In a coming-out party for the Outlook Lodge, Green Mountain Falls' residents celebrated Victorian elegance and economic renewal infused in the refurbished historic lodge.
On a balmy fall evening, guests ascended the stone staircase to be greeted by a contingent of hosts, an array of gustatory delights and a tour of the inn.
Perched on a hilltop amid lush trees, the Outlook tickles the imagination as a kind of storybook house, particularly at night when the lights cast a come-hither look, a place to be warm and cozy.
The rooms are vibrant with new furnishings and original art from the owner's collection yet the designers have maintained the integrity of the historic inn, including the narrow winding staircase and exterior woodwork.
The wraparound porch and back patio, enhanced with the gas fireplace in the center, accent the role of nature in the Outlook experience.
The inn, in the main house and the adjoining carriage house, has six rooms, including a large suite on the upper level. A getaway for a family, the suite features a private sitting room with bay windows, the ideal spot for meditation or reading.
Guests are invited to use the common area in the main house as well as the full kitchen, library, living, dining and laundry rooms.
The renovation is just one of many initiated by Christian Keesee, the inn's owner, president of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, and founder of the Green Box Arts Festival.
Since 2007, Keesee has enhanced the town with national artists, sculptors and performers who come to Green Mountain Falls for a week in July. The festival always includes a large piece of sculpture in Mountain Park.
However, this summer's sculpture signals a feat likely unsurpassed anywhere in the world.
Undaunted by the size and weight of the 20-ton “Cloud City,” a stainless steel structure by Argentinian sculptor Tomas Saraceno, Keesee is having the piece transported to Green Mountain Falls to grace the 2013 festival.
For now, Keesee has loaned the piece to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan where he lives. While Keesee's townhome was not in the path of Superstorm Sandy, he was unable to attend the coming-out party Oct. 29 due to the airport's closure.
In a town whose history remains a vital part of its character, the Outlook Lodge today is in good hands with Christian Keesee, who has restored the magnificent luster of the Victorian treasure.
Built in 1889 as the parsonage for Church in the Wildwood, the house served as a temporary home for visiting ministers. Until 1950, the church was primarily a place to hold services during the summer.
In 1924, Mrs. W. F. Hunter bought the house from the church to open a hotel with four rooms available.
Twenty-two years later, Russell and Aimee Samuel, teachers from Wichita, Kan., bought the establishment as a stop for summer tourists. Russell Samuel built the wood exterior staircase. This spring, the Outlook's new owner, Christian Keesee, replaced the wood with a stone staircase.
The Samuels sold the lodge to Kay Mason and, from there the trail of information gets murky.
Over the past 20 years, the lodge has had a variety of owners, one of whom lost the building to foreclosure. Several years ago, Tim Gazak picked up the Outlook in an auction sale and added his own refurbishing touch, including a collection of antiques.
The information on the Outlook's history was provided by Mary Ann Davis of Green Mountain Falls who is a founding member of the Ute Pass Historical Society.