Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hello Again! It has been a long time!

Hello Everyone! - Sorry it has been so long since our last blog post - a LOT has happened this last year.

In June of 2013 South Fork was evacuated due to the second largest forest fire in Colorado history - the West Fork Fire.  This was  a devastating event for our small town.  Much of our beautiful forest burned - but amazingly, you can not see it from town -  or even from the highways over the mountains to Creede or Wolf Creek.  See more information on the West Fork Fire here.  


We followed up the Summer with a poor to miserable Hunting season in 2013.  Because of the fire, the animals were displaced and largely on private property through most of the Fall.  As a result, the Colorado Division of Wildlife gave people with 2013 game tags the option to get a refund for their tags.   Because of this double-whammy, many hunters are doing very well in the 2014 early season hunts. We've seen some very nice animals come out of the hills in the last few weeks.

The 2013-2014 winter ski season was good.  We had an average amount of snow and good business because of it.  We saw many skiers and snowboarders from Oklahoma and Texas as well as our group from Colorado State University outdoors program that stays with us several times every year.  Wolf Creek Ski Area is adding lifts and lodges at an incredible rate.  The ski area is more than double the size it was when I was growing up here.

The Summer of 2014 was great.  It seems that after a full year has passed, our little town is back to normal.  We are optimistic, healthy and happy.   2015 should be our best year yet!

Dee Plucinski
The Spruce Lodge

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South Fork provides visitors with abundant all-season activities from hunting and fishing to skiing, golf, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Surrounded by nearly 2 million acres of national forest, limitless historical, cultural and recreational activities await visitors. Lodging is available in cabins, motels, RV parks and campgrounds. Our community also offers a unique restaurant selection, eclectic shops and galleries, and plenty of sporting and recreation suppliers. Breathtaking scenery and family-oriented adventure will captivate and draw you back, year after year.
Winter brings the “most snow in Colorado” to Wolf Creek Ski Area. Snowmobilers, cross country skiers and snowshoers will find 255 miles of winter recreation trails, plus plenty of room to play. The area also offers ice fishing, skating and sleigh rides.
Spring/Summer showcases South Fork as a base camp for a multitude of outdoor activities, events, sightseeing, history, culture, and relaxation.
Fall sees nature explode into color, as the dark green forest becomes splashed with shades of yellow, red, and orange. Hunters will delight in the crossroads of three hunting units that boast an abundance of trophy elk and deer.



Plan your trip!
Below is some additional information for you, categorized by activity, complete with links to helpful websites to make your trip planning easier. If you have questions, please call us!
Fishing: South Fork Colorado has some of the best fly fishing ANYWHERE including the longest stretch of Gold Medal Waters in the State! Check out Southfork.org for favorite local spots and then mosey on over to fishtheupperrio.com for even more information. You can pick up supplies and licenses at Rainbow Grocery and Sporting Goods here in South Fork. For guided fishing trips please contact 8200 Mountain Sports, Wolf Creek Anglers, or Rio Grande Anglers.
Hiking, Biking, ATV and Jeep trails: Did you know that South Fork has over 500 miles of ATV and Jeep trails just waiting to be explored? The Southfork.org website is a good place to start, then check out the Chamber of Commerce website for additional day trip ideas. The USDA Forest Service website has information on Wheeler Geologic Area which is an incredible full day excursion that is definately worth the trip! The Spruce Lodge in South Fork is your perfect base camp for adventures on Wolf Creek Pass, Del Norte Peak, Creede, La Garita and the Conejos Canyon! Are you bringing your pet? Check out our "5 bone" reviews from fellow pet lovers atbringfido.com.
Hunting: South Fork, Co is nearly completely surrounded by the Rio Grande National Forest. We are nestled between game management units 79, 80 and 76. We have great early and late season hunting. You can view the Colorado Game Hunting Atlas here or view area topographic maps by gmu here. Make your trip extra special by hiring a local guide service. Check out Big Country Outfitters and get your rifle and/or archery supplies at Valley Gun Service in Monte Vista.
Scenic Drives and Tours: The San Luis Valley is a beautiful place to see the Fall colors! Take a ride on one of our tourist trains like the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in South Fork (Awesome), the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad out of Alamosa, or the Cumbers & Toltec Railroad that leaves from Antonito. There is additional information on Rio Grande County happenings at riograndecountry.com and upperriograndeguide.com. The trip planner at world web.com has great information on our area as well.
Crane Fest: Have you ever seen a sandhill crane? Every year in late February and early March, the San Luis Valley is home to a large flock of migrating sand hill cranes. You can come see them and experience the wonder during cranefest. This event takes place in Monte Vista and attracts visitors from all over the world. There is more information on the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce website. Also check out colorado.com and centralcolorado.com.
Rythms on the Rio: Every year in Late August, South Fork hosts the Rythms on the Rio festival. It's a 3 day music festival featuring some of the best new faces in music. This is a growing event that sets records ever year. (No pun intended.)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tales of a Wayside Innkeeper - Vol.2

"Tales of a Wayside Innkeeper"
a spoof on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's
Tales of a Wayside Inn
By: Dee Plucinski
It was Valentines day and Love was in the air. The lights were turned low in the Lobby and a merry fire crackled in the grate. A recent snowstorm had blanketed the town with soft, white, fluffy snow and the Lodge was full of powder hounds, mostly affluent young couples from Denver and Boulder, here for a romantic ski weekend.  Several  of these couples sat around the fire sharing a bottle of fine wine and enjoying the comfortable, cozy atmosphere.  It was truly a beautiful evening.

Outside, the howling storm had passed and a glorious full moon lit the way for our last arriving reservation.   Another young couple in love, another romantic ski getaway, another routine check-in. 

I was at the front desk with the woman, getting her registered, giving her information on breakfast, wireless internet and the like when her husband struggled into the lobby weighed down with suitcases and ski gear.  I gave him the key to the room and directed him to the South Fork Suite upstairs on the left.  He lightened his load by dropping a couple of the smaller bags and two pillows on the couch before heading up the lobby staircase to their room. 




Just as we were finished with check-in, Rob (my husband) entered the lobby from the kitchen.  He chatted with the woman for a minute, asked about their drive down from the city and welcomed her to the Lodge before picking up the two bags from the couch and offering to carry them to her room.  I told him which suite they were in and he headed up the stairs.  She picked up the pillows and followed him.

 
Down the hall on the left, Rob knocked softly on the door of the South Fork Suite and entered.  He certainly didn't expect to see Mr. Husband lying on the bed all sexy-like wearing nothing but one of our small decorative throw pillows.  At that moment, Rob experienced the second full moon of the evening as mortified Mr. Husband grabbed his pillow/loincloth and rolled off the other side of the bed.  Mrs. Wife walked in just in time to see her husband's bare booty do a barrel roll off the side and hit the wood floor with a resounding crash.

Rob said "excuse me," set the bags on the bed and backed out of the room.  Mrs. Wife was crimson and laughing hysterically.  Mr. husband was not visible. 

For those familiar with the Lodge, you will know that a man rolling off the bed in an upstairs guest room will sound much like a wrecking ball coming through the ceiling of the lobby.  The old wood floors creak and squeak with every step.  Poor Rob was met with a hundred questions when he made his way down the stairs, but he didn't say a word, just waved and went into the kitchen.

 

A few minutes later, after regaining his composure, Rob came back into the lobby and told us all it was simply a heavy suitcase falling off the bed.   Heavy, yes.  Suitcase.... um, No.
 
Now YOU know the rest of the story.





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Dee and Rob Plucinski are the proud owners of The Spruce Lodge in South Fork, Colorado.  Please visit our website at www.sprucelodges.com
 
In addition to great stories, we also have amazing hotel rooms, cozy cabins and a beautiful 4 room bed & breakfast listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Fun, unique lodging in a family style atmosphere.  "Enter as strangers, Leave as friends."  That's just how we roll.
 
See our video here  :http://vimeo.com/34317852

This summer "Our guests raft free!"  That's right, stay 3 or more nights at our regular rates and raft the Rio Grande river for free!  Fish, hike, bike and enjoy the mountains from The Spruce Lodge - your perfect Southern Colorado base camp.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tales of a Wayside Innkeeper

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
As ancient is this hostelry
As any in the land may be,
Built in the old Colonial day,
When men lived in a grander way,
With ampler hospitality;

A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall,

Now somewhat fallen to decay,
With weather-stains upon the wall,
And stairways worn, and crazy doors,
And creaking and uneven floors,
And chimneys huge, and tiled and tall.
 
 

--Tales of a Wayside Inn
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1863
 
 
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I'd like to tell you a story.  Several stories, actually.  I'd like to tell you of my travels to exotic locations and tell you wild tales of daring adventures in all corners of the globe.  I'd like to regale you with descriptions of foreign foods and unusual drink under starry skies in places you have never heard of.  But, alas, I can not spin these tales for you, my friend, because I am not a world traveler, nor do I participate in exotic adventures in unknown lands.  In fact, I rarely travel at all, instead the world brings its stories to my doorstep.
 
I am an Innkeeper. 
 
Known as the third oldest profession in the history of man (preceded only by prostitution and politics), the legacy of the innkeeper is ancient and honored. (Probably because we give professions #1 and #2 a place to do business without drawing public ire.)

Ahh the people we've met and the stories I have to tell you.  But, goodness, where are my manners!  Allow me to pull a chair near the fire for you.  Set your weary feet to rest near the flames and enjoy a glass of wine.  We will let the storms rage outside, let the branches on the old pines grow heavy with snow and we will watch the flames dance as the wintry winds bluster and bully the merry blaze in the hearth before us.  Relax, my friend and settle in.  The night is young and my stories are many. 

Where would you like to start?  Stories of inebriated guests?  Tales of black bears and coyotes?  Chronicles of our ghostly encounters with people who aren't really there?  How about a simple one to start out.

'Twas a dark and stormy night, long, long ago.....

Not really.  Actually it was a Saturday afternoon in June 2011 when I found this......

 
That's a full beer.  Cold too.  There's a story here, I just don't know what it is.  Sigh.  If these old walls could talk.
 
Stay tuned - follow our blog - and I will share with you the stories of our lives as innkeepers at The Spruce Lodge in South Fork, Co.  We have many and most are quite funny.  Some make you question the future of the human race, others will make you cringe, still others will make you very, very glad you have chosen NOT to be an innkeeper. 
 
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Dee and Rob Plucinski are the proud owners of The Spruce Lodge in South Fork, Colorado.  Please visit our website at www.sprucelodges.com
 
In addition to great stories, we also have amazing hotel rooms, cozy cabins and a beautiful 4 room bed & breakfast listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Fun, unique lodging in a family style atmosphere.  "Enter as strangers, Leave as friends."  That's just how we roll.
 
See our video here  :http://vimeo.com/34317852