The Mayor

Featured Festival: Mountain Harvest Festival, Paonia, Colorado

If you’re planning to celebrate the harvest season, why not do it in one of Colorado’s most bountiful areas? Mountain Harvest Festival takes place in the North Fork Valley, an area that is brimming with small family farms and vineyards.


I didn’t know about the North Fork Valley until three years ago, and the region has stolen my heart. It is located in Delta County on Colorado’s Western Slope. It’s 40 minutes east of Delta, which straddles Hwy 50, the road connecting Grand Junction and Ouray.

Farm-to-table has been part of everyday life in the North Fork Valley long before it became trendy. It is made up of three communities; Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford. Mountain Harvest Festival takes place in Paonia, but celebrates the entire region.


This photo courtesy of Mountain Harvest Festival.

The four-day event kicks off on Thursday, September 22, with a variety of activities including a Farm-to-Table dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Living Farm Cafe.

Things really get going on Friday afternoon. There’s a pumpkin contest, bike parade, a Drink Locally event at Town Park and live music.


This photo courtesy of Mountain Harvest Festival.

This festival is a celebration of all things local, including food, music and art. After all, the North Fork Valley isn’t only a great growing region, it’s a place where artists flourish as well, and there are a number of area art schools.

On Saturday there’s a smorgasbord of events planned. Don’t miss the Cirque Bike Farm Tours at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. We did a bike to farm tour with Cirque while we were in town earlier this summer (read all about it here).  You can also do self-guided farm and winery tours while in town for the festival.


This photo courtesy of Mountain Harvest Festival.

A festival farmers’ market will take place throughout the weekend and the Drink Locally event in Town Park happens Friday through Sunday. In addition, Mountain Harvest Festival has loads of live music schedule, farm-to-table dinners, yoga, bike Olympics and so much more.

Mountain Harvest Festival is a feast for the eyes, heart and stomach.


This photo courtesy of Mountain Harvest Festival.

And here’s a warning: If this will be your first visit to the North Fork Valley, you may fall in love. Because what’s not to love about a region filled with vineyards, rolling hills dotted with sheep and trees heavy-laden with fruit? In a recent magazine article I dubbed the region “the land of milk and honey,” and that’s not an exaggeration.


If you’d like to experience this Delta County’s North Fork Valley to the fullest, you need to attend Mountain Harvest Festival in Paonia, Colorado.

Mountain Harvest Festival

winner of the Governor’s Award for Best Small Community Festival

September 22-25, 2016

Paonia, Colorado

Some events ticketed/Most events are free

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Mountain Harvest logo with date


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

SkyPilot Farm & Creamery, Home of Heidi the Sheep

Sometimes the universe has a funny way of working things out. This is one of those instances. As some of you already know, earlier this year, The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado named one of their spring lambs after me.

SkyPilot Farm & Creamery, Chloe & Heidi the Sheep.

Chloe Johnson & Heidi the Sheep at SkyPilot Farm & Creamery in Longmont, Colorado.

Longtime readers should be familiar with The Living Farm as I’ve written about it here on

I was very honored by this gesture and was able to meet Heidi during my visit to Delta County at the end of July. She was a big four month old by then, not really a lamb, but more of a sheep, however, she still sat on my lap as if she’d known me her entire life.

Heidi & Heidi the Sheep at The Living Farm.

My visit with my namesake, Heidi the Sheep, at The Living Farm.

Fast forward to two week ago when I got an email from Lynn Gillespie of The Living Farm, informing me that Heidi had been bought by a farm on the Front Range. As fate would have it, Heidi’s new home, SkyPilot Farm & Creamery is just 25 minutes from my home. It seemed written in the stars that Heidi and I should meet again. Continue reading

Fall in Love with Frisco, Colorado This Autumn

The best way to get acquainted with Frisco, Colorado is to spend a weekend in town, and that’s just what Ryan and I did at the end of August with our good friends Karen and Steve.

Fall in love with Frisco, Colorado this autumn. At Frisco Bay Marina.

Like many of you, I’d been to Frisco dozens of times, but had never stayed in the town, and our rental unit, a Summit Mountain Rentals townhouse just off Main Street and directly across the street from the Frisco Bay Marina, was the perfect location for our weekend getaway.

Frisco is a former mining town and today, it’s still a Mecca for adventure seekers; skiers, mountain bikers, snowkiters, kayakers and more. Our agenda was a gentler kind of adventurous weekend – our plan was to hit the lake on a rented pontoon boat. Our second plan was to eat lots of good food and spend time communing with one another in our townhouse hot tub. Continue reading

A Delicious Bike to Farm Tour in the North Fork Valley

As alert readers will have noticed, we’ve been riding bikes a lot this summer. I love riding bikes – not any downhill craziness, mind you – I prefer cruising on country roads or trails. Earlier this summer we did a bike to farm outing in the North Fork Valley, located in Delta County, Colorado. This is the story.

Bike to farm tour in the North Fork Valley. Orchard Valley Farms.

We rented bikes at Cirque Cyclery in downtown Paonia. A destination in and of itself, Cirque Cyclery is one of several awesome small businesses under the same roof.

Cirque Cyclery rents and sells bicycles, plus unique clothing and gifts, Shish KaBikes repairs bikes and Remedy Juice Bar Cafe provides refreshments, including adult beverages. The entire place, which was formerly the Paonia Post Office, has a laid back, neighborly feel. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Telluride Blues & Brews 2016

If you’re looking for great music in a splendid Colorado location, look no further than the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival on September 15-18, 2016.

The Town

Telluride represents the good life no matter how you interpret the phrase. Whether “the good life” means communing with nature, first-rate shopping, high-end dining or simply taking in a indescribably beautiful sunset – you’ll experience it in Telluride.

Downtown Telluride, Telluride Blues & Brews Featured Festival

All photos in this Featured Festival provided by Telluride Blues & Brews & used with permission.

Attending Telluride Blues & Brews represents an opportunity to stay in Telluride for a few days. Many festival-goers camp, but there are lots of hotels to choose from, both in town and in Mountain Village, just a free gondola ride away.  

There are loads of music festivals in Colorado, but very few are held in one of the most beautiful spots on the face of the earth.  It just takes one visit to know why Telluride gets on all the “best small town” lists.

The Music

The festival features internationally renowned musicians as well as national acts. There’s blues, funk, jam bands, indie, rock, gospel and soul performances.

Telluride Blues & Brews stage shot. Featured Festival

Do you know Joe Walsh? Maybe you recall his band, The Eagles? I grew up in a household where The Eagles were revered so seeing and hearing Joe Walsh will be a true thrill. He plays the main stage on Friday night (9/16).  I’m also looking forward to Jason Isbell who also plays Friday night of the festival.

Other main stage performers include Gary Clark, Jr., The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band featuring Rick Vito, Anders Osborne and Shakey Graves. See the entire band line up for Telluride Blues & Brews here

Telluride Blues & Brews night shot. Featured Festival

And the music never stops at Telluride Blues & Brews. Check out the late night schedule.

The Beer

World class beer in a world class destination – it just doesn’t get any better. No wonder brewers like to attend this one instead of sending employees to do the beer pouring (I got that bit of info straight from the mouth of a Fort Collins brewery owner).

Telluride Blues & Brews. Brew festival. Featured Festival

Of course, beer will be served throughout the festival, but you don’t want to miss the Grand Tasting on Saturday, September 17 from 12 to 3 p.m. Fifty-six microbreweries will bring along 170 styles of beer. I triple dog dare you to try them all.

Hope to see you there, HeidiTown citizens!

23rd Annual Telluride Blues & Brews

September 15-18, 2016

Telluride, Colorado (click to see festival map)


Tickets to various TBBF16 events range from $20 to $199 for a *3-day pass

*limited availability

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Telluride Blues & Brews festival 2016 poster


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



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.

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.   Continue reading

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.

“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.

“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!


September 9-10, 2016

Trinidad, Colorado

Downtown festivities: FREE

CarDango is a ticketed event ($20)

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

Join ArtoCade on Facebook

ArtoCade 2016 logo


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

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.

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.

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.

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)

San Juan Brewfest on Facebook

Join this fest on Instagram


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

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.

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.

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




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