Creede, CO: The Silver Lining in a Silver Mining Town That Went Bust

Jun 1, 2010 by

We’ve all heard the old saying, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  In a town that until 1985 was a bustling silver mining operation, Creede, Colorado, has done just that and found it’s silver lining, when the silver came to an end.  Their new claim to fame?  Art galleries.

Friday afternoon, I sat in the gallery of Stephen Quiller, a recognized watercolor artist, and he was talking about the plight of Creede.  When the silver mines closed in the mid 1980s, it hit the town hard. Much of it closed and many left.  But as time has passed, just like a wooded area after a fire, new life has sprung and the departure of the old has led the way to a new growth.

Quiller opened his gallery in 1970.  You walk in the door and you’re most likely greeted by his wife, Marta.  She’s one of the kindest people I’ve met in a long time.  Along the walls of the gallery are featured pieces painted by Steve.  There are three to the immediate left of Yosemite and if I had the money, I’d have bought one in a snap.  In the heart of the gallery are two brown leather sofas.  It’s there that Steve and I sat and talked for about an hour Friday.  We talked about my late grandfather, we talked about Steve’s travels, his work, and then we talked about the formation of the Taste of Creede.

He said the early years of the event were pretty lean.  But as time has passed, the annual Memorial Day Weekend event has grown in size and stature.  This past weekend, the streets on Saturday were reasonably crowded with fokes of all ages enjoying different activities, foods, shops and of course, art work.

If you’ve never been to Creede, (and unless you’re going there, you probably haven’t) I highly recommend this weekend event for 2011 and the years to come.

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Carly from Indiana and the thrill and passion of adventure

May 30, 2010 by

There are some people in this world who you almost never meet and when you do, you spend every possible second absorbing their story.

Carly, from Indiana, 24 (and I got it on the first/second guess) is one of those people.  In the previous post here, I made mention of her, but tonight I caught her heading back to the ranch where she works.

What I’ve come in contact the most on this trip to Creede, CO is a different breed of American, one that’s still very in touch with itself and the land in which we live.

That’s what one does when they’re here in Creede.  Or at least that’s how Carly (There’s more about her and others in Creede, here) has chosen to live, giving up the corporate world and finding her own personal level of solitude, warmth and happiness in something most in this world of hustle and bustle couldn’t stand for a day.

She lost her cell phone yesterday, possibly while walking around the Taste of Creede.  She said tonight that’s “almost something to celebrate.”   If I’d lost the iPhone yesterday, I’d be using the locater on iTunes to try to help find it.

But Carly has braved the stereotypes, the cultural mores of “you must work in an office” and found an inner peace that most of us only can dream of.   She said tonight that so much of her time is spent walking, hiking, and doing things in smaller groups out here in Creede, far away from the 9-5 demands of the work week.

I asked her about Timothy Ferriss’ book The Four-Hour Workweek and if she’d read it, because it seems she’s found the courage to do what Ferriss has figured out and that men like me at 44 sit back like Shrek does in Shrek IV and wonder what happened to the adventures of life.

She said she’s found God in these hills around Creede.  “If you live here and are surrounded by all of this and don’t find yourself believing in God, you’re a fool!” she said as her blue eyes’ size doubled.

This is a woman in search of passion, and for the moment, she’s living it.  She’s working with others, she’s where she feels she’s called to be, and she’s full of passion about it.

She said it was hard for her parents for her to come to CO from IN.  She has a passport and is ready to travel, but she’s comfortable where she is.  She’s thrilled about it.  Can you say that about what you’re doing and where you’re living?

Clearly, I’m struggling with it, but not Carly.  No, there’s a smile on her face as big as Texas and you can see the passion in her eyes.

I asked if she’s saving all of these thoughts or blogging.  The answer was a resounding, “No.  Donny, you can do the social media stuff so that I don’t have to.  I don’t do Facebook.  If someone I know needs a photo of me, I can email it to them. “

And so she’s off to the ranch tonight.  There’s going to be a bonfire.  And it’s a clear night.  And Carly knows where her priorities are, what her passion is, and seeing that has been one of the most refreshing things about this trip.

If more of us could chase our passions like she’s doing, oh how different our world would be.

I posted this photo yesterday saying I thought it described how I’ve been feeling, recovering from the mental agony of what’s happened to me over the past year.   Tonight I rededicate it to the passion of life I’m getting closer and closer to finding.  Thanks, Carly, for taking the time to say hi.  There are so many of us reading who are jealous of you.  Please keep the fire of passion you have burning going like the embers of tonight’s bonfire.

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The Taste of Creede, CO Silver Chef Cookoff

May 30, 2010 by


Saturday was the first day of the 2010 Taste of Creede, a two-day street festival on Main Street of Creede, CO, and it was a day full of great food, good art, and an ambiance you just can’t find in a big-town event anywhere, for instance in the South–in part because the high yesterday was 70 degrees–but more so because of the friendliness of the people.

Creede is apparently a town one comes to in order to get as far away from the rest of the world as possible.  And it’s a sanctuary of peace.

Yesterday I had a fantastic breakfast at The Old Firehouse Restaurant, which doubles as a Bed and Breakfast, and the Creede Soap and Candle Co.  The owner, Charles, says that the soap/candle part of his business probably is the sole Made In Creede product production short of the art that’s inspired here.

I highly recommend staying at The Old Firehouse Restaurant B&B.


One of the highlights of the day in Creede, yesterday was the local Silver Chef Cook Off Competition.  

They get local chef’s from the primary restaurants in town together in the middle of Main Street.  There are tables set up for each chef to use as a cooking station.  Each has a grill and access to the same ingredients.  Then as the cook off begins, they’re told what they’re to make and given 45 minutes in which to do so.

The smells from the roasting vegetables and the meats grilling with their own blend of flavors and spices just makes one hungry.

Who won?  You’ll have to watch the video!

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New Adventure–The Taste of Creede festival in Creede, CO

May 27, 2010 by

Today, Mom and I are striking out toward Creede, CO for the 20th Annual Taste of Creede on Saturday and Sunday.

I don’t know how much Internet access we’ll have there.  The town doesn’t even have a McDonald’s!

This is the first trip Mom and I have taken alone together.  I’m really praying there isn’t a reason for that.

Why are we going?

My late Grandpa Andy Sheptak was a big fan of the water color artist Steve QuillerGramps would go out to Creede at least once a year and stay with Steve and his wife, Marta.  This is going to be something of a family homecoming.  You know how many times I’ve written about Gramps before.  Oh, and Marta has a surprise for me.  I know what it is, but you’ll have to wait….

Okay, time to get packing.  It’s supposed to be 94 here in Dallas today.  It’s 47 degrees F there right now.   The high is like mid-60s at 8,000 feet in the air.

Stay tuned.

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