#89 The Hand Hotel
The sunflowers look like summer in this picture, but it felt like a chilly fall evening when we arrived early in September.
Don and I found this place a couple years ago and always vowed to come back and stay.
The sign is hard to miss, especially in a small town with less than 700.
The western facade of the hotel makes me picture horses and wagons. But the big sign reminds me of the days of early car travel.
This photo, which was in the hotel, shows Front Street with lots of cars... not horses.
You can glimpse a bit of the Hand Hotel Cafe sign on the left. The Hand family opened the hotel in 1932 and it had a whole different look.
Richard, Our Host
Richard was a hoot. You can see him sitting on a sidewalk bench in the other photo when we first arrived. He looked like he was waiting for us.
He thought it was pretty funny that we were from Texas. He thought it was extremely amusing to tease us about some of our past governors and presidents. Lucky for him, we were happy to laugh along.
Making Ourselves at Home
We were at the beginning of our road trip, headed towards some National Parks.
I decided, if I was going to get up close and personal with any wild beasts, this was the place to do it. There were many furry things in our hotel... that wouldn't bite me.
Richard said the hotel was haunted, but he wouldn't elaborate.
The upstairs hallway, looked a little eerie, but I've seen creepier.
There was nothing at all spooky about our cozy little corner room. The room was named for a local dancehall girl who became more of a "ministering angel" to the miners in the area.
I believe the room reflected more of Silverheels' angelic days than her wild ones. The combo of white curtains & flowered wallpaper was sweet enough for an old granny. The old iron bed with quilt was pretty cute, but I did acquire a bruise from bumping into it a couple times.
The sliding pocket door to the bathroom was efficient.
The cute little sink with "washstand look" was a nice touch. The shower was updated and worked well. All clean!
A peek through the screen of the back window revealed a wooden deck...
... and a view of the reservoir park and the distant Rockies.
When Richard checked us in, he asked if we were hungry for anything and hinted about possible options. "I've got some cookies and some popcorn."
I got pretty giddy at the mention of popcorn and then he seemed to tease me by not following through with the offer. Next thing I knew there was a table full everything from bananas to goldfish crackers... and lots of popcorn!
Room With a View
We grabbed some nibbles and some wine from our room, for a little happy hour in the sunroom. The geraniums looked like they were climbing out of the pot in the corner.
They nearly blocked our view of the Aspens and distant mountains! Clouds and drizzle inhibited our view even more. We were glad to find a cozy and decent Italian restaurant just a few doors down on a chilly night.
We slept well with no hauntings and woke to a cold morning. We couldn't complain since Richard (who has lived in Fairplay for 44 years) remembered it getting down to 56 below!
We stepped out onto the terrace and took in the view, before heading down the porch stairs.
We stopped to pay a little respect to Prunes the Burro, who worked in the mines for 62 years.
I love this small town that still honors their favorite burro with annual "Burro Days" in July!
We headed down another long set of stairs and paid a visit to the reservoir, in search of beavers.
No luck, but we worked up an appetite for the spread of breakfast goodies on the table near the sunroom.
We bumped into Robin and Ron at breakfast. We'd met the Albuquerque couple the night before and talked about everything from painting to psychiatry.
But it was morning and sometimes B &B meetings are awkward. Not everyone likes to be social in the early morning. But we ended up sharing travel stories for a good hour and exchanged numbers and photos. We took a few notes from our new friends and added to the list of places we must visit!
There was nothing fancy about this place and nothing expensive either. It was a simple stay, with some good chats and a comfy enough room.
The image of Prunes the Burro will always be stuck in my mind... a symbol of good little town and good little hotel.
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My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!