Hello Food Allergy Families!
I hope everyone’s Memorial Day weekend was fun, fabulous and safe! We had an outstanding time at one of our family’s favorite places… The Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland, NY!
It was a blast! We have been to Rocking Horse Ranch three times now and have already booked our next vacation there!
I wanted to dedicate this blog post about our experience at The Rocking Horse Ranch because as a food allergy family, it is hard to travel and feel comfortable with eating out. We were wary when we first went, but they eased our nerves and now we go yearly.
Other than being food allergy friendly, Rocking Horse Ranch has tons of activities that everyone is sure to enjoy, such as horseback riding, outdoor and indoor pools, rock climbing, bungee harness, fishing, boating, mini golf, mountain tubing (water and snow), an arcade, bowling, games throughout the day, like bingo and family feud, wine tasting for the adults, and evening shows that have all been super entertaining for everyone. It is fun for the whole family! If you like in the tri-state area I encourage you to take a ride up to Highland, NY and try it out.
Here are some tips when going to Rocking Horse Ranch or anywhere where you want to eat at the resort.
Tip #1: Call ahead.
Before we made our first reservation, we called the resort to let them know about our food allergies and see if they could accommodate us. They took down our food allergies and then had the chef call us back to discuss even further. Chef Paul eased our nerves and we felt as comfortable as we could be.
Tip #2: Talk to the chef directly when you get there.
The first thing we did when we got to the resort, even before putting our luggage in our room, was talk to the chef. He came out and sat with us in the dining hall at “off hours”. Don’t expect to speak to the chef in length during eating hours. You want to speak to them when things are calm and they have the time to talk. He came out, we gave him our chef cards and he showed us the menu for that day. The kids looked at the menu, decided what they wanted and together we went through how it was made and if it was going to work for us. He asked the right questions and I knew he really cared about their safety.
Tip #3: Be one of the first reservations.
At Rocking Horse Ranch, breakfast is served from 8-10am, lunch 12-2pm and dinner starts at 5:30pm. We get to breakfast as close to 8am as possible, lunch at 12pm and dinner at 5:30. This way things haven’t gotten busy yet. If we wanted to talk to the chef once more, it would be easier to do so and you wouldn’t be interrupting him in the middle of the rush of guests. I always feel it is important to be mindful of the chef’s responsibility to the other guests as well.
Tip #4: Remind the host and server of your allergies.
When you get to the meal, remind the waiter about your food allergies and tell them that you have already spoken to the chef. The chef may come out again (which he has done for us) if you are there early enough. If not, I would give the waiter another chef card with your food allergies on it so the chef remembers you. You have already chosen what you will eat, so the waiter is only taking orders from those in your party without food allergies.
Tip #5: Say thank you over and over.
I don’t know about you, but we are beyond grateful to find a resort close to us that has a chef like this and we let him know it. Chef Paul is honestly the reason we go back to Rocking Horse Ranch every year. The whole staff is great and we are excited to go back again next year.
Tip #6: Always bring a couple of snacks.
We eat all meals at Rocking Horse Ranch, but we always have snacks with us just in case. You never know what could happen. We may get there and Chef Paul may not be there for some reason. I’m sure he takes vacations too! So you always want to have some stuff packed in case one day your child is feeling hesitant or doesn’t like something on the menu. Our children are not picky, but I work with a lot of picky eaters and you don’t want them to be hungry.
If we had to choose our favorite part of Rocking Horse Ranch, I think my children would say the ice cream machine. Allergy-friendly ice cream is really hard to come by when you have nut allergies. Usually ice cream has the possibility of being contaminated with nuts, but not at Rocking Horse Ranch. Of course, if you have a dairy allergy then this would be out, but as Chef Paul told us, he can whip you up something special in the back as well:) He goes above and beyond, for sure. He even turned on the ice cream machine before dining hours, so the kids could get a to-go cup on the day we were leaving. It’s little touches like that, that will make us go back year after year.
I hope you give some thought on taking a visit to Rocking Horse Ranch and following the steps above. It has been such a blessing to find somewhere so close where I can actually relax as well and I know my children will be taken care of.