Archives For hmks

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…

It’s that time, time to celebrate Fort Collins, Colorado’s birthday and this time it’s a real doozy because this year we’re celebrating a 150th birthday. Fort Collins, you look real darn good for your age!

What: Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest

When: August 15-17, 2014

Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday, 11 .m. to 7 p.m.

Where: Downtown Fort Collins, Colorado

Admission: Free

What: Well, let me tell you…

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is Fort Collins’ largest party of the year, and for good reason. More than 70 Colorado bands play six stages during three days. If you love music and you love supporting local music, you won’t want to miss this festival. Come out to hear your favorite band, or discover your new favorite band. Either way, your days at Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest will be filled with music.

Bohemian Night at NewWestFest Mountain Avenue Stage (2013).

Bohemian Night at NewWestFest Mountain Avenue Stage (2013).

In addition, international headliners play the Mountain Avenue Stage all three nights. Here’s a tip from personal experience, get there early if you want a good view.

On Friday at 8:30 p.m. one of the biggest bands to come out of Colorado, Big Head Todd and the Monsters will take the Mountain Avenue Stage. On Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. it’s Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo. This concert will be insane, and I’d advise you to spend the day in Fort Collins if you want to get a good “seat” at this one. Both Big Head Todd and Benatar will be simulcast at Library Park Stage.

Big Head Todd & the Monsters (photo used with permission)

Big Head Todd & the Monsters (photo used with permission)

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo (photo used with permission)

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo (photo used with permission)

WAR (photo used with permission)

WAR (photo used with permission)

On Sunday, WAR will make a special return appearance to the festival stage after headlining 10 years ago at the very first Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest. WAR’s performance begins at 5:30 p.m. on the Mountain Avenue Stage and will close the festival weekend. For the full festival music lineup, visit

In addition to all the music, vendors line the streets at Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest. There will also be lots of food and drink choices; from turkey legs to Japanese cuisine, you will find something that tickles your fancy and delights your taste buds.

Be sure to bring the kids along. It’s a wonderful opportunity to expose them to a variety of music, plus there’s Kids’ World, an area featuring activities, games, entertainment, a carnival and a Bohemian Nights Kids’ Adventure.

Logo- Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest 2014 PNG

Tips for attending Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest:

1. This event is packed with festivalgoers, but do not let that deter you from attending. There are ways to make your experience enjoyable, even if you don’t like crowds. First, carpool or ride the MAX Bus (it’s free for the rest of the summer).

2. Also, chill out. Don’t try to see it all. Take a look at the musical lineup and pick the bands you want to see ahead of time, but leave your schedule flexible. You never know when you’ll stumble on a brand new band that catches your ear.

3. Stay hydrated and bring along sunscreen.

4. Pack some cash. Not every festival vendor accepts credit cards, even in this day and age, so it’s good to be prepared.

For more information visit

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I haven’t spent a great deal of time in Eastern Colorado, but after an early summer trip to Fort Morgan, I will remedy that situation. The towns scattered across the Easter Plains may be small, but they are bursting with Americana and good old fashion charm.

We spent just one night in Fort Morgan; we were in town for Glenn Miller SwingFest, a celebration of the town’s most famous son.

Northeast Colorado, Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer. 7

As we traveled back towards the mountains I couldn’t help but notice the splashes of color on the side of the highway. I mentioned it so frequently that my husband took the hint and brought the car to a screeching halt near a particular big bunch of wildflowers. Continue Reading…

The view from the TV Mania Hyper Suite on the 14th Floor of The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado.

The view from the TV Mania Hyper Suite on the 14th Floor of The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado.

I haven’t been to hundreds of cities, but I’ve visited enough to know that Denver is my favorite. The city has a laid back vibe; not chill like our Colorado mountain towns, but it’s not uptight or pretentious. I don’t have to worry about my un-manicured nails or that my handbag doesn’t entirely match my outfit.

We don’t put on airs in Colorado, and that goes for our capital city too.

We love overnight visits to the Mile High City and for our 12th wedding anniversary in May we decided to go out, Denver style. We booked a room at The Curtis Hotel and had tickets to Porgy & Bess at the Colorado Symphony.

We’d never stayed at The Curtis Hotel before, and I don’t know why because first, it’s conveniently located across the street from the Denver Performing Arts Center and second, it is rad. There are thirteen themed guest room floors. Themes include everything from a musical floor with a suite dedicated to Jimmy Buffet, to a Sci-Fi floor with a suite dedicated to Star Trek. Continue Reading…


Did you hear about the #COmetoLife social media campaign early this month? Visit Colorado gave away a bunch of gift packs and then they gave away a trip to Colorado. If you weren’t a winner do not despair, Visit Colorado provided me with a pack to give away to one of my HeidiTown citizens.

Colorado Come To Life Logo

As a thank you, you should go like Visit Colorado on Facebook. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Go do that now. I’ll wait for you…

Did you do it? Good.

Whether you live in Colorado or long to visit this amazing state, this gift pack is for you. It’s a special, Colorado branded Osprey backpack filled with Colorado goodies such as a USA Pro Challenge fleece, socks by SmartWool, a sweet CO logo water bottle that will be the envy of your friends, sweet treats from Honey Stinger, and more.

CometoLife Colorado gift pack

Photo courtesy of Visit Colorado on

Trust me, you want this gift pack.

As a Colorado lover, you need this gift pack.

And, it’s super-duper easy to enter this contest.

If you are lucky enough to be from Colorado, tell me your favorite Colorado summertime activity. As you know, my favorite summer activity is attending festivals, from Keystone Wine & Jazz to All Arts Fest in Steamboat Springs. What activity makes you #COmetoLife each summer?

If you are from out-of-state, tell me why you’d like to visit Colorado. I can’t make that happen, but I can give you a taste of the pure awesomeness that is the Centennial State by giving you this backpack. Do you want to go river rafting on the Arkansas River or canyoning in Ouray? Perhaps you just want to soak your cares away at one of our many natural hot springs. Tell me how you’d like to #COmetoLife in Colorado and you’ll be entered.

The winner will be chosen AT RANDOM on Friday, July 25 at noon. So leave a comment today!

Please note that you must leave me an email address that you check frequently. The winner must respond within 48 hours or the runner up will be contacted.

Never want to miss another giveaway as cool as this on Subscribe here.

Good luck!


Keystone Wine & Jazz fest 2014 logoThere’s something about wine and jazz  - they seem to be a natural fit. Perhaps it’s all the notes; flavor notes and C notes. Okay, so that’s just silly, but these two wonderful things really do pair very nicely.

I was first introduced to the wine and jazz combo at Copper Mountain back in 2012, and since then I’ve had my eye out for other wine and jazz festivals that I can squeeze into my schedule.

When I read about Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival, I figured this was the perfect excuse to escape the heat of the Front Range summer and head for the hills for some music and delicious vino.

Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival is Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in River Run Village.

Photo from

Photo from

There will be more than 300 wines to sample as you meander your way through the attractive village. Your $60 one day festival pass gets you unlimited tastings and five Wine & Jazz gourmet food tickets for Saturday or Sunday.

In addition to tasting wine, you’re invited to enjoy various seminars on wine throughout the weekend.

Of course, during this wine adventure you will be entertained by jazz musicians including local favorite, Dotsero throughout each day of the festival. I got to see Dotsero at the Breckenridge Wine Extravaganza early this year and they are a super fun band.

Thanks to Keystone’s amazing (and free) transportation system, you can imbibe and not worry about driving. Just catch the shuttle and it will take you directly to your Keystone hotel or condo.

I’m attending this event with a girlfriend and we’re excited to be staying at a condo. They are running lodging and ticket packages for two to Wine & Jazz starting at just $321. I stayed at one of their properties during TBEX, a blogger and travel writer conference that was held in Keystone several years ago. You can read about that wonderful Keystone experience here.

Purchase your tickets to Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival at

I’ve lived in Colorado for 14 years and this was my first trip over Trail Ridge Road. It wasn’t for lack of trying. We’d twice planned to drive the road on my birthday, only to be thwarted by snow closures. It turns out the famous road tends to close for the season either on my birthday, October 10, or a day before.

Thankfully, we were invited to a wedding in Grand Lake over the 4th of July weekend, so we had a wonderful excuse to travel Trail Ridge Road.

The view from Trail Ridge Road in early July. Rocky Mountain National Park.

We got to Rocky Mountain National Park ahead of the crowds and just a few miles into the park I was frantically asking Ryan to pull over so I could photograph wildflowers. There were flowers everywhere. Yellow, white, blue… I was in heaven.

yellow flowers at Rocky Mountain National Park. Wildflowers in July.

As we began to climb, the traffic thickened a bit. We stopped occasionally at lookouts to take photos and wander with the rest of the masses to ooh and aww over the scenery. Continue Reading…

Photo courtesy of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

Photo courtesy of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

For six years, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown has been the place for top-notch dinner theater in Northern Colorado. I enjoy the venue because inside this expansive and luxurious space I am transported to another place and time.

Sometimes I’m transported to Bangkok (The King & I) or a steam liner (Anything Goes) or the mighty Mississippi (Big River, the Adventure of Huck Finn). In their newest production, the audience is transported to Neverland, complete with a flying Peter Pan, ticking crocodile and dancing Indians.

We saw the play on the Thursday before the Fourth of July, and the place was packed with folks of all ages. Having missed the last show, we were interested to see what new items had made it onto the menu, and we weren’t disappointed. Since Neverland is a tropical place, the chef designed entrees with a Jamaican flair. Continue Reading…