Last week I was a speaker at a tourism conference in Pagosa Springs, and it was a good reminder of the total awesomeness of this Southwest Colorado town.
Pagosa Springs should be on your must-visit list this summer and here are five things you need to do once you get there.
1. Float the river in Pagosa Springs
The best way to take advantage of a river that runs directly through a town is to float it. The San Juan River is the source of all good stuff in Pagosa Springs and is a big summertime attraction.
The best time to float the river is in July and August when the water levels are lower. Bring your own tube or check out this Pagosa Springs’ website for how to go about floating the San Juan River. Continue reading
I’ll be the first to admit that I used this title as click bait. I knew that those of you with favorite taco shops around Colorado were going to click the link, and if you didn’t see your favorite taco listed you would school me on taco greatness.
Here’s the thing. “Best of” lists about food are crap and I can say that because I’ve written one in the past. Everyone has a different set of taste buds, not to mention we are influenced by things ambiance and the people we were dining with.
With that being said, I shall reveal three of the most memorable tacos I’ve eaten in Colorado. I’m sure I’ve had other delicious tacos, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind, and whether that makes them the “best” or not, I refuse to be the judge. Continue reading
You’ve heard about it in songs and perhaps you’ve seen it in a movie or commercials, but did you know that you can do it right here in Colorado? Several places around Colorado offer horse and sleigh rides, and earlier this winter we got to experience an outing at Snow Mountain Ranch, a beautiful YMCA of the Rockies property in Grand County, Colorado.
We arrived at Sombrero Stables a little before our scheduled excursion. All the draft horse teams were lined up, waiting to be hitched to their sleighs for multiple afternoon outings, so we walked down the line giving head scratches and taking photos.
I fell in love with draft horses while writing a series of articles about Norwegian Fjords for a Colorado newspaper. Draft horses are called “gentle giants” for a reason; their demeanor is calm and they are unlike any other horse I’ve been around. I love their chill personalities. Continue reading
Last year I finally got the opportunity to attend the International Snow Sculpting Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. I’d known about the event for years and wondered if it would live up to the hype.
We were booked at the Village at Breckenridge and our room overlooked the parking lot in which the snow sculpting teams were working on their creations.
We were lucky enough to stay for long enough to watch the sculptures as they were carved into their various final compositions.
As we watched the sculptures take shape over several days I was blown away by the size and intricacy of each piece. The photographs I had seen of this event, while amazing, just simply hadn’t done it justice. Seeing this event in person is truly astounding.
This year’s event International Snow Sculpting Championships run Jan. 18 through February 7, 2016. The ideal time to visit, in my opinion, is Jan. 26-30 while the sculptures are being created, especially Jan. 29 when the teams work late into the night to finish their pieces. Watching the sculptures come to life, so to speak, is quite astonishing. Continue reading
Dog sledding in Colorado? Yes, you can. I’ve done it twice now and our experience this past week at Snow Mountain Ranch was like no other.
I was a huge fan of the Iditarod when I was a kid. The race incorporates lots of things I love; dogs, snow and perseverance.
Snow Mountain Ranch is part of the YMCA of the Rockies. It is located between Winter Park and Granby, Colorado and is a snow sports fanatic’s dream destination. In addition to dog sledding guests can participate in everything from cross country skiing to fat biking to ice skating and the best part? Guests never have to leave the property. Continue reading
I was asked recently to write a “tips for attending winter festivals” post. Well, I had already written that post way back in 2014. Since it has some great winter festival survival tips I decided I’d re-post the original article.
The following post originally appeared on HeidiTown.com on February 7, 2014.
I was prompted to write this post after an experience I had last month during Breckenridge’s Ullr Festival. For the first time ever I experienced the terrible symptoms of severe dehydration. As a longtime Coloradan, I am embarrassed to admit this, but it happened and it’s NOT fun.
On our second night in town, after soaking in the beautiful hot tubs at Grand Timber Lodge, we went out to dinner where I started to feel shaky and nauseated. I thought I was coming down with the flu. I didn’t touch dinner and had to head back to our condo early where I crawled into bed with intense muscle cramps and aches all over my body.
The next day I was fine, a bit weak, but otherwise back to normal. When I searched my symptoms on Google, I discovered that I had suffered from dehydration. Usually I drink a ton of water, but on this trip I was so busy with Nordic skiing and partying that hydration had skipped my mind. It won’t happen again.
This long story leads me to tip number 1, which is HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE!
Colorado is at elevation – all of it – but especially in the mountains where most of the great winter festivals take place. Dehydration can happen to anyone, even a Colorado resident – case in point -but those coming from outside the state should be even more conscientious of this issue. Continue reading
Each year I compile a list of my top ten highlights and each year it gets harder. This year was no exception. From birding festivals to wine festivals to festive Christmas outings, 2015 was chockablock with amazing Colorado experiences.
I truly hope you took inspiration from my travels and had a few Colorado festival and travel highlights of your own this year. At the end of this post feel free to leave a comment telling me a few of yours.
Without further ado, here are my top ten highlights of 2015 in no particular order.
The gift of a tomato in Crested Butte
Coloradans adore Crested Butte and before I visited this fall I wondered if the town would live up to the hype. Not only did it live up to my expectations, it exceeded them. The Crested Butte story I will tell for the rest of my life is that of the gift of the tomato. I’d only been in town a few hours when, while riding the free bus from town to the resort, a man gave me a beautiful heirloom tomato. Where else but in Crested Butte does a person receive the gift of fruit from a perfect stranger? No wonder folks adore this quintessential Colorado town.
Snow Sculpture Festival in Breckenridge
I’d been reading and hearing about the Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge for years and in 2015, I finally attended. I discovered that there’s a good reason this event gets so much attention – it’s amazing. We were blown away by the spectacle of huge snow sculptures coming to life over the two day period while we were in town. This is an event that should absolutely be on your Colorado bucket list. Continue reading
Part One: The train
Do you like trains? Do you like history? Do you like beautiful scenery? Do you like the movies? If you answered yes to any of these you’ll enjoy the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you love this scenic railroad.
The Cumbres & Toltec really is the most authentic scenic railroad you’ll find in the United States and it is just 4 hours from Denver.
Here are just a few reasons why I think this train is so interesting. It is the longest (in terms of mileage) scenic railroad running in the United States. It runs between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico; a 64 miles stretch of original railroad. During the trip you’ll weave in and out of Colorado and New Mexico 11 times. On the full trip, the train stops three times for water; it is a steam train after all, and water is vital to keeping it chugging along. Continue reading
Our second day at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, we woke to the sounds of birds chirping cheerily in the trees outside our cabin. Trees play a large part in the history of Sylvan Dale, in fact, a lot of the trees around the cabins have dedications.
One tree is dedicated to a couple who met at the ranch many years ago; there has been more than one love affair that started at Sylvan Dale. Four generations later, the family that blossomed from that love still comes to the guest ranch every summer.
Be sure to ask the story of the Sylvan Dale’s apple trees when you visit.
Breakfast was French toast made from Sylvan Dale’s famous cinnamon bread. While I’m more of a savory and spicy food person, Ryan’s favorite breakfast item is French toast and he gave these an A++. Chef Scott grilled them up fresh while we munched on fresh fruit and yogurt and fueled up on coffee.
We needed fuel for our day ahead which included a nature hike with Dr. David Armstrong, Susan’s husband, and a horseback ride. Continue reading
Want to get away from it all, but don’t want to drive far? Check out Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. Just one hour north of Denver, once you arrive at Sylvan Dale you’ll feel a million miles from civilization. In fact, you may feel as though you’ve time traveled to another century.
We had the opportunity to spend a night at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch during their “Swing into Spring” getaway weekend. Traditionally a guest ranch where guests stay for a week at a time, Sylvan Dale has recently added short-term stays to their offerings.
When we arrived, Susan Jessup gave Ryan and I a tour of the property. She knows the ranch really well; after all, she grew up there. Her father bought the ranch in 1947, and Jessup’s love for the place is palpable. And it’s easy to see why – after less than 24 hours on the property, we had fallen in love with Sylvan Dale too. Continue reading