Here at Paradise, if we need a drink - and who doesn’t after a long day in the saddle or hiking in the mountains? - we don’t need to drive 16 miles into town and risk getting busted by prowling cops. Nope, we just need to mosey on down to our own on-site pub, French Creek Saloon.
The two-storey entertainment space - named after the creek that flows right by - has been in existence since 1927, when it was built as a clubhouse with upstairs accommodation. Falling into disrepair over the years (apparently the whole structure was falling down, with eight inch gaps between walls and the roof sagging like a swaybacked horse), it was renovated and straightened out in the 1980s by then-owners Apache Corporation into the showpiece it is today.
Now it is the heart and soul of the ranch, a place where guests and staff members can mingle, down a few shots, dance to the juke box and chat over the rustic wooden bar. Each night there is something different happening, whether it be swing dancing, square dancing, talent shows or singalongs; there is often guest entertainment, and it can get quite rowdy until the wee hours of the morning.
(This week's entertainment, Kristin and Anna from Boston. Amazeballs)
My favourite night in the saloon is the swing dance. I’m in total awe of these cowboys and gals who can dance, twirling and hurling each other around like cheerleaders on speed. It’s fascinating and exhausting to watch, even more destroying to participate - but it’s great fun, and a great bonding experience for city and country folk.
Last night I gave a demonstration of how men in Australia dance; beer can in one hand, dazed look on their faces, perhaps swaying a little drunkenly to the beat of the music. Thumbs up, we’re awesome. It’s so tragic that Down Under we don’t have a tradition of dance, I really feel like a victim of my upbringing - well, that’s my excuse anyway for having two left feet! But I am determined by the time I leave here in August that I will stop treading on toes and be able to not make a fool of myself on the dancefloor!