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"This platter is a gift from our eldest, Roxy. Both she and our son, Jaxon, have grown up watching their mom and dad work very hard. It is one of the best gifts we could give them. This career has made us always available to our kids. Roxy and her new husband, Blake, now manage our business.

"This platter is a gift from our eldest, Roxy. Both she and our son, Jaxon, have grown up watching their mom and dad work very hard. It is one of the best gifts we could give them. This career has made us always available to our kids. Roxy and her new husband, Blake, now manage our business. Perfect."

At Christmastime, Evergreen's Highland Haven Creekside Inn, which Gail Riley and her husband have nurtured for nearly 30 years, is always full. This year, there's even a wait list—testament to Gail's down-to-earth and honest approach to hospitality.

Both the Inn and Gail's house, built by her husband at one of her favorite spots just up the hill from the Inn, are naturally welcoming. "Neither my husband nor I like fussiness," Gail says, "and I really embrace the Colorado style. I stay true to rich woods and Colorado colors—reds and greens and browns—and I work really hard to bring nature into the room. It's appealing to both men and women." At the bed and breakfast, you won't find the trite spread of lace, stuffed animals or pastel colors. Instead, it's 'high-style Western,'" says the hostess. Top that with a breakfast that's nothing short of fabulous—think waffles, cobbler, breakfast truffle and strada, all made with pumpkin and pecans and other festive delectables—and it's no wonder why so many people spend the holidays at Highland Haven.

When asked what she loves most about her job, Gail says: "So many things." She loves that she gets to be creative with food and hospitality and presentation. And the reward is tangible: "People are moved by what we've created here. It's different; it's just lovely."

"I have stacks of precious journals from the rooms at the Highland Haven. They are sensitive and sentimental testimonials of love and life. One guest recently wrote: 'The Highland Haven is saving America one marriage at a time.' My next book on romance will use some of the best entries.""Before my husband, Tom Statzell, built our home, I would hike to the wooded property and 'hide out.' To me this emblem symbolizes the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement: integrity and social responsibility with an emphasis on beautiful materials and honest craftsmanship. Tom says he built our house for me. What a gift."

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