We braved the indecisive weather and spent a night “Glamping” at Westgate River Ranch, located near Lake Whales, with residents from The Inn and The Gardens and an awesome team of five associates! This type of glamorous camping makes all other camping seem drab! With plush mattresses inside a canvas covered tent, comfortable furniture, a screened in patio and breakfast served to you in bed, it was the best night of sleep in the outdoors we’ve ever had.
Westgate offers many wonderful amenities including archery, mini golf, catch and release fishing, horseshoes, and nightly campfires to indulge your sweet tooth with s’mores. We arrived early afternoon and had our first cookout for lunch before we trotted over to the Petting Farm. Something about this farm sparked so many memories for our residents including their time as Girl Scout Troop Leaders or adventures with their families, and even those that hardly chat were opening up and telling us about their time with animals, and even an encounter with a grizzly bear! Billy goats were finding their way into all of our hearts with their sweet nature as they found their way onto our laps. Two of our residents even had the rare opportunity to bottle feed a baby calf her afternoon milk bottle!
After the farm, we headed back to the campsite just in time as the storm clouds were rolling in. We all settled into one of the tents on the patio area and as the rain poured down around us, we were singing songs, reminiscing about our travel adventures and painted a beautiful bird house. Once the storm passed, it was clear skies and cooler weather, making it an absolutely perfect atmosphere. We ended the evening around the campfire, talking about the days events, what we love most about the outdoors, listening to our retired Boy Scout, Kamron, demonstrate how to start a fire with a battery and a Brillo pad! The night wouldn’t have been complete without roasting some sweet marshmallows and enjoying s’mores before bed.
When we woke, we had breakfast waiting for us in the bed and after we got ready we left to embark on our last adventure of the day before heading home. At noon, we all boarded the air-boat, put on our earmuffs and went on an hour long tour down the Kissimmee River. It truly was quite the experience, even though only one alligator decided to sunbathe in our sight.
The residents and associates enjoyed the trip and were talking about it for a bit after we got home. One family member even shared with us that her mother, whom resides in The Gardens, was talking about her time with us and that she seemed so clear!
Whether or not the memories last, our hearts are full as it was the meaningful moments that were created that mean the most.
The baby calf was hungry!
A resident from our Inn neighborhood got the experience of bottle nursing a baby calf at Westgate River Ranch
Around the Campfire
At the end of our first night, we talked about the day. This is a brief glimpse of our amazing evening.