The Colorado high country is home to old mining towns. Lots of them. About 50 miles southwest (and nearly 1,000 feet up) from Gunnison is Lake City. This alpine gem covers nearly three times as much ground as Pitkin, and is home to about 350 year-round residents. The Lake City Historical District contains many of the more than 200 buildings that remain from the 19th century mining boom. Today, most of these buildings house cute little shops that attract summer tourists.
This interesting property sits between one shop and a tavern in the historic district. It took just a minute to see that the tavern owns the place, and (look closer)...
The town is loaded with cozy cabins where visitors (most of them Texans) spend a few days or the entire Summer.
Here, members of the community are encouraged to express themselves. (Do you suppose the belly dancers wear clogs?)
The reason for our visit today was to track down a couple we met last winter in Kerrville. When Hutch and Roxa told us about their gas station/garage/concert venue/barbeque joint, we found it hard to believe that such a place could really exist. Just past the historic district and over the creek, we spotted Sportsmans BBQ & Backyard. Sure enough, there are a couple of gas pumps out front! We stepped inside what once was a Texaco station and caught a whiff of Texas barbeque. We were greeted by Hutch and Roxa and caught up over a couple of tasty sandwiches. After lunch, they took us out back and showed us the garage (complete with a full-time mechanic) and "the backyard", a 300-seat concert/dinner venue. This year's Backyard Concert Series featured Suzy Bogguss and Michael Martin Murphey. Snuggled up to the base of a mountain, this intimate setting makes a great venue for dinner and music under the stars.
It was such a treat to see Hutch and Roxa in their Colorado home. We look forward to seeing them again in Kerrville. And, the next time we hear them talk about their quirky place, we'll believe them!
Before heading back to Gunnison, we went up the road just a bit to visit Lake City's namesake. Lake San Cristobal is the second largest natural lake in Colorado. Created by a landslide some 700 years ago, this sparkling jewel of the San Juan Mountains is picture perfect. Afternoon storms were brewing, so we cut today's visit short. But, we very much look forward to coming back!