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Hate the Snow? These Colorado Winter Outings Are for You, No Coats Required

It has come to my attention that not all HeidiTown citizens love winter. Apparently sparkling snow doesn’t have a magical effect on some people and in fact, makes them long for hot summer days at the lake.

Hate the Snow on HeidiTown.com, Mystic Mermaids; Photo credit by Luis Torres

Mystic Mermaids, photo by Luis Torres (photo provided by Downtown Aquarium)

I don’t have a touchstone with this, as I love the snow and all things snow-related, but as a good Mayor, I shouldn’t ignore this segment of my town. And while I enjoy tromping through freshly fallen snow, I do, occasionally, go indoors during the winter.

Here are a few Colorado outings where it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get a snowball to the face or slip on unseen ice or get your tongue stuck to a frozen pole.

Get Artsy

Denver is no cowtown. The Denver Art Museum gets the top shows in the country and I’m thrilled to have such a high caliber museum out my backdoor.

Hate the Snow on HeidiTown.com DAM Star Wars

Denver Art Museum, courtesy photo

We’re planning to head down soon to see the new Star Wars exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. If you haven’t heard about this exhibit yet, I could accuse you of living under rock, but I won’t. Sometimes these things get past even me.

The Denver Art Museum is fun to visit year round, but we often find ourselves targeting this museum on snowy days.

Get Smart

And speaking of museums, they are a good option for snow days. I have been known to spend an entire day at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. This is possible because they have an onsite cafe and deli, so one does not have to leave to find food.

Denver Museum of Nature of Science, courtesy photo

Denver Museum of Nature & Science, courtesy photo

I come from a family of museum lovers and have been to a number of famous ones across the United States and I think the DMNS rates among the very best.

Their Mummies exhibit is gone on Feb. 6, so if you love mummies, you’d better get there fast. My husband is super excited for their next show – Vikings: Beyond the Legend, which runs March 10 through August 13, 2017.

Get Classical

I realize this post is starting to sound a little overly cultured, but I think most of you are fairly enlightened folks, so let’s talk symphony. While the Denver Performing Arts Center has wonderful shows year round, the symphony’s season runs fall through winter, making this the perfect time to attend a concert.

Hate the Snow on HeidiTown.com BoettcherHallFull86274

Colorado Symphony, courtesy photo

For several years we bought Colorado Symphony packages and loved spending a night on the town in Denver on concert evenings. It’s a great excuse to try a new restaurant or a new place for dessert after the show.

Get Cultured

If you’ve read HeidiTown for any length of time you already know that I love dinner theater. My two favorite go-to places are Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown and BDT Stage in Boulder, formerly Boulder Dinner Theatre.

Hate the Snow? These Colorado Winter Outings Are for You, No Coats Required

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” at BDT Stage | © Glenn Ross | www.glennrossphoto.com

Getting dinner and catching a play at either of these venues is surprisingly affordable and makes for a memorable evening.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” is on stage in Boulder and “Forever Plaid” is bringing down the house at Candlelight.

Be sure to find out what is playing at your local playhouse as well this winter. I’m a big supporter and fan of community theatre. You may be very surprised at the quality talent that’s in your town.

Get Wet

Okay, you don’t really get wet at the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, and in fact, visiting the aquarium actually makes for a nice escape from a snowy Colorado day.

Mystic Mermaids, photo by Mike Goodell

Mystic Mermaids, photo by Mike Goodell (photo provided by Downtown Aquarium)

I haven’t been to the aquarium in years, but a few HeidiTown citizens recently visited and said it was a great place to take the kids. And since this post is lacking in many kid-friendly outings, here it is.

The Downtown Aquarium has dining and a 4-D Theater, which I didn’t know about until I visited their website. What’s a 4-D theater you ask? I had to look it up myself, but apparently it’s a theater that shows 3D movies, but also features things like sensor-equipped motions seats, wind, strobe, fog, rain and scents. So I suppose you might get wet at the Denver Aquarium after all.

Colorado’s Most Picturesque Winter Towns

A Note from the Mayor: This article first appeared in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor where I work as a reporter-at-large. The original title was “Explore Colorado.”

Colorado is a beautiful state. Even the towns that dot the Eastern Plains have their own sort of nostalgic charm. However, there are a few towns that really sparkle when blanketed with a fresh layer of snow. Here are the towns that I consider to be three of the most picturesque winter towns in Colorado. 

Crested Butte

Coloradans have a long time love affair with Crested Butte. And while it’s not quite the same quaint place it once was – according to Zillow the median home price is $995,000 – it still retains an authenticity that residents and visitors love.

Crested Butte, Colorado, photo by Trent Bona.

Picturesque Crested Butte, Colorado, photo by Trent Bona.

Crested Butte sits on the border of where ranch land merges with the mountains. The town, which is located a short (free) bus ride from Crested Butte Mountain Resort, is full of colorful Victorian buildings, many of which house fantastic restaurants.

The town was incorporated in 1880, and had a population at that time of 400. In addition, approximately 1000 miners lived in the surrounding area. One of Crested Buttes’ most popular winter festivals, Al Johnson Memorial Uphill/Downhill Telemark Ski Race, is a celebration of Al Johnson, a mail carrier who traveled between the mining communities in the Crested Butte area in the late 1800s. Continue reading

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

Skip the Christmas Parade, Get Drunk with Elves – Colorado’s Unique Holiday Events

I started writing for a small Colorado newspaper in 2006. A year later, I started HeidiTown, as well as my magazine writing career. Therefore, I have written dozens of articles and posts about Santa Claus coming to town and Christmas parades.

Skip the Christmas Parade, Elf Crawl Littleton

Photo courtesy of City of Littleton.

I realize that it’s important to get the word out about these traditional holiday happenings, however, I’ve grown tired of writing about them. With that in mind, I asked my Facebook friends if they knew of any unique Colorado Christmas events happening over the next month and a half and I got a few fun responses that I shall share here.

First up is Elf Crawl in downtown Littleton, Colorado. If you haven’t been to Littleton’s downtown, it’s adorable. I actually used to live in the area and we’d occasionally catch shows at Town Hall Arts Center. 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

Facing Forty Fiercely

I’m going a little off plot in today’s post. You see, by the time you read this, I’ll be 40. 

I thought I’d be a lot more upset about turning 40, but it turns out that 30 was a lot harder. As I faced 30 in 2006, I’d just decided to become a writer instead of a lawyer, but I didn’t really know what it meant to “be a writer.”

Facing Forty Fiercely

Ryan and I had started our furniture business two years earlier and that too was still a bit of an unknown. I really thought I was going to be something by the age of 30 (a “Reality Bites” reference), but instead I felt uncertain about my future and less than confident about some of the choices I had recently made.

Over the last six months, as I faced 40, I realized that I felt much more at ease with turning 40 than I had with turning 30, and I began to pondered why. The answer was easy – it’s confidence. Today, I’ve got it in spades. I know who I am, and what I’m doing, and I love it. Continue reading

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

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

Featured Festival: NoCo Mini Maker Faire 2016

Maker

Noun

1. A person or thing that makes or produces something

“A cabinetmaker”

          Synonyms; creator, manufacturer, constructor, builder, producer, fabricator, inventor, architect, designer

         “The makers of fine furniture”

2. God; the Creator

noco_mmf_logos_logo

I have a real affinity for makers. After all, my husband designs and builds furniture, so “making stuff” plays an important role in our lives.

A decade ago, the first Maker Faire was held in California. Since then, the movement has grown, and today there are maker faires across the world. A Maker Faire is a celebration of arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the DIY mindset.

The 4th NoCo Mini Maker Faire, held in Loveland, Colorado, continues to grow, and with growth comes change. This year, the event is being held in a new location, inside the First National Bank Building at The Ranch Events Complex.

More than 100 Makers converge on Loveland for this event, which kicks off with an adults-only party on Friday, October 7, called Sparks & Spirits. Cocktails will be provided by local distillers and entertainers include Rubens Tube fire and music, interactive light art from Solid State Depot and Mystica body paint.

Featured Festival NoCo Mini Maker Faire Mystica body paint

One of my favorite gin makers, Golden Moon Distillery, will be there, along with a nice lineup of other Colorado makers of fine spirits such as Syntax Spirits from Greeley. Distiller, Heather Bean, makes small-batch vodka, whiskey and rum from grain-to-glass using all Colorado ingredients.

Featured Festival NoCo Mini Maker Faire Sparks & Spirits fire art

The Noco Mini Maker Faire is an family affair. On Saturday and Sunday, children are more than welcome and in fact, encouraged to attend. A maker faire is an excellent place for a inquisitive child. 

Featured Festival NoCo Mini Makers Faire is for children too

Attendees will be inspired, awed and intrigued. Some makers are students, while others are adults. Exhibits include everything from social robotics from Robauto to creative music makers, Serenity Forge. In addition, there will be several community art projects including a Chalkboard Art Car where guests can give voice to their creative expression. And fresh from Burning Man, no one will be able to miss the 30-foot DaVinci Flying Machine.

featured-festival-noco-mini-maker-faire-legos

Attendees can expect to spend hours strolling through the event, chatting with makers and getting hands on with various projects and games.

A maker event is where the left and right brain merge to create amazing, innovative and beautiful things.

NoCo Mini Maker Faire

October 8-9, 2016

Location: The Ranch Events Complex, Loveland, Colorado

Advanced ticket prices $10 adults, $6 child/student

Sparks & Spirits, Friday evening, October 7

Advanced ticket price $50

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets

MakerFaireNoCo.com

Join this event on Facebook

Follow @NocoMakerFaire on Twitter

***

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

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

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