Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Day 15: Hummingbirds at The Baldpate Inn

When you visit The Baldpate Inn, you’ll be delighted to see that you are not alone – quite often, a “charm” of hummingbirds is present. Yes, a group of hummingbirds is called a charm, and it is quite appropriate!  These tiny birds charm many guests as they dart and hover with tremendous agility, flashing their jeweled colors

Hummingbird feeders surround the deck and are suspended outside the windows of the Sun Porch dining area, adding great entertainment and fascination for guests of all ages. Six species of hummingbirds frequent the area each summer.


Out on the front deck, if you can stay very still, these tiny birds will allow you to get quite close as they enjoy their sweet meal. 

If you’re the one who is hungry, you are in for a treat with a window seat in the Sun Porch dining room. To enjoy a scrumptious meal, with views stretching into the picturesque Estes valley, serenaded by aerial acrobats – this is truly an experience to treasure. 

Sun Porch dining
Feeders hanging outside the Sun Porch
Guests and staff have enjoyed observing and learning about hummingbirds during Enchanted Evening presentations. Presentations by bird experts include catching, banding, and releasing the hummingbirds while sharing knowledge about these beautiful “flying jewels.” Stay posted for future Enchanted Evenings topics and more on our Events page.

The hummingbirds will soon head to Baldpate; somehow they always know to arrive on Mother’s Day and depart on Labor Day.  You can join them on opening day, Friday, May 26th.

Do you have a favorite hummingbird memory at The Baldpate Inn? Tell us your story in the comments below.

We would like to thank Bill Boyce for taking and sending many of these awesome pictures!

Written by Liz Rodgers

Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 14: Bears at Baldpate (International Polar Bear Day)

Baldpate is famous for many things, our wildlife one of them (and I’m not talking about our staff here)!  :)  Besides our hummingbirds, the thing that gets our guests excited every time is an on-site visit from our neighborhood bears.  You may have seen one of our most recent adventures, the last Friday night of our 2016 season, when Mama Bear & her 3 cubs visited the Key Room. Our B&B guests were enjoying conversation and cookies in front of the fire, and when Heather our front desk gal, decided to throw another log on the fire, she startled the bear family who turned heel and thankfully scampered for the Library door. Our security cameras caught it on tape, so you can enjoy the adventure on YouTube, Baldpate Bears.

Clearly this was not a first and probably not the last visit of black bears to Baldpate Inn. This 1932 news story tells of Baldpate bear cubs entertaining the guests throughout our history.

Over the years, we've had cars broken into, food stolen from our refrigerators (they seem to favor the green grapes—must be Chardonnay fans), and we even a guest that thought the bear strolling by her was our extra-large friendly pet (her husband ran in to tell us about it while she calmly finished her cigarette in the driveway). 

We do always try to remind our guests that for their own safety and the preservation of these wild animals, please always "bear" in mind safety guidelines. This link to bear safety by the National Park Service has tips and information for next time you are visiting our neighborhood.

Another favorite bear moment was when at her daughter’s wedding, the mother of the bride was giving her emotional & heartfelt toast and the bears upstaged her walking by the Dining Room window at her back. Likely no one remembered that toast!  This "Blondie" was no doubt remembered!

Perhaps my favorite Bear moment was during one of our Key-thedral Theater Events, the driveway and parking lot was crowded with guests and cars coming and going, when a bear walked through.  Of course, then it was total gridlock for some time. When things finally calmed down, an irritated driver chewed me out for not planning the bear visit at a more convenient, less congested time.  As if I’d scheduled the whole thing as part of the evening’s activity!
Written by Lois Smith

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Day 13: Santa Fe Calendar Art

Navajo Children
It would be very difficult to miss the world-famous key collection when visiting The Baldpate Inn. And although some overlook our black & white photo collection, we would guess not too many guests really notice our vast collection of Santa Fe Calendar Prints displayed throughout the main lodge. These artistic gems tell a tale of another time, a time of railroad heydays and pioneering artist colonies in the Southwest. 

Created and distributed by the Santa Fe Railway Company, the artwork displayed within The Baldpate Inn is a collection of various lithograph prints of paintings, with dates as early as 1926, through 1959. The calendars themselves first were published in 1907, with credit given to William H. Simpson, who established the Advertising Department of the railway in 1896. We believe that the calendars were sold at the Baldpate Inn for several years. 

The Santa Fe Calendar Prints project served several purposes. It certainly promoted the railroad and encouraged tourists to visit the Southwest. Through the partnership with the railroad, artists were drawn to the Southwest region and were paid to continue to produce vivid paintings representing this unique area. Learn more about the railroad and artist partnership here. When tourists arrived, the local Native Americans were presented with an opportunity to sell their own artwork and crafts. Possibly an unforeseen result was that it also helped promote a truly American art form. Instead of replicating European styles, a unique style of American art had been born and was appreciated around the world. Today these iconic paintings continue to inspire a love of the Southwest.

The Chiefs

As you can see, this artwork has played an important role in the shaping of the American Southwest. We’ll sign off today with a quote that articulates the appeal of the Southwest. Included in the “Creating Images of the Southwest: The Santa Fe Railway Art Collection” pamphlet (1991), the quote is from 1926 but is still true today: 

Words are futile things with which to picture the fascination of this vast enchanted empire, unspoiled and full of startling contrasts that we call the Southwest. It is a land of limitless panoramas and distances dwarfed by the clear, dry air; of flooding sunshine and intense color; of snow-capped peaks and twisting, abysmal gorges; of sage and cedar and mountain forests; of lazy rivers and plunging torrents; of broad mesas and rich, peaceful valleys. It is a land where the sunsets flame and the afterglow softens the harsh outlines of the wilderness into a picture of unspeakable beauty; where the silence listens and the night stars glow light headlights.

Written by Liz Rodgers 

San Francisco Peaks

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day 12: Key Room Archives American History Savers

How do you thank someone who has done immeasurable work for you year after year?  Especially when it was all volunteer! 

I hardly recall the first time Marie (Mack) Robb visited Baldpate with her students from Euphoria State, but after chatting with her about our Key Room, at some point she offered to help us with our long procrastinated curation of Baldpate’s treasures.

Marie assembled an all-star team for Baldpate’s project which began in the spring of 2005.

·       Brian, our Head Archivist from Portland OR
·       Leann, Archivist from Vancouver WA
·       Jill, Archivist from Vancouver WA
·       Devin, software consultant, designed our original searchable database
·       Steve, took on untold handyman projects

The first couple of years, Marie and her team focused on the boxes and boxes of "stuff" we had put in "storage" when we first cleaned out the Library to open in 1987.

When we purchased the Inn in 1986, the library was waist deep in old unorganized boxes of stuff. We piled most behind a fake wall we built on the south end of the library just so we could update the room and offer the library as a gathering place for guests.  Most didn’t even notice the fake wall.  

Not sure exactly what year we removed that wall to make more space, but then the boxes moved to one of our outbuildings, still unsorted.


Eventually Marie’s gang donned gloves and masks to sort through all this stuff (several times over the past ten years) and better preserve what should be kept and discard what was really just trash. We discovered scrapbooks of photos, business records, old letters and cards, Ethel Mace’s early diaries, and you name it. 

The next project the team tackled was our photo collection, carefully documenting each photo, researching to identify each image not only in the Dining Rooms but throughout the entire Lodge. Each photo and frame was restored as best as possible. Steve worked diligently to create small coffee table reference albums that our guests have enjoyed for years.  Check them out next time you visit!

Marie’s team varied each year with more help to include Mary, LeRoy, Pam, Joann, Kimber, Adam, Nancy, Cheryl & Tom who all became the workhorses and conquered the Key Room database project. We invite you to view their blog from 2009-10 documenting some highlights of their time at The Baldpate Inn. 

Thousands and thousands of Keys & Artifacts have been painstakingly deciphered and databased in the past 15 years! The information that they provided has helped us develop our Key Room Blog, sharing interesting facts and findings with you. 

Written by Lois Smith

Friday, February 24, 2017

Day 11: It's All in the Delivery

Sure wish I’d kept a better diary, but those first years were hectic and there didn’t seem time to journal, but only to do. So I especially appreciated receiving back our 1987 Christmas letter from a friend several years ago who was cleaning out her desk. 

Here we documented using 1100 pounds of flour and 360 dozen eggs our first year in 1987. Just for comparison, in 2016 we used 2650 pounds of flour, 1020 dozen eggs, 1800 pounds of sugar (surely half of that was for the hummingbirds) and 2100 pounds of cheese!  We have certainly been blessed to serve so many travelers!

If you have visited you know our driveway can be a challenge especially during busy mealtimes, so when you put that together with all the delivery trucks, it can be precarious! Fortunately one of our caring drivers, Rich, took the ditch instead of hitting any parked cars, but you can imagine, getting the loaded semi out took some very skilled tow truck maneuvers (thanks Bob’s Towing) along with the wench ability of numerous pine trees!

Operating a busy restaurant does have its daily challenges, from the guesswork of cooking or baking enough but not too much, keeping inventories, ordering the right amount of perishables, organizing everything so you can find it, to the getting the dishes done and making sure you are ready for the Health Inspector’s next visit. Oh, and making certain the food all tastes great!


We have enjoyed our business partnerships with many wonderful suppliers. It is impossible to count the number of times my understanding sales people have make a special trip to drop off a critical shorted item or called me over and over so we didn’t miss an order deadline. 

And of course there are the thoughtful new ideas they offer to keep us current with new food trends. I'll admit, occasionally it’s a no brainer, like when one of my wine distributors showed up with our “Lois” wine.  How could I say no?

Written by Lois Smith

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Day 10: Snow at The Baldpate Inn!

April 22, 1921 the Estes Park Trail headline was of 4 foot of snow, the most since 1913, and noted that Baldpate reported drifts of 8 & 9 feet!       

Not certain the year of this favorite photo, guessing early 1930s.

Next time you are complaining about shoveling snow, recall this fun Estes Park Trail story from the big snow in 1933 shoveling snow on the Dance Hall roof!

Our “big” snow was in March 2003, when I would estimate another 8 feet or so, and pretty much closed everything down. It was days before Highway 7 was even a narrow one lane path up to Baldpate’s entrance.

I snowshoed in just to see what was still standing, and was amazed to see all was well - even as the snow on the roof of the main lodge was covering the tall second story windows!

The only thing that needed repair was the roof that had collapsed on our old barn.
Thankfully our insurance company helped with the cost and we were blessed to find a preservation-minded contractor, Smith Construction of Loveland, who was willing to do the extra work to rebuild the rafters with native log timbers and replace the red tin roof.

Written by Lois Smith

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Day 9: Frozen or on the Rocks? (National Margarita Day)

It has always been hard for us imagine, with the number of deliveries we receive every week, how they ever managed back in the day! They only had this state of the art “icebox” (which we now use for a china cabinet in our Dining Room), and yet today we still run out of space with two giant refrigerators (each four times the size of this one), two small refrigerators, two freezers and an ice machine!

Lig-o-nier Refrigerator Co, Ligonier Indiana USA

A 1921 October 28 Town & Countryside article documented, “Among improvements at Baldpate Inn is a fine new ice house.” This tiny ice house building remains by our driveway today, a reminder of the conveniences of yesteryear.

In February 1923, the newspapers again reported that “Charles and Gordon Mace, proprietors of  Baldpate Inn, came up Sunday from Denver and spent Monday and Tuesday assisting with the work of storing the ice supply for next summer.”

Looking at these pictures, we are not sure which is more phenomenal, driving the "Woody" (truck) out on the lake or standing on the edge of the ice while sawing it off!! 

For an even deeper appreciation of ice cutting, you can view this 1919 amateur ice cutting film. This was not taken at Baldpate; we are pretty sure all our ice was cut by hand (no horsepower).  And crazy as it seems, we do even have the original ice saw on display in the Key Room. Check it out on your next visit!

So enjoy all that ice in your favorite beverage!  Cheers!

Written by Lois Smith




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Day 8: 221-B Baker Street - Sherlock Holmes Holds the Key

Baldpate Inn Key Collection  221-B Baker Street
This day, 2/21, seems quite the clever clue that we should point you to one of our more imaginative keys in our considerable Key Collection. 221-B Baker Street is the address of the legendary genius, Sherlock Holmes, and we are honored to have a key to his flat! 

This illustrious key along with another especially bejeweled one was donated to The Baldpate Inn by one of the many Murder Mystery Groups that over the years have enjoyed The Baldpate Inn as the perfect setting for their thrilling murder mystery weekends!

1988 Murder Mystery Key
We invite you to imagine days of old as you uncover facts and theories about this key and its history in our Key Room Blog “Elementary, Dear Watson!” With over 30,000 keys in our collection, I imagine that Sherlock Holmes would have quite a grand time sleuthing through them. 

We will be sure to share some of the very best of our key stories with you in our countdown to opening day!
Written by Liz Rodgers