By Beth Buehler
Colorado is a state filled with unique venues to gather. For this article, I narrowed it down to provide two unique venues for meetings that are in the city and three unique venues for meetings that are located in mountain towns. Find out about a Chautauqua location that dates back to 1898, a premiere resort created by the founder/CEO of the Discovery Channel, a Civil War-era barn that now houses interactive exhibits and gathering space, and other unique venues for meetings in Colorado.
Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder was founded in 1898 and is the only Chautauqua west of the Mississippi River still continuing in unbroken operation since the heyday of the Chautauqua Movement in the 1920s. Located at the base of Boulder’s Flatirons and one of only 25 National Historic Landmarks in the state, Colorado Chautauqua’s 26 scenic acres features indoor and outdoor venues capable of hosting from 10 to 150 visitors; 58 historic cottages; and the Dining Hall for meals.
One of the most distinct places to gather at Chautauqua is the attractive Community House, built in 1918 to serve as the “living room” to the original tent residents of Colorado Chautauqua. The Grand Assembly on the main floor features a gas fireplace, bay window, grand piano, hardwood floors, wrap-around indoor balcony and large covered porch and can accommodate up to 100. There are two smaller spaces in the house that can hold a maximum of 30 or 60 attendees.
The memory of seeing Garden of the Gods Park, a National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs, for the first time is hard to forget. Imagine dramatic views that include 300-foot towering sandstone rock formations against a snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. This is the backdrop for Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, established in 1951 and able to host groups of 10 to 250 with 22,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, including seven function rooms and six terraces and lawn areas. While the backdrop is what makes this property especially distinct, it’s also a one-stop shop with 56 guest rooms, six cottages/casitas, 27-hole Kissing Camels Golf Course, tennis courts, full-service spa and salon, and a family recreation area with pools and a splash park.
The landscape around Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa in Gateway is equally impressive, and it’s possible to meet amongst owner John Hendricks’ spectacular auto collection in the Gateway Auto Museum. Hendricks, the former Discovery Channel founder/CEO, has assembled a collection that begins with the 1906 Cadillac Model H Coupe and includes Duesenberg, Auburn, Cord, and Cunningham marques, alongside rare models from Packard, Cadillac, Pierce Arrow and others. A highlight is the very rare 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car purchased for $3.25 million. The spacious museum lobby holds up to 70 for a reception, while the outdoor front courtyard is suitable for up to 40. There are many other unique activities and venues at Gateway Canyons, such as the Mission Bell Amphitheater, Palisade Event Center, Cottonwood Terrace and Red Cliff Camp.
Nestled in nature on the edge of Winter Park, the fairly new Headwaters Center is an ideal location for all sorts of meetings and celebrations. The reclaimed Civil War-era timber barn provides a backdrop rich in history and rustic elegance and features 4,400 square feet of indoor space in the main hall and 1,500 square feet in the Higher Minds Loft. Open the floor-to-ceiling, sliding barn doors to a spacious 2,800-square-foot outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, Fraser River, and an additional 5,600-square-foot outdoor venue. There is no lodging on-site, but Bob and Suzanne Fanch, founders of this nonprofit, own Vasquez Creek Inn and Trailhead Inn in Winter Park and Devil’s Thumb Ranch in nearby Tabernash.
Perched above the Yampa River Valley, Bella Vista Estate offers 360-degree mountain views and can host events for up to 50. A maximum of 28 guests can enjoy on-site accommodations, and additional lodging opportunities are only 10 minutes away in Steamboat Springs. Groups can choose from three different party sites on the seven-acre property, which is surrounded by national forest. During free time, guests will love swimming in the pool, soaking in the hot tub, playing tennis, gathering around the pool tables, and having fun in the arcade.
Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 15 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.