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Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

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Second Annual ForkFest In Ouray this May

  
  
  

A Culinary Delight in Ouray!

logoForkfest is presented by Weehawken Creative Arts and a lot of community volunteers. ForkFest is designed to promote local food producers, chefs and restaurants. Weehawken is committed to bringing great educational events to the Western Slope, so this year we are adding a great seminar on wine and cheese making as well as paring wine with food.

muffinsForkFest begins with a Restaurant Crawl on Friday May 8th from 5-9 pm. Tickets to the Restaurant Crawl are $25 and include 10 tickets to be used as you choose at participating restaurants in Ouray. Saturday morning begins with a wonderful Champagne Brunch at the Ouray Community Center from 9-11 am. The brunch includes crepe station, omelet stations as well as a mimosa bar and pastry and cereal bar. Tickets for the brunch are $20.

crepesAt 10 am also at the Community Center Chef Demonstrations begin. Each chef will demonstrate some food preparation using food from a local food producer. mimosasDemonstrations will be 30-45 min interspersed with a 15 min presentation from the food producer. The food producers will be set up in the Brunch room throughout the day for people to purchase produce as well as sign up for a CSA or order local meat. Chef demonstrations are free.

At 5 pm the wine and cheese seminar begins. We will have a Colorado cheese maker talking about how cheese is made and a Colorado wine maker talking about making wine. Then we will have someone talking about paring wine with food. The seminar will end with a time for tasting several Colorado wines and cheeses and experimenting what you just learned. Tickets for the seminar are $30.

omelet stationIf you purchase tickets individually the cost of the weekend will be $75, however, we are offering a weekend pass which will be $60 per person. Weekend pass holders will have preferred seating at the chef demonstrations as well as receive a souvenir ForkFest reusable cotton bag.

Stay Friday and Saturday and complete the weekend with a Weehawken Dance performance at The Wright Opera House on Sunday afternoon showcasing dances of the past.

Guests at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs will enjoy an additional 10% off of their stay when they purchase a weekend pass to ForkFest!

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, and current president of the Weehaken Creative Arts Board. 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.

Book Today!Enjoy ForkFest and a 10% discounton Your Room!

St. Patricks Day in the San Juan Mountains

  
  
  

Celebrate the History of St. Patricks Day in Southwest Colorado!

ST PATRICKS DAY2 images and graphicsWith St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching we thought it might be fun to delve into some of the history and traditions associated with this most fun holiday.

While St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he was not actually Irish. Patrick was the son of Calpurnius, a Roman-British army officer, and was born in either Scotland or Roman England. His real name was probably Maewyn Succat. Though Patricius was his Romanicized name, he later came to be familiar as Patrick.He was growing up as naturally as other kids in Britain, until when he was about 16 years old, when one day a band of pirates landed in south Wales and kidnapped this boy along with many others. Then they sold him into slavery in Ireland. He was there for 6 years, mostly imprisoned.


st patricks day graphics guiness beerEventually Patrick did escape and went back to Britain and then on to France, where he joined a monastery and studied under St. Germain, the bishop of Auxerre, for around 12 years. Once Patrick became a bishop himself he was said to have had a dream that the Irish were calling him back to Ireland to teach them about God. So with the blessing of the Pope he returned to Ireland and began converting the Gaelic Irish to Christianity.

 

Patrick was very successful at winning converts. Through active preaching, he made important converts even amongst the royal families. This fact upset the Celtic Druids who had Patrick arrested several times, though he escaped each time. For 20 years he traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries, schools and churches across the country which would aid him in his conversion. He developed a native clergy, fostered the growth of monasticism, established dioceses, and held church councils.

leprecaunSt. Patrick is believed to have died on March 17th, 461A.D. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's Day ever since. There are many legends associated with St. Patrick. The symbol of the shamrock used for St. Patrick's Day comes from the story of St. Patrick using the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity. The three-leafed plant coincided with the Pagan religion's sanctity of the number three and is the root of the green color theme.

St. Patrick's Day was first celebrated in America in 1737, organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, including a feast and religious service. This first celebration of the holiday in the colonies was largely to honor and celebrate the Irish culture that so many colonists had been separated from.

In New York, the first celebration took place as a small gathering at the home of an Irish protestant. St. Patrick's Day parades started in New York in 1762 by a group of Irish soldiers in the British military who marched down Broadway. This began the tradition of a military theme in the parade, as they often feature marching military units. The holiday eventually evolved from the modest religious dinner into the raucous holiday we know today. Parades and wearing green have always been a traditional part of St. Patrick's Day celebrations, but the events will vary based on the city.

stpattyhatHere in Ouray we have several locations for you to enjoy the holiday; if you are so inclined to start your holiday with a St. Patrick’s Day Mass check with St. Daniel’s Catholic Church, or you can start at O’Brien’s Pub with a traditional meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage and a freshly built Guinness to wet your whistle. On a typical day, Americans drink about 600,000 pints of the Dublin-based beer. But on St. Patrick's Day, about 3 million pints of Guinness are downed, according to Guinness.

If you keep a close eye out you might just find the elusive Shot Fairy running around town with a bottle of Jameson Whiskey. If you can’t find her around town make sure to duck into the Silver Eagle Saloon and have a shot or two and maybe shoot a game of pool on the only pool table in town. Just don’t forget to wear your green or you may just get pinched!

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. Morgan is also the newest member of our front desk team at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs.

Come in and say hello! 

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Local Hotel Invites You to Relax and Play in Ouray!

  
  
  

All the Comforts of Home and More at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!

box canyon lodge hot (2)Recently, while picking up some supplies for the hotel, the cashier realized where I was from, and began gushing about the Box Canyon Lodge.

"My sister and I just came back from a weekend stay with you," she began, "And we spent hours in the tubs discussing how the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs would be the perfect spot to wait out a Zombie Apocalypse."

Well. This is why I love my job.

box canyon lodge hotShe continued, describing our natural hot springs, and the natural cold springs in Ouray, our location, tucked into the mountainside as we are, is easily defended. Because we heat our water and rooms with geothermal energy, and have made so many green upgrades, the property would be more sustainable than many other places, and so on. Not to mention the spectacular beauty of Ouray. Who wouldn't want to wait out an apocalypse here?

Being an avid Walking Dead fan myself, she got my creative juices flowing with this chat. We held up the line for a few minutes discussing the validity of her and her sisters analysis of the property and the city of Ouray.

It also got me to thinking that quite a few of us are inextricably tied to the fantasy worlds created by a good T.V. show. We watch. We comment. We take lines from our favorite movies and shows, and find a common thread. Some of us are obsessed with sports. The possibility of missing that play off, or epic game is daunting. Nerves become frayed at the possibility of missing the winning goal.

Hot Spring Tubs in WinterThe Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs just upgraded our cable package for our guests. We now offer a couple of movie channels and several sport stations, as well as AMC, making a Sunday night visit possible for guests not wanting to miss the newest episode of their favorite show or sporting event. Now, after a day of outdoor adventures and an evening of soaking and dining in town, you can snuggle in your bed, and not worry whether you set your DVR at home.

For ages, I have been of the mind that having television is relatively unimportant, especially while on vacation. Who wants to sit in front of a box of moving pictures when there is so much to see and do right outside their door?

exterior tubsWe write blogs, and post on Social Networks, letting our guests know everything we can that will make their visit memorable. Recently, I came to the realization that in addition to the plethora of adventures to be had throughout the day and early evening, relaxing at night in comfort, with a favorite show playing in the background does in fact make the unfamiliar familiar.

As we have entered into the age of electronics, it is no secret that almost everyone has at least one or two devices that are linked in to the Web. The Box Canyon Lodge has provided complimentary wifi to our guests for years, however, located as we are in a wonderfully defensible box canyon, there are indeed times when the wifi has been a little frustrating. The signal may fade, or too many people log in at once, kicking someone off. Recognizing that our smart phones and tablets are also our primary method of communication these days, we have taken steps to upgrade and improve our connectivity. Every room has been equipped with additional power strips, so that no one has to crawl behind the bureau to plug in their laptop.

dblq3At the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, our guests are our number one priority. We take pride in clean, comfortable rooms. Our rustic decor is a testament to simple pleasures, outdoor adventures and relaxing soaks in the mineral hot springs. At the same time, we do recognize and accomodate the need for modern technology, and strive to combine the two in a comfortable blend.

All of us enjoy learning from our guests. We love to hear what you think about the property. What you would like to see happen here, or stay the same, and of course, whether you would like to stay with us in the event of a zombie apocolypse!

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Whine & Whiskers Weekend in Ouray County

  
  
  

Since 1994, the Second Chance Humane Society has worked in Ouray, Montrose and San Miguel Counties to provide a safe refuge for lost and displaced pets.

secondchancelogoWith strong community support, they have grown from a small group of volunteers offering foster services, to a new facility able to provide shelter to a large number of pets as they wait to find their forever homes.

secondchanceIn October, 2011, the Second Chance opened a new Animal Resource Center at Angel Ridge Ranch, a 52 acre property located just outside of Ridgway. Here, they are able to provide care to more animals, as well as a broader scope of educational opportunities to the communities they serve.

It is that time again, Second Chance is presenting its 8th Annual Wine & Whiskers Weekend.

Community donations and interest are the bread and butter (or Kibbles & Bits) of the organization. Without the generosity of the areas it serves, Second Chance would not be able to consistently maintain its exceptional record of rescuing and caring for dogs and cats.

wineandwhiskersweekendAvailable auction items for bidding typically include golf, balloon, horse, sleigh, and bike adventure packages, a variety of wonderful art pieces, restaurant and get away packages, and hundreds more quality items and gift certificates from regional generous merchants, restaurants, artists, and service providers.

Thursday March 19th from 6:30 – 8:30 PM is the Opening Night Mixer geared toward those who are most interested in seeing the fashion & dance show. The performance combines fashion (straight from the Second Chance Thrift Shop), dance, and music for a high energy performance best described as “Attitude at Altitude”. Although there will be a small silent auction prior to the show on Thursday the focus will be on the roof-raising show.

secondchancethriftshopSaturday March 21st (5:30 – 11:30 PM) remains the Gala Event: the fun packed bursting at the seams evening includes the delectable catered fare, well stocked silent auction, lively live auction, the famous fashion & dance show, concluding with a dance party!

Offering decadent food with a Louisiana Flare prepared by Chef Sid of Cavallo's http://cavallosrestaurant.com/Restaurant, music and mountains of fun, this is an event to mark on your calendars!

Tickets will be limited for both evenings to assure that all have a seat this year - so get your tickets today!  They are $15 in advance for Thursday night ($20 at the door) and $40 in advance ($45/door) for Saturday night.  They are on sale now on their secure website or shortly at the Second Chance Thrift Shop in Ridgway.

Get an early start on Thursday, and enjoy an evening at the Ouray County 4-H Event Center; enjoy a fashion show unlike any other, as local models sport ensembles straight from the Second Chance Thrift Shop! 

On Friday, take the day to enjoy the splendor of the San Juan’s. Scenic Drives, frozen waterfalls and a plethora of outdoor activities abound between enjoying fabulous food and shopping on Ouray’s Main Street. 

Saturday have your dancing shoes on, and be prepared to bid on some awesome items!

Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help arrange your visit. Spend a relaxing three day weekend! Start your break with a soothing soak in one of our natural mineral hot spring tubs. Bask in the beauty of the southwest as the steam surrounds you in a picturesque setting.

 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.

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Tax Professionals Getaway at the Box Canyon Lodge!`

  
  
  

Tax Professionals Receive a Super Rate in April and May!

ouray box canyon tubsThe Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs, located in Southwest Colorado, is offering an amazing rate to all of the Tax Professionals who have been working so hard to keep us all out of the red and in Uncle Sam’s good graces!

If you are a Tax Professional the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs in Ouray, Colorado would like to offer you an amazing rate from April 1st-May 15th, 2015.  Simply make your reservation and bring your business card or other form of credentials upon check in and we will give you 50% off any of our rooms, on any day of the week!

With its peaceful location, clean, comfortable, nicely decorated rooms, four mineral hot spring tubs tiered on the hillside for the exclusive use of our guests, meticulously-maintained grounds and warm, personal service, the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, a wonderful hotel in Ouray, has become the home away from home for many of Ouray’s visitors.  This lovely property provides comfort and convenience to those traveling to Ouray Colorado on vacation for a week or a simple weekend getaway!

Give us a call to book your getaway, or just bring in your business card at check in to confirm you are a tax professional and get the thanks you deserve!

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Winter in Southwest Colorado is Full of Adventures

  
  
  

Ouray is not a sleepy little town with nothing to do in the winter.

ouraywinterWe are a hopping little mountain town with lots to do in the winter. We have ice climbing in a world class ice park as well as some amazing back country ice climbing on waterfalls and natural ice fields. We have a huge Ice Climbing Festival the second weekend in January every year that brings thousands of people to town. There is snowshoeing, cross country skiing, back country skiing, hiking and ice skating. Ironton Park, just a few miles south of Ouray up Red Mountain Pass has amazing groomed trails maintained by the Ouray County Nordic Council. Several of our hiking trails are accessible year round like the Ouray Perimeter Trail and Bear Creek Trail. The Box Canyon Falls is beautiful to see in the winter all frozen. We have amazing sulfur free hot springs for soaking you bones after a day out in the snow and the mountains.

tubsThe Box Canyon Lodge has our own private hot springs only available to our guests. The Wiesbaden Hot Springs has a vapor cave and outdoor pool that is open to the public. The City of Ouray also has a very large hot springs open to the public with 3 different large pools with 3 different temperatures. We would love to have you come visit, but do plan ahead because we book on the weekends about a month out through the winter. We are booking out for the summer already as well, so please plan ahead and come to Ouray for a magical winter adventure.

cavallos1We have great unique shops with special items you won’t find anywhere else. Wildflower Boutique has a variety of items like clothing from socially responsible companies all over the world helping people with jobs. They also have an entire room of items all made in Colorado. We have a great sporting goods store to meet all of your outdoor needs. We have a cool new shop in town called The Guide Garage that does ski tuning, guiding and much more. We have great restaurants. Cavallo’s, which has been here almost 2 years, is serving up delicious unique locally sourced fresh food with a Cajun flair.

Cavallo’s does an amazing steak and a melt-in-your-mouth Colorado lamb chop. They also do some delicious salads and breakfasts you won’t get anywhere else. If you are a foodie like I am Cavallo’s is a must in your visit to Ouray.  The Bon Ton is  a classic, serving up delicious Pizza Night every Monday as well as mesker3Martini Mondayserving half price Martinis through the winter and all-you-can-eat Pasta Night every Thursday. Buen Tiempo is great Mexican with a local’s favorite of a monster plate of nachos that feeds 4 people for $13. These nachos are piled high with chicken or beef, or both and tomatoes, onions, cheese, olives, corn, cilantro, with guac and sour cream on the side. Don’t forget a pitcher of their awesome house margaritas! The Outlaw is another fun favorite featuring a western style atmosphere with shingles on the wall you can pay to sign your name on and on the weekends you will be entertained with live piano music. They serve up delicious steaks and during the week in the winter they have a fabulous special menu.

iceclimberIf you are an outdoor adventurer we have lots to keep you busy. If you are more into shopping and spas we have that as well. Elevate Day Spa! is a lovely full service spa here to pamper you. Wiesbaden Spa and Hot Springs also does massage and other spa treatments. Healing Touch at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool and Fitness Center offers massage as well. And at The Cutting Edge Salon Sandi Kropuenske does an amazing service from massage to facials to waxing and all manner of wonderful body treatments. We also have wonderful concerts and festivals. Check out The Wright Opera House for upcoming concerts. Also, Second Chance Humane Society is having their big fundraising event in March called Wine and Whiskers. And don’t forget to check out Weehawken Creative Arts for an awesome class or performance while you are in town. ForkFest, our culinary festival is coming up in May. Stay tuned for more details on this great weekend of food or check out their Facebook page to stay connected. We have the Ouray County Arts Association Winter Arts and Crafts Show every year in February over President’s Weekend. Don’t forget the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival  the second Saturday in December annually. Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you plan the perfect winter escape!

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

 

 

Experience a Night of Fun and Dancing in Ouray

  
  
  

OPAG and Wright Opera House Welcome Ceilidh Dancing to Ouray!

mckees2Have you ever been to a Ceilidh? A Ceilidh (keili) is a Scottish/Irish gathering for playing music storytelling and dancing. Similar to Contra, but more upbeat and happy. Ceilidhs are a fun multi-generational social gathering. Masters of their performance Ken Willson and Kim McKee delight audiences with their many talents. From elementary classrooms to concert halls around the world this dynamic duo is at home in any situation. They do anything from a 45 minute presentation to a 3-5 day residency for elementary, high school, college and adult audiences.
Willson and McKee also do house concerts and library concerts. They will be at The Wright Opera House here in Ouray on March 13th to help us celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
instrumentsI had the privilege to see them a couple years ago when they were in Ouray and it was such a wonderful experience. The music was phenomenal and they are both such wonderful storytellers and entertainers as well as blow your mind musicians. They connect so well with their audiences including and engaging them. To end the evening they taught several Ceilidh dances and the audience kept asking for more. I think it was well after 10 when we finally went home.
mckeesWillison and McKee’s versatility with instruments in simply amazing! Between the two they play Bagpipes, Celtic Harp, Accordion, Cittern, Bodhran, Dulcimer, Guitars and Bouzouki as well as their stunning voices. We are so excited to have this couple back in Ouray to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with us. Willson and McKee live in eastern Colorado, but they are well traveled worldwide. They travel to Scotland and Ireland frequently to play with fellow musicians and to add to their repertoire of songs, stories and dances. They do a combination of original work as well as traditional songs and have received honors and awards at events such as Walton’s of Dublin International Songwriting Competition and National Instrumental Championship. 
The concert is March 13th at The Wright Opera House from 7-9 pm. Tickets to this amazing performance are $15 for adults, $5 for students and $30 for families. We would like to thank the Ouray County Performing Arts Guild for bringing such wonderful performances to Ouray!
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, and current president of the Weehaken Creative Arts Board. 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.
Contact us to Arrange your Wright Opera House Adventure Today!

Romantic Destination Weddings in the San Juan Mountains

  
  
  

Ouray, a perfect place for a wedding any time of year!

elksSurrounded by spectacular mountains there is no bad location. The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is happy to accommodate your wedding party and guests up to about 60 people and only blocks from the hotel are several fantastic locations for ceremony and reception.

secretgardenwinterFor a beautiful outdoor venue, the Secret Garden Bed and Breakfast and Catering has a beautiful yard and patio. Secret Garden does weddings year 
round. If you want to be a Snow Queen for your special day, winter is a pretty dramatic season for a wedding. Bring out the fire pits and the white furs and you have a perfect setting for a wedding.
secretgardenSecret Garden is not just a perfect venue year round, but they also cater at their location as well as pretty much any other facility in Ouray County and beyond. 

stjohns2For indoor weddings, one of the most elegant locations for a ceremony is St John’s Episcopal Church on 5th Ave in Ouray.

courthouseBeautiful old rock walls with wonderful stained glass windows. A blend 
of Victorian and rustic mountains combine to make this location a beautiful venue for a wedding.
The Wright Opera House is a great space for a wedding ceremony and or reception or rent it for a party. The Wright does not have a kitchen facility, so all food has to be brought in.
Ouray Elk’s Lodge is a nice facility for ceremony and reception with a lovely room with wood floors and dark wood wainscoting and high ceilings. The Elk’s is right on Main Street only 3 blocks from Box Canyon Lodge.
communitycenterThe Ouray Community Center is not a beautiful facility, on the outside, but can accommodate large parties with a great kitchen and an elevator. With a lot of work the Community Center can have a pretty nice ambiance with lights strung from the ceiling and no florescent lights.
chocolateflowersFor flowers, Willow Creek Floral does an amazing job! Willow Creek also does lighting and decorations; they are a complete event headquarters. Many of the restaurants in town cater, but as far as I know Secret Garden is the only one in town that does wedding cakes. And their cakes are ever so delicious.

ouraywinterFor music, the possibilities are 
endless! I don’t really know much about local DJ’s, but I sure know a lot about live music. There is a local band for any music style you desire from classical to swing to blues, jazz, reggae, funk, acoustic, whatever your heart desires there is a band within a n hour from Ouray to meet your needs. Brass bands, rock, you name it, we have it. For favors, considering giving each of your guests a  1.5 or 3 oz bag of locally roasted coffee from Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters with your own custom label.
For your wedding night stay in our Honeymoon Suite and have us set it up with flowers, champagne, and chocolates.

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, and current president of the Weehaken Creative Arts Board. 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.

 

Begin Your Romantic Getaway Right Now!

 

 

Ouray, Colorado Celebrates the History of Groundhogs Day!

  
  
  

Southwest Colorado Looks Forward to Another Six Weeks of Winter

bambyattubsLooks like we will be having another six weeks of winter this year. On the morning of February 2nd, 2015 Punxsutawney Phil came out of his hole and saw his shadow, thus predicting that winter shall continue.

According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on February 2nd and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather and it will return to its hole; if it is a cloudy day and he does not see his shadow it is taken as a sign of an early spring and he will stay above ground.

groundhog day shadowThis a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow. Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when the clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

An Old English Song:

groundhogIf Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

The Roman legions supposedly brought this tradition to the Germans, who expanded on this tradition by selecting an animal--the hedgehog--as a means of predicting weather; concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, the hedgehog, would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather.

 

Some of Pennsylvania's earliest settlers were Germans and they found groundhogs in profusion in many parts of the state. They determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, so wise an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter.

The Germans recited:

groundhog shadowFor as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until the May.

This passage may be the one most closely represented by the first Punxsutawney Groundhog Day observances because there were references to the length of shadows in early Groundhog Day predictions. The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper is credited with printing the news of the first observance in 1886:

"Today is groundhog day, and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen his shadow."

atethehogThe first official Groundhog Day celebration was held on February 2nd, 1887 in Punxsutawney, PA. When Punxsutawneyans gathered on a hilltop known as Gobbler’s Knob on that day, in 1887, they did so not just to celebrate the weather-forecasting wizardry of the groundhog — the rodent was also on the menu!

In the 1880s, groundhog was the cuisine of choice at the Punxsutawney Elks Lodge. A Groundhog Club was formed, which hosted both the annual Groundhog Day ceremony and a summertime groundhog hunt followed by a picnic featuring a variety of groundhog dishes and a “groundhog punch” that was a combination of vodka, milk, eggs, orange juice and several other ingredients. Though we don’t believe that Groundhog Punch can be found on any of the menu’s around Ouray you may want to stop by Kristopher’s Culinaire on Main St. to see if they might have anything more appetizing.

groundhogday2As tastes have changed and Punxsutawney Phil’s status rose, the Groundhog Club stopped hunting his brethren and began catering to him instead. Groundhog is no longer on the menu at the annual Groundhog Picnic, and “groundhog punch” has become an “elixir of life”  that reportedly keeps Phil young and explains why the same groundhog has been predicting the weather in Pennsylvania for over a century.

In 1887, a newspaper editor from Punxsutawney declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was America's only true weather-forecasting groundhog. The line of groundhogs that have since been known as Phil might be America's most famous groundhogs, but other towns across North America now have their own weather-predicting rodents, from Birmingham Bill to Staten Island Chuck to Shubenacadie Sam in Canada.

Today, tens of thousands of people converge on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney each February 2 to witness Phil's prediction. Although this year Phil did predict that we will have 6 more weeks of winter, there is still plenty to do right here in Ouray. From watching or participating at the Ouray Ice Park to enjoying a nice soak at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool after a long day outdoors you don’t have to worry that a longer winter will affect your vacation this February.

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

Ouray Colorado: Best Little Town in the San Juan Mountains

  
  
  

ouray best place to visit in colorado

Ouray Colorado Provides Relaxation Around Every Corner

Ouray, Colorado is a tiny, picturesque Victorian village nestled into a valley surrounded by rugged alpine peaks rising from the very edges of the town. Situated in a river valley at 7,792 ft. in the heart of the Rocky Mountains lies the spectacular mountain town eloquently nicknamed the “Switzerland of America”.

Ouray officially began in 1876 with the eager stroke of the prospector’s pick. However, the future brought with it those simply inspired by its beauty. Because of Ouray’s majestic peaks, cascading waterfalls, natural hot springs, the famous Million Dollar Highway, Ouray Ice Park, and its reputation for being the Jeep Capital of the World, modern visitors flock to Ouray as much for its beauty as the miners of the past did for the riches they hoped to find.

ouray best little town in coloradoIn Ouray, Mother Nature is the star attraction, providing the WOW factor that affects nearly all visitors. Ample facilities, services and commercial district are vibrant because tourism, with a focus on recreation and nature, is the major industry.

The present year-round population of approximately 900 swells considerably in the summer months as thousands of travelers visit this unique valley. Ouray is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Whether you set out to conquer the mountains with rope and carabineer, on foot, bike, or four-wheel drive—there’s a route for everyone. Autumn is truly an outstanding time of year, with aspen stands and mixed coniferous forests exhibiting glorious displays of golden colors. The winter months are enchanting and Ouray runs on a slower pace. At night when the lights meet the formations of ice and snow they join in a shimmering dance of magical light.

Although Ouray is tiny (only eight blocks long and eight blocks wide), it is mighty and is the perfect retreat for rest and relaxation regardless of the season. In addition to the area's outdoor opportunities, Ouray has over 50 shops and galleries on its compact Main Street as well as 19 restaurants, 13 hotels and 13 Bed & Breakfasts. Ouray has a vibrant arts and cultural community that provides great entertainment to the area residents and visitors alike.

Ouray businesses are truly small businesses, family owned and operated and created by entrepreneurs that fancy a small town way of life. There are no chains or large corporate interests in Ouray; each independent business sustains a family and other town residents through employment.

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

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