When most people think of Moab, Utah, they imagine red rock landscapes the likes of which you see in some of the best westerns. Indeed, many great movies, TV shows and commercials, featuring the rugged scenery of the great American West, have been and continue to be made here, It is the land of two wonderful national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. But those in-the- know—and especially those that have traveled to the sweetest spots of Moab along the banks of the Colorado River—are aware that there’s many an oasis within this russet-red land.
Surely one of the most lush, the greenest piece of well-irrigated earth—long ago homesteaded by adventuresome settlers—makes up the Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa, a veritable paradise where fine living meets the great outdoors. I first stayed here nearly eleven years ago, shortly after the ranch was transformed into an elegant resort and here I am happy to find myself once again. It’s the kind of place you want to settle into for an entire week, but sadly I’m just passing through. Who ever said the life of a travel writer is marked by long periods of rest and relaxation?
I’m not complaining, though, since even just one night here can transport you to a state of well-being that makes you feel totally removed “from it all.” I think it’s largely due to the dramatic vistas you take in by day and the mesmerizing quality of the desert sky you ponder at night. As I tap away on my laptop, I’m humbled by the panoramic views outside my doors: one side boasts quintessential high desert landscapes the likes of which most people have only seen on the big screen; the other is dominated by the incessant flow of the mighty Colorado.
Dinner here last night wooed me and my traveling companion, Mary Dawn, as much as the solitude of this land. We feasted on salads composed of fresh ingredients from the ranch’s garden, followed by succulent scallops and a generous piece of Kobe beef. As delicious as it was, we couldn’t come close to finishing it all, but, of course, we did find room for dessert (fresh berries and cream and chocolate cake). The cuisine here is definitely on a par with the scenery: excellent.
This morning we delighted in breakfast on the river deck I ordered Buttermilk Biscuits topped with country-style sausage and gravy. If ever there was a place to have this hearty meal, I thought it was here. Fortunately, it was super savory and I was thrilled to find the biscuits crisp and flakey. Mary Dawn enjoyed a classic omelette filled with fresh mountain spinach. We gobbled all this and sipped tomato juice as we chatted with three fun guys we had met last night at dinner. They were all interesting and eclectic characters from L.A. and other far-flung destinations, just the kind of encounter you hope to have when you’re travelers passing through the West.
We are sad to leave and already eager to come back soon. We’re off to more adventures in Utah. If we didn’t already have our plans laid out for Saturday night, September 29, we’d swing back here on our return trip to Telluride. I’ve just been informed of an event that’s taking place at Sorrel that evening. Their inaugural “Wine Dinner in the Garden” will be kicked off, a series that’s set to showcase their “Farm-to-Plate” Initiative. Chef Richard Potts will be presenting an eight-course tasting dinner with paired wines under the open sky at Sorrel River Farm’s Homestead Garden, a charming little enclave made up of a garden, old homestead buildings and a newly-built pergola. Indeed, this will be a joyous celebration to mark the first year of existence of the Greenhouse Garden, the ranch’s main garden that supplies most of the produce for the restaurant. What a wonderful marrying of fine dining and superlative setting.
Surely, Moab has never offered such a grand gastronomic affair, especially now during harvest time. With this, Sorrel River Ranch gives new meaning to “home on the range.”