An Adobe Marvel in Western Colorado
Mary Hitchcock, Yonderer & Food Blogger
Anytime I leave the city, I’m inspired by those who live in rural areas. I could only hope to be like them one day, living a simpler life. Just me, my family, and maybe a few dozen animals roaming the farm.
Living in Colorado (Denver specifically) has its perks. One can go 20 minutes outside the city and enjoy rolling hills and open spaces for miles. Having grown up in Southern California, I rarely got to experience anything like it.
Recently I got a taste of the rural life on the Western Slope, what we Coloradoans call the western portion of the state. About 4.5 hours from Denver is a little town called Cedaredge. It sits about 6,000 feet in elevation just beneath the southern slopes of Grand Mesa National Forest, which is home to the largest flat-top mountain in the world! I was excited to see the diverse landscape of western Colorado, ranging as it does from lush greenery to adobe badlands to rugged pinyon and juniper-covered slopes and more. We’ll see some of that later in this post, but first let’s get there…
Upon my arrival to Cedaredge, the small agriculture community set in Surface Creek Valley, I headed a few minutes northwest to Maison de Terre, a unique, hand-crafted adobe bed and breakfast with views of the San Juan Mountains, the Grand Mesa and the West Elk Mountains.
Stewards Terrie and Marty Watts built this home over 30 years ago from scratch, after the San Francisco couple who dreamed of a simpler life went looking for it. Once they saw Cedaredge, they packed up their family and found a plot of Cedaredge land and never looked back.
When I say the couple made their home in Cedaredge, I’m being literal. Not only had they built the entire house from the ground up, they formed and laid their own bricks. Ten thousand bricks later, their home became a reality. I was in awe when Marty told me that in addition to all that, he was a completely self-taught builder. After years of reading books (this was before YouTube), Marty took on the project of building a home that his family would create memories in. What’s more, all the materials used were from local resources that made minimal environmental impacts.
A few years ago, Marty and Terrie opened their doors to guests from all over the world, allowing them to experience the serenity and peacefulness of their 10-acre property. My favorite area was the garden that often bears the fruits and vegetables used in many of Maison de Terre’s dishes. As a part of their guest offerings, the B&B creates a homemade and delicious breakfast for every guest daily. The farm-fresh eggs from the neighbors that were seasoned with tarragon from the garden were my favorite part of this meal. Farm-to-table at its finest.
After breakfast, I got to be one with myself and enjoy an on-site yoga session with a local instructor, as Marty is a firm believer in the healing benefits of yoga. And to my surprise, post-yoga, I got to observe a Reiki session. Having never experienced something like this before, it was a sight to see. Reiki is a Japanese form of alternative medicine that focuses on energy healing.
I couldn’t return from my getaway without discovering the land around Cedaredge. The roads took me from Maison de Terre to Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area; the 30-minute drive put me in what seemed a different world — a barren, hot, beautiful desert world known as an adobe badland. When I mentioned that the land is diverse, this is what I meant. You can go from the lush forests to the desert landscape in a few minutes.
After a guided hike with Marty, I was craving the evening so I could sit on the patio outside my bedroom. I knew the best way to end this trip was to relax, take in the surroundings, and enjoy the gentle breeze of the golden hour.
Reminiscing on my getaway reaffirmed my desire to one day lead a life of simplicity. I see it as the antidote of being caught up in the hustle of daily life, forgetting the true meaning of creating a life worth living.. I always make it a point to ask myself, “In 50, 60 or even 70 years from now, when I look back, did I live life to its fullest potential?”