Secret Hideout

The Mermaid Cottage

Ocean oasis in the San Luis Valley

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Tucked deep within the foothills between the soaring San Juan and Sangre de Christo mountains of southern Colorado, 13 miles from the tiny community of Del Norte, you’ll catch a scent of the ocean – a colorful cabin that was handmade with reused and recycled materials.

The owners call it the Mermaid Cottage.

“I grew up spending time near the ocean in New York then California and always loved the beach surf and mermaids because of their beauty and mystical intrigue,” said KimAnna Cellura-Shields, who owns and operates the cottage with her husband.

Mermaids adorn the place, from door handles, to mugs to an entire bottled glass shower wall.

“People make a game now of trying to count just how many mermaids are in the cottage,” Cellura-Shields said.

Placed on the 35-acre solar-powered Angel Rock Ranch, the 200 square foot ode to the sea is an oasis.

“The Mermaid Cottage is entirely hand built out of recycled bottles and ornamental glass, standing dead cottonwood from a friend’s buffalo ranch and timbers that my husband milled with his own handmade saw mill.”

Those bottles filter ample light throughout the cabin. Sea horses hang on the massive beams. Furnished with antiques inside and out, every last detail is intriguing. And there are healthy continental breakfasts, on the house.

The formations about the ranch are from an ancient volcanic neck, or caldera.

“Our ranch got its name from a pinnacle which is shaped like a giant angel that protrudes out from a huge rock bluff that is the back drop of the ranch,” she said.

Pronghorn antelope run the high desert landscape. Nearby, historic Penitente Canyon is home to superb rock climbing, surrounded by an engaging network of mountain biking trails. And the Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa is unlike anything else in Colorado.

“There’s a magical feel about the property,” Cellura-Shields said. “One feels a sense of peace here that is rarely felt. That’s why we decided to share the experience.”

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