Monday, February 1, 2016

Exploring Colorado-Cherokee Castle and High Tea

You know, no matter where we live,  we have probably not seen everything there is to see and do in our own little corner of the world.  I lived in Washington DC for twenty years and still have not been to every museum and monument in that town. One of my goals is to try and take at least two trips a month to explore Denver or Colorado, and these week was one of those times.

My darling sister-in-law had hinted before Christmas that she would really like a girl's day out, and since I knew there was nothing she really needed that was my gift for Christmas.  On Saturday, we went to our local Cherokee Ranch and Castle, where we had high tea and took an hour castle tour. Not wanting to drag along a second camera, I relied on my trusty phone camera for photos. As you can see my photography is improving-but slowly! 

A stock photo, taken from the website,with a view my camera simply would not take!

The history of Cherokee Castle (and Ranch) is fairly unique. Made up of several homesteads, the land was purchased in the 1920s by a family who then built a Scottish style castle to order!  The family died and/or moved away eventually, and in the fifties the house was sold to Tweet Kimble.  Tweet was a unique woman-on the one hand, she threw parties four nights a week. On the other hand, she was a cattle rancher who imported a unique breed (Santa Gertrude) of cattle from Kingman, Texas to her Colorado Ranch.  She went against the grain as these cattle were bred for flat, hot Texas weather, but she made a success of her ranch here in Colorado, and expanded interest of the breed around the world.

A painting of one of the cattle brought to Colorado from Texas

Tweet ( Mildred Montague Genevieve) Kimball was also well traveled, and brought back art from all over the world (mainly Europe).  Put simply, she lived like a monarch much of the time. This was a woman who threw parties for people like Princess Anne of England and then went out to the stables or to check on the cows in a cowboy hat and full length fur coat.  

When Tweet died, her will provided for the Cherokee foundation so that people could explore and see the castle, as well as the ranch, and all the collections inside are now open to the people of Colorado and all visitors.  In addition to tours, the castle holds a variety of events, from teas to music concerts, to readings and even weddings. And they still raise and breed cattle (for show, rather than for slaughter).

This  weekend we had the kind of weather that reminds me why I live in Colorado. The weather  was sixty five and sunny, making it feel like almost seventy as we are that mile closer to the sun.  It really was the perfect day to take my sister in law to the castle, where we had that high tea and tour. Now, high tea can be a one of a kind experience, and one I don't get too often. There were chicken salad and cucumber sandwiches, gourmet tarts and scones, and everything savory or sweet. I had a Chai tea that was spiced with mulling spices, while my sister in law stuck with English Breakfast tea.

Not the best photo but you can get an idea of the types of goodies we enjoyed!

The great hall, where we had tea.  The animal heads are behind me.

Another photo of the great hall.

We were seated at one end of the hall, and these beauties were almost above me!

After an hour of high tea and music in the great hall (while stuffed heads looked on from above), we began the tour part of our program. I'm not sure which was more impressive, the stunning views from the windows and balconies, or the amount of art that had been collected. We saw Portuguese blue tile murals, a medieval set of armor and beheading swords, a civil war gun, and an ebony dresser inlaid with ivory that showed all of Aesop's fables. I saw a painting by Winston Churchill, and a bed in which Charles II supposedly slept and so much more. In fact, I managed to tour the whole castle with the exception of the upper tower (steep steps and no railing of any kind left me well behind).

Portuguese Tile Mural of Horses (tweet also loved horses)

I took this picture across the room so it is not the greatest (all done with my phone). The ivory is inlaid.
World War One Gun -apparently her teenage boys thought it was fun to play with so she had it filled up.

Top half of an antique Bavarian Cukoo clock

A picture painted by Winston Churchill of one of his homes-covered in glass so there is a reflection

The balcony was closed because of high winds in the afternoon, but you can get an idea of the view from this picture.

Yes, this is midieval armor-and the bars are beheading swords
Tweet's burial place and memorial gardens on the huge estate!

Tweet's "intimate" dining room, with five leaves for entertaining

Happily, my sister also had a lovely time and enjoyed our girl's day out just as much as I did.  One of my goals for the new year is to explore Denver and Colorado by taking a couple trips every month.  Hopefully every adventure is as fun as this one!

This was a fun outing, and worth the 45 dollars per person, believe me!

For more information on Tweet or the Castle, check out this link!!



  1. Sounds like a fabulous outing!

  2. That's a very interesting story. I love to hear of eccentric women like Tweet - do they make women like her anymore?
    The tea looks lovely - looks like a proper afternoon tea. I had a good look at the plates!


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