Living Local at the Fresh & Wyld Farmhouse Inn in Paonia, Colorado

For July Fourth weekend, Ken’s Brazilian Jazz band played for the Cherry Days festival in Paonia, Colorado. A friend who used to live in Paonia recommended an agritourism B&B—the Fresh and Wyld Farmhouse Inn on the outskirts of this tiny town on the Western slope.

Just-picked cherries, almond-anise biscotti and iced tea are the afternoon snack for July 4th at Fresh & Wyld Farmhouse Inn in Paonia, Colo.

This inn is dedicated to organic, healthy living: the soaps, shampoos, etc. are all-natural and “local” is the buzzword here. We had farm-fresh eggs, pancakes with homemade jam, and local ham for breakfast this morning. And there are other treats lovingly prepared by chef/owner Dava Parr. In the afternoon, she sets out fresh-brewed ice tea, just-picked cherries and crunchy anise biscotti.

Morning Freshness on the Farm

From the farmhouse’s outdoor settee at 7:30 a.m., I sip mint tea and slowly come to consciousness. The air is cool, the birds are twittering wildly in homage to the morning sun, and the world is in suspended motion. Or rather, I’m in suspended motion as farm life bustles around me—in its timeless, laid-back way. Activity that has gone on every morning since the beginning of farms.

Paco, the old-soul farm dog with bad arthritis in his hips, wastes only a moment to touch his damp nose to the back of my hand and absorb my scent before he limps off to count other guests as they emerge from their rooms. I hear the ducks “wack-wack-wacking” like cartoon characters in a pond I can’t see from here.

A farmer goes about his hoeing and watering in the hothouse. Shocks of marigolds stand guard at the ends of each garden row, warding off insects from tender tomatoes, fronds of kale, sweet peas. Mourning doves perch on the telephone pole, casting watchful eyes over the land, here in the foothills of the Roaring Fork valley. A slight breeze rustles the heart-shaped cottonwood leaves, coaxing them into daytime.

Fresh & Wyld Inn is a beautifully restored 1908 farmhouse with colorful gardens, cozy rooms, and fantastic breakfasts.

The smell of strong coffee wafted into our room this morning, and my nose decided it was time to greet July Fourth. Yesterday was hot; today is too. Though the farmhouse doesn’t have air conditioning, there’s a lovely patio with pots of flowers and benches scattered in the shade around the farm.

Ken and I are staying in the Sunflower Honeycomb room upstairs—it shares a bath with the other upstairs guests. (The main-floor rooms have private baths.) All the rooms are very cute with old-fashioned furniture; colorful, handmade bedspreads; and local artwork for sale on the walls. There’s also a boutique filled with beautiful crafts, local honey, handmade cards, quilt art, and soaps.

We’re loving this piece of farmland paradise and are spending most of the day here reading, napping, relaxing (I’m still recuperating from bronchitis, so a do-nothing vacation is just what the doctor ordered.) If you’re ever in Paonia, this is the place to stay for terrific food, friendly people, and a getaway in the country.

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor

We’re celebrating Independence Day by being independent of toxic pesticides at this organic, sustainable B&B. How are you celebrating?  Just click below on “Comments” to share…

At Play in Colorado’s Wildflower Capital

Although the nights are currently growing cooler toward fall, I’ve been reminiscing about Crested Butte, one of my favorite Colorado mountain towns, which I’ve visited in both winter and summer, but, sadly never in fall.

Yellow mule's ear flowers brighten the Lower Loop trail in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Yellow mule’s ear flowers brighten the Lower Loop trail in Crested Butte, Colorado.

I love Crested Butte because of its glorious peaks, mountain meadows and funky historic town that attracts interesting residents and visitors.

Easily the most exhilarating thing to do in summer in Crested Butte is to view the wildflowers, which grow in showy abundance in July. The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival is a must-do experience, so I recommend penciling it into your calendar for next year. (It will be held July 12 through 18, 2010.)

Among the events you can sign up for during the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival:

  • Guided hikes: easy to technical
  • Bike rides and yoga classes in alpine meadows
  • 4×4 tours into the backcountry
  • Garden tours of historic Crested Butte
  • Photography classes
  • Art and cooking classes with wildflowers
  • Medicinal classes using botanical ingredients
  • Gardening with wildflowers
  • Birding and butterflies
Clumps of columbine, Colorado's state flower, are everywhere in the meadows near Crested Butte.

Clumps of columbine, Colorado’s state flower, are everywhere in the meadows near Crested Butte.

Last year, my husband and I joined a guided wildflower ID walk around the Lower Loop and Peanut Lake, and it really helped us get to know the flowers. Soon we were on a first-name basis with scarlet gilia, mariposa lilies, mule’s ears, shooting stars, prairie smoke, and the columbine (Colorado’s state flower).

After that, we were prepared for other wildflower hikes we did on our own, including the Oh-Be-Joyful trail and a portion of the Copper Creek trail.

We camped one night at nearby Lake Irwin, which has vast fields of wildflowers against a backdrop of the jagged Anthracite Mountains.

No matter where we went, we found more and more flowers—each more vibrantly colorful than the last. The entire experience was actually quite exhausting because from sunrise to sunset we pushed on to in our quest for petals. I took untold numbers of photos and did a few pen-and-watercolor drawings.

For more info on Crested Butte, my favorite Colorado mountain town, visit Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism.

Laurel Kallenbach, writer and editor

P.S. Weigh in on your favorite Colorado mountain town during the summer. Just scroll down to the end and leave a comment below.