Anyone who has set foot on Glen Isle’s property can feel the lodge’s rich history. The fresh mountain air, flowing river, and wildlife flourishing in the pine forest have attracted visitors since 1901. The rustic cabins have offered cool breezes for guests escaping the heat of the city for generations. While the world around us has changed, the lodge continues to host friends and family for campfires, yard games, and fellowship.
The magic of Glen Isle is not by accident, it is because of the legacy of families who have owned and operated the lodge. It started with a group of investors, then was purchased by the Baldwins who handed it down to their granddaughter Barbara Tripp until it was purchased by the Vincents. There have been updates and renovations, but each owner has respected the character that makes this mountain retreat special.
Perhaps no one knows the history of Glen Isle better than Heather East. The youngest of five Tripp children and great-granddaughter to the Baldwins, Glen Isle has been in her family since 1923.
Barbara and Gordon Tripp brought Heather home from the hospital at birth and directly to the resort in the summer of 1965. She spent her childhood playing with resort guests and her adolescence helping operate the business. One of her playmates was actually the current owner, Mary Ruth Vincent, who grew up vacationing at Glen Isle.
Heather was kind enough to share about her experience growing up at Glen Isle.
Running a mountain lodge is not something every family experiences. What were the day-to-day operations like?
My parents owned and ran the resort. This included 19 cabins year-round as well as 14 rooms during the summer months and serving meals. We had many returning guests that came year after year.
My mother and father cooked and hired people to serve the meals and clean the cabins. Most of the repairs were done by my father. My parents did the bookkeeping and purchasing all themselves. They worked very hard every day.
When I was little I passed the homemade rolls for Sunday dinner and homemade biscuits for the Saturday steak or trout night. As I got older I passed the big relish plate on Sundays. I then graduated to being a waitress. After I turned 16 I worked at the front desk and cleaned cabins and ran the gift shop.
I continued to work at the resort as I grew older and later I helped to care for my parents. My three children got to grow up and enjoyed playing at Glen Isle as well. It was a WONDERFUL place to grow up and live.
Glen Isle has a busy schedule of activities in the summer months. What were some of your favorites?
I loved the chuck wagon cookout dinners and square dances. In junior high and high school, I got to be the bingo caller on Wednesday evenings which was such a fun thing. We gave out candy for prizes.
On Thursdays, we would take the guests on a picnic and sightseeing. The guests would follow my dad’s suburban in their own cars and then the last car would be another suburban with the “help” (employees, usually college-age kids). We would cook hotdogs over the fire and my dad made delicious Squaw-corn.
I enjoyed the cookouts at the “Point” on Sunday evenings. My dad would make his famous potato salad and then he would fry hamburgers over the fire. After the meal, my dad would play the guitar and the guests would have a sing-along. I remember getting to sit on the tailgate and ride in the pick-up truck on the way there.
I loved the horses that were available for the guests to ride. My mom had hummingbird feeders all over the resort. It was a delight to sit on a railing on the porch of the lodge and have a hummingbird sit on my finger. There was movie night in the Kiva building, the playground, and playing pool and ping pong in the recreation room.
To this day the lodge has artifacts on display that Barbara and Gordon Tripp collected. Tell us more about where they came from.
My parents loved collecting artifacts together. My mother collected dolls and she especially loved foreign dolls. My father collected coins and bottles/insulators. They both loved Native American jewelry. Never was there a day that they didn’t wear their jewelry.
Native Americans would bring their handmade jewelry to Glen Isle to sell to my parents as well as guests. Every year we would spend our spring break vacation in the southwest. My parents loved to buy artifacts and really enjoyed buying directly from the artists. They were both collectors so most of their profits and earnings from the business went into their collections.
What do you think makes Glen Isle such a special place for visitors?
The beautiful location. Escaping from TVs and phones, and having a mile of the North Fork of the South Platte river flow right through the resort. Glen Isle encourages you to slow down and play board games and puzzles and take walks and sit by the river or fire.
It is special because of Gordon and Barbara Tripp and all the love and caring that they poured into it. I was raised with the attitude that the guest comes first. The current owners, Greg and Mary Ruth continue to make guests feel special. They encourage guests to “escape” to a wonderland away from the hectic pace that we live in.
After the passing of Barbara Tripp in 2012, it was time for new owners to take over Glen Isle Resort. Heather and her family still live in Bailey, Colorado, and are happy to share a special friendship with the current owners, Greg and Mary Ruth Vincent.
The Tripp family enjoyed creating a special vacation experience for guests and wanted to see Glen Isle flourish after their passing. According to Heather, “My mom would be so happy knowing that it is still being enjoyed and loved by people.”