Southern Hospitality in the West

My clever husband came up with the fantastic idea of riding the Royal Gorge train for our 5th Anniversary.  After getting over the shock of having 5 years already pass between us, the (4 legged) additions to our family, and the move that we made to Colorado…..we quickly started making a plan to check this one off the “to-do” list.  Just like the accommodations on our honeymoon in Ireland, we booked a B&B in Florence, just a few miles out from the Royal Gorge train depot.  We got into Canon City Saturday afternoon, and were a bit early so decided to stop off at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey, for some tastings before freshening up at the B&B.  The vineyards were just breathtaking, and we discussed many similarities of the Abbey to the many Abbeys that we came across in the countryside of Ireland, it was truly nostalgic.


We made our way to the B&B, The Florence Rose, and were immediately taken aback by the well groomed and abundant garden that perfectly complemented the century old, two story Victorian as we pulled into the drive.  We were greeted immediately and welcomed into the home by it’s innkeeper’s, Steven and Andy, whom both were as charming as the surroundings that they preserved. IMG_1328


IMG_1188 We were given a tour of the home and invited to the dining room for tea and cookies, it   was such a refreshing reminder of how I missed great southern hospitality, I felt as though we were old friends that haven’t seen each other in ages.  We were shown our room, which was decorated down to the silver brush and mirror set atop the antique dresser, just stunning for the history lovers at heart.  Not a detail was missed when creating this home, from the thick base molding, operable transoms, original wallpaper, creaky hardwood floors and original bathroom porcelain fixtures, these marvels are amiss today in modern construction.  We quickly got ready for our night ahead, and rushed out the door for dinner on the rails.






When we arrived to the train station, there was the conductor on the tracks, in true 1920’s attire waiting to welcome us to our car.  As we stepped across the threshold into the dining compartment, we stepped back in time.  I had been on many of European trains, but non with this much character and such hospitality (the crew had their greetings down to perfection). IMG_1218 We were shown to our table and were ready for some sightseeing.  Our Australian entertainer, Barry, played many popular songs on the accordion…..I never knew Willie Nelson could bring a tear to my eye coming out of such and obscure instrument, it was magical.  After the exceptionally exquisite dinner, we headed out to the observation car which did not have a rooftop or sides so we could experience the black granite up close in the crisp Coloradan air.  We soon stopped beneath the bridge, and as Barry strummed along to more classics and mused at the surroundings aloud, we looked up 1,000 foot high gorge and tried to fathom how the bridge was constructed (of course, one cable at a time…but the first cable had to be a doozey).  The 3 hour ride just flew buy and I’m pretty sure I smiled for the entire journey, it was nothing like I had ever experienced.IMG_1200

We woke up the next morning to extraordinary smells of breakfast, and when we made it to the table it was indeed a full spread of fruit, slow cooked bacon, fresh coffee, and Andy’s special ‘French Bread Creme Brulee’ (of course I couldn’t leave without the recipe).  We had the most in-depth   breakfast conversation with the other guests from California and also the the surround Colorado areas.  It was the perfect end to the perfect anniversary weekend.  If you are ever up that way  in the Banana Belt, I highly recommend it all for a trip well worth taking.  We are so fortunate to have this practically in our backyard and this is definitely a task on our to-do list that we will have to revisit!

No comments:

Post a Comment