On our last trip to Colorado Springs, we experienced two very unique lodging properties – an historic hotel and an historic vacation home – and we enjoyed both.
Lodging in Manitou Springs, Colorado – The Cliff House at Pikes Peak
On our first night we were booked at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak, one of the region’s most distinguished and historic hotels.
We’d stayed at The Cliff House many years ago, and since that stay, my husband has always named The Cliff House as one of his favorite Colorado hotels.
We arrived in town near lunch time so our first stop was at Manitou Brewing Company. This brewery not only serves up noteworthy craft beer, but also gourmet food. I daresay this is the most foodie brewery I have ever visited. Continue reading
I’ve been writing for the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor for 7 years, so I’ve had a long relationship with the town of Berthoud, Colorado. I’ve known about the Berthoud Inn, the only local bed and breakfast, but had never had the opportunity to stay there until I started helping out the owner, Mark Chaffee, with the Inn’s Facebook page.
Berthoud is a charming town, and a visit there is a bit like going back in time. It’s a town where everyone still comes out to high school football games and the Homecoming Parade is one of the biggest events of the year.
The Berthoud Inn & Events is located on a huge lot of land, just east of downtown. Built in 1888, the house is magnificent. In 1904, a local newspaper said of the home, “It has always been considered one of the most beautiful in the vicinity.” And more than 100 years later, it still is.
Berthoud is situated between Longmont and Loveland, about 45 minutes north of Denver and just 35 miles from Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Inn is within walking distance of everything the small town has to offer including restaurants, several day spas and a bit of shopping.
There’s also a brewery and that’s why we were there on a Wednesday. We were planning to defend our title as champions at Trivia Night at City Star Brewing.
We arrived at the Inn around 5:30 p.m. and a tour reveals seven themed rooms suited for a variety of guests. The Egyptian Room, in the basement, is probably the most interesting. It includes a tub the size of a small swimming pool, and some Egyptian costumes for those who may want to play a dress up.
The Inn also has a gigantic backyard that includes two stages and is home to the two tallest trees in Berthoud. Appropriate since the town’s nickname is “The Garden Spot.” Small weddings are welcome here, and the space is pretty, even in the winter. I can easily visualize sitting on the wrap around patio during the summer with a glass of wine at my elbow and a book in my hands.
After the tour we set out for City Star on foot, with a brief stop at the Brick Oven to order pizza. City Star lets visitors bring in food, and some places in downtown Berthoud will deliver your food directly to the brewery.
Trivia night has become popular and the brewery was packed. No problem for our team; we soundly beat everyone anyway. It probably helped that we had a team of nine very smart, very good looking people.
Breakfast at the Inn was a smorgasbord of culinary delights. Chaffee has owned the Berthoud Inn for 12 years, but before that he was the owner of multiple restaurants in Denver. There’s little doubt in my mind that his abilities as a chef is what truly sets the Berthoud Inn apart.
Our breakfast started with coffee and fruit in cream, and from there it just got better and better. Chaffee says he takes breakfast and “elevates it.” You may dine on strata with shrimp or poached salmon with a tropical fruit medley. He always serves eggs alongside, but your main dish may be more gourmet than you were expecting. It’s not unusual to have pork medallions with a savory sauce as your breakfast entrÃ©e – and be warned that portion sizes may have you skipping lunch.
Our breakfast concluded with cinnamon rolls served with a side of ice cream, so perhaps not surprisingly the dining experiences at the Berthoud Inn is what is most often referenced in their reviews on Trip Advisor.
The Berthoud Inn offers seven rooms in the main house, but also has a fully equipped, two bedroom apartment available for families, extended stay guests, business travelers, or those traveling with their canine companion. Since we were staying in the main house, we left our dog at Happy Tails Dog Ranch. Just five minutes from the Inn, I highly recommend Happy Tails. We’ve been utilizing their dog boarding services for a number of years. Learn more here.
To those of you who may have hesitations about staying at a bed and breakfast, please read my post, Dispelling Myths about Staying at a Bed & Breakfast. Bed and breakfasts are one of my favorite lodging options when I travel, and I think you’ll love it too if you give it a try.
Please note: I am assisting the Berthoud Inn with their new Facebook page. Therefore, I received a free stay to experience firsthand everything the Inn has to offer.
I don’t believe in ghosts, but I have seen them.
It’s almost Halloween, and this compelled me to tell some of my own ghost stories in this week’s segment on KRFC 88.9 FM.
Find out when and where my ghostly encounters took place, and maybe you can travel to these haunted Colorado locations to seek our your own paranormal experience.
Listen to this week’s radio show HERE.
Have you ever gone on vacation and then felt as though you needed another one when you got home? This has happened to me many times, but vacations shouldn’t be work. If you want to experience a true escape from all of life’s stresses, you’ll want to read this post.
I’ve stayed in many types of accommodations around Colorado over the years, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, rented homes and campgrounds, but last week I stepped it up – way up.
While attending the Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference in Steamboat Springs, I was the guest of Moving Mountains, and stayed at Diamond Peak Penthouse at One Steamboat Place.
This isn’t your average vacation rental – Diamond Peak is 2800 square feet of luxury living in the middle of one of the most spectacular ski resorts in North America.
Moving Mountains was established 15 years ago by husband/wife team, Robin and Heather Craigen. Their goal was to make European style holidays available in Steamboat Springs; this meant high end, catered chalets where their guests’ most stressful decision of the day would be picking the perfect ski run. The catered chalet option available at Moving Mountains properties includes a personal chef and staff.
Today Moving Mountains has many fabulous properties in their repertoire, including private homes and condominiums. All have easy access to the ski slopes and any can be fully catered.
Upon our arrival at One Steamboat Place, we were escorted to the sixth floor where our penthouse awaited. This four bedroom, five bath home has a comfortable, open plan living space that includes a gourmet kitchen.
In the kitchen we discovered a little “welcome to Steamboat gift” of homemade granola and beef jerky from Sweetwood Cattle Co. I’ll admit that I was probably more excited about the beef jerky than most, because it’s my number one weakness in life. I love beef jerky more than cake.
My favorite room in the house was the master bath, located in the master suite wing of the home. It includes an Olympic-size bathtub and huge freestanding shower. I spent a lot of time in this room getting ready in the mornings and even managed to squeeze in a soak between conference sessions. I also made good use of the home’s office that featured a computer with high speed internet, and I never even opened my laptop.
While I was networking and conferencing, my husband was enjoying the amenities at One Steamboat Place. He lounged in the pool and relaxed in the hot tub. Other offerings include an adult game room and a children’s play room. We didn’t book a treatment at the private spa, but it was tempting. There’s also a locker room for your boots and skis, because One Steamboat Place is a true ski in/ski out accommodation located right next to the gondola. This would be perfect for me because I hate walking in ski boots.
Another one of the benefits of staying at One Steamboat Place is the shuttle service. All catered packages through Moving Mountains also include private shuttle services within the Steamboat area. This is a big deal for people like me who enjoy having a few glasses of wine with dinner.
A stay at a Moving Mountains Chalets’ property is not a cheap experience, but it’s not out of reach. If you want a relaxing holiday in one of my favorite towns in the world, it is well worth it. Also, if you stay with a group, lodging expenses can be shared. Moving Mountains’ properties are the perfect option for a family reunion, a vacation with friends or a corporate get away.
It’s October and that means Halloween. It just so happens that I am a big scaredy cat, however, I do love a good ghost tour and I share some Colorado ghost tour information in this week’s radio segment. There’s also a nod to dead people and zombies in this show – you have been warned!
So without further ado, LISTEN HERE if you dare.
Note: Each Monday I upload my KRFC 88.9 FM segment to HeidiTown. You can here it on the radio on Wednesdays at noonish and Fridays at 5:30 p.m.
It’s time for another segment of HeidiTown on the radio. If your curious about when these air, you can hear me at noonish on Wednesdays and during your drive home on Fridays around 5:30 p.m. on KRFC 88.9 FM.
Some of the info in this week’s segment will seem like old news to my avid readers, because I’ve already written about Berthoud Oktoberfest on previous occasions, but it will be new information for my radio audience.
This radio show also has some advice on traveling in Colorado during the fall. Both my birthday and my husband’s birthday are in the fall, and we tend to do weekend getaways to celebrate, so we’ve learned a lot about traveling the state during this time of year.
Listen to this week’s segment HERE.
When I was a child, my family used to vacation each year on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. We always stayed at the same bed and breakfast, and I have wonderful memories of our stays there. As an adult, I continue to choose this style of lodging when I am on vacation, especially when visiting smaller towns around Colorado.
Over the years, Ryan and I have stayed at bed and breakfasts in the United States, and across Great Britain. We love bed and breakfasts, but I realize that a lot of you are hesitant about this type of vacation lodging.
Here are some of the common fears I hear about bed and breakfast, and my responses to each:
“I will feel like I’m invading someone’s home.”
Only once have I had the experience of feeling like a nuisance when staying at a bed and breakfast and this took place in England. Sometimes the line between bed and breakfasts and “renting a room in a house” becomes blurred, and this was one of those times. But this was an exception. This had never been our experience before and has never been our experience after at any bed and breakfast in England or stateside.
Typically, we choose a room with our own bathroom and have even had rooms with their own private entrance. Breakfast is usually served in a dining room where you may or may not meet other guests at the establishment. Most bed and breakfasts in the United States take pride in making delicious and memorable meals. Ryan and I still rave about the breakfast we had on the terrace at Hughes Hacienda in Colorado Springs.
“People will get all up in my business.”
I think this is the #1 fear I hear from my friends. They think that a bed and breakfast will lack privacy or that they will be forced into extensive conversations with perfect strangers. I can tell you that a bed and breakfast experience is what YOU make of it. Most proprietors are friendly and enjoy people, otherwise they wouldn’t be in this profession.
However, most proprietors are very intuitive as to their guests’ level of comfort in chatting, and will not push their guests into conversation, especially if a guest appears to be a more private type of person.
If you do choose to engage the bed and breakfast proprietors, and I suggest that you do, they are a wealth of information about the area in which you are staying. During our stay at Dream Keeper Inn, in Moab, Utah, the owners knew all the best local hikes, and were a big help in assisting us in picking a wonderful hike to see a hidden arch.
You can also choose whether or not to engage the other guests, who you will likely only run into during breakfast service. Many bed and breakfasts have multiple tables, although some seat everyone together. We have met the most interesting people over the years, and have had a blast sharing travel stories with Australians in Bath, England and with New Yorkers during a stay in Georgetown, Colorado.
“B&B’s are too expensive.”
This is a complete misnomer. With the price of hotel lodging today, bed and breakfasts are often competitive when it comes to price. Plus, you get a free, full breakfast every day of your stay, which will easily cost more than $20 at a restaurant.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love staying at a nice hotel, and we do not choose bed and breakfasts on every trip we take. However, they are a nice change up from the traditional hotel room, and can create memorable stories that will last you a lifetime.
It’s Monday, and that means this week’s segment from KRFC 88.9 FM is here!
By the way, September 14-22 is KRFC’s membership drive. This is a 100% community run radio station and it takes donations to keep the doors open. There are all sorts of membership levels to choose from so become a member today and help keep shows like HeidiTown on the air!
Now on to our regular scheduled blog post.
Last week I wrote about agritourism, and on this week’s radio show I share some upcoming agritourism-related events happening around Colorado including harvest festivals and a top-notch foodie event in Denver.
Agritourism is a relatively new word, and in fact it is so new that my computer does not actually recognize it as a real word. Agritourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry, but what is it?
It’s where agriculture and tourism intersect. If you’ve ever visited a working farm to buy eggs or tour their vegetable patch, or if you’ve taken your children to a corn maze or on a hay ride, you’ve participated in agritourism.
Agritourism covers a broad range of activities and includes educational, cultural and culinary events. It often involves hands-on experiences.
While most people consider Colorado a ski and adventure destination, our state was built on agriculture. Today, tourism is a big piece of the state’s economy, so bringing agriculture and tourism together just makes sense.
I’ll admit, I’ve only participated a little in agritourism, although the wine country on the Western Slope is at the top of my must-do list. Colorado’s Western Slope is a mecca for agritourism, especially as Colorado’s wine grows in popularity and reputation.
Events like Tour de Vineyard, happening this weekend, are the perfect opportunity to participate in agritourism. This 25-mile bike ride travels through Colorado’s Wine Country, and is held just prior to the Colorado Mountain Winefest, featuring over 50 state wineries.
The Western Slope isn’t only a wine lovers paradise, they also grow all sorts of fruit and celebrate their harvest all summer and fall with music, dancing and of course, lots of delicious food.
For instance, the Mountain Harvest Festival, held the last weekend in September in Paonia, gives visitors the opportunity to meet local farmers. The festival’s website includes a page with links to two local farm tours you can take while attending the festival; one is a self-guided tour, while the other is a farm to farm bicycle tour.
Staying at a dude ranch also falls in the agritourism travel category and you don’t have to go to Wyoming or Montana to find one. ColoradoRanch.com has 29 ranches listed, with activities that include cattle drives to white water rafting.
There are all types of ranch stays to choose from; you can indulge in a luxury stay, or an experience where your hands may blister and your boots will surely get dirty. Personally, I think the luxury stay sounds rather nice, although I wouldn’t mind feeding some chickens or gathering eggs in the morning.
In researching agritourism, I also found this cool website called FarmStayUS.com. It lists working farms throughout the United States where you can stay and experience rural living on either a farm, ranch or vineyard.
Another interesting way to participate right now in agritourism is visiting a “U Pick Farm.” According to Colorado.com, Berry Patch Farms in Brighton has a fall crops like apples, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, squash, pumpkins and peppers. You can even meet the farm’s chickens, ducks and pigs. See Colorado.com’s list of U Pick Farms here.
So there you have it, a quick overview of agritourism and how you can participate. I hope to have some agritourism adventures of my own next summer, and you can be sure that I will share them with you here on HeidiTown.