As we walked down the hill from our cabin on the last day at Latigo Ranch, we felt a mixture of happiness and sadness. We didn’t want to leave this beautiful and magical place. Thankfully, we had a full morning planned.

We mounted our horses at the barn and started out towards the breakfast spot in small groups of two or three. There were no typical trail rides during our stay at Latigo Ranch; every outing is personalized and Ryan and I often had a wrangler at our service during the entire ride.

We followed a stream through a green tunnel of aspens before starting to climb. Eventually we reached a lookout and breakfast was waiting for us; pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, fruit and more. This experience gives “breakfast with a view” a whole new meaning.

Our breakfast ride view at Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado.

I dined with Nora, the golden. Dog people will enjoy lots of canine company at Latigo. Nora, Summer, Aspen and Denali kept Ryan and I from missing our own fur kid.

Nora the golden at Latigo Ranch. HeidiTown (1)

Some guests had to catch early flights home, so only three of us went on the two and a half hour ride after breakfast. It seems that each ride at Latigo is more beautiful than the last and this was no exception. We climbed and descended steep terrain, wound our way through trees and trotted across bluffs with epic views. It was like something straight out of western movie.

I was sore after this long ride, but happy as we forded a deep, fast running stream near the barn.

Atop a high bluff at Latigo Ranch.

We got back just in time for our last lunch at Latigo, made-to-order burritos. The guacamole was amazing and so was the corn salad made from left over corn on the cob served at the cookout the night before. It’s the big and little things that add up to make Latigo a truly memorable experience.

We exchanged emails with a few of the folks who were still at the ranch. I sent Brits Ian and Jo, who had a rental car, back to Denver via Trail Ridge Road. I doubt many English people can say that they’ve been on the highest, continuously paved road in the United States.

I could have written a book about our experience at Latigo and couldn’t fit everything in here, but that’s okay. Believe me, there are some wonderful surprises in store for you and your family at Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado. When you go, tell Shadowfax and Lady that we miss them.

Ryan and Shadowfax at Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado.

Ryan & Shadowfax

This is the final post in a three-part series about Latigo Ranch located in Kremmling, Colorado.

Read my pre-series post, “Six reasons to love Latigo.”

Read part one, “Latigo Ranch, a Colorado dude ranch, part one.”

Read part two, “Latigo Ranch, day two, cattle drive.”

 Thank you to Latigo Ranch for hosting us on this trip.

When the ArtoCade folks approached me about featuring their fest, I was delighted. This is the type of festival that I love to share with my readers. ArtoCade puts the “u” in unique and with so many festivals all starting to look the same, it’s downright refreshing.

So what’s ArtoCade? It’s an art car parade and festival. And what’s an art car? According to Wikipedia it’s a vehicle that has had its appearance modified as an act of personal artistic expression. These art cars are frequently driven by their creators who are called “cartists.”

I saw my first art cars during Telluride Fire Festival last winter and they were impressive.

ArtoCade in Trinidad, Colorado. fire breathing dragon car

This art car gets around. I saw it at Telluride Fire Fest and here it is at ArtoCade last year.

Not all the art cars in Trinidad will shoot fire, but the creativity of these vehicles will amaze you. The amount of work and talented that folks put into these creations is mind boggling and they do it, in part, for you, the crowd.

One intriguing fact about art cars is that their creators come from all walks of life and many are not trained artists; they simply want to express their imagination using their car as a canvas. And some crazy things come out of these brains.

crazy art car at ArtoCade in Trinidad, Colorado.

This three day event in Trinidad, just over 3 hours south of Denver, gets underway at 5 p.m. on Friday, September 11 in downtown Trinidad with Vehiculart. This event involves art exhibits and presentations that celebrate art cars. CarBash happens in the evening at Brix Sports Bar & Grill on Main Street.

The main event, the ArtoCade Parade, gets underway on Saturday, September 12 at noon. Unless you’ve been to an art car event, this is unlike any other parade you’ve seen. As the ArtoCade website says, “if you can’t drive it, it’s a float.” Festival booths will be open before and after the parade along Main Street.

art car at ArtoCade in Trinidad, Colorado

After the parade it’s time for Ogle, Look & Play & Traffic Jam from 2 to 5 This is your chance to get up close and personal with the art cars and their creators.

Make sure you bring the kids along to ArtoCade. They will love ArtoKid, a booth where they can make little art cars, paint on a full-sized automobile and draw on a chalkboard covered car.

In the evening join the CarDango, a dance and circus featuring internationally acclaimed magicians the Dream Masterz, Dragon Aerialists and lots more. This is the only ticketed event during ArtoCade. CarDango will be held at Sebastiani Gym from 7 to midnight. Tickets are $18.

On Sunday send off the “cartists” during BrickFest from 8 to 10 a.m. Everyone is invited.


September 11-13, 2015

Trinidad, Colorado

With the exception of the Saturday night gala, ArtoCade is a FREE event!

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Songs are powerful. They can make us feel a variety of emotions and even prompt us to recall past events.

Heading into Winter Park from the west.

Grand County, Colorado.

A friend recently posted a video to Facebook while on a road trip to California. He and is daughter were cruising through the desert listening to U2. I had a flashback to one of my own desert road trips.

Way back in 1999, Ryan and I drove from Denver to Bellingham, Washington in his brand new Ford 150. Throughout Utah and Southern Idaho, two dusty and bug infested places, we listened to “Californication” (Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1999).

To this day, whenever I hear any song from “Californication,” I remember that road trip. Another song that elicits a road trip memory, I’m embarrassed to say, is Sugar Ray’s “Every Morning.” It brings back vivid memories of driving in Seattle on a warm summer day with my friend Rachel sometime in the late 1990s. Continue Reading…

Many Coloradans grew up skiing at Winter Park and it holds a special place in many hearts, but have you visited the town during the summer? It may have “winter” in the name, but it’s a fantastic summer festival town with one of my favorite festival venues, Hideaway Park.

Winter Park Beer Festival 2015.

Last weekend, my friend, Karen, and I headed up to Grand County to attend the Winter Park Beer Festival at Hideaway Park.

We pulled into town at 2 p.m. on Friday and settled in our spacious Hi Country Haus condo. This is a great place to stay if you are attending a festival because it’s within walking of Hideaway Park and everything else in downtown Winter Park. Continue Reading…

On our second day at Latigo Ranch we awoke to brilliant blue skies and after a hearty made-to-order breakfast we headed to the barn. This was a big day for the guests of Latigo because our riding skill and mettle would be tested. It was cattle drive day.

I’ll admit that I was shaking in my cowboy boots, but the wranglers assured me that each rider could go at their own pace. We headed out to find the cows, a small herd from a nearby ranch with a stubborn bull that would be a thorn in our side for the rest of the morning.

Before moving the cows back to the barn, we each took turns practicing how to cut a cow from the herd. Ryan was a natural at this, cutting a cow in record time.

Cow Cutting and Cattle Drive at Latigo Ranch.

Ryan picks the cow he wants to cut from the herd.

Latigo Ranch. Cow cutting and cattle drive.

And he’s got one!

I didn’t really want to cut any cows from the herd. After all, they looked perfectly happy where they were, but I’m competitive and there was peer pressure, so I decided I had to give it a try. I managed to cut one cow with her calf, but then another followed and another. Eventually I had cut out a small herd. The wranglers gave me a thumbs up, but I think technically I failed Cow Cutting 101. Continue Reading…

To say that I like Durango would be an understatement. The town has tons of culture, but also has small town appeal and I simply love it.

When San Juan Brewfest asked me to write about and attend their festival this year I was super excited. Not only does this festival feature a handful of new-to-me breweries, it’s held in Durango. That’s a WIN-WIN in my book.

tasting mug at San Juan Brewfest

Photos courtesy of San Juan Brewfest

The location of San Juan Brewfest means that they get breweries from Utah and New Mexico. I attend a number of beer festivals a year and it’s rare for me to see a new brewery represented at a fest, so I’m stoked.

There are more than 50 breweries coming to San Juan Brewfest and you can drool over the list here.

crowd shot at san juan brewfest

The festival is held in downtown Durango at Buckley Park and features bands all day including the Dreamers, Farmington Hill and Papa Otis & the Hillbilly Foxtrot. I have a feeling more than a few happy festival goers will be hoofing it in the grass during this musical lineup.

one roof blues at San Juan Brewfest

I would encourage you to go VIP, except the VIP tickets are already sold out. You can try next year, but in the meantime you need to get your general admission tickets soon. Last year they sold out of general admission tickets at the gate and had to turn away thirsty people, something no beer festival likes to do. This year the fest has already sold a record number of general admission tickets online and believe me, you don’t want to be left out of the fun.


All proceeds benefit United Way of Southwest Colorado

I hope to see you there! If you need any advice on Durango, search “Durango” here on the blog or leave me questions in the comment section. I’ll be happy to help you plan your trip.

San Juan Brewfest

August 29, 2015

1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Buckley Park at 12th & Main

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I’ve been to Keystone Resort three times, so it’s about time they got some major ink. Perhaps you associate this resort with skiing, and yes, it’s a first-rate ski resort and really fabulous for families. However, it’s also a fantastic summer destination as you will find out in this post.

dancing on the mountain top at Keystone Resort.

One of the main keys to Keystone Resort, and the reason they are important to HeidiTown, is their festival scene. Keystone Festivals puts on FIVE major events during the summer starting with Bacon Fest in June, Wine & Jazz Festival in July, Blue Grass & Beer in early August, the Mountain Town Music Festival in mid-August and Oktoberfest in early September. These are top-notch fests; these guys/gals know what they are doing. Continue Reading…

I have a serious fear of heights; a knee shaking, nausea inducing fear. I once nearly hiked seven miles in order to avoid having to descend the shale rock face of a 14er that I’d just climbed. I sat at the top for 30 minutes crying like a baby until my husband helped me down, step by terrifying step.

Top of the Rockies Ziplines. Photos by Lauren Lunder, Photography with Altitude. (14)

Lauren Lunder, Photography with Altitude

So why do I make myself do stuff like ice climbing and zip lining? For the story. I do it for the story – and, it’s SUPER FUN!

Here’s my story of zip lining at Top of the Rockies earlier this month. This was our second trip to this zip line adventure that’s located just an hour and a half from Denver.

Since our winter visit in 2013, Top of the Rockies has added a couple more lines to their excursion, so of course we had to go again.

This time around we took my father-in-law, Kurt, who hadn’t been zip lining before. We figured taking him to the zip line with the best views in Colorado was a good place to start.

A family of three from Denver joined us making a group of six. After the practice area we loaded into the van for a bumpy ride up the hill to the first zip. Continue Reading…

As we turned off of US 40 towards Lagito Ranch, civilization began to melt away. As we drove higher the trees thickened and fields of columbines turned their purple and white heads towards us. We had the sense that we going to a very place special and we were right.

Latigo Ranch welcome sign.

As we pulled into Latigo, a Colorado dude ranch, a bell was ringing, an honest-to-goodness dinner bell that clanged merrily – lunch was being served. It was a Thursday and most of the guests of the ranch had been there since Sunday, but we had no problem fitting in.

Homemade pizza was on the menu, along with a stunning salad bar that was available at every meal. We tucked into our food and started making friends at the community style dining tables. At that first meal we met Liz from Minnesota, Willie and Kathy from Kentucky and Jim Yost, one of the owners of Latigo.

After a delicious lunch and great conversation, we headed up the hill to settle in to our cabin. We felt right at home immediately, despite the lack of a television, and do you know what? We never missed television. Continue Reading…

Loveland, Colorado has long been known as an art town. In fact, it was listed as #8 in the book, “100 Small Best Art Towns in American,” and author, John Villani, says that a visit to Loveland inspired him to write the book.

Art in the Park poster logo 2015

Sculptures line the downtown streets and galleries polka dot the landscape of the city. While it was a mecca for sculptors in the seventies, today, artists of all kinds flock to Loveland looking for comradeship and a supportive art community.

Thompson Valley Art League, a nonprofit organization more than a half a century old, has been there through it all. Their biggest event of the year is Art in the Park, an art show/festival that’s been taking place for nearly as long as the organization has been in existence.

action shot Art in the Park, photo by Lucky Brake, Ltd.

Held under the giant trees of North Lake Park, the festival attracts hundreds of artists of all kinds. I’ve had the pleasure of profiling a few of these artists for TVAL, and each is as unique as the art they create.

For instance, Jim Digby’s photography has been exhibited around the world and his images have appeared on television as well as in “National Geographic” and “Life.” He will exhibit at Art in the Park with fellow Loveland photographers, Gordon Middleton and Mike Wilcox.

Art in the Park 2013, photo by Lucky Brake Ltd.

Ramon A. Velasquez is a metal artist from Arizona whose art is distinctively influenced by his desert surroundings. He loves coming to Art in the Park because, “It’s a very nice park and there are very nice customers too.”

Amelia Furman is a young artist who works in a mix media style that consists of a three part process and combines impressionism and text. A mother of two small children, Furman finds inspiration when and where she can including through the frosted window pane in her bathroom.

Little children painting at Art in the Park, photo by Lucky Brake Ltd.

In addition to the variety of artists who will display their work at Art in the Park, the event includes a beer, wine and mead garden, glass blowing demonstrations, a silent auction, music throughout the event and children’s activities. In addition, the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program, a former HeidiTown Gives Back recipient, will be onsite with their birds of prey.

Art in the Park

August 8-9, 2015

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

North Lake Park, 2800 N. Taft

Free admission

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