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La Veta and Cuchara: When you go

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Cuchara Village: During lunch and dinner during the summer the boardwalk that makes up most of the the Cuchara Village is buzzing — which is fitting. Cuchara is the Spanish for ‘spoon,’ and the legend goes that settlers in the canyon found ancient spoons near the river. Native Americans originally settled in the canyon because the soil was idea…

La Veta-4
Photo by Kara Mason

Cuchara Village: During lunch and dinner during the summer the boardwalk that makes up most of the the Cuchara Village is buzzing — which is fitting. Cuchara is the Spanish for ‘spoon,’ and the legend goes that settlers in the canyon found ancient spoons near the river. Native Americans originally settled in the canyon because the soil was ideal for potato farming. Families fill the patios at the Dog Bar and The Timbers Restaurant. Hummingbirds feed overhead and the babbling creek that runs behind River’s Edge Bed and Breakfast is background noise to laughter. During the rest of the day vacationers collect at the mini golf course, ice cream shop or small stores when they’ve had enough hiking or fishing. As far back as 1908 people have been vacationing near the rustic-looking social center for the valley. George Mayes brought his wife to the area for health reasons and thought it would be ideal for a resort. He named named his resort Cuchara Camps in 1908. By 1910 several more cabins were built in the area.  Blue and Bear Lake: Just off of Hwy 12, south of Cuchara, Blue and Bear Lakes are clearly marked2015-07-04-4 with a sign and dirt road. Up five miles is Bear Lake, which got its name from an unusually brawny black bear in the early 1900s. Local rangers set a trap for the trouble-making bear and when they returned the trap was gone. Rangers eventually found the trap in the middle of a nearby lake. It was still attached to the bear. Thus, Bear Lake. There are 14 campsites near the lake as well as trailheads, picnic spots and plenty of good fishing in the Cuchara River and Blue Lake, which can be found along the same turn-off. La Veta Main Street: It’s unclear what settlers meant when they named the area La Veta (“the vein” in Spanish). A vein of coal? Of gold? The vein-looking dikes that run through the valley? Today, visitors might think the area is a vein of art. Main Street is lined with art galleries from artists who have found a mini Taos in Huerfano County. The La Veta School of Arts offers several art classes throughout the year. Small concerts complement the music festivals that take place in Huerfano during tourist season. Boutiques, a general store complete with a mid-century themed soda fountain also add to the charm of La Veta’s main drag. Main Street is a unique combination of its exploration heritage, agriculture and art settlers.La Veta-13Highway of Legends Drive: The two-hour 82-mile drive that stretches fro…
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