Tag Archive | National Register of Historic Places

SW National Parks Trip: Wolfe Ranch at Arches NP

When:  April 25, 2014
Where: Arches National Park to Cortez, Colorado

Our day at Arches National Park had arrived!  Jon went for a run in the morning and I slept in a little bit because we had been up so long the night before on the Astronomy Tour.  We had breakfast in the super-packed Super 8 breakfast area, checked out and got to the park at about 9:30.

Now of course you know I went to the Visitor’s Center and got my National Parks Passport Stamp, and some postcards!  The Visitor’s Center is the lowest point in the park, sitting at an elevation of just over 4,000 feet.  We also looked at the exhibit explaining all the sedimentary layers that you see in the park.  There was also some great information on desert wildlife that I could have spent more time at, but Jon was getting impatient.

So we drove up into the park, where we promptly began passing the first of 12,527 bicyclists on the road.  I’m only exaggerating slightly… The Moab area is famous for its mountain biking, but I wasn’t expecting all these road bikes.  Now I’m all for sharing the road, but some of these cyclists were really annoying – riding two or three wide at 5 mph on the narrow road, so there was no way to get around them… Grrr…  I digress.

We decided to hike the Delicate Arch trail first; it was the longest hike we were planning that day, and also the one I thought would be the most interesting.  There is a parking lot at the trail head, but as it was a busy day, it was full and we had to park off the road a little ways away.

At the very beginning, right off the trail head is the Wolfe Ranch, which consists of a turn of the last century cabin and corrals.  John Wesley Wolfe was a disabled Civil War veteran who moved to the area with his son Fred in 1888.  He believed that the drier climate of the southwest would be good for his lingering leg injuries.  By 1898, they had built a cabin and were farming and raising a small number of cattle near the Salt Wash nearby. The remaining cabin is actually the second cabin built by John Wolfe, which was built in 1906.

Wolfe Ranch – At the Delicate Arch Trail Head. To the left is the original corral fencing.

Wolfe Ranch – At the Delicate Arch Trail Head. To the left is the original corral fencing.

As the story goes, John’s daughter Flora Stanley moved to the site with her family, and she was so appalled at the primitive condition of the first cabin that she asked her father to build a new one. The original cabin washed away in a flood, but the 1906 cabin still stands and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They have the door open so you can peek inside through a metal grate, and boy is it small…  But apparently it was much nicer than the first one, because after all, it does have a wood floor.  Oh my, how times have changed!

The Wolfe Ranch Cabin

The Wolfe Ranch Cabin

John Wolfe and his family were aware that Delicate Arch was just a few miles away; it is known that they walked to Delicate Arch to view the sunset sometimes.  John Wolfe and his family didn’t stay at the homestead for long after the second cabin was built; his daughter and her family moved into Moab in 1908.  And Wolfe sold the ranch in 1910 and moved back to Ohio, where he died in 1913.

The Front Door of the Wolfe Ranch Cabin

The Front Door of the Wolfe Ranch Cabin

It’s pretty neat that the National Park Service preserved this cabin for visitors to experience.  Hopefully it will be around for years to come.  I’ll be posting about our hike to Delicate Arch next!

Have you visited the Wolfe Ranch at Arches National Park?


The Grand Tour – Day 7 – Americus, Georgia!

After Fort Pulaski, we got on the road to our next destination – Americus, Georgia. Americus is a small town of about 17,000, which is only about 10 miles from Andersonville National Historic Site. Yes, the Andersonville of Civil War Prisoner of War camp fame, which was to be our destination the next morning. The long drive was a collection of boring freeways and picturesque back roads. We passed lots of cute brick homes with front porches, lots of singlewide trailers, a Mennonite Church, and one house that appeared to have been struck by a tornado. The entire front half of the home was sheared away, and there was furniture and debris all over. It made me glad we don’t have very many tornados in the Northwest (although we do have a few).

Once we got to Americus, we checked into our home for the night, the Best Western Windsor Hotel. The Windsor is a historic hotel, built in 1892 to attract folks from the north who wanted to winter where it was warm. It originally had 100 rooms, but after the renovation, it has 53 guest rooms, none of which are alike. The hotel has a grand 3 story lobby, and you can walk around the landing on the upper floors and look down at the lobby. Lots of famous people have stayed there over the years, including former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eugene Debs (the labor leader), Jessica Tandy and former President Jimmy Carter and his wife.  The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places too.

Windsor Hotel – Built 1892 – Victorian (Queen Anne) Architectural Style With Moorish Elements

The Lobby of the Windsor Hotel

Rumor has it that Al Capone also stayed there, and had an armed guard posted at the base of the turret suite where he stayed. And it has some ghosts. Floyd Lowery was a doorman who worked at the hotel for over 40 years and is still around. Apparently he is a friendly ghost, still wanting to serve the guests who see him.  Although Floyd didn’t drink, the pub at the hotel is now named for him.  And a woman and her daughter were murdered in the early 1900s, pushed down the elevator shaft from the third floor. It is said that the woman’s reflection can be seen in the mirror in the hallway of the third floor, and the little girl can be heard running up and down the hallways playing. We didn’t see or hear anything in our third floor room, although it was on the opposite side of the hotel from the elevator.

The Windsor Hotel Still Has its Original Phone Booth!

The hotel is gorgeous – the renovation did a good job of preserving the historic features of the hotel, and was nicely appointed with a down duvet (actually a bit hot for the weather though!). We enjoyed our stay, having dinner in the pub restaurant, where I had the best fish burger I’ve ever eaten! The patty was made from lobster, crab and fish, and was just full of big chunks of seafood! Jon had the salmon satay with apple slaw, which was also delicious. We sat out on the pub’s second floor veranda and watched the thunderstorm from beneath the veranda roof.  The lightning was incredible – it was so close and we had an excellent vantage point!  It was a nice end to a great day.

President’s Day Weekend – Part 2 – The Hood River Railroad in My Room!

In the last installment, Jon and I traveled through Yakima and Goldendale on the way to Hood River….

Once we got to Hood River, we found our home for the night, the Hood River Hotel. It is a historic hotel on the National Register of Historic Places, and began its life in 1881 as the Mount Hood Hotel, a wooden structure in the other half of the block where the current hotel is now. The brick building that exists today was built in 1912 – the original wooden part of the hotel was torn down in the early 1930s. The hotel fell into disrepair over the years, but fortunately, someone saw the value in this beautiful old building.  It was restored in the 1980s, maintaining the historic features of the hotel.

This year is the hotel’s 100 year anniversary (although the original building that was torn down was older), and they are doing specials to celebrate.  Any room for $100 – even suites!  We checked in and found our room – we even got a real key – when was the last time you got a real key!? The room was a suite – kind of the extended stay room of a hundred years ago – with a full kitchen, sitting area and walk-in closet. The bathroom and kitchen were a bit dated, but that goes with the territory at a historic hotel. It even had radiators!

Hood River Hotel Lobby

We didn’t stick around for too long though, because we wanted to get a bite to eat and see a little bit of town. We headed over to The Pines, a tasting room downtown. I went for the tasting and Jon had a glass of their Syrah. I enjoyed the wines I tried, with Jon’s Syrah being my least favorite. Jon tried each of the wines I had, and he loved their Old World Zinfandel, from vines planted in the late 1800s. Our server gave us some recommendations for dinner, and we headed over to Brian’s Pourhouse, several blocks up the street. Getting there was a challenge, because the rain was coming down in sheets at that point. Reading the street signs as we walked up the hill was difficult, but we made it there. Brian’s Pourhouse looks fancy when you enter, and the menu has several higher priced entrees to choose from. However, they also have very reasonably priced meals, including the Philly cheesesteak I had and the fish tacos that Jon tried. We also had an appetizer of mussels cooked in a coconut milk sauce. Everything was delicious! But the walk home was only easier because it was downhill – it was still dumping sheets of rain…

Brian's Pourhouse Restaurant (in the "pouring" rain)

Back at the hotel, I discovered that the hotel being close to the train tracks was about to become a BIG drawback. Jon had called in our reservation rather than booking over the internet so he could ask specifically about the train for me, because we had read about it in reviews of the hotel. We were assured that it would not be a problem. Well, it was. A big problem. I did not get much sleep with the trains coming by frequently all night long. I didn’t time them, but I would guess they came by every half hour.  It didn’t help that right before bed, Jon started telling me about how the hotel was haunted, and that he had read about it online.  I knew he was joking, but it still weirded me out…  Jon managed to sleep through several of the trains (lucky bum!), but did wake up at times. Saturday morning came too early…. As much as I loved the history and the character of the Hood River Hotel, I don’t think we’ll be staying there again – the trains were just too much. Each room comes with a $10 credit for breakfast at the hotel restaurant though, and the breakfast was excellent!

Room 106 at the Hood River Hotel

Our Stylish Kitchen at the Hood River Hotel

Cornerstone Restaurant at the Hood River Hotel

After breakfast, we wandered around Hood River for a little while, checking out the shops and art galleries. We found a little shoe shop that had some sale shoes, and Jon and I each found a pair that we liked.  We enjoyed wandering around, and could have stayed a lot longer, but soon, it was time to get back on the road.  In my next post, I’ll fill you in on the used car salesman of wine!