Relaxation has an address
It has been seven months since the Gold King Mine Spill just north of Durango and we are still receiving phone calls and e-mails asking about the aftermath of the Gold King Mine spill on the Animas river. Most of the questions are about water safety. Is the water safe to play in, have the fish and marine life died, and the biggest, is the water safe to drink? The pictures of the river right after the spill were horrific. The color was that of French’s mustard. It has a horrible situation that wasn’t catastrophic, however, the media did make it sound like Durango was just ruined. If you read the articles we were forever going to be drinking mustard water, glow in the dark, and sprout an additional head for starters! Well, it took about 4 or 5 days after the spill and the river was once again open for business. I admit, I was holding my breath worrying about the fish population but it didn’t seem to any effect on their well being. They are still swimming around eagerly looking for their next meal. The majority of Durango’s drinking water comes from, you guessed it, the Florida River. And wouldn’t you know that the O-Bar-O is situated right on the Florida river! The Florida is one of the rivers that has never been mined on in the area. After we get first crack at it, literally, it supplies Durango and farther on the ranchers and Southern Ute. The water coming from the Florida has to be the tastiest water available. Maybe I should bottle it? Bottom line is Durango, the Las Animas river and O-Bar-O Cabins have survived the Gold King Mine spill. So, don’t believe everything you hear in the news. Durango is still an incredible place to come for vacation. The O-Bar-O is situated right on the banks of the Florida river about 12 miles from downtown Durango. The O-Bar-O gets first dibs on the best drinking water you will ever taste. Fresh and Rocky Mountain cold! If you are still a little unsure of the spill, please call us. We can help put your mind at ease. We look forward to seeing you soon for a little Rocky Mountain Relaxation at the O-Bar-O Cabins.
Winter wonderland in Durango
Did you know Purgatory turned 50 this year? We have something in common with the Super Bowl. It turned 50, and what a better way to celebrate 50 years at Purgatory then with a Bronco’s win. While natives have been calling it Purgatory since the 60’s it has had a different name for the last few years. But, alas, we are back to good ol’ Purgatory or Purg, if you prefer. Purgatory gets it’s name from a creek that runs through the Animas River valley called, of course, Purgatory Creek! I haven’t done my research but I would bet Purgatory Creek was named sometime around the time Silverton was going through the silver boom in the 1800’s. What’s is so nice about Purgatory is the vastness of the terrain. There are many trails from the very novice to extremely experienced. The temperatures in our little slice of heaven are also wonderful for skiing. Even though the thermostat will register 28 degrees it feels like 60 when you are in the sun on top of the mountain. Now that has been established on to the more fun part of 50 years at Purgatory. For the fashionista’s out there the ski fashion over the last 50 years might be laughable and disastrous however, be thankful that we aren’t wearing long skirts or bouffant hair styles anymore! In the 1960’s ski fashion looked to the fashion world and the runways. It became a glamourous look. A step up from the bulky materials used in decades past spandex helped create lighter more form fitting attire. The 1970’s brought about psychedelic colors, of course, and maybe a hint of peace and free love! What the 70’s did do was bring about change to the layers of warmth. I didn’t start skiing until the mid 80’s and it was all about blue jeans, short jackets, gators and bouffant hair styles. There must have been enough hair spray applied to the hair styles of the 80’s to cushion just about any fall one might have on the slopes. If you do some research however, you will find that it was the birth of the onesies and overalls in very catching patterns both abstract and animal. Guess the animal designs were meant to bring out the tiger in you! Not much changed in the 1990’s except the colors of the onesies and the style of the hair . Gone was the spiked bangs ushering in the frosted tips. With the growing popularity of snowboarding ski wear took on a nostalgic air in the fact of bringing back the 2 piece snow out fits. So what might your personal favorit be? Although there were some nice looking styles throughout the years I must say mine would be the most recent with the mere reason technology has given us fabrics that are much warmer than say the gabardine of the 1920’s or the polyester of the 50’s. Me? I’m happy with the warmth so therefore, by default my favorite genre is the current one!
Well, all I can say is my how the outfits have changed over the years but also how supremely happy we are, here that the O-Bar-O, that the name has been restored to Purgatory. It does the heart good to hear it spoken again.
Come celebrate with the O-Bar-O and enjoy 50 years of skiing at Purgatory.
Snowshoeing at the O-Bar-O
Valentine’s Day at the O-Bar-O
Everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day a little bit differently. It is a time for amore! To renew all those warm fuzzies you get for your significant other. A way to remind them how important they are and you would be lost without them. Well, Mike certainly might be lost….If you are part of the majority you might buy a card, chocolates or even some red roses for the love of your life. Years ago Mike and I decided to forgo the cards and flowers on Valentine’s Day and go for something out of the ordinary. Yea, sometime we do dinner at a nice restaurant (Mahogany Grill is a good one for this in downtown) but mostly it’s a weekend to kick back and enjoy nature, with each other! As a general rule of thumb all of our lives are so busy we sometimes forget to stop and smell the roses. (I know, I used the pun) That is if we roses for Valentine’s Day, right? So the question is what would you do at the O-Bar-O if you were here for Valentine’s Day? Well, I know it wouldn’t be shoveling snow, unless you are into that kinda thing. A little kinky if you ask me! We have had a decent amount of snow this winter so instead of shoveling what about trying out the snowshoes at the office for a trip around the property. It’s only about 3’ deep on the way to the river at this point. Not too bad! Cruise around and try to determine what animal left that print in the snow. No cheating, we all know what Peanut’s prints look like and they aren’t big enough to be a mountain lion. After forging your own path with the snowshoes a nice warm soak in the hot tub down by the river as you listen to the river gurgle seems prudent. Now that you are all warm and relaxed snuggle up with your favorite person or furry beast, next to the fire with an assortment of your favorite movies out our library, of course hot chocolate would help to sooth that spot. Don’t fall asleep just yet…you have all those movies to watch, remember? If you are up for more adventure there is a great sleigh ride, skiing or even dog sledding.
We here at the O-Bar-O wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day weekend. It doesn’t matter what you do just so long as you spend it with your true love and CHOCOLATE!
Western wonderland at the O-Bar-O.
Yep, that is what Durango is. A top 10 Christmas town, in December, that is! We are on the incredible elite list with only 9 other select towns in the whole USA to share this honor. What qualifies a Christmas town, you might ask? Well, to be honest I am not really sure but here is my story and I’m stickin’ to it. First of all you have to have snow. What is Christmas without snow? I am sure our counterparts in say, Florida, might disagree but in my book you must have snow. This will be our 7th winter in Durango and at the O-Bar-O and I can say we have always had a white Christmas, makes me think of Bing Crosby and that baritone voice of his whenever someones says white Christmas (it is currently playing while I am writing this!). It usually starts to snow in earnest by the middle of December. Mike and I tease about how there is a light switch that is turned on the 14th or 15th of December and turns off about the 15th of March. Snow seems to simply set the mood for a magical Christmas. Next might be the festive nature of the town itself. Of course downtown and all the great ships are decked to the max. O-Bar-O is no exception. Our cabins are fit to host the best Christmas with decorations both inside and out and Christmas lights everywhere! Did I mention that there would be snow? I believe the last qualifier would be the activities. What better way to start the season on the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge train (durangotrain.com). The train cars are decorated for the season carrying passengers on it’s daily trips to Cascade Falls and back. The Polar Express train is a shorter trip for all ages. Dress in your best jammies and don’t forget your blanky for that trip. I have heard, but not confirmed, that DSNG is also doing a cut your own tree train. What a blast to ride up in the winter wonderland, cut the perfect tree all while seeing God’s beautiful country. If I were lacking in the tree department, which I am not, I would definitely take that trip. Purgatory is celebrating 50 years this season. Skiing is not necessarily an activity specific to a top 10 Christmas town but it doesn’t hurt, right? This year I think Mike and I will try this next one. Horse drawn sleigh ride. Doesn’t that sound so dreamy? Did I mention there would be snow all around with the horses taking you on a ride, gliding over the snow covered valleys looking at the snow-capped peaks, while you are buried under a ton of blankets (well, that would be me) and your hot chocolate to keep you warm.
So there you have it. As Christmas brings about the dreams of Sugar Plum Fairy’s and candy canes remember that Durango has all the magic of Christmas wrapped up into on great package. The perfect accommodations to top off the trip of course, The O-Bar-O! Did I mention there would be snow at our place? What better place than a top 10 Christmas town to provde the perfect setting of festivities and fun to get you into the season and creating the perfect Christmas with you and yours.
Fly fishing just outside the Columbine cabin.
Say that 3 times really fast, fly fishing the Florida, fly fishing the Florida, fly fishing the Florida. I have to admit it is just as hard typing it as saying it. It probably doesn’t help that I was saying it in my mind as I was typing it! Okay, down to business. Contrary to popular myth fly fishing isn’t all that hard. Yes, there is some finesse required on the casting that will take a little practice but doesn’t all fishing? My cast certainly isn’t one to write home about but it gets the job done. With the many forms of fishing available to try I have to say fly fishing is the best. You can walk the river in search of the elusive trout all the while looking around you at the majestic mountains, the tall pine trees and the rugged terrain. It is so beautiful, hence, O-Bar-O being the little slice of heaven in God’s country! It’s as if you are communing with nature. You feel more rested and relaxed then you possibly could have imagined. Taking up the sport of fly fishing can be as expensive as you want it to be. You can purchase equipment for about $200 to get started. The return on investment is greater than you might expect. Now, fishing different rivers and at different times of the year requires different flies. Most local fly shops know what is working and at what time of year. Of course, we have our own in house fisher person who, during the winter, ties flies specific to our stretch of the Florida River. What Mike ties is indicative of our Florida River bugs. Yea, I know, bugs….yuck! But that is what trout feast on. And our trout are choosy in their bugs. They like their bugs with a little bit of bling. Yea, I know. O-Bar-O fish have expensive tastes!
Because our river is small and fast moving nymph fishing is the most successful. What is nymph fishing, you ask? It is the type of fishing that is done below the surface of the river. You will have to get more specifics from Mike but the gest of it is fishing with some weight on your fly line allowing it to float down the river to a certain point and stripping it back up to attract potential fish. Each part of the year there are different “hatches” of bugs. This is where the fun begins! You can test out flies to see what works best on the river at that given moment based on what you see flying around. You can also ask Mike, too! Most of the Florida River is on private property so access is next to impossible unless you know the right people. Well, I am here to tell you that you do know the right people! If you are not up to braving it alone we do offer our “Hooked on Fishing” package. Call or e-mail no less than 2 weeks before your arrival to ensure time is available.
Just remember we are catch and release only using barbless hooks and artificial flies. Well, there is an exception. The Osprey don’t seem to get the concept of catch and release. They squawk a bit when I remind them!
See you on the river and tight lines to everyone!
Are you “Experienced”? Durango’s Wine Experience April 23-25, 2015!
Don’t you just love their tag line. Are you Experienced? Well, that depends on what you are talking about! When it comes to wine I am not all that experienced except for drinking it. Ha! This is just what I need, three days of educational seminars, dinners and unique tastings. In these three days hundreds of wineries, artisan spirits and craft beer will be featured. Some from right in our own back yard. Walk-About Durango is the signature event that is downtown Durango. With its multi locations, hence the walk-about part, you can be tasting both local and international spirits while wondering Main Street Durango. Just make sure on your Walk-About you don’t end up like Mick Dundee in the middle of a New York subway! The Walk-About Durango is April 24th from 4-7pm. Saturday is the “Grand Tasting” with local chefs creating concoctions to pair with some of the most delicious wines, craft beers and distilleries not only local but from around the world. Perfect for wine enthusiasts and those that want to learn more about the intricacies of wine. Try the Walk-About, seminars, Grand Tasting all while enjoying the mountains that surround our lovely little town.
Durango in itself is the perfect destination for your wine and culinary adventures, along with all of the outdoor activities all year round. We have multiple Wine Spectator acclaimed restaurants, including over 50 liquor-licensed establishments, is that really something to boast about? Okay, we will as long as we have multiple accolades from the Wine Spectator. 200+ galleries, boutiques & shops. And, of course the O-Bar-O Cabins as your home away from home while you are in our little slice of heaven. We, at O-Bar-O, promise to take good care of you during your wine experience whether you need an aspirin or not!
Experience the 9th Annual Durango Wine Experience, April 23-25, 2015!
Snoopy and the Easter Beagle Express Saturday April 4 2015
Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad | 9:00am – 3:00pm
Snoopy is making an appearance on the Easter Beagle Express April, 4 2015. While Snoopy is in town we have the perfect pet friendly cabin for him to stay in. It even has a fenced back yard to keep Snoopy from roaming the mountains! Inside he will find a jar full of treats, duck and potato, toys to play with in the O-Bar-O Corral, his very own watering and food station and a comfy pet bed, although he might like a dog house better. I’ll get Mike right on the task of fashioning the perfect dog house for Snoopy and Woodstock to sleep on, watching the stars and contemplating life. Maybe Woodstock could stand guard with a snow shovel just in case! Passengers purchasing tickets to ride Peanuts™ The Easter Beagle Express will ride in premium-class seating in the rear half of our train, all the while enjoying crafts, storytelling, musical entertainment, games refreshments and other Easter-themed activities. Charlie Brown and his loyal pup will be filling the train with great stories. I can’t guarantee that Lucy will pull the football away just as Charlie Brown tries to kick. However, I am sure she will try. Wouldn’t you guess that Schroeder is the one in charge of the musical entertainment? No guarantees that he will have his “baby” grand but it is sure to delight. Linus will be there with his favorite blanket so bring yours, too. Maybe there will be cameos from Peppermint Patty and Pigpen. I might just hold my breath if Pigpen comes around, though. For all you grown-ups you must talk like the grown-ups in the cartoons…..wah wah wah, wah! When you book your tickets don’t forget to call the O-Bar-O Cabins for your stay. We will make sure to pamper you and your Snoopy.
Winter Brunch Train March 7. While temperatures make us feel as though we are well into spring it just isn’t the case. It is still winter according to the calendar and Punxsutawney Phil. Didn’t he just say we had 6 more weeks of winter? Can’t say I see it but who am I to argue with such a prestigious and accurate figure. (did you hear the sarcasm dripping from that last part?!) Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is always a fantastic trip no matter what time of year but this particular train peeked my interest. Winter Brunch Train, they call it. Beautiful views and food….that I don’t have to cook? On March 7th First Class passengers receive a delicious hot brunch buffet while traveling via steam train through the pristine winter wonderland along the Animas River. Silverton is notorious for getting more snow than Durango. So the trip should provide just the right amount of snow that you don’t need to shovel, I might add. I can see it now, the sun gleaming off of snow untouched by anything other than the occasional animal tracks. Water rippling down its path sparkling as if it is laughing with the sun. Pine trees dancing lightly as the wind kisses the air. Well now, doesn’t that sound good? Add a hot brunch to the mix and you have a real treat! Fixin’s that pair perfectly with the outdoor scenery and maybe a great mimosa, too. I am salivating already and it’s only February. As the TV infomercials say “but wait there is more”….Live music by Robby Overfield will fill the air laying the back drop to this serene and scenic trip.
Can you imagine an entire building with just chocolate? What are these people thinking? I see stampedes, and not by cattle, by people obsessed with chocolate. Unlike, me, of course! Okay, so that may seem a little dramatic. But, hey, it’s chocolate. And what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, stuffing your mug with the most delicious chocolate you have ever tasted while helping out the puppies and kittens. Durango hosts Chocolate Fantasia every year in February with proceeds going to a selected charity. This year looks to be La Plata Humane Society. That is right up our alley and the O-Bark-O Corral. Okay, so I digress. I was talking about chocolate. The Chocolate Fantasia is an event where local chocolatiers, restaurants and even amateur chefs show their talents for us to see and taste. The aroma of chocolate will be wafting through the air tantalizing our taste buds. After much deliberation you can choose your favorite, whether it be one of our 2 chocolatiers, a restaurant or my neighbor! Durango boosts 2 local chocolate shops that makes my mouth water when passing by. Mike and I did just have some friends in from Denver. We took them downtown for lunch and then a quick stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. You would have thought Mike was a kid in a candy store!!! Animas Chocolate Company has very tasty chocolate and does some great molds. We could do our logo as one giant mold. Better come quickly to get a bite before Mike eats it all. Chocolate Fantasia is hosted at the La Plata Fairgrounds from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on February 17th. As they coin it “A Chocolate Sweet Tooth’s Delight”. Wow, that is a mouthful, literally. After indulging is a great taste-athon come back to your cozy cabin at the O-Bar-O and let the fire lull you to sleep.
Snowdown is an extraordinary event. Locals and visitors alike seem to get into character exhibiting high fashion, well maybe not high fashion but certainly creative fashion. I took an excerpt from the Snowdown website that explains in a story like way the birth of this unique event.
….A long time ago back in 1979 the Land of Durango was covered in winter’s darkness and the People and Commerce were depressed. A great lament was heard throughout the Land, as the days were short and bore little fruit. And so it came to pass one dark day The Founder John Murrah (the man who originally came up with the idea), heard the cry. He enjoined the Lords of Business (DACRA, as it was then known) and the Lords of Information Dissemination (The Durango Herald) that a winter celebration would bring Enterprise to the land and raise up the people in their time of need. And so it came to pass that the Lords agreed and they seeded the project with a pittance from The Durango Herald. Then the Founder said to the people, “Let there be FUN!” And SNOWDOWN was established as a winter FUN celebration.
This year the theme is Steampunk. In my mind’s eye I had an idea of what Steampunk is but thought maybe Wikipedia should help that along….per their rendition…. Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy literature and art that commonly features some aspect of steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, and we are in the Wild Wild West. Right? I suppose we aren’t so wild but Snowdown is! Snowdown starts January 28th. See you there.