Sunday, April 28, 2013

Walker Ranch Homestead, Spring Heritage Day 2013

Walker Ranch Homestead, a part of Boulder, Colorado, Parks and Open Space, hosted a free open house Sunday, April 28th, 2013.   The Walker Ranch Homestead is located west of Boulder, 7.4 miles up Flagstaff Road. The sunny day, with a light breeze, welcomed many visitors  to the the Walker Ranch acreage. The winding road through the  gorgeous view of nearby mountain ranges was filled with Sunday bicyclists and cars carrying hikers on their way to the different trail heads. Even with the activity I  still spotted a lone deer enjoying springtime in the nearby forest. I missed that picture but stopped for this peaceful scene.

Turning off Flagstaff Road towards the Walker Ranch Homestead, we ventured down a chopped rock road. Before us opened up a gorgeous panoramic view of a nearby mountain range and the Boulder Valley framing the Victorian-era buildings of pioneer days in Colorado. On this Sunday outing I was accompanied by my husband, Rex, and our son, Matt, and his 3 month old baby daughter, Lindsey (below). Matt's wife, Kelly, (Lindsey's Mom) was working this event so we ventured down this dirt road to find what activity she was involved in today. 

The first event we found was the laundry demonstration. Kelly wasn't here.
Children were trying their hands at the ole washboard. They were having fun playing in the water and not realizing this was work in the olden days.

The hand washed laundry was blowing in the breeze. I remember the fresh smell from the clothes that hung on a line. I also remember the rush to get the clothes off the line when rain  started to fall on wash day. 

With the sun shining in my eyes, I had to look twice at the next table to believe my eyes. There was Kelly making butter. She had a plate of saltine crackers with homemade butter smeared on each one for us to sample. It tasted wonderful. Why do I buy butter at the store anymore when my darling daughter-in-law, Kelly, is so talented?
This little girl stopped at Kelly's table to try her hand at churning butter.  Kelly told her it wasn't ready yet and to keep going. 

As I strolled through the Homestead, I was drawn to the wagon barn where these delightful folks were playing and singing for us. It was foot stomping fun, drawing an appreciative crowd. This barn was for the wagons, buggies and farm machinery but it was also used to store the corn grown on the ranch.

Relaxing and wandering around the Homestead was a great way to imagine the life of others who once  walked in these same steps. This log house was built circa 1865. It's an example of a broad axe hand-hewn log house. A warm, cozy house made with lots of physical labor.

Inside the log cabin, the wood burning stove was hot and used to cook the meal for the day.

The kitchen was comfortably stocked with cast iron skillets, trivets, crocks and canisters. 

The bathroom was sparse with only a chamber pot, tub and a few basic toiletries such as a shaving brush, wrought iron curling iron (warmed on the kitchen stove) and a bar of soap.

Admiring the walls of the house made me appreciate how the structure was made from such rustic beginnings. 
Piles of logs and tools gave opportunities for more hands-on wood cutting and time to turn the clock back.

This young man took a successful swing and split a piece of wood perfectly.

On another part of the property is the Blacksmith's shop. This was built circa 1880. It was a busy place as all iron-ware, hinges, etc. were forged here. Wagon repairs and horse shoeing happened here as well. 

And what ranch didn't need to have calf-roping experts on hand? This is where the young ones and the visiting cowboys practiced their skills.

As I wandered past this wheat barn and the pig pen, built circa 1885, I just loved this door on the large barn. The knots in the wood and the bark still on the structure was a magnificent sight to me. Even though it felt like a spring day with the temperatures in the 60's, the snow still lingered on this north side of the barn. The elevation ranges from 7320 to 8040 feet so winters can be quite harsh. 

The Walker Ranch Homestead is open to the public only during their four seasonal special cultural history events. The next events are as follows:

Summer Heritage Evening 2013, Saturday, July 20, 5 pm-7:30 pm
Autumn Heritage Day 2013, Sunday, September 29, 10 am-3 pm
Winter Heritage Day 2014, Sunday, January 26, 1 pm-3 pm
Spring Heritage Day 2014, Sunday, April 27, 10 am-3 pm

The Walker Ranch property is 3,828 acres. The property is open to the public year-round. It's only the Homestead that has limited hours and events. The whole area is a beautiful escape from the Boulder-Denver metropolitan area which is only a short distance away. If you're in the Denver area or visiting Boulder, it's a lovely drive and worth the trip to admire the lovely mountain views, pine trees and perhaps even a deer or an elk.

 Be sure and stop for a close-up look too!

See you at the Ranch!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Broadmoor Hotel and Women's Weekend of Wellness

A weekend in the lap of luxury at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO, is something I recommend to everyone. I found myself there recently to attend the 2nd annual Women's Weekend of Wellness presented by Anschutz Health and Wellness Center

My adventure started when I met my daughter, Beth Blair, at Denver International Airport. I picked her up in my red Mustang convertible and we headed South for a grand time together. We made a quick detour through Garden of the Gods (above) before arriving at our true destination. We knew it would be a fabulous weekend when we found ourselves being escorted down the highway by the Hell's Angels.  How often do you get this close to a bunch of them? 

Upon arriving at the Broadmoor Hotel, a five star, diamond rated resort, I was amazed at the  opulence unfolding before me. Everywhere I looked was a wall of marble or hand painted motifs. Elegance was everywhere. 

Our room was a South Superior room on the 7th floor. The beds were so high I had to take a running leap to land in mine. It was rather thrilling I must say. 

Our bathroom had a TV in it.

The coffee nook started our day out just right.

Cheyenne Mountain and Cheyenne Lake provided us with spectacular views through automated window dressings. The windows easily opened so fresh breezes lulled us to sleep  at night.

The Women's Weekend of Wellness was held in the Rocky Mountain Ballroom in the Broadmoor West building across the lake. From our room we had a hike down the sidewalk, across the bridge you see in the photo below to the far end of the building across the lake. My wellness conference therefore, offered me a healthy hike back and forth a couple of times a day. At the slightly higher altitude I admit I did some huffing and puffing at first along the way. By Sunday afternoon the way became much easier. 

Settling into such lush accommodations, was a wonderful entry into a most inspiring weekend with presentations by top professionals in the field of wellness. Many of the speakers were from the Denver area's Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. Topics included top-notch information on  the importance of exercise, how to eat right, the mind-body relationship, better sleeping, stress, how to lose weight and keep it off forever. One of my favorite presentations was the last program titled: The Colorado Mindset: Your approach to Life Impacts Your Health by Dr. Holly Wyatt. Colorado is the leanest state in the country and Dr. Wyatt offered hope to those who do not live in the beautiful state of Colorado by offering that you too can develop a Colorado mindset by: 1) Finding your motivation 2) Expecting success 3) Making healthy decisions automatically and 4) Creating a supportive environment.

Saturday and Sunday mornings we were offered activity choices. They were AquaFit, Guided Hike, Yoga/Pilates/Tai Chi or Sunday morning's Historical Tour of the Broadmoor. Since I have always loved aqua exercise that was my immediate choice. My daughter stepped out of her comfort zone and accompanied me on this early morning adventure. We had an hour of a great workout and lots of fun and laughter. I wish I could have had leisure time to return to the gorgeous pool area. It was very inviting and was connected to the exercise room and spa.

All the walking and aqua fit kept our appetites ready for our next meal. Four meals were provided for our "healthy" weekend. We were served a dinner, lunch and two breakfast buffets. I had visions of luscious choices of exquisite foods. I admit I was a bit taken aback at what we were offered. How silly of me to forget that this was a "wellness" weekend. The first night our meal started out  with a lovely spring salad with a lemon basil vinaigrette, along with a choice of two healthy breads. Entree was a very plain poached halibut (no seasoning), soba noodles, daikon, edamame and konbu. Everyone at our table had fun guessing and trying to identify what was the daikon and konbu. I will someday look it up on Google as we never figured it out. Later a table mate admitted she tried to doctor up her halibut by adding butter to it when no one was looking. Dessert was a chocolate red banana tart. 

Breakfast brought visions of scrambled eggs and bacon to my mind. Even though that wasn't to be, we were delighted with the offerings. Quinua pancakes with berries, egg whites with trout, homemade granola, fruit, choice of baked muffins and a smoothie selection delighted us. 

Lunch was lots of tofu and a few carrots and lettuce. We left quite hungry from that meal, although we did try everything on our plate. The next morning tabbouleh with fruit and toppings and egg whites with spinach rounded out our meal. Smoothies were identified with name tags and choices went from the daring tofu to beets to the safe strawberry varieties.  

The lake side terrace was a lovely spot to sit and sip a glass of wine. The weather was beautiful and the relaxing view of the lake and mountain definitely added to a feeling of wellness. 

On Saturday evening we joined a group of new friends and had dinner at the newly opened and renovated Golden Bee at the Broadmoor Hotel. This is a 19th Century English pub featuring all the great items one would be looking for in such a place. Around the table orders were taken for bangers and mash, The Bee's famous fish and chips with mushy peas, cottage pies and a great variety of beers. Ragtime sing-a-long music added to the festive atmosphere and the good time had by all. 

I've been back from my wonderful Women's Weekend of Wellness at the Broadmoor for a week now. I came back renewed and refreshed. I didn't want to waste all that healthy-weekend lifestyle so I've been motivated to live my Colorado mind-set each and every day. I hope you'll join me in seeking wellness and living a life of joy.