“Go West young man, go west. There is health in the country and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles.” Horace Greeley
Four weeks ago today, Rick and I, along with our youngest son, daughter-in-law and 14 year old granddaughter, packed our much-purged households (after selling our homes) and headed West to Colorado. Wow! Whoever said, “easy–breezy” had no idea what we would encounter. (Oh! That was ME!) We weren’t really looking for a pot of gold, but I can almost imagine a leprechaun or two guarding their gold at the end of this double rainbow!
No need to go into the details of the grueling two and a half day caravan of two 26′ U-Hauls, two pick up trucks (one pulling a trailer), two men, four women (extra drivers), a teenager and two golden retrievers, but to say the least, it was a very long drive.
After settling into an Airbnb and the kids into a 40′ travel trailer, we are growing accustomed to the charming town of Cedaredge. Located at 6300′ feet up the side of the Western Slopes of the Grand Mesa, the town has much to offer. Noted on Wikipedia as one of the most moderate climates in Colorado due to the location in the valley between the Grand Mesa Plateau and ridges of surrounding mountains, Cedaredge is truly a gem.
American flags line the Main Street which has numerous local stores and a couple of restaurants; the Post Office is one block off Main and a total of 13 churches in the Cedaredge community which is home to 2266 people (now 2271 with our addition of five). Every day at precisely 11:52 a.m. the fire station sounds one long siren to signal it is lunch time. Tradition says they used to ring a bell in the early 1900’s (established in 1907), to remind the farmers it was lunch time. The bell has since been replaced with a siren.
At 8 p.m. every night a local business owner plays taps over their loud speaker to mark the coming sundown. This tradition was established on Memorial Day, 10 years ago. It is quite comforting to hear and still gives me goosebumps. A pioneer village museum has much history to share; a summertime farmers market, amazing historical buildings detailing the colorful history of Cedaredge. We have been told that the Apple Festival in October is one of the greatest in the area! They hold several events at the Pioneer Village including Christmas holiday light event that we have yet to experience. A Veterans’ Memorial Park encompasses the south side of the parking lot and much more.
On Friday nights all summer long, the local Arts Center has free live bands which play in the parking lot, as well as an open air bar for drinks and refreshments. The Arts Center offers lots of classes, displays and local artists’ creations.
The Apple Shed, a breakfast and lunch café of sorts, has wine tastings, and multiple rooms of local crafts like photography, pottery, paintings, jewelry and much more. We have attended three different churches (one twice) and have not yet settled in one location. Each of them have their own friendly congregations and staff and we have been invited to more than one Bible Study and Small Group meetings. There are too many shops to tell about, but the most colorful part of the town are the people.
While I can honestly say I rarely meet a stranger, I could say the same for all 2266 of the current residents. I have yet to encounter a grouch, a Grinch or a grump. People wave at one another and speak with smiles. They stop in the streets and parking lots to let others cross in front of them (remember when everyone used to do that?) They offer help if you have an arm load of “stuff” like the sweet lady who helped me carry four-20′ bags of ice to my car; and the teenage boy who loaded my fresh laundry into the trunk of my car. Some people have proudly said that Cedaredge is a slightly more modern version of Mayberry. I tend to agree.
There are lots of things which I have yet to explore, like the Arboretum that I just drove past by accidently. Although our building site is 7000′ feet up the Grand Mesa, I have yet to explore the top of the mountain which houses more than 300 lakes. On our last trip out here in December, we did experience 126″ of snow and all the lakes were covered!
Why Cedaredge? Why move from our life-long home, church, friends and a few family members still living there? I guess to that we would say, “why not?” We are still young enough (in our minds) to experience things we could not in the Midwest. We have never lived in mountains, or seen the desert Southwest. We haven’t walked the ridges of “real” mountains (as most will tell you that the Smokies are just foothills.)
We haven’t had the opportunity to live in 239 days of sunshine (versus 176 in Cincinnati). The average temperature in the summer is 78 degrees with the hottest being in July when it tops 88. and humidity is a thing reserved for other states. We haven’t experienced the winters, which we have been warned can be brutal, but January’s cold days average 18 degrees, and promises to only last three months.
In Ohio, I never saw cows running down the street past our driveway, or a large herd of sheep being moved from one field to another on the local highway. While I often saw deer, I rarely saw them every single day as we do here. And only on a few rare occasions have a I seen a double rainbow that completely encompassed the sky! (I’ve been told they are common!)
Our adventures are exciting, and although living in a tiny house AirB&B is confining, we will soon be on slopes with a view that will daily take our breath away. In the next few weeks I’ll give you the scoop on the Yurt that we are building!