When Greg and Mary Ruth Vincent got the keys to the Glen-Isle Resort in Bailey last month, they became stewards of a 116-year-old lodge, 14 rustic cabins and 148 acres.
Greg, 54, and Mary Ruth, 48, bought the resort 45 miles southwest of Denver on July 21 for $2.2 million. The couple is eager to revive Glen-Isle with fresh linens, new bathroom fixtures and a coffee shop in the lodge. They’re also opening up for winter bookings – a first in the resort’s century-long history.
But the couple thought twice about making wireless routers a part of the reboot, fearing the change would spoil offline pastimes for visitors like themselves. So they compromised: WiFi in Glen-Isle’s main lodge, but not in the cabins.
“When I go to Glen-Isle, even though I’ve got an iPad that could work as a hot spot, it never leaves the back of my truck,” Greg said.
Glen-Isle’s property at 437 Old Stagecoach Road spans both sides of U.S. Route 285 and borders Pike National Forest. Built in 1901, the resort was one of a few Adirondack-inspired hotels bankrolled by railroad barons seeking to boost ridership on tracks through the Platte River Canyon.
But declining train travel derailed the valley’s tourism industry. Nearby resorts burned down. Others closed. Some have been converted into ranches.
Not Glen-Isle. Prior to the Vincents, it had been operated by the same family since 1924. Its last owners, Barbara and Gordon Tripp, took over the resort from Barbara’s grandparents in 1942.
The Tripps gave the resort a second heyday. In the 1970s, they served three meals in the lodge’s dining room daily from June 1 to Labor Day and hosted the same families and retirees each summer.
Around that time, Mary Ruth Vincent’s mother spotted an advertisement for Glen-Isle in an Amarillo newspaper, and the family became regulars. As a kid, Mary Ruth would spend two weeks every summer along the Platte River, picnicking by day and playing bingo by night.
“They would load up the ice chest with sandwiches and lemonade and you would go hang out there all day,” she said. “It was the most incredible place to come as a kid.”
Mary Ruth returned to Glen-Isle in 2000 with Greg. The couple loved the resort so much, they named their dog Bailey.
Greg asked Barbara Tripp if she would entertain an offer on one of the cabins, but the answer was always the same: “They’re not for sale. Ask again next year.”
Then, in 2016, the Vincents were back in Colorado for a concert and swung by Glen-Isle, which had been closed for four years following Barbara Tripp’s death at age 89.
The pair saw a for-sale sign pitched on the property that listed it for $2.9 million.
“We just kind of felt like the stars and planets aligned,” Greg said. “This has always been our lifelong dream: to be in the mountains and run some kind of lodge or bed and breakfast.”
The Vincents went under contract to buy the property nine months ago, but the closing was delayed by banks hesitant to finance a property that last traded hands in the 1920s and didn’t have a record of income for the past five years. Greg eventually opted to go with a bridge lender instead and is tying up an SBA loan.
Karmen Box represented the buyers. Bob Regester of Mossy Oak Properties Colorado Mountain Realty listed the property.
The Vincents are hustling to reopen. Greg is meeting with contractors and installing reservation software. The couple, who will manage Glen-Isle, aims to host guests by early 2018.
Greg estimates they will spend $600,000 to spruce up the resort over the next year, and $1 million total on improvements over the next five years.
By next year, Greg and Mary Ruth aim to have cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and maybe snowmobiling. And they’re looking to add archery and trap shooting to the summer season. Eventually, the couple thinks they’ll rent out the kitchen to a restaurant operator and open the lodge’s dining room to the general public.
The Vincent’s Glen-Isle Resort, like the one run by the Tripps, will be a family affair. One son wants to bring friends from the Nashville music scene to Bailey for live performances, another will help with construction and others have volunteered advice on the coffee shop and interior design.
“We’re trying to freshen it up so that it will hopefully last another century,” Greg said.