We left beautiful Sage Hill Vineyards yesterday morning and headed west on I76. The roads were good and the traffic was light as we drove towards Denver. We stopped on the outskirts of the city to buy some groceries as we would be spending the next two nights in a rented house in Leadville, CO and the plan was to cook dinners, write our blogs, process and correct the photos and just be cozy. There were no other wineries to visit en route and anyway yesterday was Easter Sunday so most would likely be closed anyway.
It was amazing how the landscape still seemed very flat even as we approached Denver and then quite suddenly we were on I70 and right in the Rockies. Snow was falling as we continued to climb. Hal Walker, the Sage Hill Vineyard owner, had warned us that Leadville, our day-3 destination, would be very cold and as we got closer to this historic mining town, the thermometer dropped to 30 degrees. The road leading to Leadville is called The Top of The Rockies and Leadville is one of the highest points at 10,152'
Leadville is bigger than Parks, Nebraska, but only just. It is now officially designated a ghost town but in it's heyday it was a bustling frontier mining community and it is rich in mineral and pioneering history.
While there are wineries in Colorado, this area is really too cold to grow grapes successfully. There is a winery in Minturn on the way to Vail but it seems it is more of a tasting room geared to summer tourists. It was closed when we tried to visit this morning but we should have more luck in the Grand Junction area tomorrow as we head towards Utah.
We did visit Vail. I had never been there before and wanted to at least experience it. The ski hills closed yesterday to the public but were open today for the mountain employees who were also being treated to an end of season celebratory party. It was therefore quite bustly and had a wonderful atmosphere. One day I would love to ski here. A job in this region would not be the worst thing in the world! Please take note, headhunters!
Before dinner this evening, Ginnie and I left Hopi in our little rented house for half an hour and wandered down 4th Street to take in the atmosphere at the oldest saloon in Colorado, the Silver Dollar. This place is amazing! It has been a saloon since 1879 and has an Irish theme. Miners, gamblers and local gangsters have frequented it for over 130 years and if the walls could talk there would be incredible stories. As it is, the walls are covered with an eclectic collection of antiques, memorabilia, art and plain junk. It is authentic, unpretentious and thoroughly entertaining just to sit at the bar and soak up the history. The beautifully carved back bar is a work of art in itself. We were both so pleased that we ventured in!
Another great couple of days with new adventures. Tomorrow we head to Moab, Utah. Stay tuned!