Last week Mom and I spent the night at The Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Monte Vista before heading to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Monte Vista is about four hours south of Denver in the San Luis Valley. It's about 40 minutes from the park. We could have stayed somewhere closer, but I wanted to see the town. I found The Mansion on the Internet, but as I discovered later, some of my co-workers have stayed there, too, and loved it.
The Mansion was built in 1909 and is a beautiful example of Arts and Crafts style architecture. The innkeeper, Eileen Ford (no relation to the modeling agency), bought it after it had been an antique store for 30 years (if I recall correctly). It needed a lot of work, but all of the original trim and fixtures were there, and thankfully had never been painted over.
She did a terrific job! The furnishings are almost entirely period-appropriate within a decade or two, without any traces of kitsch or cutesiness that some antiques enthusiasts can fall prey to.
Had we been there longer, I would have enjoyed sitting on the glassed-in front porch with a good book.
I especially liked the open staircase. Broad, deep treads and open on one side to the living room, and a landing with fabulous leaded glass. The setting sun cast beautiful prisms of light on everything.
There are four rooms, named after women of note in Colorado history. Our room was the Isabella Bird room. That and the Margaret Brown room next door each have their own (new) bathrooms, while the two others share the original bath. The plumbing fixtures are all new or updated, and the beds are all queen- or king-sized with good mattresses.
We had a very nice dinner at the Mountain View Restaurant (more on that later), and I took a long walk around town while Mom turned in early. It was too dark to take photos, but it's your typical small town with a little main street and historic houses interspersed with newer frame bungalows. It reminded me a lot of South Dakota, where I used to live.
We were up for breakfast at 8, served in the sunny east-facing dining room (this was taken the night before). Eileen has a gorgeous collection of china, on which she served a delicious breakfast. We started with coffee, juice, and granola with yoghurt and blueberries.
Followed by a sausage fritatta and scones. All quite yummy! Eileen was careful to ask us about our food preferences before we arrived, so I've no doubt that she can accommodate vegetarians or gluten-free diets, too.
I'm sorry I didn't take more photos to show you, but you'll just have to check it out yourself!
One caveat: The Mansion is on one of the main thoroughfares, so the two rooms at the front with private baths are quite noisy. Eileen thoughtfully provides earplugs and an electric fan (there's no A/C), but if you are sensitive to street noise, you might prefer one of the rooms at the back of the house.
1030 Park Ave.
Monte Vista, CO 81144
Toll Free: 877-552-5151
Email innkeeper Eileen Ford at