About Rivendale Ranch

If you’re a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, it’s possible that you recognize the name of this property but think we made an unfortunate spelling error. Let us set your mind at ease — we did indeed derive our name from that mythical province, and the change in spelling is intentional.

For those who may not have spent *quite* as much time as we have reading and watching all things LOTR, Rivendell was an elven land, a place of peace found in a wooded valley. It was the home of elves — not North Pole elves but fair, dignified folk full of wisdom and beauty — but it was also a place where the good and noble creatures of the world could pause their own journeys for a few days and enjoy food, rest, and fellowship.

Tolkien himself described Rivendell like this:

[Rivendell] was perfect, whether you liked food or sleep or story-telling or singing or reading, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness…Evil things did not come into the secret valley of Rivendell…Such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.

Isn’t that lovely? As we contemplated how to name our property in the beautiful mountain town of Show Low, Arizona, these ideas are the ones we kept coming back to. We started playing with the name “Rivendell,” debating whether or not to change it for our own purposes, until an answer suddenly and clearly presented itself.

“Dell” and “Dale” are essentially synonyms. Dale is also the name of my (Elisa’s) father, the man who taught me to love the Lord of the Rings when he read them to me as a little girl. Dad/Dale also loved his family and Jesus and nature and beautiful places, and shortly before our purchase of this property, he lost his life to a brain tumor. In the midst of our sadness over that terrible loss, we realized what we wanted to do. In honor of him, this property became not Rivendell but Rivendale.


Like the men, hobbits, elves, and dwarves who visited the fictional location of Rivendell, we hope that your visit to Rivendale will contain a pleasant mixture of food, sleep, singing, reading, story-telling, and sitting to think. Unlike the elves, *we* also have UTVs, golf carts, a pickleball court, 8-personal foosball, all manner of indoor and outdoor games, and a karaoke machine (probably not the kind of singing they had in mind). We hope you get to play, rest, laugh, brainstorm, connect with others, rest alone, and be inspired. We hope you see God’s beauty on full display in the sunrises and sunsets, the trees waving in the wind, the afternoon thunderstorms in the summer and the morning snow showers in the winter. Light a fire, open a book, have some wine.

If you came with weariness, may you leave refreshed.
If you came with sadness, may you leave with hope.
If you came with uncertainty, may you leave with clarity.
If you came with fear, may you leave with courage.
If you came alone, may you leave with friends.
If you came with grief, may you leave with joy.

Welcome to Rivendale, we’re so glad you came.

-Elisa & Todd Watson

Rivendale Ranch exists to be a place of both refreshment and invigoration, a place to rest from the demands of daily life in order to return to those daily demands with greater wisdom, courage, vigor, and joy.