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Loveland has been a Mecca for art and artists since the 1970s, and while sculpture has been the traditional medium of choice in the town, a shift towards other art mediums has occurred over the last several years. This isn’t to say that Loveland’s sculpture community is going way – that practice has deep, strong roots, but today, Loveland is a place where many different sorts of artists to hone their craft.

Reclaimed steel & glass. By JADE ART.

Reclaimed steel & glass. By JADE ART. Photo courtesy LAST on Facebook.

There is no better way to see this art renaissance in action than during the 6th Annual Loveland Art Studio Tour in October. This free event is an opportunity to explore Loveland’s artistic culture and soak up the ambiance of this creative community.

The official Loveland Art Studio Tour runs October 11 & 12 and 18 & 19. These two weekends give visitors a chance to visit more than 35 studios where numerous local artists will display their works from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m each day. The real bonus, in my opinion, is that the artists will be available to chat with you.

Anglea Canada Hopkins, artist.  Photo by Erik Stenbakken, 2009. Courtesy of LAST on Facebook.

Anglea Canada Hopkins, artist. Photo by Erik Stenbakken, 2009. Courtesy of LAST on Facebook.

My best memories of visiting art galleries during my travels are the times when I got to meet the artists and talk with them about their work. I know that talking to an artist and about his or her work adds a new level of significance to the art piece that I am viewing. Sometimes these powerful insights into the mind of an artist can change your entire perspective on their work. Perhaps you’ll find time to ask artist Kerri Ertman what she had in mind when she created this whimsical skeleton piece.

Happily Ever Ever by Kerri Ertman. Courtesy LAST on Facebook

Happily Ever After by Kerri Ertman. Courtesy LAST on Facebook

The organizers of the Loveland Art Studio Tour realize that art isn’t just for grownups, and in fact, exposing children to art can instill a lifelong love, even if that child is like me and can only ever draw stick figures. This is why, in addition to the art studio tours, visitors can visit several other Loveland landmarks where their children can experience hands on art projects at no cost.

CreatorSpace at 125 East 5th Street will have multiple activities including a cardboard challenge, robots and simple circuits. Stop at the Timberlane Farm Museum at 2306 East First Street to visit the animals and create a corn husk doll with your kids. Osborn Farms at 1230 South Boise is where your child can pick a perfect Halloween pumpkin.

Belgian Horse at Timberlane Farm Museum HeidiTown

Belgian Horse at Timberlane Farm Museum.

Life is short – it’s time to add a little art into it by visiting Loveland this October. Be sure to pick up a Loveland Art Studio Tour brochure when you arrive in town. It has a map and coupons for deals around town such as $2 off a bottle of wine at Mrs. Torrelli’s Wine Flat. You can pick up the brochure at Lincoln Gallery, Independence Gallery, Schissler Academy, Lola’s Fresh Patina and Artworks.

Loveland Art Studio Tour

October 11-12 & 18-19, 2014

Loveland, Colorado

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I love fall, and I adore fall in Colorado. We may not have the reputation of places like New England or Wisconsin, but autumn in Colorado is quite grand, and perhaps it’s been overlooked for too long.

Monarch Pass on September 21, 2014.

Monarch Pass on September 21, 2014.  Shot through the car window with my phone because we were in a big hurry to make it to civilization so that we could watch the Bronco game. I really should have stopped and taken a photo with my real camera.

The usual way to celebrate fall in Colorado is to go leaf peeping. Every online and print publication has articles about it; I published my 3-part Colorado fall travel series earlier this month.

I decided to find some additional ways that you can experience and celebrate all the wonderful things Colorado has to offer during this season of change.

1. EAT. This is the time of year to taste the bounty of Colorado’s summertime harvest and there’s no better place to do that then at The Living Farm Café in Paonia, Colorado. I previously wrote about my experiences at this café and farm here. Continue Reading…

Berthoud Oktoberfest Logo 2014The goal of Berthoud Oktoberfest is to bring a little bit of Germany to Northern Colorado. Located between Longmont and Loveland, Berthoud is a charming town of 5000. It’s a bit of throwback community, eliciting memories of Norman Rockwell paintings.

It’s this setting that makes Berthoud the perfect place to hold an authentic Oktoberfest.

I am co-founder of Berthoud Oktoberfest. As a reporter for the local newspaper, I thought Berthoud was the perfect place to hold an Oktoberfest. It’s an adorable town and there are many there who trace their roots back to Germany.

Chalet Dancers at Berthoud Oktoberfest 2013.

Along with the owner of the local newspaper, I threw together the first Berthoud Oktoberfest in 2010 in less than two months – and it was a smashing success. Several thousand people showed up to polka, drink beer and listen to Oomph music, and we’ve been doing the same thing on the first Saturday in October ever since.

This year is very similar to past years. Music will be provided by Steve Rock Tanzkapelle, a polka band from the Denver area and the Dick Zavodny Polka Band from Loveland. Both bands have been playing with us since the beginning and they keep the festival goers dancing all day.

Dick Zavodny Polka Band at Berthoud Oktoberfest.

This year the Chalet Dancers from Castle Rock will perform their tradition German dance routine at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Last year, some festival goers missed the Chalet Dancers entertaining routine, so they will perform twice this year.

Along with music and dancing festival goers will enjoy beer from Berthoud Brewing (Berthoud), City Star Brewing (Berthoud) and Grimm Brothers Brewhouse (Loveland).

In keeping with our authentic theme, food is provided by our German food vendor, including traditional Bavarian pretzels.

There’s even a tent that you can visit and look up your families German heritage.

In addition, there will be a pretzel eating contest for the kids (two age groups), as well as a best dirdl contest and best lederhosen contest. There are two fantastic prizes for each winner of the dirdl/lederhosen contest – a free hotel stay at a Marriott in Longmont, Colorado. The winners of the pretzel eating contest will receive an illustrated edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

kid with pretzel at Berthoud Oktoberfest.

happy little kid at pretzel eating contest at Berthoud Oktoberfest.

Berthoud Oktoberfest is good family fun with lots of activities planned for children – and I’m not just talking about the chicken dance, which is always a crowd pleaser. The St. Vrain Soccer Club will be running soccer demonstrations on the south end of the park and all ages may join.

Whether you’re 2 days old or 102, Berthoud Oktoberfest is for you. Bring your stein or buy one from this year’s brand new vendor, German Steins & Souvenirs.

Berthoud Oktoberfest

Saturday, October 4, 2014

11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Fickel Park, Berthoud, Colorado


Join the fest on Facebook here!

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.  Continue Reading…

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. 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…