Friday, July 29, 2011

Visiting Black Hawk, Colorado

Having spent several long weekends at Harrah's in Cherokee, NC, Black Hawk, CO was a pretty tempting destination for Mr. LH and I while the kids were off visiting their grandparents. We're not high stakes gamblers, but we do enjoy playing the penny slots from time to time dreaming of the "big win". Though a jackpot from a penny machine will most likely just win you enough money to pay for dinner for 2 at a nice restaurant. Basically, for the cost of dinner and a movie, we have all day entertainment.

Photo from the City of Black Hawk website at
From mining boom town to decay and back to boom town again, this time as a limited stakes gambling area, this area has a history of ambition, opportunity and survival.
"Black Hawk, "The City of Mills," is one of Colorado's oldest cities. It is one of a number of towns that grew up in "Gregory's Gulch," the narrow ravine where Georgia prospector John H. Gregory first discovered lode gold in the western part of Kansas Territory in 1859." Read the complete history
Only an hour drive from Denver, Black Hawk was a great day trip for us - if only we would be able to see all the historical sites in town as well as drop in on a casino or two.

We left Denver at noon on a Wednesday (planning to spend one night in Black hawk) and headed up I-70 surprised that just half an hour later, almost immediately after the sweat-inducing 6% grade descent on the highway near Golden, we came to our exit - Central City Parkway. Only 10 miles to go!

Black Hawk, even with the addition of all the casinos, resembled a older town from the wild west with a few upgrades. The mountain cliffs were carved out to make room for the tall parking decks and towering hotels and some of the casinos were designed to look weather beaten or rustic though most simply showcased a mountain theme. The traffic was not bad, though I think most people just park at their hotel and walk through the town, which is what we did.

We strolled through the streets and into several of the casinos to see the penny slots that each one had available. Everything was definitely on a much smaller scale than what we were used to at Harrah's, but that's not a bad thing. Harrah's was the only game in town in Cherokee, NC. Here in Black Hawk, it was nice to be able to leave an establishment and go elsewhere if the slot machines were being "stingy". In fact, we were able to leave Black Hawk the next day with money still in our pockets!

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