A Snow Mountain Ranch Summer To-Do List

There is so much to do at Snow Mountain Ranch that the easier (and much shorter) blog post to write would be about the things that aren’t available here.

A Snow Mountain Ranch Summer to-do list. biking. HeidiTown.com

Snow Mountain Ranch, a YMCA of the Rockies property, is a year-round playground for kids and adults. Whether there’s two-feet of snow on the ground or it’s 80 degrees outside, this place has an activities sheet as long as my arm (and I’ve got long arms for a short girl).

I’ve written about Snow Mountain Ranch’s winter activities in this past post.

We tried to do as much as possible during a 2-night stay in Yurt Village this past June, but we only scratched the surface of what’s available here.

Biking at Snow Mountain Ranch

On our first morning, we set out on bikes from Yurt Village towards Rowley Homestead. We’re not hardcore mountain bikers – not even a bit. Thankfully, SMR has plenty of easy biking and their roads have very little traffic, although you might run into a horseback riding group from Sombrero Stables, located at SMR.  

A Snow Mountain Summer to-do list. explore historical sites. HeidiTown.com

In late June, the lupines and other wildflowers were just starting to pop around SMR and the aspens were deep green.

We dismounted at Rowley Homestead to look around. There were several volunteers available to answer any questions we had about the historic ranch. Of course, I was more interested in capturing a photo of a hummingbird. They were as thick as thieves around the homestead’s many feeders, but despite having one buzz my head I didn’t manage to get any good shots.

Rowley Homestead is one of several historic sites at Snow Mountain Ranch and is definitely worth checking out, especially if you enjoy history, and the beauty of the place makes it a photographer’s dream.

A Snow Mountain Ranch to-do list. visit an historical site. HeidiTown.com

We literally flew back to the Buckboard Grill for lunch. This long downhill stretch of dirt roadway had me feeling exactly like a kid again.

Bike rentals are available at the SMR Program Building.

Frisbee golf at Snow Mountain Ranch

If you’re staying at SMR, you can pick up free disc golf frisbees at the Program Building. Don’t forget to to grab a map of the 18-hole course. We headed out from and made our way through the course back towards Yurt Village.

A Snow Mountain Ranch Summer to-do list. Disc golf. Frisbee golf. HeidiTown.com

Disc golf (also known is frisbee golf) involves throwing a small frisbee into a series of metal baskets located on an outdoor course. Like golf, the goal is to complete the course using the fewest possible throws.

A Snow Mountain Ranch Summer to-do list. Frisbee golf or disc golf. HeidiTown.com

The disc golf course at SMR is not easy, especially for someone like me who throws a frisbee like a three-year-old, but it’s a nice hike through effervescent pines and across fields of wildflowers. So even if you’re a frisbee golf hack like me, disc golf at SMR is a lovely nature hike with a little frisbee distraction.

Summer tubing hill at Snow Mountain Ranch

Tubing isn’t just a winter activity at SMR anymore. Visitors can tube in the summer and fall at the Summer Tubing Hill. And if you’re staying at SMR, you and your family get one free session.

For those of you with kids, this is a must-do activity. For those without kids, like us, it was worth the free session we received with our stay.

Fishing at Snow Mountain Ranch

Did you know that SMR has their very own reservoir? It’s true, and guests can fish the reservoir without a fishing license.

A Snow Mountain Ranch Summer to-do list. Gaylord Reservoir. HeidiTown.com

On the last morning of our SMR yurt trip, we visited Gaylord Reservoir and threw in our lines without much success. A friend just visit SMR last week and caught the biggest trout of his life so you can be sure that there are fish to be caught in Gaylord. We should have inquired at the fishing counter in the Programs Building about what fish were biting on in late June.

A Snow Mountain Ranch Summer to-do list. Wildflower hunting. HeidiTown.com

I grew bored and decided to explore the slope behind us in search of wildflowers and I found bunches to photograph. While we didn’t catch any trout, we did scare up a mamma duck and her six ducklings, which for me was a better “catch” than a fish.

A Snow Mountain Ranch Summer to-do list. ducks on Gaylord Reservoir. HeidiTown.com

If you need to rent fishing equipment or would like to sign up for fly fishing lessons or rent a canoe, just visit the Program Building. For more information fishing at SMR, click here.

New at Snow Mountain Ranch

Many of SMR’s lodging options are dog-friendly, including Yurt Village, and now there’s a big, brand new dog park just a hop and skip away from the village. Our dog is too old for dog park outings, but if you’ve got an energetic dog, this is a wonderful place to let him or her play while staying at SMR.

A Snow Mountain Ranch Summer to-do list. dog-friendly. HeidiTown.com

Our old girl Xena loves Snow Mountain Ranch! There’s so much wildlife to see.

A Snow Mountain Ranch Summer to-do list. Wildlife watching. HeidiTown.com

… and here’s what Xena was watching.

Thank you to Snow Mountain Ranch for hosting us during this stay!

 

Featured Festival: ArtoCade 2016, Trinidad, Colorado

When I began writing about Colorado festivals on HeidiTown in 2010, I was inspired by small town festivals and unique events. ArtoCade, in Trinidad, fits both categories and that’s why I’m excited to be attending this year.

Featured Festival ArtoCade 2015 Trinidad Colorado. Einstein artcar. HeidiTown.com

“Albert Canstein” by inmates at the Trinidad Correctional Facility. Photo courtesy of ArtoCade.

With a population of less than 10,000, Trinidad is definitely a small town. It’s also a bit remote, located approximately three hours south of Denver and three and a half hours north of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Situated along the Sante Fe Trail, Trinidad has always been a place where travelers stopped to relax and refuel. Today, it remains a stop along Interstate 25 for many road trippers, so it seems rather appropriate that it’s now home to an award winning art car festival.

Featured Festival ArtoCade 2016 Trindiad Colorado. skeleton artcar. HeidiTown.com

“Boney Whipman” by Any Hazell. Photo courtesy of ArtoCade.

ArtoCade is a celebration of the wild and wacky world of art cars. Like their website reads, “If you can’t drive it, it’s a float.” And their distinctive parade is for drivable vehicles only – you must be able to drive your art piece in the parade that occurs at noon on Saturday, September 10.

The two-day festival, starts Friday evening, September 9, in downtown Trinidad with Vehiculart (5 to 7 p.m.). This event is a tribute to art cars with art exhibits and presenters who focus their artistic abilities on artful transportation. The evening will be a spectacle for the eyes and an opportunity to learn about the fascinating art car world. Vehiculart is followed by the CarBash at Brix Sports Bar & Grill.

art car at ArtoCade in Trinidad, Colorado

On Saturday, September 10, you can explore the historic town of Trinidad until the ArtoCade parade that starts at noon. Expect a colorful and unique extravaganza unlike anything you’ve seen before. There will be 80, yes, EIGHTY, art cars in this “cargantuan” art car parade.

Event organizer, Rodney Wood says, “It’s going to be absolutely carvelous!”

Afterward the parade, stick around downtown Trinidad to check out art cars and meet the “cartists” involved in creating these fantastic and whimsical vehicles.

From 7 to 9 p.m. that evening, adults are invited to attend CarDango, a revue/costume party/dance party/circus happening on Saturday night of the event. I’m really looking forward to this rowdy event – it should be fabulously peculiar – just like the rest of ArtoCade.

cardango fb post 01

ArtoCade is an excellent event, but you don’t have to take my word for it. ArtoCade won the Governor’s Award for Best Festival in 2015. I hope to see you there!

ArtoCade

September 9-10, 2016

Trinidad, Colorado

Downtown festivities: FREE

CarDango is a ticketed event ($20)

ArtoCade.com

Website includes lodging info, directions, art car entry forms and more.

Join ArtoCade on Facebook

ArtoCade 2016 logo

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

Making new traditions in the familiar town of Winter Park

Winter Park fits Ryan and I like an old glove. I think this is true for many Coloradans; especially Coloradans like Ryan who grew up skiing at Winter Park Resort.

I’ve been visiting for 16 years, and the town’s got a comfortable, familiar ambiance that I love.

Downtown Winter Park in the summer. HeidiTown.com

If you haven’t visited Winter Park, Colorado in the summer, the town pops with colorful flowers.

However, if you’re anything like us, when you get comfortable with a destination you tend to visit the same places on each visit. For instance, for us, a trip to Winter Park isn’t complete without a visit to Hernando’s Pizza Pub. That’s why, on our most recent trip to this well-loved Colorado resort town, we decided to mix things up a bit and add some new locations and activities to our agenda. Continue reading

Featured Festival: San Juan Brewfest 2016

As most of my regular readers already know, beer festivals are a dime-a-dozen here in Colorado. So how does one decide which festival is worthy of their patronage? Check with me! Today I’m here to tell you that San Juan Brewfest (August 27) rocks, and here’s why.

San Juan Brewfest 2016 logo

Durango rocks

Durango’s cool factor is off the charts. It’s brew-factor is also off the charts. There are six breweries and two distillers in this town of 16,000, making it an easy place to find a good drink.

Durango from Fort Lewis College. Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest 2016. HeidiTown (2)

Also, with restaurants such as El Moro Spirits & Tavern, Ken & Sue’s and Jean Pierre’s, Durango is winning the foodie game hands down. Very few towns of this size have this many gourmet food offerings.

Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest festival shot. HeidiTown (6)

In addition to food and drink, Durango offers an array of activities such as biking the Animas River Trail, floating the river, riding the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and so much more.

The Animas River Trail. Highlights of a weekend in Durango, Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest. HeidiTown.com

San Juan Brewfest rocks

San Juan Brewfest is awesome because it’s an excuse to hang out for a day or two in Durango, but there’s more.

The best part, is that San Juan Brewfest is top-notch, and I can tell you from personal experience that its park venue is one of the best in Colorado for one big reason and that’s shade. August festivals get hot and shade becomes a major priority and festival bonus. 

Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest  HeidiTown (4)

Secondly, because Durango is in Southwest Colorado, the San Juan Brewfest attracts a number of breweries from New Mexico that you won’t see at most Front Range beer festivals. This year, there are breweries coming from as far as Oregon, California and Wisconsin. See the entire list here.

Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest elevated ipa.  HeidiTown (1)

In all, fifty-four breweries and distilleries will be at the event along with three bands (see band lineup here).

VIP rocks

Last year, we went to San Juan Brewfest as VIPs which rocked. This year’s VIP package includes access to a brewer party on Friday night at Steamworks Brewing Co., one-hour early entrance to the beer festival, VIP area with a catered lunch and private bathroom, and a festival t-shirt. This is a GREAT VIP package and there are a few VIP tickets left.

Featured Festival San Juan Beerfest. Cheers shot. HeidiTown.com

Durango has a laid-back vibe that I love and so does San Juan Brewfest. I’d encourage you to make this festival your last summer hurrah.

San Juan Brewfest

All proceeds of San Juan Brewfest benefit United Way of Southwest Colorado

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Buckley Park at 12th & Main in downtown Durango

VIP, 12 to 5 p.m. / Upgraded GA 12:30 to 5 p.m. / GA 1 to 5 p.m.

Tickets, $30 to $70

(this is a 21 & over event)

SanJuanBrewfest.com

San Juan Brewfest on Facebook

Join this fest on Instagram

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

Kickin’ it at the Pro Rodeo in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

There are still two weekends left of the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, and you don’t want to miss this authentic, Wild West showdown.

Kickin’ it at the Pro Rodeo in Steamboat Springs. Bronco riding. HeidiTown.com

As a West Coast gal, raised in a tiny town in Washington State, I’ve been to my fair share of rodeos. And this summer I had the opportunity to attend the Pro Rodeo in Steamboat Springs as part of my Steamboat Summer Boat List trip. It didn’t disappoint. In fact, this little rodeo, that runs every Friday and Saturday night, July 17 through August 20, 2016 is one heck of a show.

Kickin’ it at the Pro Rodeo in Steamboat Springs. Bull scares photographer. HeidiTown.com

This bull had this photographer scrambling to get out of the arena.

Today, the town of Steamboat Springs is best-known for its champagne powder, but this ranching region of Northwest Colorado is home to more than a few real life cowboys, and there’s evidence that rodeo competitions have been taking place in town for more than 100 years. Continue reading

Last minute Colorado summer trip ideas

Not ready to let summer go? Aching to take one last summer trip? Here are some quick trip ideas sure to make a few long lasting Summer 2016 memories.

Go Biking

Biking is one of the Colorado activities that most reminds me of childhood. I think there was a period in my life – while I was trying to learn to ride a bike without hands – that I peddled more than I walked.

Last minute Colorado summer trip ideas - go biking. HeidiTown.com

Biking between small farms & wineries in Paonia, Colorado.

Today, when I’m speeding down the Yampa River Core Trail in Steamboat Springs or sailing down the Animas River Trail in Durango, I feel like a kid again.

Ryan and I have been adding biking to our many Colorado travels over the last two summers; renting bikes at the various locations we visit. Most recently we rented bikes from Cirque Cyclery in Paonia and toured small farms and a winery. Continue reading

Christmas in Ouray, it’s not too early to start planning

There are still 144 days until Christmas, so please don’t panic, however, it’s never too soon to plan holiday travel. And after this summer heatwave we’ve been experiencing, a cool down in the beautiful village of Ouray, Colorado sounds heavenly.

Spend Christmas in Ouray, photo by Dan Navakowski

Photo by Dan Navakowski & used with permission.

Imagine spending a wintry weekend surrounded by snowy peaks in Ouray, Colorado. Snowshoe on a local trail, enjoy a delicious meal or cozy up with a warm whiskey drink at KJ Wood Distillers. Top it all off with Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.

Discounted tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival

The Annual Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival takes place during Ouray’s Winterfest, a seven-week holiday season of events and promotions. It starts after Thanksgiving and last through the Ouray Ice Festival in January. Festive activities take place throughout Winterfest, including Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.

Spend Christmas in Ouray at Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. HeidiTown.com

This blog post is your chance to purchase discounted tickets to Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival, and to start planning your winter getaway in Ouray.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday, December 10, 2016.

This festival features Colorado wines, chocolate and cheeses, and has expanded to include local craft distillers and arts and crafts. Of course, there’s live music too and this year’s festival theme is 1930’s Swing.

Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is a beautiful way to ring in the holidays with a few of everyone’s favorite things. And it’s also an opportunity to purchase last minute Colorado gifts for all your favorite people.

Spend Christmas in Ouray. Cheese table at Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. HeidiTown.com

Click here and enter “HeidiTown” into the “Enter Promotional Code” box to receive a 10% discount on your 2016 tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. Promotion runs through August 31, 2016.

Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is online at ColoradoWineFest.org.

Start planning your visit to Ouray at OurayColorado.com.

Each year, Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival supports a local non-profit and this year’s benefactor is Weehawken Creative Arts, helping kids and adults in Ouray County and neighboring communities discover their creative potential through the arts.

Winterfest is supported by the Annual Ouray Jeep Raffle, a half-century-long community fundraiser that gives participants the opportunity to win a jeep.

Faith Perry at Ouray's Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. HeidiTown.com

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This post is a paid advertisement. Interested in marketing your event, festival or destination with HeidiTown.com? Please email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

FEATURED FESTIVAL: Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, Colorado

This brand new festival is happening in one of my favorite places in the state, Delta County, Colorado. This bountiful area boasts farms, wineries, orchards, ranches and more. And Farm to Fiddle Festival is a celebration of everything this region has to offer.

Farm to Fiddle Festival

The festival takes place in Hotchkiss, Colorado, a town that claims to be the friendliest town around and I’ve had no experiences to the contrary. Hotchkiss really is a friendly place to visit and Farm to Fiddle is a great excuse to do so.

FEATURED FESTIVAL: Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, Colorado

Traffic in downtown Hotchkiss, Colorado.

The festival is being held in downtown Hotchkiss during the last two days of the Delta County Fair & Rodeo, also held in Hotchkiss, and the two events are within walking distance of one another.

Farm to Fiddle will feature three parts; an arts and crafts corner, a farm block and an outdoor expo. Festival goers will be able to buy everything from art for their home to farm fresh fruits and vegetables. At the Outdoor Expo, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will conduct a Safe Shoot starting Saturday at noon.

FEATURED FESTIVAL Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, Colorado. Veggies. HeidiTown.com

Veggies at the Hotchkiss Saturday Farmers’ Market.

In addition there will be plenty of music throughout the event.. Performers include Miguel Dakota & the Differents, Charlie Ware the cowboy poet, Mike Gwinn & North Fork Flyers, Linda McVehil, among others.

The festival show stealer, however, may be local celebrity, 15-year-old Jeneve Rose Mitchell. Mitchell is from Crawford, which is just up the road from Hotchkiss, and was a contestant on American Idol. She’s been singing and playing fiddle since she was as toddler, and now she plays an array of stringed instruments.

Other events at Farm to Fiddle include a Saturday night dance at the Elk’s BPOE 1807, and a motorcycle poker run sponsored by Pat’s Bar & Grill. Don’t miss the wine and cheese tasting hosted by ShadeScapes from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

This festival is a wonderful opportunity for folks to get acquainted with the Delta County area of Colorado. It would be a fantastic time to pick up some fruit and with u-pick farms around every bend, visitors can go home with a trunk full of farm fresh produce. Wine lovers will want to visit  the many wineries in the area. Those who want a hands on farm experience can tour farms like The Living Farm.

FEATURED FESTIVAL Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, Colorado. Our haul. HeidiTown.com

Our haul from Delta County. Just imagine what you could come home with!

For area lodging information click here, but I can say from experience that Leroux Creek Inn & Vineyards is a fantastic bed and breakfast in Hotchkiss.

Farm to Fiddle Festival

August 12-13, 2016

Friday, 9 to 6 & Saturday, 10 to 6

Hotchkiss, Colorado

Admission: FREE

FarmtoFiddle.com

Farm to Fiddle on Facebook

Farm to Fiddle is presented by Outdoors Alive, Inc., an organization founded to promote safe enjoyment of recreation through educational programs and humanitarian services to all with an emphasis on youth, disabled, handicapped, underprivileged persons, and military personnel.

FEATURED FESTIVAL Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, Colorado. Avlanche Cheese Co. goat. HeidiTown.com

Farms like the Avalanche Cheese Co.’s goat farm allow visitors to tour.

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

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Wildflowers & wild chipmunks on Grand Mesa Scenic Byway

I’m assuming that most of my readers have heard of Grand Mesa, but I’m betting that many haven’t been there. I hadn’t beeen there until this past weekend. We were visiting the Paonia and Hotchkiss area of the state and decided to return home via the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, a route we’d never taken before.

Wildflowers & wild chipmunks on Grand Mesa. HeidiTown.com (6)

This byway runs from Cedaredge, across the top of Grand Mesa and down into Skyway near Powderhorn Ski Resort. Grand Mesa is 500 square miles and is the largest flat-topped mountain in the world according to National Geographic. At 11,333 at the highest point, it’s tall too.

Stopping briefly for some apple cider at a farm stand in Cederedge, we began to wind our way up the Grand Mesa. We watched with some interest as the temperature outside began to fall from near 90 degrees to 65 degrees by the time we reached the top.

Before we reached the top, however, we pulled into the visitor’s center. As we exited our vehicle, the smell of pine trees filled me with nostalgia for childhood camping trips in Northern California. Continue reading

How I almost lost my Colorado Cool Kid Card

I know what you’re thinking, how could the Mayor of HeidiTown ever lose her Colorado Cool Kid Card? Well, there are a few ways to lose this card and one of those is by not attending an event at Red Rocks and another is by not attending a concert The Mishawaka.

How I almost lost my Colorado Cool Kid Card. The Mishawaka concert venue. HeidiTown.com

After living in Colorado for 16 years, I’ve been to Red Rocks a couple of times, but a show at the famed Mishawaka Amphitheater in the Poudre Canyon outside of Fort Collins had alluded me.

I’d driven by about 85 times, and even stopped in once for lunch, but I hadn’t seen a concert there until last Friday night which means my Cool Kid Card is safe and has another Awesome Stamp.

A couple of weeks before, my girlfriend texted me, “Toad the Wet Sprocket and Rusted Root at The Mish. Wanna go?”

As a quintessential child of the 90s – I graduated high school in 1995 – I responded with an emphatic yes. Continue reading

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