Local beauty no longer goes unnoticed | SteamboatToday.com

Local beauty no longer goes unnoticed

Home from the Strings Annual Kitchen & Garden Tour

— Amid the pandemonium of everyday life, small treasures hidden within the Yampa Valley often can be hidden from those who visit the area or even those who live here as permanent residents.

Revealing local gems in the form of homes and gardens, the Strings 19th annual Kitchen and Garden Tour will showcase beautiful design and the diligence of seven homeowners.

Although only three homes will be available for attendees to admire, the gardens at each location will be on display for all to enjoy.

"It's so neat, especially for the tourists to see all the different pockets that Steamboat has," said Cristen Frey, the non-classical programming coordinator and advertising and marketing director at Strings. "You really get a different feel for this town at each home. Just driving from Burgess Creek to downtown, it almost feels like I went to a whole other state."

Showcasing three unique areas of Steamboat, this year's tour will focus on historic downtown, mountain side and an area near Catamount Ranch.

"You really get to see three completely different elements of what this town has to offer," Frey said.

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The tour will kick off at the Strings Park with a light continental breakfast along with coffee provided by Starbucks and Steaming Bean. The self-guided tour tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the tour. Attendees can pick up a map and be on their way.

A VIP tour of the homes and gardens also is available for $65 per ticket. With this, attendees can go along in a van or bus that will be guided by a Master Gardener who will provide gardening insight and answer questions. This option also includes a gourmet lunch at the Strings Cafe and Park.

Every home will feature live music with two sets of musicians at every house. The classical and non-classical musicians are all local. In addition, there also will be about six live artists painting in the gardens at each of the locations.

The tone is set for this artistic, musical, elegant event.

Each year, the tour is a little different depending on the route or houses selected, and one thing Master Gardener Sandy Clavadetscher enjoys revisiting the homes to see how the gardens have changed or evolved.

For the event this weekend, she is looking forward to seeing everything in a more cheerful state — all thanks to the amount of rain Steamboat has been granted the past few days.

"When it rains, it's such a gift, and everything is so much happier," said Clavadetscher, who has been a passionate gardener all her life thanks to the continuing influence of her parents, even today.

Since 2007, she has been at the forefront of the tours, answering questions and piquing the curiosity of visitors and locals interested in learning a little bit more about the culture of gardening here in Steamboat.

"It's such a challenge here to grow veggies, flowers and other plants because of the different microclimates in this valley," she said. "But when you see some of the homes that have these fantastic things in their gardens, it gives us inspiration."

Annually, the tour attracts about 400 passionate or curious home-and-gardening enthusiasts. While the houses range as much in architect as they do in size, the gardens also have a little bit of everything as well as the varied techniques each homeowner uses for maintaining the landscape.

Tour organizer and home expert Holly Nelson said the volunteers’ friendliness and willingness to share time and effort has allowed the event to thrive.

"People really enjoy seeing the gardens, and they love to get inside the homes and see the kitchens," Nelson said.

"You have the musicians, artists, homeowners and the volunteers that make it happen, and then it just opens up for this unique event for the whole community to enjoy," Frey added.

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