Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tucked In The Mountains: Box Canyon Lodge, Ouray, Colorado

Searching out the best places to read, write or sip on the Western Slope

Box Canyon at Box Canyon Lodge

Ouray, Colorado is surrounded by some of the most dramatic mountains in the state. Considered the Little Switzerland of America, the San Juan Mountains represent some of the steepest and rockiest in Colorado. Nestled in these mountains is one of my family’s favorite hideouts, Box Canyon Lodge. The rates are reasonable and the rooms, while simple, are very clean and come stocked with a small refrigerator and microwave, ideal for a few nights stay. But we never remain inside for long. There’s too much to do outside, including soaking in the mineral hot tubs, open and free to all lodge guests. The tubs look like large half wooden barrels, taking the imagination back to an earlier time, and are conveniently located on terraced decks directly behind the hotel.

The property of Box Canyon Lodge was originally owned by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Cogar and operated as a sanitarium from 1925 until 1929 and then became the Sweet Skin Sanitarium owned by Mr. Kent from Illinois. Sometime after World War II, it turned into a motel and has been operated as such since then. The original bath house can still be seen on the edge of the property. Many claim the relaxing hot mineral waters still contain curative powers. I don’t know about that, but it sure feels good to sink into a steamy tub after a day of hiking, skiing or even just touring the town.

After a quick soak in the morning and a cup of freshly brewed coffee from the lobby, my family and I head out to explore the shops in the historic downtown. Of course, like a word-seeking missile, I locate the independent bookstore, Buckskin Booksellers. Lined with shelves of books and a rack of magazines, I quickly settle into browsing mode. The bookstore contains a great selection of local authors and maps as well as bestsellers and classics. What writer can resist that kind of offering?

There are plenty of fine restaurants including the local Ouray Brewery, to feed your appetite. And be sure to stop by Mouse’s Chocolates and Coffee for a tempting bite (or two!) of delicious homemade chocolates, cookies and decadent ice cream treats.

Don’t worry about eating too much, you can work it off. Take a short drive to the dramatic gorge and walk around for a bit. In the winter, you can catch daring ice climbers at the Ouray Ice Park picking their way up steep manmade ice walls lining the canyon. In the summer, be sure to hike the short and easy walk to Box Canyon Falls. The historic setting quickens the imagination, and the scenery, pools, shops, bookstore, and eateries make Ouray, Colorado and Box Canyon Lodge an ideal location for a writing get-away or a reader’s paradise.

For information and rates about Box Canyon Lodge: http://boxcanyonouray.com/

For more information about the town of Ouray: http://www.ouraycolorado.com/


Photos and post by Julie Luekenga. Julie lives in the high mountain ranching community of Gunnison, CO and is a freelance writer published in regional and national publications and a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. 

Writing under the name Julie Luek, she maintains two blogs (In Fine Company and A Thought Grows) and is a regular, every other week, contributor to the international writing website, She Writes. She can also be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Watch for Julie's Chiseled in Rock reports from the western slope on the first Tuesday of each month.


Dean K Miller said...

The best time to write is when you can. The best place to write is where you are.

But if you've got the time to go, wow...I'd pick any one of these!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I agree, Dean. Makes me want to take a vacation...

Davee said...

I just found a new place in Colorado to visit, thank you!!

Chiseled in Rock said...

I'm in love with that place just from the pics. Freakin' wow, Julie!


Anonymous said...

Hope you all can make it this way sometime. If you do, give me notice and I'll meet you there and buy you a beer. There were still a few varieties of brew I wanted to sample.