Meadow View Ranch & Guesthouse
offers a refuge
for pet-loving travelers
and wayward animals
MacQueen, left, knew little about caring for animals before moving
to Lebanon. But with the help of Michelle (pictured here) and Jill
Thelander, she quickly caught on. Heidi and her husband, Craig,
moved from California to the Lebanon area to escape the rat
race of the city. Now they let guests do the same and bring their
pets with them to Meadow View Ranch & Guesthouse.
Horse owners often
face a real dilemma. They want to travel. But what do they do with
their pets? It’s hard enough to find a motel that
takes dogs or cats. So what are the odds of finding one that allows horses?
Lebanon’s Meadow View Ranch & Guesthouse not only are horses
welcome but other pets as well. One recent guest brought two horses,
one donkey, some chickens, two cats, two dogs and a pig named Orville.
have lots of pets,” says owner Heidi MacQueen. “I wouldn’t
want to leave home without my pets.”
How the ranch near
Bennett Spring State Park became a horse motel was as accidental as
Heidi and her husband, Craig, finding the 200-acre ranch in the first
place. The couple was living in busy Riverside, Calif., where Craig
worked as an aircraft instructor and Heidi, who speaks several languages,
worked as a translator. They decided to visit Craig’s brother
in Lebanon and were amazed at the beautiful landscape and friendly
people they met there.
kids come to Meadow View Ranch they get to
help out with the chores like bottle feeding the calves. Claudia
Bee did her share of the work during a visit in July..
While in Laclede
County they looked around for land. They found a farm for sale, decided
they loved it, made an offer and were surprised when the real estate
agent told them they were the new owners. The Laclede Electric Cooperative
members saw it as a perfect base for Craig’s frequent business
trips and an eventual place to retire.
They built a small
cabin for Heidi’s parents to stay when they visit from
Germany and for the frequent stays by Craig’s pilot friends.
husband’s friends said, ‘Can we come visit and stay with
our horses?’” Heidi recalls in perfect English accented
with her native German. “They say you can be a horse motel.
We travel a lot and we never know where to go.
“A year later
I had the Web site up and we started being a horse motel. You go
on the Internet now and check out horsemotel.com. There’s
one in every state.”
Life on the ranch
offered a real change of pace for the couple, and especially Heidi
who always lived in apartments in Germany. “It’s like being
on vacation,” she says. “It was so quiet and the
people are so nice. We did the rat race for six years in California,
going to work where you had to get up two or three hours early
so you didn’t get stuck in traffic.
I’m still on vacation!”
When Heidi can find
time away from her chores she likes to sit on the porch and drink coffee.
On a typical day the only sounds she hears are the chirping
of birds and the far off lowing of cattle.
come to Meadow View Rance to spend time with their pets and ride
the many trails. From left, Mindy Gerten, Meadow View employee
Michelle Thelander and Clinton "Doc" Hole hit the trail.
Following the ride, Doc proposed to Mindy with some help from Heidi,
who put flowers and the couple's engagement ring in Mindy's boots
while the couple was sightseeing.
The change in pace
and scenery has worked wonders for Heidi, who credits the move for
improving her quality of life. Heidi has lupus, a disease that causes
her body to attack its own cells. In 1997 she was in a coma. When she
recovered and moved to Lebanon a year later she couldn’t make
the short walk from the house to the barn.
After seven years
in the country, it’s hard to tell Heidi has any health
problems. She’s up early every morning tending to
an increasing list of chores, assisted by neighbor Jill
Thelander and her daughter Michelle.
Not long after buying
the ranch, the MacQueens added horses. “It was
one of those things where Craig’s brother had Clydesdales
and we said, ‘Well,
we bought a farm, now we need some horses.’ So
we got Scotty and Dianna who have since died.”
thing led to another. Along came their next horses,
Misty and Goldie who Craig couldn’t pass up because they
grew up together. Before long the couple was opening
the gates for any wayward animal that needed a home.
Heidi quickly gained
a reputation as the person to call when animal abuse was discovered
or someone could no longer care for a pet.
Thelander examines a kitten, one of many animals that makes a
home at Meadow View Ranch & Guesthouse.
When the local sheriff
discovered an abused donkey, the animal came to stay at Meadow View.
Heidi nursed him back to health and today Max is a permanent and much-loved
fixture at the ranch. His morning bray is the wakeup call for guests.
latest addition is Capote, a thoroughbred race horse put out to pasture.
In just a few weeks at his new home, Capote had the shine back in
his coat and was putting on weight. Today there are 14 horses on the
ranch, if you count the miniature pony.
us happy,” says
Heidi. “I always say I don’t
know how long we are going to have these animals
but I want to make sure the time they spend here will be a good time.”
feature at the ranch is the Holstein calves kept in small pens
with a tarp over their heads for shade. Dairy cows aren’t always
good mothers, so Heidi buys the calves, bottle feeds them and then
graduates them to increasingly larger pens until they are ready
for a new home.
When they leave the
ranch the calves are easy to handle thanks to all the loving attention
paid to them by Heidi, Jill and Michelle.
|Cambell Bee helps Michelle with the morning feeding during his
stay at the guest ranch. The ranch is home to numerous Holstein calves
that are bottle fed.
One young guest asked
Heidi what kind of animals she had. He was surprised there weren’t
any pigs. “So
I’m looking to get a little pig now,” Heidi
Her guests sometimes
get put to work feeding the growing number of calves
on the ranch. All the calves have names
and they are treated more like family
pets than cattle.
in the morning and say ‘it’s
time for your chores,’” says
Jeff Bee, whose wife, Becky, and
kids Cambell and Claudia, got their introduction to farm life at
the ranch this summer. “This is the first time we’ve
been here, but we already decided
we are coming back at least once a year.”
A stay at Meadow
View is an exercise in relaxation. The lone guest cabin features
a long front porch with an inspiring view
of a pasture full of wildflowers. Trails
wind through heavy timber and across little
creeks. Wildlife, including deer and turkey, abound
in the secluded acreage.
MacQueen points out hiking trails to guests Jeff, Claudia and
Cambell Bee from St. Charles during the family’s stay at
Meadow View Ranch & Guesthouse.
Besides the guest
cabin, Meadow View Ranch offers “the
studio apartment built over the
machine shed. Both offer fully equipped kitchens and outside seating areas
with gas grills. Baskets full of fresh fruit, specialty teas and other goodies
greet each visitor.
The ranch offers
a day spa to go with the outdoor attractions. Guests
can choose from Swedish massage,
hot stone therapy or reflexology
from licensed massage therapist Rita
A stay in the guest
house, which sleeps four, costs $60 for the first person and $8 for
each additional person. The loft apartment is $50 plus $8 per person.
It also sleeps four.
Located so close to Lebanon’s many tourist attractions, Meadow View
offers the advantage of peace and quiet that is hard to find at Bennett
Spring or one of the motels on Interstate 44.
As one guest put
going to be hard to stay in another hotel ever again.”
Ranch & Guesthouse
is located just off Highway 64 west of Lebanon. For more information,
call (417) 533-8133, send e-mail to email@example.com or
log on to meadowviewranch.com.