It’s that time of year when the weather is getting warmer and we start getting a lot of summer tourists in Colorado. Jack and I typically don’t go to places that are crowded or really busy. We like quieter, calmer, and more peaceful settings in general, so we tend to do things in the “off season”, regardless of where we’re going. We did, however, want to get a way for a “overnight” and thought that going north would be a good idea.
We woke up on Sunday morning and did a really quick packing. After all, if you’re only gone one night you really don’t need much. We left the house and had to overcome a “road block” before we got off of our dirt road. Cows out here are all pretty much free-range, so they wander around and we frequently have them in the roads.
Once we got past the cows, we drove to Woodland Park where we turned onto 67 north and wandered through the mountains. It’s a really pretty drive and there isn’t much traffic at all, so it’s relaxing. One thing about that drive is that we go through where the Hayman Fire in 2002 was. It’s getting better, but it’s also a good reminder of how a little carelessness can do so much damage. It used to really make me sad to see it, but now it doesn’t quite so much. It’s amazing that nature can do such a good job of restoring things after something as devestating as this fire was. Although there are still a lot of burned trees that are standing, the ground cover is mostly green and there are new trees and bushes coming up. I’ve also heard that wildlife that had left the area before the fire are now returning, so that’s all good.
By the time you get to Deckers you can see the South Platte River winding through the area. It’s really very beautiful and it attracts a lot of fly fishers. The water is very clear, as are most of our rivers here. I don’t know why, but areas like that always remind me of the old Hamm’s beer commercials. Those of you who are around my age or older remember them, “From the land of sky blue waters….”.
We got to Evergreen and stopped at Cactus Jack’s for breakfast. It’s right next to the water and has a nice outdoor seating area. As those of you who know us are aware of, Jack and I will choose outdoor seating for meals almost any time it’s an option, so the patio at Cactus Jack’s was perfect for us. We had a nice breakfast and were on our way.
Evergreen to Georgetown isn’t very far and the scenery is pretty as you meander through the countryside. We made it to Georgetown before noon and opted to visit the Energy Museum first since they had just opened. As they say, “it’s a fully functioning and operational Hydroelectric generating plant”. Anway, Jack used to work at an electric company in Iowa and he’s always interested in things that are mechanical, electrical, have moving parts of any kind, or….you get the idea!
The museum is small, but interesting. There is a lot of history there and they have many articles and information about the history of electricity in the area. They also have some old appliances that are fun to look at, but Im really glad we don’t have to use them today. We learned a little and enjoyed seeing what was there.
When we came out of the museum we could smell fresh cookies baking. Well, there happens to be a small bakery that’s located very near the museum, thus the tantalizing smell in the air! The Mountain Girl Bakery had fresh bread and cookies and it smelled delicious, so we had to try something. We shared a macaroon that was dipped in chocolate and a cookie that had dried cranberries, coconut, oatmeal, and some other things in it. Both were wonderful and we loved them!
Georgetown has several galleries that are fun to shop at and many other stores. One gallery that we really enjoyed was the Grizzly Creek Gallery. Gary Haines is the owner/photographer and he has a lot of very nice nature photography. We spent a lot of time looking around and (except for our lack of available wall space) could easily have purchased several things.
After browsing through the rest of the shops, taking Sami for a walk, and doing a little “people watching”, we took a drive through the old section of town. I love old houses and Georgetown has plenty of them that were built in the 1800’s. It’s fun to think about what the people’s lives were like at the time the homes were built and also to imagine all of the families that have lived in them since. I could spend hours looking at the architecture of the old homes.
We drove west on I-70 until we got to the Dillon/Silverthorn exit, where we were staying for the night. We looked around a little and then checked in to our hotel, the La Quinta, and took a nap. Yep! We took a nap. After all, aren’t trips supposed to be relaxing? 🙂 After our nap we started looking for a place to have dinner and ended up at The Mint.
The Mint is in an old building in Silverthorn and the web site looked pretty good. I didn’t read carefully enough though, or I would have chosen a different restaurant. The premise of The Mint is that you cook your own steak, so it’s supposed to be a better quality of meat for less money, plus you’re supposed to have your steak cooked exactly the way you want it. Hmmm…….If we had known before we went in………. Anyway, we were there and decided to give it a shot. Jack asked for the wine list and was presented with one that had an O.K. selection. He made his choice and the waitress said she would have to check and see if they had it. She came back with a list that had about half (or more) of the wine options crossed out and told us we could choose from what was left. We should have left, but didn’t. Mistake!
The Mint has a decent salad bar, so we got our salads and then chose our meat. We both had bacon wrapped filet mignon, so we stood at the grill for about 20 minutes or so (Jack’s steak was shrinking the whole time, which seemed kind of strange since mine wasn’t) and then returned to our table. My steak was really good, but Jack’s (under the bacon) was full of gristle. Honestly, if he had kept it he would only have been able to eat 25-30% of it. He told the waitress about it and they offered another steak (which would have required another 20 minutes at the grill) or removing it from our bill, which is what we opted for.
The sides at The Mint aren’t included. There is also no price on them, so you have to ask how much each of them are. We got fries to share and they weren’t hot at all. Jack had specifically asked if they were curly fries and was told there they were. Out of our order, I think two of the fries were “semi-curly”. I should note, also, that you are responsible for getting your own steak from the “butcher shop”, ordering your sides there, and getting your own salad. The waitress basically brings your drinks and then also brings your sides when you get back to the table after cooking your meat. The prices were pretty high ($28.50 for a filet that’s probably 6-8 ounces) compared to the amount of work you have to do. I would rather buy steaks and cook them at home than do this again. I would definitely not recommend The Mint for a good, relaxing meal.
After dinner we ventured over to the Dillon Reservoir. It’s very pretty there and we love it! We let Sami come walking with us for awhile and just admired the beauty of the mountains, water, and trees. There were people fishing, children playing, and a few boats on the water. It was a very nice evening!
We returned to our hotel and took a little soak in the hot tub. We were the only ones there and that was nice! Our room was pretty warm and the La Quinta in Georgetown has free-standing heating/cooling units in the room that are extrememly noisy. There’s no other way to cool your room except to open the windows, so that’s what we did. Well, the interstate noise was bad and we thought it would get better as the night got later, but it never did. I finally closed the window and turned the “noise machine” back on. Sort of which is the lesser of the two evils??? I do have to say that the room itself was nice and the bed was comfortable, which we really appreciate.
We were looking forward to breakfast in the morning and were disappointed with that, too. The juice machines weren’t working, but there was a pitcher of orange juice. No tea bags or decaf coffee. Really? What hotel/motel doesn’t have either of those? Several other things seemed strange, but otherwise just an average hotel breakfast.
We drove through Breckenridge (our favorite of all the ski towns here) and then through Fairplay. As we were back on the dirt road coming to our house we came over a hill and had a beautiful view of a snow-capped Pike’s Peak. Gorgeous! Pictures can’t possibly begin do it justice.
It was only a couple of days, but it was enough to get away and refresh. More importantly, we had quality time together and we made more memories. Happiness!