Marianne Capra

Marianne is a freelance natural & cultural historian and Spellbinder™ storyteller living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She offers story sessions, living history programs, and guided walking tours. She also provides research and writing services.
Sun
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Mon
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Tue
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thu
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Open today until 5:00 PM

Our Services

Springs & Things: Birth of Town TOUR
Learn about the landscape that inspired the founding of this town—both its natural and cultural history. Visit mineral springs, train depot, and pioneer homestead sites. (11 - 13th Streets) • Meets @ Art Depot Parking Lot at 1:00 p.m. (Railroad tracks at 13th Street & Lincoln Avenue) • Thursdays in January: 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st NO reservations required! Tips gladly accepted.
Downtown Lowdown: Steamboat hiSTORY TOUR
Explore the heart of downtown—architecture, artifact, infrastructure & art—to see the rise of the marketplace, past & present. Visit the original town square, power plant, and jail/courthouse. (7th- 10th Streets) • Meets @ Big Iron Coffee Co. Downtown at 1:00 p.m. (635 Lincoln Ave Suite C) • Fridays in January: 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th and February 1st NO reservation rquired! Tips gladly accepted.
Sinister Steamboat: Dark hiSTORIES TOUR
Sinister /sinistər/ (adjective)-- portending evil, harm, or trouble; ominous. Does evil lurk below the surface of this quaint ski town?! Dive into local murder, ghosts, mayhem and supernatural creatures. (5th – 9th Streets) • Meets @ Big Iron Coffee Co. Downtown at 1:00 p.m. (635 Lincoln Ave Suite C) • Saturdays in January: 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th and February 2nd NO reservation required! Tips gladly accepted.
Secrets of The Hill: Free Ski Sundays TOUR
Hear the story of The Hill’s namesake and his cultural and economic impacts; the geologic forces that shaped The Hill itself and its meaning for its citizens today; an overview of Steamboat Springs’ Olympic heritage; and an uphill trip to the ultimate secret buried within. • Meets @ Main Entrance to Howelsen Hill Lodge at 1:00 p.m. (401 Howelsen Pkwy) • Select Sundays: January 13, 2019; February 3, 2019; February 10, 2019 NO reservation required! Tips gladly accepted.
Long Spellbinder Story
Storytelling session with Marianne
Short Spellbinder Story
Storytelling session with Marianne
SPE Routt County History TOUR
These back-to-back 1.5 hour tours begin and end at Tread of Pioneers Museum. There is a 15 minute break in the middle, before the second 1.5 hour tour. Description: Visit natural and historic sites between 7th and 10th Streets including the original town square, power plant, county seat building/jail, and business district. Highlights include historic photos that support the stories of schools, snow, churches, springs and "the most well-documented" haunted house downtown.
SCE Routt County History TOUR
2 hour walking tour (begin and end at SCE) of natural and historic sites between 7th and 10th Streets including the original town square, power plant, county seat building/jail, and business district. Highlights include historic photos that support the stories of schools, snow, churches, springs and "the most well-documented" haunted house downtown.
SPE Community Walking TOUR
Walking tour (start & end at Little Toots Playground) of natural and historic sites between 11th and 13th Streets including several mineral springs, the Cabin Hotel, all Crawford homesites, and a visit (possibly, inside) of the Crawford mansion. Highlights include Steamboat's flora, fauna and biogeography; early homesteading; local place names & details; "tasting" the Soda Springs; and, historic photographs.
SCE Community Walking TOUR
2.25 hours walking tour (duration depends on start & end points) of natural and historic sites between 11th and 13th Streets including several mineral springs, the Cabin Hotel, all Crawford homesites, and a visit to (possibly, inside) the Crawford mansion. Highlights include Steamboat's flora, fauna and biogeography; early homesteading; local place names & details; "tasting" the Soda Springs; and, historic photographs.
SPE The Secrets of The Hill TOUR
Arrive by bus and begin and end at Howelsen Hill Lodge. Ideally this is a 2 hour walking tour of natural and historic sites at and near Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat Springs. Highlights include: The life and times of Carl Howelsen and his cultural and economic impacts locally; the geologic & economic forces that shaped The Hill itself and its meaning for its citizens today; a brief overview of Steamboat Springs’ Olympic heritage; and an uphill trip to the ultimate secret buried in that hill.
SCE The Secrets of The Hill TOUR
A 2.5 hour walking tour (begin and end at SCE) of natural and historic sites at and near Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat Springs. Highlights include: The life and times of Carl Howelsen and his cultural and economic impacts locally; the geologic & economic forces that shaped The Hill itself and its meaning for its citizens today; a brief overview of Steamboat Springs’ Olympic heritage; and a trip to the ultimate secret buried in that hill.
SPE Pioneers & Plants Botanic Park TOUR
Ethnobotanical Walking Tour identifies abiotic & biotic resources and spotlights seasonal plants, shrubs and trees used by Steamboat's native and non-native peoples. Time-travel using your taste, smell, sight and touch. Includes historic photos. Program organizer must contact the Botanic Park before scheduling this program.
SCE Pioneers & Plants Botanic Park TOUR
Ethnobotanical Walking Tour identifies abiotic & biotic resources and spotlights seasonal plants, shrubs and trees used by Steamboat's native and non-native peoples. Time-travel using your taste, smell, sight and touch. Includes historic photos. Program organizer must contact the Botanic Park before scheduling this program.
Let's Celebrate with Lulie! (Living History)
An introduction to Steamboat’s first pioneers—their travels and early cabins in Colorado—through storytelling by Lulie the oldest child in the Crawford family. Learn about how early Crawford Christmases were celebrated then interact with toys and activities children used more than 100 years ago.
Mother of Routt County (Living History)
Living History as told by the "Mother" of Steamboat Springs and Routt County: An overview of early Routt County history with an in-depth exploration of the founding and growth of the town of Steamboat Springs; detailed narrative about life as a local homesteader and mother, Margaret Emerine Bourn Crawford.
Margaret Duncan Brown (Living History)
An evocative "living history" of Famous Coloradan (1900 – 1965) and Routt County resident (1915 – 1965) and her experiences as a female rancher of cattle and sheep: homesteading, making a living, and surviving the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. This true story is told from a first-person perspective with time for Q & A at the end. Be inspired by Margaret Duncan Brown also known as The Shepherdess of Elk River Valley.
Pioneer Boy (Living History)
A turn-of-the-century boyhood story in Steamboat Springs told from the perspective of Logan Crawford (with help from John Daniel and Marcellus “Celly” Merrill): details a boy’s daily life 1875 – 1915 including interactions with the plant, animal and people (native & non-native) communities, and the types of jobs children and adults had in the earlier years of Routt County. Featured vignette: Logan & the Lions.
BearDancer & the Medicine Springs (Living History)
Composite Living History of a Yampatika Ute girl (includes costuming and props). BearDancer shares details about Ute culture, living in the Yampa Valley and experiences with early, non-native people. Featured vignette: an adaptation of the Ute creation story.
Marjorie Perry (Living History)
Meet social outlaw, Marjorie Perry--the lesser known sister who participated in the creation of the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp today. As the "camp" part of that creative coalition, she was the riding instructor who also enticed Carl Howelsen to Steamboat Springs as well as Eleanor Bliss. Marjorie was a charter member of the Colorado Mountain Club and was a ski pioneer inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame. This true story is a WILD ride!
hiSTORY: Logan and the Lions
The true adventure of Logan Crawford & the Lions: Steamboat's first pioneer boy and his experiences of the flora, fauna and landscape. Highlights local place names, mountain lion adaptations, (optional) historic photographs and descriptions of early transportation in the Yampa Valley.
hiSTORY: Flag for the Fourth
The true tale of the first Fourth of July celebration organized and executed by Steamboat Springs' homesteaders. Story highlights include: Yampatika Ute and pioneer interactions, local flora and early favorite foods.
hiSTORY: "Hahn-ted" Peak
A dark and desperate true tale about the history of gold mining and the first recorded death set in the original Routt County non-native settlement at the base of Hahn’s Peak.
hiSTORY: Local Ute Legends
Costumed hiSTORYtelling breathes life into traditional tales: I will select a couple of Ute-specific legends tailored to your group (ex. Ute Creation story, Sleeping Giant, The Sulphur Cave Skinwalker, Water Babies). Program may include information about the role of fact versus fiction in authenticating local legends. Time-permitting: use clues I provide to create an urban legend of your own.
hiSTORY: Fly Gulch Schoolhouse
Step back in time at the Fly Gulch Schoolhouse (on the SPE grounds). Pretend to be a student of the past practicing lessons, doing chores, and playing with historic toys.
hiSTORY-meets-science: Mountain Lion!
This one hour interactive program teaches the naming, biological adaptations, and past & present stories of mountain lions. Program includes costuming, props, photographs and fascinating facts about these elusive, charismatic wild cats.
Stories: Moose's Moonlight Party
Fall in love with moose as she plans a full moon party for her friends. This musical tale talks about animal adaptions and local landscapes and invites the audience to sing along with its cast of characters.
Stories: Steamboat Lake Shadows
A mash-up of rich Routt County history, folklore and fantasy. First, learn about the "ghost town" known as Poverty Bar. Then dive deeper into the northern landscape to find out what lurks below the surface of the deep, dark waters of Steamboat Lake and what would you do if you encountered it?
Stories: Shoebox Social
Time travel to the 1930s with Martha walking barefoot on the dirt roads to school. This is an adaptation of The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble that segues perfectly into the true story of Steamboat's own Shoebox Social. These somber stories tug at your heartstrings and teach the power of a communities coming together to help themselves.
Stories: Celtic Creatures
This well-researched storytelling program features creatures from the British Isles--fairies (e.g. redcaps), leprechauns and merfolk--both creepy and cute folkloric beings in that region. These are NOT tales about Tinkerbells. BEWARE: Celtic Creatures despise glitter and green beer; they lurk in lonesome forests, crashing waves, and howling winds.
Stories: Scheherazade & the Arabian Nights
Enter the wild, singing marketplace of the ancient Persian empire and end up in the marble and ivory palace of Sultan Shariyar. Let his Queen Scheherazade spin a tale from the famous 100,1 Arabian Nights.
Stories: Simon and the Bear
This multicultural story spotlights the holiday of Hanukkah: it is told from the perspective of Simon a Russian Jewish immigrant boy crossing the ocean to America, encountering a polar bear and using his courage and wits to escape a dire situation. Dreidels and other supplies are provided to play the traditional game at the end. This is an adaptation of Eric Kimmel's picture book.
(Pending) Tombstone TOUR
Meet at the Steamboat Springs Cemetery. This guided tour introduces you to some of the local celebrities now at rest on the hill. For students: in small groups with written prompts you will act out short hiSTORIES to educate each other. Possible variation: Dia de los Muertos celebration.
Yampatika Fall Festival
Custom living hiSTORYtelling program told at regular intervals at the Fall Festival.
(Pending) Story: “The Utes Must Go”
A researched, interpretive story about what happened to the Utes during that fateful autumn 1879 in northwestern Colorado.
Private Tour
A crash course in the hiSTORY of Steamboat Springs: this two hour walking tour focuses on the compelling stories of the people, places and artifacts of Steamboat Springs, 1870 - 1950. Tour begins and ends on the corner of Oak & 8th Streets in front of the Tread of Pioneers Museum.sign. There is a multi-hour parking lot on the same corner. Tour varies in length: 7 - 10 blocks on flat, City sidewalks. Please pay with cash or check only. $10/person. 5 person minimum, 30 person maximum.
Colorful Colorado programs
Original natural & cultural history programs to entertain and enlighten guest ranch visitors.
History Homework
You tell me your project: I come prepared with books, photographs, ideas and advice.

Our Staff

Marianne Capra
A Natural & Cultural History Interpreter in national parks and outdoor schools: Marianne has spent 16+ years growing a family and contributing to Yampatika, the Tread of Pioneers Museum, the City of Steamboat Springs Environ. Coalition and local schools.