The Historic Flying Dog Ranch West: A Magical Sanctuary

July 12, 2020
Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed By Engel & Völkers

“What excites me about the ranch is that it is so magical.  The land is so productive, and there’s a spiritual connection to Mount Sopris.”
~ Lydia McIntyre

Sustainable, ethereal, and intoxicating, the historic Flying Dog Ranch West, owned by Lydia and Richard McIntyre since 1980, is a treasure beyond all measure. College sweethearts, they spent their first year living on the ranch in 1975 in a tepee as servants to the land. Five years later, they bought the 224-acre property, and raised their two daughters there. To this day, their children and grandchildren all reside in the various homesteads on the property.

Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

Custom Wrought Iron Gate in Front of Main Home | Photo By Mike Hefferon

Approaching Lydia and Richard’s home evokes a memory of Hansel and Gretel coming upon a gingerbread cottage; it’s almost too good to be true! The log-chinking rusticity is softened by the decorative cutouts in the eaves, and a custom wrought iron gate set between split-rail weathered fencing opens up to a lush lawn ensconced by cottonwood trees, peonies, geraniums, lilacs, forget-me-nots, along with other decorative flora. An old sage of a maple tree canopies the rear deck and allows one to escape the intense Roaring Fork Valley sun.

Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

Sunset View of Mount Sopris | Photo by Tenley Steinke

As if the beautiful landscaping isn’t enough, the view of Mount Sopris is absolutely startling. As you walk past the chicken coop-occupied by dozens of healthy, chatty hens and haughty roosters-and toward one of the private homes, Sopris just suddenly appears like an enormous wave, looming above the ranch like the lord of the manor.

Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

The Barn Venue, The Swim Pond, and Mount Sopris | Photo by Mike Hefferon

Among the various gardens, ponds, and picturesque views are three homes, two apartments and an enormous 9,600 square-foot barn outfitted as an event center for weddings, bar mitzvahs, yoga retreats, and any special occasion imaginable. Two of the homes were erected in the 1800’s, and while they are each handsomely updated, all of the unique features of a historic property are still intact and offset by the more contemporary finishes including ornate moldings, antique light fixtures and door latches, casement windows, fireplace inlays, hardwood floors, and more.

Carbondale's Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

Working Boots and Original Mosaic Tile | Photo by Tenley Steinke

Back in the 1800’s, the original owner of the home, MaryJane Francis, fused Mediterranean, Traditional American Ranch, and Southwestern motifs in the design of each home on the property. Original tile fireplace facades, mosaics, painted sinks, log, stucco, brick, hardwood, and stained glass all flow harmoniously together-much like the family fuses together. They share the land but live independently of one another in their own respective sanctuaries.

Carbondale's Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

The Intricate Interior of the Original Cabin | Photo by Mike Hefferon

There are few straight lines in these charming cottages. The arched doorways, barn beams, and new windows provide ample soft, bright, natural light and an architectural warmth and coziness-even with the spaciousness of the rooms. One could continue to refurbish the homes, but they are so rich with character and tasteful restorations and additions, nothing really needs to be done. Each room has its own flair: its own story, and wrinkles of time.

Carbondale's Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

A Colorful, Healthy, Haughty Rooster | Photo by Tenley Steinke

The ranch is a tranquil, happy place. Even the flowers, livestock, and pets seem to skip with glee about the property. Domestic cats and dogs roam the property freely, and merrily share the homestead with the fowl. One can pluck a fresh egg from a nest for breakfast while horses graze in the distance. The wind sings through the trees and reeds of grass; I think I heard a whisper of that jubilant song from the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy and her new friends came upon the Emerald City! One almost is compelled to frolic in this fertile, fragrant and friendly kingdom.

Carbondale's Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

The New Pivot and Side Roll Irrigation System | Photo by Mike Hefferon

Flying Dog Ranch comes with senior water rights for irrigation. This grandfathered feature holds an insurmountable amount of value to a rancher, as water is so scarce in this valley and senior rights are the oldest and most coveted rights one can own. Drinking water comes from an underground spring and the domestic water comes from a share of spring water. There is also an agricultural lease on the property, and it’s been developed into a sustainable enterprise. A conservation easement prohibits subdividing and an agricultural allowance is in place.

Carbondale's Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

Lydia’s Grandchildren Playing in the Swim Pond | Photo by Tenley Steinke

A massive greenhouse abuts the cottage where a world-renowned blacksmith occupies and rents from the McIntyre family. There’s frontage on the Crystal River which provides great fishing, and the Prince Creek Mountain biking trail system is just around the corner. Additionally, a wide berth lounging dock is built off of one of the property’s pond embankments; the water is clean and inviting on a hot summer day, and makes a perfect additional skating rink in the winter.

Carbondale's Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

Lydia Expressing Bittersweet Emotion During Interview | Photo by Tenley Steinke

When Lydia talks about Flying Dog Ranch, her eyes twinkle and her voice softens with wistfulness. “I’d like to see the ranch evolve into its next phase; it has so much potential,” Lydia stated. She continued to describe it as a sanctuary, paradise, and an oasis, where she and her family’s passion are exhibited throughout. “The ranch needs someone with vision and passion.” She suggests other possibilities for the property including a farm-to-table venue, a wellness retreat, a non-profit organization venue, or just a place and project for someone seeking privacy and peace in their lives. During this Covid-19 pandemic, it could just continue as a perfect family compound, providing safety, shelter, and plenty of space to share with loved ones.

Carbondale's Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

Harvested, Dried Botanicals from the Gardens | Photo by Tenley Steinke

In addition to being a Realtor, Lydia has also worn the hat of a wellness coach. The overflowing gardens of chives, thyme, sage, parsley, mint and other herbs help season a farm-to-table function or private meals. One of her daughters has also pursued a passion for health and fitness and runs a personal training studio right out of the rear part of the venue barn. She has an official Cross training “box” equipped for personal use or for a professional fitness studio.

Carbondale's Flying Dog Ranch For Sale Listed by Engel & Völkers

Marble Distillery’s ‘Lydia Cocktail,’ Made With Lydia’s Lavender | Photo by Tenley Steinke

Lydia has established and nurtured a large lavender garden on the ranch, where the air is infused with the fragrance of fresh herbs, honeysuckle, and lilacs. She sells her lavender to local florists, and the Marble Distillery in Carbondale has concocted the ‘Lydia Cocktail,’ infused with her very own harvested lavender. Imbibing with one of these chilled, refreshing, pretty pastel libations is definitely the perfect way to wrap up a tour of the Flying Dog Ranch.


Story By:
Rachel C. Cossman
Engel & Völkers Aspen | Roaring Fork

 Photos By:
Tenley Steinke
Director of Marketing,
Engel & Völkers Aspen | Roaring Fork Valley

Mike Hefferon
Estate Photo Video

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