Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hospitality in Walden, Colorado

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.
Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire  
Walden, Colorado - named for former postmaster Marcus Aurelius Walden - is the only municipality in Jackson County; it lies in the center of a large open valley called North Park.  What kind of a town is named after a postmaster?  I’m about to find out.
I arrive mid-morning in Walden, looking for a place to have breakfast with a cup of coffee.  I park the car then reach into the familiar spot in my purse for my wallet.  But, the wallet isn’t there!  
I dump my purse, turn my pockets inside out but come up empty - no license, no credit cards, no ATM card, no money.  I do have my checkbook but who will accept an out-of-state check without ID? 
It seems that my day of eating, exploring, and shopping in Walden will be shorter than I had planned.  Before leaving I decide to browse an art gallery on Main Street.
Karen Miller Welcomes Me to the Green Otter Galley. 
I walk into the Green Otter Gallery and hear soft classical music playing.  The proprietor emerges from a side room.  She welcomes me to the gallery:
“Are you a local?”
“No,” I say, “Just visiting for the day.  You have so many pretty things in this gallery; I’d love to buy something but I don’t have any money, credit cards or ID.  And I waited all morning to eat breakfast here in Walden.”
“Well...I will give you money for breakfast.” 
Oh no, I couldn’t possibly accept that ---but I do have my checkbook.  
“I could write you a check for the money,” I say.  “Will you accept an out-of-state check without an ID?”
“Sure, that would be fine.” 
  Wow, I can’t believe my luck.  “I’ll have to buy something... how about this book called North Park ABC’s by Karen Miller?.”  
The store’s proprietor smiles.  “That would be great.  I just happen to be the book’s author.”
The Moose Creek Cafe - Real Moose have been spotted on
Walden's Main Street.
         I tell Karen that I’ll write a check for the book plus $20.00 and she can give me a twenty-dollar bill from the till.  While we’re completing the transaction Karen tells me that this gallery is filled with work by local artists - four of them joined together to open the gallery and they’re enjoying the work, and interacting with tourists. 
With a fresh $20 in my pocket I’m on my way to The Moose Creek Cafe for breakfast. I order the traditional fare of eggs, bacon and hash browns.  The waitress is pleasant and easy-going.  
I’ve discovered that a town named for a postmaster can be most accommodating.  “The Kindness of Strangers” is more than a cliche in Walden.  I’ll be back.

Walden, the “Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado” is profiled in the June, 2011 issue of Sunset magazine.

The Green Otter Gallery offers classes in Drawing, Knitting and Pastel and Oil Painting.  Karen Miller is hosting art camps this summer for kids and adults.  To learn more, you can contact Karen Miller at:  
For more information on Walden and the North Park area, visit these sites: and

1 comment:

  1. Rita,

    It warms my heart that there are still people like Karen Miller in the world and towns like Walden. Thanks so much for sharing this story!