The state of Wyoming, with a population density of only six people per square mile, is renowned for its rugged, unspoiled beauty.
You see much of it on the drive to Magee Homestead, which is located about three and a half hours from the nearest international airport in Denver, Colorado. Towns are few and far between on the journey, though cows and snow fences are plentiful. Just as you leave the pine-filled expanses of Medicine Bow National Forest, a wooden sign appears: the entrance to what is a hotel experience that is certainly unparalleled not only in Wyoming, but in all of America.
Magee Homestead is the crown jewel of Brush Creek Ranch, a collection of three high-end ranch properties that cater to families and nature lovers. With only nine cabins and an adults-only policy, Magee is famed for its serenity, cozy-yet-upscale furnishings, and the staff’s unbelievable attention to detail. It’s not uncommon to be greeted by name, or be asked how your horseback ride went, or if the morning’s buttermilk biscuits were to your liking (they were, of course). The accommodations offer great privacy: original, restored log cabins with heated bathroom floors and woodland-chic décor. With such a low guest count – 27 is the maximum –, everyone is treated like they’re the only people on property.
That being said, mealtimes are often communal experiences, with guests trading tips on various on-site activities, or recommending a special cocktail the bartender whipped up. Wyoming may not be known for its cuisine the way some of its neighboring states are, but at Magee, regional dishes and ingredients are interpreted with élan normally reserved for the country’s best culinary hubs. Chef de Cuisine AJ Buchanio and his team naturally do wonders with game meats, but they also craft delicate and flavorful tomato and plum salads, or umami-rich, mushroom-filled pasta, draped with impossibly tender prosciutto. Gourmands should also book at least one meal at Cheyenne Club, the elegant venue at Brush Creek Ranch’s newest addition, The Farm. Opt for the tasting menu by Executive Chef Angus McIntosh, which elevates American Western classics, like a hearth-grilled Akaushi beef served with toasted barley porridge, or a wild onion tart paired with garden vegetables from the hotel’s greenhouse. After your meal, ask for a tour of the wine cellars: a 94-yard-long tunnel stocked with some of the world’s finest and rarest wines.
Magee’s luxurious surroundings don’t preclude the hotel from being focused on sustainability, however. In everything from the food they serve to room amenities, the property consciously minimizes its environmental footprint. The commitment starts as soon as guests arrive: There are no single-use plastic water bottles in the cabins, but rather Magee-branded Nalgenes that you can take home at the end of your stay. And, since the hotel has a 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, many fruits and vegetables are grown on-site, drastically reducing carbon emissions for transportation. Similarly, Magee’s Wagyu beef comes directly from the ranch-raised herd, not shipped in from a faraway location. Sustainability is apparent in the finished meals, as well: Menus at the restaurants are redeveloped every three months, with a heavy focus on seasonality and local products.
On a more macro scale, Magee is committed to biodiversity through its safe and sustainable hunting practices and its on-site beekeeping. One of the property’s greatest assets, of course, is the presence of the wild animals roaming its massive grounds. Eagle-eyed (no pun intended) guests can spot everything from moose to mountain lions to bobcats at the right time of day. For these reasons and more, leaving Magee Homestead is never easy, and the pampering doesn’t stop when you exit the property. Waiting in your car will be a boxed lunch that’s a far cry from what you may have received on school field trips. Fresh veggies and hummus, soft-baked cookies, and hearty sandwiches make the parting just a bit easier. And, perhaps, remind you to book a trip for next year.