August 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm Leave a comment

Colorado – RMNP to Vail

It was now time to head out towards Karens house in Avon, a suberb of Vail.  What a fun trip getting there!  The first amazing thing we came across was St. Malo Church or as it’s known “The Chapel on the Rocks”.  One August night in 1916 Msgr. Joseph J. Bosetti saw a fiery meteor fall from the sky. An avid mountaineer and, at the time, a young assistant pastor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Msgr. Bosetti later related that the meteor seemed to fall into the aspen and pine-covered forests at the foot of Mount Meeker.  He never found the meteor, but at dawn, did discover an impressive lichen-covered rock formation. Bosetti regarded this as a message from heaven and vowed to build a chapel on the site.

In 1993, Pope John Paul II stayed at Saint Malo during his World Youth Day visit to Denver.  Today, Camp Saint Malo Catholic Retreat, Conference & Spiritual Center is under the care of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, and provides a religious and spiritual place for all denominations.

St Malo Church

We saw more wildlife along the way.

And then we came to Nederland, an eclectic little town tucked in the Rockies near the continental divide.    The Town of Nederland was established in 1885. It started as a trading post between Ute Indians and European Settlers during the 1850s. The first economic boom to the town came when gold, silver, & tungsten ore were discovered near the rich mines of Caribou in 1859 and Eldora, CO in 1875.  Today it is better known as a gateway to all the outdoor recreation the Rockies has to offer.

Next stop was at Central City.  There is so much history in all these towns along this route.  In 1859 gold was discovered in a gulch near Central City which started its’ growing boom.  Within two weeks it had grown to over 10,000.  The grand opening of the Opera House in 1878 started a tradition of community theatre, ranging from opera to vaudeville. Buffalo Bill performed there as well at P. T. Barnum’s circus.  We watched people lining up to see a show while we were there.

Central City

Old jail turned art gallery

Today, people try to find their fortunes in all the casinos that are throughout the town.  We stopped into the Easy Street Casino to have lunch at Millie’s Restaurant.  We had to stop and put a few coins in the slot machines.  Can you believe it?  These slot machines still give out REAL coins!  I love it!  The local church group was there having lunch in full costume to commemorate something?  I can’t remember what but it was fun seeing them.

Millie's Restaurant

Next stop was The Peck House restaurant and hotel in Empire.  Established in 1862 this is the oldest hotel in Colorado.    Gold and silver mines abounded between 1858 & 1865, and many Easterners came here to stake a claim. Among them were James Peck and his 3 teenage sons. They came in 1860 to build their house so the other family members might follow. In 1862, Mary Peck brought the family goods by oxcart and joined her family.  By 1873 the inn became a booming business.  The Lake Michigan Ship’s bell over the door was rung 3 times a day to call the men around town to dinner.   Many of the antiques used throughout the hotel today came by that oxcart with Mary Peck.

The Peck House

As we were driving along, I said if we were to see a mountain sheep now it would make our trip complete.  Low and behold, there they were along the roadway!  The Colorado state animal, the Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep!

Rocky Mountain sheep

Next post – Vail


Entry filed under: Travel. Tags: , , , , , .

Colorado! Colorado!

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