Lionsgate in Vail. HeidiTown.com

Lionsgate in Vail, Colorado.

I’m planning to write several posts about our trip to Vail, but I had to start with this one. I’ve lived in Colorado for 14 years, and while I’ve been stuck overnight in Vail due to a pass closure, I had never explored Vail properly until earlier this month. As some of you know, I was in town covering Taste of Vail, an event that should definitely be on your bucket list.

My husband, Ryan, and I stayed for three nights. I think a three night stay in any town is the appropriate amount of time to get a true sense of a place, and I was excited to get to know Vail.

I have to admit (and I’m not proud of this) – I had a few preconceived notions about Vail. Knowing a bit of Vail’s history, I knew that it had been founded as a resort. I also knew that people like Justin Timberlake, Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton skied there. Being a small town girl who has only ever had one French manicure, I was a bit worried about fitting in, but as it turns out, this was a pointless fret.

Ice rink Vail Village. HeidiTown.com

Ice rink in Vail Village.

Twenty-four hours into our stay I’d chatted with welcoming shop owners, bantered with local bar tenders and even been invited to a house party. On day three, we browsed high end art galleries with $200,000 paintings hanging on the walls and were treated like true art connoisseurs (which we sort of are, even though we can’t afford $200,000 paintings).

This trip smashed my stereotype of Vail as a snooty resort that caters only to the very rich. Vail is actually a friendly place, and while it is pricey to stay and dine here, we quickly discovered that you get what you pay for. Even the bathrooms and lockers at the bottom of the mountain are super nice. You can’t find a bad meal, and it seems that everywhere someone is there to cater to your needs, whether it’s a shuttle driver or a local you meet at an upscale bar who invites you to her house party that evening.

So, I owe Vail an apology. I’m sorry, Vail. You’re a pretty swell place, and we can’t wait to visit again!

Heidi thumbs up in Vail, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

I’m a reminded of a quote by Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”

Have you ever judged a destination wrongly? Feel free to leave a comment.

Watch for upcoming posts about our

experiences in Vail during Taste of Vail 2014.

baby goat heidiTown

It’s baby goat season in Colorado, so I thought Id post a picture of my with a “kid” from the Conradson Goat Farm.

For the first time since the HeidiTown segment aired on KRFC 88.9 FM, way back in August, 2011, I have missed recording a segment. I was unable to record the first show in April due to an unexpected emergency eye surgery that I wrote about previously on HeidiTown here.

Anyway, I’m back and this radio segment covers a little of what’s happening this April, although I also spent some time filling in the radio listeners on the story behind my absence.

Without further ado, LISTEN to the program HERE.

 

FHSL_TasteOfLoveland LogoIf you love food, and who doesn’t, you won’t want to miss the Taste of Loveland. For just $40 you’ll be able to spend hours tasting food from 30 different restaurants. Plus, you can taste beer and wine from over 40 vendors.

Yes, it’s an evening of gluttony, but you’ll be indulging for a great cause, and that makes it okay.

This year is the 9th Annual Taste and it will be held on April 24, at a new venue, the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation & Technology at 14th and Taft in Loveland, also known as the former HP/Agilent campus.

I’ve attended this event several times and I definitely recommend it. I’m a real fan of drinking and eating for a good cause and the proceeds of the Taste of Loveland benefit Foothills Gateway and the Namaqua Center. Both organizations promote programs that improve the quality of life of cognitively disabled individuals and abused and neglected children in Larimer County.

ice sculpture at Taste of Loveland.To learn more about these nonprofit organizations please visit FoothillsGateway.org and TouchStoneHealthPartners.org.

In the past I’ve enjoyed collecting swag from all the wineries and breweries in attendance; key chains, bottle openers, stickers and more. Highlights from the past years have included the King Sooper’s cheese table. It’s as tasty as it is beautiful. I also have enjoyed the fish taco with wasabi sauce from Island Grill and desserts from The Melting Pot. Yes, there are desserts too.

wine and cheese photoxpress

Stock Photo

Some of this year’s participating restaurants include a few from downtown Loveland – The 4th Street Chop House and Henry’s Pub. My husband is looking forward to another Loveland business in attendance, “B” Sweet Cupcakes. Most of Loveland’s breweries will be represented too and include Grimm Brothers, Loveland Aleworks and Crowhop, among others. There will also be Loveland wine from Sweetheart City Wine; their tempranillo is one of my favorites.

The evening also features a silent auction and live music.

At just $40, tickets to Taste of Loveland (Thursday, April 24, 2014) are a real deal, and you can purchase them at FoothillsServiceLeague.org today.

I’ve decided to throw out some occasional #TravelTuesday tips here on HeidiTownwhen the mood strikes me. After our weekend in Vail, the mood struck. After several years of extensive travel around Colorado I’ve come to realize that the best way to get to know a place, to really get to know a place, is to stay for three nights.

View from the top of Vail Mountain. #traveltuesday HeidiTown.com

View from the top of Vail Mountain.

So this is my #TravelTuesday tip for today: To really get to know a place, book a three night stay

An overnight stay is great for a quick anniversary or birthday get away. You can dine somewhere fabulous and visit a couple shops. A two-night stay allows for a bit more exploration, but it’s still a whirlwind trip, especially when you add in actual travel time, driving or flying. It’s not always possible, but when we have the time, I prefer a three night stay and here’s why.

Day one is a travel day. Even if you are traveling somewhere close to home, travel time is tiring. Once we’ve reached our final destination and we checked into our lodging establishment, we rarely have a lot of extra energy left for exploring. If you have booked a three night stay, however, night number one can be a relaxing evening. Maybe you’ll take a stroll through downtown or the resort, but you won’t feel obligated to see everything.

For us, the second day at any location is usually jammed packed with festivalling (yep, I made that word up) and by the end of that day we’re tired. If we aren’t attending a festival, we spend day two exploring. This may involve checking out the local museum, shopping, hiking or doing an activity such as zip lining. Often it involves all of those things, and by the end of day two, we’re downright exhausted.

Mountain Top Picnic crowd shot Taste of Vail HeidiTown.com

Mountain Top Picnic at Taste of Vail 2014.

On day three we enjoy sleeping in and perhaps indulging in an activity offered by the hotel, a yoga class or pool, for instance. Then we set out to explore again, but we aren’t in a hurry. We may hang out for a couple of hours in a coffee shop (usually doing a little work – since Ryan and I are both self-employed). We casually browse art galleries, stopping to talk to owners about the featured artists or about the best place to grab dinner.

That evening we usually end up dining at a favorite local eatery, and sometimes we even go back to our room early to catch a television show, as was the case this past weekend when the season premiere of Game of Thrones was on Sunday night. It’s as if, by day three, our lives have melded into the local life.

A three night visit isn’t a long enough stay to write a book about a town, but it definitely gives me enough time to get to know the genuine character of a place.

Bonus #TravelTuesday Tip: Many Colorado resort towns offer awesome “stay two nights and get a third night free or at a reduced price” specials. Three nights is also a way to avoid holiday or ski traffic in the Colorado Mountains and it’s so fun to still be on vacation when all your friends are back at work on Monday. There are just so many reasons to love a three night stay.

The World is a book,

and those who do not travel see only one page.

~Saint Augustine

I’m back!!! Surgery went well and although recovery was rough – a week and a half of not being able to see well enough to do anything, not even read – I am back to the land of the seeing. Thank you for all the comments, tweets, Facebook posts, texts and emails of support. It truly meant a lot to know that so many people were pulling for me.

Last week I missed the Colorado Festivals & Events Association‘s Annual Conference & Trade Show where I was scheduled to give two presentations. These presentations were polished and ready to go, complete with slides.

The subject of the two presentations are below. If you are looking for a presenter and would like me to present this material to your organization, please contact me at TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!

Utilizing Social Media- Presentation - CFEA (1)

This session will provide the “inside scoop” on utilizing and vetting the proper bloggers and writers to spread the word about your event or festival. We will discuss how social media should be used year round to promote your event. We will look at Twitter hashtags and other social media applications that will help you market your event. Many of the tools we will examine are being underutilized, especially by nonprofit events, small town events and municipality run events.

The Importance of Tourism Presentation Kerr-Schlaefer

A town’s citizens are its biggest asset when it comes to tourism, and there is little doubt that tourism has a tremendous economic impact in Colorado. In this session we will take a look at the hard numbers and then review how you can help put your community on the map and how your business can become involved at the local and state level. We will also take a brief look at the Colorado Tourism Organization’s newest push to promote agritourism in Colorado.

HeidiTown Hiatus

March 24, 2014 — 11 Comments

Dear Citizens,

I apologize in advance that this post is not about Colorado travel or a Colorado festival, but I felt it must be written in order to let everyone know what the heck is going on and why the Mayor is being so unusually quiet.

It’s going to be a ghost town around here for the next five days or more. This was 100% unplanned. In fact, I’m supposed to be in Pueblo at the Colorado Festivals & Events Association Conference giving several presentations this week.

From the age of 10 to 20, I went through a series of eye surgeries. Six major surgeries, lots of laser work and tons of shots in the eye (yes, these are as bad as they sound). As a result I have a lot of hardware in my eye and am very lucky to see as well as I do, which is quite badly from my left eye and quite well from my right eye.

However, this past weekend I ended up in the local ER with hazy vision and after they consulted with my eye specialist in Denver, I was immediately sent to the ER at University of Colorado Hospital to see the on-call ophthalmologist.

The result of all of this crazy hospital hopping is that I’m having surgery on my right eye (also known as my “good eye”) tomorrow. I’m more than a little freaked out and I’m very sad to be missing the conference and my trip to Pueblo, which has been planned for sometime now.

I don’t have lenses inside my eyes like normal people, so I’m a full time contact lens wearer and haven’t even bothered getting glasses, therefore I’m going to be blind for the days following this surgery. As many of you know, I do own a German Shepherd, unfortunately she’s not a seeing eye dog.

Anyway, I’m not exactly sure how long I’m going to be out of commission, but believe me, I will be back to this blog and social media just as soon as I possibly can. I’m already experiencing withdrawals just thinking about not being able to post on my HeidiTown Facebook page or Twitter every day.

Please don’t feel too bad for me, I’m already throwing myself a pretty spectacular pity party. You might want to keep my husband, Ryan, in your thoughts, because he’s the one who will have to deal with me for the next week or so and act as my seeing eye guy. I’m not always the happiest of campers in these sorts of situations, so if you’d like to leave sympathies, leave them for Ryan.  :-)

Heidi on Pikes Peak March 2014Thanks to all of you for being awesome citizens (and supporters) of this little town, I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to me to grow this community over the last seven years.

In the words of Arnold, “I’ll be back.”

Hopefully this hiatus will be very, very brief.

Most Sincerely,

Heidi

When they hear the words “bed and breakfast” most people imagine lace curtains, tea cups and quilted bedspreads. While Victorian or Country is the motif at many B&Bs, you’ll not find it at Pikes Peak Paradise Bed and Breakfast. This is a modern B&B with one of the best views in the Rocky Mountains you’ll find in Colorado.

View of Pikes Peak from Pikes Peak Paradise Bed & Breakfast. HeidiTown.com

The view from every guest suite at Pikes Peak Paradise Bed & Breakfast in Woodland Park, Colorado.

This past weekend I was on a magazine assignment in Canon City. It took most of the day so we needed somewhere to rest our heads on Saturday night and Ron Pijut, owner of Pikes Peak Paradise, graciously offered to host us at his Woodland Park establishment.

I am a lifelong fan of bed and breakfast style lodging and I learned about Ron’s place when he left a comment on my HeidiTown post entitled “Dispelling the myths about staying at a bed and breakfast.”

We pulled into Pikes Peak Paradise Bed and Breakfast after a long, adventurous day and were pleased to discover snacks and drinks waiting for us, even beer and wine. Continue Reading…

Taste of Vail logoI am very excited to feature the 24th Annual Taste of Vail today. Last month I got to sit down with Chef Paul Ferzacca, owner of La Tour Restaurant & Bar in Vail. Chef Ferzacca is also deeply involved with the production of Taste of Vail, and his passion for this event is palpable. After our sit down, I was more excited than ever to attend this event in April.

Taste of Vail is different from many other food and wine events because festivalgoers get face-to-face time with the wine makers and chefs. Chef Ferzacca says that some longtime festival attendees have become friends with winemakers and have even received personal invites to villas in California and beyond. This isn’t a guarantee, but it is this type of intimate experience that makes Taste of Vail so special.

I am very excited to feature the 24th Annual Taste of Vail today. Last month I got to sit down with Chef Paul Ferzacca, owner of La Tour Restaurant & Bar in Vail. Chef Ferzacca is also deeply involved with the production of Taste of Vail, and his passion for this event is palpable. After our sit down, I was more excited than ever to attend this event in April. Continue Reading…

red barn in south Loveland. Photo by HeidiTown.comI tried to cover a lot in this radio segment on KRFC 88.9 FM, but I still left a lot out.

March has been pretty typical this year – one day we get a glimpse of spring and the next day it’s raining down slushy snow measuring in wet, heavy inches.

March is also the typical month for fundraising events. They seem to occur every weekend this month and next and there are a couple that I will highlight over the next several weeks, so stay tuned for your chance to dine and drink for a good cause.

This week’s radio segment covers St. Patrick’s Day and a number of spring festivals happening in the mountains, so if you’d like to be enlightened, LISTEN HERE.

 

Stan Carm Heidi 1970s.  HeidiTown.com

My parents strongly influenced my musical tastes, so I decided to embarrass them by using this photo of them (and me) in the 1970s.

The key to blogging professionally is that you have to do it regularly. I typically blog two to three times a week, and I aim for three. Not an easy task since I am also a full-time freelance writer.

This week I was struck down with the plague, and when I’m sick I’m about as creative as a rock. And it takes more than a few ounces of creativity to do any writing, unless perhaps you’re writing a mathematics textbook.

When creativity has taken a backseat to a runny nose, some writers (me) turn to top five lists. The reason you see so many top 3 , top 5 or top 10 lists on the Internet is because they are relatively easy to put together, although I did have to ask my readers’ help via Facebook on this one.

One of the hosts at KRFC 88.9 FM, asked those of us with a show to put together the top three songs that we felt represented our programming. This got me thinking… what three songs would I pick to represent HeidiTown? Continue Reading…