Want to get away from it all, but don’t want to drive far? Check out Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. Just one hour north of Denver, once you arrive at Sylvan Dale you’ll feel a million miles from civilization. In fact, you may feel as though you’ve time traveled to another century.

Hello from Sylvan Dale guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Hello from Sylvan Dale guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado.

We had the opportunity to spend a night at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch during their “Swing into Spring” getaway weekend. Traditionally a guest ranch where guests stay for a week at a time, Sylvan Dale has recently added short-term stays to their offerings.

When we arrived, Susan Jessup gave Ryan and I a tour of the property. She knows the ranch really well; after all, she grew up there. Her father bought the ranch in 1947, and Jessup’s love for the place is palpable. And it’s easy to see why – after less than 24 hours on the property, we had fallen in love with Sylvan Dale too.

When I think “cabin” I think rustic, but the interior of the Mr. Alexander Cabin was more like a first-rate hotel and includes a sitting area, bedroom and large bathroom with a claw foot tub. This is my kind of “roughing it!”

Once we arrived, Ryan and I felt like we were starring in our very own Western. On Saturday afternoon we took a hike. We made our way through the underbrush, over a small creek and then hoofed it straight up the mountain to the top of Green Ridge. As you can see, it was worth it.

The view from Green Ridge at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

The view of Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch from the top of Green Ridge. I can’t imagine how beautiful this ranch will be in the last spring/early summer.

After our two plus hour hike, we dined al fresco with the other “Spring into Spring” guests. Sylvan Dale raises their own grass fed beef, so our delicious hamburgers were definitely “sourced locally.” Food at the ranch is a big part of the experience and Chef Scott keeps Sylvan Dale guests well fed.

Sylvan Dale hamburger made from Sylvan Dale beef. HeidiTown.com

Now that’s a hamburger! Who says food pictures never turn out well?

Our dinner entertainment was provided by a pair of Canadian geese that had moved into the front yard of the Heritage Building where we were dining on the expansive patio. When another pair of geese landed on the property the show was on. It was a festival of honks, squawks and head bobbing.

Dinner was followed by a campfire next to the Big Thompson River. The river flooded its banks in September 2013, and Sylvan Dale lost some buildings and wedding sites, but the folks at Sylvan Dale are strong and proved it. They were back up and running by June 2014. The scars of the flooding are still visible, but the property is a testament to Mother Nature’s power and the resilient nature of human beings.

As Susan played guitar and we sung “Ghost Riders in the Sky” around the campfire and made s’mores, I couldn’t help but think of all the ghosts who call this 100-year-old ranch home. I have no doubt that they were singing along with us, smiles on all their ghostly faces and cowboy hats on their ghostly heads.

Songs around the campfire during Spring into Spring weekend at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Songs around the campfire at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch.

Check back for more posts about our adventures at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch including our horseback outing with Buckaroo and Gemini.

Thank you to Visit Loveland, Colorado and Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch for hosting us on this trip.

 

HeidiTown Fest 2015 is happening… it’s really, really happening!

I am so excited to invite you to Ouray over Memorial Day Weekend 2015, May 23-24, to experience Colorado like I experience Colorado.

I am thrilled to introduce my readers to one of Colorado’s fantastic gems – Ouray, Colorado.

We’re going to have a heck of a weekend. Anyone who books a HeidiTown Fest package will be a VIP and gals named Heidi will be VVIPs, Very, Very Important People.

All the details, including package information, have been outlined on the HeidiTown.com HeidiTown Fest page. Click the link!

I hope to see many of you in Ouray this Memorial Day Weekend.

Sincerely,

Heidi, the Mayor of HeidiTown

HeidiTownFEST2015_3

 

The 25th Annual Taste of Vail is April 8-11, 2015. It is considered one of the nation’s premiere spring food and wine festivals, however, that’s not the reason you should go. Here’s why you should attend the Taste of Vail this year.

Author’s note (March 24, 2015): Unfortunately, I was not chosen to receive a media pass to Taste of Vail this year, so I will not be attending. Instead I’ll be in Durango. It’s always nice to have options! 

1. Pick your own adventure at the Taste of Vail

You get to pick and choose what to do – it’s like a Pick Your Own Adventure Game for foodies and wine lovers. Of course, you can buy the Signature Pass, which grants you entrance to the four signature events; Debut of Rosé, The American Lamb Aprés, the Mountain Top Picnic and the Grand Tasting. Or you can simply cherry pick the events you’d like to attend.

See the full schedule and start planning your Taste of Vail adventure today.

Wine on ice at the Mountain Top Picnic at Taste of Vail. The top 5 reasons to attend the Taste of Vail. HeidiTown.com

Wine on ice at the Mountain Top Picnic at the Taste of Vail.

2. Learn stuff at the Taste of Vail Continue Reading…

Last weekend we were in Leadville, Colorado for their annual Crystal Carnival and Skijoring Weekend. The weather was glorious; the sky was a brilliant blue and the sunshine turned the town into a wonderland of sparkling white snow.

I have always wanted to witness the Skijoring Championships in Leadville and the event did not disappoint. Skijoring involves either a dog or horse pulling a person on skis. In Leadville, it’s all about cowboys and cowgirls.

Skijoring Championships in Leadville, Colorado 2015. HeidiTown.com

Want to see how this ended? Check out more skijoring photos on HeidiTown’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/HeidiTownonFB

The jingling of spurs mixed with the whoops of the crowd elated by the daring feats being performed by the skiers who are either very brave or very crazy or maybe both. Continue Reading…

As a natural redhead with the freckles to prove it, I love St. Patrick’s Day. And while I’ve technically got more Scottish than Irish blood running through my veins, on St. Patrick’s Day I’m all Irish, along with everyone else in the United State.

We’re heading to a private St. Patrick’s Day party on Saturday night – invited by Clan McCarthy – we’re talking homemade corn beef & hash and the whole nine yards, but I don’t have plans for Saturday during the day.

Since I’m personally trying to decide on which St. Patrick’s Day parade or party to attend this weekend I thought I’d compile a quick list of as many as I can find so that you can make an educated decision as well.

The Mayor and a Leprachaun. St. Patrick's Day in Colorado. HeidiTown.com

The Mayor of HeidiTown (that’s me) getting a kiss from a Leprechaun.

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, falls on a Tuesday this year, so community parades and parties are scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Denver, Colorado on St. Patrick’s Day

DenverStPatricksDayParade.com

Denver loves St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the city has been celebrating the holiday since 1889, but for the past 50 years a team of passionate volunteers, officially incorporated as the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, puts on a huge parade that brings thousands to downtown.

The parade kicks off at 19th St. and Wynkoop at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.  Continue Reading…

I’m a decade or two away from my college days, but I still know a good drink special when I see one and a good spring break town when I visit one. My top two picks for best college spring break towns in Colorado are Breckenridge and Durango.

Ska Brewing, Durango, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Behind the scenes at Ska Brewing on one of the best Colorado brewery tours I’ve been on.

Durango’s advantage in the spring break game is that it is a college town and that means bars cater to college kids and THAT means you can find great drink specials.

We like the Irish Embassy Pub and end up there on every trip to Durango. They have great drink specials and an active bar scene. We also like Lady Falconburgh’s. They call themselves the “Cheers” of Durango and it’s the truth. You can’t help striking up a conversation with a stranger at this beer centric bar; they have over 100 to choose from. Continue Reading…

Author Note: I wanted to entitled this post, “Learning about trees & squirrels in Breckenridge,” but that’s a terrible SEO title and I try to pay a little attention to SEO, so I went with a much more basic (and boring) title.

On our recent trip to Breckenridge during the International Snow Sculpting Championships, we decided to dust off our snowshoes for an afternoon outing at the Breckenridge Nordic Center.

Breckenridge Nordic Center snowshoe outing. HeidiTown.com

The Nordic Center is a beautiful, nearly brand new facility. Last year, I cross country skied there and it was an awesome, snowy outing. The trails are groomed meticulously even when the snow is coming down in bucket loads.

Ryan and I were signed up for a guided snowshoe trek with JD. We’d been on one other guided snowshoe trek and it was a delightful way to experience nature and this outing was no different.  Continue Reading…

When you think of Southeast Colorado, what comes to mind? I’ll admit that for years I thought it was flat, brown ranch land punctuated by the occasional cantaloupe and watermelon farm, and it was not high on my must-visit list.

I had heard about the High Plains Snow Goose Festival, and the bird nerd in me was intrigued, but my overdo visit to the southeast still didn’t happen until last week when we made a trip to attend the snow goose festival.

snow geese at awkward angles in the sky. HeidiTown.com

Snow geese outside of Lamar, Colorado.

We quickly discovered that we had been very wrong about Southeastern, Colorado. It is a flat brown landscape during this time of year, but the massive amount of history and nature here turns this seemingly desolate place into a cornucopia of hidden treasures; from fascinating little museums to fantastic nature trails to some world class historical sites.  Continue Reading…

A preview of the High Plains Snow Goose Festival, Feb. 20-22, 2015.

This weekend I’m heading to Southeast Colorado for the first time. Why am I heading into the vast and desolate plains you ask? Well, for one thing, this area isn’t desolate – far from it. While the human population may be small, the bird population in Southeast Colorado is large. During this time of year about 30,000 snow geese take a break from their migration to hangout in the area around Lamar, Colorado and birders flock to the area to celebrate the High Plains Snow Goose Festival.

13thanniversary snow goose festival pic

And now for a confession; while I love birds of all kinds, I have a lifelong obsession with geese. This prevalent bird simply fascinates me, much to the amusement of my husband, family and friends. I am captivated in the way they communicate, on the ground and in flight, and how they adapt to so many environments (this is especially true of Canadian geese, which have been common to every region in which I have lived).  Continue Reading…

Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh…

This delightful scene isn’t reserved solely for songs, television commercials and movies, you can make it a reality in Breckenridge, Colorado.

a romantic sleigh ride in Breckenridge Colorado.

Photo by Travis Konkle of Dramatic Focal Point.

Nordic Sleigh Rides is located just outside of Breckenridge, and whether you are looking for a romantic outing or you wish to recreate the “over the river and through the woods ” song with your family, this place has got you covered.

Last month we were treated to an “exclusive ride,” meaning that we went out in a beautiful one-horse open sleigh pulled by a magnificent Percheron named King. These large horses were originally bred as war horses for knights and they must have been very intimidating to unmounted armies during Medieval times.  Continue Reading…