Stay in the 'Refined Wild' at The Guest House

By Amanda Rae | September 27, 2018 | Lifestyle

Situated on a 360-acre collaborative farm and ranch in Carbondale, The Guest House invites visitors to stay in the "refined wild."

collaborative-farm.jpgMount Sopris watches over the property

Four days after moving to Sunfire Ranch in Carbondale last October, Seth O’Donovan realized she’d found her happy place when six other newcomers arrived.

“I was familiar with a water buffalo herd out in Napa, when I was working for the The French Laundry,” says O’Donovan, a chef, butcher and hospitality alum of Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder and The Populist in Denver. “I thought I’d never be in a place with water buffalo again. This is a sign!”

The property—situated on 360 biodynamic acres that include a neighboring ranch across Highway 133 and bordered by the Crystal River—is home to The Guest House, a chic destination lodging village-in-progress, with O’Donovan at the helm. Once completed, visitors will share space with Jose Miranda’s dairy herd of some 15 water buffalo, O’Donovan’s experimental wheat fields, beehives and charcuterie/fermentation/preservation pantry, greenhouses cultivated by Casey Piscura of Wild Mountain Seeds, and roaming ducks, chickens, sheep, pigs, goats, donkeys and horses.

chef-seth-odonovan.jpgChef Seth O’Donovan’s newfangled take on the cowboy breakfast

Guests will savor cheese, gelato and “all the luscious cream things,” O’Donovan says, during meals that source 96 percent of ingredients from this collective. They’ll forage wild flora to create their own hyperlocal dishes and harvest landscape scenes with expert photographers. Perhaps they’ll celebrate a wedding for 20 atop a treehouse platform or for 150 beneath Under the Sky’s handwoven tents on the mesa yonder.

The Guest House experience reflects a new model of sustainable service in Colorado: luxury digs and fine dining enjoyed in a place that fosters creative collaboration, wherein deeper connection to the earth enriches future community—among multiple generations, especially. (Unlike other high-end resorts, kids are encouraged to join their parents.) O’Donovan, who quips that her role is “curator of genius,” cites a few authentic inspirations, including Fäviken in Norway and Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.

Eight guest rooms are available this summer via VRBO; the sixth-generation Sewell family home will become a boutique hotel by 2020.

O’Donovan sums it up best: “You may be in a rough, wild place but still feel deeply nourished.” 6316 Highway 133,

Photography by: Photos by Jessie Chaney