Cyndi Palmer: Embody the spirit of living well |

Cyndi Palmer: Embody the spirit of living well

Cyndi PalmerA Face in the Crowd

If youre counting down the days until things start to slow down, you dont have to wait for fall, or go too far, to get away from it all. Gourmet food, good company, fresh air and an awe-inspiring views tempt the senses at the Spirit Mountain Ranch near Granby. Hand-built by former owners Beth Wasmer and Sandy Wilson, the elegant five-room, 5,200-square-foot B&B off County Road 41 is embraced in 72 acres of wildflowers, wilderness and old-growth (mostly beautiful aspen) forests next to BLM lands.New owners and admitted foodies Todd Gambino and Darunee Badia and innkeepers Kathy Gambino and Jude Sanchez have been eagerly planning several cultural events for relaxing public outings. Activities began this past week and future plans include like artist exhibits and receptions, wine and cheese nights, book clubs and womens wellness workshops.The Badias got the idea for their first event, a guest chef appearance and cooking class, after meeting chefs Kevin and Amy Binkley while staying at a bed and breakfast in Arizona. They were chatting about the Binkleys coming out to the ranch and Kevin said he and Amy were delighted to be the first Guinea pig guest chefs, and for the opportunity to work more with Colorado products.Last weekend, the ranch hosted the first of many guest chef appearances and cooking classes which the owners hope to offer once a month. About 20 professionals had the opportunity to come out last Saturday to take in the beauty that surrounds the area, and to try some of the delights of the Binkleys, who own two of the top restaurants in Arizona.It was a do-what-you-feel-like atmosphere. Some guests melted in the relaxing atmosphere chatting it up among delectable creations of steak tartar, salmon, trout, lamb, fresh produce (much of it from Morales Farms), and chocolate mouse while others took the chance to learn tips and cook with the chefs.Dennis Whitten, the next featured guest chef on Nov. 1, is the executive chef at the modern French Harvest Bistro in Closter, N.J. Future classes will highlight Neil Ferguson, executive chef at one of the No. 1 restaurants in Manhattan called Allen & Delancey; Susur Lee who runs the Lee restaurant in Toronto, Canada; and Frederic Keiffer who was named the executive chef at Gaia in Greenwich, Conn. People are invited to stay in the cozy ranch rooms, or just come for the day to socialize and enjoy the professional demonstration. For details visit While those oven timers tick away, there are several other final countdowns to make note of … emcee cue-in Europes song please … Hunker Down has been saying two weeks for the debut album for a couple weeks now, and Yaniv Salzberg returns from his furlough as big band musician on the Carnival Imagination cruiseline out of Miami mid-September. These two hovering happenings alone are enough to predict some major gettin-downs to be had this fall.Also, theres limited time to see the No Name Band and Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatres Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The No Name Band, with Sterling Powell, Carrie Pritchard, Walter Holland, Dave Percival, Warren Ward, Tim Connelly, Eddie Phillips and his two friends Mark and Gerald; have sets Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Daven Haven. The play, featuring four actresses who really lay on some great vocals, runs through Sept. 20.Food for thought: I count myself in nothing else so happy, As in a soul remembering my good friends. – William Shakespeare.

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