Steamer Trunks

The name steamer trunk is frequently misused. Many people tend to generalize and call all old trunks steamer trunks; but a true steamer trunk is about half the height of most regular flat top trunks because they were used by passengers in their quarters during steamship voyages. Everything they would need during the voyage would be packed in that trunk and it was allowed in their room. Their other trunks, if they had them, were stored in the cargo hold and were not accessible during the journey. So, the term is associated with steam ships but not all trunks that traveled on steamships were steamers.

The classic flat top trunks we generally think of as steamer trunks were made from about the 1870s to around 1920. These trunks were the workhorses of that period, although flat trunks have been around since the very earliest Egyptian trunks. Another popular design during the flat top’s heyday had a rounded top. There are many stories to explain why the popularity of trunk design went from flat top stagecoach design to the round tops and humpbacks. Some say these rounded trunks came about because people were fed up with baggage handlers stacking their trunks and damaging them, so the round top evolved. It probably took porters about half-a-minute to tip the trunks over on their side and continue stacking them. Maybe that’s why flat top trunks came back into fashion.

Flat top trunks make beautiful coffee tables, and can be used to store blankets or toys. Adding a classic trunk to a room adds charm and a little history to the space. It even brings a touch of glamor, as we imagine the ocean liners the trunks traveled on and the items they carried.


Antique Books

As long as a book is still in print, one can get the words anywhere – even electronically. But for book lovers, there is something irreplaceable in holding a bound book in one’s hands. There is the smell of the paper and the ink. There is the solid feel of its weight. There are the feelings it invokes of past reading pleasures. It’s pure satisfaction.

That satisfaction is increased when the book is an antique. When one acquires an antique book, one acquires a treasure. Old books have unique bindings and beautiful endpapers. Frequently, there are hand-drawn illustrations and elaborate fonts. They are works of art and make beautiful displays.

Then there is the possibility of unexpected discoveries. The original owner’s name may be pencilled in on the first page. Or an old postcard or picture may be tucked between the pages. Our family has a well-loved book of poetry that is just like this. It was owned by Mildred, who wrote her name inside the front cover with her precise schoolgirl penmanship. She went through the table of contents and marked her favorites. And inside is a postcard, written to her by a friend many decades ago. When we pick up that book, it sparks the imagination ~ taking us to a different time. We sometimes imagine Mildred holding that book, and reading those poems. It has become more than a book. It is a work of art, and a treasure map to the past. 

Annie’s Gold has many antique books. When your adventuring spirit puts you in the mood for treasure hunting, come in and see what delightful nuggets you can find to spark your own imagination. 

Ride to the Graveyard

One of the best ways to see the beauty of autumn in the Rocky Mountains is on horseback. There are many horseback tours available, but one company local to Idaho Springs offers both guided and unguided tours and no age limits (children under five must ride double). One of the destinations available is a ride into 1800’s era cemeteries. Although mining history is at times glamorous – especially when we hear how someone ‘struck it rich’ – these graveyards attest to the hope and true sacrifice of mining families who buried many children in the Colorado mountains. 


There are day rides, full moon rides, and in the spirit of the season there is a Halloween Ride to the graveyards just around the corner. There are a limited number of riders for this ride, so if you’re interested, make your reservations right away.


“Learn to ride a horse and you can have one of the most thrilling experiences of your life.”


Riding the Rails

Are you kicking yourself because summer is ending and you never found the time to ride the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad? Well, it’s definitely not too late! The season goes through December 30, 2011, and the following are special events just for fall.

Be sure and check out the Beer and Brats train in September and October. The railroad will have a free Colorado micro brew beer tasting for all adult riders coupled with appetizers, brats & sauerkraut, and dessert. 

The Pumpkin Festival Trains are back again for your enjoyment the first two weekends of October. These excursions are a great favorite of children, their parents, and grandparents. The hay bale maze is set up outside the Lebanon Silver Mine for the little ones’ enjoyment. There are free pumpkins to take home for all the little ones. There will be games, a treasure hunt for nuggets, face painting and all of the railroad’s wonderful holiday characters returning. 

The Oktoberfest Trains are returning the last three weekends of October which utilize enclosed heated coaches. They will have a free Colorado micro brew beer tasting for all adult riders and free bratwurst or hot dogs for all riders. Come enjoy the crispness of fall days while taking your ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad®.

Check here for schedules and prices.

Aspen Fire

The month of September is the ideal time to view gorgeous Rocky Mountain fall color, but you have to time it right — the color is fleeting, lasting only about a week in most places. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to predict when exactly the leaves will turn in any given location. The best strategy: select your travel dates in advance, but not your destination. Then do your research and go where the color is. The Rocky Mountain Region of the National Forest Service is not reporting any fall color from any forest or grassland yet. However, the Forest Service website posts information on fall color information from 17 national forests and 7 national grasslands, and is updated weekly. If you’re planning a color tour, check there for current, reliable fall foliage information.


One favorite route for a local color tour is to take Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway south out of the town of Georgetown.  You’ll not only find pockets of breathtaking aspen but high-altitude nirvana atop the 11,699-foot pass. The aspens are more prevalent on the southern side of the pass. Once you reach the town of Grant, turn right on US 285 and take the highway for 15 minutes to the top of Kenosha Pass, where the aspen thrive on the rim of the slopes encircling South Park.

Georgetown Loop Railroad

The Georgetown Loop Railroad brings Colorado history to life in a fun that will thrill the entire family. The beauty of the rugged Rocky Mountains surrounds you as an old-time steam locomotive or one of our powerful diesel locomotives winds up the Clear Creek canyon, hauling your train past the remains of several gold and silver mines. Our fully enclosed as well as our open cars allow a breath tak adventure ing view of everything along the line. Departures are available from the Silver Plume Depot or Devil’s Gate Station in Georgetown during the regular season. Trains operating after Columbus Day only operate from the Devil’s Gate Station in Georgetown. Be sure to visit the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District, established in 1966. The two towns have one of the largest concentrations of Victorian buildings in the country, with many unique shops and restaurants.

The Railroad is just another fun and fulfilling way to spend the day in Clear Creek County. Visit Georgetown Loop Railroad for more information.