5 Reasons Why Vacation Rentals are Better Than a Hotel

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The Princeton Retreat – Welcome Home!

If you love to travel but stick primarily to hotels and motels, I hope you’ll consider looking at a Vacation Rental instead. Hopefully the following list will persuade you:

  1.  Vacation rentals are often less expensive than a hotel.  When you break down the cost per person and factor in the ability to prepare your own food rather than dining out, you often come out ahead with a vacation rental;
  2. The average vacation rental is more than 1000 square feet versus the 325 square feet of a hotel room.  There is room for everyone to spread out while still being all together in one place;
  3. If you travel with a furry pet, most hotels do not accept them.  While we do not accept pets at our rentals, many other vacation rentals do;
  4. The fees are laid out and paid up front.  There won’t be extra fees tacked on such as a mini bar, internet, etc.;
  5. Comfort!  You have the freedom to set your own schedule.  You have all the comforts of home such as full sized appliances, cookware and laundry facilities. You have the option of relaxing and unwinding in a sitting area without having to do so in the place you sleep.

Hover over each picture to see the name.

  1. The Princeton Retreat is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, which sleeps up to 8.  This house backs up to the game preserve in Game Trail.   Rates start at $275/night.
  2. The Ponderosa at Chalk Creek is a 4 bedroom, 3 bath, which sleeps up to 16.  This house sits on Chalk Creek and has a beautiful green belt.  It also has a great game room with pool and foosball.  Rates start at $450/night.
  3. The Sunflower Room is a 1 bedroom studio which seeps 2 comfortably.  Water is a premium in Buena Vista and this studio sits right on Cottonwood Creek.  Rates start at $115/night.
  4. Mt. View Chalet is a 4 bedroom, 5 bath, which sleeps up to 14.  This house backs up to a peaceful green belt.  It too has a game room with foosball.  Rates start at $450/night.
  5. Brock Haus Log Home is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, which sleeps up to 6.  This house has spectacular 360 views and sits on Cottonwood Creek.  The deck runs the full length of the house with a spot just right for roasting marshmallows down below.  Rates start at $325/night.
  6. Evie’s Outpost is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, which sleeps up to 8.  This house also has spectacular views and is on 2.5 acres outside of town which lends itself to peace and quiet.  Rates start at $250/night.

Each rental has a one-time housekeeping fee, sales & lodging tax and a security deposit.

Please check our website for more information:

Pinon Real Estate – Buena Vista Website




Traveling on the Edge

Our Adventure began on the Skyline Drive just outside of Canon City.  This scenic roadway was built with prison labor in 1908 and spans a hogback ridge.  At the top, our view of the City of Canon City to the east and Highway 50 to the west was breathtaking!  The road was quite narrow with a sheer dropoff on either side, so it’s not for the feint of heart….

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All Aboard!!  The first passenger train to run through the Royal Gorge at Canon City, Colorado was in the 1880’s.  By 1890, four passenger trains a day passed through the Royal Gorge.  With the popularity of buses and automobiles the last passenger train through the Gorge ran on July 27, 1967.

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BDS_0310 copyWhile waiting for the train to depart the station, we ordered lunch and wine from the on-board bar & grill.  A glass of white zin was the perfect compliment for our turkey cheese melt sandwiches.  Somehow, they even made Paige’s hot dog & bun seem gourmet.


The line was reestablished in the fall of 1998 as a tourist scenic attraction.  It leaves Canon City for a 24 mile round trip to Parkdale, Colorado.  The trip takes just under 2 hours.

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 Our tickets entitled us to ride in the parlor car, however, with the 60 degree weather, we were drawn to the open air car for the return trip.

DSC_5192 copyWe were told there could be big horn sheep, (which we did see) bear (we weren’t expecting to see any bear this time of year), duck, and geese.  We’ve driven through the canyon many times and I had never noticed the wood stave water line hanging off the canyon wall.  The train ride brought a whole new perspective.








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This wood stave waterline was a steel wrapped pipeline to carry water to the town of Canon City.  It was made out of redwood and the constant flow of water made the wood swell which sealed against water leakage.  The steel braces prevented breakage under pressure yet kept the structure lightweight.


BDS_9859 copyThis is part of the remaining dam structure that diverted water to the pipeline.  It was used from the early 1900’s until 1974.  Commercial companies were rafting the Gorge in the ’70’s.  According to the guide, rafters had to portage around the dam.   You might wonder why Canon City had to pipe water that would run downhill naturally.  By capturing the water at a higher elevation and piping it to town it could be naturally pressurized.

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This a remnant of one out of dozen foot bridges that allowed workers to walk to the other side for maintenance on the waterline.

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This rock formation is called “Old Man in the Rock”.  I actually think I see two faces.
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Because the gorge narrows to only 30 feet wide with canyon walls that rise 2600 feet above the water, a hanging bridge was constructed to hold the tracks in 1879.  It was designed by a Kansas engineer, Charles Shaler Smith and cost $11,759 to build.  The steel A shaped girders span the Arkansas River and are anchored to the rock wall on the other side of the river.

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We saw this little structure along the route and forgot to ask the guide what he thought it was.  I emailed it to a railroad expert I know and his response back was that he thought it was a valve house for the water pipeline. June 11, 2013 saw wildfire tear through the Royal Gorge. 3800 acres burned, which also shut the train down for about 5 days.  At least a mile of the wood stave pipeline was burned, leaving the steel wrap behind.  A cleanup effort  to prevent the steel rings from polluting the river is underway.  The fire also burned 48 of the 52 buildings in the park.

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However, the fire did not reach the historic suspension bridge 1053 feet above the Arkansas River.  The suspension bridge, which we’ve previously crossed by both car and foot, was built in 1929 at a cost of $350,000.  It was originally a toll bridge.  It is 1260 feet long and 18 feet wide with almost 1300 wood planks (of which 250 are replaced a year).   After reconstruction of the park, it reopened to the public in March 2014.

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As we pulled out of the station and returned, we passed the medium security prison on the edge of town in Canon City.

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This territorial prison was built in 1868 as part of the federal prison system.  After Colorado’s statehood, it became a state prison in 1876.  The first inmate was John Shepler on June 13, 1871, Prisoner No. 1.  This prison, still in use today, was also home to Alfred Packer (known as Colorado’s Hannibal the Cannibal) as well as Unibomber Ted Kazynski. The prison is referred to as “Old Max”.

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The original guard tower which is obviously no longer in use.

We’ve taken this particular train ride several times and it never disappoints!


#RoyalGorge  #Train #Tourist #Colorado #Prison #OldMax #BigHornSheep