BOULDER, Colo. — The striking, slanted Flatirons of Boulder get around a million visitors each year. But did you know there is a National Historic Landmark nestled at the foot of the mountains that features a restaurant, auditorium and lodging dating back to the late 1800s?
This is Colorado Chautauqua.
To this day, the historic auditorium still plays host to concerts. From classical, to funk, folk, live dances and movies, there is a little something for everyone.
“The acoustics are amazing here,” said Wanona Tara, the director of sales and experiences for the Colorado Chautauqua. “The building is in its original state. It’s all wood … it’s really designed for a premium concert experience.”
Tara calls Colorado Chautauqua a “hidden gem” of Colorado that some people – but many more – should know about.
Back in the late 19th Century, when the Chautauqua movement began, people were not afforded formal educations and went to Chautauquas to learn about food, politics, and listen to orators and music, she said.
The opening day for the Colorado Chautauqua was the Fourth of July, 1898. Originally, visitors stayed in canvas tents. But lodging was built soon thereafter on the 26-acre campus.
‘Today, there are 62 cottages and lodges, 59 of which are available for people to rent year-round – from studio size all the way up to an eight-bedroom lodge.
There is also a restaurant that specializes in farm-to-table food and a general store that serves coffee and ice cream.
Named a National Historic Landmark in 1976, with 40 miles of hikes surrounding the property, the Colorado Chautauqua is well worth discovering.
“We have year-round experiences, special curated experiences for our guests, which include guide hikes, history tours, mindfulness classes in the morning, yoga, and then special retreats,” Tara said.
Retreats, reunions, weddings, or celebrations of life – within this unique venue, modern life intersects with history. The Colorado Chautauqua brings people together year after year, keeping the Chautauqua movement of learning and gathering together alive in the 21st Century.