Month two of my year of getaways is a wrap! We almost always go somewhere for Valentine’s Day, and this year was no exception. We spent three Val Day weekends in a row in Arizona; five years ago it was Riviera Maya near Playa del Carmen and two years ago we were on Anna Maria Island.
We have a big trip coming up in March, so this time it was a quick, romantic night in Ouray. It’s one of our favorite spots in the state, but only our second visit during the winter. Last time, it was on the frigid side with snow blowing horizontally. This year, Mother Nature was on our side, which was good since I forgot to bring a coat.
After checking into our room at the St. Elmo Hotel, we started with an afternoon soak at Ouray Hot Springs. The toasty mineral water is the perfect way to set the mood for a little romance and release the tension from the busy week.
Back to our room to freshen up before dinner, we got a chance to take in the charm of this majestic, beautifully restored historic inn on Main Street. Established in 1898, the St. Elmo Hotel was built by Mrs. Kittie Heit, known as “Aunt Kittie” by the miners who stayed there. She had a soft heart for these men and was known to provide a place to stay and something to eat for those who were down and out.
Today, it’s a 10-room B&B with full, home-cooked meals to start your day. We were in room 3, which has a little sitting area that looks out onto the town and mountains beyond. Two thumbs up from us!
We decided on the Red Mountain Brewery for dinner. It’s just a few steps away from the hotel, and we’d been for drinks but never for dinner. What a great choice! Even though it’s technically a brewery—their brewer left in September—the wine list is impressive. I started with a Ghost Pines Zinfandel from San Joaquin and Sonoma counties in California and then had Primarius Pinot Gris from Oregon with my blackened red fish dinner. I’ve already brought both wines into our store.
My fish and asparagus dinner was delightful, but Scott went a slightly different route with a Big Nasty sandwich. It’s a fried chicken breast with white sausage gravy, house-made cheese sauce and an egg sunny side up on a ciabatta roll. Wowza, that’s a party in your mouth. I will have a tough time not ordering it next time.
The next morning, two lovely ladies cooked breakfast for the 20 or so guests. We got to choose from breakfast burritos, tostadas, fried potatoes and fresh fruit, and there was also a selection of cereals and English muffins. That gave us the energy for our morning walk around town before the shops opened.
I have two favorite stops on Main, but there are lots of good choices. Khristopher’s Culinaire is a treat, and I’ve never left emptyhanded. This time they got me with a display of National Park stickers as soon as I walked in the door. I now have 22 and plan to put them on an old steamer trunk that we’ve had for years. I bought a few more things as well, and then we headed to the Rockin’ P Ranch store. It’s jam-packed with things I want to buy, including a full-size horse statue covered in little mirrors for somewhere in the neighborhood of $22,000. Actually, for that price, I’d prefer a real horse or two. I did pick out a cute Beth Dutton t-shirt, though. Don’t mess with me.
Since it was close to check out time, and we were both getting hungry, we started the road trip back home with some planned stops along the way.
We’ve been fans of Ray’s Jerky for a long time but had never been to the store just outside of Montrose. It will be a regular stop from now on. They make beef, elk and buffalo jerky in flavors from mild and smoky to flaming colon. (I made that last one up, but you get the drift.) There’s also a lot of wonderful candies and other treats, plus a gorgeous wood stove.
Next stop, tacos and beer. Literally, the restaurant is called Tacos and Beer. So that’s what we had for lunch. We also tried the pork burrito and tamale. All of it was delicious. We aren’t really that adventurous when it comes to food, but they offer options like Octopus tacos for those who are. And a help-yourself salsa bar. It gets busy, so go early or after the lunch rush.
To end the road trip on a high note, we took the scenic route over the Grand Mesa, which is the largest flat top mountain in the world. It was a bluebird day, a fitting finale for our little romantic getaway.
Thanks for reading Tales From the Empty Nest. Stay tuned for more adventures coming up soon!
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