Kona Coffee

Kona coffee is Coffea arabica which is cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world because only coffee from the Kona Districts can be described as “Kona”. The heritage trees in the Kona districts have been developed over the past 175 years on the west side of Hawaii. The mix of sunshine and rainfall, combined with porous, mineral rich volcanic soil creates favorable coffee growing conditions and produces a coffee that is typically mild and sweet with a hint of spice.

The coffee plant was brought to the Kona district in 1828 by Reverend Samuel Ruggles, from Brazilian cuttings. The coffee market crashed in 1899, and big coffee plantations became a thing of the past, replaced by small family farms.  The tradition of running family farms has continued throughout Kona to this day. Since the first introduction of coffee here,  Hawaii has been the only state in the US to commercially grow it. According to the Kona Coffee Council, the rocky location and the fact that the coffee does not ripen all at the same time means the Kona trees cannot be mechanically harvested. Since they must inspect each bean as they are picked, you are assured a perfect cup of coffee, which was picked when ripe, and not a combination of immature or overripe beans. This excellent quality has made Kona coffee one of the most highly valued coffees in the world.

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Wildness

In wildness is the preservation of the world.  ~ Henry David Thoreau

I love my coexistence with wildlife here in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Of course, we have to take certain precautions living so near the wild, but there is something about looking up from my morning paper to see a deer or fox gazing back at me that makes me happy. I feel alive. I feel a part of the rhythm of life. I feel … thankful.

Bighorn Sheep Festival

Clear Creek County has much to offer in the way of history and recreation. Just up the mountain from Idaho Springs is another historic town sharing its mining heritage – Georgetown. On November 12th, 2011, Georgetown will be hosting the Bighorn Sheep Festival. On May 1, 1961 the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep was designated as the official Colorado State Animal. This animal is found only in the Rockies, usually in very rugged terrain. The festival is tons of fun for the whole family. The Festival will happen come rain, snow or shine. There will be:

Bighorn Sheep Watching

Colorado Critter Parade at 12 Noon

Guided Hike (Meet at 22nd St. bridge 1 p.m.)

Story telling

Kids crafts & activities, face-painting, songs, and stories.

Lectures at the Community Center at 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.

Meet Elbert the Bighorn Sheep

Take the opportunity to leave your hectic to-do list behind, and just have some fun, memory-making time with your family. You’ll get to know something about local wildlife, and enjoy the beautiful, bracing Colorado Rocky Mountains.

James A. Payne

After George Jackson discovered gold in Clear Creek, he returned to the site with a team of 22 men. Within seven days, they discovered $1,900 worth of gold – the equivalent of $1 million by today’s standards! The population of the site quickly grew, first known as Jackson’s Diggings, Sacramento City, and finally Idahoe.  In June of 1859, the area was formally organized, the first recorded in Colorado history.  400 people lived in the settlement at that time. From 1860 until 1873, the city was surveyed three times with the last survey resulting in a town of 105 acres.

From the beginning, Idaho Springs attempted to display the best of culture. James A. Payne  who was part of that original party of 22,  brought his violin and performed for the residents of the city.  Payne’s was the first recorded marriage in Idaho Springs. Married to Hulda Payne, in 1863 the couple gave birth to Wesley, the first baby boy born in the Idaho Springs settlement.

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.”

 

Fall Photos

Autumn in the Rocky Mountains is a special time – with warm days, cool nights, and breathtaking color. It’s the perfect time to schedule an outdoor photo for your family. There are many scenic spots throughout Clear Creek County that offer a spectacular backdrop for a family photo. As a local Evergreen company, Camara Photography is familiar with these fabulous, beautiful spots for outdoor photographs – and if you have a place that is special to your family, a photographer will meet you there. Contact them today to take advantage of the best fall color, and let them help you create a family memory full of Colorado flair and personality.

Heritage Museum and Visitor Center

Idaho Springs is steeped in history. In its heart, it is a mining town which sprung up because of the discovery of gold and the possibilities that discovery birthed. Built in 1991, The Heritage Museum exhibits a number of artifacts from the 1860’s to the 1940’s that tell the story of George A. Jackson’s discovery of gold in 1859 and the resulting rush that transformed the valley. Additionally, the Museum has a collection of Indian artifacts, fire department equipment, 10th Mountain Division Ski Exhibit, Berthoud Pass Ski Area history, geological specimens, mining tools, and features early day life and hand crafts from the local people. It is a fabulous way to get a look at the heart of Clear Creek County. The Heritage Museum and Visitor Center is located at 2060 Miner Street in downtown Idaho Springs.