2017 Clan MacRae Family Gathering

Clan MacRae Society of North America

September 5th - 10th, 2017
Golden and Estes Park, Colorado

Make plans now to join us in Colorado in September for our Clan MacRae Family Gathering!  Grab your calendar and mark the dates of September 5th to the 10th, 2017 and get ready to have a first class experience in one of the most scenic areas of America!  Our theme for this gathering is “Family” and what better place to experience our MacRae family than in the mountains of Colorado!  This will be an exquisite time of making new and renewing friendships in a beautiful part of our country.

Two Days in Golden, Colorado

We begin our gathering with two days in the Golden/Wheat Ridge/Denver area before heading into the mountains.  Unless you are planning on doing some touring prior to our gathering, we suggest you fly into Denver International Airport on Tuesday September 5th.  We have a block of discounted rooms reserved at the Denver Marriott West which is very close to many attractions including Red Rocks Amphitheater, Coors Brewery, the Denver Mint and also Lookout Mountain where you can visit “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s museum and grave.  Just west of Golden, you can take a day trip to one of the mining towns of Idaho Springs or Georgetown.  You can also drive the Lariat Loop which goes through the towns of Golden, Morrison and Evergreen and is the only National Scenic Byway close to an urban area.  Wednesday, Sept 6th is a free and open for day time touring, but on Wednesday evening, we will enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

Three Days in Estes Park, Colorado

Thursday we will gather for a group breakfast and then head north to the resort town of Estes Park which sits in a beautiful valley at the gateway of Rocky Mountain National Park.  Estes Park is surrounded by mountains with the most famous being Long’s Peak which stands at 14,259 feet.  The drive to Estes Park takes one and a half hours and is an incredibly scenic drive.  We have reserved discounted lodging with Bugle Pointe Condos and you have your choice of one or two bedroom units with or without a private hot tub.  These condos are tucked into a grove of majestic old-growth pine and spruce trees and are riverfront to the beautiful Fall River.  They are surrounded by mountains on all sides and are frequently visited by elk, deer, moose, black bear, fox, marmot, bobcat and bighorn sheep. We searched high and low and felt these condos were the best accommodation for both price and location.  The condos are located three miles outside of Estes Park and are just one mile from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Why not share a condo with family or friends?

While in Estes Park, you will have your choice of activities to fill your day.  September is a wonderful time to visit for the aspen leaves are turning color and the elk are in their bugling (mating) season. You are guaranteed to see elk even in the town.  There are many hiking trails and you can even go horseback riding.  There will be much to see and do in addition to our scheduled Clan MacRae activities.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is 415 square miles of pure mountain joy!  One of the highlights of the park is Trail Ridge Road which is the highest continuous road in the US.  Eleven miles of Trail Ridge Road travel above treeline as it winds across the tundra's vastness to its high point at 12,183 feet.  You will experience thrilling views and see amazing wildlife all from the comfort of your car.  As you climb in elevation, “the changes that occur enroute are fascinating to observe.  A drive that may begin in montane forests of aspen and ponderosa pine soon enters thick subalpine forests of fir and spruce.  At treeline, the last stunted, wind-battered trees yield to the alpine tundra.”   At the many scenic overlooks and trailheads, you will experience awe at the beauty and vastness of the Rocky Mountains.

Also, there are over 300 miles of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park including the very scenic and easy Bear Lake and Sprague Lake trails.  There are wildflowers, wildlife and spectacular starry nights to behold.  Our three days in Estes Park give you free time to plan your outing into the park to enjoy the natural beauty of the mountains.  For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park, go to www.nps.gov/romo.

The Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival

We chose this time period for our Gathering because this is when the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival takes place in Estes Park.  We believe it is the largest festival of its kind in the United States.  2017 will be special in that Clan MacRae will be one of the “Honored Clans” of the festival.  We will have a larger tent and will be in a more prominent location because of this honor.  The festival runs from 9 am to 5 pm for three days on September 8-10th and includes over 50 events, over 1,000 dancers and over 100 Celtic vendors on the grounds of the Stanley Park Fairgrounds.  You will find all the normal activities - the athletics, the dancing, the piping, the dogs, the Strongman competition, but then also some more unusual activities like the jousting which takes place in a large arena.  You can purchase a weekend pass or you can buy one day tickets.  This festival has some of the best Scottish shopping around with an amazing number of vendors, so keep that in mind.  For more information on the festival, please go to www.scotfest.com.

On Thursday night, we will attend the 2017 Tattoo Estes which is a smaller, but equally entertaining version, of the Edinburgh Tattoo.  We have greatly enjoyed this in past years and Clan MacRae will have special seating for the evening.  This festival is renowned for the military bands that perform from both the US and the British Commonwealth at the Tattoo.  It will be a thoroughly enjoyable and fun evening.

Then on Saturday morning, we will march as Clan MacRae in the big parade that goes through downtown Estes Park.  This is a spectacular parade that shuts down the town with all the bands and clans participating.  Because we are an “Honored Clan” for 2017, we will be marching at the front of the parade which is a huge plus.  We want everyone marching together in our best MacRae tartan as we showcase Clan MacRae!
We will also be looking for volunteers to help “man the tent” over the three day festival weekend.  We’ll need help setting up the tent on Thursday afternoon and then will need people working the tent during the festival itself.  It will be a gathering place and at this festival, we always have people coming by to find out more about their MacRae heritage!

Mrs. Marigold MacRae and Baroness Miranda Van Lynden

We are very pleased to announce that Mrs. Marigold MacRae, the head of Clan MacRae in Scotland, and her daughter Baroness Miranda Van Lynden will be joining us both in Golden and in Estes Park for our Clan MacRae Family Gathering!  We are thrilled that the matriarchs of our clan and the owners of Eilean Donan Castle are willing to hop the pond to be with us for this festive occasion.  On both Saturday and Sunday, Marigold and Miranda will be introduced and will have a minute to say a few words.  The Longs Peak Festival does a very good job of honoring visiting dignitaries, so we know you will be blessed to see both Marigold and Miranda honored and Clan MacRae highlighted over the weekend.

Even More Clan MacRae Activities!

On Friday night we will be heading to one of the best restaurants in all of Estes Park for a Clan MacRae Dinner.  The Twin Owls Steakhouse is known for its rustic setting and for its excellent food.  We will enjoy a buffet dinner as a clan on Friday night.

Sunday morning will be a real treat for we will enjoy a lovely brunch at the historic Stanley Hotel.  This 1909 hotel is known for its architecture and magnificent setting and was built by F.O. Stanley who also created the Stanley Steamer automobile.  Even though the hotel is known for its role in the Stephen King's novel "The Shining" and is said to be one of the most haunted hotels in America, nothing will interfere with our lavish brunch in the beautiful Music Room with stunning views of Long’s Peak and the Rocky Mountains.  After breakfast, we will have the Annual General Meeting of the membership of our Society.  This will be our last group event and the remainder of the day is free for your choice of activity.

Our Clan Gathering Itinerary!

Here is a more detailed itinerary for our gathering.  Please note that transportation is not provided.  Each family will need to reserve a rental vehicle to allow flexibility of touring in each location.

Thursday Sept 7th

8:30 Breakfast at Denver Marriott West (reserved seating)

Drive to Estes Park

7:30 pm TATTOO Estes 2017 (optional event)

Overnight at Bugle Pointe Condos on Fall River

Friday Sept 8th

9 am - 5 pm Long’s Peak Scottish Festival

Tour Rocky Mountain National Park

** 6:00 pm Buffet Dinner at Twin Owls Restaurant

Overnight at Bugle Pointe Condos on Fall River

Saturday Sept 9th

9:30 am Clan Parade through Estes Park

9 am - 5 pm Long’s Peak Scottish Festival

Tour Rocky Mountain National Park

Evening free

Overnight at Bugle Pointe Condos on Fall River

Sunday Sept 10th

** 8:30 am Brunch/AGM (Annual General Meeting) at Stanley Hotel

9 am - 5 pm Long’s Peak Scottish Festival

Tour Rocky Mountain National Park

Fly out of DIA or continue touring Colorado

** These two events are included in the Gathering registration fee.  All other events are optional.  The registration fee includes these two banquets (Friday night dinner and Sunday morning brunch) as well as a gift bag for each family registered.

Please Join Us In September!

We truly hope you come and join us for this spectacular event in September!  We know some who are already planning an extended trip to Colorado either before or after the Gathering.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Judy McRae at judymcrae@aol.com.  Below we also have instructions for making lodging reservations and of course, you will need to complete and mail your Gathering Registration form with payment.  Please note that all blocked rooms are first come first served and we have a limited number of rooms.  The registration deadline is July 31st!  We will also be inviting our MacRae cousins from the UK, Canada, Australia and other countries to join us as well.  We hope to see you all in Colorado in September!

Our 2017 Clan MacRae Family Gathering forms are in .pdf format .  If you do not have a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader, please use this link to download a free copy: