Over this last spring break my family and I traveled to Beaver Creek, Colorado, to take advantage of the 55in base of snow and varied terrain that make Beaver Creek and its surrounding mountain resorts sought after by amateur and professional skiers and snowboarders alike. Though not even a twenty minutes outside of the lavish environment of Beaver Creek, exists a different Colorado, one that exists in its own pocket of time. Colorado has still held on to its quaint mining towns that were once the primary draw to Colorado, before the winter sports industry. On one of the less than optimal skiing days, I took a drive through three of these historic towns: Red Cliff, Leadville, and Georgetown.
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SECOND: Leadville’s homes revel in uniqueness. The town thrived in the 60’s and this is evident in the architecture.
THIRD: In a town like Leadville, a typical white picket fence just wouldn’t fit in.
Accessed by a slim service road off of Highway-24, Red Cliff (with a population of 289 as of the 2000 census) is a town reminiscent of Twin Peaks. It’s a different kind of culture there, one that is separated from the bustling world and probably would like to keep it that way. At an elevation of 10,152 feet, Leadville is a bit more ‘modern’ than Red Cliff but still a far cry from it’s winter resort neighbors. Leadville is the kind of town where its most popular restaurant is called “The Golden Burro” with a sister location called “The Brass Ass.” Leadville’s historic neighborhood is a art pieces in and of itself. It’s buildings revel in the unique, from fences made of skis from pre-1970 to homes with four different shades of purple and a sign that says “hippies use side door.” Lastly, Georgetown exists off of the freeway that takes you to the Denver airport. Because of this, many of its shops have turned into quaint touristy gift shops, but its historical charm can still be seen in places like it’s Hotel de Paris and original public school house.
SECOND: Red Cliff Bridge is a very popular photo for drivers on Highway-24, and is one piece of Red Cliff’s historic atmosphere.
THIRD: Red Cliff has a very different culture, which makes it unique.
Beaver Creek will always be one of my favorite vacation spots. For a skier, the kind of experience it offers is something that few other mountains can compare to. But Colorado is so much more than that. Colorado is filled with a rich history that can be found tucked away in the shadows of its Rocky Mountains.
SECOND: Past the public school and Hotel de Paris, the Buckley Garage represents the vintage feel of Georgetown.
THIRD: The Trading Post is one of many gift shops. It still replicates the historic allure.
FOURTH: The Hotel de Paris exists in the heart of downtown, and represents the once prosperous town of Georgetown.
FIFTH: The Georgetown public school is no longer active but still stands strong in the town’s historical district.
SIXTH: Many of the shops of Georgetown have become tourist attractions, but nonetheless they are symbols of the town’s past.
SEVENTH: Buildings aren’t the only vintage icons of Georgetown.