The night will be filled with happy surprises for couples coming to the Lumber Baron Inn to celebrate Valentine’s on Friday, February 10th and Saturday, February 11th. When guests check in at 6 p.m. for the casino murder mystery night or an overnight stay at this historic bed and breakfast in north Denver’s Highlands area, they receive $1000 in mock gambling chips that look and feel just like those used in the casinos.
While grabbing a festive rosy Valentine mixed drink, they can meander through the parlors of this old mansion and try their luck at blackjack, poker or roulette on authentic gaming tables before being treated to a full-course romantic dinner in the third floor ballroom.
A Love Story
Julie Walter, who happens to be the wife of the innkeeper, makes sure guests have a memorable meal. The talented chef has a culinary degree from the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon.
“She’s a fabulous chef,” says owner and innkeeper Walter Keller with a twinkle in his eye. The two met at the inn and were married at the Lumber Baron several years ago.
Their love story started with a dollar bill. When she was attending a special event at the inn, she explains she enjoyed visiting with the bartender, not knowing that he also was the owner. She tipped Keller generously for her drinks, and just before she left, she impulsively handed him a dollar bill with her phone number on it.
“I never do things like that,” she admitted. “I was surprised when he called me later. That was my best spent dollar,” she laughed. Later Keller hired her as the inn’s chef, and, they fell in love.
Now Walt and Julie host romantic weddings as a specialty at the Lumber Baron. Couples can take their vows in the elegant parlor or lovely garden, host a dance reception in the third-floor grand ballroom, and finally luxuriate in the honeymoon suite.
Dinner at the casino murder mystery night ends with a decadent tiramisu for dessert, then the action really picks up when guests participate in a lively “who done it” murder mystery play set in the roaring 20s.
Actors (who also serve as bartenders) wear flapper and gangster attire from that era. Guests also are invited to join in the fun and come dressed in similar attire.
After the murder occurs in the play, guests look for “who-done it “clues, which are planted on the tables. Toward the end, the “Denver Bike Squad” arrives dressed as policemen and “Officer Schwin” arrests the villain.
“It’s a very free-wheeling evening filled with many surprises for the guests,” says Walter. “We quietly take video and photo clips of the guests during the evening and then publish them on our website so they can download them later as a souvenir.”
This beautifully restored, three-story 1890 mansion was built in the old Highlands area of North Denver by John Mouat, a Scottish immigrant who amassed a fortune in the lumber business in the late 1800s. That’s how the Lumber Baron got its name. Mouat and his wife hosted prestigious Victorian social events in the ballroom of this elegant 8,500 square-foot house.
While in college, Keller first spotted this mansion, which was crumbling and abandoned. Later he purchased it for $80,000, but it took him countless hours for three and half years and nearly a million dollars to complete the first phase of restoration before it opened as a bed ‘n breakfast on Sept 30, 1994.
If You Go
The inn has several suites to choose from, including the Valentine suite, which has a romantic Persian-style flair. Plus, the suite boasts the inn’s most complex and detailed Bradbury ceiling pattern.
In addition to providing bed and breakfast style accommodations, the Lumber Baron Inn is also available for weddings, corporate events, or other meetings and gatherings.
For reservations or to find out more about holding an event at the Lumber Baron Inn, call 303-477-8205 or book online at lumberbaron.com.
Lumber Baron Inn
2555 West 37th Ave.
Denver, Colorado 80211
Margaret Malsam. a Colorado freelancer, has authored two books and written for numerous national magazines and newspapers, including FAMILY FUN, COUNTRY WOMAN, ELKS MAGAZINE, MIDWEST MOTORIST, TOURING AMERICA, MIAMI HERALD, BOSTON GLOBE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE and others.