BDT Stage Boulder Dinner Theatre logo“The Church Basement Ladies” is back on stage at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre. The show was so popular last fall that BDT director, Michael J. Duran, decided to produce the sequel this fall. There are five Church Basement Ladies sequels, and listening to the crowd’s response to this one, I have a feeling Colorado will eventually be treated to them all.

Boulder’s Dinner Theater has repackaged their venue as the BDT Stage, and you’ll find their brand new logo already on their Facebook page and twitter account. And here’s a hint. If you check in on Facebook when you arrive at the theater you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free dessert.

We missed the first “Church Basement Ladies,” and I was not about to miss the sequel, “A Second Helping.” Thankfully, you do not have to have seen the first play to enjoy this sequel as they are each standalone stories.

This show is set entirely in the basement of a church, and the stage looked vaguely familiar to those of us who grew up attending church potlucks and other church gatherings. I thought they might have entrees such as tuna surprise casserole and meatloaf on the menu for this show, but they didn’t go quite that far.

You can, however, order a Watergate Salad served in a BDT souvenir Tupperware bowl for dessert. If you aren’t familiar with it, Watergate Salad is a pistachio pudding, pineapple, walnut and marshmallow dessert. I’m pretty sure that the last time I ate it was at a church potluck in 1981.

The show is about three church basement ladies or, as they call themselves, Marthas. For those who remember their Bible stories, Martha and Mary were sisters of Lazarus. The two sisters were very different; Martha was a worker bee while Mary enjoyed sitting and listening to Jesus talk.

Courtesy photo from Boulder's Dinner Theatre.

Courtesy photo from Boulder’s Dinner Theatre.

The production is set in the 1960s, and as the ladies say throughout this musical, “times are a changing,” even in this small Minnesota town and at this small Lutheran church. The pastor, played to perfection by Wayne Kennedy, has even bought a guitar – uff da! (Uff da is a Norwegian expression of surprise or disbelief).

Mavis, Vivian and Karin are content with their chores in the church basement until their lives are interrupted by Beverly, Karin’s daughter who has abruptly moved back from “the cities” and is pregnant. Of course, upon learning of the pregnancy each lady counts on her fingers, behind her backs, how many months Beverly’s been married.

While the production is hysterically funny and there are gut busting laughs, especially for those of us who grew up attending a strict Lutheran or Lutheran-like church, it’s also a sweet and poignant look at the relationship between mothers and daughter and lifelong friends.

I was overjoyed to see Bren Byestone Burron cast as Mavis in this show. I’ve loved Burron since I saw her in the BDT’s first production of “Chicago” in 2003. Burron is now most often seen on stage at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown, but she brought her unique brand of comedy to BDT for Church Basement Ladies and it’s a match made in heaven – no pun intended.

Bren Byestone Burron (as Mavis), Beth Reeves (as Vivian) and Tracy Warren (as Karin) have wonderful onstage chemistry. They’re each gifted stage actors, and Sarah Grover, who was amazing as in last year’s production “The Wizard of Oz,” holds her own on stage with these veterans.

If you enjoy Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon stories, you’ll love “The Church Basement Ladies.” The show opened on September 12 and runs through November 8. Be sure to get there before all the lefsa is gone. Go to for tickets.

 Review also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor. 

Steamboat is not just a ski destination. I could write a speech on that subject. A good friend of mine moved there nearly a decade ago so I’ve become well acquainted with the town, and it’s a great place to become well acquainted with.

This is a good fall destination because whether you drive the I70 to Silverthorne route or the Poudre Canyon route, the fall foliage is incredible. No matter the route, keep your camera at the ready.

Fall Hike Steamboat Springs, Colorado. 2012_Lukens (2)

The Boat, as I fondly call Steamboat, is far removed from the craziness of the Colorado’s Front Range. Life slows down as you descend into the valley from Rabbit Ears Pass. Locals enjoy a laid back, highly recreational life style and it’s fun to join them for a weekend.

Whether you book a room downtown at the historic Rabbit Ears Hotel (I’ve stayed there and it’s within walking distance of everything) or if you splurge a little and stay at my current favorite, The Steamboat Inn, you’ll love the Steamboat Springs in the fall.

There are two major hot springs destinations to choose from. For families I recommend Old Town Hot Springs and for couples or groups traveling with friends I recommend Strawberry Park. The latter is a fabulous destination year round and should provide some beautiful autumn river vistas.

For unbelievable views take the gondola to the top of Steamboat Resort. You can take in the sprawling views from the bar at the top or take a hike. Or, do it “Heidi style” and do both. There’s a short hike (the Vista Nature Trail) that’s perfect for a quick little jaunt followed by a beer.

Drive out to Steamboat Lake for more fall foliage viewing and take one of the areas many trails. If you want a quick and easy walk with a beautiful destination head to Fish Creek Falls. Continue Reading…

With HDTV, the newest Apple gadget or the car that drives itself, sometimes it feels like it’s pretty difficult to impress people. We expect the latest thingamajig to be 100 times better than the last version. We expect movie graphics to be amazing. We expect, we expect, we expect…

That’s why being unexpectedly blown away by Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens was such a nice feeling. I was genuinely amazed by the experience, and it’s a feeling that will stick with me for a very long time.

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens 2014 - HeidiTown (28)Despite being from the Pacific Northwest, the home of Chihuly, the artist didn’t really come to my attention until I saw a huge display of his work at a studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico a decade ago. Like most people, I loved it.

Fast forward, and today his work is everywhere and it always draws my eye. My husband recently crafted a beautiful custom Colorado blue-stained pine curio for a client’s Chihuly glass collection.

It seemed like Chihuly had been popping up everywhere when low and behold I got a press release stating his work would be displayed at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Continue Reading…

As I continue sharing great Colorado fall getaways in this series, I’d be remiss not to include Leadville. After all, I’ve been to this quintessential Colorado mountain town several times in autumn. In fact, last year, I was there to catch a ride on the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad Fall Photo train ride.

I highly recommend this affordable excursion. Pack a lunch and a camera and hop aboard one of the most memorable train rides of your life. If you catch it on the right weekend, the fall colors are breathtaking. Blazes of orange and yellow cut through the green mountainsides like splashes of paint on a canvas.

Fall Photo Train Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad.

Fall Photo Train Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad.

Make your trip even more exciting by doing a combo train ride/zip line package with Top of the Rockies Zip Lines. You will board the train and ride it until it reaches the top of Top of the Rockies, where you will disembark, meet your hosts from the zip line company and zip down to the bottom. If you are lucky, you may even zip over the train that you just got off. Once you reach the bottom of Top of the Rockies, they will provide you transportation back to Leadville – just a quick 10 minute trip. Continue Reading…

Ruff Start Rescue & Training at Berthoud Day in Berthoud, Colorado.

Ruff Start Rescue & Training at Berthoud Day in Berthoud, Colorado.

As a reminder, each month I give away a free ad space (and this blog post) to a deserving Colorado charity. Occasionally I skip a month. In part, because sometimes a charity doesn’t respond to my inquiry about becoming a recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back. Check your email, folks!

Ruff Start Rescue & Training did get back to me and so they are this September’s recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign.

This little nonprofit is “changing the world one dog at a time.” That’s all any of us can hope to do, right?

I learned about Ruff Start when a fellow Berthoud Surveyor writer wrote a story about them for our paper.

I am so thankful that there are people like Ashlea K. King and David Holzapfel in this world. They are the founders of Ruff Start Rescue & Training. A South Dakota native, Ashlea started volunteering at animal rescues when she was just 11 years old. When she grew up, she began rescuing dogs from Indian Reservations in South Dakota. There’s a funny story on the organization’s website about how friends and family stopped answering phone calls from Ashlea and David because they knew they’d be ask to take in another dog.

rescue puppy from Ruff Start Rescue & Training in Berthoud Colorado. (2)

He may have had a ruff start, but the future is looking bright for this rescue pup!

These dog rescue trips to Indian Reservations eventually led to the opening of Ruff Start Rescue & Training based in Berthoud, Colorado. This is a micro-rescue. Each Ruff Start Rescue dog is fostered until they are adopted. They are also trained. This is a big part of Ashela’s philosophy.

Their website reads:

“We firmly believe that people who value and have a strong bond with their pet are much less likely to surrender their pet to the shelter. By improving companion animal welfare through spay/neuter, force-free training, and concentrating on the human animal bond, Ruff Start seeks to provide a better world for dogs both in Northern Colorado and on the Reservations of South Dakota.”

I agree with this philosophy and that’s why I’m featuring Ruff Start Rescue & Training this month on

Ruff Start Rescue & Training LOGO

Please visit Ruff Start Rescue & Training today to see how you can help this awesome Colorado nonprofit.

Ruff Start Rescue & Training on Facebook

Fall in Colorado rivals many other states that are well-known for leaf peeping. I’ve been to some of those states and I have to say that while I might be a teensy bit bias, Colorado holds her own against the best of them.

I am an October baby, so I’ve done a lot of fall travel in Colorado. I love traveling in the autumn for many reasons. Towns are less crowded, the air is crisp and there’s always a chance that we’ll experience the first snow of the season. That’s exactly what happened a number of years ago in Leadville. We woke up to six inches of snow on October 10.

I thought I’d share a few great Colorado fall getaways for those who’d love to leaf peep along the way. This is the first in a three-part series of blog posts about fall travel around Colorado.

Be astounded by fall in Ouray & Telluride

I got to experience the wonder for an Ouray/Telluride fall last year in early October while at a conference. The most amazing scenic overlook, an overlook that has been featured in many calendars over the years, is located between Ridgeway and Telluride.

There will be a line of professional photographers, and wanna-bes like me, lined up along the fence taking photos so you can’t miss the pull out. I took the two following photographs at this overlook just two days apart.

between ridgeway and telluride. Colorado iin the fall of 2013.

scenery between Ridgeway and Telluride Colorado. 2013

Same spot a few days later on my way back from Telluride after a freshly fallen snow.

Continue Reading…

We took a random, midweek trip to Grand Lake last week. With Colorado kids heading back to school, the town’s usual busy summer season has lightened up a bit and it’s the perfect time to visit. It is still warm enough to take a dip in the lake and the ice cream lines aren’t very long.

Grand Lake, Colorado in August. HeidiTown (31)

Ice cream eaten on vacation just tastes better.

We only stayed for one night, but got an opportunity to stay downtown at the Western Riviera’s Lakeside Hotel. But it gets even better. We got to stay in Room #6, the Hotel Impossible Room. We were actually staying in the Western Riv’s Tree House rental when Hotel Impossible was filming the Grand Lake episode during Winter Carnival in 2013. I filmed some hilarious video footage of their film crew huffing and puffing in the thin air during the carnival bed races.

I was excited to stay in this renovated room and it didn’t disappoint. The entire hotel is great because of its location – downtown and on the lake. Since Hotel Impossible’s visit, the owners of the Western Riviera’s Lakeside Hotel have replaced flooring in all 16 rooms, replaced all beds and mattresses and painted an accent wall in each room. They will soon add new bedside lighting and are currently surveying guests about what other changes they’d like to see at the hotel. Continue Reading…

The older I get the more I appreciate old cars. I have no idea why, but I do know that owning a 6 cylinder vehicle has made it more fun to drive, so that probably has something to do with it.

Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 17I enjoy car shows and I really like the Old Town Car Show (formerly the Nelsen’s Old Town Car Show) because it’s in lively downtown Fort Collins. I’ve watched this event grow every year and today, every nook and cranny of Old Town is filled with vintage vehicles that will leave you drooling. While I’m not a car show junkie, I stood next to one at last year’s event and he told me that this is one of his all-time favorite shows in Colorado and he never misses it. Seems like high praise to me.

In addition to the hundreds of hot-rods, vintage cars and classic trucks, there’s music. This year it’s all about the blues. The Northern Colorado Blues Festival will host blues bands throughout the day on the main stage at Old Town Square.

Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 14

The Nelsen’s Old Town Car Show is 100% free for spectators and since it’s located downtown it is the perfect opportunity to do a little shopping and grab a bite at one of Fort Collins’ fabulous eateries. Did you know The Kitchen now has a restaurant in Fort Collins? I bet there are lots of new places you haven’t tried yet, although old favorites are good too. I’m seriously addicted to the calamari at Jax Fish House, so anytime I’m in Fort Collins I try to swing by.

The Old Town Car Show takes place Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 11 a.m to 5 p.m.

Find additional info, like how to register your car, at

Bring your camera because there are some real beauties at this show. Here are some more of my favorite photos from last year’s event.

Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 5Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 12Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 9Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 4

Featured Festival spots on are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email


Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

A birthday weekend in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Today’s #TravelTuesday tip may seem simple, but I’m here to tell you that it’s vital. I’m a hat person. I love hats of all sorts and own quite a few. Spring, summer, fall or winter, a hat is probably the most useful thing you can pack when you’re heading out on a trip – any kind of trip.

Heading to the beach? Whether it’s the beach at Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, Colorado or the beach in Cozumel, Mexico, a big floppy hat is a good idea. Even for the boys. My floppy hat that I bought at the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool in 2013 for $36 was the best investment I’ve ever made. I’ve worn that thing everywhere; beer fests, soccer games, the pool and most recently an outside memorial service. It’s a truly versatile hat, and it’s also doing my body good.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer at Colorado Brewers' Festival in 2013.

The best hat ever! At the Colorado Brewers’ Festival in 2013.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer in Mexico.

Floppy beach hat at my 30th birthday in Mexico.

Continue Reading…

PJ's Neighborhood Pub in Hotchkiss, Colorado.

Eating at the bar at PJ’s in Hotchkiss, Colorado was a great idea. We not only met the owner, but got to know one of the nicest bartenders ever.

A lot of today’s travelers say that they want to “experience a place like a local.” They don’t mean they want to wake up at 6 and go to work like a local, but they do want to experience the local favorites; local bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. They want what the local like to do, see, taste and hear.

During our travels across Colorado and beyond, Ryan and I have discovered that you can often take the pulse of a community by bellying up to the bar instead of sitting at a table at a restaurant. For instance, this past weekend after Winter Park Beer Festival we bellied up to the bar at Hernando’s Pizza & Pub. This place has fantastic pizza and while tourists love it, locals do too.

We quickly made friends with awesome local gal sitting next to us, and this happens all the time, but only if we sit at the bar. Continue Reading…