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Welcome to Historic Grand Lake sign HeidiTown.comWe arrived in Grand Lake on a snowy Friday. The area had received three straight days of heavy snow, which made our first stop at On the Trail Rentals, even more fantastic. I previously wrote about this experience.

We were booked at the Western Riviera Lakeside Lodging & Events, soon to be world famous because on March 25, they will be featured on the Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible. Much to my delight, because I’m a fan, the crew of Hotel Impossible was filming on the weekend we were in town.

We were staying in The Tree House, a huge two bedroom apartment overlooking the lake and just a short distance from the Western Riveria’s lake front property. It has a full kitchen, a living room and dining area with a fireplace. The master suite features a walk in closet the size of my first apartment, and the bathroom has Jack & Jill sinks.

Sunrise over Grand Lake HeidiTown.comWe thoroughly enjoy the purple and pink sunrises from our big front window each morning, and we had a front row seat to the fireworks show on Saturday night. I was in town covering Grand Lake Winter Carnival, one of the best little winter festivals I’ve attended in Colorado.

Scheduled for a guided snowshoe trek in Rocky Mountain National Park, we got up early on Saturday. The Fat Cat had been recommended to us by the bartender at The Lariat. They serve a $12 breakfast buffet on the weekend and the selection included Scotch eggs, a personal favorite. A table heavy laden with desserts caught our eye. It looked like something right off the pages of Bon Appetit Magazine.

My husband, Ryan, is a big fan of desserts. Big. He looked at me, eyes full of excitement and asked, “Do you think that’s part of the buffet?”

dessert buffet at The Fat Cat HeidiTown.com

It was. The Fat Cat will now always hold a special place in my Ryan’s heart, and mine too. We ended up there twice during our stay. We met and chatted with Sally, the owner, and felt like we’d discovered a home away from home. That’s how I feel about Grand Lake in general – it is genuinely comfortable.

At 9 a.m. we arrived at the Kawuneeche Visitors Center for our ranger led snow shoe outing with Ranger Barb. This was one of the best mornings ever, in part because Barb’s husband cut the trail for us. The scenery was breathtaking and it felt like we were snowshoers in a postcard. Barb is a gifted guide and amusing storyteller.  Ranger led hikes at RMNP are free, but you must make reservations by calling 970-586-1223.

Rocky Mountain National Park in the snow HeidiTown.com

After our hike we sped back to Grand Lake to enjoy Winter Carnival activities. During winter carnival the businesses along Grand Avenue sponsor snow sculptures and this year’s theme was Alice in Winterland, resulting in especially whimsical creations.

snow sculpture in Grand Lake HeidiTown.com

The bed races are the Carnival’s most famous event. Eager festival goers were already lining the streets when we arrived and I noticed right way that Grand Lake is probably one of the most dog friendly towns in a state full of dog friendly towns.

The bed races lived up to the hype. It was a seriously entertaining event and since Hotel Impossible was in town they entered a team complete with their own camera crew caught here in our video of the races.

Fireworks over Grand Lake HeidiTown.comAfter the events were complete we made a quick trip out to Grand Lake Brewing which had moved out of town since our first visit. Their taster trays are huge and the staff is really nice. Back in town, we walked from The Tree House to Pancho & Lefty’s, another one of our favorite places in Grand Lake. It’s a super fun place that I mentioned in previous posts here on HeidiTown.

After a rather impressive fireworks show that we watched from our porch, we dined on delicious handmade pizza at the Grand Lake Bowling Alley.

Ryan at the Grand Lake Nordic Center HeidiTown.comThe next morning, after filling up at The Fat Cat once more, we headed out to the picturesque Grand Lake Nordic Center for a morning of cross country skiing.  The club house is beautiful and with 35 kilometers of groomed trails, you could easily spend a day here.

Sadly, we couldn’t. We had to head back home, but we’ll miss Grand Lake, and can’t wait to go back.

Author’s Note: Don’t miss the historic Daven Haven Lodge while you’re in town. It’s been open since the 1930s, and has had just three owners over the years. For a delicious steak, or all you can eat shrimp on Friday nights, make a reservation at the Daven Haven.

See more photos from this trip on Instagram at @TheMayorofHeidiTown.

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HOTEL IMPOSSIBLE featuring the Western Riviera airs Monday, March 25 on the Travel Channel.

Sponsored by the Grand County Colorado Tourism Board. Find them on Facebook here. and on Twitter at @GrandCountyCo.  #VisitGrandCounty

beautiful cake made in Colorado HeidiTown

A pretty cake goes a long way in making your Valentine happy! Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

Want to experience an authentic Colorado Valentine’s Day? Here are my tips for infusing a little Rocky Mountain high into your relationship this February.

STAY

Colorado offers everything from well-appointed historic hotels like the Brown Palace and Hotel Colorado to the shiny and still-fairly-new Ritz-Carlton in downtown Denver to Movie Manor, a motel in Monte Vista offering a drive-in movie with your stay.

When it comes to lodging options, this state has it all, but it’s Colorado’s bed and breakfasts that offer the perfect romantic ambiance for a Valentine’s Day escape. Many bed and breakfasts are located in the heart of Colorado’s unique towns, making everything within easy walking distance including restaurants, bars and shopping.

If you have reservations about staying at a bed and breakfast, I encourage you to read my article, “Dispelling the myths about staying at a bed & breakfast.”

Pick a bed and breakfast with a romance package, or make your own romance package. Pack a bottle of bubbly, some of your partner’s favorite chocolates or other fancy foods and stay in for the evening. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

We recently stumbled across the Carr Manor in Cripple Creek, and toured this 14-room bed and breakfast in a converted high school. There are two spa suites that will blow your mind. One has a vaulted Jacuzzi tub that should come with a couple servants waving palm frawns.

For a romantic little get away in the charming town of Berthoud, Colorado, check out the Berthoud Inn. The owner is an accomplished chef who just might cook up something special for your dinner if prearranged.

wine & chocolate HeidiTown

A romance package is a nice touch when booking a romantic escape at hotel or bed & breakfast. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer.

Eat

When it comes to the culinary scene, Colorado has chefs who are pushing the boundaries and testing the palates of residents from the Front Range to Aspen. While not always known as a “foodie town,” today, inspired cuisine can be found throughout Denver at places like Euclid Hall and Fruition Restaurant.

But let’s face it, Colorado’s known for meat, red meat like steak, lamb and wild game.

If you want to impress your date this Valentine’s Day with an authentic Colorado meal, try the Frontier Platter at The Fort in Morrison. This sample plate includes a buffalo sirloin medallion, wild boar chops and grilled teriyaki quail. Start your meal with some Rocky Mountain oysters as a daring aphrodisiac.

Looking for Rocky Mountain oysters at a less fancy establishment and price? Try Bruce’s in Severance, Colorado. A basket of oysters, fries and dip at Bruce’s will only set you back $8.99.

snowshoing HeidiTown

Snowshoeing if fun! Photo by Ryan Schlaefer.

DO

Here at HeidiTown, I’m all about doing stuff, and Valentine’s Day is your opportunity to get out and do something romantic with that special person in your life.

If you read HeidiTown then you’re already an expert when it comes to doing fun Colorado stuff, but if not, here are a few suggestions for this Valentine’s Day.

Dinner theater – This option kills two birds with one stone; dinner and the evening’s entertainment.  And if you want to keep the Colorado theme going, The Unsinkable Molly Brown is now onstage at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown.

A free gondola ride in Breckenridge – The 143-cabin Breckenridge Gondola runs year-round for skiers and non-skiers. This ride could be part of a romantic getaway in the beautiful town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Current hours of gondola operation are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A moonlight snowshoe outing – Check out Colorado’s Best Snowshoeing Trails and do a little investigating to find out what resorts/ranches have this unique experience available.

It’s the first Monday in December and that means it’s time to unveil the recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign. This month’s organization came to my attention through a citizen of my little town, and I’m so glad that she shared the story with me.

Cafe 180 logo

Café 180 is the brainchild of Julie Mihevc and Cathy Matthews. Their original idea was to create transitional housing in Englewood, but fate had other plans. Instead, following the “pay it forward” concept pioneered by SAME Café in Denver, they decided to open their own café  with a “pay what you can” mentality. Continue Reading…

Dave & Busters

Photos by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer.

Birthdays are a big deal in our house and the milestone birthdays are an even bigger deal. A birthday usually involves a weekend away, but since my husband, Ryan, was turning 40 this month I asked whether he preferred a party. He informed me that he wanted a party, but “didn’t want to just meet up for beers with friends like we do all the time.”

So I had to put my thinking cap on. I came up with a hundred different ideas, but most involved meeting up with friends for beer like we do all the time. Then, Dave & Busters popped into my mind. We hadn’t been in a while, but Ryan loves video games and I figured it would give our friends a fun evening out.

So I booked Dave & Busters in Westminster, Colorado and nearly 30 people showed up to help Ryan ring in this new decade of life and to rib him about turning the big 4-0. Due to Friday evening rush hour traffic we were running a few minutes late to our own party, but I got an excellent text from a partier who beat us there.

Dave & Busters buffet

Fajita buffet at Dave & Buster's.

It read: Set up looks great! :)

And it did. We had booked a party room that included a pool table, shuffle board, tables and lots of seating. The space was large, but not too big, and it was staffed with three attentive wait staff. As party goers continued to arrive and people began to tip back beers, the atmosphere couldn’t have been better.

I like to feed people. I got this trait from my mother. I’m always afraid people won’t get enough to eat or won’t like the offerings. I had ordered the fajita buffet and as they uncovered the food I was pleasantly surprised to see the party goers digging in.

dessert tray at dave & busters

The dessert tray at Dave & Buster's was a real hit.

When ordering a buffet for a party, I’m always a little nervous about the quality, but this buffet was a big hit. I was overjoyed to see people going back for seconds and thirds. The buffet included chips and queso, fajita stuff (tortillas, beef and chicken) and lettuce, cheese, fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, and an addictive green sauce.

Everything was fresh, as was noted by several guests, but despite the compliments on the food, the best praise is that people ate the heck out of it!

After a fine meal and conversation, party goers began to filter out onto the game floor. Our party package came with $10 power cards for each attendee. Our group took over air hockey, then basketball and then moved on to trivia. Smiles were wide and laughs were many.

My 7-year-old niece, the only child in attendance, made out like a bandit because everyone kept giving her their winning tickets. She was giddy with excitement as she “bought” nearly every jelly bracelet in the Dave & Busters store.

zea playing basketball at Dave & Buster's

Why is this basketball game so addictive?

With the games and crowds, Dave & Busters is a noisy place, so it was good to have our room available as an escape from the hubbub of the game floor. Some in our party became addicted to shuffle board and never left our room. Our wait staff also remained on hand, making sure all the gifts, purses and coats were looked after and drinks were full.

Almost everyone stayed late and I deemed this birthday bash a complete success. Having a party at Dave & Busters makes it easy for everyone – the host and the guests. With food and fun at your fingertips, not to mention drinks, there’s no reason to leave early.

Dave & Busters may not be the first place you think of when planning an adult birthday party, but maybe it should be. They also specialize in team building parties and office holiday events.

DaveandBusters.com

Dave & Buster’s Westminster location (303) 217-7107

Oklahoma Candlelight men

"Oklahoma!" now playing at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. Courtesy photo.

It’s time for another dinner theater review and this time I went back to Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown, Colorado for “Oklahoma!” I’ve been going to theater since I was just a little girl, but I had never seen a production of this famous play until last week.

Today, “Oklahoma!” is considered a wholesome family musical and is often performed at high schools and even middle schools, so it’s difficult to think of it as ground breaking, but when “Oklahoma!” hit theaters in 1943, it broke the rules. First, the musical begins with just one person singing, and this was unusual. At the time, musicals always opened with a score performed by the ensemble cast. Secondly, a ballet takes place during the play, something that had never been done before.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with dinner theater… continue reading this review by clicking here.

Didn’t win a pair of tickets to Wine Fest in Fort Collins in last week’s HeidiTown contest?  Well, here is your chance to buy tickets and get treated like a star!  Wine Fest has created a special incentive package for HeidiTown readers.

If you purchase tickets through the link provided below, you will receive the following:

1. Two free raffle tickets for the Grand Wine Fest Prize, a handmade wooden wine rack with a gift certificate to fill it with wine. Check-in at the Wine Fest Will Call Table and show your badge (printed or smart phone version) to receive your bonus raffle tickets.

2. A wine sample exclusive to blog partner fans. Visit the Synergy Fine Wines table and show this badge, either printed or on your smart phone, to Mark Eppel, the Synergy wine expert, to receive your sample of Scott Base Pinot Noir, 2009, Central Otago, New Zealand, from the Allan Scott Family Winery.

Click the logo below to buy tickets.

Your tickets must be purchased through this link

to receive these special perks at Wine Fest.

Wine Fest Partner Badge

This is the 30th Anniversary of Wine Fest in Fort Collins, a wine tasting to benefit Disabled Resource Services. DRS provides support for those living with disabilities in Larimer and Jackson counties. As one of the ten centers for independents in the state of Colorado, DRS provides resources to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve their maximum level of independence through advocacy, awareness and access to the community.

Wine Fest features 500 different wines paired with food from Fort Collins’ restaurants. The evening also includes prizes, music, entertainment and a silent auction that raised $12,000 last year. For those who prefer beer, that delicious beverage will be available as well.

This year’s Wine Fest is being held at the Hilton located at 425 W. Prospect Road in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The event is scheduled for Friday, March 23 with general admission at 7 p.m.

Two very different Christmas shows are now playing in Northern Colorado, and I have had the chance to see them.  Read my reviews and decide which one is right for your family this season. The two musicals are strikingly different, and each has strong points, so you may decide to see both.

Scrooge logo “Scrooge! The Musical” While the entire cast is talented, Brian Burron, as Scrooge, is the heart of this show. We watch as Scrooge transforms from a terrifying character into a man who is filled with a love for life, and Burron vividly emotes the difficult internal struggle his character goes through in this play… continue reading this review here.

White Christmas logo “White Christmas” From the moment go, this musical is just plain fun. The cast kicks off the production with a rousing rendition of “Happy Holidays” and “Let Yourself Go.” The young, energetic and talented cast of “White Christmas,” works hard to make sure the audience is immersed in this charming tale. I’m a sucker for a good song and dance number and this show has many… continue reading this review here.

 


The Kress is rolling out the red carpet for YOU!

The Kress Cinema & Lounge is located in downtown Greeley, Colorado and it’s a HeidiTown favorite! This is a classy lounge with a well-appointed theater. They have live music in the bar area on the weekends and old and new movies nearly every night of the week. They also have a full lunch and dinner menu. It’s worth the trip to Greeley to check this place out! You can read my previous review of The Kress HERE.

The Kress is throwing their annual Oscar Party on Sunday, February 27 at 5:30 p.m. The event includes a red carpet, appetizer buffet, Oscar ballot and cash prizes and the 83th Academy Awards on the big screen and the smaller televisions in the lounge. Tickets are $20 each.

You can win 2 tickets to the Oscar Party at The Kress by leaving me a comment here. Tell me which of the ten best picture nominees you think should win. If you haven’t seen any of the best picture nominees (and shame on you!) tell me your favorite movie of the past year.

A winner will be picked randomly on Thursday at 9 a.m. Good luck!

My husband and I finally had the opportunity to check out Carousel Dinner Theater thanks to a great deal they ran on Facebook. Carousel has been in Fort Collins, Colorado since 2002, and they recently moved to The Midtown Art Center at 3750 South Mason.

The new location is classy and houses a foyer, bar area, a theater and a ballroom for conferences, parties and weddings. I  never saw the original location of Carousel, so I can’t compare the two, but I was impressed with Midtown Art Center.

Continue reading this article here.

It’s no secret, the Mayor of HeidiTown is a fanatical fan of soccer.

Seriously folks, I LOVE soccer. LOVE.

And it’s been a great year for Colorado soccer fans… first the World Cup and now the Colorado Rapids have made it to the MLS final in Toronto.

There are several watch parties in Denver, but there wasn’t an organized event in Northern Colorado, so I decided to put one together and YOU ARE INVITED!

Here are the details:

When?  November 21, 2010 at 5:30 p.m.  (match starts at 6:30 p.m.)

Where?  C.B. & Potts Restaurant and Brewery at 1441 E. Horsetooth at Collindale Golf Course in Fort Collins (we were originally holding this party at the Elizabeth location, but have decided to join the Fort Collins Soccer Club)

If you are on Facebook, please RSVP for the event BY CLICKING HERE.

Please come out and cheer on your Colorado Rapids to victory and win prizes from Rocky Mountain Soccer, HeidiTown.com and more!!!

Face paint and flags are not required, but highly recommended.

GO RAPIDS!!!