Mc Elmo Canyon and it’s Winery:Destination Sutcliff Vineyards

Winters grip is upon us here in Colorado and the temperatures it seems are often lately in the single digits.   The tree’s are stark and barren and there is a foot or so of snow on the ground.  It’s cold and outside not much warmth to be found.   I intended to write this during the summer months but it never came to fruition.  So I sit in the warmth of our home nestled close to the fire as I pull the fleece coverlet over my toes.

DSC_0170

As I sit here and enjoy the warmth I find myself dreaming of wine and decide to pour myself a glass of the nice Cab Franc that was sent in my shipment of wine.Its my 3rd shipment that I have received.   Enjoying the taste I find myself reminiscing of my visit to Mc Elmo’s Sutcliff Vineyards.

DSC_0160.JPG

Situated in the backdrop of Ancient Canyons and the Sleeping Ute Mountain of Colorado you will find this little gem.

Roughly 36 acres of Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot are grown. The vineyards produce what wine that is what I have heard described as handcrafted in an old world style.   This is not your large scale winery but a vineyard and winery created and developed with the careful and meticulous eye of it’s owner.

DSC_0162

With a passion only others dream about you will find the owner John Sutcliff the winery’s namesake.  When he speaks it is with such emotion and his desire for you to understand his dream is felt.  He lives it, breaths, it and loves it and it is part of him and he is part of it.  We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of wine tasting and conversation with this interesting gentleman.

DSC_0177

From his welsh roots to his history of working in some of the finest restaurants he can be at times mesmerizing.   He explains the history of the wine he makes and how it was not always this palatable.  It was only when he brought in a winemaker by the name of Joe Buckle the beauty of Sutcliff Vineyards was released to full potential.  Creating the wines they have today.

DSC_0159

They wines are simply wonderful and influenced with the uniqueness of the Ancient Canyons and the winemakers themselves.  It’s almost as if the Canyon has produced wines that are handcrafted with the spirit of west.

DSC_0155

Not all the wines produced at Sutcliff Vineyards are developed from the canyon grapes.  Some outsourcing is done and the choices are meticulously done to compliment Sutcliff’s unique style.

DSC_0157

Throughout the summer various events happen at the winery and on a summer afternoon the drive is lovely.  It is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon.  For those who would enjoy a meal.  Call and schedule ahead and you will enjoy afternoon of delightful cuisine from locally sources items paired with delicious wine of course.   Oh and take friends because wine is always better with friends.

DSC_0163

If you are visiting Southwestern Colorado, take a moment and visit Sutcliff Vineyards make a afternoon of it.   You can really spend more than an afternoon in the area.  From Mc Elmo Canyon and it’s winery’s to Mesa Verde National Park the area is filled with not only incredible beauty but with the history of the Southwest.   We have excellent Jeep trails, hiking trails, and wonderful fishing.

Come visit I would love to show you around.  As always if you need help booking a hotel, trip, or anything else I am available.   Or you can do it yourself with my booking site at TravelwithT.mtravel.com which is how I fund my blogging.

Cheers and I hope to see you at Sutcliff Vineyards and Southwest Colorado.!

DSC_0182

DSC_0180

-8 degrees is nothing when you have a Redwood

Jeep and Redwood

Winter and a 5th wheel are not always used in the same sentence and especially winter in the negative range.   Yet, with our Redwood it has been nothing but complete comfort.   Winter in the Four Corners area of Colorado can be mild or can be brutal and this year our first year in our Redwood it has been brutal.  We have seen quite a significant amount of snow and just this past week we have been in negative digits.

Winter Wonderland
Just a little snow

We chose the Redwood because it was rated as four season and I am pretty certain the four season they were talking about was not in the negatives.  I can only tell you that that it lives up to its claim in every aspect.

Winter Wonderland 2
With a Redwood and a Jeep we got this covered

We made the required adjustments and prepped it for winter.  We heat traced the water and wrapped it in insulation.  I should say the husband did this really as the only thing I did was help hold the insulation so he could place it on the water.   This definitely helped and thus far we have had no issues.  We have a small heater in the underbelly which is also insulated and heated but because of the extremes we wanted to be sure we were thoroughly prepared.

IMG_2378
Just a little snow

During winter especially a cold winter in Colorado our stick built home would usually have a pipe bust.  At least one either outside or inside.  The Redwood so far has not had an issue

IMG_2362.JPG
Lot’s of vacancies here

It is absolutely amazing and has been completely comfortable.   It is actually warmer in winter than our stick built 2500 sq foot home.    We have one fireplace in the living area and one in the bedroom and both run off electricity.   These have kept the Redwood completely warm.   Only when it has been in the single digits has the propane heater even come on.  We set it at 65 and this has been more than warm enough.

IMG_2361
Not many have this idea for their own Redwood life.

I really have to say testing it out has been pleasant and we have yet to encounter any significant issues.   The Redwood maintains its heat well and the two fireplaces hold up to the most frigid temperatures.   It does have a few little drafts mostly in the lower areas of the floors but nothing that is a game changer.  It would be interesting to figure out where the drafts are actually coming from.Overall we are happy with its performance in winter with really nothing to complain about.  It will now be interesting at the opposite of the spectrum and see how it holds up in the summer months maybe in some place like Lake Havasu.   I am pretty confident that if it does this well in winter we won’t be disappointed in summer.  Only time will tell.A

For the Luxury Minimalist this life offers complete mobility in or out of the US.  I am completely satisfied with selling our large home and all the ENTRAPMENT’S that come along with it. Now we enjoy our luxury studio and we hit the road whenever we desire.   As for regrets I have none.  Affordable luxury lifestyle without breaking the bank offers me opportunity travel, travel, travel.   As always if you are in need of any questions answered send me an email.   Would love to book your next travel adventure around the world or around the corner.

rv redwood

IMG_2377
You have to be prepared!

The Wyman Hotel circa 1902

IMG_1156 (2)Set in the incredible back drop of some of the most spectacular mountains in Colorado you will find the sleepy little town of Silverton.  Left over from the bye gone mining days of Colorado’s history.  This little place was once on the way to become one of Colorado’s next ghost town until it’s incredible beauty was rediscovered.

It’s picturesque setting, towering backdrop, and fantastic outdoor activities make it an ideal destination for a weekend jaunt.  We have visited before but we both enjoy coming back to discover new adventures, trails, and we love to jump back in time if only for a minute.

So when the opportunity presented itself with a business trip for the husband, I took the opportunity for a visit midweek. Not wanting to make a return visit to the Grand Hotel and being I had heard great things about the Wyman we booked a room.

Wyman10

I was not disappointed.   The building itself is well over 100 years old the hotel not quite that.  It features authentic furnishings that represent the early 1900’s.   The Lady herself looks to have been quite a grand dame when she was originally built.   She was not a hotel in the beginning but more of a gathering place with a ballroom and meeting areas.

Wyman20

I can almost hear the music playing in what would have been ballrooms upstairs not because this Grand Dame is haunted, but because when you walk in you appreciate the history she represents.   In today’s throw away society it is nice to see an appreciation and care for a piece of history.

Wyman19

I can’t help but imagine what it would be like in the days of old the hustle and bustle of those coming and going in the little town.  The dust of the streets settling on everything as the buggy’s and mule teams ride by.  Miners coming with the promise of treasure and finding the alpine setting rugged and unforgiving of the slightest mistake.  Yet the beauty unparralled to anything.

The room we itself was cozy and comfortable.  A definite improvement from our previous stay in Silverton.   The room was nicely decorated in period style comfort and the bed was excellent.   It’s October so the mornings are brisk but the room maintained heat well for a 100 year old building.

Wyman14

Breakfast was wonderful and every detail was looked after.  After some of my meal experiences here in Silverton I was pleasantly surprised. The table was set beautifully and I loved the name plate touch.   For breakfast this morning the feature was wonderfully delicious quiche filled with green chili and just the right amount of seasonings.  The berry filled smoothie to start was delicious too.  Cecilia was a wonderful host in the breakfast area attending to our every request, even the ice tea request at 8 in the morning.  She was bright, happy, and took extra care of every guest present.  What a genuine smile and sense of warmth.

Wyman15

We were only able to spend one night here but we both are looking for our next opportunity to visit.  We would not hesitate to come and visit The Wyman again and she is a beautifully refined lady.  Her ages shows a little but it only adds to her warmth. For the luxury minimalist side I look forward to being able to spend the afternoon and enjoy tea and or wine in the evening hour.  As this grand damn provides afternoon tea and or wine with your room price.

Wyman1Wyman2

Silverton where the “Old West” meets “Jeeping”

 

Silverton Blog 7

Part cowboy, part mining, part recreation, part old west and spectacular beauty is what you will find in Silverton, Colorado. It is a blend of the old mining, cowboy southwest and off road recreational but they do it wonderfully.

Blog Silverton 4

It’s where the 100% Coal fired Steam train still pulls up with visitors daily in the summer months. We decided a visit over one weekend and this would allow us to discover some of the sights in our own backyard here in Colorado.

Our new RV Lifestyle gives us the opportunity to do more being we are not tied to a house and all that goes with it.  We have cut down on all of the things we had to do and find we have a lot more free time.  Nothing better in my opinion.  We still work full time and we live in our Redwood 5th wheel full time too.  We are on our way to retirement but not quite there yet.  We are working towards 2 years maybe sooner maybe longer.

Silverton Blog 8

Silverton is definitely ideal for the tourist who visit and it caters to that crowd. The buildings are still in your late 1800’s to early 1900’s facades. The once infamous Blair street which at one time hosted the underbelly of the town, and was reported to have 29 saloons and houses of ill repute now houses restaurants, candy stores, and hotels.

Silverton Blog 4

 

DSC_0326

We stayed at the beautiful Grand Imperial Hotel which is a classic 1900’s style hotel, it is really like walking back in time. We had a corner room and there is no air-conditioning but you really don’t need it. The bed I thought was the least appealing aspect.  I felt like it was left over from the 1900’s as it was hard as rock, and to complement it you had pillows that were also hard as a brick. Not good for the luxury minimalist in me. The hotel looked like it needed a little facelift as the room wall paper was peeling. Yet, it did add to the atmosphere of the whole thing.  I would not hesitate to book with them again but I would ask for better pillows, that would have made the hard bed easier to accept.

Silverton Blog 12

 

 

Where Silverton shines in my opinion is its closeness and access to its off road areas. They are some of the finest Colorado has to offer. Here you will find the young and the old traversing these mountain trails. You could go back every weekend over summer and most likely not see everything. We managed to make it over to Hurricane pass and Corkscrew trail. We got to experience some amazing beauty and both my husband Paul and I thought we should take a weekend and camp up there by one of the Alpine lakes.  I cover the Jeeping aspect in more depth in “the man way the woman way Jeeping”.

Silverton Blog 10

 

Blog Silverton 2

 

 

 

Jeeping Colorado 1

The weakest part of the town of Silverton is its food. Overpriced and nothing spectacular. So I guess you are paying for them to hall it over the mountain and then the ambiance of the place. I can say though that the best meal I had all weekend was at a little place called the Brown Bear Café where we had breakfast. I ordered a short stack of the banana pancakes. Let me tell you the short stack could feed and army. It was most excellent and the side of bacon was delicious.   Coffee was awful but hey I will take that being they hit the ball out of the park with the pancakes.

They were busy and the service was friendly and would be interested in trying lunch there.  They might just be better than what I saw and experienced through the rest of the town.

Silverton is a must see for visitors to this area, stay and experience the old west and of course of you would like to book a stay please by all means use my book site www.travelwitht.mtravel.com.  Better yet give me a call and I will help you.  There are various time period hotels in the area.

Silverton Street

 

Silverton Blog 6

The man way the woman way: Jeeping the Southwest

Jeeping Colorado 6

Colorful Colorado lives up to its name here in the Southwest.   It has not only spectacular beauty but the best and most incredible jeep trails.  In the southwestern range you will find anywhere from 9,000 to 14,000 ft trails and they are definitely not for the faint of heart. If you have angina or heart trouble make sure you have your meds.

Being the newbies my husband and I thought we would give them a try.  I mean why not right.  So the 2 middle age jeepers head up the mountain and travel up like they are pros.

The woman way is purchase my books, and scour all the blogs looking at which trails to try first.  To locate the correct trails use my gps or garmin and map out all the roads I need to follow.  I mean you see how well that worked with the RV parking right?

Jeeping Colorado 2

The mans way get in and go.  Don’t look at anything, just drive the jeep up the mountain.  It’s a jeep, there is a mountain, lets go.  There might have even been a grunt or two in there somewhere.

So being the wonderfully considerate wife that I am.  I forgo my woman way, books, trails ect and I jump on board with the man way.  I am flexible like that.  Jumping into the jeep we head towards the mountain we were off hair blowing in the wind (well mine anyways).

Jeeping Colorado 1

Our route was through Gladstone past the Durango mine incident and straight up towards Hurricane Pass.  We managed to make it quite far before even having to really place it into four wheel drive.   So the two newbies wait until it is really necessary to place it in 4wd and of course it is on a switchback next to a ledge drop off.  I mean really you really don’t need to worry right?

Jeeping Colorado 10

Well maybe not if you have driven the pass or even bothered to look it up but why do we need to do that?  So for about what seemed like 10 minutes right before we had to break the jeep book out, to make sure we were doing it right, on the switchback, on the ledge with a 12,000 ft drop down, with the wife trying not to utter a word, we get it in gear.

Jeeping Colorado 3

I have to say being on the side of a 12,000 to 14,000 foot drop barely wide enough for your vehicle to fit makes you think and wonder (for a catholic)  man I hope I made a good confession.  A couple of times we stated to each other, we are way to old for this crap and the words no sooner coming out of our mouth and we pass a couple in there 70’s.  So not to be out done by the old folks we forge on.

Jeeping Colorado 5

At times having to maneuver the jeep around other jeeps trying to get up the same mountain with a sheer drop off and really only space for 1 jeep.  Talk about adrenalin!  I would say this is definitely enough of a pump for an adventure junkie.

DSC_0271

The jeeping trails in Colorado are fantastic and whether you do it the man way or the woman way you are sure to get not only a great view but a great ride.   Most of our big trails don’t open up until around June or July due to snow pack and then close sometime in October usually again for snow pack.

I would love for you to come visit my home state and it’s incredible hiking and jeeping trails.  So if your making a weekend trip or longer from out of the area and if you need a place to stay please use my website booking link or go to travelwitht.mtravel.com.  It’s how I make a living on my blog.  If you book anywhere I post about let’s say a hotel I make a little money.  In Silverton I have Teller House listed. All the hotels in the area are period style places and reminiscent of the old west.   They are a classic way to stay the night and enjoy what the little town has to offer.  Especially since these beautiful trails are right by the area.

Silverton Street

Please check out our future travel and let me know if you want to join us.  After all the blog is TravelwithT.net.  Happy Day!

Take a glimpse into ancient culture; destination: Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Dwellings

Mesa Verde National Park is an incredible adventure into the past but also a vast area of beautiful wilderness where you can hike, bike, and camp

Mesa verde 12                                                                  Mesa Verde National Park is an incredible adventure into the past and a vast area of beautiful wilderness where you can hike, bike, and camp.   You can step into the world of the Ancestral Pueblo people at this amazing archeological site.   Discover and experience their world of 550 AD, where the pueblo people lived for over 700 years throughout this area.  Mesa Verde (Spanish for the Green Table)  is a spectacular site to visit.  Named rightly because its appears to be a large green table flat on the top typical of a Mesa.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States.   The park was created in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.   It is the largest archeological preserve in the U.S.  The park itself occupies 52,485 acres near the Four Corners and features some 600 cliff dwellings a numerous ruins of homes and villages.

mesa verde 4Mesa Verde 7Mesa Verde 8

Just the drive up to the ruins and you are gifted with incredible views of the whole county.  The winding road to the top will present you with vast skyline views of the Four Corners, wild flowers, and various wildlife along the way.  We were lucky enough to catch the local herd of wild horses in the park.  These animals are actually up for debate as to whether or not they are actually wild or feral from local reservation.

mesa verde 16Mesa Verde 15

Mesa Verde is better seen in various trips or a longer period of time.  We have decided to make several day trips to enable us to enjoy the expansive park properly.

mesa verde 5Today we opted for a trip with a short hike to one of the quieter parts of the park. The Wetherill Mesa is open from May through September.  We only made one stop to one of the self guided ruins known as the Step House.  It features an alcove, pit houses, and cliff dwelling.  There are rangers on site for questions.  The hike was fairly easy and about a 1 mile round trip.  The rangers will tell you to plan for about an hour.   There are two ways in, one features several levels of stairs and the other is flat with no stairs.  We opted for the longer way around using the stairs and are happy we did.  We were able to get some great views of the whole alcove as we hiked it.

Mesa Verde 7

Once in the dwelling site you are very close and are able to walk around the whole area.  They don’t allow standing on the walls but you are basically right inside the alcove in the historical site.  It’s pretty incredible to imagine the pueblo ancestral people living here.  You get to experience a little of what it might feel like as you walk in and around the Step House.   The Step House is named for the steps that are located next to the courtyard and dwellings.

step house 4

Between 1190 and 1270 most of the cliff dwellings were built.  There are community centers which have about 150 rooms to one room houses, kivas and courtyards. The structures are often built just fitting them in where they could with no real building plan.  The walls are single courses of stone.   To protect the walls and roof from weather erosion they are a limited height.   The Ancestral Pueblo only lived in the cliff dwellings for about 100 years.  Archeology study suggest that about the 1300’s Mesa Verde was abandoned.   Why they left is still being debated.   Where did they go?   They joined thousands of other ancestral people moving from what is today’s New Mexico and Arizona

step house 2 step house 8 step house 3 step house 5 step house 9

Mesa Verde is definitely a site to see, live, and experience.  You find incredible outdoor hikes, fantastic scenery, and a glimpse into the past of this great people and their history here in the southwestern United States.  National Parks are our treasure and should be trips on everyone’s bucket list.  You can’t beat them for incredible beauty, history and learning opportunities.  So for your next discovery destination try Mesa Verde National Park.

.