Where: 990 State Highway 119
Visitor Center Hours: Tuesdays – May 17-Oct. 25, 2016: 9am-12noon; 2nd and 4th Saturdays – May 14-Oct. 22, 2016: 10am-2pm
It's hard to imagine what Longmont was like all the way back in 1860, but you can catch a glimpse of those bygone days at Sandstone Ranch, one of the earliest homesteading sites in the area. The intensely named Morse Coffin came to Colorado during the Gold Rush in the late 1850s, and instead of heading to the mountains like most of those seized with gold fever, stuck it out on the banks of the St. Vrain. And it seems as though he thrived there, establishing a sandstone quarry that supplied stone to cities all over Colorado and beyond. In the early 1880s, Coffin built the Second Empire-style house that still stands -- it's been added to and modified over the years, but retains a definite pioneer flavor.
There's also an ancient barn and walking trails that wrap around the old quarry. We like Sandstone as a biking destination; you can roll right up to it from the St. Vrain Greenway and relax on the lawn in front of the house. The Visitors Center, featuring information on local history and wildlife, is open seasonally (see dates and times above).