Eat, Drink & Be Merry Luxury service and fine dining await patrons of heritage hotels and restaurants across the West.

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In 1881, Alfred Friedrich founded the Buckhorn Saloon on San Antonio, Texas’s, Main Plaza across the street from the Southern Hotel. Today, the Buckhorn is also home to two museums, the Buckhorn and one dedicated to Texas Ranger history.
– Kenny Braun, Courtesy Texas Tourism –

Enter a 14-foot double glass Victorian door, turn a brass knob to enter a hotel room, or have a cocktail at a behemoth back-bar and you’ll experience what many pioneers did. These historical gems transport visitors to a time when the West was still wild and dreamers of a new life populated the landscape.

One of those dreamers was a Cleveland pharmacist who built a grand hotel in Durango, Colorado. The Strater Hotel was constructed with 376,000 native red bricks and hand-carved sandstone cornices and sills that remain today. Today’s guests are treated to luxurious rooms that would have looked very familiar to their 19th-century counterparts. The attached Diamond Belle saloon offers visitors 21st-century-style entertainment with a nod to its history.

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At the height of the silver boom in 1887, pharmacist-turned-hotel entrepreneur Henry Strater, with the assistance of his family, built the elegant Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado, which quickly gained a reputation as as one of the most elegant hotels in the West.
– Courtesy Strater Hotel –

As early as the 1500s the Ojo Caliente mineral springs in New Mexico were used for healing. But it wasn’t until 1868, when Antonio Joseph built a bathhouse, that Ojo Caliente became one of the West’s first natural health resorts. Pioneers enjoyed soaking in the healing waters, getting a Milagro wrap or a private soak in the bathhouse. By 1895 a hotel was erected and guests could linger at the health resort. Today’s visitors can stay in the 1917 Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa that’s now a national landmark. No one knows for sure if legendary mountain man Kit Carson soaked here, but he did buy supplies nearby.

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Developed in the 1860s by New Mexico pioneer Antonio Joseph, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa (pictured above) north of Santa Fe is believed to be one of nation’s oldest health resorts.
– Courtesy Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa –

Columbia, California, also has a saloon that has stood the test of time. Wander into the What Cheer Saloon and the City Hotel, which opened back in 1854. Then it was called Morgan’s City Hotel and the English Ale House and Porterhouse saloon. From its beginning, miners, businessmen and gamblers have imbibed here. In 1857 its owner, George Morgan, built a two-story brick building, moved his alehouse there and renamed it the What Cheer House. Today, patrons sit at the original cherrywood back-bar, but back in the day, it was standing only. Have a drink, look around and know that the What Cheer Saloon of 1857 was the foundation for the new City Hotel that still stands today.

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Visitors to Columbia, California, can stay, dine and drink in the City Hotel (above), first opened in 1854, and then rebuilt three years later in brick as the What Cheer Saloon, which is still serving patrons today, inside the City Hotel.
– Photos Courtesy California State Parks –

Be transformed from 2017 to 1882 when you stay at the Grand Union hotel in Fort Benton, Montana. Today and back then, guests appreciate the three-story brick hotel and its dining room of carpeted floors, china and crystal. Back in the day the hotel boasted nine elegant brass chandeliers, window shades and carpeting. The parlor had elegant curtains, rugs and a piano, and the dining room served lobster, roasts, a variety of vegetables, elegant desserts and beverages. The hotel has been restored to its original splendor.

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At the zenith of steamboat traffic on the Upper Missouri, the Grand Union Hotel in Fort Benton, Montana, was opened in 1882. Closed in the 1980s, the “Grand Dame” was reopened in 1999 after preservation efforts restored the hotel to its 19th-century glory.
– Photo of Hotel Courtesy Grand Union Hotel –

Stop by the original 1893 Buckhorn Exchange saloon in Denver, Colorado, where William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody enjoyed his favorite cocktail—the Stone Fence. The saloon was owned and operated by Henry H. “Shorty Scout” Zietz, who was a lifelong friend of Buffalo Bill. Bill’s favorite drink is still served there today, but it’s now called the “Buffalo Bill.”

Deadwood, South Dakota, was notorious for its lawlessness, but by the 1890s, law and refinement replaced the rowdiness. Deadwood’s first sheriff, Seth Bullock, opened a hotel that displayed that change. An 1896 newspaper wrote, “The new Bullock hotel at Deadwood, under the management of Fred T. Evans, Jr., is not surpassed anywhere in the West for pleasing accommodations, elegant service, handsome furnishings, and convenient location…Visitors in the Hills find it a delight to spend a few days at Deadwood at the Bullock hotel.” Reports from the hotel today claim that Bullock keeps an eye on the staff and kindly reminds them when they’re not up to his standards.

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In 1895, Sheriff Seth Bullock expanded his interests in the Black Hills boomtown of Deadwood, South Dakota, with his first-class Bullock Hotel; today, it has been fully restored to its renowned elegance.
– Stuart Rosebrook –

The Grand Hotel in Tombstone, Arizona, welcomed patrons as early as 1880 and this establishment afforded two saloons. One was the bar in the actual hotel, while the other was a saloon in the basement. The Grand Hotel Bar was first presided over by Jack Allman and W.W. “Tink” Tinker, formerly of Virginia City, Nevada, who advertised mixed drinks were a specialty and ice cold drinks were made from the best-imported liquors. The underground saloon in 1881 was called the Grotto and was run by Charles “Otto” Eschman and William Alderson. In April 1882, Eschman left and Alderson and Gratton splashed open with elegant food and a three-piece orchestra at the new Fountain saloon. Today, visitors can stop in Big Nose Kate’s and enjoy a cold beer at the original Grotto bar that was brought upstairs. They can also step down into history to the former Grotto, which served many miners who walked through a tunnel to take their drink or have lunch.

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At 17 East Allen Street, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon (left) is a fixture of Tombstone’s historic district. Constructed on the site of the original Grand Hotel, patrons can enjoy a drink at the only bar still in service that survived the 1882 fire.
– Courtesy Arizona Office of Tourism –

Portland, Oregon, has a rich history and you can still enjoy a beverage and have some Prohibition turkey at its oldest restaurant. The business began as the Bureau Saloon in 1879 when Louis Eppinger hired Frank Huber, a very dapper dresser, to tend bar. In 1891 he hired Chinese immigrant Way Fung Louie as the cook. The business was renamed Huber’s in 1895 by the two men. Their policy was if you bought an alcoholic beverage, you received a free turkey sandwich and a little ramekin of coleslaw. Huber’s kept the saloon afloat by serving Louie’s turkey and other viands. Today, you can once again imbibe and enjoy Louie’s original turkey that kept Huber’s going through Prohibition.

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Fire was the scourge of frontier Western towns and in Tombstone the conflagration of May 25, 1882, destroyed most of the city (right), including the not quite two-year-old Grand Hotel, current site of Big Nose Kate’s Saloon.
– True West Archives –

In the 1860s Upper Lake, California, was a lumber mill town, but because of Clear Lake and the hot springs, the entire county was becoming a resort destination. Jerry Ridgway noticed that and bought a hotel there in 1875. In the 1880s, he sold it to Rufus Tallman and his wife, Mary, who changed the name to the Tallman House. The original house was destroyed by an 1895 fire, but it was quickly rebuilt. In 1900 the Tallmans advertised, “Home cooking. Reasonable Rates. Headquarters for tourists and commercial travelers.” The hotel stayed in the family until the 1940s and then changed hands. It sat dormant for years, but today guests can once again enjoy this historic hotel.

The Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant is a replica of the town’s old saloon and captures the spirit of the 1880s bar before it was torn down during Prohibition. Patrons can see how local craftsmen created the black walnut bar and dining tables from a century-old tree harvested from the property. Old-growth redwood wainscoting, found hidden behind layers of paint and wallpaper during the hotel’s renovation, was rescued and reused in the saloon.

Let your senses drift back to the Western frontier as you eat, drink and be merry at these establishments.

Cheers!

Wind River Hotel and Casino
Riverton, Wyoming

Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime event, “The Great American Eclipse,” at the Wind River Hotel and Casino on August 21, 2017. The Wind River Indian Reservation will be in the direct path of the total solar eclipse. To celebrate this event, we are inviting visitors to make Wind River their Great American Eclipse Destination. Highlights include:

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Guests of the Wind River Hotel and Casino will enjoy the Northern Arapaho Experience Song and Dance show (above) every Tuesday, as well as major pow wows held at the resort during the year.

Storytelling has been essential to the survival of Native American culture, languages and traditions. The transfer of knowledge is passed down from generation to generation using stories that have meaning, humor and life lessons. Working with local tribal members, we are excited for our eclipse visitors to hear the stories that make our history and culture rich, diverse and captivating. For a preview of the stories you will hear, please visit ArapahoLegends.com.

Singing has a special purpose. It is used during times of celebration, to honor an achievement or to bring prayers and healing. When the voices of Native people come together to create a song, it’s a moment you will never forget. Considered the heart of the people, drumming is a vital part of the song that gives it a powerful sound. Singers care, protect and respect the drum since it plays a pivotal role in not only the music but the tribe. To go along with the dancing, local singers will provide the music to help celebrate the eclipse.

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– Photos Courtesy wind River Hotel and Casino –

Dancing is more than an expression. For Native people, dancing has always been a vital part of our lives. Over the years, the style of dancing has changed but its purpose has always been the same. Wyoming is home to various pow wows, including Ethete Celebration and Eastern Shoshone Indian Days. Every Tuesday evening you can also catch the Northern Arapaho Experience Song and Dance at the Wind River Hotel and Casino. During the eclipse, local dancers are honored to welcome this special event with performances just for our guests.

We also have adventure packages that will help you explore all the options Wind River can provide. With our Dinosaur dig package, you can spend your day unearthing the bones of a T-rex, Triceratops or a Supersaures. This is an activity the whole family will enjoy, especially after they see the Wyoming inspired Disney/Pixar film, The Good Dinosaur. The Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis is also home to over 300 skeletons, various dig sites and a gift shop.

For the really adventurous, join us on a whitewater rafting trip through the scenic Wind River Canyon. Also, Wind River Canyon Whitewater & Fly Fishing is a Native American-owned business based in Thermopolis. Guiding the canyon for 20 years, they offer a variety of trips from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Looking for something more low-key? Take in two rounds of golf at the highly rated Riverton Country Club, and enjoy a day with your friends or partner.

We look forward to seeing you celebrate the eclipse with us and providing you with an experience that only Wind River can provide. For a complete list of our eclipse events please visit EclipseCelebration.com.             

City Hotel & Fallon Hotel California State Historic Park

Columbia, California

Columbia’s old Gold Rush-era business district has been preserved with shops, restaurants and two historic hotels—the City and the Fallon. Visitors have a chance to “time-travel” to the 1850s, when gold miners rubbed shoulders with businessmen and other residents in Columbia. They experience a bygone era by watching proprietors in period clothing conduct business in the style of yesterday. There are opportunities to ride a 100-year-old stagecoach, pan for gold and explore the real working businesses of Columbia. The California State Historic Park was once known as the “Gem of the Southern Mines.” Between the 1850s and 1870s, over one billion dollars’ worth of gold (at today’s value) was mined in the area. For a time, Columbia was the second-largest city in California. Visitors can relax at one of two comfortable hotels, listen to music in historic saloons, including the What Cheer (above) inside the City Hotel,  and take in a performance at the Fallon Theater.

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City Hotel, California

City Hotel
22768 Main Street • Columbia, CA 95310 • 209-532-1479
VisitColumbiaCalifornia.com

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The Buckhorn Exchange Denver, Colorado

The Buckhorn Exchange

Denver, Colorado

Denver’s most historic eating and drinking establishment, The Buckhorn Exchange, is now in its second century of operation. A city and county historic landmark, the restaurant has liquor license Number One in the State of Colorado. Henry H. “Shorty Scout” Zietz, easily recognized as one of the most colorful figures of the Old West, founded the famous restaurant on November 17, 1893. The Buckhorn Exchange brims with a 125-piece Old West gun collection, historic artifacts, legends and notable moments. Its walls display a rare 575-piece collection of taxidermy, including deer and moose, giant buffalo, mountain goat and bighorn sheep, dozens of indigenous fowl, and even a two-headed calf. Yes, a great deal has changed at the Buckhorn since 1893, yet much is as it was in the days when the clientele packed six-guns, silver barons rubbed elbows with roustabouts, and miners shook dirt out of their clothing along with gold dust.

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Interior of The Buckhorn Exchange.

1000 Osage Street • Denver, CO 80204-3918
303-534-9405 • Buckhorn.com

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Almost Historical River City Saloon, Sacramento, California

Almost Historical River City Saloon

Sacramento, California

River City Saloon, in the historic Old Sacramento district, has had a long history. The building originally was framed-wood, then replaced in 1857 with brick. In 1861, River City Saloon was one of the original houses of ill repute owned by Johanna Heigle. Shortly after, it became Parker French’s Saloon. It was owned by Mr. Parker French, a colorful, Old Sacramento newspaperman who wanted a fun place to go after work. This Old Sacramento saloon was also known at times as an unruly place. Many stories have been told of people being shanghaied there and taken out to sea. During Prohibition, the saloon was continually raided, as it insisted it was only serving sarsaparilla and alcohol for medicinal reasons. In 2007, the saloon was remodeled to its original grandeur and renamed the River City Saloon. When visiting Old Sacramento, don’t miss the city’s
last Old West saloon, the Almost Historical River City Saloon.

Almost Historical River City Saloon • 916 Second Street • Sacramento, CA 95814
916-443-6852  RiverCitySaloon.com

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The Strater Hotel, Durango, Colorado

The Strater Hotel

Durango, Colorado

Built in 1887, the historic Strater Hotel (Historic Hotels of America member) is a prominent downtown Durango, Colorado, landmark located two blocks north of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and one hour east of Mesa Verde National Park. Cleveland pharmacist Henry Strater believed Durango would thrive and therefore need a grand hotel. He opened the Strater Hotel with a $70,000 investment and 376,000 native red bricks and hand-carved sandstone cornices and sills. It became a popular winter retreat for people who would close their homes during the winter months and move into the hotel. The Strater Hotel houses the world’s largest collection of American Victorian walnut antiques, which decorate it and its 93 guestrooms, including its Louis L’Amour Room—Literary Landmark. The Strater Hotel is home to the Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville, Henry Strater Theatre, Diamond Belle Saloon, Mahogany Grille, Strater Catering & Events and The Office Spiritorium.

The Strater Hotel
699 Main Avenue • Durango, CO 81301
970-247-4431 • Strater.com

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The Occidental Hotel, Buffalo, Wyoming.

Occidental Hotel

Buffalo, Wyoming

Occidental Hotel was founded in 1879 in a tent before the log structure was constructed in 1880. The hotel hosted many of the most famous people of the Old West. Owen Wister, author of The Virginian, frequented the region and based his characters on gunslingers and cowboys he’d met in the Occidental Saloon. The current hotel, built between 1903 and 1908, guarantees today’s visitors an Old West experience at its historic Occidental Saloon, Busy Bee Cafe and The Virginian Restaurant.

Occidental Hotel
10 Main Street • Buffalo, WY 82834
307-684-0451 • OccidentalWyoming.com

Trappers Lake Lodge & Resort

Meeker, Colorado

Trappers Lake Lodge & Resort is located one-eighth of a mile from the Flat Tops Wilderness boundary in the White River National Forest.  Trappers Lake is the third largest natural lake in Colorado.  We are 50 miles to the nearest town of Yampa to the north and Meeker to the south.  Established in the 1880s, Trappers Lake Lodge is known for being rustic, remote and rich in history. Enjoy our rustic, clean and cute log cabins with exceptional views of the Flat Tops.  At night look skyward and revel in the Milky Way, the unbelievable stars and planets that shine over us each night.

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– Courtesy Trappers Lake Lodge & Resort –

Guests can walk out their cabin door each morning for a quick five-minute walk to the lake and hiking trails.  Come enjoy our wonderful home-style meals in our restaurant from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Trappers Lake is a known for its exceptional fishing and beauty.  Paddle, row, hike, fish, run, ride horseback, hunt, camp in our wilderness camps, picnic, and explore, all with a backdrop of pristine blue water and 240,000 acres of wide-open beauty.  Home to moose, deer, elk, bears, mountain lions, coyotes, marmots, badgers, and beavers. Not to mention feathered friends, including hummingbirds, purple martins, woodpeckers, hawks, bald eagles, osprey, grouse and mallards. So don’t forget your camera or your binoculars!   

Schedule an exciting horseback ride to the top of the Flat Tops for a day of fishing in Alpine Lakes or just sight seeing.  This is a trip not to be missed.

Come and enjoy the unique experience of Trappers Lake Lodge & Resort.

Trappers Lake Lodge & Resort
7700 Trappers Lake Road • Meeker, CO 81641
970-878-3336 or 970-878-5288 • TrappersLake.com

Hotel Colorado

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Enter the Hotel Colorado and travel into a time of late 19th-century elegance and charm. Outside, the electrically lit courtyard fountain sprays more than 100 feet into the air, while inside, ladies and gents enjoy the bar and cigars. Polo’s Lounge is reminiscent of the hotel’s founder, an award-winning polo player. Today, Polo’s welcomes guests for beverages and light dining.  Guests may also dine beside an interior waterfall at Baron’s. In the summertime, beverages are served at the Coppertop Bar beside the scenic courtyard, displaying views of the Hot Springs and Mt. Sopris.

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– Courtesy Hotel Colorado –

Hotel Colorado welcomes guests into oversized rooms and suites, each with the original high ceilings, spacious closets and updated bedding packages.  From the late 1800s, to the new millennium, the timeless secrets of extensive journeys are held within the hotel’s walls.

Join Presidents and legendary figures from the past, in experiencing one of the most famous hotels of the Rocky Mountain West.

Hotel Colorado
526 Pine Street • Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
970-945-6511 •  HotelColorado.com

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– Courtesy Arizona Office of Tourism –

Big Nose Kate’s Saloon

Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone’s Big Nose Kate’s Saloon was once the Grand Hotel, originally built in 1881. On October 25, 1881, the night before the Gunfight Behind the OK Corral, the Clantons and the McLaurys were guests here. This was the place to stay! Nowadays, a number of changes have been made to the structure since it burned down and has been rebuilt. The bar area, housed in the basement of the old hotel, is now located on the main level. In the basement is a gift shop, but the tunnel leading to the mine shafts still exists. The saloon holds the Grand Hotel’s original long bar, the only one that survived the fire of 1882 and is still serving thirsty patrons. Imagine setting your elbows down on the very place that the Earps, Doc Holliday and the Clantons once did!

17 East Allen Street • Tombstone, AZ 85638
520-457-3107 • BigNoseKates.info

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– Courtesy The Jackson House –

The Jackson House

Eureka, Nevada

The spirit of bygone Nevada is recaptured in this beautiful brick building constructed in 1877. The nine-room Jackson House has been completely restored to its original grandeur and has been elegantly appointed with trappings of the day. Each room, meticulously decorated and individually named, exudes its own personality and contributes to the synergy of the entire property, which earned the prestigious Governor’s Award for an outstanding contribution to Nevada tourism at the completion of its restoration. The Jackson House saloon contributes greatly to the ambiance of the property and is graced by a beautifully hewn cherrywood bar and back-bar, complete with brass rail and a full selection of favorite libations. This historic hotel is open May through August.

The Jackson House • 11 South Main Street • Eureka, NV 89316
775-237-5247 •  EurekaGoldHouseInn.com

What do you think?

Sherry Monahan

Sherry Monahan has penned Mrs. Earp: Wives & Lovers of the Earp Brothers; California Vines, Wines & Pioneers; Taste of Tombstone; The Wicked West and Tombstone’s Treasure. She’s appeared on the History Channel in Lost Worlds and other shows.