As soon as I decide to leave Colorado permanently, I make a bucket list of all the things I must do before I go. It’s funny to think I’ve lived here twenty-three years and I am going to pack all these activities into my last six-months. My bucket list starts with the standard items like Bishop’s Castle and the Paint Mines and has morphed to include places I’ve never heard of and didn’t even know I wanted to see. The town of Victor, Colorado and more specifically, The Black Monarch Hotel were of the ilk of the latter part of the list.
I first learn about Victor and The Black Monarch Hotel from a gentleman friend. When I tell my friend Jennie about it, she decides she and her husband are going to stay there and I invite myself along. I book my room while hanging out at my other friend Paula’s house and she invites herself along, too and before we know it, we book three of the four room at the Black Monarch: the Black Annis room, the Nikola Tesla room and the Elizabeth Bathory room. Jennie was bummed because she wanted the H.H. Holmes room, but it was unavailable.
We get down to Victor a little early, (before check-in) so we hit up a local watering hole called Mining Claim 1899 Saloon. Great onion rings and fried zucchini! But… the salsa is definitely Pace Picante Sauce. We stay for a few frosty beverages and check in to the hotel. We are immediately taken by the aesthetic. The place is creepy AF but in a very tasteful way. In my room, the Black Annis, the bed swings from ropes, a taxidermy fox stands at attention while guarding the corner alter and there is even a kitten in a snow globe. I think that kitten was real…at one point.
The Tesla and Bathory rooms are very on point theme wise but not nearly as creepy. The Tesla room also has a sitting area with a couch and a chair, so we hang out in there, doing tarot card readings after our time gambling in Cripple Creek. Yes, we went gambling at a casino during a pandemic. No one hit big and we didn’t stay long.
Sunday, I start my day by trying to get into the groove with the sway of my bed and to come to terms with that g.d. fox. I read Awaking Loving-Kindness by Pema Chodron and practice breathing, mostly so I don’t vomit on the bed. It makes me a little sea sick. Eventually, Jennie and Paula roll in from their rooms and sway on the bed with me. It is a lovely way to start the day.
After we are done with our sway, we hit up The Fortune Club Diner for breakfast. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it although, the coffee was good. It may be the only place in town to get breakfast though so if you do go, BYOSalt. After breakfast Paula and I hit the open road…The Phantom Canyon Road, to be exact. It adds on about another hour to the return trip but is worth the views. At one point, due to the rock formations, we ask ourselves if we transported to New Zealand. Neither of us has been to New Zealand though so we could be way off base.
Now, on to books. I brought two books with me and of course, left with three. I figured a creepy, forest witch room would be a good place to practice mediation, thus Awakening Loving-Kindness, and also a good place to read some scary stories so I also brought Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. Through the Woods is a beautifully written and illustrated collection of chilling tales illustrated by the author and too creepy for me to read in the forest witch room. I was waaaayy too scared to read it when I was there! The third book, The Naughty Victorian Handbook, I picked up at the Victor Trading Company, a cute little store with an ancient pedal driven (but working!) printing press.
All in all, I’d definitely recommend a weekend in Victor. Jennie and I even “decided” to open a bookshop/bakery/cafe, we were so taken by the quaint town.