Steamboat home and garden tour to celebrate 20th anniversary | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat home and garden tour to celebrate 20th anniversary

Members of the Strings Guild and Master Gardners tour the garden of Linda and David Lund earlier this week. The women will volunteer their time for the tour

— When questions are rapidly thrown her way, Master Gardener Gail Reed merely pauses a moment and answers in a matter-of-fact fashion.

It's her duty, after all, as a Master Gardener who has been with the annual Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour the past nine years .

"It's fun to see how people react, and I think they learn to appreciate what grows here by seeing all the unique things Steamboat has," said Reed, who received the title of Master Gardner through the Colorado State University Extension office, a process that involves an initial 12 weeks of coursework and 50 hours of volunteer work. "This lets people see a good combination of a lot of different kinds of gardens and houses that they wouldn't get to see otherwise."

Giving the public an opportunity to discover a handful of Steamboat's hidden gems in the form of homes and gardens, the tour, organized by the Guild of Strings Music Festival, has developed over the years into the top fundraiser for Strings.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour will feature six property sites located in Old Town Steamboat, Strawberry Park, the Sanctuary, Stone Bridge and Anglers Drive. Each property boasts its own distinctive style, ranging from a converted historical cabin with a Craftsman addition to a modern mountain home with the latest in home automation.

Accentuating the homes will be the gardens. Lush with vibrant hues, the gardens on the list this year range from an indigenous wildflower garden, a hillside mountain rock garden with incredible views of the valley and a charming garden featuring an unconventional fish pond and yard art.

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On Saturday, the Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour will kick off at the Strings Park with a continental breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. The homes will be open from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., with last entry at 2:30 p.m. The self-guided tour tickets are $40 in advance and $45 the day of. Attendees may pick up a map that morning and be one their way. VIP tour tickets are sold out.

Not only will attendees be able to view homes and learn about the wide variety of gardens found here, local musicians will provide another element of entertainment on the tour. Among the 35 classical and non-classical musicians are Deanna Webb Koebnick, from Sundog; John Fisher, from the Yampa Valley Boys; The Broadband; Tera Johnson and young violinists.

"Each house will offer something totally different," said Marlene Fisher, who has booked all music for the tour for the past two years. "It's performing art, and everything about this offers art in some way with the music, the flowers and even the artists. It will offer a little bit of something for everyone."

One of the homes, listed as the first stop on the tour, belongs to Judith Harrington and is located in the Sanctuary area of Steamboat. Resembling an Old-World décor, the home is inviting and elegant, yet comfortable, with its deep ruby hues and French accents, such as the flour de lis found in every room. Outside, the house is surrounded by floral and vegetable gardens abundant with lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, peonies and more.

On Anglers Drive, the tour stops at Linda and David Lund's home, which is nestled on a hill that gives them a spectacular panoramic view of the Steamboat Ski Area, Pleasant Valley, the Flat Tops Mountain range and Emerald Mountain. Accentuated with Asian influences, the kitchen is subtly refined to feature counter tops that reminded the Lunds of cherry blossom branches seen during their time spent in Japan. Outside, the house is surrounded by vegetation indigenous to the area, including wildflowers such as golden eye, scrub oak, sagebrush, mountain snowberry, rabbit brush and meadow grass.

"Not only is this a fun thing for people to do, but it's really educational, because they get this nip of musicians and artists who are all local, in addition to the Master Gardeners, who really know their stuff and are there to help you find what would fit in your yard and what grows best here," Fisher said. "I think every year this just gets better and better."

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

If You Go…

What: The 20th annual Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 18

Where: Various locations throughout Steamboat Springs

Tickets: Self-guided tour tickets are $40 in advance and $45 day of