Highland Haven Creekside Inn sits along Bear Creek in Evergreen, Colorado, featuring 18 cottages, cabins, guestrooms and one luxury Tree House. Many of the cabins are original to when the first owners of the property built them in the 1800s and 1900s. The Inn can host intimate weddings, receptions, and other events as the property includes a gazebo and courtyard area. The Corporate Events manager, Allison, mentions that the establishment generally has a "romantic environment;" however, it is a family-friendly property. One of the main draws for tourism in the area is downtown Evergreen, which is within walking distance of the Inn. Evergreen Lake also provides a variety of outdoor recreation with the main activities being paddle boarding, ice skating, and fishing.
Highland Haven Creekside Inn is situated on a total of five acres and occupies land near downtown Evergreen, Colorado, less than an hour from the city of Denver. The property features 18 units, all of which are spread throughout multiple buildings on the premises. A main lodge building on the grounds includes ten rooms, while three sets of cottages, which are situated in pairs, function as a duplex as each include two separate units. The Treehouse is the only newly built unit, which is a stand-alone. The Fireside Loft is also a stand-alone unit at 2,400 sq feet with an outdoor hot tub, pergola, and firepit. A refrigerator, coffee maker, and microwave are available in every unit. The Hillside Cottages 2 include a hot tub inside the room, as well as a gas-lit fireplace, kitchenette, king-size beds, living room area, and of course a private bath.
Jenna, one of the managers of the property, describes the establishment as "mountain-modern and Colorado chic," as the interior of the cabins consists of various wood tones and natural nature colors. One particular common area where guests can spend their time is the Daily Cabin, which is the main gathering area and the original cabin that was built in the 1880s. This cabin is also the oldest cabin in the canyon that is located in the town of Evergreen, according to Allison. Events are often held in the daily cabin including weddings, receptions, and other similar events. Additionally, the cabin hosts a coffee and tea bar each morning, with a fireplace and seating area for guests to work, meet up with friends or just relax.
The front patio that leads into the main office has a firepit with stools, where visitors can roast smores, read a book, or warm their hands after a hike. In the front courtyard of the property, 80-foot blue spruce trees surround a lover’s lane walkway, a couple of picnic tables, and a raw iron gazebo where wedding ceremonies are hosted. Additionally, three pairs of chairs sit along the creek, where guests can relax and enjoy the sound of the creek.
A homemade breakfast is included with each room and delivered in the morning. When guests check in, they can set a time in which breakfast should be delivered for the next morning. A typical breakfast at the property consists of an egg dish, a homemade pastry, and fruit. Waffles can be added complimentary. Visitors may also have the option to eat their breakfast in the Daily Cabin if they prefer. One of the most popular breakfast dishes that the property serves is the egg strata, which can include meat or be vegetarian, and has bread, cheese, and vegetables. The owners accommodate dietary restrictions and they ask guests about this particular concern before their stay. Furthermore, coffee, tea, water, iced tea, and cookies are available to patrons all day.
The Highland Haven has a Colorado-themed store, called the Sweet Dreams Boutique, featuring custom apparel such as hats, coffee mugs, purses, jewelry, champagne glasses, wine glasses, and lifestyle books that were written by the owner of Highland Haven Creekside Inn, Gail Riley. One of her books is called Colorado Cravings, which contains recipes made and served at the Inn and Colorado lifestyle content. Another book available at Sweet Dreams Boutique is called Colorado Romance. It is filled with love stories from previous guests who have stayed at the property. This particular book was created as the owner asked guests about how they would define romance, in addition to entries that were acquired from the provided journals in each of the rooms on the property. These journals are available for guests to write reviews in and to read about previous visitors' experiences.
Guests cross over a bridge over Bear Creek to enter the property. The grounds are encompassed by spruce trees and wooded areas. Various sculptures dot the property, one of which is known as the "love lock heart" that was modeled after the love lock bridges in Europe. Guests can purchase a lock at the Sweet Dreams Boutique, write their initials and date on it, and attach it to the love lock heart. There are also trees on the property known as Sweetheart Trees that patrons can carve their initials on. A stone walkway that leads through the property is called Lovers Lane Walkway and it is open for guests to roam at their leisure. The stones have been marked with the names and dates of couples who have celebrated on the property. During the summer, the owner spends much of her time gardening on the premises, providing a fair amount of wildflowers, as well as poppies, columbines, and peonies in the gardens throughout the acreage.
Bear Creek runs through approximately 400 feet of the property's land. Along the creek is a designated walking path that leads to downtown Evergreen, which is described by the manager as one of the major draws for tourism in the area. Evergreen Lake is located just over a mile from the property on the other side of the town as well, providing outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and fishing. During the summer season, paddleboats, paddleboards, and canoe rentals are available at the lake. In the wintertime, the lake is one of the largest outdoor ice skating rinks, according to the manager.
Sydney recommends three nearby restaurants to those who are staying at Highland Haven Creekside Inn. One such restaurant is Willow Creek, which sits along Evergreen Lake, and they provide a selection of wine and a menu that frequently changes. Murphy's Mountain Grill is the second dining option that she recommends which is a five-minute walk from the Inn. Lastly, Creekside Cellars is one of Sydney’s favorite nearby restaurants that she recommends to patrons. Creekside Cellars is a local winery that is situated along Bear Creek and serves anti-pasta trays and panini sandwiches.
As the Highland Haven is mostly occupied by guests wanting a relaxing romantic getaway, the business implements policies that visitors are expected to maintain. One such policy is that smoking is prohibited on the property. Quiet hours start at 10:00 PM and last until 8:00 AM. Pets are allowed to stay at Highland Haven Creekside Inn in certain rooms, but not in every unit.
Allison remarks that she and the owners want their guests to feel "disconnected from their busy lives" during their stay and they hope that it will cause visitors to feel reconnected with their loved ones and nature. The manager mentions that they put forth the effort of interacting with their patrons during check-in and check-out, additionally giving them recommendations for things to do in the area. One particular element that Allison mentions has aided the property's success is a text messaging system that they use to stay in contact with their guests. A common saying that they have at the property, which could be considered the business's unofficial motto, is, "Genuine hospitality cannot be described, but it is immediately felt."
One of the most unique aspects of Highland Haven Creekside Inn is the Tree House, which tends to be the most popular of the units. Roxy, the General Manager comments that the Tree House tends to draw people wanting to celebrate big milestones, birthdays, anniversaries, and once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings. She also mentions that the property's "romantic" elements are what initially grab people’s attention when booking. One previous guest commented saying, "They have a beautiful creek that runs right through the property and you can sit at the edge of the creek and enjoy a complimentary cocktail. Plus, there are a lot of elk that walk right through the property and you can get close to them and take pictures."
Gail Riley and Tom Statzell have owned the property for over forty years, as the property was purchased in 1979. Prior to being an inn, the property operated as a hotel. In 1961, it became the Highland Haven Hotel, though it had a different set of owners throughout those years. The main cabin on the premises had originally been a private home, and in the 1930s, the owners at the time added the rest of the buildings on the property, with the exception of the Tree House, which was added 25 years after the current owners acquired the property. The majority of rooms were built in the 1930s, with the exception of the daily cabin that was built in the 1800s. The cabins on the property were used for housing teachers in the 1950s. During the school year, the teachers would live on the property, and as the school year concluded, the teachers would return back to their homes. The manager of Highland Haven Creekside Inn, Allison, remarks that there was a time when she met a teacher who had stayed on the property in the 1950s.
Gale and Tom converted the property from a hotel to an inn. Some of the accommodations that have been added since the current owners took ownership include the breakfast, remodeling of the rooms on several occasions, and keeping up with standard maintenance. Tom executes the woodwork and maintenance, while Gale does all of the design work. They have built two custom homes on the property, in addition to the TreeHouse. The couple was formerly living in San Fransisco, prior to moving to Colorado, though they had both grown up in Indiana. As they vacationed to Colorado before owning Highland Haven Creekside Inn, they stayed at the property and were content with their experience, so much so that they decided to purchase the property when it went up for sale. Their initial plan for the property was to remodel it and fix it up, but as time went on, they decided to keep building and maintaining the property. As for future plans, the owners hope to add stylistic upgrades.
Gale and Tom live on-site, due to the fact that the company's acreage leads into their personal property. Their daughter also lives on the property in her own separate house and she works as a manager at the establishment. A groundskeeper additionally lives on-site and is available for emergencies and other tasks.
Allison, one of the managers of the property, mentions that one of her favorite parts of assisting in operating the property is "feeling like family" and her close relationships with the owners, staff, and visitors. She remarks that she has known the owners almost her whole life. Being a part of guests' special occasions, such as weddings, for example, is another element that she says she enjoys, as she states, "the hard work pays off for the experience we get with customers."
Bed and Breakfast
Gale Riley and Tom Statzel