How to bring home a real Arizona cowboy from your next vacation

Today we’re introducing a new feature called “Bringing it home” about how to take your vacation back home with you.

How can you take a little bit of your western vacation back home without the sheriff forming a posse? If you’re vacationing in Wickenburg, Ariz., here’s an idea: leave only footprints and lasso onto the style and sensibilities of the destination.

Wickenburg is a cute cowboy town that’s home to the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Del E. Webb Center For The Performing Arts and a historic ranch and golf club called Rancho de los Caballeros. It’s a welcoming place with a decidedly family friendly sweet spot in the Sonoran Desert that couples enjoy too.

You can’t help but love it.

An hour and some change from the airport, I settled in at Rancho de los Caballeros. We wanted to check out their decidedly western mix of activities like trap shooting, golfing, guided horseback back ride, or mellowing out at the spa.

Although Rancho closes for the season when temperatures climb in the Arizona summer, their springs are glorious. It’s not too early to plan for next season or the holidays, since this place fills up with the same families year after year.

It’s such a popular tradition that it is now host to fourth or fifth generation of children in some families. Talk about repeat business.

Bring home the experience

If you’ve ever entertained a cowboy or cowgirl fantasy, here’s my advice. First, take western riding lessons. You’ll be ready for any activities your next dude ranch vacation requires. Shoot for that first place team-penning ribbon. It’ll look great hanging in your room back home.

Punch up your cowboy style with details found across the ranch house and stables. Choose large metal stars hung on walls, barbedwire rimmed mirrors and a cow skin throw rung or a Navajo style blanket under the coffee table.

Don’t go too crazy. We are shootin’ for nuance here, cowboy.

The Rancho de los Caballeros serves lunch beside its iconic pool that screams a 1960’s vibe. It’s a favorite tradition of all who stay.

When you get home, try planning a taco bar with all the fixins. Children and grown-ups alike can create their own taco from the avocado, cheese, jalapenos, seasoned meat or tofu, olives, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, tomatillo salsa verde and anything else you want to serve. Have a pitcher of margaritas for the grown-ups, iced tea with lots of ice and lemonade for the kids.

Western art, especially bronzes and late 1800’s oils are a hot commodity today. But you can derive the same feel for less. Snap up the daily scenes of your vacation with your camera or seek out modern photographs of herds of horses. Blown up on huge canvases, they can create impact and anchor the room. Or mount collections of spurs or western belt buckles you pick up in your travels in a glass case to make exciting additions or focal points to your cowboy chic decor.

A neat trick is to place a cowboy belt around a throw pillow and buckle it. One is enough. Nuance, remember?

Bring home the style

Here are ideas we culled from Rancho de los Caballeros to bring this Arizona style to your home.

If the summer heat in your own ranchero is getting to you, replace the heavy drapes with sheers. Take up the rugs and walk your bare feet over your cool tile floors.

Take the weighty feel out of your color scheme and play with neutral earth tones. If you have an active family, sand colors instead of white will keep the house looking fresh and clean. Washable slipcovers are a great idea.

Put out bath products made from soothing aloe and go for lighter scents. They work wonders on sunburned skin.

Simplify your patio gardening. Instead of your yearly geranium basket go to a nearly no- water- required bowl of assorted cactus and succulents to brighten your patio table. You may, depending on your location, decide to create a xeriscape of plants that only need to be watered once a week.

It is simple to invite a destination home with you. Just jot down your observations on your next vacation and use the best at home.

Eh gringo, who says you have to always be the same?

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