Travel

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Whiskey, Lights, Pinball – a Holiday Outing in Lyons, Colorado

Lyons, Colorado is one of our longtime haunts; after all, we’ve been visiting for more than a decade. It’s home to one of Ryan’s favorite destination, Lyons Classic Pinball, and anytime we’re in town some pinball must be played.

Whiskey, Lights, Pinball, Spirit Hound Distillers. HeidiTown.com

Last Friday, we had a new destination in Lyons – Spirit Hound Distillers. They’d invited me for a tour and we’d gladly accepted. Spirit Hound has been open for four years, and I’m embarrassed to say that this was my first visit.

The distillery has obviously been embraced by locals as the place was packed on a Saturday evening.

We weren’t just here for a tour, but to taste some spirits, including their holiday drinks made with their recently released barrel aged rum. Ryan had a warm chocolatey rum drink while I had my first-ever hot buttered rum – I highly approve.

Hot Buttered Rum, shot courtesy of Spirit Hound Distillers

Photo provided by Spirit Hound Distillers.

We sipped our drinks as head distiller and Colorado booze royalty, Craig Engelhorn, led us on a highly informative and entertaining tour. Craig is responsible for one of Colorado’s best known beers, Dave’s Pale Ale, which was created from his own recipe when he was the brewer at Oskar Blues. This guy has some serious street cred, in Colorado and beyond, when it comes to booze.

Whiskey, Lights, Pinball, photo provided by Spirit Hound Distillers. HeidiTown.com

Photo provided by Spirit Hound Distillers.

To get the entire story of Spirit Hound, I’d recommend taking a tour with Craig because I won’t be able to share everything I learned. I will tell you that Craig knows his stuff and thanks to him (and the rest of the staff at Spirit Hound), this place has been cranking out award winning spirits since opening.  

Whiskey, Lights, Pinball. Award winning whiskey at Spirit Hound Distillers. HeidiTown.com

Photo provided by Spirit Hound Distillers.

When you’re on the tour be sure to ask for evidence of the “angel’s share.”

While whiskey is their flagship spirit, many of their other offerings have been well-received including their gin featuring locally picked juniper berries that locals bring in to the distillery in exchange for a free drink. On that note, when is juniper berry season in Colorado? I need to plan a little juniper picking outing.

Photo provided by Spirit Hound Distillers.

After our tour, Craig set us up with a flight of Spirit Hounds whiskey, which is listed in the 2017 Whiskey Bible on page 283, and for good reason.

Full Disclosure: I’m a whiskey fan, but Ryan’s not, and even he had a favorite among the tasters in our flight. He’s top choice was Barrel 23 and mine was Barrel 26.

Whiskey, Lights, Pinball, the spirit hound. HeidiTown.com

Could this be THE spirit hound?

An evening at Spirit Hound is delightful. It would be the perfect place to meet up with friends or to take visiting family during the holidays. The tasting room sometimes features live bands and other entertainment. Their Facebook page is a great way to stay on top of what’s happening there.

After a fun experience at Spirit Hound, we headed up the street to Oskar Blues for dinner, where I ate some of the best fish and chips I’ve eaten outside of the United Kingdom. After dinner, we played some retro arcade games at Lyons Classic Video (downstairs at Oskar Blues) and then headed over for an evening of pinball at Lyons Classic Pinball. just around the corner from Oskar Blues.

Whiskey, Lights, Pinball. Lyons Classic Pinball. HeidiTown.com

There are so many great reasons to visit Lyons, Colorado. Don’t you think it’s time you made a trip?

Fort Collins for Christmas

Considering a holiday getaway this month? Fort Collins is an excellent Colorado Christmas town. Downtown sparkles with thousands of lights and from Old Town Square to Oak Street Plaza Park, the atmosphere is merry.

Fort Collins for Christmas

This past weekend, we did one-night getaway in Fort Collins to experience the city’s holiday offerings. Before exploring the festive scene we checked into the Fernweh Inn & Hostel on Mulberry, just blocks from the excitement of downtown Fort Collins.

Some people, including my husband, Ryan, have an aversion to any place with hostel in the name. The word makes him worried that he’s going to have to share a bathroom or wash dishes to earn his keep.

Fort Collins for Christmas, the Fernweh Inn & Hostel in the snow

Fernweh is a modern-day, American hostel which offers private rooms as well as bunk rooms. Our private room, “The Loft,” was a virtual suite because the space occupied the entire upstairs of this historic, Victorian home. There was a full bathroom in the room complete with large, soaking bathtub and multiple beds, making it perfect for a family or friends. Continue reading

Gift Guide for Friends with Good Tastes (In Food)

Know someone who loves food? Instead of buying them a cookbook or newfangled kitchen item, how about buying them a foodie experience?

Colorado has blossomed with food tours over the last several years, and I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing several of these delicious excursions.

Local Table Tours

LocalTableTours.com

This company was started by a Boulder food blogger who has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad. Today, Local Table run tours in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins. In Denver, they do a tour at The Source, a Taste of Highlands and in downtown (Taste of LoDo and Union Station).

Gift Guide for Friends with Good Tastes

Photo courtesy of Local Table Tours.

Their Boulder-based tours including A Taste of Boulder, Cocktail Tours, Coffee & Chocolate Tours and May through October they offer tours at the Boulder Farmers’ Market.

In Fort Collins, tasting tours include a Cocktail Tour, Waffle & Chocolate Tour, Artisans at Scotch Pines Tour and, the one I experienced this past summer, the Jessup Farm Tasting Tour. Continue reading

How to Avoid I70 Ski Traffic this Winter in Colorado

I love the towns along the I70 corridor, but let’s face it, ski traffic, and even summer traffic, has gotten terrible along this highway. If you can swing it, one of the best way to avoid traffic along this route is to plan your trip for Saturday to Monday. I realize this isn’t always possible, so here are some ways to avoid I70 ski traffic this winter.

Colorado is Open, photo courtesy of Colorado Ski Country USA

Photo courtesy of Colorado Ski Country USA

Train

The Amtrak Winter Park Express is back. This is great news, if you’ve got the money. The cheapest fare I could find for a Saturday in mid-January was $108 for a round trip ride per person. For two people, riding the ski train is a rather expensive proposition, but taking the ski train would be a fun way to celebrate a special occasion this winter. Continue reading

44 Days of Fall in Colorado

We have 44 days of fall left, but the beautiful fall drives are over, so how do we continue to celebrate this shoulder season? I’ve got a few suggestions.

A Late Fall Getaway in Colorado

November isn’t a big getaway month for most people, but the “shoulder season” is a wonderful time to travel in Colorado. There are less cars on the roads, and unless you’re traveling on Thanksgiving, you’ll find some great hotel deals over the next 44 days.

44-days-of-fall-in-colorado-elk-near-estes-park-colorado-heiditown-com

An elk herd near Estes Park, Colorado.

We have a tradition of doing birthday getaways in our house and since my husband’s birthday is in November, we’ve done quite a bit of fall travel in Colorado. Denver is actually one of my top picks for this time of year because the city dresses up beautifully for the holidays and it’s fun to stroll a brightly lit up downtown. Continue reading

Out of the Ordinary Winter Escapes in Colorado

I pride myself on finding out of the ordinary destinations. And I don’t just find them online, I visit them. This is the only way to know for sure if a place is worth writing about and worth sending you to. 

Out Of The Ordinary Winter Escapes in Colorado. Sand Dunes Swimming Pool & Hot Springs near Alamosa. HeidiTown.com

The following Colorado destinations are three out of the ordinary winter escapes worth checking out.

Carr Manor, Cripple Creek

I toured this large bed and breakfast while in Cripple Creek a few winters ago. I love unusual repurposing projects and this is definitely a unique one. Carr Manor is an 120-year-old school building that’s been renovated into a bed and breakfast. Continue reading

Trinidad, Colorado, It’s Not What You Think

This is not a post about the island in the Caribbean. This is a post about Trinidad, Colorado. You may have heard about it. Over the years, Trinidad became well-known as the sex change capital of the United States.

Trinidad, Colorado, it's not what you think

ArtoCade on Commercial Street in downtown Trinidad, Colorado.

Interestingly, the clinic that put the town on the map for sex change surgery, moved to California a number of years ago, but preconceptions die hard, especially when a town’s sex change reputation is big enough to have made it onto an episode of South Park.

Before I visited Trinidad this past summer, it was 1) the sex change capital of the United States 2) a place I drove through on my way to New Mexico and 3) the place my friend Amanda, who makes the world’s best green chile, grew up.

After visiting Trinidad, I’ve developed an entirely new perspective on the town. It’s a place where no one is a stranger, where art thrives and history runs deep, where waiters sing and the positive energy is so thick it’s hard not to get caught up in its flow. Continue reading

11 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Cozumel, Mexico

HeidiTown is all about Colorado and I have no plans to change my brand. However, it’s been nine years since I’ve been on a vacation abroad, and being a writer, it was impossible for me not to share my experience with you.

As most of you already know, Ryan and I spent last week celebrating my fortieth birthday on the island of Cozumel in Mexico. Cozumel is located in the Caribbean, and is a 45 minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen.

11-things-you-should-know-before-visiting-cozumel-mexico-cozumel-sign-in-the-plaza

We stayed at El Cozumeleno Beach Resort on the north side of the island. We’ve been to Cozumel before and we like the north side because it’s just a 80 to 100 peso (about $5) taxi ride from San Miguel, Cozumel’s charming town.

As you might expect, when we travel in Mexico we love to explore, and if we do an all-inclusive, like on this trip, we spend a lot of time off-resort. This trip was no exception. Continue reading

Getting Foodie in Fort Collins at Jessup Farm Artisan Village

When I was asked to join a Local Table Tours outing at Jessup Farm Artisan Village in Fort Collins, I jumped at the opportunity to explore this unique Northern Colorado destination.

Getting Foodie in Fort Collins at Jessup Farm Artisan Village

Jessup Farm was a working farm built at the turn of the century. In 2011, the Campana family of Bellisimo Inc. rehabilitated the property and repurposed the buildings to house modern-day businesses scattered around like a village. Today the property is home to multiple small businesses, a flock of chickens and a large garden.

Getting Foodie in Fort Collins at Jessup Farm Artisan Village (10) HeidiTown

Chicken coop at Jessup Farm Artisan Village

According to Steven Sorensen, a Campana family member and part of Bellisimo Inc., when the family first conceived of the plan for Artisan Village, they didn’t visualize it as a destination for anyone other than those who lived in surrounding neighborhoods. Continue reading

The Truth About the Towns on Colorado’s Worst Places to Live List

I recently read an article online where the author highlighted what he claimed were the “10 Worst Places to Live in Colorado.” It was unclear as to whether he had visited all ten towns, and as it appears he resides outside of Colorado, I am skeptical.

The Truth About the Towns on Colorado's Worst Placese to Live List

Trinidad, Colorado

He wrote that he based his article on statistics, although he sprinkled non-statistic based comments throughout the piece.

The word “worst” denotes something very bad, and when the word is used to describe a place, most people would immediately check the place off their visit list. The more I thought about this, the more the article bothered me.

I’ve met the people in these communities and walked the streets of these towns, and I am here to tell you that many of the folks who live in these places are fiercely proud of their towns, and rightly so. Not only are there wonderful reasons to visit each of these Colorado towns, I believe all of them would be a great place to call home.

After some consideration, I decided to highlight some of the best things each of the towns on this “worst” list have to offer. And I have taken the liberty if of putting the following towns in alphabetical order (this is not as they appeared on the original list).

Alamosa, Colorado

I spent a long weekend in Alamosa last winter during Rio Frio Ice Fest, an event that features a 5K race on the frozen Rio Grande River. Continue reading

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