Three Sisters Tour: Don’t Miss Sunset at Blue Lake Ranch, Hesperus, Colorado

Beautifully carved columns frame one of the porches at Blue Lake Ranch. (Photo from Website:

The second day of our New Mexico journey took us from the Casa Blanca Inn  in Farmington to the town of Shiprock on the Navajo reservation where I conducted a workshop for teachers. (Click here for post on Casa Blanca Inn.)

Wanting to combine work with pleasure, my husband and I booked the second of the Three Sister Inns owned by David and Shirley Alford and found our favorite by far — Blue Lake Ranch in Hesperus, Colorado — only 30 minutes away from Mesa Verde National Park.

View from the Cabin on the Lake

Marked only by a small lighted mailbox on Highway 140, Blue Lake Ranch is unknown even to most locals. But the ranch is a wonder with 230 acres of natural vegetation, trout-filled lakes, and spectacular gardens bursting with color from heirloom flowers and over 10,000 irises.

You may find yourself wondering if you’re in the right place as the winding  road (newly paved, by the way) meanders to the front door of the main house.

Although winter gardens offer little in the way of color, the entrance still beckons travelers to a lovely Southwestern hideaway.

We stood in awe of the elegantly furnished Southwestern living room. (Just typical good taste, Alford style, like the Casa Blanca Inn, I suppose.)

Alexis, the inn’s new manager, opened a scrapbook to reveal a picture of the abandoned shell of a homestead that Don found and developed into a property now celebrated as one of the best “hidden getaways” in the U.S.

Humble beginnings of Blue Lake Ranch as found by Don Alford

Impressive to say the least.  Not just for the property turnaround but also for the grounds, casitas, cabins, and main house appointed with collections gathered over time.

With an expanse of windows to catch the view, the living room is always open to guests.

You may think that Tuesday night in November is not the ideal time to sink into a luxury B&B, but there are some advantages:  We had the place to ourselves and our choice of rooms.  Lucky us.  Just upstairs with a balcony facing the sunset over Blue Lake, we settled in to the La Plata Vista Room with comforts we were becoming accustomed to on this Three Sisters Tour!

Carved headboard and sink-in bed linens typify the sleeping area of the La Plata Vista Room.

Providing ambience and warmth were Navajo rugs, hand-painted pottery, rough-hewn furniture, and, for the second night in a row, our very own Kiva fireplace.

We’ve come to love Kiva fireplaces. Doesn’t Tennessee need to know about these, too?

Southwestern touches extended to the sink area with copper basin and personalized punched-tin light fixture.

Unique lighting above the mirror and basin of the dressing area.

Satiny sheets and lofty down comforter enticed us to linger in bed, but not for long.  We wanted to see the inn in the early light of day and sample what we knew would be a breakfast to remember.

Personalized Louisville Stoneware mugs stand ready to hold the morning java.

Downstairs, hand-woven baskets lined up over doorways . . .

Navajo baskets circle-up above the doors.

and Indian figures stood guard on the mantel.

Lined up in native dress, these figures stand tall at Blue Lake!

A watercolor of the main house faces the coffee bar . . .

leading us to the buffet set just for us.  We placed an order for eggs over-easy, then grazed accordingly on granola and yogurt, sausage patties, and homemade bread with house jam — Blue Lake Ranch Peach & Raspberry — sold in the gift shop. (Note to readers:  Unless you want an airline dude to get the breakfast you dreamed of having back home, do NOT pack jam in your carry-on bag!)

Breakfast buffet ready for the taking!

At Blue Lake, people make the difference.  We listened with interest as Alexis told us of her personal cross-country journey in her own RV (alone!), and then heard how Maggie became involved with the properties, too.  In fact, Maggie said she had booked a night at the Don Gaspar Inn, the third of the Three Sister Inns, in Santa Fe, the following Friday – the same night we’d be there!

Maggie poses in the Gift Shop

For dinner, Alexis recommended Kennebec Cafe & Bakery.  We expected a Mom-and-Pop meat-and-three, but what we found was a gourmet experience due in part to the creative chef and gregarious waiter who treated us like locals.   If you go, try flatbread with mushrooms, asiago cheese, asparagus, arugula, and crispy prosciutto — if the chef’s of a mind to offer that as one of his nightly specials!

Alexis, the lady who traveled the US in her own RV, makes the best dinner reservations!!

Saying good-bye was difficult, so we took out time driving the property, scoping out the other cabins available for nightly or weekly stays.

Porches like this are meant to face the great outdoors and Blue Lake, and we dream of returning some day, rocking in the chairs and waiting for the sunset while nature unfolds in this heavenly retreat.

A porch on one of the rental cabins faces the lake and invites total relaxation!

Enjoying a few last leisurely moments in the sun-filled breakfast room at Blue Lake Ranch. And then off to Mesa Verde!

It’s not too late to take advantage of the Three Sisters Road Trip.  Stay in all three inns and receive a discount — all three times!  (

Note: You’ll find the address on the Website for Blue Lake Ranch as Durango, Colorado, as well as Hesperus, Colorado.  So just call Alexis for directions.  You can’t get too lost, unless you want to . . . right there on the property!

Blue Lake Ranch

16919 Hwy 140

Hesperus, CO 81326

970.385.4537 (8-6pm MST)

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Bed & Breakfast Inns, Colorado, Destination, Food, Stay the Night, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Three Sisters Tour: Don’t Miss Sunset at Blue Lake Ranch, Hesperus, Colorado

  1. sethsnap says:

    Wow, looks amazing.

  2. terry1954 says:

    what beautiful photos!!!

  3. Valentina says:

    Beautiful place. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. David says:

    The La Plata area is one of those scenic areas when the fall colors occur. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Mesa Verde.

    • Rusha Sams says:

      David, we loved our trip to Mesa Verde! In November, you don’t see the beautiful greenery, but none of the sites were crowded, and we had guides who had time to answer questions! It’s a must-see for everyone!

  5. We’ve really enjoyed your blog and so we nominated you for a little peer-blogger award. See this post for the info!

  6. cmmoxley says:

    That second photo is just breath-taking, Rusha. I’m going to show this blog post to Alan for future consideration!

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Thanks! Not bad for a photo taken with my iPhone! It’s a lovely spot, so if you’re wanting to see Mesa Verde or any sites in the four-corners region, we can recommend the Blue Lake Ranch and Cafe Kennebec!

  7. Like your photograph and especially the frozen fountain, Here’s a link to mine: PS: Next year plan to visit Colorado and New Mexico to see my brothers.

  8. Lynette Mangels says:

    Thanks for your entry Blue Lake is my favorite place to stay. We have stayed there four times in the last 8 years and each time we return we are welcomed back like family.

  9. all nice pics. good pictorial presentation. liked it.

  10. Piggletino says:

    That’s awesome – I like the name Blue Lake Ranch by the way!

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