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Ski season is just around the corner and for locals who will soon be preparing for the seasons’ onse ,t here are some destinations that will whisk the weary away, revitalize the spirit and he pl rejuvenate the mind.
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Story and photos by Britta Gustafson
e a d t o t h e h e a r t o f C o l o r a d o , t o a t o w n r i c h i n h e r i t a g e , a g e m i n t h e m o u n t a i n s . M a k e y o u r w a y t o C e n t r a l C i t y , w h e r e f a c e s a r e f r i e n d l y a n d h o s p i t a l i t y a b u n d a n t . A and bad, and much like the early settlers in these mountains, the people who call it home have seen a new boom, this time with newcomers searching for serenity and maybe a little luck t r u e t a l e o f r a g s t o r i c h e s t o r a g s a n d b a c k a g a i n , C e n t r a l C i t y h a s s e e n g o o d t i m e s H
Driving up to this bed and breakfast, one may will feel transported back in time to an oasis
of peacefulness with the old mines in the distance and hospitality in the forefront.
Owners Christine Pollock and her sister Pat Ballantyne are not only welcoming hosts but al- so the self-proclaimed “Canadian Ambassadors of Central City”. Both are full of information about the historical sites and rich heritage of the area and are actively involved in maintaining
along the way.
the character of Central City.
The $40 million dollar Parkway that now brings tourists directly to Central City has brought with it revitalization. Located off I-70 at HiddenValley Exit 243, the four-lane parkway, opened to the public on November 19, 2004, has steadily increased the tourist industry to the area, bringing back the much needed economic flow. Built in 1875 by Thomas Hooper, the guest quarters are quaint and cozy with everything one needs to truly relax on-hand. Enjoy a pleasant breakfast at your own pace, as baskets of fresh- baked goodies and other delights appear in your private kitchen-net the night before. “We offer guest suites complete with all the amenities including a holistic spa on site. We provide fresh flowers, chocolates, a bed turn-down service and welcome “In the ’90s, Black Hawk nearly killed the economy here, it was like a ghost town,” explains local Christine Pollock, proprietor of the Hooper Home- stead Bed and Breakfast Suites and Blissful Spirits Spa. “But the new Parkway has put us back on the map.” cards to all our guests and we have a hot tub on-site,” explains Pollock. “My sister and I are from Canada so the hospitality is very friendly Get spooked during a Halloween Ghost Tour walk through a n d p e a c e f u l . M o s t p e o p l e c o m m e n t o n h o w r e j ” u v e n a t e d t h e y downtown Central City October 29 from 2-4 p.m. Known in its heyday as “The Richest Square Mile on Earth,” Central City was founded in 1859, and within two weeks, the gold rush was on. The population exploded to 10,000, with people scrambling in to seek their fortune. feel after a stay. For a highly intuitive and all natural reading, sign up for a geomancy life reading. Ballantyne has her own method of Or book a private tour anytime by calling (303) 582-3345. Head to Central City December 1-4 for the Tommyknocker Holiday festival. This family event involves parades, children’s parties, tree lighting and tours. For more information, call (303) 582-3345. reading having collected ancient rocks from around the world to help her interpret an individual’s energy. The seeker holds the rocks and puts their energy into them, then drops the rocks into sand, and viola, Ballantyne helps to interpret what is happening in your life at that moment Founder of the Rocky Mountain News, William Byers, and some companions pitched tents on open ground squarely in the center of the mining district, calling the place Central City, and it soon became the leading min- ing center in Colorado. For more information on Central City, visit the visitor’s center’s new , with each rock reflecting different aspects. “As the inten- tion is always put forth that the reading be for the higher website, www.mainstreetcentral.org or visit www.centralcitycolorado.us Similar to the history of most gold rush gambles, the town lost its zest after the era passed. Although not every- one in Colorado struck it rich, those who settled in Central City have never been hard up for wild times. good of oneself, you will find out only what serves you best,” explains Ballantyne. The Blissful Spirit Spa is a full- service spa, with all treatments available in your guest room, outside or in the main house. Enjoy yoga in the yard, sit around a fire pit or in the Jacuzzi under the stars, play crochet or venture into town for some gaming. Whatever your pleasure may be, the hosts at Book your stay at the Hooper Homestead and Blissful Spirit Day Spa, 210 Hooper Street, Central City, by calling (303)582-5828 or (303) 582-5661 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hooperhomestead.com The town, now with a population of around 486, has once more become a mecca for those seeking their fortunes, as 1991 brought limited stakes gambling, transforming the once run-down buildings into casinos, small businesses and restaurants, with all of the
original facades intact.
Hooper Homestead will point you in the right direction.
The Opera House, built in 1878, began a tradition of community theatre still very much alive today, with events ranging from opera to vaudeville. Famed performers of the past include Buffalo Bill as well as P.T. Barnum’s circus. Portions of theTV mini-series “Centennial,” as well as many other well-known programs and films, have also been set at the Opera House.
The Madame Lou Bunch Festival of “Unconventional Women of the West,” is a wild time when beds rock, down Main Street. Participate in this crazy annual event on the third weekend of June.
For those in search of something more then gold, look no further then the Hooper Home- stead Guest Quarters.This mountain gem is set within walking distance of Central City, but just on the outskirts enough to provide views of both the quaint town and the abundant wilderness that surrounds, all the while preserving the Old West community character.
Pollock and Ballantyne recommend early reservations at the Hooper Homestead guest quarters, three-four weeks in advance for weekend stays and one-two weeks in advance for weekdays, and at least six months to one year in advance for opera season and holidays.
After a restful night in the guest quarters, make a day of sightseeing in the area. Check out the views from “Oh My Gawd” road, where the haunting memories of Central’s cemeteries are captured in the vast natural landscapes. Stop by Washington Hall, the most frequently used building in Colorado, head to the visitor’s center for a flashback to the past and take a break at the mayor’s own brewery, Dostal Alley, a local favorite.
Now, in just about 12 minutes from I-70, you can change your fortune, or charge your soul as the Central City Parkway rolls out the red carpet for a smooth, restful ride to the heart of the Rockies.