Nunneries, Cemeteries and Brews

I set out on the road to find an abandoned town yesterday and kinda failed, but did stumble across some pretty cool places!
am3As I was driving north towards Wyoming, looking for Virginia Dale and all of the creepy shuttered glory I was hoping for, I saw a sign that said “ABBEY” that pointed left.
am2The Abbey of St. Walburga is a convent located just south of the border of Wyoming. The nuns there spend their days in prayer and meditation.
amThey also raise cattle. There was a box on the front bench with some of the fresh mozzarella and a donation box. Unfortunately, since I wasn’t planning on stumbling across an Abbey that sold fresh meat and cheese, my car was void of a chill box, but I definitely plan on going back up soon to try some!
am1The bells, surrounded by snow covered mountains.
am4This place is truly a hidden gem. The sisters walking through the halls offered to let us join in on the daily prayers as they passed into the church.
The Abbey 2We kindly declined and perused the grounds before hopping back in the car and heading south.
Virginia DaleThe Virginia Dale exit was directly across the way from the Abbey, but I was unable to find the bullet-ridden signs and abandoned homesteads that the websites promised.
Virginia Dale PostI did, however, find the old post office that has been shuttered for years. No trespassing this time since there was a house directly behind. Sniff.
am7A little ways down the road we came across a small white church and pulled off for more pictures.
am8The doors were unlocked, so I let myself in to explore the small room.
am10The original church burned down in 2003, but they’ve rebuilt since and still have regular services on Sundays.
am9Some old relics from the original church.
Virginia Dale CrossThe church, like the town and the Abbey, are surrounded by mountains with no sight of any other housing, or people, in sight.
am17A small cemetery sits right next to the church.
am13Some of the graves are a bit more well-kept than others.
am12There are a handful of headstones that simply have names that are just barely etched in and fading with time and weather.
am11It was getting later in the day and we had yet to feed ourselves, so we jumped back on the road and drove south to Fort Collins to check out Gravity 1020, Fort Collin’s Brewery’s attached restaurant.
am20I warmed up with the porter on nitro and paired it with their East Coast Rep – prime rib, caramelized onions, cheddar and horseradish aioli with a side of pastrami mac ‘n cheese. Holy. Drool.
am22We shouldn’t have. We really, really shouldn’t have, but how can you say no to at least trying one of these desserts?
am21The Cake and Shake. The pumpkin spice cake wasn’t as soft and delicate as I was hoping, but the flavor was still warm and spicy. The shake had Red Banshee in it and was a little odd with the bitterness, but rounded out well with the butter pecans.
am23It was an exhausting and unexpected day, but the perfect way to break up the week.

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