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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…

The older I get the more I appreciate old cars. I have no idea why, but I do know that owning a 6 cylinder vehicle has made it more fun to drive, so that probably has something to do with it.

Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 17I enjoy car shows and I really like the Old Town Car Show (formerly the Nelsen’s Old Town Car Show) because it’s in lively downtown Fort Collins. I’ve watched this event grow every year and today, every nook and cranny of Old Town is filled with vintage vehicles that will leave you drooling. While I’m not a car show junkie, I stood next to one at last year’s event and he told me that this is one of his all-time favorite shows in Colorado and he never misses it. Seems like high praise to me.

In addition to the hundreds of hot-rods, vintage cars and classic trucks, there’s music. This year it’s all about the blues. The Northern Colorado Blues Festival will host blues bands throughout the day on the main stage at Old Town Square.

Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 14

The Nelsen’s Old Town Car Show is 100% free for spectators and since it’s located downtown it is the perfect opportunity to do a little shopping and grab a bite at one of Fort Collins’ fabulous eateries. Did you know The Kitchen now has a restaurant in Fort Collins? I bet there are lots of new places you haven’t tried yet, although old favorites are good too. I’m seriously addicted to the calamari at Jax Fish House, so anytime I’m in Fort Collins I try to swing by.

The Old Town Car Show takes place Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 11 a.m to 5 p.m.

Find additional info, like how to register your car, at

Bring your camera because there are some real beauties at this show. Here are some more of my favorite photos from last year’s event.

Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 5Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 12Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 9Nelsen's Old Town Car Show 2013 - 4

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


Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

A birthday weekend in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Today’s #TravelTuesday tip may seem simple, but I’m here to tell you that it’s vital. I’m a hat person. I love hats of all sorts and own quite a few. Spring, summer, fall or winter, a hat is probably the most useful thing you can pack when you’re heading out on a trip – any kind of trip.

Heading to the beach? Whether it’s the beach at Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, Colorado or the beach in Cozumel, Mexico, a big floppy hat is a good idea. Even for the boys. My floppy hat that I bought at the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool in 2013 for $36 was the best investment I’ve ever made. I’ve worn that thing everywhere; beer fests, soccer games, the pool and most recently an outside memorial service. It’s a truly versatile hat, and it’s also doing my body good.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer at Colorado Brewers' Festival in 2013.

The best hat ever! At the Colorado Brewers’ Festival in 2013.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer in Mexico.

Floppy beach hat at my 30th birthday in Mexico.

Continue Reading…

PJ's Neighborhood Pub in Hotchkiss, Colorado.

Eating at the bar at PJ’s in Hotchkiss, Colorado was a great idea. We not only met the owner, but got to know one of the nicest bartenders ever.

A lot of today’s travelers say that they want to “experience a place like a local.” They don’t mean they want to wake up at 6 and go to work like a local, but they do want to experience the local favorites; local bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. They want what the local like to do, see, taste and hear.

During our travels across Colorado and beyond, Ryan and I have discovered that you can often take the pulse of a community by bellying up to the bar instead of sitting at a table at a restaurant. For instance, this past weekend after Winter Park Beer Festival we bellied up to the bar at Hernando’s Pizza & Pub. This place has fantastic pizza and while tourists love it, locals do too.

We quickly made friends with awesome local gal sitting next to us, and this happens all the time, but only if we sit at the bar. Continue Reading…

Great American Beer Festival 2012. The ultimate pretzel necklace.

This guy at GABF needs no tips.

Colorado loves beer festivals. They occur year round, but during the summer you could attend one every weekend, should your liver and pocketbook be able to take it.

I’m not a beer blogger, so I don’t attend every Colorado beer event, but I do go to my fair share and I’ve learned a thing or two that may help you out.

These are my tips in no particular order of importance, except for maybe number one. If you do not head tip number one, you’ll be a hurtin’ unit. Oh, and number four is imperative too. On second thought, to get the most out of your beer festival experience, you should probably abide by all of these tips.

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I’m not going to give you some big sermon about elevation. Whether you attend a beer festival in the Mile High City or at sea level you need to hydrate. I start the day before. No joke. I make sure that I get a full eight pints of water, and then on the morning of the beer fest I also guzzle water. I’m not a medical doctor, but I’m pretty sure that no such thing as being overhydrated for a beer festival (or a wine fest for that matter). Continue Reading…

Happiness to me is exploring a new place, so when I was invited to Delta County in May, I was ready to make some new Colorado memories with my husband, Ryan.

Our first stop on the trip was Hotchkiss, where we stayed at the Leroux River Inn & Vineyard, an experience I wrote about here. We got in late, so spent the following day discovering the community. Hotchkiss is a great little work-a-day, agricultural town that has nice offerings for tourists.

We started out at the Coal Train Coffee Shop because I had to do a little work. It was a charming place where the gals behind the counter knew nearly everyone who came through the door.

Coal Train Coffee Shop in Hotchkiss, Colorado.

After I caught up on work, we hit the pavement to explore downtown Hotchkiss by foot. We were in town during the Sheep Dog Camp Stock Trials, which brings in out-of-towners, so locals set up garage sales everywhere. If you like garage sailing, this would be a good weekend to visit Hotchkiss. Continue Reading…