Friday, July 29, 2011

Lake City

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)...

...has a sense of humor!

Lake City is quaint and quirky. Its efforts to preserve its history are obvious in places.

The town is loaded with cozy cabins where visitors (most of them Texans) spend a few days or the entire Summer.

One house sported a whimsical weather vane that we were so tempted to take home with us.

Here, members of the community are encouraged to express themselves. (Do you suppose the belly dancers wear clogs?)

But, furry friends are not allowed to play in the park. (And, they soooo wanted to!)

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!


Jim and Sandie said...

What a neat place to put on my to see list.

Merikay said...

I'm going to go back and look at your earliest posts to see what kind of short California trips we might consider. We won't really be doing much until after Craig retires in December. Well maybe RVing in the upper driveway!

Sue and Doug said...

two posts in one day!..whoo hoo you are on a roll, Mary!..the little town looked like it was full of character! the sign at the tavern!!

E Squared and Mui said...

Seems like a great place to drop by; and that last picture alone would make it all worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

We were staying in a friends cabin just outside Lake City for the first time in June of 2011. I drove into town to pick up a few supplies and fill up on gas. As I was pumping gas, this fella stuck his head out the door of the station and asked, "pump working alright for ya?" I said " yeah it's workin fine." He then proceeded to check on other things out front. Just as I was putting my gas cap on my Jeep, that same fella walked up to me and asked just like he had known me for years, "You coming tonight?", I asked , "coming to what", he replied " free music and BBQ right behind the store." I said,"I suppose" and then I said to him, " you know I'm not from around here" and he leaned into me and said with a smile, "in a town this small, you think I don't know you're not from around here" I said, "there's four of us" and he said that's fine, it starts at 6:00 don't be late, by the way my name is Hutch, I'll be looking for you. We talked a few more minutes and then I went back to the cabin to tell everyone we were invited to enjoy BBQ and music. That evening we showed up at 6:00 and Hutch and his crew were serving up some of the best BBQ I have ever had. He told me later that they had served over 400 people that night. What a fun night. Thanks Hutch, we'll see you again this summer in Lake City.