Book Now
Contact Us

Subscribe by Email

Your email:

Follow Me

Browse by Tag

Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Holiday Traditions Live on In Southwest Colorado

  
  
  

Ouray Hotel Honors the Tradition of Mistletoe at Christmas and where it came from.

 

Mistletoe2We have all heard of or experienced the sweetly entertaining tradition of kissing under the Mistletoe at Christmas time, but does anyone really know the origin of this charming tradition?

If we travel back in time to ancient Scandinavia we may discover how it all came to be. Mistletoe was long believed to be a symbol of peace and joy. There was an ancient custom that if; while out in the woods you happened to find yourself standing under a mistletoe plant, upon encountering an enemy, you both must lay down your weapons and observe a truce until the next day. This custom eventually led to hanging a ball of mistletoe from the ceiling and exchanging kisses under it as a sign of friendship and goodwill.

tom daleyThe ancient Druids took mistletoe very seriously; they had a very elaborate ritual for gathering the mistletoe that sometimes could include human sacrifice. When harvesting the mistletoe the branches had to be caught before they touched the ground otherwise the plant would have lost its healing powers. The plant was then distributed amongst the people to be hung over doorways as protection against thunder, lightning and other evils. They would also place a sprig in a babies cradle to protect the child from Goblins. The Druids considered it to have magical properties so it was worn as a good luck charm and also placed over doorways to ward off evil spirits. And so any who entered through the doorway received a kiss as a seal of friendship.

mistletoeOne of the oldest myths about mistletoe was in regards to Baldur a Norse God. The story goes that Baldur, the god of sunshine and light, was the son of Odin and Frigga, goddess of love.

mistletoe Baldur had a premonition of his own death; this greatly alarmed his mother for if he should die then all life on earth would end. In an attempt to prevent Baldur’s death, Frigga asked every element of nature to promise not to harm him. In her haste she forgot the lowly mistletoe, the evil God Loki knew of her mistake and so he made an arrow tip of mistletoe and gave it to the blind God of Winter, Hodar, who then accidentally shot and killed Baldur.  Instantly the sun ceased to shine the sky paled and all things on Earth and in the Heavens wept for the fallen Sun God. For three days each element and all of the Gods and Goddess tried to revive him, and he was finally restored to life.

mistletoekissIt is said that the tears of joy that Frigga shed then turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant, and in her joy she kissed everyone who passed under the tree on which it grew. It was then decreed that the mistletoe would never again cause harm and that anyone who walked under it should receive a kiss, a token of love.

The earliest document case of kissing under the mistletoe was back in the 16th century in England, it was a very popular custom at that time. The original custom in England was that the gentleman would pick a berry from the sprig of mistletoe before he could kiss the lady standing under it. Once all the berries had gone there could be no more kissing. In the 18th Century the exchanging of kisses between and man and woman was adopted as a promise to marry. At Christmas time a lady standing under a ball of mistletoe could not refuse to be kissed. It was believed that if the girl remained unkissed she could not expect to marry in the following year.

Christmas Tree (1)In the modern day although greenery is still widely used as a Christmas decoration, the practice of hanging mistletoe is rarely done. Even though almost everyone has heard of the custom of kissing under the mistletoe, it is a sweet and simple ancient tradition that many have forsaken. So this holiday season we here at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs would wish upon everyone all the peace, joy and friendship that mistletoe was long believed to help bring.

About the Author: Morgan McDaniel is a Ouray County native. After graduating high school, Morgan continued through college, and spent some time out of Colorado. Recently, she returned to Ouray, and can be found pursuing a number of activities, as well as the occasional cameo appearance at the Silver Eagle.

 

Contact us to arrangeyour Winter Getaway in Ouray!

 

Local Hotel invites you to share in an age old tradition in Ouray!

  
  
  

Santa Delivers in Southwest Colorado!

Santa In SleighThe Ouray Elks Lodge works all year, holding special events, BBQ's and meetings in order to raise money for the community. The funds these hardy volunteers raise are used to help pay medical expenses for some, scholarships to deserving students, and FUN! Perhaps one of the most touching events is when Santa comes to town. Elk members hold a special potluck dinner a week or so before Christmas, to help out Santa and his elves by stuffing dozens upon dozens of stockings. On Christmas Eve, several members of the club offer their services even further to St. Nick by becoming honorary elves for the evening, driving him to and fro, across Ouray County in whatever weather, to help him deliver gifts and good cheer.

winterfestcalendarParents who live in the Community, and families who are visiting, are invited to call these honorary elves with the names and locations of their kids, so Santa can be sure to give them extra special attention.

 

With the help of a dedicated staff of volunteers, Santa is able to make his rounds all through Ouray County, visiting children far and wide. Every Christmas Eve, the Ouray Elks Lodge brings smiles and gifts to the children of Ouray County, delivering a stocking filled with treats, and a special gift just for them.

santaIt is always such a pleasure to see the faces of children light up when they discover Santa at their door, especially when they are far from home!  During your visit over Christmas to the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs we invite you to take part in this Ouray Christmas tradition.  Please give us a call at 800-327-5080, or send us an email, letting us know the names, ages, and gender of the children staying with you over Christmas Eve.  We will contact the Ouray Elks Lodge with your information and arrange for Santa to drop by your room and hand out gifts and treats for the children.  You can even arrange to leave gifts here in the lobby that you would like Santa to deliver for you.

There are few better ways to celebrate the holiday than to spend Christmas Eve in Ouray! Enjoy a devine meal in one of our amazing restaurants on Main Street, then return for a soothing soak in our all natural mineral hot spring tubs before settling down with the little ones to enjoy a movie from our extensive video library while you wait for Santa to arrive with a jolly laugh and a memory your child will cherish forever.

 

Give the Gift of the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!

Best Five Snowshoeing Areas Around Ouray, Colorado

  
  
  

Snowshoeing in the San Juan Mountains - An Adventure Not to be Missed!

snowshoeing2So often when one thinks on winter activities, the mind travels to downhill skiing, ice climbing and snow mobiling. Speed and adrenaline rule the day! Snow shoeing and cross country skiing are often overlooked by many a winter enthusiast.

Whether you have never tried snow shoeing, or are a seasoned hiker, nothing can compare to traveling across fields of untouched snow; a sense of oneness with the forest around you. Granted the sport is a work out, but the beauty is that you can set your own pace, taking time to breathe in the phenomenal sights and awe inspiring silences of winter in the San Juans.

snowshoeing3Possibly the best thing about snow shoeing is that you can go virtually anywhere (within reason) that you might hike to in the summer months. As with hiking the back country in the summer though, it is very important to never snow shoe alone, have the proper equipment, be aware of the weather conditions and plan accordingly. If you did not bring all of the gear necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, you can always rent or purchase needed supplies here in Ouray at Ouray Mountain Sports on Main Street.

Once you and your friends have all of your gear, it is time to pick a trail. Ouray County boasts a large number of spectacular trails, however, it is important to base your final decision on your level of experience, snow and weather conditions, and the length of time you would like to spend on your adventure. Always remember that when you travel into the back country, you are entering possible avalanche areas. Be sure to check the snow and weather status before heading out, and remember it is always safer to go earlier in the day before the sun has had a chance to soften the snow too much.

It is hard to list just a few trails to explore, however after trying a few and speaking to some real snow shoeing enthusiasts, here are the top five trails ranging in difficulty that are highly reccommended:

1.) Uncompahgre River Trail - Easy

snowshoeing4 iceparkApproximately two miles round trip, this easy, extremely level trail is located right in Ouray and travels along the river. You will be sure to encounter fellow hikers and cross country skiers (proper snow pack provided), as this trail is great for beginners or for a quick stretch for the more seasoned snowshoer. This trail can be accessed either at the Ouray City Park or off of Oak Street on the other side of the river.

2.) Ice Park Trail - Easy to Moderate

Still in town, but a bit more challenging, the Ice Park Trail  is accessed off of Campbird Mine Road and offers breathtaking views of the Uncompahgre Gorge. You may be able to get a true bird's eye view of ice climbers below as you traverse the canyon above. The climb is not too extreme, but steep enough in spots to take your breath away. Offering a little of everything, the Ice Park Trail is a great adventure right out your front door.

3.) Ironton Park - Easy to Moderate

snowshoeing5Ironton Park is located about nine miles north of Ouray off of Highway 550 or the Million Dollar Highway. Known more for its beautifully groomed cross country ski trails, this is also an amazing spot for snow shoeing as well. Just remember the best way to give yourself a bad name as a snow shoer is to trample or otherwise alter the groomed tracks on a ski trail. Offering a variety of trail options, the easiest being the Townsite Loop. About 2 miles long, this trail takes you to some of the old buildings of the town of Ironton, where you can explore this old ghost town and imagine the lives of those who once called this area home.

Accessed off of the Townsite Loop are the Saratoga and Brooklyn Bash trail heads.

A short ways on the main loop will bring you to the trail head for Saratoga and Iron Fen. Although the mine is no longer visible, this trail takes you through a flat valley with views of the surrounding forest before taking you into the woods in a path leading back to the beginning junction. Along the way, the trail head to the Brooklyn Bash takes adventurers through a grove of aspens as you climb to the mine through thick bushes and a small creek, which may vary in difficulty depending on snow depth. Once past the mine and creek, the trail takes you back down to the Saratoga intersection.

4.) Yankee Girl - Moderate

Accessed off of County Road 31, a couple of miles north of Ironton Park off of the Million Dollar Highway, parking is a bit off the road, and may need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to the trail head, but, believe me, its worth it! Climb up County Road 31 past the head structure of the once booming Yankee Girl Mine to the former site of Red Mountain Town, once home to over 1000 year round residents before looping back around for an easier descent. This 4 mile trail is a true adventure in history and scenic photo ops.

5.) Amphitheater Basin/Portland Mine - Moderate to Difficult

snowshoeingJust above Ouray to the south, the Amphitheater Basin offers some of the most talked about snow shoeing trails in the San Juans. At the entrance to the Amphitheater Campground, just before the bridge you will find the Portland Trail. Travel south up the road (it is steep) for about ten or fifteen minutes to the Portland Trailhead. Follow this trail past a serene meadow and unparalelled views of the Ampitheater until you eventually find yourself on a back jeep road leading to the Ouray Mine. this is an incredibly rewarding trail offering scenery well worth the climb.

ouray winterThis is just a small taste of the many opportunities to explore Ouray County in the winter. Literature abounds on snow shoeing and cross country ski trails, and please take advantage of the knowledge of the Ouray County Nordic Council, whose collective knowledge is responsible for the mapping and grooming of so many fantastic trails. The staff at the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs are happy to connect you with the best possible guidance to ensure the safest and most pleasant adventure on your next snow shoeing expedition, and of course, what better way to finish off a day in the back country than to come home to the Box Canyon and enjoy a long soothing soak in our natural mineral hot spring tubs?

See you soon!

Give the Perfect Gift andGive Yourself a much Deserved Escape!

Ouray, Colorado Sledding: Vinegar Hill

  
  
  

sledding in ouray is wonderful free thing to doYears ago, at the birth of a flourishing hard rock mining community, the settlers of Ouray, CO retired for the winter with no idea of what a harsh mistress Mother Nature could be in the Uncompahgre River Valley.  Early snows cut the budding town off from travel, and food stores became more and more sparse. As Christmas approached, the town found itself in dire circumstances. Many would have given up, hoarded what they had, and given nary a thought to their neighbors.

The folk of this new town were a hardier, more generous group of individuals. Rather than giving up, each member of the community emptied their meager stores and created a feast. Perhaps not what we might consider to be a feast today, but when faced with starvation, this Christmas dinner was truly decadent: beans, a pound of bacon, and flour to make flatbread.

After having gorged to their hearts content, the men decided to continue the revelry with a grand Christmas sledding party. Of course, there was no wine or beer or any other spirits to warm them as they careened through deep snow on the steepest hill in town. Yet again, these industrious men were undaunted, and in lieu of alcoholic beverages, someone broke out a bottle of vinegar, pouring a healthy dose to each member of this sledding party to warm and invigorate them, and christening Vinegar Hill with its name and role to this very day.

The years have gone by, the town has changed, but several things remain the same. The Million Dollar Highway brings visitors to town year round, the scenic vistas around Ouray rank among the best in the state of Colorado, and in the winter, sledding on Vinegar Hill remains one of the best free things to do during the winter in Colorado.

The spirit of the people of this small mountain town maintains many similarities with the settlers of the past.  Winters cool breath does not frighten them and they love the active outdoor adventures, including sledding. In Ouray, there is still a sense of community, and love of this beautiful area, and wonderful Vinegar Hill.  Once the snow blossoms in this tiny Box canyon, bales of straw block the bottom of the hill. Children of all ages still careen down the snowy path, but hot cocoa in thermoses has replaced a glass of vinegar to warm cold fingers and toes.

This winter has been warmer than others but many sledding opportunities abound near Ouray and make great things to do over Spring Break.  Afterwards, enjoy a soak in our Ouray hot springs or enjoy the million gallon Ouray Hot Springs Pool!

Ice Climbers Anticipate a Great Year in Ouray!

  
  
  

Ouray Ice Park is an incredible display of engineering and community support.

ourayice2Ice climbing: an exhilarating, challenging, if not dangerous sport that brings thousands of enthusiasts to Ouray each year. The crunch of crampons on ice, the swing of ice picks, and the crisp winter air bring these men and woman into the most intimate contact with Mother Nature.

ourayiceparkmapThe Ouray Ice Park is supported through many businesses in Ouray, membership fees, and by donations. The canyon walls are transformed with the help of Colorado’s cold winters as well as the Ice Farmers who create the ice a gravity based irrigation system that is fueled by excess water from the city of Ouray. The water is sprayed through one hundred and fifty shower heads onto the canyon walls to create beautiful blue ice. This system requires constant attention during the late fall and winter months to avoid freezing and damage to the system. According to Ouray Ice Park’s website there is a mile stretch of about two hundred climbs that vary from just starting out to advanced expert climbs.

ourayiceFor years, the annual Ice Festival is held in Ouray, 2015 will be the twentieth year. It will be held from January eighth through the eleventh. The festival welcomes all; from spectators, young children learning to climb, intermediates, to seasoned veterans who compete for top speeds and cash prizes.

2015icefesticefestThere are two competitions in Ice Fest; one is a mixed climbing challenge, and the other is a speed test. During the festival San Juan Mountain Guides will be holding climbing clinics. They have half day, full day, and climbing and back country skiing clinics that range from introductory to advanced ice. Ice Fest has many local vendors on site to provide hot drinks and lunch for competitors and spectators to keep them warm and happy throughout. The Festival is also supported by many sponsors that have booths that offer ice gear as well as winter wear.

icepark30Those visiting and living in Ouray have the privilege to come in close contact with many of the top ice climbers throughout the US and the world.

Kids Wall2We have climbers that come from all over; once they get a taste, they keep returning year after year. The Festival continues to grow and attract more attention. If you do have the opportunity to watch these climbers in their element; take it all in. The intensity of the physical elements, the strength and agility of the climbers, and the incredible beauty that surrounds you. After a day of climbing or watching this unique sport, there is nothing better than soaking in our tubs while contemplating this incredible union between man or woman and nature.

iceclimberWith the purchase of an Ice Park membership, climbers receive discounts on gear, dining, and room rates. For $40.00, this annual membership not only helps to fund the ice park, but also pays for itself in a very short period of time.

This year, in honor of their 20th anniversary, The Ouray Ice Park is offering ALL ACCESS PASSES to the Festival. 

bcmsupportthankyouThe purchase of an ALL ACCESS PASS provides admission on a first-come, first seated (where applicable) basis to all Ouray Ice Festival Events:

  • Thursday Night: Kick-Off Party at the Wright Opera House
  • Friday Night: Dinner, Silent Auction & Fashion Show Followed by a Presentation by Kelly Cordes at the Ouray Community Center
  • Saturday Night: Live Auction and Keynote Presentation by Peter Metcalf and Will Gadd at the Wright Opera House
  • Saturday Night Petzl Party at the Ouray Community Center.

The purchase of an ALL ACCESS PASS also automatically preregisters you for your demo gear card to be used throughout the Festival. These passes are non-transferable and limited to the first 150 registrantsThe purchase of a pass does not guarantee admission.

Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs happens to be the closest hotel to the Ice Park. We are within walking distance of many climbs!

Let our knowledgeable staff help you to plan the ideal Winter escape! We can provide you with information on gear, as well as guides or teachers who will take you on the ice and make your first (or one-hundredth) excursion into the sport a perfect experience!

About the author: Jennie Withrow is a long term resident of Ouray County, and extremely knowledgeable in the area as well as the best places to shop! We are thrilled to have her with us at The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs! be sure to tell her "Hi" next time you visit!

 

Start Your Adventure on the Ice Today!

 


Winterfest in Ouray!

  
  
  

A Season of Wintery Fun is Upon us in Ouray County! 


turkeydinnerWinterfest
 is a season of wintery holiday events from Thanksgiving to the Ice Fest in January. We kick off the season with Small Business Saturday November 29th. Start the day with a delicious breakfast at Cavallo’s Restaurant  and then shop till you drop in Ouray’s fantastic and one-of-a-kind shops. End the day on 7th Ave and Main at 7 pm with a Christmas tree lighting, caroling , hot drinks and s’mores. Don’t forget to sign up on Amex’s website to qualify for their $10 rebates for shopping local.


elkssantaYule Night is December 6th. Shops will be open late and offering refreshments and fun things to do as well as discounts all day. There will be a Parade of Lights at 6 pm ending at the Ouray Elks Lodge with Santa and Mrs. Clause. There will also be a Live Nativity and carolers in the Elk’s Park with fire barrels for keeping you toasty. At 7:30 the winners of the parade will be announced. The Ouray County Chorus will be performing a holiday concert at the Ouray County 4-H Center in Ridgway on December 7th. This is a wonderful event and free to the public!

winterfestcalendarDecember 12th -14th is a very full weekend. Come for the whole weekend and start with a 4 course Wine Dinner at Cavallo’s Restaurant paired with wines from Stoney Mesa Winery in Cedaredge Colorado. The dinner starts at 5 so then you can go from there to a radio drama performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Wright Opera House. However, if you want to stay longer at the dinner you can always see the show on Sunday instead. Tickets for the Wine Dinner are $50 and require reservations by December 6th. Attendees at the Wine Dinner will also have an opportunity to purchase tickets to the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival the next night for half price.

winechocolatecheese3On December 13th Weehawken Creative Arts is offering a Gingerbread House Workshop where families can purchase a house for $15 and decorate it at the Ouray Community Center from 10-noon. Space is limited for register now to reserve a house or 2 for your family. Then the evening of the 13th is the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival also at the Community Center from 6-9 pm. Tickets to this event are $20 and can be purchased on their website,  in locations around Colorado and at the door. After the festival if you are still wanting to party head over to Cavallo’s for a late night party from 9-11 pm with a Southern style Blues band a full bar and some great food. Then don’t forget “It’s a Wonderful life is playing again on the 14th at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

winterinourayShop Search and Soak December 20th. A fun scavenger hunt begins at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool at noon. Pick up your clues at the pool and then explore Ouray’s great shops looking for Christmas ornaments. Bring your completed for to Cavallo’s by 5pm and enter to win a 10 punch pass to the pool. Don’t forget to hang out at the pool for a party with Santa. The pool is open 11 am -9 pm.

santapawsIf you will be in Ouray for Christmas with kids call the Elk’s Lodge to schedule a visit from Santa on Christmas Eve. Whether you are at a home or a hotel Santa will come to you. Make reservations for a fabulous Christmas dinner at The Outlaw so you don’t have to cook or clean up!

George Winston is performing at The Wright Opera House on December 27th. Tickets are $25 in advance and going fast, so book your tickets today for this festive winter themed concert.

December 29-31 various organizations are hosting Snow Games around town.

December 29th the Ouray Ice Park is hosting an Ugly Sweater and Pull Up Contest at the Ice Park at 3 pm.

December 30th the Nordic Council is hosting a Cross Country Crawl at Ironton Park at noon.

December 31st …. Is hosting Broomball games at Ouray Rotary Park at 3 pm. All of these events are free and open to the public. Come out and have fun and experience winter in Ouray.

FIREWORKSBring in the new year in Ouray with a fantastic fireworks display at midnight booming above Ouray’s canyon walls. Celebrate with special dinners at the Beaumont Hotel, Cavallo’s, Bon Ton and the Outlaw. There are also parties on New Year’s Eve at O’Brien’s and the Ouray Elk’s Lodge. Then wake up to a delicious brunch at Cavallo’s and have dinner at the Outlaw.

ourayice2Before the big Ice Festival bring your kids to the Ice Park on January 3rd for a free Ice Climbing College for ages 7-17. The 20th Annual Ice Festival starts January 8 and is a 4 day festival of climbing competitions, parties, movies and much more. Check out their website for all the details and become an ice park member to support the park as well as getting discounts at hotels, restaurants and local businesses.

The season is bursting with exciting activities in Ouray, and what better way to end a day of festive fun than with a long soothing soak in the mineral hot spring tubs at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!

Give us a call today and let us help you plan your winter getaway!

About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and brawn of the Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese festival. She tirelessly explores hidden gems, and shares with us experiences and adventures that otherwise we wouldn't know were so fabulous! Southwest Colorado is a treasure trove of talented people all eager to share their passion for a variety of creativity from wine and cheese, to the Ridgway MoonWalk.

Shop and Save in Ouray!

Ouray, Colorado is the Perfect Holiday Shopping Experience!

  
  
  

Escape to a Winter Wonderland in Southwest Colorado this season!

winterinourayShopping for Christmas presents can be a daunting task; the crowded department stores, the lack of supplies, and finding parking. Not to mention the fact that many of the gifts you buy are not as unique or memorable as you would like. The pressures of Christmas and New Year’s tend to extend beyond just the gifts. Maybe you will be having family or friends staying with you and are expected to prepare elaborate meals. Or perhaps you have fundraisers or other holiday events to run. All these added responsibilities can be overwhelming.

Christmas Tree (1)A simpler way to find the gifts you need would be to come for a relaxing trip to Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, and stroll through the uncrowded streets of Ouray. To take some time to rest before the festivities begin. This will allow you to handle those challenges with ease and actually enjoy the time with loved ones.  The shops of Ouray offer truly individual gifts that will be cherished for years. A one-of-a-kind present that truly matches what that someone special wants.

extoticearthlogoOur very own Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters has freshly prepared organic coffee that makes a wonderful gift that is also eco-friendly.

Wildflower Boutique has a large variety of beautifully made purses, clothing, jewelry, and much more to offer. Buckskin Books has a large selection of books to choose from including many that detail the history of Ouray. Rockin P Ranch can meet all your needs for the Cowboys on your list with clothing, furniture, and jewelry.

Khristopher’s Culinaire has just about everything you need for the avid cooks in your life. And there are many more shops that offer glass art, pottery, winter sports gear, precious rocks, gems, and so much more. And of course Mouse’s Chocolates for the chocolate lover’s; they can make your experience even easier by boxing up and shipping your chocolates for you.

mainstreetSaturday November 29 is Small Business Saturday which starts off from 9-11 AM with a community breakfast at Cavallo’s Restaurant followed by shopping in the wonderful shops of Ouray. Then at 7 PM the Ouray Christmas tree will be lit. If you have an American Express and register online on https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/ when you spend $10 you get $10 back up to three times when you shop at small business on the 29th.

mainstrretourayThe Ridgway Art and Gift Sale is Saturday December 7th from 10 AM to 4 PM. They will have local jewelry, paintings, pottery, photography, handmade textiles, ornaments, and much more at the Ridgway Community Center.

In support of our small businesses and Main Street, The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot SPrings is offering an additional 10% discount on your room for every $100.00 in receipts you bring in from our Main Street Shops!


After a day of shopping you can enjoy dinner at one of the lovely restaurants of Ouray and release all your stresses while soaking in our tubs.

About the author: Jennie Withrow is a long term resident of Ouray County, and extremely knowledgeable in the area as well as the best places to shop! We are thrilled to have her with us at The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs! be sure to tell her "Hi" next time you visit!

Shop and Save in Ouray!

 


History of Ouray - The Mesker Brothers

  
  
  

Ouray, Colorado boasts beautiful architecture, and one of the largest collections of Mesker facades maintained to perfection!

mesker1The Mesker Brothers Iron Works and George L. Mesker & Co. were competing manufacturers and designers of ornamental sheet-metal facades and cast iron storefront components from the 1880s through the mid-twentieth century. The Mesker Brothers Iron Works was owned and operated by brothers Bernard and Frank Mesker and was based out of St. Louis, MO. The George L. Mesker Company was operated by the eldest brother, George L. Mesker, and was based in Evansville, IN. The three brothers learned their iron-working skills from their father.

Both companies produced tin ceilings, iron railings, stairs, roof cresting, ventilation grates, iron awnings, skylights, and freight elevators. “Meskers” were marketed through mail order catalogs that displayed their designs. According to a 1915 catalog, there were Mesker storefronts in every state, and even in the territory of Alaska.

mesker2For profit-minded businessmen in the late 1800’s the goal was to stand out from the crowd. For those who couldn’t afford fancy masonry or cast iron embellishments, there was an alternative: pick up a catalogue and order a decorative, galvanized sheet metal facade from the Mesker Brothers Iron Works or George L. Mesker & Co. Purchasers could pick and choose from a range of cast iron and pressed metal mass-produced components or spring for a lavish top-to-bottom facade. Their order would come in by train and in just a few days, a plain brick or wood box of a building could be transformed into a beautifully elegant edifice, at roughly one-fifth the cost of a masonry facade.

mesker3In Colorado there are roughly 112 remaining documented “Meskers”, with 14 surviving examples (more than any other town in the state) Ouray is a favorite destination for Mesker enthusiasts. At the same time that the Mesker facades were becoming popular Ouray was in the midst of its mining heyday. This coincided with the Second Industrial Revolution and its abundance of large-scale iron and steel production and the widespread use of manufacturing machinery, thus marking the face of Ouray with a large variety of Mesker facades.

wrightoperahouseThe Wright Opera House, boasts Ouray’s first and most ornate, Mesker facade, dripping with cornices, columns, ornamental sheet metal panels and other decorative elements that encrust the entire front of the building from top to bottom. The building and its facade made a big impression on the community – so much so that over the course of the next 20 years 14 more buildings were built with Mesker facades. Of the 15 buildings originally built with these facades only one has been torn down, this was the Hiebler Building located at 624 Main St.

 

OURAY’S SURVIVING MESKERS

Original: 1888 Wright’s Hall Today: Wright Opera House   Address: 462 Main St.

Original: 1888-90 Scott-Humphries Building  Today: Buen Tiempo     Address: 513 Main St.

Original: 1888-90 Carney Hardware Today: Swiss Store   Address: 514 Main St.

Original: 1898 Prevost Saloon Today: Citizens State Bank  Address: 600 Main St.
Original: 1898 Columbus Building Today: Silver Nugget Restaurant  Address: 740 Main St.

Original: 1890 Jeffers Building    Columbine Rock Shop    635 Main St.

Original: 1895 Powell Grocery Today: Rockin’ P Ranch   Address: 512 Main St.

Original: 1900 Hammond & Waring Grocers    Duckett’s Market    621 Main St.
Original: 1900 Derry Building Today: Gator Emporium    608 Main St.

Original: 1901 Townsend/Witherspoon Building Today: Mouse’s Chocolates   Address: 520 Main St.

Original: 1902 Orendorf Building    RB Horsetraders    629 Main St.
Original: 1906 Sanitary Market Today: O’Brien’s Pub   Address: 726 Main St.
Original: 1906 Faussone & Pricco/ Cascade Grocery Today: Salon Envy  Address: 736 Main St.
Original: 1908-10 Canavan Taylor/ Bonatti Building Today: Outlaw Restaurant  Address: 610 Main St.

ouray main streetOf the 15 “Meskers” built in Ouray all but one were created by the Mesker Brothers Iron Works. The one by George L. Mesker & CO the Powell Grocery built in 1895, today the Rockin’ P Ranch (a clothing and gift shop) resides there. You can distinguish the two companies by looking for the embossed cast iron column nameplates bearing the company name and foundry location. George L. Mesker displayed a “morning glory” motif, while Mesker Brothers Iron Works, influenced by the French heritage of St. Louis, displayed a “fleur-de-lis.”

One of the most interesting Meskers in Ouray is the Jeffers building which appears to have used a combination of several different kits to create the façade. The Columbine Mineral Shop is currently located in the Jeffers building and offers a dazzling array of rocks, minerals, and jewelry to choose from. The 600 block of Main Street in downtown Ouray has several Mesker Brothers fronts in a row. The Jeffers Building of 1890 (far left of the photo) and the cornice and pediments of Duckett’s Market are some of the best surviving elements anywhere.

The Scott-Humphries Building built in 1889, boasts another of Ouray’s best Mesker fronts. Now home to the Buen Tiempo Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, this building has several ornamental elements on the ground level, and a complete second-floor sheet metal facade. When checking out this beautifully restored building stop in and enjoy a tasty meal and margarita.

Next time you come to stay with us here at the Box Canyon Lodge please take some time to wander Main St and enjoy the beauty of the many and varied Mesker facades scattered throughout Ouray. And please don’t forget to peruse the fun shops and restaurants located within those beautiful buildings.

About the Author: Morgan McDaniel is a Ouray County native. After graduating high school, Morgan continued through college, and spent some time out of Colorado. Recently, she returned to Ouray, and can be found pursuing a number of activities, as well as the occasional cameo appearance at the Silver Eagle.

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Snowy Road Conditions doesn't mean Snow Bound in Ouray Colorado!

  
  
  

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) keeps Southwest Colorado safe!

bclwinterAs the snow begins to fly in Ouray and all of Southwest Colorado become more aware and are more appreciative of our road crews. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and our local organizations work extra hard in the winter to keep our roads cleared every time it snows.

CDOTcameraimagehwy145attellurideCDOT in connection with other organizations such as Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) keep a close eye on weather conditions, forecasts, snow depth, wind and much more to predict potential hazards and work tirelessly to keep our roads safe. Rarely do they have to close the roads, but if they do it is for as little time as necessary to remove the hazards. Snow plow drivers go through rigorous training and work long hours even overnight to ensure out roads are clear and safe. 

cdotroadcrewA direct quote from their website speaks on how CDOT works to protect our roads and travellers:

*CDOT/CAIC avalanche teams can use the following to trigger slides (please note, however, not all these measures are used on every slide path):  five-pound charges set by hand; a truck-mounted “avalauncher” that uses pneumatic pressure to fire 2.2-pound rounds; a 105 Howitzer leased from the Army that can fire 40-pound missiles up to seven miles; a helicopter that drops 30- to 50- pound bombs. (CDOT doesn’t own the helicopter.) 

CDOT Truck cdotfbpageRed Mountain Pass is #7 on CDOT”s list of highest passes maintained in 

Colorado. Red Mt Pass also has the most avalanche slide paths with potential to hit the highway in North America. 

To stay up to date on road conditions visit cotrip.org or get their mobile app, which is called CDOT Mobile or sign up on their website for e-mail and text message alerts. You can also follow them on Facebook  and Twitter @ColoradoDOT. You can also dial 511 from your phone for road conditions.

 

About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and braun of the Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese festival. She tirelessly explores hidden gems, and shares with us experiences and adventures that otherwise we wouldn't know were so fabulous! Southwest Colorado is a treasure trove of talented people all eager to share their passion for a variety of creativity from wine and cheese, to the Ridgway MoonWalk.

Thanksgiving in Southwest Colorado

  
  
  

Celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones in Ouray!

turkeydinnerIt is difficult to believe that we are already so close to the Holidays! With just a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, it is time to begin planning if you have not already!

Black Friday will be a crazy time, as everyone rushes to get the best possible deals. At times like this, it seems much more peaceful to relax in a soothing mineral hot spring after enjoying a decadent feast at one of the amazing restaurants serving dinner in this tiny mountain town.

ouray winterShops on Main Street will be open on Friday, offering a variety of gift ideas, original and suited to everyone on your list. There is truly something more special to receiving a present that was created as if with you and you alone in mind.

Thanksgiving in Ouray offers a variety of dining options. What better way to enjoy the holiday? Enjoy a decadent meal with friends and family in the atmosphere of your choice before heading back to the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs for a soothing soak followed by relaxing to one of our complimentary movies in your room while enjoying left overs.

The best part: NO DISHES!

The following restaurants will be serving thanksgiving Dinner in Ouray

Beaumont Hotel Grand Ballroom

beaumontlogoThe Beaumont Grill is located in the old Melodrama Theatre of the hotel and has a historical mining theme. It offers freshly made, wholesome American-Style Cuisine including steaks, seafood, sandwiches, salads, nightly fresh fish specials, vegetarian choices, gluten-free options with as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. You can choose from one of the Western Slope’s largest wine selections.

Kings, Presidents and many of the rich and famous have dined in the Grand Ballroom in the last 127 years. It features magnificent 21-foot ceilings met by hand-painted plaster walls that emanate old-world charm and elegance. The Lounge exudes a sense of glamour, privacy and upscale exclusivity. Reserve the Historic Grand Ballroom or Luella’s Lounge for special events in an elegant atmosphere. 

Traditional Thanksgiving Buffet- Seatings- noon, 2:30 & 5pm

Adults- 34.95 Kids 17.99 (12 & Under)

Reservations required and secured with credit card

Bon Ton

bontonlogoThe Bon Ton is a roman­tic Col­orado restau­rant where you can expe­ri­ence upscale casual din­ing with an Ital­ian flair, serv­ing prime Angus steaks, fresh seafood and pasta, com­ple­mented by a Wine Spec­ta­tor award-winning wine list, and Mar­tini bar.

Located down­stairs in the St. Elmo Hotel in Ouray, CO; the restau­rant is warmly dec­o­rated with rock walls, hard­wood floors and a beau­ti­ful bar. The Bon Ton has been one of west­ern Colorado’s favorites for more than 20 years.

On Thanksgiving, The Bon Ton is open from 3:00pm -7:00pm, Serving off menu options, ranging from a Traditional Turkey dinner, Prime Rib, Salmon and several other menu items.

Prices vary, and reservations are recommended

Outlaw Restaurant-


outlawlogoThe Bonatti's immigrated to Ouray in the early 1920's buying the Outlaw Building. Their granddaughter Chris sold in April 2009 to the Choates. It has been a restaurant since the 1940's and The Outlaw since late 1968. We welcome you to it's western charm & friendly atmosphere, adorned with old family photos, the Duke's Hat & other memorabilia. Come in where past and present merge.

Today the Outlaw Restaurant is still available to the citizens and visitors of Ouray; and the Outlaw Restaurant still has the same sign hung in 1969. Those who return come back with happy memories of the past, while newcomers take away experiences they will fondly remember.

On Thanksgiving, the Outlaw will be open from 4:00pm - 8:00pm, serving a Traditional Turkey Dinner as well as a few specialty some menu items.

Prices vary, and reservations are recommended.

box canyon lodge winter in ouray2Of course, Even if you have dinner reservations, a little breakfast or lunch is definitely a must, and The Backsteet Bistro will be open from 7:00am - 1:00pm, providing breakfast and lunch options for everyone.

Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you design the perfect holiday getaway. We will make your dinner reservations for you, and be waiting with a worm welcoming smile when you and yours arrive in the beautiful winter wonderland of Ouray!

 

Ouray, southwest colorado
All Posts
mountain flowers