BY PETER DORFMAN
Those looking for a little adventure might be interested in experiencing a Westernthemed getaway in a rustic, wooded setting that feels remote but is less than five miles from downtown Nashville, Indiana. Rawhide Ranch offers horseback riding, with trail rides for individuals and families, and pony rides for younger kids. The ranch also features an elaborate system of zip lines that traverse the 54-acre woods. Overnight accommodations include two cabins and the 11-room Buck Inn, a Western-style hotel that occupies the upper story of a horse stable. Buck Inn accommodates couples or families year-round in guest rooms with housekeeping but no room service. Wireless is provided; cell phone service in this part of Brown County is spotty.
For more adventurous guests, there are two large Sioux-style tipis, where groups of up to eight per tipi can sleep by a campfire. Rawhide Ranch is the brainchild of land developer Dan “Hoss” Cartwright and attorney David Stirsman, who bought the property, including the Buck Inn and the cabins, in 2001. Longtime Western enthusiasts, the partners visited dude ranches and rode trails at venues around the country to capture the Old West experience for their own ranch. “This isn’t exactly a Western dude ranch, where guests do the work — that’s hard to find in the Midwest,” says Assistant Manager Rachel Runion. “But they do get Western-style riding, and they can feed and groom the horses. It’s a complete escape from the crowds in Nashville.”
The ranch features a casual on-site restaurant, the Banded Rooster, as well as an even more casual eatery downstairs at the Buck Inn where inexpensive grilled food is served. Rawhide Ranch does not sell alcohol, but guests can bring beer or wine; anything stronger is discouraged. Horseback rides and zip lines are open to the public, not just overnight guests. Night zip lining can be arranged for Fridays and Saturdays. Rawhide Ranch is located at 1292 State Road 135 South in Nashville. For more information, call 888-94-RANCH or visit rawhideranchusa.com.