A Magic Thing-Surf Chateau

“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.”
Laura Gilpin

River rocks chosen from the Arkansas that bubbles by. Cedar shingles and arched entries to the courtyard. Claw-foot tubs and beadboard, crisp white sheets and cozy couches. The Surf Chateau in Buena Vista, Colorado is like a dream.

Located in the South Main neighborhood, the boutique hotel is just one of the ventures for Jed and Kennley Selby. Together with his sister, Jed purchased the land along the river to create a recreational, commercial, and residential community. Their goals: to use green building principles to create a place where one could live, work, and play, sustainably. It seems they have succeeded.

Photo from website
On the Riverwalk (Photo from website)

There is no need to check in; each guest is given their own key code. We had reserved the Riverfront King Suite. A King size piece of heaven, a trundle twin tucked in an alcove, a balcony with French doors opened to a view of the Arkansas, a stones throw below. As I said, dreamy.

Each of the 20 rooms is uniquely designed with a clean and elegant, but comfortable feel. Lofts, oak barrel table tops, delicious linens and toiletries, mini-fridge, coffee-maker and wireless if you must connect.

Wander out the courtyard and you will find the South Main park area. If you time it right, you may find music at The Beach or indulge in a crepe from the Simple Twist of Taste Crepe Cart. If you miss those gems, just stroll a little further and hit the Eddyline Brewery. The kids can run in the park, climb at the rock wall, ride at the skate park, or dip their toes in the river. Sit on your deck and watch the kayakers pass by. Stroll along the riverwalk. Share a bottle in the courtyard.

I found this hotel online while planning our trip. They had yet to open and we were taking a chance planning our trip around construction completion. But from the photos of what had been finished, it was worth taking a chance.

On a hike a week before, we received a call from my husband’s high school friend in Jackson Hole. He had seen we were in Colorado and was thinking about coming down to check out his friend’s new place. Where was this place? In Buena Vista. The Surf Chateau. What are the chances of that?

So, after several days camping in Crested Butte, we came in at the end of July 2014. It was their opening night for that wing. Yes, that is correct. We were the first people to sleep in the room. They were finishing it as we arrived. How often does that happen? And you can imagine how luxurious the clawfoot tub and scrumptious bed were after several nights on the ground.

Our friends arrived shortly after we did, new baby girl in tow. We caught up over looking the river, we ate together at the brewery, we met their friends, Jed and Kennley. We heard more about their vision and danced at The Beach in the rain.

Kennley’s mom, the master of crepes, told me that each of the rocks on the hotel came from the river. From the river, they came tumbled and smooth, formed on their journey. They were chosen, one by one. That is how I see South Main. It was born out of a love for the river, built along the banks. Each step carefully planned, each detail carefully selected.  That is the kind of place that warms you. That is a magic thing.




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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

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