Strasburg, Colorado – Visits to the Comanche Crossing Museum and Limon Heritage Park and Museum

Saturday, September 1 seemed like a good day to visit the local Strasburg museum. Unfortunately, the museum’s last day for the year was August 31. I would think they would want to capture the Labor Day weekend traffic. Then again, the people who operate the museum may have needed a vacation after their summer work and before they settled into their fall and winter activities.

Comanche Crossing Museum

Although we could not go inside the buildings, we wandered around the place reading the signage and looking at the outside displays. I even managed to take a few photos through windows.

Homestead House 1910
Farm Equipment and Barn
Strasburg Railroad Depot
Inside depot through the window

Still itching to spend some time in a museum, we drove to Limon, Colorado. There wasn’t much to see on Interstate 70 between Strasburg and Limon except the Great Plains. Miles and miles of wheat, corn, and hay fields dominated the land to the horizon and windmill farms covered the small hills that rise above the grasslands.

Fall comes early to Limon the Hub City

It was a slow day when we arrived in town. Although we could see that businesses occupied some storefronts, many of the buildings sat empty. No cars lined the streets making us think we had landed in the Twilight Zone.

Deserted city streets
Limon Town Hall

Our greeting by a docent at the Limon Heritage Museum train depot eased our fears of having landed in another dimension. The docent explained that Limon was once a hub for freight and travelers. When the interstate was built, the town began its slow death. “No one wants to live in Limon anymore,” she said, although she seemed happy to live there.

An F3 tornado tore through the city in 1990 destroying most of the downtown business district. Due to the brick construction, the depot still stands today even though the tornado tipped several train cars on their sides. The docent also gave us a brief history of the depot and invited us to look around inside and view the train cars outside.

Depot waiting room
Control room
Drugstore display
Native American artifacts
JT surveys the train cars
Meal car. Not much room for passing between the stools and the windows.

Besides the depot, a warehouse type building houses artifacts and other exhibits. Sunflowers and other bee and hummingbird attracting plants filled the garden in front of the building. I’d love to have such a colorful plot in our yard. It would be my little contribution to improve the environment by providing a place for bees, hummingbirds, and maybe a few butterflies to rest and gather their fill of pollen. Somehow, I believe all the effort to establish such a place would fall to ruin when we are traveling.

Limon Heritage Museum garden
Military History exhibit
Example of 1930s attire for women
Prairie living room and kitchen
Wheat industry exhibit
Sheep wagon, cook wagon, and more

For a town with a population of fewer than 2,000 people, we found the museum well organized and the artifacts presented professionally and recommend anyone traveling on Interstate 70 to make Limon, Colorado, a stop on your route. They are open 7 days a week between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

We drove around town, including the residential areas, before leaving town. Most of the homes showed pride of ownership in their well-kept yards, fresh paint, and newish roofs. That was a switch from some of the little towns we’ve seen. I wondered if the residents are happy with the situation preferring the rural atmosphere, or if they preferred more restaurants, shops, galleries and such to move in as an attraction for tourists to visit. If the museum had still been open, I would have gone back and asked the women at the museum.

I’m glad we took the time to drive out to Limon. We learned more history of the railroad and the town at the center of the crossroads for freight and travelers passing through. The roads that intersect the town include Interstate 70, U.S. Highways 24, 40, and 287, and State Highways 71 and 94.

Next up, we move to Colorado Springs for six days, checking in at an RV park near Garden of the Gods.

Safe Travels

 

Strasburg, Colorado, and a bit more in Boulder

Happy New Year One and All!

Jon and I wish everyone a healthy, joyful, and prosperous 2019. Thank you so much for joining us on our journeys. We appreciate all of our followers, their likes, and comments.

Now, back to our travels in Colorado during August and September 2018.

Our short drive to the Strasburg, Colorado KOA on Wednesday, August 29 was clear sailing with very little traffic. The campground, often typical for RV parks, was near a railway and a freeway. Neither of these transportation infrastructures bothered us too much, to our delight. Besides, after numerous phone calls the day before, we were grateful to procure space in Strasburg on the Labor Day weekend. Shame on us for not making reservations earlier, but we had completely forgotten about the holiday. Retirement is such a joy!

Suburban sprawl has hit the small farming community of Strasburg with new housing developments going up, including some with a good amount of property included. The best restaurant in this town of 2,500 was the Patio Café. The good food and friendliness of the servers and patrons compensated for the lack of charm on the outside.

Patio Cafe in Strasburg, Colorado

We drove around town and found a few fascinating old buildings. I liked this one for the colors and geometric shapes.

Commercial Building

The Historic Strasburg Inn did not look like it was still in operation. On their FaceBook page, there is a photo from 2016 with the name of the place stenciled on the white sign. Now it is a blank slate.

Strasburg Inn no longer in business?

We wondered how long this log cabin had been standing. It looked like it may have started out small and then expanded. The garden and winding pathway to the door is what drew me in.

Log cabin house

Then there was this commercial building with little figurines and other trinkets embedded in the rock wall. I could have stood there for an hour finding all the little treasures that someone painstakingly cemented into the wall.

Rock wall building
Detail of rock wall building

We spotted an old tractor and piece of farm equipment in a field next to the railroad tracks. It would be nice if it ended up in a museum somewhere.

Chautauqua Park

On Friday, we made the hour drive to Boulder. Our objective was to visit the Chautauqua Park National Historic Site where we could enjoy the outdoors, take a hike, and maybe eat lunch at the dining hall. The City of Boulder purchased the 80 acres of land over 100 years ago to be used as a Chautauqua. What is a Chautauqua? We didn’t know. Merriam-Webster dictionary lists Chautauqua as “a stationary or traveling institution that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries providing popular education usually combined with entertainment in the form of lectures, concerts, or dramatic performances often presented outdoors or in a tent.”

Chautauqua Arbor

Boulder’s Chautauqua began its life in 1898 as a Texas summer school for teachers. Through the efforts of the City of Boulder and the Colorado Chautauqua Association, the property has been in continuous operation since it began. Today the park offers lodging, concerts, cultural events, education programs, and recreation.

Wildflowers still in bloom

Situated at the foot of the Flatirons, the Chautauqua property contains a variety of trees that number over 500. Along with the native Douglas fir and spruce trees, there is an array of maple and oak plus other species. I can only imagine the wonderful color show the trees produce when the seasons change.

JT consults the map

We picked up the McClintock Trail near the auditorium, then transitioned on to the Bluebell Trail to the ranger visitor center. We walked along a slightly rocky route under tree limbs that intertwined overhead.

McClintock Trail

The shade kept us relatively cool in the 80-degree weather. For half of the hike, we only encountered one other person. Then a few people here and there until we got close to the trailhead where we encountered quite a few people making their way up the hill.

This tree isn’t letting a little erosion ruin its life
Bluebell Hiking Trail going uphill toward the Flatirons
Bluebell Hiking Trail going downhill

Afterward, we checked in at the Dining Hall for a scrumptious lunch. I had some kind of fondue dish that included ham and fingerling potatoes and poached eggs on top. Although the eggs were cooked through and no juicy goodness spread throughout the rest of the ingredients, the dish was still yummy.

Chautauqua Dining Hall
View from Dining Hall

How wonderful for the Boulder community to have such a special place to visit and spend time. With so many activities offered, the Chautauqua is a place people can return to throughout the year. We would have liked to have stayed longer.

A road above Chautauqua that leads into the mountains is a nice drive to see some awesome views of Boulder.

Overlook of Boulder and the Baseline Reservoir

Dushanbe Teahouse

On the way out of town, we stopped at the Dushanbe Teahouse in downtown Boulder to take a photo. Boulder’s sister city Dushanbe, Tajikistan, created the teahouse as a gift. The building is a work of art made by artisans in Tajikistan using skills that date back 2,000 years.

Dushanbe Teahouse entrance

Inside, the ceilings and columns are hand carved and painted. Carved plaster panels and copper sculptures also contribute to the design elements. Eight ceramic panels adorn the exterior. The artist sculpted the panels, cut them into smaller tiles, and fired them in Tajikistan. Then the tiles were shipped to Boulder where the artist positioned them in place.

Side patio of Dunshabe Teahouse showing artistic panels

Photo of teahouse

The teahouse serves breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner Monday through Friday and brunch, tea time, and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations for tea time are required 24 hours in advance and are probably needed for other mealtimes, too.

Detail of crafted panels at Dushanbe Teahouse

A trip back to Boulder was definitely in our future when we pictured ourselves sipping tea and biting into tiny sandwiches and other delectables at the Dushanbe Teahouse.

We nixed any plans to return to Boulder or head into Denver during this visit to Colorado when we hit the freeway from Boulder back to Strasburg. Friday afternoon was not a good time to head out of town with the thousands of commuters making their way home in the suburbs. Our one-hour drive into town took us two hours to return.

During the rest of our Labor Day weekend, we stayed close to base camp, relaxing and completing chores. We did, however, find a couple places to explore that didn’t require a drive to the population centers. Stay tuned for the next post.

Safe Travels