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Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

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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

Weehawken Offers a Variety of Activities in Ouray County

  
  
  

Weehawken Creative Arts is a non-profit organization serving Ouray, Ridgway, Montrose and Silverton. 

weehawkenlogoWeehawken offers classes and programs for all ages that include: visual arts/fine arts, fiber arts, movement, music, photography, craftsman arts, creative writing, culinary arts, horticulture, miscellaneous topics tied to the creative process, and performing arts – including a full dance program.

bowlsWeehawken also provides the area with their “All Fired UP” Clay Center and the Ouray Children’s Garden, as well as some great annual festival and events such as; Ouray Fork Fest (May 8th and 9th 2015), the Amateur Sculptor Contest (2015 date tbd), the Ridgway Rendezvous Arts and Crafts Festival (31 years! Aug), the Sneffels Fiber Festival (Sept), the Souper Bowl Event (Jan 29th), a Ouray County Cookbook, and more!

alpenglowWeehawken is an active member in the Alpenglow Arts Alliance.   Alpenglow is an informal alliance of Ouray County based arts-focused organizations. As an alliance, our objective is to de-clutter the promotion of performing arts events in order that we may increase awareness of and participation in each, regardless of the sponsoring organization. Alpenglow acknowledges and celebrates the fact that we live in a small community. Our focus is to work more closely together such that the performing arts, and our community, cannot just exist, but can thrive.

weehawkendanceWeehawken Creative Arts is proudly supported by The Telluride Foundation and Colorado Creative Industries and by local business and personal sponsorships.

souperbowlComing up in February is a creative writing class with Beth Paulson for ages 16 and up. All you need to bring to this workshop is the ability to attend and observe what’s in your daily life and the willingness to let your imagination go and your ideas flow as you try your hand at writing in some new (old) forms. The class will begin by looking at and writing American Sentences invented by Allan Ginsberg in the 1950?s. Then move on to the recently rediscovered Persian ghazal as well as the now-popular villanelle. Last try our hand at understanding and crafting prose poems. Together you will read examples of poems by Ginsberg, Charles Baudelaire, Agha Shahid Ali, and Elizabeth Bishop, to name a few. Participants will receive handouts of all poems and other class materials. Each week in class you will explore your own creativity crafting poems, serious or light,. After the conclusion of the workshop, each person will receive one copy of an anthology of poems written by class members. The class is 4 Wednesdays starting February 4thfrom 12:30-2:30. The cost of the class is $75 and will be held at Weehawken Ridgway at the Old Schoolhouse.

artIn February and March Weehawken is offering several adult Aerial Dance workshops by Kate Orr. The classes are February 28th, March 1st and March 21st and 22nd.

Weehawken also offers adult Swing/Lindy Hop classes every Tuesday from 6:30-7:30 at the Sherbino Theater in Ridgway. They also offer classes in karate, belly dancing, fencing, guitar and clay and pottery. The full dance program includes jazz, ballet, hip hop and tap. The dance program produces several amazing performances every year including alternating Polar Express and Nutcracker every December. IN the spring they perform such shows as Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wizard of Oz as well as a Weehawken Company Dancers performance in the spring and fall. This last fall the Company Dancers performed Nightmare Before Christmas. They have also done a tribute to the Beatles, and Corpse Bride.

valentineartclassFor Valentine’s Day get ready to paint a saucy Valentine for that special someone. Kellie Day will take you through step-by-step instruction on creating your one-of-a-kind Valentine on a wood panel, with a mix of acrylic and collage. Discover her top secret formula for a great Valentine. First timers and men welcome! Eat chocolate and drink wine, then use the wrappers for a collage background. Use handmade letter stamps to add your dramatic message and get as cheeky as you dare. Kellie will provide saucy papers for collaging, including love poems, vintage clip art, virgin of guadalupes, heart art, metallic paint markers and handmade letter stamps for your messages! Just bring yourself and get loose for an evening of creativity and love. Class price is $40 and includes 1 glass of wine, additional wine available for purchase. You must be 21 or older for this class.

johnsoncountycoronersComing up on January 29th is Weehawken’s big Souper Bowl Party Fundraiser. Local restaurants donate many different soups and breadsticks and locals bake delicious desserts. The clay center has been working extra hard firing bowls for this event. For $18 you get a handmade bowl and all you can eat soup. The Johnson County Coroner, a 5 piece band out of Montrose will be providing participants with a fantastic mix of Bleues, Rock and Americana. There will also be a cash bar with beer and wine. Secret Garden Bed and Breakfast and Catering is providing a winter root veggie vegan soup.  Hoping to have a couple more soups for you as well.

For more information about any of the events listed here or about Weehawken or to become a sponsor please check out their website and Facebook page.

http://www.weehawkenarts.org/

https://www.facebook.com/weehawkenarts

https://www.facebook.com/weehawkendance?fref=ts

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.

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

 


 


Four Reasons to put Ouray, Colorado on Your Bucket List

  
  
  

From soaking in the sulfer free hot springs to adrenaline pumping adventures, Ouray invites you to share the magic!


ouraywinterThe area surrounding Ouray is a haven for the adventurer. The mountains seem to call out, begging to be explored. Every season holds a lifetime of experiences, the biggest question is where to begin?

Faith Parry and I decided to put our heads together, and came up with just a few adventures that everyone should try at least once:

The town itself is worthy of any Bucket List. When approached from the South on Highway 550 (the Million Dollar Highway), the initial view of this tiny mountain town is amazing. Walking along Main Street, it is impossible not to pause occasionally just to gaze at the splendor on every side. To one side of the canyon, Cascade Falls dominated the view, while a short walk in the other direction takes you to the base of Box Canyon Falls as it booms through the canyon walls.

 

ourayice1.) Ice Climbing 

The idea of climbing a frozen waterfall is an interesting one to say the least. Home to the largest farmed ice park in the country, Ouray boasts a group of volunteers whose passion for climbing is surpassed only by their desire to share the experience. For two decades, our ice farmers have sculpted the ice in the Uncompahgre Gorge into a playground for the sound of heart.

The silence in the park is punctuated by the sound of axes striking ice, and softly spoken warnings to those still below, as athletes ascend to the top of the canyon. The drama of the climb verges on surreal, as if you have transformed into a world in which there is only you, and the ice. Rainbows of light are captured in frozen water, begging a moment of speculation as your body is tested to its limits. Reaching the top of the climb, an impression of fulfillment pervades every fiber, and the mind explodes with ideas for the next challenge.

Climbers almost dance past the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs in the early morning, eager to explore the limits of the ice and themselves. as the day warms and the ice becomes less stable, these same climbers tiredly make their way to the all natural mineral hot springs, exchanging stories of the climb as tired muscles relax in the healing waters.

blackbear42.) Drive the Four Wheel Drive Trails

Ouray is one of the jeeping capitals in the world. We have some of the greatest off road terrain the go over spectacular mountain passes and to old mining towns and beautiful high alpine basins.

The most extreme off road route is Black Bear Pass. The pass is one way from Ouray to Telluride and traverses mountain tundra and lush valleys with waterfalls and wildflowers. The pass summits at 12,840 feet above sea level.

Another awesome pass from Ouray is Engineer Pass which is part of the Alpine Loop and connects to many other wonderful passes such as Corkscrew and Cinnamon Passes.

Animas Forks is a wonderful ghost town on Engineer Pass near Silverton. If renting a jeep you will not be able to do Black Bear or Poughkeepsie Gulch. If you want to do any of these passes please be sure you have the right vehicle and equipment. Because of the narrow roads and tight turns a short wheel base and high clearance is a necessity as well as a low range gear.

guestsatthetubs3.) Sulfur Free Hot Springs

O.K., I know we talk about them all the time, but Ouray has some amazing hot springs.

Southwest Colorado boasts many towns and spas with natural mineral hot springs, but Ouray has the added good fortune to possess hot springs with very low sulfur content; soakers can enjoy the soothing heat of water full of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, without the distinctive odor of sulfur. Common to almost every mineral hot spring is a high content of sodium, which may explain the lightness so many bathers comment on when enjoying this natural wonder.

Bubbling to the surface at temperatures from 140 to 180 degrees, Ouray does have to cool its water to make it safe for bathing. Once part of the first Sanitarium in Ouray, The Box Canyon Lodge provides four redwood tubs tiered on the hillside in our courtyard for guests to enjoy the peace and beauty of the San Juans while soaking in a more private, natural setting. The temperature of our mineral hot spring water is maintained between 101 to 108 degrees varying by a couple of degrees from tub to tub.

The source of the hot water at the Box Canyon Lodge can be seen steaming above the tubs, and as with anywhere the water flows so close to the surface, the area surrounding the spring houses a variety of wildlife taking advantage of the warmer ground, and ever present foliage.

hiking4.) Hike a Fourteener

Anywhere you look in the town of Ouray are peaks and trails beckoning to be traversed. Deep into the canyon and high above timberline, access to miles and miles of back country heaven are literally on your doorstep.

Is climbing a 14er on your bucket list? If so, come to Ouray this summer for some great mountain climbing. Ouray is surrounded by spectacular towering peaks. Our most popular is Mt Sneffels which is 14,150 feet high. Access the trail head by driving up the famous Camp Bird Rd to Yankee Boy Basin. The climb to the peak is a giant rock field and there is usually snow in spots year round. The view from the top is spectacular! Below you to the north are Blue Lakes, which is also an amazing hike.

When climbing 14ers be prepared for any weather and take plenty of food and water. Some people like to start very early in the morning to avoid afternoon storms, but I have done it in the afternoon on a spectacular Colorado blue sky day.

If you just want a serious challenge for a hike and don’t care that it is a 14er there are several 13ers that are more difficult climbs. My absolute favorite is Mount Emma, which is around 13,500. It is a 5,000 vertical foot climb as opposed to Sneffels which is only about a 2,000 foot climb. Uncompahgre Peak is another good 14er nearby.   

Regardless of the season, be sure to bring your camera! Standing at the summit of Imogene Pass, or in the middle of Main Street, there is a never ending array of sights to behold. Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help design a getaway that will last forever in your heart, an adventure in every memory.

 

 

Contact Us to Arrange Your Outdoor Adventure in Ouray!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of Ouray - Ouray County Icehouses

  
  
  

In the late 19th and early 20th century, before the invention of the mechanical refrigerator, food was kept cool with blocks of ice, which was delivered in the summer months by wagon to the housewives of Ouray County. The Ouray Museum has a 12” x 12” x 2” cast iron horse tie used by a Ouray ice deliveryman. He would throw the horse tie on the ground and tie his horse to it while delivering ice. Often the home icebox would have a door on the outside of the house for the iceman to place a block of ice without entering the home. Ouray children would be sure and be home when the ice was delivered so that they might get a small piece of ice from the deliveryman.

In order to supply ice in the warm months, large icehouses were constructed and straw or sawdust was used to insulate the blocks so that they would be available all summer long. Sawdust was also placed between the blocks so they would not stick together.

 Piedmont Ice (1)Ice was harvested in January and February from Lake Lenore and from a pond near Piedmont, which was flooded with clear water from Coal Creek. The Lake Lenore ice was hauled to Ouray by wagons. A January 23, 1896 article in the Ouray Herald states “all of the teams were pressed into service hauling ice from Lake Lenore.  The ice is of fine quality this year.”

 

The attached photo shows ice cutting on the Haskin Ranch at Piedmont. When the ice was about 30 inches thick it was strong enough to bear the weight of the horses and people and thick enough for ice blocks. Each block weighed 300 to 400 pounds.  The ice from Piedmont was loaded onto a Denver and Rio Grande train for the trip to the icehouses in Ouray.

A number of Ouray businesses, often beer or coal distributors, sold 50 to 100 pound blocks of ice all summer long. C. W. Andrew had the exclusive contract for Lake Lenore ice. During the 1890s and early years of the 20th century W. R. Kramer was the manager of the Ouray Ice and Coal Company. S. E. DuPuy was the distributor of Zangs’s Beer and he also sold ice out of his icehouse near the railroad tracks along the Uncompahgre River. The river was the undoing of Mr. DuPuy’s business when on June 15, 1906 the river rose so high that it took out his ice house and sent it several blocks down river. N. P. Sorensen had an icehouse just southwest the Ouray Depot and just northwest of the depot was the Zadra and Zanella San Juan Bottling Works, which also sold ice. Charlie Zadra was the last businessman in Ouray to sell ice blocks.

Ridgway also had an ice business. The Ridgway Creamery, managed by George W. Braman from its opening in 1905 until 1912, began to sell ice during the summer of 1909. The Ouray Herald issue of November 27, 1908 states, “A new icehouse is being erected at the Ridgway Creamery.  The creamery company proposes to store ice for its own use and will be able to supply the ice trade in Ridgway during the summer months next season.” The January 9, 1909 issue of the Ouray Herald indicated that the icehouse was completed and being stocked with blocks of ice. On January 14, 1910 the Ouray Herald reported that over 90 tons of ice was put up at the Ridgway Creamery and on January 27, 1911 the Ouray Herald reported that the Ridgway Creamery was obtaining its ice from Piedmont.

About the Author:  Don Paulson is the curator at the Ouray County Historical Society and Ouray County Museum.  He is also a retired Professor of Chemistry where he specialized in organic chemistry.  Don is an active member of the Ridgway Railroad Museum, and an avid hiker, 4WD (jeep) enthusiast, and photographer in addition to his duties as curator for the museum.

 

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