Tag Archive | Boulder

The Vampire Grave

Lafayette, CO

My daughter at the Vampire Grave

Want to hear about a vampire grave in Colorado? Cool! This is how the story goes.

In the early 1900s in Lafayette, Colorado (near Boulder) a pale, lanky man living in the area was pretty much a loner with no friends or family. No one knew much about him other than his name, Fodor Glava. When he died in 1918, townspeople took notice of his headstone at his gravesite. It was discovered that he was from Transylvania. Rumors spread through the town like wild fire that he was, of course, a vampire!

No one had ever seen him much during the day when he was alive. He had always been very pale. He was originally from Transylvania. The facts were undeniable.

Several townspeople dug up Glava’s grave and found blood by his mouth, his teeth seeming bigger than normal, and his nails long, pointed and still growing. The frightened and superstitious settlers drove a wooden stake through his heart and reburied him.

Of course, we now know that all of these physical changes are natural for a decaying body.

Shortly after his second burial, a tree “unlike any other in the area” grew straight up through the grave plot. Folklore claims it “grew from the wooden stake in his heart.” Red rose bushes suddenly sprang up around his grave. These wild roses were thought to be growing from his fingernails. They knew roses had some importance in his life since the word was on his gravestone. It was black magic at its best!

Back to present day:

My adult children live in Colorado. They always have fun things planned for us to see and do when we visit. Our most recent visit a couple of months ago was no exception. The first day there, we were off to see the Vampire Grave in Lafayette. My daughter and son-in-law had been given a book by a family member regarding “odd and interesting” places to visit in the state. We found ourselves marching through a wet cemetery in the rain to find this unusual tombstone. The folklore story is actually much more interesting than the actual gravesite.

Now for the truth: Theodore “Fodor” Glava was a very pale, tall and lanky Transylvanian immigrant who came to America for a better life. He lived a very quiet and modest life as a coal miner before dying from the Spanish flu during the 1918 epidemic that ravaged Colorado. He was buried in the poorest section of the local Lafayette cemetery in a pauper’s grave. It wasn’t until after his death that he gained his notoriety.

Glava’s headstone was carved/chiseled by a stonemason with his personal info, birthplace, and year of death. Among the inscription is the word “trandofir” which is the Romanian word for “rose.” Not much was known about Glava’s life in this area during this time, but the mention of his birthplace on his headstone actually sparked the rumors that he was a vampire. Many locals knew that Transylvania was home to Count Dracula and Vlad the Impaler, therefore he must also be a “creature of the night.”

The truth is most likely that this is the gravestone for Fodor Glava and his wife Trandatir (Rose). Both probably died from the influenza around the same time. He was from Transylvania (part of Romania today) and Rose was from Bucovina (part of the Ukraine and Romania today). They were both very poor and he worked as a miner, probably another reason he was so pale. He could also have been sickly and/or had a poor diet.

Unfortunately, Glava was an easy target for these uneducated settlers who tried to explain away natural happenings with superstition.

Rumors of this vampire still exist to this day. Local residents have claimed for many years that they have seen a mysterious figure walking near the gravesite late at night. Yikes!! If you do plan a visit to the Vampire Grave, go in the day time. It is also a sign of respect that you take and leave a small gift – a coin, rock, token or a bouquet of roses.

No garlic, please.

Note: This is what is actually engraved on the headstone. A vertical line divides the sections. The right side reads –

FODOR GLAVA, BORN IN TRANSYLVANIA, a small cross, AUSTRO-UNGARIA (should read Austro-Hungarian, which Transylvania was a part of), DIED DECEMBER 1918

The left side (that people seem to ignore) reads – + 2 ROMANION (two Romanians buried here), TRANDATIR (Rose), BORN IN PAR-HAUTIBOCVINA (from Parhauti Village in Bocvina, an area also in Austro-Hungary).

May they both rest in peace.

Chautauqua

Boulder, Colorado

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Chautauqua National Historic Landmark sign at the park entrance

If you are ever lucky enough to find yourself near Boulder, Colorado with some free time, make your way to Chautauqua National Historic Landmark. Located in the shadows of the Flatirons on the southwest side of Boulder, you will find picturesque views, hiking trails, a dining hall, and over 60 lodges or accommodations for overnight stays.

This is a favorite place for locals and visitors alike. There is a Visitor’s Center at the park’s trail head where you can learn about the plants and animals in the area and also pick up a map showing the 151 miles of trails. There seems to be a trail for every level of hiker. Most of the trails start out on the large meadow in front of the Visitor’s Center and go up into the Flatirons. You can hike for 30 minutes or all day. Some trails meander along the base of the mountains through dense forests. Other trails have moderate to steep inclines and wind up well into the Flatirons for breathtaking views. Trail markers are visible all along the way. According to the season, you may see many types of flowers, flowering trees, tall pines, boulders, streams, cacti, birds, chipmunks, deer, and sometimes – black bears.

Chautauqua is where the locals go for their daily exercise. While many “flat-landers” like myself have to stop every few yards to catch their breath in the higher altitudes, locals come running by or hurriedly walk past with one baby strapped on their front and a toddler on their shoulders – moseying along like it takes no effort whatsoever. Really?! Embarrassment on the trail is when a couple, likely to be in their eighties, scamper by at a quick pace and smile at you as you sit on a boulder gasping for air. I do admit, as hard as some of the hikes have been – it has ALWAYS been worth it!

Another thing I love about Colorado and Chautauqua in particular – it is a dog’s paradise. All the trails are dog-friendly and you see all shapes and sizes of canines. All the dogs seem to be smiling, have pep in their steps, and are loving every minute of their life!  We actually parked by a “doggie van” last time we were there that picks up dogs at their homes and then takes the dogs for hikes or runs at Chautauqua. What a great idea for “doggie day out!” This could easily be my dream job….if I was in a little better shape.
Not only humans and canines enjoy hiking up Chautauqua. On one visit, I actually saw a guy coming down from the Flatirons with a big ole yellow tabby cat riding on his shoulders. Yep, it is the truth….only in Colorado.

We have been to Chautauqua during all seasons. In summer, you need to get an early start before the sun beats down on you. In the spring, the wildflowers are glorious and the trees and grass are all shades of green. In the fall, all the trees turn golden yellow, orange or red and the views of Boulder from the mountain are a burst of colors. In the winter, the snow turns the Flatirons into a silent, winter wonderland (and people are still hiking!).

Chautauqua actually became a place of refuge for me several years ago. My son, a CU college student, had spinal surgery and I lived with him in Boulder for several weeks following his surgery. When he was well enough to return to classes, I would drop him off at campus and head directly to Chautauqua. Most times I hiked short distances- other times I sat on rocks and reflected, prayed, read books, or just enjoyed the solace. It became my calming getaway and will always hold a special place in my heart.

I recently came across a travel magazine article on Chautauqua that explained in detail the history of this wonderful place. It seems there is a very strong Texas – Colorado connection. Who knew? In Austin, Texas in 1897 the Texas-Colorado Chautauqua Association began. Its purpose was to conduct a summer school for Texas school teachers. Boulder, Colorado was chosen for the location due to the cooler summer temperatures. A $75 fee covered the 6-week session for each teacher. The tuition included room and board, lectures, entertainment, and round-trip rail fare from anywhere within a 100-mile radius of Ft. Worth. The “continuing ed” for these early teachers included cello, guitar, mandolin, piano, vocals, math, chemistry, botany, physics, psychology, education, English, Latin, Greek, French, German and English Literature. When not in class, the participants enjoyed symphonies, motion pictures, burro rides, horseback rides, hikes, and stagecoach rides. This association was very active for over 30 years before the attendance began to decline. If you go on the property today, you see many of the original buildings from this era. The Dining Hall has many old photos depicting some of the summer sessions – very interesting for history buffs.

For those of you who are wondering, “Chautauqua” is an Iroquois word with a few meanings— “a bag tied in the middle” or “two moccasins tied together,” and describes the shape of Chautauqua Lake, located in southwest New York. This area was the setting for the first educational assembly (Chautauqua Institution) and provided the name for the movement.

I hope you get the chance to visit Chautauqua one day and enjoy it as much as my family does. Go early, dress comfortably, and take plenty of water to drink along the way. Enjoy your hike and then afterwards, have a meal at the Chautauqua Dining Hall. Ask to sit out on the veranda and have a great meal while overlooking the park.  Order the “Rachelette” and tell them Southern Savvy sent you!

Dushanbe Teahouse

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is now one of my favorite cities! You drive through the town and see mountains in one direction and modern buildings in another. There are trendy restaurants, open shopping areas, parks, creeks, evergreen trees, and sculptures scattered in between. It is a sensory overload for me. Love it!

One building that stands out from all others is the elaborate Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Photos do not do it justice. It is an artistic structure designed in bright blues, yellows, greens, reds, golds, etc. and the more you gaze at the details – the more you see. No two panels or cedar columns are alike. The entire place is handcrafted, carved, and painted with beautiful intricate patterns that are traditional in Persian Art.

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handcrafted ceiling & cedar columns

Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan and this teahouse was actually constructed there and sent as a gift to Boulder, their “sister city.” It was completely built by hand without the use of any power tools whatsoever. It was finished, disassembled, crated up and sent to Boulder to be rebuilt. The teahouse stands today as a symbol of friendship and to remind the citizens of Boulder to value cultural diversity, global cooperation and international friendship. 

Besides just being a gorgeous building, Dushanbe Teahouse is one of my absolute favorite places to eat when visiting Boulder. I have never found iced chai tea anywhere that can compare to the spicy deliciousness of the ones served here. I have had the privilege of dining here for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and have sampled many of their tasty and somewhat unusual dishes.

You can choose to be seated indoors and enjoy the building’s architecture and beautiful plants and fountains. You can also choose to be seated outside under flowering trellises or canopies and enjoy the outdoor sights. The teahouse is a work of art to enjoy either way.

The menu is very diverse! Try Kookoo Sabzi (a Persian omelette with baba ghanoush and rice), a Honduran Beleada (tortilla, black beans, eggs, cheese, and avocado), Chickpea Kufteh (chickpea croquettes with Persian tomato sauce, greens and pomegranate) or maybe delicious Indian Samosas (with  spicy potatoes and peas). 

For the more traditional diners – try the Hummus, Whole Wheat Chai Pancakes, Russian Beet Salad, or American Breakfast (complete with a homemade pop tart). There is also a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and pastas on the menu but I am always game to try something new and different. The desserts have always been especially good with my favorites being their Tangerine Tea Gingerbread and Mexican Chocolate Cake (which packs quite a chili pepper punch!). 

Their drink menu is extensive with wines and cocktails but I keep going back for the chai tea…..it is just too delicious to pass up. If you want something different, try one of their Blooming Teas – where a flowery dried tea ball is actually dropped into your clear glass of hot water and the artisan tea literally “blooms” as it steeps. It is quite an unusual drink, to say the least. 

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blooming tea

One of my favorite trips to Dushanbe Teahouse was last October when the Boulder Farmer’s Market was being held on a gorgeous Saturday morning. The whole area in front of and around Dushanbe is filled with booths and stalls selling various products: plants, flowers, granola, fruits & vegetables, soaps, jams & jellies, honey, goat cheese, breads, artisan crafts, T-shirts, etc. It is truly a sight to behold! My morning was filled with sights, sounds, scents and tastes from this wonderful market. What a fantastic and memorable way to spend an autumn day in Boulder – a stroll through the Farmer’s Market and then brunch at Dushanbe with good friends and family. Life doesn’t get much better.

I also learned a very valuable chemistry lesson once while dining at Dushanbe Teahouse. While enjoying a wonderful brunch here and dining on French Toast stuffed with Orange Cream (fantastic dish!), I decided to stir a little pack of sugar into my mimosa for added sweetness. What came bubbling out of that champagne flute looked like a third grade volcano science project! Warning: NEVER add sugar to champagne and then stir. Lesson learned.

If you ever have the pleasure to visit Boulder, please make it a priority to visit Dushanbe Teahouse. I do not think you will be disappointed. And if you have visited before, please leave your comments on this blog page. I would enjoy hearing about other’s experiences. 

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