402 Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs, CO 80829 | (800) 398-7949 | (719) 685-3899 | Contact / Map |

Our Personal History

Built by Hand for Your Adventure

At first glance, it may seem as though Blue Skies Inn was authored by Sally Thurston, owner, licensed general contractor and artist. In 1995, Sally had resolved to return to Colorado after spending the previous thirty years on the East coast.

It was while Sally was scouting out potential studio space for her work as a commercial artist, that she was drawn back repeatedly to an appealing little barn on an overgrown two-acre site along Fountain Creek in the little resort town of Manitou Springs.

But Sally was only the catalyst needed bring about the latest transformation of the land that now hosts Blue Skies Inn. She was by no means the first person to envision this land as a perfect site for accommodations. She wasn't even the first Blue Sky person to perceive that.

The Inkeeprs of Blue Skies Inn
Sally and Mike, The Innkeepers
Although Blue Skies Inn is run by both Sally and Mike, Sally's conception of Blue Skies Inn has much to do with her own personal history. In 1873, the same year our Carriage House was built, Sally's great-grandmother, Frances Sarah Howard, crossed the plains from Missouri as a child in a covered wagon. It is in her grandmother's honor that Sally proudly displays "Colorado Pioneer" plates on all her vehicles.

In 1967 marriage and career training carried Sally away from Colorado back to the east coast. For the next three decades, she studied and worked as a commercial artist, perfecting her knowledge of pottery, painting, and illustrating tile.

In addition, she spent seventeen years painstakingly remodeling a 400 square foot house into a 4000 square foot house. As it turned out, she would find a use for all the crafts she learned during the time she spent away from Colorado.

Always longing for the mountains, in 1995 Sally resolved to return to Colorado with hopes of continuing her career as an artist/craftsman. Her search for property with a house and adequate studio space kept bringing her back to a site housing the old Buffalo Bill Wax Museum in a 9000 square foot concrete building. There was something about the property that called to her. Not only was there more than enough studio space, but the scrub-oak hillside seemed perfect for the creation of something uniquely hers. Perhaps a bed and breakfast...

The creation of Blue Skies Inn called upon all the skills that Sally had accumulated over the previous decades. She designed three new buildings with exteriors to match the board-and-batten siding and Gothic Revival architectural style of the Briarhurst Carriage House.

Upon being informed that she needed a general contractor to supervise construction, Sally went down to El Paso County Regional Planning and took the contractors test. She became one of the few female licensed General Contractors in the Pikes Peak area.

Sally painted and decorated the ten spacious suites at Blue Skies Inn with individual themes. Bathrooms feature handpainted tile inset into decorative and bejeweled walls that are tiled to the ceiling.

When Sally decided to return to Colorado and build an inn, many asked "why?" The most compelling reason other than mountains was "blue skies," and that is how the inn was named.

It is merely a wonderful coincidence that the Ute Indians who camped on this property for centuries were called "The Blue Sky People."
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