Telluride Blues & Brews in Review & Gondola Stories

I don’t always write a festival recap, but after returning from an outrageously fun weekend at Telluride Blues & Brews, I thought a review was in order, especially since I know some of my readers have contemplated attending this event, but haven’t done so yet.

Telluride Blues & Brews in Review & Gondola Stories

Ryan and I sailed into Telluride at 4 p.m. on Friday. We checked into Peaks Resort & Spa, my favorite hotel in Telluride, and boarded the gondola. Since we were staying in Mountain Village and Telluride Blues & Brews is in town park, we rode the gondola a lot during our 3-night stay, which resulted in a few stories.

Telluride Gondola Stories

The free gondola runs between Mountain Village and the town of Telluride, and I’m well acquainted with it. I love this gondola ride because 9 out of 10 times, I engage in a fun conversation with other riders. I think this gondola inspires conversation because at 15 minutes in length, it’s just long enough that people start to feel comfortable with the strangers around them. Continue reading

Art Car Photos, ArtoCade 2016, Trinidad, Colorado

I can’t wait to write about our trip to Trinidad, Colorado. In the meantime, I’m going to share with you ten of my favorite photos from the festival that brought us to town. I was in town to cover ArtoCade, an art car extravaganza that was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.

Nothing could have prepared me for the creativity on display at ArtoCade. In it’s fourth year, ArtoCade brings people together from around the country to Southern Colorado – people who share the love of turning their cars into art pieces.

Without further ado, here are ten of my favorite photos from the ArtoCade, the parade that was held on Saturday, September 10, 2016, in downtown Trinidad, Colorado. There were 83 entries, so choosing only a few photos to share was very difficult.

Car #1 kicked things off. It’s, “Reincarnation”  and was created by Fritz A. & Gail M. of Trinidad, Colorado. Continue reading

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


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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


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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.

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ArtoCade 2016 logo


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Colorado Farm & Art Market Harvest Dinner

I love this time of year. Farmers’ markets overflowing with colorful produce, folks find ways to preserve the flavors of summer and harvest dinners blossom on tables throughout the country.

One such dinner is happening at Margarita at Pine Creek  in Colorado Springs at the end of the month. A friend who attended this dinner last year said the Colorado Farm & Art Harvest Dinner was the best meal she has ever eaten.

Colorado Farm & Art Market Harvest Dinner. heirloom tomato.

Courtesy photo

Margarita’s executive chef Eric Viedt will create an incredible meal from produce donated by CFAM vendors and the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers. Lamb, goat and pork will be from Venetucci Farm and Frost Farm, and beef will be provided by Sangres Best.

From September 22 through the 26th, Margarita on the Pine will be offering their diners an all-Colorado menu. The Harvest Dinner will cap on this Colorado Proud week of dining.

Chef Viedt’s menu remains a secret until the evening of the event, but here’s a glimpse of last year’s menu.

Colorado Farm & Art Market Harvest Dinner menu

Courtesy photo

Wine tasting is part of the CFAM Harvest Dinner with wine provided by Sette Dolori Winery and other Colorado’s wineries. Beer will also be available from a local brewery (still to be determined).

Guests are invited to take part in bidding in a silent auction throughout the evening.

silent auction at the Colorado Farm & Art Market.

Courtesy photo

The dinner raises money to support the market’s SNAP program. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is commonly known as “food stamps.”

Bonnie Simon, marketing director of the Colorado Farm & Art Market, believes that their market may be one of the only in the country that doubles SNAP bucks. In other words, if an individual has $10 in SNAP dollars, the CFAM gives them another $10 to use at the market.

Colorado Farm & Art Market Harvest Dinner

September 27, 2015

3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Margarita at Pine Creek

$65/ticket, two for $125

To purchase tickets to the Colorado Farm & Art Market Harvest Dinner go to

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Canning class with the Colorado Springs chicken lady

My mother canned throughout my childhood. I especially remember the peaches. She’d open a jar on a rainy Pacific Northwest day and it was a reminder of summertime. Two decades later, I can still recall the sweet flavor of those peaches and the way they glowed like summer sunshine in my bowl.

Bonnie Simon, of Colorado Springs, is the founder of When she started blogging about the antics of her backyard chickens, Bonnie had no idea that the blog would become something much larger than just funny chicken stories.

Hungry Chicken Homestead Bonnie & chickens Heather Sams Fine Portraits

Bonnie Simon & one of her beloved chickens. Photo by Heather Sams Fine Portraits

Today, Bonnie’s passion for small farms and good food has made her a local celebrity. Her blog has become a resource for anyone who wants to learn about Colorado Springs’ local farm and small business community.

The Mission Statement of is, “finding ways to promote local business, local food, and the power of community and the American Dream.”

And Bonnie doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. She grows her own garden, raises chickens, teaches classes on canning, yogurt making and more, facilitates workshops, shares recipes and is a champion of Colorado Springs’ small farms.

On Saturday, September 26 at the Mountain Goat Lodge in Salida, Colorado, you can learn to can at Bonnie’s Water Bath Canning Workshop.

Canning with Colorado Springs chicken lady Bonnie Simon.

Bonnie’s canned apricots.

On Saturday morning Bonnie will teach the basics of canning techniques and then participants will make a recipe in the afternoon. During breaks guests can play with Gina’s goats and chickens and check out her amazing greenhouse garden.

This canning class is a full day of learning for just $65 and you walk away with a skill that will last a lifetime. You’ll also walk away with some canned goods! Get more details and SIGN UP HERE.

Canning classes with the Colorado Springs chicken lady, Bonnie Simon.

Bonnie’s canned tomatoes. Yum!

In addition, receive a 10% discount on your stay at Mountain Goat Lodge when you sign up for the Water Bath Canning Workshop. Want to learn more about this unique bed and breakfast? Read about my experience here.


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Featured Festival: Telluride Blues & Brews, 2015

What’s better than beer and blues music? Beer and blues in Telluride. For 21 years, Telluride Blues & Brews has been bringing top musical acts and great beer to the San Juan Mountains. This year is no exception.

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Poster

The musical lineup is red hot. The opening show (9/17), “˜Bal de Maison’ featuring Nathanial Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Eagle Eye Williamson is almost sold out. Nathanial Rateliff & the Night Sweats were recently featured on Jimmy Fallon.

Speaking of things that are almost sold out, three-day passes to Telluride Blues and Brews are limited, as are the late night, Juke Joints, shows.

The Blues & Brews bands are too numerous to name them all, but I’m most excited for ZZ Top and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. We saw Jones at Snowmass Mammoth Festival and she’s one of the best entertainers I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing perform live.

Telluride Blues & Brews Schedule

On Friday, Blues & Brews is hosting a  Sharp Dressed Fan Costume Contest  so be sure to pack your longest beard because the theme is  ZZ Top. The winner gets two 2016 Blues & Brews Festival weekend passes. For details  click here.

While you’re in town, stop by the Arroyo Wine Bar at 220 E. Colorado Avenue to enjoy a beverage and appetizer and enjoy artwork from festival photographers Barry Brecheisen and Dina Perruci, and artists Daryl Price and Scramble Campbell. Arroyo will be open daily during the festival from 7 a.m. to close.

A new event is happening at this year’s Blues & Brews. Festival goers of all skill levels can join Telluride Yoga Fest on Saturday and Sunday morning at 9 a.m. in Elks’ Park, located across from the Telluride courthouse on Main Street. More info here.

Aerial shot of Telluride Blues & Brews

Courtesy of Telluride Blues & Brews.

Last, but not least, let’s not forget about the brews. The Grand Tasting is Saturday, September 19 from 12 to 3 p.m. and features 56 breweries serving up more than 170 beers.

Telluride’s hotels and condos are filling up fast, so you may consider camping (first come, first serve). So many folks camp that there are music session scheduled in the campground.

Telluride Blues & Brews

September 18-20, 2015

Telluride, Colorado

Tickets $65 to $185

VIP – sold out

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Summer festival fun in Winter Park

Many Coloradans grew up skiing at Winter Park and it holds a special place in many hearts, but have you visited the town during the summer? It may have “winter” in the name, but it’s a fantastic summer festival town with one of my favorite festival venues, Hideaway Park.

Winter Park Beer Festival 2015.

Last weekend, my friend, Karen, and I headed up to Grand County to attend the Winter Park Beer Festival at Hideaway Park.

We pulled into town at 2 p.m. on Friday and settled in our spacious Hi Country Haus condo. This is a great place to stay if you are attending a festival because it’s within walking of Hideaway Park and everything else in downtown Winter Park. Continue reading

Three ways to celebrate fall in Colorado

I love fall, and I adore fall in Colorado. We may not have the reputation of places like New England or Wisconsin, but autumn in Colorado is quite grand, and perhaps it’s been overlooked for too long.

Monarch Pass on September 21, 2014.

Monarch Pass on September 21, 2014.   Shot through the car window with my phone because we were in a big hurry to make it to civilization so that we could watch the Bronco game. I really should have stopped and taken a photo with my real camera.

The usual way to celebrate fall in Colorado is to go leaf peeping. Every online and print publication has articles about it; I published my 3-part Colorado fall travel series  earlier this month.

I decided to find some additional ways that you can experience and celebrate all the wonderful things Colorado has to offer during this season of change.

1. EAT. This is the time of year to taste the bounty of Colorado’s summertime harvest and there’s no better place to do that then at The Living Farm Café in Paonia, Colorado. I previously wrote about my experiences at this café and farm here. Continue reading




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