Fall Color for a Good Cause

Vibrant Aspen - B 

2 Mile High Club Aspen Tours

Cripple Creek

Join members of the 2 Mile High Club for golden tours of changing aspen in the Cripple Creek mining district. The annual tours are scheduled for September 18, 19, 25 and 26, 2010. Beginning at 10am tours leave from the Cripple Creek Heritage Center, with the last tour departing at 4pm. Reservations are not accepted; the tours are offered on a first come, first served basis.

Donkey Sculpture - B The 2 Mile High Club was formed in 1931 to care for the town’s free roaming donkey herd. No fees are charged for the annual Aspen Tours, however, donations are greatly appreciated. They are applied to feed costs and veterinarian services required for the donkeys. The donkeys are believed to be direct descendents of those used by miners during the region’s gold rush days. The club also sponsors Donkey Derby Days, Cripple Creek’s most popular yearly event, in late June.

Aspen and Mines

The Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Co. provides buses, drivers and opens access to private land for the fundraising aspen tours. The 2 Mile High Club provides tour guides and lots of local history. The buses make several stops allowing participants photography opportunities not usually available to the public.

Grab the camera, head to Cripple Creek, revel in the autumn splendor and contribute to a good cause. Enjoy!

New Visitor Experiences

Mesa Verde National Park – Summer 2010

 

18 - Long House

 

Mesa Verde National Park visitors find three new experiences available during the 2010 summer season. In partnership with the nonprofit Mesa Verde Institute the park expands their visitor programs to include guided hikes to Spring House, Mug House and a Wetherill Mesa Experience. The hikes, which begun Memorial Day weekend, will continue through Labor Day. The Spring House trip will be offered until September 30th.

“We want visitors to know that there’s more to Mesa Verde than Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Spruce Tree House,” says Acting Superintendent Bill Nelligan. “This is a great opportunity to learn more about Mesa Verde National Park.”

  • Spring House – This very strenuous hike is an 8-hour, 8-mile trek for the physically-fit adventurist. The unpaved, uneven trail includes steep drop-offs and switchbacks with a 3,000-ft. elevation change. In addition to visiting Spring House hikers will view Buzzard House, Teakettle House, Daniel’s House and archeological sites in Navajo and Wickiup Canyons. Lunch is included.

  • Wetherill Mesa Experience – Introduces the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here from early pithouse to cliff dwelling occupancy (A.D. 600 – A.D. 1300). Hikers will learn about The Wetherill Mesa Archeological Project during the 6-mile, 6-hour easy to moderate hike. The joint effort between the National Park Service and The National Geographic Society was one of the largest archeological projects ever conducted in the United States.
  • Mug House – Is a 2-hour, 3-mile round trip on an unpaved, uneven trail with a 100’ descent. The strenuous hike involves a ladder, knotted rope, steep drop-offs, switchbacks and scrambling over boulders. When Mug House was excavated three mugs tied together were found hanging on a peg inside one of the rooms.

06 - Tour Group The three new adventures are limited to 14 people per tour. Tickets for the Spring House and the Wetherill Mesa Experience may be purchased online. Mug House tickets are only available at the Far View Visitor Center up to 48 hours in advance.

The Mesa Verde Institute continues to hosts Cliff Palace Twilight Tours between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Led by historic characters from Mesa Verde’s past, the 90-minute evening tours begin at 7pm. Tickets, purchased at the Far View Visitor Center, are limited to 20 participants each evening.

 

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Mesa Verde Mystique

Lodging in Mesa Verde National Park

Tracing Lincoln’s Trail

Abraham Lincoln was born in a simple Kentucky cabin 201 years ago. With little formal education but great vision, determination, and integrity he abolished slavery and preserved the Union of the United States. Even 145 years after his death the impact of his leadership lives on. Trace his trail from humble boyhood to the presidency by visiting one of the national or state sites memorializing Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site – Hodgenville, Kentucky

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial – Lincoln City, Indiana

lincoln-memorial2Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site – Petersburg, Illinois

Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site – Lerna, Illinois

Lincoln/Douglas Debate Museum – Charleston, Illinois

Lincoln Home National Historic Site – Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln – Hendon Law Offices – Springfield, Illinois

Old State Capitol - Springfield, Illinois

Ford Theater National Historic Site – Washington D.C.

Lincoln Tomb – Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln Memorial National Memorial – Washington D.C.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum – Springfield, Illinois

“Affairs of the Heart” Tours

Brown Palace Atrium Lobby Historic tours of Denver’s venerable Brown Palace Hotel focus on “Affairs of the Heart” during February. Oh, the tales Debra Faulkner, hotel historian and archivist, has to tell. After 118 years the “Brown” reveals stories of intrigue, romance, love triangles and even murder. Public tours are offered every Wednesday and Saturday at 3pm and last approximately 75 minutes. Tours cost $10/person, reservations are required. Children must be 10 years of age.

Besides “Affairs of the Heart” and general history tours, specialized  themes include a presidential tour (Every U.S. president  since Teddy Roosevelt in 1905, with the exception of Calvin Coolidge, has visited The Brown Palace.), an architectural tour and the ever-popular ghost tour given in throughout October. Groups of 5 or more must make arrangements for a private tour. Private tours can be arranged for those requiring a time outside of the normal scheduled tours.

brown-palace-lobby-teaI suggest making reservations for Afternoon Tea before your tour. Served in the eight-story atrium lobby the traditional afternoon ritual includes tea sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream shipped directly from England and tea pastries. All accompanied by a harpist or pianist. If your valentine is a chocoholic the Chocolate Decadence Tea is sure to be loved – and, you for the idea.

When You Go: Brown Palace Hotel, 321 17th Street, Denver, Colorado

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Month of Love

9th Annual Candy Cane Festival

Red Candy Canes Along with thousands of others we stopped by Hammonds Candy Factory for the 9th annual Candy Cane Festival today. After a week of extremely cold temps, grey skies and snow everyone was ready to bask in the pleasantly warm sunny day, visit with Santa and stock up on holiday sweets.

Families waited patiently for tours of the factory to see candymakers at work. Lines also formed for rides on ‘Lil Spike’ the motorized train and hay rides drawn by a handsome team of draft horses. Entertainment, story time, face painting and inspecting emergency vehicles kept visitors busy. Blue Face

Of course, there was a full array of Hammond candies for sale. Buckets of the hand-formed candy canes in a rainbow of colors and flavors, baskets of old-fashioned ribbon candy, giant lollipops and peppermint pillows tempted shoppers. Bags of candy coal reminded us of those who were more naughty than nice this year.

Although the 2009 Candy Cane Festival is over one can always stop by the factory for a free tour or visit the retail store Monday – Saturday.

View the slide show for more photos of the 2009 Candy Cane Festival. A sweet time was had by all.

So Much to Explore!

Three outstanding facilities stand without walking distance of each other. It couldn’t be easier to explore art, history, science, technology, natural history and astronomy. Time and energy runs out before we can do it all; but, the journey proves fascinating.

 

Albq Museum

 

Albuquerque Museum of Art & History An outstanding permanent collection and excellent temporary exhibits make this a repeat experience when visiting the city. A permanent exhibit, Four Centuries, covers 400 years of history in Albuquerque. The museum’s art collection emphasizes contemporary and historic regional artists. We’ve been fortunate enough to see several quality visiting exhibits over the years. The outdoor sculpture garden presents numerous styles and genres. Guided tours of galleries and garden are available. The education department sponsors informative walking tours of Old Town.

 

Explora! – An incredible, hands-on experience awaits learners of all ages interested in science, technology and art. Robotics lab to interactive fountain, principles of sound, motion, or electricity, this is a learning laboratory that fascinates tiny tots to senior citizens – a perfect multi-generation spot. Explora! is so popular with adults they get periodic adult-only Friday nights scheduled just for them. Visitors get so involved they spend twice as long as planned. This is truly an exception facility – a “have-to-do” while in Albuquerque.

  Explora3   Explora2Explora1

 

Dinosaur enthusiasts find the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science a must stop. We explore an ice cave, stand inside a volcano and ride the “EvolaAlb Natural History Museumtor” for a Journey Through Time, from Origins 200 million years ago to the Ice Age. Collections include the world’s longest dinosaur and oldest mammal fossil.

Within the museum, the Astronomy Center showcases a 55-foot diameter planetarium dome and high-definition imagery to explore our universe – and beyond. Permanent exhibits, Space Frontier and Making Tracks on Mars leads us through space exploration.

Wise visitors include a Dynatheater show during their touring. Sitting back to watch the giant screen presentation offers the perfect way to rest without wasting a minute. Mummies: Secrets of the Past is the current feature.

A Walk with the Spirits

 

Crested Butte Cemetery Arch A leisurely walk through an historic cemetery relates intriguing details of the region’s settlement and struggles. Styles of enclosures, markers and headstones reflect cultural, ethnic and societal influences. Inscriptions tell of epidemics, natural disasters, gunfights or the steadfastness of a man’s character. A chiseled boulder in the Cripple Creek Mt. Pisgah Cemetery states, “He died as he lived, honest, loyal and an upright man.”

Crested Butte Child's Grave Children’s graves were frequently enclosed with wooden or wrought iron fencing, or carefully laid stone borders. Headstones with carved lambs denote infant burials. Poetry abounds. Especially memorable is a monument in a Central City cemetery marking the graves for one family’s five children – all who died before reaching their first birthday.

Graveyards near ghost towns and mining camps remain worthy of investigation. Spend a crisp autumn afternoon strolling the distinctive cemeteries near Alma, Central City, Cripple Creek or Leadville for a Colorado history refresher coarse.

The Littleton Cemetery on South Prince Street is the permanent (?) resting place of Alfred Packer, the only man in United States history to be convicted of  the crime of cannibalism.

The tombstones in Cripple Creek’s Mt. Pisgah Cemetery tell so many stories of the town’s famous and the infamous. On September 26, 2009 the Gold Camp Victorian Society planLeadville Grave with Aspens a day of Mt. Pisgah tours with character reenactments throughout the cemetery. Tours start at the Cripple Creek District Museum located next to the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad Depot. The tour begins with a ride aboard the historic trolley. The first tour leaves the museum at 9:30am; the last departs at 2:00pm. Donations to benefit the society’s historic preservation efforts are $8/adult, $15/couple and $5/child under 12. I’m sure you’ll meet Pearl.

Under the October full moon, Riverside Cemetery is the site of a History & Mystery Tour on October 2 & 3. Tours at 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30pm each evening with tickets priced at $12/adult, $10/child. Required reservations can be made by calling 303-322-3895 or emailing heritage@fairmountheritagefoundation.org. On Halloween, Oct. 31, Crested Butte Cemetery Open Gate free tours are planned every 15 minutes between 2:00-3:15pm. Historians and actors will share the stories of influential Colorado residents such as Governor Evans and Augusta Tabor. Reservations are encouraged.

In Glenwood Springs, costumed historic characters recall their lively pasts as lantern led tours visit the “spirits” of Linwood (Glenwood Pioneer) Cemetery. Doc Holliday is reportedly buried here … or is he? Join the Annual Historic Ghost Walk to hear the story. The walks are planned for Oct. 16-18, Oct. 23-25 and Oct. 30-31, 2009. Tickets are $15/person and go on sale Oct. 1. These annual walks sell out quickly, purchase tickets as soon as they go on sale by calling the Frontier Historical Museum at 970-945-4448.

Leadville Sunken Graves We’ve tramped around many of Colorado’s cemeteries through the years, especially those near early mining camps. Each has its own distinctive characteristics and slate of citizens with fascinating stories. Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery contains graves from 1879 to the present, graves with ornate headstones and those with rotting crosses. One early section with sunken graves ranks as the spookiest I’ve ever visited. Judge Neil Reynolds introduces the spirits of  Evergreen Cemetery during Halloween Cemetery Tours, Oct. 30-31 at 8:00pm each evening. This popular event usually sells out – call 719-486-3900 or 888-532-3845 for tickets, $10/person.

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