Anniversary in Idaho Springs.

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Elk’s Lodge in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Photo by Jeff Tucker

My wedding anniversary is March 7. Following so closely on the heels of Valentines Day, we basically skip Valentines Day, and instead wait until our anniversary as our romantic holiday. Over the last few years, on most anniversaries, we like to leave our young adult children in charge of the house and the dogs, and go to different bed and breakfasts around the state of Colorado (and not too far from Denver). Bed and breakfasts are great because they all offer a different atmosphere from hotels, have character and charm, sometimes feature a house pet, come with a free breakfast, and are much more affordable than fancy hotels. We like trying new things, and each place is a new atmosphere and a new experience.

We have stayed in bed and breakfasts in Denver, but usually we like to head to the mountains. The last few years, we have been very “springy” in our B&B approach, going to Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, and this year to Idaho Springs. Each of these places also have a historic downtown area with little funky shops, great restaurants, and the obligatory microbrewery/brewpub — Colorado has tons of great microbreweries.

Traveling just an hour west of Colorado’s capital, the temperature drops 15 to 20 degrees, and you are within the Rocky Mountains, and one of the first old mountain towns along I-70 is Idaho Springs. This year we did our Internet research, read some reviews, and looked into a charming B & B in Idaho Springs, Colorado, called Miners Pick. The old house was just a block off the main street with its historic district.

We were greeted immediately upon arriving. We saw the house had a lovely staircase, next to a living room with a fireplace, and a welcoming, open dining room. Up the stairs, Vicki Larson, the proprietor of the B & B, showed us to our room, which had a southwestern/New Mexican motif, with terra cotta-colored walls, Kokopelli cut-outs on the lamps and light switches. The bathroom had a shower with a deep tub with jets, which my husband knew about from our research. The room had real warmth — indeed, the whole house had that vibe of relaxation and comfort.

We explored a bit of Idaho Springs historic area, which did not take a long time since the town is small. We visited the old library, which was built with the help of Andrew Carnegie’s donation, went into a soap shop smelling soaps and oils of many and varied fragrances until our nostrils were exhausted, had dinner at an obligatory brewpub, and then just walked around breathing in the cleaner, cooler air of the mountain town.

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Our bed & breakfast. Photo by Jeff Tucker.

When we came back to Miners Pick, Vicki had lit the fire in the gas fireplace. Jeff and I sat on the sofa near the fireplace, played some Trivial Pursuit — provided in the game cabinet — and shared a beer. Perhaps the correct word wasn’t “played,” but rather read the cards to see if we knew the answers. In any case, it was cozy and nice, relaxing with the fire, sipping beer, and laughing at how obscure some the trivia questions were, while we assured each other how smart we were for knowing a camel’s spine is straight, even though it’s back has a hump or two.

Vicki also had the fire going when we came down for breakfast. The breakfast was amazing. A spinach, cheese and bacon omelet, fried potatoes, a few pieces of ham, home-made luscious jam and a piece of multi-grain toast to spread the jam on. Jeff had coffee, while I drank hot breakfast tea, and we both also enjoyed orange juice that tasted fresh-squeezed.

Vicki also did something that was wonderful and unexpected — she joined in our conversation, which we absolutely welcomed, and we talked. It was so nice, a delightful breakfast, good company where you find out about another person — we formed a connection. We asked her if she every had any famous people stay at the B & B, and the answer was “No, but I have had a lot of people who have come back over several years. I get to know them, and I end up having more friends.” And we can see why. Vicki is funny and warm, just like her B & B.

We left just a bit after breakfast, our bellies full, with warm fuzzies of comfort. We don’t know if or when we’ll be back, but it would not surprise either of us if we became one of the return customers.

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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