Kelly Place B&B Newsletter and Blog


January 1, 2014

2013 and on.. .  .   .  Please see our "blog" page, we are moving our updates to there!


Feburary 8, 2013

2012: The Year of the Artists

Of course, when you live in this beautiful area, every year is a year of art. In 2012, the Bureau of Land Management initiated an Artist-in-Residence program. They chose Kelly Place to accommodate two of the four artists who began this event, documenting the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in their own media. In April, Kirk Gittings, a photographer from Albuquerque, arrived and was kept busy capturing as much as he could of the natural beauty plus ancient ruins.

In July, Arthur Short Bull, an Oglala Lakota water color artist came and spent his time exploring and painting. Each of the artists gives a presentation of their work at the Anasazi Heritage Center on the final day of their visit. Applications are being accepted for the 2013 program. It is open to a variety of artistic media, so if you have that kind of creative talent, go for it!

In September, the Plein Air Artists of the Four Corners arrived and spread out around the property to explore and capture Kelly Place scenery-mountain, cliffs, ruins, creek and more-in the plein air tradition. This tradition simply means the artist works outside and completes his or her work on site. We were amazed at how quickly and beautifully these artists could translate nature into two-dimensions-being severely artistically challenged ourselves.
Here is Sonya Johnson's interpretation in pastels: See work here.

One of our B&B guests this year was an artist and we got to talking about setting up a Road Scholar program focused on painting at Kelly Place. Unfortunately, the logistics didn't work out for her to teach, but she generated the idea and we now are offering two new Road Scholar programs this year: One is painting in acrylics and water colors, taught by Plein Air artist Rhonda Polsfut. The other is drawing in pastels, taught by Renaissance woman, Deborah Kelley–Galin. Both will be in September, so it is possible to take them both for a real artistic immersion. Thank you, Louise, for your idea!

New babies are on our minds this year. Marc is now a Grandpa of little Zoe Anne, born Jan. 3, 2013. He is not sure yet how to be a grandfather, but she will teach him. We visited her and her family in San Diego shortly after her arrival. She is a real cutie!

The other new baby is Tigger the Terror. He was born the end of April and we adopted him from the Cortez Animal Shelter a couple months later. He is not the long-haired beauty that Furbie was, but he is orange and has achieved Best Buddy status with Riley. We're not sure who is alpha in this relationship. He can be a sweetie, but mostly he likes being a Terror.

New Cats 2012

The last (but not least) new baby is the renewal of the Dolores Archaeological Project Preservation grant for two more years. With dedicated full time workers and Road Scholar volunteers toiling through the millions of artifacts needing to be repackaged and entered into the database, the entire project should be completed by the end of this grant award. We thank the State Historical Fund for supporting this effort and the Curation Department at the Anasazi Heritage Center for supervising the work. The grant is administered by McElmo Canyon Research Institute.


December 1, 2011

A year for growth and loss

We finally ventured into online reservations. It especially helps people who wish to reserve at midnight and people who live in faraway places. We think it works fairly well, although we don’t get the opportunity to talk as much with folks intending to visit us. There is always room for improvement, so there will be some changes to make it more user-friendly for our guests.

The Kelly Place cookbook, 1st edition, has sold out! The second edition has all the recipes from the first edition and much, much more. Cost is not twice as much, but a reasonable $15 and contains recipes for some wonderful food that has been served at Kelly Place.

Kelly Place, Cookbook II

Our huggable friends John & Marie returned and this time kidnapped Jerene one evening and took her to the Crown Point Navajo rug auction. This is THE place to go for Navajo rugs at incredibly reasonable prices, and direct from the weavers. One can hardly imagine how much work goes into a rug which often begins with raising the sheep, preparing the wool, dying and spinning the yarn, and then finally weaving a gorgeous rug. There were rugs of all sizes and it was surprising how many of them sold for low prices—and how many of them didn’t sell at all. The larger ones often go unsold because not everyone has wall space for that much rug. Yes, Jerene bought some rugs! Some of them are available for purchase at Kelly Place, but some of them are not!

Jerene’s grandson Troy arrived in the summer to do some work. One of the projects we had been hoping to complete is now done, thanks to him, archaeologist Jim, and Chris, one of our workers. The restored pueblo is now fully re-restored! The clay mortar had eroded extensively in the years since it was completed. We used an additive recommended by archaeologists to hopefully extend the life of this restoration. It looks great! Marc went into the San Juan forest and harvested some “teepee poles” which will be used to make a new kiva ladder. The poles must dry for a year before they can be used.

Kelly Place, The Pueblo Re-Mudded

Marc has a grand plan for the front of the main lodge at Kelly Place. The first step (pun intended) was completed this Fall with a brand new staircase to the second floor rooms. It is a beautiful and massive covered wood staircase that will probably outlast the building! Stage 2 will be a completely new front porch, coming, we hope, in Fall of 2012.

Kelly Place, The Pueblo Re-Mudded

A small fire emanating from the wood-burning fireplace in the deluxe cabin has resulted in our replacing that with a gas-log fireplace. The new kiva style was hand-plastered and decorated with niches and lovely Spanish tiles. It is certainly easier to use than a wood-burning fireplace and we anticipate that guests will use it more than the old one.

Kelly Place, #10 new fireplace

Some archaeological exploration was done near the Earbob House ruin site to see if there was anything interesting under the ground there. All digging came to a sterile gray layer that may or may not cover more artifacts. So far, it doesn’t look very promising.

Our Road Scholar (formerly known as Elderhostel) participants arrive at Kelly Place every year to assist the curators at the Anasazi Heritage Center in the repackaging of the artifacts from the Dolores Archaeological Program. (See below for more information.) Without having to squat on the ground and dig in the hard soil, the Road Scholars get to open a box and find out what artifacts are really inside. Archaeologists Jim, Deborah, and Diane all assist in teaching them about what they are seeing, including how to tell the time period from which a pottery sherd came, merely by careful inspection.

MCRI, Curration program in progess.
Photo by Erica Olsen

We are very proud that one of the DAP curators has gone above and beyond expectations by finding new and unusual ways to recycle the trash that is generated by the repackaging of the artifacts. She is collaborating with a plastics company to turn the plastic bags into a molded “artifact” which can be sold in the giftshop at the Anasazi Heritage Center. Kudos to Deborah Kelley-Galin for creating something positive out of something negative!

Other Road Scholar volunteers have been surveying an area in Canyons of the Ancients called Cannonball Mesa, west of Kelly Place. Archaeological survey includes carefully walking the terrain and noting, then recording, any artifacts, historic or older, that are found. Ruth Lambert, archaeologist of San Juan Mountain Association and Kristie Arrington of Two Dog CRM Services, plus several volunteers have been supervising the Road Scholar survey which took place for 5 days every year for the past several years. They have found some interesting artifacts (which are not collected) and learned what close observation of the terrain can offer to an educated eye.


Oct 15, 2011

Where's Furbie?

Our soft, sweet long-haired orange kitty, Furbie, son of Cookie Dough and Riley disappeared sometime in the summer. There was a new arrival, Dark Matter, a mysterious black Egyptian cat, who hung around for a while and then he disappeared too. We are hoping that they are both on their way to Florida where it is always warm and there are plenty of cat lovers. We miss Furbie especially and sometimes dream that he has come back. Cookie Dough and Riley are still here and still healthy.

Kelly Place, Furby


November 15, 2010

2010 addendum, The Year of the Shamans

For some reason, known only to the Cosmos, we had many spiritual leaders and life coaches visiting us this year. Our Swiss angel, Romana, stayed all summer and found that many animals, including humans, were attracted to her. Guests met her at breakfast and invited her to accompany them on their explorations of the area. Our hugging friends, John&Marie, kidnapped her for several days to visit Santa Fe and Ghost Ranch. Enter Laz&Nancy, looking for property to transform into a healing and growing center, and found Kelly Place already populated with like-minded souls. Our season ended with a drum ceremony in the kiva. Very powerful vibrations have been flowing from Kelly Place this year—even more than usual.

Kelly Place, Marie and Romana Kelly Place, John and Marc


February 1, 2010

Beautiful, beautiful Kelly Place!

As we proceed in our 6th (!) year at Kelly Place, we have more time to appreciate the unique space we are in. Work campers Linda and Reynolds Duncan have helped us in both beautifying and appreciating the beauty. They painted and made new signs for Kelly Place. As avid birdwatchers, they helped us to identify the abundant species of bird visitors we had in the spring of 2009.

Kelly Place, The Duncans

Interior painting, new carpets in most units, and as of today, new ceramic tile in the office have added to the interior beauty. The deluxe lodge room has new aspen furniture built by a local artisan.

We keep adding more flowers, bushes and fruit trees. Jerene's mother contributed some rose bushes. We planted greenery around our home and a desert garden in front of the 2-bedroom suite. We hope these are plants not highly favored by the deer, but they don't seem to discriminate much.

2009 was a fantastic year for fruit. Everyone loved the mulberry pancake syrup. There were apples for everyone, including the deer, squirrels, birds, and human friends and guests. We made and froze loads of apple sauce and apple juice. There was enough quince to make sauce for all this year. The apricot and plum blossoms fell victim to a late frost, so we are hoping for a milder spring in 2010.

The animal population is burgeoning here as well. After the death of George the cat, long time Kelly Place mascot, a calico female cat appeared and lived on the rock cliffs. We convinced her that eating our cat food on the courtyard is a safe secure option. One of our younger guests named her Cookie Dough. The next appearance was a gray striped tabby who was very skinny and already knew that humans are a good deal. He is now a Rolley-poly couch potato and deserves the name Riley because he lives the life of Riley. Before we knew it, Cookie Dough had a litter of 4 kittens (her last). Three of them looked like Riley and turned out to be female. These were adopted by staff and a guest. We kept the long-haired orange and white dustmop, named Furbie. The kittens will be two in August this year. Our three cats are one happy family. They are not permitted indoors except in the maintenance shed and our home. Cookie Dough and Furbie don't like to come inside, but Riley, well.

Kelly Place, Our 3 Kitties

What is McElmo Canyon Research Institute (MCRI)? MCRI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the archaeological heritage of McElmo Canyon and educating folks about this heritage. MCRI organizes various activities that are designed to perserve ancient ruin sites on BLM land as well as private lands with ruins. See our events page to see program offerings for the next year. The artifacts and sites on Kelly Place are under the care of MCRI. MCRI also works with other organizations such as the Anasazi Heritage Center to preserve sites in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. MCRI and the AHC have just been awarded a 2-year grant by the Colorado Historical Society to repackage and organize the 1.5 million artifacts collected during the Dolores Archaeological Program in the 1970s and 1980s. The Dolores Program was one of the largest cultural resource testing and excavation projects in the history of the U.S., necessitated by the construction of McPhee Reservoir which now covers the land from which these artifacts were collected. We look forward to working with the curation staff at the Heritage Center to accomplish this major task.

MCRI also organizes the Road Scholar programs at Kelly Place. Road Scholar! The new improved name for Elderhostel! The educational and entertaining Road Scholar programs are now available to adults who are not elder. These are really great opportunities. One of the best parts of an Road Scholar program is the people who come to them. Check out the current offerings on our Events page and on the Road Scholar website. You can help with the Dolores Program artifacts during the Curation program or survey new Canyons of the Ancients land acquisitions for evidence of archaeological sites in the Survey program.

MCRI and Kelly Place were pleased to contribute to the erection of a "standing stone" commemorating the 100th anniversary of the building which houses the Cortez Cultural Center. Vince Lee led the event during the 2009 Pecos Conference and demonstrated that you don't need modern tools to elevate a massive rock. You do need muscle and ingenuity.

Kelly Place, Stoneworks

The rains continually erode the mortar on the partially restored pueblo at Sue's ruin. A troop of Boy Scouts from near Colorado Springs helped archaeologist Jim Colleran rebuild and re-mud the eroded areas as part of their community service work. Other contributors to this effort are the children who come with their grandparents to Road Scholar intergenerational programs. Mudding sounds like more fun than it really is. We thank all of these hard workers for their help.

Kelly Place, Masonry

In response to guest requests, Kelly Place now has a cookbook available for sale at the reasonable price of $10. It contains nearly 200 recipes including the granola and many of the entrees and desserts enjoyed by the groups which eat all of their meals here. What's Cookin' at Kelly Place is now a bestseller and you can purchase by mail order for a small additional shipping fee.

Kelly Place, Cookbook Ver. 1


February 1, 2007

New Bridge, New Canyon, New Archaeology

The long time between updates suggests we have been busy. True!

In September of 2005, we had an intense rainstorm which caused a 12-foot rise in our usually gentle McElmo Creek. A second swell, bringing water from northern and eastern drainages, flooded the entire lower creek area and caused our old bridge to be displaced from its footings. In December of 2005, an entirely new bridge, utilizing a steel railroad car bed, was put into place. This bridge can hold buses and heavy laden trucks up to 160,000 lbs. No need to skimp on baggage!

Autumn of 2006 brought a series of intense but shorter rains. This time our creek didn't flood, but the sandstone canyons north of us gathered more and more of the water, dumping it in spectacular "pour-overs" onto Kelly Place property. Unfortunately, one was located behind our double-wide mobile home, the location of our living quarters and the 2-bedroom modular suite (#11).

A rapidly eroding gorge developed right alongside the mobile home, threatening to topple it. After a few attempts to dissuade the water path, we stopped fighting Mother Nature and moved the mobile home far away from the rock cliffs and the new canyon.

The "new canyon", now about 14 feet wide and 12 feet deep in places, separates most of Kelly Place property from the garden site where recent excavations have taken place. Although none of the excavations were affected by the canyon, Mother Nature has shown us where and how deep we must excavate to get to newly found structures and other interesting prehistoric remnants.

A cache in the side of the canyon revealed a burial dated around Pueblo II era (900-1150 AD). To prevent the burial and information being washed away in the next rainstorm, our archaeologists excavated the remains. Analysis of the human remains from site 5MT-11739 by archaeologists Dr. Christy Turner, Dr. Dave Breternitz, and Jim Colleran indicated that an apparent family of 7 people, including men, women and children, had been brutalized and probably cannibalized at this site. This type of gruesome event was not completely uncommon during this time period in the Four Corners region. The victims were indeed Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi), but the identity of the perpetrators remains a mystery.


Sept. 20, 2004

Kelly Place has new owners!

Rodney and Kristie Carriker sold Kelly Place to Marc and Jerene on July 1st. Marc Yaxley is a software engineer and Jerene Waite is a neuroscientist & teacher. They moved here from San Diego to get enjoy a new lifestyle! Marc and Jerene intend to continue the work and plans which the Carrikers have instituted over the years. Their hope is to continue all programs and add a few new ones.


Pre-June, 2004

Archaeology News and other Related Updates

Greetings from Kelly Place and McElmo Canyon Research Institute.

Though in operation since 1980, recent years have provided us with the chance to begin work we've envisioned for our entire existence. With the monumental efforts of over 100 volunteers (largely made up of enthusiastic Elderhostel participants) and an excellent professional staff, we began surveying, stabilizing and protecting some of the fragile ruins in the nearby Sand Canyon region. Sand Canyon, an offshoot canyon from our home McElmo Canyon, is part of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Well over 6000 acres, part of this Monument land, borders Kelly Place to our north. This new National Monument occupies 164,000 acres and borders Kelly Place BnB on the North.


During 1997 and early 1998, over 1600 acres of this land were surveyed as part of a partnership program and cooperative agreement between McElmo Canyon Research Institute (a non-profit organization) and the BLM. As a result of the survey a total of 136 cultural resources were identified consisting of 100 sites and 36 isolated finds. 73 new archaeological sites were recorded and 29 previously recorded sites were re-located and re-recorded. All were evaluated for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places.


With the completion of the survey in early 1998, the focus of the program changed to stabilizing and protecting some of the most endangered ruins. Getting to the sites involved a four mile jeep trail drive followed by various hikes, depending on sites. Water, tools and other materials were graciously packed in by Mesa Verde Backcountry Horseman.


The purpose of stabilization is not to restore the site, but to preserve it as it is today. Materials used are compatible with original materials and everything is done by hand. The process is very time consuming and only a few people can work on a site at any time. When we are finished with the site, it would be very difficult for the ordinary person to know where we worked. However, everything that is done to the site is accurately documented. Since 1999, 341 Elderhostel volunteers worked with McElmo Canyon Research Institute (MCRI) staff to stabilize six sites in the Sand Canyon area. Most of these are close to the Sand Canyon trail and are open to the public again because of our work. Annual visitation is substantial. In 2002, over 17,000 people hiked the Sand Canyon trail.

We are honored that our partnership with the BLM and the resulting survey and stabilization program, has been one of 24 programs chosen by the "Share Your Heritage" initiative to exemplify the best national programs in cultural heritage preservation. Details have been published in "Share Your Heritage", available from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (202-588-6000).

Mural In Sue's Kiva

At the Kelly Place itself, work continued with some excavation at the Garden Site and the restoration of Sue's Kiva and its associated room block. The interior of Sue's Kiva has been painted and the mural is complete.

Kelly Place has been featured twice on the "Colorado Getaways" program on Denver Channel 4, a CBS affiliate. One of those programs was about our stabilization work at the Saddlehorn site. The other was about a horseback ride with Kristie to some of the Sand Canyon ruins. Also, in 2002, Kelly Place facilities were used to film a documentary on cannibalism which aired on the National Geographic Channel. Much of the program was film at George's Kiva and in the lounge at our lodge.


Our web site has produced an abundance of inquiries and reservations. Activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, as well as pottery and archaeology (when available), continue to make Kelly place one of the most unique bed and breakfast experiences in the country.



Well, that brings you up to date with us. Thanks for checking our newsletter and
keep coming back - we update as developments occur.

Hope to see you at the Kelly Place!
Marc Yaxley and Jerene Waite Proprietors, Kelly Place
and the staff at McElmo Canyon Research Institute.

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