Gambol with the kids at Mountain Goat Lodge

The moment we walked in the door we fell in love with Mountain Goat Lodge in Salida, Colorado The welcoming cathedral-ceilinged great room with the stone fireplace made us feel as if we’d come home. The stunning views of the Colorado Rockies through the huge windows cemented the deal.

The mountains view from Mountain Goat Lodge, photo Steve Collins

The mountains view from Mountain Goat odge, photo Steve Collins

The pet-friendly bed and breakfast, sitting on 20 acres at the foot of a cluster of majestic fourteeners (the Colorado Rockies with summits at least 14,000 feet above sea level), is a sanctuary for people, goats, chickens, two ducks and a “watch” lama. Hosts Gina and D’Arcy Marcell, Pacific Northwest transplants, make guests feel right at home. The main lodge has four guest rooms and two suites. In addition, there are repro retro trailers as well as a vintage one to accommodate overnight guests.

The accommodations

Mountain Goat Lodge offers two kinds of accommodations: guest rooms on the lodge and retro trailers on the back forty. Guest rooms include a full farm-fresh home cooked breakfast. Trailer rentals don’t include breakfast but can it be added for a surcharge.

The rooms

Mountain Goat Lodge - Tabeguache with it's cowboy-inspired decor, photo Steve Collins

Tabeguache with it’s cowboy-inspired decor, photo/Steve Collins

There are four guest rooms upstairs and two suites on the main floor. Five of the lodge rooms/suites are named for the fourteeners visible out from the property. The sixth, Oberhasli, is named for the breed of goats roaming the property. Each balconied room has its own theme.  We had planned to stay one night, but an unexpected vacancy allowed us to extend for a second night but we had to change rooms. This was a good thing as we got to experience two of the rooms.

Our first night we stayed in Antero at the top of the stairs. The king-bedded room had everything we needed including an easy chair, a large flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge and a built-in desk, made from a slab of natural wood. The best thing:  a multi-plug unit on the desktop with ample plugs for all those electronic gadgets we all travel with. We love fresh air so we cooled our room using the ceiling fan and opening the patio door and window.

The room was pleasantly cool. With the door open we did get flies; it’s a farm, a very clean one but farms get flies. The good news: there’s a fly swatter in every room. Don’t want the flies, turn on the room-sized swamp cooler.

Antero’s décor paid homage to the great trout fishing in the Arkansas River which runs nearby. There were fishing rods and a net on the wall as well as fish folk art throughout the room and a creel basket on our desk. We appreciated the few unexpected luxuries such as the microfiber sheets with the satiny feel of high thread-count cotton ones, the rain showerhead in the bath and the Gilchrist and Soames bath products suspended on the shower wall.

We spent our second night in Tabeguache, across the hall from Antero. The cowboy-themed king-bedded room, a little smaller than Antero, had the same amenities included the well set up desk. We loved the log bed; it was almost like the one we sleep in at home. The western décor was whimsical. It was a fun room!

The trailers

Mountain Goat Lodge -

One of the four repro trailers , photo/Steve Collins

Book one of the four repro mini-trailers set in a clearing surrounded by cedar and pine trees. Each compact unit sleep up to three; there’s a queen-sized bed and the dinette converts to a twin bed. While looking like they came right out of the 50s, the heated trailers have all the modern conveniences people appreciate today including air conditioning and kitchenettes equipped with a stove, refrigerator/freezer, microwave and a coffee maker. They also have outdoor grills. The tiny, efficient bathrooms are well engineered to save space; the shower is right over the toilet.

Mountain Goat Lodge -Back to the 50s in style, the restored Magnolia trailer photo Steve Collins

Back to the 50s in style, the restored Magnolia trailer photo Steve Collins

Want to be more authentic? Book the newly restored three-room (two bedroom) vintage Magnolia trailer set in its own clearing. This mid-century, 38-foot-long, 8-foot-wide gem, which sleeps up to five, features the original beechwood paneling throughout. the unit. It has a compact kitchen with the original sink and stove, a modern fridge and microwave. The compact bathroom has a bathtub/shower combo. The décor is mid-century modern. Enjoy the private front patio with its panoramic views. Don’t want to cook inside? Use the BBQ grill. It reminded us of the winter we spent in a vintage Airstream in an organic orange grove in Florida when our son was a baby.

The trailers are so popular they’re often booked up before the rooms are.

Breakfast

Goat Lodge start your day right photo/courtesy Mountain Goat Lodge

Breakfasts at Mountain Goat Lodge start your day right photo/courtesy Mountain Goat Lodge

Breakfasts vary from day to day. “I never know what I’m going to make until I get up in the morning,” said Gina, a force of nature. Yu can bet much of it will be fresh from the farm. Eggs from their chickens (and duck in spring); the birds roam the grounds freely. There’s also fresh milk, cheese and yogurt from the resident goats that also have free range of the property.

A professional-style espresso machine has pride of place on the kitchen counter next to a bright red Vita Mix. Gina, a former barista, delights creating coffee drinks for her guests.

She gave me a lesson in the correct way to order coffee and there’s a logic to it. If you’re having a hot drink (the default) start with the size because the first thing the server needs to do is grab the cup. If you want an iced drink, the first thing you say is “Iced” and then add the cup size. If you’re having decafe, that’s the next thing you need to say as the next step is grinding the bean. If you require non-dairy “milk” this is the time to whether or not you want whipped cream. To make sure I remembered this she grabbed a sticky note and wrote it all down.

When we arrived at breakfast our first morning we discovered a feast. Orange juice, lemon, ricotta, blueberry muffins; house-made yogurt with apricot preserves greeted us. There was coffee or you could order the espresso drink of your choice. Lattes seemed to be popular. The main course was a Caprese frittata, all ingredients including the goat mozzarella were from the farm. Only the potatoes weren’t raised here. The group was congenial and we enjoyed chatting with a Colorado Springs couple, retired military, and their twin college-bound daughters. Sated we headed off to savor the day.

On our second morning, we were greeted with the yogert, cinnamon rolls and huevos rancheros. As a Santa Fean I’m almost embarrassed to admit this: I had never tried this iconic breakfast dish before. Gina’s makes hers with with black beans and chipotle in adobo sauce (if you want the recipe contact us and we’ll send it). They were WONDERFUL! I will be trying then again but I think the bar may have been set to high. We spent our second breakfast chatting with guests from Texas who are at the lodge for 10 days. Mountain Goat Lodge attracts a very congenial crowd.

The animals

The goats

Mountain Goat Lodge - Billie with the baby billies. photo Steve Collins

Billie with the baby billies. photo Steve Collins

There were almost three dozen Oberhasli goats (a dairy breed developed in the mountains of Switzerland and introduced in the U.S. in the early 1900s), a mix of babies and full-grown ones. when we were at Mountain Goat Lodge but Gina was about to give about half of them away. She wants to minimize inbreeding to keep the mall herd thriving. The adult goats were mostly mellowly, lying on the ground, but the babies, bustling with great curiosity, were all over the place. We discovered two lying in the sun on the hot tub lid and met a few on the stairs to the deck. They are curious and affectionate and give gentle head butts with their little nubs of horns. You can see the mama goats milked each morning and night. Most male baby goats have to be castrated unless you want them to breed. Rather than pay a vet, the enterprising Gina, woman, does it herself. “I learned from a You Tube video,” She shared.

The goats run free in a large field fenced for their protection both from the road and predators; there are coyotes, bears and mountain lions in the area. Pilar, an aloof guard lama watches over them. I love llamas so I tried to bond as but Pilar wasn’t having any of it.

Goat yoga at Mountain Goat Lodge, photo Gina Marcell

Goat yoga at Mountain Goat Lodge, photo/Gina Marcell

Heard of goat yoga? I hadn’t but It’s apparently the rage. When I mentioned to my son that we were staying at a goat farm he mentioned it so I checked with Gina. They offer goat yoga periodically and have been doing it for a year. They put mats out in front of the lodge, bring in the goats and let nature take its course. The draw for goat yoga, a practice that started by accident on an Oregon farm, seems to be the mellow presence of the goats and their curious babies. People love when the babies climb on their backs during classes. Find out when Mountain Goat Lodge is offering a class and check it out for yourself.

The fowl

Mountain Goat Lodge - Brooding chicken. photo Steve Collins

Brooding chicken. photo Steve Collins

There are over two-dozen chickens living at Mountain Goat Lodge presided over by a red rooster named Caliente. Gina doesn’t count them because she doesn’t want to know when one goes missing. She gets too attached. She collects eggs every day to use for breakfast. We visited the hen house with her and returned with a few eggs for the next day’s breakfast. The eggs are a wonderful array of colors depending on the breed of chicken laying them. There’s nothing like fresh eggs for breakfast! There are also two ducks. The female lays eggs in spring. If you’re a guest when she’s laying you might get duck eggs for breakfast.

Mountain Goat Lodge is a special place. Our time there was rejuvenating. I can’t put my finger on what exactly it was that created the shift. It may have been the goat bonding, it may have been Gina’s nurturing, whatever it was, I don’t care. We left feeling more relaxed and centered than we were when we arrived. Whatever it was, for us Mountain Goat Lodge was magical. Maybe it will be for you, too.

The greenhouse

Mountain Goat Lodge - The geodesic dome greenhouse. photo Steve Collins

The geodesic dome greenhouse. photo/Steve Collins

The small geodesic dome greenhouse is filled with vegetables, herbs, a few fruit trees and decorative plants. Some of the food grown here is used for breakfast and some is for innkeeper’s own

table. A 1,200 gallon tank complete with fish and floating plants helps cool the compact structure in summer and heat it in winter.

If you go to Mountain Goat Lodge

The very mellow Sookie, Mountain Goat Lodge's resident dog. photo Steve Collins

The very mellow Sookie, Mountain Goat Lodge’s resident dog. photo Steve Collins

Pets: Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Mountain Goat Lodge for a $20 per night fee per dog per night. The full policy is described on their website. The dogs who were guests when we were there were very well-behaved. While they must remain on leashes around the lodge there is a fenced run for them to go off-leash.

Mountain Goat Lodge is on US Highway 285 outside of Salida. There are highway sounds but they mostly die down at night an sleeping was fine even with the window open. For the ultra-sensitive there are ear plugs in each room.

Want to turn your Mountain Goat Lodge agristay into a learning experience? They offer classes including goat yoga, cheese-making, goat care and raising chickens. Check out the schedule or inquire about setting a class up.

Read more of our Colorado travel posts.

Author’s note: We were hosted by Mountain Goat Lodge for one night. We enjoyed our stay so much we paid for our second night when an unexpected vacancy occurred.

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2 Responses to “Gambol with the kids at Mountain Goat Lodge”

  1. Ryan Biddulph
    August 23, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    Beyond awesome Billie, living with animals like that. I have found that animals add a stable vibe to a living environment. We did a 6 month house sit at a villa on a HUGE property in Bali, with 35 free roaming chickens, 4 dogs and 3 cats, in addition to wildlife roaming on and off the grounds. Even though stressful moments occurred – like when we had to face down a spitting cobra that killed some chickens – it was overall a peaceful, serene experience. Animals level everything off. Cute goats!
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..11 Poisonous Blogging Stories To Release ImmediatelyMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      September 6, 2017 at 8:40 am #

      Facing down cobras? Not my idea of paradise-lol. What a great housesitting opp, though.

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