Two seasons ago, several strangers arrived at Cedar Ridge, a 67-acre ranch and organic farm high in Missouri Heights, for different reasons — one to finish writing a novel, another for peace and solitude, a newly married couple on their first trip to Colorado. We had all come for the sweeping views of Mount Sopris, for the luxury farm accommodations — a yurt, a safari-style tent and a well-appointed cabin at 6,700 feet, among others options — and for connection with nature and the people around us.
Gathered in a converted horse stable, now home to a dozen or so creative spaces — studios that provide affordable work space for artists — everything from leather-workers to painters and potters. The evening’s hostess was Merrill Johnson, along with her mother, Pam, and father Randy, who arrived with a platter of local cheeses and an ice-filled bucket of Colorado beer, wine and cider — many from small producers just over nearby McClure Pass.
Merrill has long been involved in sustainable agriculture. When she was 13, she and her family moved to Cedar Ridge Ranch, where she dedicated her studies and lifestyle to the practice. Merrill realized that her farm could be used for more than just food production; it could be used to inspire others to live a more sustainable, creative and integrative life.
For Mid-Valley artists, Cedar Ridge provides a chance to create in one of the ranch’s dedicated spaces, beautifully repurposed horse stables transformed into individual studios ranging in size with an open common area creating a tranquil co-working experience. Currently, five of the Creative Spaces studios are available for artists and creatives they call “creatifs” for $500 per month.
New transplant to Carbondale, fashion designer Ashley Paige, has joined the Cedar Ridge artist community. Known for her high-end, designer knitwear, Paige says, she’s “in heaven here.” Upon hearing that Cedar Ridge Ranch raises alpacas and produces its own yarn, Paige began using their fiber for her next collection of knitwear separates dubbed, “Ashley Paige at Cedar Ridge Ranch 2020.”
“I have been hoping to have to have the ability to showcase ‘farm to fashion,’ where our guests can come to the ranch and meet and learn about the alpacas and understand the process from shearing the animal to a beautiful end product,” Pam says. “The Creative Spaces allows for artists to enjoy being on the ranch, the animals and hiking trail into BLM lands. They can host workshops and weekend retreats with our glamping lodges. The guests to the ranch can have an opportunity to interact with the artists and view and buy their wares.”
For more information on Cedar Ridge Ranch’s creative spaces, set up a time to visit and tour by emailing Info@cedarridgeranch.com or calling Pam at (970) 963-3507.
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Amiee White Beazley is a Basalt-based journalist. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast and Sunset magazine among other national publications. Read more at awbeazley.com