Dark skies, wolves, ranches and camaraderie
If Westcliffe, Colorado, is not on your calendar for July 28-30, make plans soon to join your Press Women friends there, as lodging in the mountain town is limited and going fast. Because of the tight lodging market and varying prices, CPW did not reserve a group space, but most accommodations are within walking distance of many of the community attractions.
Registration for the event-filled getaway is $45 per person, which includes dinner at Ellen Glover’s house on Thursday evening, July 28, lunch with local journalists at Tony’s Mountain Pizza on Friday, July 29, and donations to Beckwith Ranch and Dark Skies Smokey Jack Observatory, where CPW will be given private tours.
The itinerary also includes a group meal off the menu (pay on your own) at SilverWest Feedstore Restaurant and several optional events, such as a tour of Mission Wolf, a rescue ranch; a trail hike on the Rainbow Trail or a Planet Walk along the Main Street of Westcliffe and neighboring town Silver Cliff, where you can browse local art galleries and shops; a visit to the Silver Cliff Mining Museum and the historic train depot; and dining at other local eateries, such as Willie’s Place at Silver Cliff Mountain Inn, Alpine Lodge Restaurant and the Sugar and Spice Bakery.
The Beckwith Ranch, which CPW will visit on Friday afternoon, is a historic 8,000-acre working cattle ranch spread over eleven restored buildings, ten of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the largest continuously operating cattle ranches in Colorado, and the complex includes the Beckwith mansion, a bunkhouse, two pegged barns, two guest-houses, a tack house, a small shop building and a two-hole outhouse.
Westcliffe and Silver Cliff are among the highest altitude International Dark Sky towns in the world, offering spectacular views of the Milky Way, even from a lighted Main Street. Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley maintains one of the largest and most state-of-the-art telescopes in the state of Colorado at the Smokey Jack Observatory, where CPW will be viewing (weather permitting) on Friday evening.
For those who plan to extend their stay beyond the scheduled event dates, other attractions in the Wet Mountain Valley include Bishop Castle (40 minutes away), Colorado Mountain Lavender farm (20 minutes) and the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park (one hour).
Westcliffe is three hours south of Denver in a narrow valley in Custer County beneath 14,000-foot peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Please come prepared for the weekend with appropriate clothing, including walking/hiking shoes, warm coats and rain gear (it is the Wet Mountain Valley), and folding chairs for stargazing and gathering on the lawn at Ellen’s house. Guests are also encouraged to bring a dessert, appetizer or beverages to the hosted dinner.
Registrants can pay online for multiple persons using the button below (click “continue shopping” to add more) or via check to CPW treasurer Teresa Ford (email her for address). Please RSVP by June 28. Call Ellen Glover with questions: 303-549-6563.