My Facebook wall has been full of tropical vacation photos for several weeks. I even have a friend on a private yacht in the Caribbean. If this is the case for you too, it’s rather depressing, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to be on a yacht in the Caribbean?
If you’ve got cabin fever, I’ve got a solution and no, it’s not robbing a bank. It’s called a mini-vacation, and while I’m not promising that this outing will be as exciting as snorkeling in Grand Cayman or zip lining in Costa Rica, it will brighten your day.
1. Take a Walking Tour
Not every town has a guided walking tour, but you’d be surprised at how many towns have a printed version of a walking tour. They are usually available at your local visitor center, museum or at the chamber of commerce.
I once took a walking tour of Fort Collins, a town with which I am very familiar. It was a night walking tour, but it wasn’t about ghosts, but rather the town’s history. Despite having walked Fort Collins’ streets many times (even at night), during the tour I felt like I was in a brand new town. 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.
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.
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.
It’s another great Colorado weekend with events that will suit every taste and every age group.
Hi, my name is Heidi and I’m the Mayor of HeidiTown.com, a blog about festivals, events and destinations around Colorado.
This is the line up for June 8 through the 10th, 2012, and now that the festival season is in full swing I urge you to hook up with me on Facebook and Twitter, because it’s an impossible task to share everything I’d like to share here on the radio show.
First up, it’s the Taste of Fort Collins this weekend. Food events take place around the state and it seems most towns now have one and these festivals are a great way to introduce your taste buds to new restaurants in your community.
Fort Collins has a thriving food scene and new restaurants are cropping up every month. 41 restaurants are participating in this year’s Taste of Fort Collins. Marketed as a family-friendly event, festival goers can even vote on their favorite restaurant at the Taste. Last year’s People’s Choice winner was Jax Fish House. For more on this two-day tasty affair go to TasteofFortCollins.com.
I’m not a car nut and I can’t tell you the first thing about an engine, however, I LOVE vintage cars, so I really enjoy attending the Colorado Nationals held at The Ranch in Loveland every year.
The event features over 1500 rods, custom, classic and muscle cars through 1972. There are vendor and manufacturers exhibits, a swap meet, a model and pedal car show, an autocross competition that’s very exciting and a lot more.
Even if you aren’t a gearhead, I know you’ll have fun at the 15th Annual Colorado Nationals running this Friday through Sunday. Get all the details at Good-Guys.com, look under Events.
The famous Greeley Blues Jam is upon us. It starts in downtown Greeley this Friday and then the ticketed event is Saturday at Island Grove. Eleven hours of nonstop blues awaits the avid fans of this annual music festival. Learn more at GreeleyBluesJam.com.
Two events are happening in the tiny but fabulous town of Lyons, Colorado this weekend. It’s the Lyons Outdoor Games and the Oskar Blues Burning Can Festival is back. The games were created 11 years ago to celebrate mountains sports such as kayaking, mountain biking, fly fishing, chainsaw carving and more. There are numerous clinics and exhibitions by some of the world’s most elite athletes.
The Burning Can is a festival of CANNED beer featuring over 25 breweries. This is the perfect weekend to be in Lyons, check it all out online at LyonsOutdoorGames.com.
It’s Wool Festival in Estes June 9 and 10. This is one of the largest all-natural fiber markets in North America featuring demos, contests, a children’s tents, exhibits and the sale of fiber animals like alpacas. In its 22nd year, this event draws more than 10,000 to the beautiful town of Estes Park, Colorado. One of the more interesting features of this event is that you can learn how to pack a llama for hiking of hunting. I’ve always thought it would be fun to hike the backcountry with a llama. Learn more at EstesParkCVB.com.
Two popular summer festivals get underway this weekend including my personal favorite the Colorado Renaissance Festival in Larkspur running through the end of July, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder running through mid-August.
It’s Parker Days this weekend, a family event that has been taking place in Parker, Colorado for thirty years. There’s a parade, carnival, and tons of activities for all ages. More at ParkerDaysFestival.com.
There is a fun fest taking place in southwest Colorado this weekend, a destination that should be on your radar this summer. June 7 through 10th is the 34th Annual Pioneer Days in Crawford, Colorado. Outhouse races are the highlight of this celebration of the wild west that also features lots of live entertainment, vendors, a Cowboy Cook-off, parade and lots more family fun. Learn more at CrawfordCounty.org.
As a reminder, if you are looking for ways to keep the kiddos busy this summer, be sure to check out your local museum. Many are offering workshops, exhibits and other programs aimed at entertaining and educating children.
That’s all the time I have for this week’s radio show. Be sure to join me on Facebook at HeidiTown.comonFB and follow me on Twitter for more festival and event information. The town is also on Google Plus.
Thank you for listening! Until next week I hope to see you online or at a festival near you!
It’s that time again, time for another installment of HeidiTown.com on KRFC 88.9 FM, a community radio station in Fort Collins, Colorado. Each week I share stuff to do around Colorado with the listeners of KRFC and then I upload the transcript and the audio to the blog. So if you missed it, or you need web information, you can easily find it here.
You can read the transcript below or listen to the audio HERE.
Hi, my name is Heidi and I’m the Mayor of HeidiTown.com, a blog about events, festivals and travel around Colorado.
I’m calling this weekend, April 27 through the 29th, the calm before the storm, because it is rather quiet around the state, but I think that is because, like me, everyone is gearing up summer.
This year, Cinco de Mayo is on a Saturday and in my mind that kicks off the 2012 festival season.
There are a couple events happening this weekend that have caught my attention.
The new History Colorado Museum is opening on Saturday in Denver. I had the opportunity to get a media-only sneak peek of the facility this past Monday, and a post about the museum be up on the blog, Thursday, April 26. You can visit the museum online at HistoryColorado.org.
As I have previously mentioned, the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown is this weekend at the Embassy Suites in the Denver Tech Center. If you are a fan of pinball and classic arcade games, you don’t want to miss this event. More info can be found at PinBallShowDown.com.
Pinball enthusiasts should check out Pinball Jones right here in Fort Collins in the basement suite at 107 Linden Street. Their website is PinBallJones.com.
In Lyons, Colorado check out Lyons Classic Pinball behind Oskar Blues in downtown. This is a HeidiTown favorite place so find it on the blog by searching Lyons Classic Pinball. Visit them online at LyonsPinball.com.
If you are in the Springs area, check out the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs featuring all sorts of vintage games including pinball. For more on historic Manitou, go to ManitouSprings.org.
This weekend on the Western Slope it’s the Fruita Fat Tire Festival. The event was started 17 years ago as a way to show off all the biking trails they were building in Fruita. This year, there will be four music shows running Friday and Saturday. The beer will flow, a scavenger hunt will occur and costumes are encouraged. I have friends who attend this event every year, and they say it’s always a very good time. Learn more at FruitaMountainBike.com, and be sure to pack your bike!
Here’s a sweet little event that is happening Saturday afternoon in Boulder. At 3 p.m. it’s the annual Tulip Fairy & Elf Parade. There are 15,000 tulips planted along Pearl Street and this event, welcoming spring, takes place in this colorful outdoor mall. Special events and activities for children are planned as well as a parade. Go to DowntownBoulder.com for details.
And now for some planning ahead…
As I previously mentioned, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday this year, that’s the 5th of May for those of you who aren’t familiar with the holiday. There are several events happening in Fort Collins including an Artisan Show above the Rio Grande restaurant in the Agave Room.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features a vast array of high-end art with everything from sculpture to jewelry. Over 55 artisans will be there, so I urge art lovers not to miss this show! You can follow the link on HeidiTown.com’s front page to the Cinco De Mayo Artisan Show’s Facebook event invite.
The 74th Annual Music & Blossom Festival in Canon City runs May 3 through the 6th. This delightful family-friendly fest has developed over the years into a true destination event. There is a parade, a carnival, a marching band competition, a pageant, and the list goes on and on. Visit CCBlossomFestival.com for the entire schedule.
The 24th Annual Estes Park Duck Races are also slated for May 5. Thousands of little rubber ducks are dropped into Fall River where they began their journey to Riverside Plaza in downtown Estes Park. The tradition was started in 1989 to help local charities. It has grown into a community celebration. Adopt a duck and support a local charity! Learn more at EPDuckrace.org.
If you missed any part of today’s segment, I post the transcript and audio of the show every week on HeidiTown.com.
As always, I encourage you to join the town’s block party on Facebook. It’s the place where we can get better acquainted. Go to Facebook.com/HeidiTown.comonFB.
Thank you so much for listening! Until next week, I will see you online!
Colorado has all the right ingredients for romance; soaring, snow-capped peaks, cold, wintry nights, hot summer days and charming communities rich with history and picturesque architecture.
So without further ado, here are my picks for the top 5 romantic towns in Colorado, and where to steal a kiss at each destination.
Loveland, Colorado. At first glance, this work-a-day town might not seem a fitting candidate for romance. Despite having “love” in the name, Loveland appears like any other nondescript borough. However, you don’t have to look far to discover that the “Sweetheart City” really does live up to its name.
Loveland is home to one of the country’s premiere sculpture shows, and has long been a Mecca for artists. It is still home to many renowned sculptors, several foundries and is well known nationally and internationally for art.
Steal a Kiss: Whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, take a stroll in Loveland’s Benson Sculpture Garden. Walking hand in hand among modern interpretations, classical renditions and larger-than-life sculptures can be quite romantic. Be sure to bring a camera because the park is photogenic at any time of year.
Estes Park, Colorado. Nestled among soaring peaks, this town has some of the most spectacular vistas of any on this list. Over the past year or so, I’ve changed my notions about Estes Park, also known as the “Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.” I used to think of Estes as a kitschy tourist community, and it is, but I’ve come to realize that this is part of the town’s charm. In a recent Facebook poll, HeidiTown citizens named it the number two most romantic town in Colorado, just behind Loveland.
Steal a Kiss: The Stanley Hotel is a Colorado landmark. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to experience some of what it has to offer, but, of course, a stay would be ideal. Enjoy a romantic dinner at the Cascade Restaurant, have cup of coffee in the cafÃ©, or hold your sweetheart tightly during one of hotel’s many paranormal tours.
Georgetown, Colorado. Here’s an adorable Colorado town that is hidden in plain sight. Located along I70, just west of Denver, after years of driving right by, we stumbled into historic Georgetown one day looking for lunch and discovered much more. As home to one of the best museums in Colorado, Hotel de Paris, a nice collection of dining establishments and bed and breakfasts, as well as quintessential and well-preserved architecture, Georgetown is tops when it comes to romance.
Steal a Kiss: The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a romantic and historic train ride from Georgetown to Silver Plume and back. Periodically they offer themed events, some geared towards children, but others for adults. You can even pack your own lunch and bring it on board this one-hour scenic ride.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We’ve been visiting Glenwood Springs for over a decade, and my preferred way of getting there is Amtrak via Denver. The town’s famed hot springs are a huge draw for couples and families, but Glenwood Springs and the surrounding area offers a lot more, including every outdoor activity you can imagine and some you probably haven’t ever consider like the giant canyon swing at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
Steal a Kiss: Bring along bicycles, or rent them in town, and check out the scenic River Trail along the Roaring Fork River. On one May excursion we saw a herd of mountain goats and enjoyed the roar of the river as we sped along this paved trail. If inspired, you can bike from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, and all but 11 miles of the 44-mile route is paved.
Manitou Springs, Colorado. This town is one of Colorado’s hidden gems, and it’s story starts with the effervescent water that flows up into the town. Through the years many have believed the springs to have curative powers, and presidents and celebrities have found their way to the town to experience the life giving waters.
Steal a Kiss: Quaint storefronts and art galleries line the streets of Manitou Springs with the Cliff House at Pike Peaks being the crowning jewel of downtown. However, my pick for the perfect place to steal a kiss is at the Penny Arcade in the 900 block of Manitou Springs. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back in time as you play classic pinball, video and other arcade games.
The 3rd Annual Estes Park Winter Festival runs Friday, January 13 through Sunday, January 15, 2012.
Last year, my husband and I decided to randomly check out this event without really knowing what to expect, and we had so much fun! In addition to the interactive ice castle, which is really great for kids, we loved the chili cook off. I think we sampled over forty green and red chilis. The hot green chilis are always my favorite and there were some memorable ones with a good kick.
The event starts on Friday night with a CÃ©ilidh Barn dance and outdoor bonfire that includes cowboy poetry and ghost stories, hot chocolate and s’mores. This event is free and sponsored by Estes Park Weddings.
The next day is Winter Trails day at Rocky Mountain National Park and the two days of live music, chili, beer and wine tasting commence at the Estes Park Winter Festival. This event has become so popular it has been moved from Bond Park to the heated, enclosed pavilion at the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park. This has allowed the festival organizers to increase the size and scope of this event and I can’t wait to attend again this year! To read the entire schedule of events planned for Winter Festival, go here.
Admission to Estes Park Winter Festival is just $5, and this includes chili tasting. For $25 you can purchase festival admission that includes chili tasting and the extensive beer and wine tasting. Purchase tickets here.
And now for the really, really good part”¦ you can enter here to win admission for two to this event. One luck winner will receive two $25 full admission tickets that include beer and wine tasting. ID required at the door.
Just leave a comment below telling me if you prefer green or red chili and you’ll be entered to win a pair of tickets to this fantastic Estes Park event. Feel free to tell us who makes your favorite chili, whether it be a restaurant, family member or friend.
I think I make a darn good red chili, but my friend Lara, of Fly By Chili, makes my favorite green chili.
A winner will be chosen at random this Friday, January 6, at approximately 3 p.m.
~ CONTEST CLOSED ~
Tomorrow I will stand beside a very good friend as she ties the knot in Estes Park, Colorado. She has had a longtime love affair with the town; she and her fiance had their first date there, got engaged there and will now be married there.
So I thought this was the ideal week to post an article about the town of Estes Park.
As you’ll discover, I’ve had mixed feelings about this touristy little town, but after experiencing the Estes Park Winter Festival and a lazy afternoon browsing downtown, I just may have changed my tune.
Read all about the Mayor’s visit to Estes Park, Colorado here.