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