We all know the number one reason to visit Black Hawk, Colorado is to gamble, but did you know that Ameristar Casino Resort offers several additional experiences?
When the Ameristar Casino Resort was first built I thought, “Now this place really looks like Vegas.” It’s not brand new anymore, but still retains that modern look of new Vegas. From the faux sky ceiling to the large, modern guest rooms, Ameristar is the top-notch hotel in Black Hawk.
This past week I finally got to experience a stay at this resort casino and it didn’t disappoint.
The Ara Spa at Ameristar Black Hawk
In the past year or so I’ve had the great pleasure of being pampered at some really fantastic Colorado spas and Ameristar’s Ara Spa rivals the best of them. It has a contemporary Colorado ambiance, and the interior design incorporates a calming combination of wood, stone and water. Continue reading
Last Saturday we went on the Delicious Downtown tour in Colorado Springs with Rocky Mountain Food Tours. My first piece of advice for anyone participating in this tour is to wear stretchy pants. Seriously, you will thank me.
Our tour started at The Antlers Hotel, a mid-modern goliath in downtown. We had a full tour of 14 hungry people. About half the group was from the Springs area and the other half from the Denver metro area.
There’s some walking involved on the tour, but I was grateful for the time between stops to let a little bit of the food in my stomach digest. Plus, Colorado Springs is a sunny city, so it’s likely that you’ll be soaking up some Vitamin D while you walk.
Our tour started with a visit to the Caribbean and ended by going down the Rabbit Hole. True story.
I’m not going to give away all the wonderful experience you’ll have on this Colorado Springs food tour, but I will tell you some of my highlights. Continue reading
I find something special about every place I visit in Colorado, however, sometimes I stumble across a destination that has just the right amount of history and ambiance to make it magical. Maybe it was the rain, perhaps it was the flock of grazing sheep, but Avalanche Ranch Cabins & Hot Springs was just such a place.
As we made our way up Hwy 133 out of Carbondale, Colorado and towards Avalanche Ranch, Mt. Sopris rose like a giant into a cloudy sky that was threatening rain. We didn’t mind. All we had planned for the afternoon and evening was to soak.
As we turned into the ranch, I was giddy to see a field full of fluffy sheep. I hadn’t known that the ranch is home to farmyard animals. In fact, our cabin overlooked the field, and as I ran down to take photographs several sheep came tottering towards me. In their winter wool coats they looked exactly like cotton balls on toothpicks. Continue reading
HeidiTown Gives Back took a hiatus for a few months, but it’s back. I started the HeidiTown Gives Campaign in 2012, because I wanted to use the HeidiTown platform to help organizations that help Coloradans.
The nonprofit I’m highlighting this month is a service that exists to help folks in their most desperate time of need. No one ever wants to believes that they will need an organization like Disabled Resource Services (DSR), but we never know. In the blink of an eye a person can become disabled, whether it’s through a traumatic accident or serious illness, and DRS is there to help.
DRS assists people of any age and any disability in Larimer County to live with as much independence as their disabilities allow. Many of the people who seek the services of DRS are living in poverty and a significant number are homeless. Read how DRS changes lives on their website, DisabledResourceServices.org.
DRS’s biggest fundraiser of the year is just around the corner, and that’s where I come in. I’m using this blog post to encourage you to attend Wine Fest, a Fort Collins’ tradition for 34 years.
What’s Wine Fest?
While it’s held in Fort Collins, Colorado, Wine Fest is not a locals-only event. Seventeen percent of last year’s attendee came from outside of Northern Colorado. In fact, ticket sales show that 12 different Colorado cities were represented at the event.
And people aren’t just flocking to Wine Fest to support a good cause, they are coming for the more than 500 wines from more than 150 wineries. Not wine drinker, but want to support the cause? Being that the event is held in the Napa Valley of Craft Beer, several years ago the festival organizers added craft beer tasting to the event.
Like many nonprofit fundraisers there is an auction and raffle, but in addition to those standard fundraising activities, there’s a wine luge. Yes, your RosÃ© will be poured into the top of this ice sculpture and will race down a serpentine route to the bottom where it will splash into a your waiting wine glass.
In addition to wine, there’s also food served at Wine Fest. Catered by more than 10 of Fort Collins’ best eateries, guests will not go hungry at Wine Fest.
Wine Fest will be held Friday, April 1, 2016 at the Fort Collins Marriott Hotel in the evening. Purchase your tickets at WineFestFC.org.
I know Colorado really, really well, but occasionally, I learn about a new destination, and when I do, I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl.
While visiting the Southern Colorado town of Alamosa for the Rio Frio Ice Fest, Ryan and I were browsing downtown shops when the gal working at Firedworks Gallery, an amazing store, asked if we were going to visit Hooper while we were in town.
“What’s Hooper?” I asked.
“It’s a town nearby with a hot springs pool that has an adult area where you can soak and have a drink,” she said. “It’s really great. The locals love it.”
“Sold,” I said.
She was referring to Sand Dunes Swimming Pool & Hot Springs, a destination that now rates as one of my favorite random HeidiTown discoveries.
After running the Rio Frio 5K, we had lunch and then headed to Hooper. Thankfully, we’ve gotten savvy over the years and always pack our swimsuits because in Colorado you just never know when you’ll run across a hot spring.
It only took about 25 minutes of driving to get to the Sand Dunes Swimming Pool & Hot Springs. A nondescript sign with a wave painted on it is the only indication of where to turn. Continue reading
Whether you ski or not, Colorado’s ski resorts put on fabulous springtime, slopeside parties that are worth a trip to the mountains. Nearly every resort has some sort of spring festival; some mountains host bands and others host competitions such as the Cardboard Classic in Steamboat Springs.
The Cardboard Classic, held during Steamboat’s Springalicious Festival, is a competition wherein teams build cardboard contraptions to get themselves down the mountain, and people get very creative. I’ve seen everything from a huge cardboard boat to a cardboard Volkswagen bug.
A number of years ago, I competed in the Cardboard Classic with some friends. We built a shotski and each of us were a different type of shot.
The Springalicious Festivals runs the first two weekends in April and you’ll find great lodging deals during the event that includes bands, a pond skimming competition and more. Continue reading
There are two great reasons to visit Copper Mountain other than the skiing. First, it’s so close to the Front Range. As seasoned Colorado travelers we arranged this trip Saturday to Monday to avoid ski traffic and getting back and forth from this resort was a breeze. Second, Copper has become a fun festival destination.
Festivals at Copper Mountain
Our first trip to Copper was to attend the summertime Genuine Wine & Jazz Festival.
This past weekend, we were back at Copper Mountain for Copper Uncorked, an annual, slopeside festival of wine and wings. This festival is an aprÃ¨s ski event with a twist. Eight area restaurants compete in an all out war for your “best wing” vote. The wine flowed, the wings were incredible and the band, New Orleans Suspects kept the crowd dancing.
I can honestly say that this was probably the best slopeside festival (both in value and presentation) that I’ve attended. A really good reason to book a ski trip in Copper on the third weekend in February. Continue reading
It’s always about this time of year when Coloradans are lulled into the belief that spring is just around the corner, and then, in comes March, Colorado’s snowiest month.
Have you been wondering how you’re going to make it through the doldrums of winter? Never fear, the Mayor’s here, and I’ve got some suggestions that should put a smile on your face as the last few weeks of winter tick down.
Fantastic March festivals in Colorado
There are two fantastic March festivals that will help alleviate your wintertime woes. First up, Crystal Carnival & Skijoring Weekend in Leadville. We attended for the first time last year (I wrote about our experience here).
Forget the X-Games, if you really want to be wowed by athletes who push the boundaries, you must visit Leadville during the Skijoring Championships, March 5-6, 2016, during Crystal Carnival. Continue reading
Gluttony, it’s not something to be proud of, so it’s a good thing that we ran a 5K while we were in Alamosa, Colorado, because the rest of the time we were eating. You may think I’m exaggerating, but we hit no less than seven restaurants (two of them twice) during our two- night say in this Southern Colorado city of 10,000.
We were in town for the Rio Frio Ice Fest and Rio Frio 5K. The festival theme was Star Wars and I hope that explains some of the photos in this post.
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and soon found ourselves at San Luis Brewing Company, maker of our favorite chile beer, the Valle Caliente. We ordered a couple pints along with a platter of sausages to tide us over until dinner.
Later that night, after the Rio Frio Fest’s opening party, we headed to The Rubi Slipper. This diner/bar and has about 100 hamburgers on the menu. Okay, maybe not 100, but the most I’ve ever seen, so of course, we ordered hamburgers. Continue reading
Mayor’s Note: I’ve had so many questions from social media followers about our yurt stay that I’m very thorough in this post so that those of you who are considering a yurt stay will know exactly what to expect. Being thorough means that this post is much, much longer than usual, but I decided against breaking it up.
I’d never given yurts a second thought until Snowmass Mammoth Festival last summer. The festival’s media “tent” was actually a yurt and after spending two days hanging out in it, Ryan and I had been bitten by the yurt bug.
While visiting Montrose this past fall we toured the Colorado Yurt Company, the folks responsible for many of the yurts you see around the state and beyond (including the Never Summer Nordic yurt highlighted in this article). Our visit to Colorado Yurt Co. only fueled our interest in yurts so when I got the opportunity to do a yurt stay, I jumped at it.
We were booked for one night in the Sunset Yurt, one of three Never Summer Nordic yurts that are located just west of Cameron Pass between Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The three yurts at this location (Black Bear, Aspen and Sunset) are the only Never Summer yurts that are dog friendly in the winter and accessible by car year-round. Continue reading