike walk) up to Spirit Rock for sunset!

The simple answer is that you can visit Brasada Ranch’s website and book the whole thing in about two minutes. Easy as pie! (Or s’mores. Whatevs). Brasada Ranch is only a 25 minute drive from Bend despite feeling a world away and 20 minutes from RDM airport (with direct flights from PDX, SEA, SLC, SFO, DEN, and soon PHX).

But if you’re a fan of games and you kinda like winning things, you’ll want to keep your eyes on Visit Bend’s Facebook page October 13, 14, and 15, 2015. That’s when we’ll be doing a scavenger hunt. On each of those days, we’ll post an image from Brasada Ranch. Study that image, then go hunting for it on their website. When you locate it, copy the URL, then go here and paste it into the contest form. You’ll fill out a couple other small details, then hit “enter to win.” Voila! You’re in the running for two free nights of lodging in a Ranch House Suite.

Good luck, and may the romance be ever in your favor!


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