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This was the most unique winter festival we attended last year. It’s a spectacle of creativity and fire and must be experienced to be truly understood. And, the fact that it’s held in Telluride is a big bonus.

Part Burning Man, part community party, 2015 was the inaugural year of Telluride Fire Festival. The first thing we witnessed on our first night in town was El Pulpo Mecanico. I’ll admit, this fire breathing art car was one of the most amazing things I’ve witnessed in my nearly 40 years on this planet.

Featured Festival Telluride Fire Festival 2016 El Pulpo Mecanico

Photo courtesy of Telluride Fire Festival.

Telluride Fire Festival is broken into various piece. There are free events held in the Town of Telluride and in Mountain Village. There are also ticket events. Last year, March Fourth put on an outstanding ticketed show during Telluride Fire Festival.

There are also festival workshops. You can learn to weld or spin fire (yes, fire!). Some workshops have a fee while others are free. See a list of them here.

Dozens of artists come to town for this festival. From fire spinners to DJs to dance troupes, you won’t be able to toss a snowball without hitting an artist during Telluride Fire Festival. This is what makes it one of the most inspiration winter festivals in Colorado. See a list of participating artists here.

FractalTribePerformer#2ByRyanBonneau (1)

Photo provided by Telluride Fire Festival. Photographer, Ryan Bonneau.

During the day you can participate in workshops or visit participating art galleries around Telluride, or you can ski or take a yoga class. That’s the beauty of Telluride, there’s a lot to do in this beautiful town.

Each night of fire festival there will be an event to warm you up including a dance party on Friday with Rob Garza, a Costume Fire Ball on Saturday and a fire-spinning party on Sunday.

A VIP event takes place Thursday evening and only those who purchase an All Access Pass will be allowed into this private reception.

An All Access Pass is just $195 (must be 21 or older to purchase). Purchase your pass here. Tickets to individual events are also available.

Telluride Fire Festival fire breathing dragon. HeidiTown.com

While some events are 21 and older, in general this is a festival for anyone who seeks to ignite a creative fire within their soul. I guarantee that something you see, hear or feel at Telluride Fire Festival will spark your imagination.

Telluride Fire Festival

January 14-18, 2016

Telluride, Colorado

Free & ticketed

TellurideFireFestival.org

Join Telluride Fire Festival on Facebook

Join Telluride Fire Festival on Twitter

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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.

Want to get high in Colorado this New Year’s Eve? It’s super easy and I’m not referring to a drug induced high. If you were to fly high above the Rocky Mountains on New Year’s Eve, you’d see an array of fireworks, from Steamboat Springs to Telluride the mountains would be covered in sparkling flashes of color.

©Arthur Balluff  Breckenridge Tourism Office

©Arthur Balluff Breckenridge Tourism Office

New Year’s Eve in Breckenridge

Breckenridge, Colorado knows how to put on a party and New Year’s eve is no exception. Fireworks over Peak 9 start at 9 p.m., but prior to the show your kids are invited to take part in the Glow Worm Parade – it’s like a torchlight parade, except the kids are skiing on the greens with glow sticks instead of fire. Registration starts at 5 p.m. at the Beaver Run Ski & Snowboard School and the parade starts at 5:45 p.m. This is an experience your little ones won’t soon forget. Continue Reading…

Colorado logoIt’s getting easier and easier to find gifts that are made in Colorado. Most towns have a store or two selling local wares. But if you’d like to buy from the comfort of your home, that’s available too. Here are some Colorado gift available online.

A Colorado Park Pass for Christmas

This is the gift that keeps on giving and it’s way better than a membership to the Jelly of the Month Club (fans of Christmas Vacation will understand this joke).

There are 42 state parks in Colorado and a pass allows access to all of them. What could be better than giving your loved one or friend access to Mother Nature in all her glory?

Purchase an annual pass or a gift certificate here.

A Subscription to Colorado for Christmas

Okay, so you can’t buy a subscription to Colorado, but you can purchase a subscriptions to a great Colorado magazine or two. Colorado Outdoors is the official publication of Colorado Parks & Wildlife and the only magazine dedicated to Colorado’s wildlife.

Perfect for hikers, hunters or anyone interested in nature. Available online here. Continue Reading…

What is a 128-year-old fictional private detective doing in Denver, Colorado? Well, my dear readers, the game’s afoot at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and you’re invited solve the case.

Think this exhibit is just for kids? Think again. The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes encourages parents to review this page before bringing their children. Remember, the series of Holmes books, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, were written for adults and the exhibit, while suitable for some children, may not be suitable for all ages.

Sherlock Holmes in Denver, Colorado. HeidiTown (2)

We had a great time at this exhibit – better than I expected. Visitors start in a room dedicated to the literary history of Sherlock Holmes and then move on to the real fun stuff. In the second room we picked up a notebook, “a detective’s most important tool,” and we began to work our way towards solving the case.

As we completed each section in the first room, ballistics, optics, etc. we stamped our notebook and moved on. This area was a sort of learning ground that would hopefully turn us into good detectives. Next we entered 221B Baker Street and were instructed by our handy notebook to find 13 items. I found several bells, but never could locate the Bell Pull, so if someone can enlighten me as to where it is, I’d be most grateful. Continue Reading…

I’m not a super Christmassy person. I don’t decorate my house, I don’t participate in cookie Christmas exchanges and I do not listen to the Christmas station on Pandora. I’m not a scrooge, really, just not big on holidays in general, except St. Patrick’s Day. Bagpipes and whiskey? Yes, please.

However, even the biggest Scrooge in the world can’t help but get into the spirit in Golden, Colorado.

Merry Christmas from the Golden Hotel. HeidiTown.com

The lobby of The Golden Hotel decked out for the holidays.

We visited Golden this past weekend in order to experience their annual Candlelight Parade. We stayed at The Golden Hotel which is ideally located for a holiday visit. Our room overlooked Clear Creek and once the sun went down we had a Christmassy view of all the lighted trees along the river.

After a drink at Barrels & Bottles (try the Gin Sure Thing IPA and Hot Apple Toddy), we ventured out on the street with unlit candles. It didn’t take long to find someone who lit our candles with theirs. Continue Reading…

December is the most popular month to purchase engagement rings, according to National Jewelers Magazine, and this means that a lot of couples get engaged during the winter. Whether you’re looking to pop the question or just want to impress your spouse with a wintry getaway, here are some romantic Colorado destinations sure to please.

Grand Lake, Colorado

Well known as a summer destination, over the years, Grand Lake has become one of our favorite winter towns. From ice fishing to snowmobiling to snow shoeing and cross country skiing, we’ve done it all in Grand Lake and loved every minute of it.

Romantic Winter Getaways in Colorado. Sleigh ride in Grand Lake.

Photo courtesy of the Grand Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

Located downtown and lakefront, we love The Lake House, a Western Riviera property. I fondly remember being curled up in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine while snow fell gently on our balcony.

Walking hand in hand over the snow covered wooden sidewalks of Grand Lake, you and your sweetheart can keep warm by popping into a local pub or even catching a show at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre.

For a meal to remember make a reservation at Terrace Inn. Ryan took me there for my birthday a number of years ago and we still recall that dining experience fondly.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte’s colorful downtown covered in a blanket of snow is reminiscent of a Christmas card. This is a truly charming town and a wintry stay here is the perfect recipe for a romantic weekend getaway.

Romantic Winter Getaways in Colorado. Crested Butte in the snow

Photo courtesy of Travel Crested Butte. Photo by Lydia Stern.

Purple Mountain Bed & Breakfast is the place to stay for a true Crested Butte experience. This bed and breakfast offers afternoon beer tastings and has a hot chocolate bar. There’s even a spa if you’d like to surprise him or her with a special treatment.

To warm up, visit Montanya Distillers for a cocktail and some delicious tapas. This contemporary bar blends the rustic feel of Crested Butte with a modern take on old favorites such as Wassail made with Montanya Oro rum mulled with organic local apple cider, spices, cranberry and housemade citrus bitters.

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

A roundup of romantic winter getaways in Colorado would not be complete without mention of hot springs. The Springs Resort & Spa, located in Pagosa Springs, is a resort like no other. The property includes multiple types of lodging, a spa and 25 mineral hot springs pools.

Romantic Winter Getaways in Colorado. The Springs, Pagosa Spring

Photo courtesy of The Springs Resort & Spa.

Anyone can soak at The Springs, but guests get 24 hour access to the pools. When we stayed at the beautiful The Springs EcoLux Hotel we got up at 5:30 a.m. to watch the sunrise from the adults-only section that sits high above the San Juan River. It did not disappoint.

Enjoy a romantic meal at Alley House Grill in downtown Pagosa Springs. Order the grilled beef filet with cabernet miso bacon beurre rouge or Colorado rainbow trout in a creamy almond cranberry beurre blanc.

It’s the time of year when folks start contemplating their New Year’s resolutions and I’ve got a resolution I’d love for you to consider. How about resolving to travel to at least one new place in your state this year?

Resolve to visit a new place. Welcome to Colorful Colorado sign. HeidiTown.com

Most people have their favorite locations and they tend to vacation there year after year. I challenge you to discover a new destination in 2016 and give it a try. The one caveat is that it must be within driving distance of your house. I’m encouraging you to explore your own backyard – find the hidden gems within your state – I promise you that they do exist.

Here in Colorado there are numerous destination around the state that deserve a visit and yet on a regular basis I run into lifelong residents of this state who go to Vegas twice a year but have never been to some of our state’s greatest spots such as Mesa Verde National Park.

How about a wintry weekend in Crested Butte, a spring excursion to Durango where the trees start blooming in April or a foodie adventure in Delta County during harvest season? I bet at least one of these trips would be new for you.

While flying saves time, car trips come with many advantages that flights do not. By driving you can stop and explore things along the way. Whether it’s the World’s Largest Beetle in Colorado Springs or something a bit more educational like a Presidential library, a road trip gives you options.

You can stop and eat a real lunch and don’t have to purchase a dry airplane sandwich for $10.

Best of all, you can enjoy the scenery.

This country is amazing. From small towns that capture the spirit of the past to trendy towns whose restaurants celebrate local food on a nightly basis, there’s surely a place that’s perfect for you. I challenge you to go out and find it in 2016.

It’s Thanksgiving week and that means posts about thankfulness are popping up on blogs across the United States, so I decided to play along.

When you live in Colorado there’s a lot to be thankful for, but I’m especially thankful for our 300 days of sunshine every year.

Colorado sunshine on my shoulders make me happy. HeidiTown.com

Coloradans wake up to sunshine streaming in our bedroom windows nearly every day of the week. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, this was a new concept for me when I moved to Colorado, and even after fifteen years of living here I never take those rays of morning sunshine for granted.

A recent study in the United Arab Emirates (written about in the Huffington Post in 2013) has linked behavioral change with mood change and vitamin D status. See full article here.

Another study seemed to show that people living in sunny states such as Arizona and Florida tended to be more happy than those living in less sunny states such as New York. (NBCNews.com)

I don’t need a study to tell me I’m happier when the sun is shining, I know that I am. When the day is dark my mood is dark, but if it’s sunny I tend to have a sunny disposition. I am much more energetic on sunny days, which means I’m much more energetic living in Colorado than I would be living in a rainy state.

The wonderful thing about sunshine is that it makes it a lot easier to get out and enjoy everything Colorado has to offer such as 42 state parks and thousands of miles trail. I realize some of you hardcore types like to hike in the rain, but I do not.

Even if you don’t like hiking, the sun can still be part of a great Colorado day. I always choose to sit at the sunny table in restaurants and coffee shops, and I prefer to dine al fresco the moment restaurants open their patio dining. Of course, in Colorado, some restaurants have year round al fresco dining available, another reason I love living here.

So there you have it. This Thanksgiving I’ll be giving thanks for sunshine. And please note, this is the only post on HeidiTown this week, but don’t miss “Colorado Christmas Towns” this week in The Heidi Guide on MountainLiving.com.

John Denver said it best. 

Happy Thanksgiving, citizen.

I love visiting Denver during the holidays. The city literally twinkles with Christmas cheer, especially the Denver Christkindl Market. As many of you know, we’re longtime lovers of this European-style Christmas market that sets up shop in Skyline Park in downtown Denver each holiday season.

Christmas lights at the Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

The market is a throwback to Christmas days of old. It’s fashioned after traditional European Christmas Markets that have a long history dating back to the Middle Ages, according to Wikipedia and other online sources.

Denver’s market isn’t quite that old, but it has become wildly popular over the last several years. The word has gotten out and visiting the market has become a tradition for many families, including mine.

Visitors to the market will find themselves transported to another place and time. Purchase a hot pretzel, sugary or salty, and browse the artisan stalls.

Beautiful sweaters at Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

Last year we bought my niece a brightly lit hanging paper star that she immediately asked “Uncle Ryan” to hand from her bedroom ceiling. Several years ago we purchased a beautiful German lace scarf for my mother. It is dyed a deep red and she cherishes it.

stars at Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

Eventually visitors to the market will find themselves in front of the Entertainment Tent. This warm and festively decorated tent serves as a waypoint for visitors. Here they can enjoy a beer, gluehwein, German mulled wine or schnapps. German music and dancers are on the Entertainment Tent stage throughout the festival. See the entertainment lineup here.

dancing kids at Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

Last but not least, visitors to the market can purchase a variety of European-inspired cuisine. From wienerschnitzel to hot pierogis – there’s something for every taste at the Denver Christkindl Market. My favorite is Chef Neuhold’s smoked salmon served with hot German potato salad. I get it every year at the Market and at the Biergarten Festival in Morrison every summer.

Heidi serving up schnapps at Denver Christkindl Market. HeidiTown.com

This year, market guests can win prizes each day between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Just be sure to pick up a free raffle ticket and you’ll potentially win a wonderful gift from one of the market’s vendors. A different gift will be given away each day.

Denver Christkindl Market

Skyline Park, 16th St. Mall & Arapahoe St., Denver, Colorado

FREE ADMISSION

November 20 through December 23, 2015

Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Closing at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day

DenverChristkindlMarket.com

Join the Market on Facebook

Follow the Market on Twitter

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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.

There has been a great deal of buzz around REI’s #OptOutside Campaign. If you haven’t heard, REI is closing their stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday and is encouraging customers to enjoy an outdoor activity instead of fighting the shopping crowds.

Why it’s easy to #OptOutside in Colorado

Here in Colorado there are lots of ways to #OptOutside, so I thought I’d shed light on some of the ways you can #OptOutside in Colorado on Black Friday or any other day of the year.

42 State Parks in Colorado

Believe it or not Colorado has 42 state parks; there’s probably one very close to where you are sitting right now. Use this Park Finder to find the one nearest to you.

You can do a lot in Colorado’s state parks. There are miles of trails to explore whether you hike or snowshoe or cross country ski. Fishing and camping are other popular activity in our state’s many parks.

Why it’s easy to #OptOutside in Colorado. Snowshoeing with the dog near Boulder, Colorado.

Snowshoeing near Boulder, Colorado.

An activity you may not have considered is staying in a cabin or a yurt in a Colorado state park. During the cold Colorado months a cabin or yurt stay may be more appealing than camping. This page can help you plan that type of trip. Many of these accommodations are big enough for you and several friends.

If you are considering to #OptOutside at one of Colorado’s State Parks make sure your park’s pass is up-to-date. You can purchase a parks pass here.

Four National Parks in Colorado

Coloradans are lucky to have four National Parks in the state. We recently did several hikes in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park – read that post here. See a list of all of Colorado’s National Parks, National Heritage Areas and National Historic Sites.

28 Ski Resorts in Colorado

In addition to skiing at Colorado’s numerous ski resorts, there are other outdoor activities available. Many resorts have installed tubing hills such as the Coca-Cola Tubing Hill at Winter Park Resort. At Copper Mountain you can zip line year round on the Alpine Rush Zip Line.

Why it’s easy to #OptOutside in Colorado. Snowshoeing at Telluride Ski Resort. HeidiTown.com

Snowshoeing at Telluride Ski Resort.

And in Telluride, take a guided (or unguided) snowshoe trek on top of the mountain.

Trails, trails everywhere trails in Colorado

Colorado is covered in thousands of miles of maintained hiking trails. From the canyons of Southeast Colorado to seventy different hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, if you love to hike, Colorado is the place to be.

Why it’s easy to #OptOutside in Colorado. Hiking near Horsetooth Resevoir in Fort Collins, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Hiking between Horsetooth Reservoir and the Devil’s Backbone in Northern Colorado.

AllTrails.com, a National Geographic site, is a great place to find a Colorado hike near you.

Whether you #OptOutside in Colorado on Black Friday or some other day this fall or winter, I guarantee you’ll have a great time.