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Ask any writer to name the ideal environments for inspiration and productivity, and it’s likely that a rustic, remote cabin will be high on the list. There’s just something about the serenity of a stripped-down, back-to-nature setting that gets the creative juices flowing—as Thoreau, Twain, and Woolf can attest.
And now I can too, after a stay at the Flying Moon Cabins, a quartet of rental cabins on three forested acres just 10 minutes from downtown Idaho Springs. Ever since my solo two-night stay in the Wild Iris cabin during peak leaf-peeping season, I have been daydreaming about my return. Here’s why I can’t wait to get back, and why I hope you—whether you’re a fellow writer or just someone who needs a reset—get to experience the magic for yourself.
Built on an old mining plot in 1951, the four cabins—which are divided between two duplex structures—operated as Call of the Canyon nightly rentals for more than 65 years before reopening as the Flying Moon Cabins earlier this year. The sturdy log structures were clearly built to last; their layouts, wood finishes, and kitchen appliances are all original. I loved curling up on the sofa with the old guest book filled with notes scribbled years ago—and was amazed to find that some of them offered great ideas for how to make the most of my stay in 2020.
Though the Flying Moon Cabins are an easy 45-minute drive from Denver, they feel every bit as remote as other mountain escapes farther west along the I-70 corridor. The cabins are situated alongside a lively stream, along with a mix of vintage patio furniture—the perfect perches for sipping morning coffee or stargazing at night. There’s a slew of nearby spots for adventurers to fish, hike, and bike, and if you’re more of an indoor cat, you can make the short drive to Idaho Springs to stock up on groceries and wine.
If you’ve ever visited the Weathervane Café in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood, then you’ve experienced the delightful nostalgia that Lindsay and Alex Dalton—who own the quaint carriage-house coffee shop as well as Flying Moon Cabins—are so adept at evoking. The husband-and-wife duo brought that same charm to the log cabins, which they revived this spring and reopened in June. Their inviting touches include thrifted decor and furnishings from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, as well as more contemporary finds, including framed prints by local artist Strange Dirt.
The Daltons’ love for this place is infectious, and if you find Lindsay tinkering around the property during your stay, she’ll undoubtedly offer you a warm smile—and the answers to any questions you have about the cabins and surrounding landscape. “We always joke that this place is so beautiful and enchanted that we will probably haunt it someday,” she says.
The Simple Life
The Flying Moon Cabins are meant to be a place to reset, recharge, and escape the commotion of city life (and your kids, if you have them—the cabins are currently for adults only), so don’t expect high-tech amenities. Entertainment is limited to a Crosley record player and a handful of classic albums—think: Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors and the Flying Burrito Brothers’ Close Up The Honky Tonk. You can bring your laptop, of course, but the WiFi is spotty, which isn’t such a bad thing. It won’t hurt to take a night off from Netflix—really.
If you go: Invite your friends—groups of up to eight people can rent all four cabins at once, and dogs can tag along for an additional fee. Grab a pint at Westbound & Down in downtown Idaho Springs. Go treasure-hunting at Annie’s Gold antiques store. Take a dip at Indian Hot Springs just 15 minutes away. And, for a butt-buster of a hike, check out the 9-mile out-and-back Hell’s Hole trail just three miles down the road from the cabins (the views are much more delightful than the name suggests). From $125 per night; flyingmooncabins.com