Archives For hmks

I have a confession. I’m a bit of a bird nerd.  I’ve always been fascinated in nature and birds are one of my favorite parts of the natural world.

Colorado’s varied landscape is home to more than 450 species of birds making it a great state for birders. There are even 27 designating birding trails, but you don’t need to go to a designated area to spot birds. In my neighborhood, not a day goes by when I don’t see several types of bird species in my yard and at least one raptor.

Hawk at Fossil Creek Resevoir. Birding festivals in Colorado.

If you’d like a guarantee of some birding action, check out one of the state’s many birding festivals. The bird nerd in me decided to research where and when these festivals take place and I’ve compiled a list. I’m sure that I have missed some, so please leave a message if you know of another bird festival that takes place in Colorado and I will add it to this list.


Bald Eagle Festival, Barr Lake State Park, Brighton (early/mid-February)

This event often coincides with Valentine’s Day. See the Barr Lake page for details or follow them here on Facebook.

Lake Pueblo Eagle Days – Pueblo (early Feb)

Includes viewing opportunities, programs, presentations, kid’s activities and a photo contest. Learn more at Lake Pueblo State Park and the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo.

High Plain Snow Goose Festival, Lamar (Feb. 20-22)

This is an opportunity to see thousands of these beautiful birds. The event offers tours, educational programs, presentations, arts and crafts and a banquet. Learn more at Continue Reading…

Telluride, Colorado is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Don’t take my word for it – go and witness the beauty yourself.

Dallas Divide near Telluride, Ridgway and Ouray, Colorado.

Don’t miss this overlook between Ridgway and Telluride, Colorado.

We just returned from Telluride Fire Festival, so without further ado, here is my list of things to do in Telluride, Colorado when you’re not skiing.

Snowshoe in Telluride

What makes snowshoeing in Telluride unique? Your snow shoe excursion will take you to the top of the ski resort. That’s right, the skiers aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy the high altitude view, anyone can enjoy these mountain top vistas. Continue Reading…

We take a lot of road trips, and travel doesn’t slow down during the winter months. This weekend we’re off to Telluride Fire Festival, and two weeks after that we’ll be headed to the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge.

Colorado winter driving can be challenging, but when you're prepared it's a breeze.

Colorado winter driving can be challenging, but when you’re prepared it’s a breeze.

In Colorado, winter road trips into the mountains can be a bit of a challenge, but they are well worth it. With winter festivals happening somewhere in the Colorado Rockies just about every weekend, there are lots of reasons to drive. Here are some simple tips that will make your next winter road trip a breeze.

1. Travel during off times. This is where we self-employed folks have it good. If you can, travel on a Saturday morning and head back on a Monday. This will save you the headache of dealing with ski traffic on I70. Another good tip for Colorado Front Range dwellers is to take Hwy 285 as an alternate route to places like Breckenridge or southwest Colorado. Hwy 285 isn’t without its own issues, however. The highway often closes between Kenosha Pass and Fairplay due to blowing snow, so check with CDOT before you go that way. Continue Reading…

Brilliant at Denver Art Museum., ColoradoWhen I heard that the Denver Art Museum was curating a Cartier exhibition, the tune from Pink Panther began playing in my head and it continued to play when we visited.

We arrived at the Denver Art Museum on a busy, snowy Saturday morning. Unbeknownst to us, the museum is free on the first Saturday of every month so the place was filled with families. Please note that special exhibits such as Brilliant are still subject to a fee even on First Saturdays.

I’m not a super girly girl and I’m not one to swoon over sparkly things, but even I had to admit that the jewels on display at Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century were pretty spectacular. However, it wasn’t only the gems that appealed to me, but the story that they told. Continue Reading…

What comes to mind when you think of Vail, Colorado? Swishing down the slopes alongside celebrities? That very well could happen at this World Class ski resort, however, Vail is much more than just skiing.

Skiers carry skis through Vail Village in Vail, Colorado.

Whether you’ve just finished skiing for the day, or don’t ski at all, Vail has lots of things for you to do off the slopes.

Today I will tell you about all the wonderful things we’ve discovered in Vail when we weren’t skiing.

Vail is for foodies

I can easily say that after attending a variety of Taste events in Colorado and beyond, none hold a candle to the Taste of Vail, held annual towards the end of ski season. Part of the reason this event is so grand is because Vail is brimming with first-rate restaurants. Continue Reading…

If you like to eat and drink as much as I do, then you need to attend the Estes Park Winter Festival. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, but once a year I get gluttonous at this fest and I make no apologies for it.

Estes Park Winter Festival, Estes Park, Colorado

The event was cancelled last year because the Stanley Park Fairground was undergoing renovations, but this year it’s back and bigger than ever and will be held at the beautiful, brand new Estes Park Events Complex.

I’ve been attending this festival since year one and have watched it grow from a small, grassroots downtown chili cook-off and beer tasting event to a larger version of the same thing. Despite attracting big crowds every year, the organizers have been able to keep a laid back, hometown feel to the event, which I really enjoy.

Avery Beer at EPWF

The festivities start on Friday, January 16 with an Irish Gathering brought to you by the Rocky Mountain Irish Gathering. The band, The Commoners will perform as will bag piper Daniel Lowell and the McTeggart Irish Stepdancers. This evening of Irish fun runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and is $15 at the door.

On Saturday and Sunday festivalgoers will enjoy an event that I consider one of the top winter festivals in Colorado. Inside the events complex you’ll find more than 30 different beer and wine vendors offering samples, as well as loads of chili to taste (both green and red). Professionals and amateurs complete for various coveted Best Chili awards – and you get to vote.

When I say that I “eat my way through Estes Park Winter Festival” I am not exaggerating. You will taste some downright amazing, earth-shakingly good chilis at this event.

chili cook off pic Estes Park Winter Festival 2012 HeidiTown (2)

Estes Park Chili Festival.

“The spicier the better” – that’s my motto!

In addition to all the eating and drinking there’s a full lineup of entertainment at the fest including two Colorado bands, White Water Ramble and Archie Funker. We heard White Water Ramble play at a beer festival this summer and they are not a favorite of ours.

There are vendors at the fest selling their wares, and in addition Rocky Mountain National Park will be there to share their expert knowledge on outdoor winter adventures, do equipment demos, offer winter safety tips and information about the park.

Stick around for giveaways that include an annual pass to RMNP, snow cat tours and more.

Your children are very welcome at this event. There’s an entire pavilion at the Estes Park Events Complex that will be dedicated just to kids. Lots of activities will be available from slapstick hockey to a snowboard simulator. Your kiddos will not get bored at the Estes Park Winter Festival.

A very happy kiddo at Estes Park Winter Festival 2012.

A very happy kiddo at Estes Park Winter Festival 2012.

If you decide to spend the holiday weekend in town why not stick around for Monday’s events. There are free, family friendly activities planned next to the ice skating rink located in downtown Estes Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Estes Park Winter Festival

Martin Luther King Day Weekend

January 16-19, 2015

Estes Park Events Complex at 1209 Manford Avenue

You’ll need to purchase tickets online for the festival events taking place on Saturday and Sunday. Go HERE to purchase tickets today!

Join Visit Estes Park on Facebook

On Twitter @VisitEstesPark


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

It’s been another amazing year here at HeidiTown. My job as the Mayor of HeidiTown, and as a freelance writer, has taken me on many Colorado adventures, and it’s been my pleasure to share them with you here and on social media. I hope that through my posts, tweets and photographs you were inspired to get out and explore more of Colorado in 2014.

We met some truly amazing people along the way, including Lynn Gillespie, one of the owners of The Living Farm in Paonia. Her love of her animals and the food they grow on the farm is palpable. She’s a one-of-a-kind Coloradan, who genuinely wants to help people live a more agricultural lifestyle.

I also got to interview John Forsberg for a magazine article. He’s the man who has been Ullr for Breckenridge’s Ullr Festival since 2002, and he’s a heck of an entertaining interview subject. There was also Michael Lane, owner of Alpine Scenic Tours – an entrepreneur who is a bounty of knowledge about the San Juan area of Colorado.

The list of fascinating folks that I got to meet this past year goes on and on, and that’s because it’s not all about eating, drinking and attending fun festivals here at HeidiTown. Meeting people is my favorite part of my job as the Mayor of HeidiTown and as a freelance writer. I’m already looking forward to the people I will meet in 2015.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 highlights of 2014 in no particular order.

1. A visit to The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado where I got to cuddle baby lambs. Click here to read more.

Lovin on baby sheep at the Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado.

Continue Reading…

Merry Christmas from the Mayor

December 24, 2014 — 1 Comment

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas,

and may your New Year be filled with many fine Colorado adventures.


Heidi & Ryan

Christmas wreath at the Manor House in Littleton, Colorado

In general, I’m a planner, but every year Christmas sneaks up on me and I’m always floundering to find the perfect gift at the last moment.

I know that you enjoy buying Colorado-related gifts, because we live in the most awesome state in the union, and keeping it local is what we’re all about around here. So I thought I’d share a few of my favorite Colorado things that would make perfect gifts at Christmas or at any time of year.

This is not a sponsored post. If I mention a specific business it’s because I truly love them and their product. So without further ado here are a few of my favorite Colorado products that make great last minute gifts. Continue Reading…

Denver for the holidays

December 16, 2014 — 3 Comments

I visited downtown Denver during the holidays for the first time 14 years ago.  I  had just moved to Littleton from Washington State with my then boyfriend, now husband, who had grown up in Colorado. We visited Larimer Street, and with its canopy of lights and dressed up storefronts I fell in love with Denver during the Christmas season. We have made it a tradition to do at least one or two trips to the Mile High City every December since then.

Ice skaters at Skyline Park in downtown Denver, Colorado.

Ice skaters at Skyline Park in downtown Denver, Colorado.

If you head to the big city over the next couple of weekends, here’s a few things that I recommend you check out.

Stroll down Larimer Street

Downtown Denver is beautiful during the holiday season. Twinkling lights cling to the trees and lamp posts on the 16th Street Mall. Skyline Park comes alive with the sound of laughter as folks enjoy the free ice rink. It’s free if you bring your own skates and just $2 to rent a pair. But my favorite area is Larimer Street. There’s just something sweet and romantic about this Denver street during the holidays. Continue Reading…