I’ve kinda put the cart before the horse in this blog. I should have given some kind of background information to give you a better idea of how we even got to this point. Some of you know… but for those who don’t… please bear with me, or just skip ahead!
Jerry & I started looking at land in Colorado quite a few years ago. We discovered a little town called Westcliffe… in the Wet Mountain Valley… Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Sangre de Cristo translates – Blood of Christ. On three separate occasions we went with different realtors to look at raw land that was for sale as well homes for sale (with some land included, or land for sale with an attached house!). It didn’t take us long to figure out that we could easily spend Jerry’s entire retirement pension on land – with or without a house – and have nothing left to live on. With the price of land being prohibitive & not really an abundance of employment opportunities - we ended up ruling out Westcliffe. Jerry continued to research different parts of Colorado… and the cost of land just seemed to keep going up!
When we started selling antiques & general household items on eBay we never dreamed that eBay would be the place to buy land… but as it turned out… it was! Jerry started looking at land for sale on eBay & discovered one seller in particular who seemed to have quite a few lots for sale in the same area… bidding on the down payment, with the balance payable over a period of time on a land contract … and after some discussion we decided to bid on one of the properties. We won the bid & on our next trip out we finally got to see our land! That is essentially how we wound up owning property in Colorado. For whatever reason, the cost of land in & around Ft. Garland was not as outrageous as the rest of Colorado.
Malcom Forbes purchased several thousand acres (something like 80,000+ acres, I believe) of land east & south of Ft. Garland in the late 1960’s and divided the land into parcels – mini-ranches of 20-40+ acres and lots ranging from 2 – 10 acres and the land was sold thru FORBES MAGAZINE to people all over the world. Forbes Park (a gated community) & the Sangre de Cristo Ranches are part of this land deal.
Ft. Garland, for those of you who don’t know, is in the south central part of Colorado. If you look at a map & locate Estes Park (it’s nowhere close!) & draw a line straight down… you’ll run right into Ft. Garland! It’s about 25 miles from the New Mexico border! Ft. Garland is a small town… just over 200 people I think… but we have grown to really like it. There are two diners in town, a market, a hardware store (complete with bait/tackle/hunting & fishing licenses, etc.), two service stations, a couple of antique/ junque stores… I’m sure I’m forgetting something. But one of the greatest assets the community has is a wonderful community center!! We discovered this when we were camping & mentioned to some new friends that it would be nice to take a HOT shower instead of a solar heated (or not heated) shower under a tree! They kindly directed us to the community center. This place has an Olympic size indoor (heated) swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, weight room, meeting room with kitchen and his & hers showers!!! Children & adults can take swimming lessons there… I believe aqua-exercise classes are offered as well.
The nearest shopping is in Alamosa… about 30 miles from Ft. Garland. There is a WalMart there & several other places to shop, restaurants, Adams State College, medical facilities, etc.
Ft. Garland is approximately 75 miles from Taos, New Mexico (great for skiing, shopping, historical kinds of things) and probably at least that far (although I’m not sure really) from Pueblo (not crazy about this town!). Interesting places to visit: the old Army fort at Ft. Garland is good if you’re a history buff, then there’s the Sand Dunes National Monument (or is it a National Park now?) – which is not only educational/interesting (the visitor’s center) but also recreational! And then there are places like the alligator farm north of Alamosa (which is kinda cool!) and the UFO lookout place (just in case you’re wondering, we haven’t been there!). I’m sure there are lots of other points of interest… these are just some we’ve visited. The Old LaVeta Pass is a pretty scenic drive on the way to Cuchara ski resort which is not far away – just about 45 minutes – give or take (depending on if you take the Old pass or the New pass!).
As of yet Jerry hasn’t broken down & bought an out-of-state hunting permit yet… but we’ve heard that the hunting there is pretty great. LOTS of elk & deer! He is anxious to be able to buy an in-state hunting permit someday soon!