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Known for being an inspiration for painter Georgia O’Keeffe, Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico, sits on 21,000 acres of multicolored canyons and cliffs, grasslands, plains and streams.
Owned by the Presbyterian Church, the ranch serves as a historical, cultural and spiritual center providing multiple experiences that are inspired by the surrounding landscape.
“We do this by offering retreats in the arts, spirituality, sustainability, science and wellness,” said Anna Maria Gonzalez, director of marketing and communications at the ranch. “Ghost Ranch is a dynamic site that appeals to myriad interests. Whether your guests are drawn to art, paleontology, the Wild West, movies, Southwestern history and culture, or just plain relaxation, the ranch will have a unique experience to offer.”
Ghost Ranch celebrates its 65th year this year; it was given to the Presbyterian Church in 1955 by then-owners Arthur and Phoebe Pack, who has also sold 7 acres to O’Keeffe. Since then, the ranch has grown to include two museums, numerous trails and many cultural experiences.
Ghost Ranch’s two museums — The Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology and the Florence Hawley Ellis Museum of Anthropology — feature artifacts and specimens found on the ranch and highlight the land’s rich history.
See the bones and skeletons of multiple dinosaurs discovered at Ghost Ranch — known as one of the best paleontological dig sites in the Northern Hemisphere — at The Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology. The Florence Hawley Ellis Museum houses ancient artifacts from Paleo-Indian culture as well exhibits featuring works by local artists.
Want to explore the surrounding 21,000 acres of the ranch? The ranch’s many tours offer groups one-of-a-kind chances like stepping onto the piece of land where O’Keeffe lived and painted; visiting sites Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 3:10 to Yuma and other movies were filmed; and seeing a rock shelter site more than 2,000 years old.
Guided hikes are another popular activity and allow groups to decide the destinations and trails included on the excursion.
“Aside from tours, trail rides, hikes and just being, visitors will see old adobe buildings, a labyrinth, otherworldly landscapes, maybe a fossil, churro sheep — which were brought to the area by the Spanish in the 16th century — and some of the nicest people in the West, our employees,” Gonzalez said.
With overnight lodging available, Ghost Ranch regularly hosts groups and helps create multiday experiences as well as day visit itineraries for groups.
“We routinely host groups that range from a few people to a few hundred,” Gonzalez said. “We have several events spaces and lodging types, so we can accommodate a wide variety of events.” Gonzalez said an intangible quality to Ghost Ranch has drawn artists, adventurers and seekers over hundreds of years. “Most people are moved by the beauty of the landscape,” she said. “Some people are profoundly changed by the red cliffs, brilliant skies and dramatic mesas.”
For more information call 505-685-1000 or go to ghostranch.org.