holidays

A Holiday Shopping Extravaganza in Ouray, Colorado

I’ll be the first to admit that I love online shopping. I’m also going to admit that when I visited Ouray this past weekend for Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival, I had no intention of Christmas shopping while in town except to maybe find something for my nieces at Ouray’s excellent toy store.

Kristopher's Culinaire and Hotel Ouray, Ouray, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Khristopher’s Culinaire below Hotel Ouray.

After a satisfying breakfast at Backstreet Bistro, now located on 7th Avenue, we crossed the street to O’Toys. We’d browsed this toy store before and knew that they had a lot of great stuff for kids.

The new owners have taken a keen interest in getting to know the products they sell, and Tina helped us pick out the perfect gifts for our pre-teen and post-toddler nieces. We also picked up a new card game that’s been a hit in Ouray. It’s called Happy Salmon and is chaos your family will love. 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

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

Christmas in Ouray, It’s Not Too Early to Start Planning

There are still 144 days until Christmas, so please don’t panic, however, it’s never too soon to plan holiday travel. And after this summer heatwave we’ve been experiencing, a cool down in the beautiful village of Ouray, Colorado sounds heavenly.

Spend Christmas in Ouray, photo by Dan Navakowski

Photo by Dan Navakowski & used with permission.

Imagine spending a wintry weekend surrounded by snowy peaks in Ouray, Colorado. Snowshoe on a local trail, enjoy a delicious meal or cozy up with a warm whiskey drink at KJ Wood Distillers. Top it all off with Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.

Discounted tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival

The Annual Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival takes place during Ouray’s Winterfest, a seven-week holiday season of events and promotions. It starts after Thanksgiving and last through the Ouray Ice Festival in January. Festive activities take place throughout Winterfest, including Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.

Spend Christmas in Ouray at Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. HeidiTown.com

This blog post is your chance to purchase discounted tickets to Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival, and to start planning your winter getaway in Ouray.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday, December 10, 2016.

This festival features Colorado wines, chocolate and cheeses, and has expanded to include local craft distillers and arts and crafts. Of course, there’s live music too and this year’s festival theme is 1930’s Swing.

Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is a beautiful way to ring in the holidays with a few of everyone’s favorite things. And it’s also an opportunity to purchase last minute Colorado gifts for all your favorite people.

Spend Christmas in Ouray. Cheese table at Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. HeidiTown.com

Click here and enter “HeidiTown” into the “Enter Promotional Code” box to receive a 10% discount on your 2016 tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. Promotion runs through August 31, 2016.

Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is online at ColoradoWineFest.org.

Start planning your visit to Ouray at OurayColorado.com.

Each year, Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival supports a local non-profit and this year’s benefactor is Weehawken Creative Arts, helping kids and adults in Ouray County and neighboring communities discover their creative potential through the arts.

Winterfest is supported by the Annual Ouray Jeep Raffle, a half-century-long community fundraiser that gives participants the opportunity to win a jeep.

Faith Perry at Ouray's Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. HeidiTown.com

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This post is a paid advertisement. Interested in marketing your event, festival or destination with HeidiTown.com? Please email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

Featured Festival: Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Fort Collins, Colorado)

St. Pats Fort Collins parade picture

Full disclosure: As a redhead with an Irish grandmother, I’m a big fan of St. Patrick’s Day. BIG.

Last year I finally attended the Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Fort Collins, Colorado, and it’s a heck of a good time.

This is one of Fort Collins’ biggest parties of the year, with half the town coming out to witness the huge parade and after party in Old Town Square. Downtown Fort Collins literally becomes a sea of green, including the beer.

A sea of green in downtown Fort Collins for St. Patrick's Day 2012 HeidiTown

When we arrived in Fort Collins last St. Patty’s Day, Ryan and I were amazed to find the streets full of parade fans, and for good reason. It’s a premiere parade, with participates sticking with the theme of green, green, green. The streets get full, so get there early to find prime parade watching territory.

Families, college kids and leashed dogs all come together to celebrate one of my favorite holidays of the year.

The best part of this event, aside from the parade, are the bands that play in Old Town Square. Fort Collins keeps it authentic with Irish bands and pipe bands.

The pipers at St. Patrick's Day in Fort Collins 2012 HeidiTown

This year, stick around after the parade, stick around downtown to enjoy music with Irish bands such as Gobs O’Phun, The Commoners and TribU2, a U2 Tribute band. Guinness will be flowing along with Odells and green beer in Old Town Square. In addition you’ll find Irish food, green cotton candy, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson Whiskey.

I’m not normally a fan of green beer, because it’s weird and not authentically Irish, however, last year we indulged and enjoyed our green beers.

Green beer in Old Town St. Patrick's in Fort Collins HeidiTown

This year the parade features over 80 floats and Colorado State University’s own Dr. Temple Grandin is the parade Grand Marshall.

Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Fort Collins, Colorado

March 16, 2013

Parade route & more info can be found at

www.DowntownFortCollins.com

A stay at The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado

The Rush Casino & Hotel by HeidiTown

The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

While in Cripple Creek I was incarcerated and lost some money, but I’d still go back. We arrived in Cripple Creek on a cloudy Friday afternoon. I had been invited to be a guest at the brand new Rush Casino, formerly the Gold Rush. The building had been shuttered for three years before the new owners bought it, renovated the place and opened in August 2012.

I had never been to Cripple Creek before, and I can’t say that about many Colorado towns, so I was extra excited as we past Manitou Springs and then Woodland Park. As we neared our destination we were greeted by this view, just outside of Cripple Creek.

view driving into Cripple Creek Colorado photo by HeidiTown

View driving into Cripple Creek, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

When we arrived in town I was quite delighted by the look of the place. Cripple Creek is an authentic mining town, all red brick and Victorian charm. While they legalized gambling in the early 1990s, the town has managed to retain its historical appeal.

At The Rush we found a open-plan casino, with extra high, golden ceilings and lots of elbow room. I dislike feeling pinned in at a casino, so this was a pleasant surprise. Apparently every guest at The Rush receives a mini-bar gift basket, a practice I would encourage every hotel to establish. At check in we were asked what we would like in our gift basket and given a list of items we could choose from.

mini-bar gift basket at The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek photo by HeidiTown

Our mini-bar gift basket at The Rush. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

While the casino at The Rush has been fully remodeled, the boutique hotel upstairs hasn’t receive as much attention, but there is a fresh coat of paint and upscale amenities like flat screen televisions and high end bath products. Our large room overlooked Bennett Avenue and included a nice view of the vintage Gold Rush sign.

We spent the first night gambling at The Rush, and winning at everything with the exception of three-card poker. I had very good luck at the Elvis game; the King and I got on famously. I enjoy these new games that include a chair with surround sound. At this game you rock out to famous Elvis tunes while trying to hunt down the rabbit in the Hound Dog Hunt. It’s seriously fun.

Elvis machine at The Rush photo by HeidiTown

Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

In addition to your mini-bar gift basket, guests at The Rush get free “bottomless” breakfast at the casino’s restaurant. I really enjoyed the breakfasts during our stay, especially the fresh jalapenos in my omelet, and you can’t beat the $1.50 bloody Mary.

We spent the morning of our second day exploring Bennett Avenue. As we scouted out the other casinos and did some shopping at the boutiques along the northeast side town, it began to snow. The town was quickly blanketed in white and with the twinkling Christmas lights, it felt very much like an old-fashion kind of holiday.

There are some cute shops in Cripple Creek, including a candy store that we stopped at every day during our stay and 9494, my favorite store in town where I bought an adorable hat. The General Store is over 40 years old and squished between two casinos on the south side of Bennett. It is an entertaining place to shop and includes lot of stuff for kids.

Back at the casino we met up with my in-laws who had arrived from Denver. Lunch at The Rush got fairly high marks from our group, especially the chicken wrap.  After lunch, we left my mother-in-law at the slot machines and took my father-in-law with us to get into some trouble – and we succeeded, as the photos prove.

Heidi at the Cripple Creek jail museum photo by HeidiTown

Ryan at the Cripple Creek Jail Museum photo by HeidiTown

My father-in-law goofing off at the Cripple Creek jail museum by HeidiTown

As you can tell, we had a good laugh at the Outlaw & Lawmen Jail Museum.

That evening we spent time gambling at The Rush, and my husband had too much fun at the Monopoly slot machine and the black jack tables. Every Saturday night the casino brings in a DJ who takes requests and keeps things festive. The drinks and fun flowed, and despite not winning the hourly cash prize of $100, we had another great night.

The Rush Casino Cripple Creek December 2012 HeidiTown.com

The Rush Casino, formerly The Gold Rush. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

I’m very excited about the future of The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek. The Palladium is a 900-seat outdoor auditorium directly behind the casino and the owners plan to renovate it starting this spring. It should be open for summer concerts in 2013 – more than enough reason to go back and stay at The Rush again.

You can find The Rush online at TheRushCasino.com. You can also find them on Facebook HERE and follow them on Twitter.

PLEASE NOTE: The Rush Casino unexpectedly closed on Friday, January 4, 2013. I still highly recommend a trip to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

HeidiTown on the Radio – A Colorado New Year’s Eve

Heidi & Ryan Grand Lake

Happy Holidays to all the HeidiTown citizens, from Heidi & Ryan

It’s time for another segment on KRFC 88.9 FM.

Please note that there will not be a radio segment next week due to the Mayor’s crazy holiday schedule.

The evolution of the HeidiTown brand over the past year has been amazing, and lots of exciting things are in store for the upcoming year.  On this week’s radio show I share with the listeners some of the changes happening around HeidiTown in 2013.

Also, I highlight some of the New Year’s Eve celebrations taking place in Fort Collins and Denver.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and may 2013 by the Best Year yet for all of us!!!

Listen to this week’s radio show HERE.

HeidiTown on the Radio – Colorado holiday fun & air travel tips

bear sculptures at DIA by HeidiTownIn this week’s HeidiTown segment on KRFC 88.9 FM I introduce the radio audience to my HeidiTown Gives Back Recipient, Cafe 180.  I chat about some fun holiday events that may get overlooked, plus I give the listeners some of my personal air travel tips, since many of us will be running the airport  gauntlet this Christmas.

Listen HERE.

HeidiTown on the Radio – A random bunch of Colorado-related stuff

HeidiTown.com sign

Do you follow TheMayorofHeidiTown on Instagram? You should! Photo from HeidiTown.com on Instagram.

This week’s radio show on KRFC 88.9 FM covers a bunch of stuff including the new online Masters in Tourism Program at Colorado State University, the Hospitality, Events and Tourism program at Metropolitan State University, my upcoming weekend trip to Cripple Creek, Colorado, a review of my favorite post from this fall season and a little housekeeping. KRFC is asking for your help – if you are a listener, please take a moment and take the survey here.

Listen to this week’s radio segment HERE.

Featured Festival: Denver Christkindl Market

A grand welcome to the market by Ms. Laura Kantwerk.

A grand welcome to the market by Ms. Laura Kantwerk. Photos by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

It seems rather appropriate for the Mayor of a place called HeidiTown to have a connection to the German Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter. Full disclosure: This organization has been advertising their events with HeidiTown for a while now and it’s a match made in heaven.

This organization puts together well-organized and top-notch events that I am more than happy to slap my endorsement on. Their Biergarten Festival is a summer party my husband and I look forward to every year.

The GACC-CO’s winter event is the Denver Christkindl Market. In operation for 12 years, this year there’s a new look, but the market hasn’t lost its intimate, European feel.

Christkindl markets have deep roots in Germany where the oldest recorded Christmas market dates back to 1310 in Munich. Held in front of churches, the markets were often part of a person’s church visit. Today, these markets are still held in town squares across Germany.

Tour the Denver Christkindl Market to find unique, handmade gifts for nearly everyone on your list. I found lots of knit hats and beautiful artisan jewelry that I’d love to find under the tree this Christmas.

Pastries at the Denver Christkindl Market

Pastries at the Denver Christkindl Market.

The best part of the market, in my illustrious opinion, is the food and the beer/entertainment tent. I’d recommend coming hungry, having some delicious European-style food and a beer or two and then going shopping.

While we were visiting the beer tent last weekend, the Chalet Dancers from Castle Rock were peforming and their authentic German dances impressed the crowd, me included. Under the tent you’ll find a full lineup of entertainment on the weekday evenings and weekends.

Sipping a beer or gluehwein (spiced wine), you’ll be transported to a different time and place, and this is what I love the most about the Denver Christkindl Market and the Biergarten Festival – it’s a chance to experience a little German culture right here in Colorado. Our state is rich with German heritage, but we don’t always get a chance to see it, taste it and feel it in action. I applaud the German Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter for keeping this culture alive and well.

Keep in mind that the market is a wonderful event for children – from entertainment to delicious pastries, make the Denver Christkindl Market a part of their childhood memories this Christmas.

chalet dancers at Denver Christkindl Market

Chalet Dancers from Castle Rock, Colorado.

Denver Christkindl Market

Skyline Park (16th & Arapaho)

November 23 to December 22, 2012

Sunday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Join the Denver Christkindl Market on Facebook

www.denverchristkindlmarket.com

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