Sonntag, 17. November 2013

ALPEN TRAVEL TIPS & PICKS: Yapping it up in a Yurt - In Wine Country Colorado

DaVinci at Riverwalk Yurt
by Mary Dawn DeBriae
On a quest for an adventure during the mundane weeks of “off-season” in the typically bustling resort town of Telluride, Colorado, where we reside, I decided to take myself and my pups, Valentino and DaVinci, to an area of Colorado we had not yet explored: the famed Wine Country of Colorado’s Western Slope.

View from Terror Creek Winery
The area we chose to explore was called Garvin Mesa which overlooks Paonia, a quaint Rocky Mountain town nestled half way between Aspen and Delta in the North Fork River Valley.

Being a wine enthusiast of both European and California wines, I was curious to discover what Colorado wineries had to offer, not to mention their rumored “pet friendly” estates. Visions of my two enthusiastic Bernese Mountain Dogs romping merrily around a Vineyard whilst sampling a fine Cuvee, was more than I could imagine of an idyllic wine tasting experience.

Riverwalk Yurt from its dock
overlooking the Gunnison River

In search of pet friendly accommodation, I was given the details of a “Yurt” to try. I had never stayed in a Yurt before and decided to book the unknown to add to the adventure of our trip.


We arrived at our Yurt after dark on a chilly November evening and were greeted by a warm fire, soft classical music, freshly cut flowers, tasty biscuits for the dogs, and locally crafted artisan cheese and crackers to nibble on.

Valentino and DaVinci eying up their
Welcome Biscuits upon our arrival

A Yurt is traditionally a large round tent that the Nomads of Mongolia have used as transportable homes for centuries. They are easy to assemble, disassemble and transport to accompany the nomadic way of life of these people.

Beautifully furnished
Riverwalk Yurt, however, has been lovingly converted into more of a permanent residence by its owners, George and Devon, who have carpeted, decorated, and installed a rather large bathroom, complete with Burt’s Bees organic soaps and gels. They purposely positioned their Yurt down a quiet, private lane, next to two great Elm trees on the banks of the Gunnison River. The Yurt has captivating views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and the only sound one hears is the gurgling Gunnison River rolling merrily on its way down valley.

Valentino on the Redwood Wrap-around Deck
Their 700 sf Yurt sits on a large wrap-around redwood deck, complete with grill, an inviting hot tub, chez lounges, a hammock and a walkway to a dock peacefully overlooking the river. It boasts a well-appointed kitchen, books, games, and even a piano to make one feel right at home. Valentino and DaVinci absolutely loved it, as they could hang out on the fenced-in deck in the cool evenings, while we cozied up in front of the warm fireplace inside.

Valentino and DaVinci enjoying their walk
The next morning the boys and I went for a lovely riverside walk meandering through golden tree studded fields on the Yurt's quarter of a mile long estate.

Riverwalk Yurt makes for a relaxing romantic escape and is only a short drive to the wineries, orchards and the fabulous restaurants of Paonia, Colorado.
For more information contact:
Riverwalk Yurt

Stone Cottage Winery
On Saturday, we visited a handful of Wineries on Garvin Mesa, to include:

Terror Creek, the oldest and highest winery boasting delicious Alsatian style wines, Stone Cottage, with its handcrafted European-style stone tasting room, and finally the beautiful Azura Winery with its breathtaking views and relaxing patio overlooking the West Elk Mountains and majestic North Fork Valley.
A Garvin Mesa Vineyard near Paonia, Colorado
I learned that certain grapes thrive up on Garvin Mesa due to the sunny, warm days and the cool nights of the area. The white varietals that grow best are Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Chardonnay, creating wines that are notably crisper and dryer than their California cousins - reminiscent of true European wines. The red varietals grown here make velvety lush Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cab Franc and Merlot wines. 
Breathtaking views from Azura Cellars
Gourmet snacks to "pair" with the wines
Valentino in the
tasting room at
Azura Cellars
Unlike the famed Nappa Valley wineries which are crowded and tend to charge for tastings, these delightful Colorado “Boutique” Wineries offer free tastings, relaxing conversation and serve scrumptious savory snacks to achieve the ultimate gastronomic effect of their wines.
Wine tasting at Azura Cellars -
Gentleman with Tyrolean "Alpen Schatz" Hat!

Coco showing Valentino and DaVinci "his" Winery

Two of the wineries had their own pups who played with Valentino and DaVinci, showing them how nice a dog’s life is to live on a Colorado Vineyard.  All of the wineries we visited offer decks with tables and chairs, encouraging one to bring a picnic, purchase a bottle and relax while soaking in the stunning views all around.

Exploring the pond on Azura's Estate
 For more information about these and other wineries near Paonia go to:  

West Fork Valley Wineries

Paonia – a town with a population of only 1500 surprisingly boasts a number of commendable dining establishments - most of which offer the locally crafted Colorado wines of which we had grown so fond.  The two we chose to experience that weekend were:

The Flying Fork Café and Bakery

Delicious appetizers at
The Flying Fork Cafe
Mouthwatering Italian cuisine with its own flavorful twist, using locally sourced, fresh ingredients including herbs, berries and fruit from their own garden. Freshly baked artisan breads are offered to start with and are made in their own fabulous bakery.

Backcountry Coffee & Bistro

During the day it is the local’s coffee shop serving sustainable coffees, but at night it turns into an intimate dining experience serving European style “small plates” of Mediterranean dips, homemade soups, salads, pate, pastas, gourmet cheeses and many more tasty delights.


Colorado's largest Cider Festival

Visit the many Orchards in the area and “pick your own” at some of them!

Attend Colorado’s largest Hard Cider Festival sponsored by Delicious Orchards. We discovered many new apple based "brews" at this fun event!

Black Welsh Mt Sheep

Visit one of the Nation’s largest Black Welsh Mountain Sheep farms:
Desert Weyr 
Rebecca - Professional protector of the herd

and see true working dogs in action.
 For more Information go to:

'Becca says "Come visit!"

The combination of staying in a charming riverside Yurt, visiting the great Garvin Mesa Wineries, and the gourmet cuisine we savored in the quaint town of Paonia, made for a perfect weekend away from sleepy, off-season Telluride. Valentino, DaVinci and I give it a thumbs-up for an all-around great holiday getaway and look forward to our next visit.

See all pictures from this fabulous weekend HERE.

Highlights from this article are to be featured in the "Destinations" section of the DECEMBER 2013 Issue of the award winning FIDOFriendly Magazine - A Dog's Lifestyle Publication.

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Mary Dawn DeBriae resides in beautiful Telluride Colorado with her two Bernese Mountain Dogs. She loves travelling with her pups and sharing her adventures, tips and recommendations with other pet loving people. She also runs a European "Pet and People" Lifestyle Shop, inspired by her first two Bernese, specializing in Swiss Dog Collars, Cowbells and many other fine "Treasures of the Alps".
for a virtual trip to the Alps!

Samstag, 16. November 2013

Meet the Breeds Re-Cap

Alpen Schatz Booth Babes - Guess which dog is NOT stuffed?!?!?
Alpen Schatz recently traveled all the way to New York City to support one of the largest consumer events in the country for dog and cat lovers:
AKC Sponsored Meet the Breeds

Check-out those jowls! Yikes!

English Mastiff being fitted
for a HUNTER Swiss Cross
We met lots of old and new breeds of dogs and cats and pet enthusiasts from all over the country. 

See the highlights from the show on our FLIKR SET: MEET THE BREEDS.

Hungarian Pumis getting fitted for their
Swiss "Herding" Dog Collars from
Alpen Schatz
Rasta Dog -
one of the more unusual breeds we met

Booth Mascott, Tibetan Terrier "Journey" - our Miss Congeniality, says:
WOOF! Thank you for shopping at Alpen Schatz!