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14 Years of Anniversary Road Trips | 5 States, 2 Countries

Five years before I started HeidiTown, Ryan and I got married in in Golden, Colorado in May 2002. After honeymooning in England, we made a pact to spend each anniversary in a different state. That lasted a number of years until HeidiTown was in full swing and we were traveling nearly exclusively in Colorado.

14 Anniversary Trips. Arches National Park, Moab, Utah. HeidiTown.com

Corona Arch in Moab, Utah.

Now that HeidiTown has annexed six new states, I’m excited to start exploring the states surrounding Colorado again once again.

Since we’ve been taking a road trip on every anniversary for the last 14 years, I thought I’d share with you the 14 places we’ve visited in nearly 15 years of marriage.

On our first anniversary in 2003, we traveled to a small bed and breakfast at the foot of the Snowy Range near Centennial, Wyoming. We hiked on their expansive alpaca ranch, soaked in the hot tub and went on a horseback ride at a nearby ranch.

Unfortunately that bed and breakfast no longers exists, but this anniversary was a true getaway and one reason I think we both still associate trips to Wyoming with serenity.

In 2004, on our second anniversary, we went to Santa Fe, New Mexico, a city we both love and had previously visited. In fact, we visited Santa Fe a number of times before HeidiTown was established.

14 Anniversary Trips. Dreamcatcher B&B, Moab, Utah. HeidiTown.com

Dream Keeper Inn, Moab, Utah

We were off to Moab, Utah for anniversary number three in 2005. This was our second trip to Moab as we had stayed there when moving from Bellingham, Washington to Denver in 2000. This time we booked two nights at Dream Keeper Inn. This place will always hold a special place in my heart due to the fact that their backyard hammock has been my “happy place” ever since our visit.

In 2006, we decided on a Colorado destination. We booked a roundtrip ticket to Glenwood Springs on Amtrak and stayed in Hotel Colorado, a place we’d also stayed on a previous trip to Colorado in 1999. It remains one of our favorite hotels in the United States. It was a lovely, sunny trip that went a long way in cementing our love of Glenwood Springs.

14 Anniversary Trips. Amtrack to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Riding the Amtrak from Glenwood Springs to Union Station in Denver, Colorado.

The next year we went big. In fact, we went to Mexico twice in eight months over 2006 and 2007; first for my 30th birthday in October to Puerto Vallarta, and then to Riviera Maya for our fifth wedding anniversary. We traveled only with the packs on our backs and took colectivos everywhere we went – it was epic. We just went back for my 40th birthday and retraced our steps on our favorite island in Mexico, Cozumel.

14 Anniversary Trips, Cozumel 2007. HeidiTown.com

Sweatin’ it at the ruins in Tulum in 2007.

In 2008, we went back to Wyoming. This time our destination was Saratoga, Wyoming where we stayed at the Saratoga Resort & Spa and discovered the World’s Best Eggs Benedict at Lollypops. We golfed, had a couples massage and soaked. It was delightful. I still remember reading away an evening in front of the large outdoor fireplace on the lodge’s covered patio.

14 Anniversary Trips, golf at Saratgoa Resort, Wyoming. HeidiTown.com

Golfing in Saratoga, Wyoming.

Anniversary number seven was spent in Southwest Colorado where we toured Mesa Verde National Park and stayed in the charming town of Dolores. It was 2009, and we’ve always planned to go back to this beautiful pocket of Colorado, but still haven’t.

14 Anniversary Trips, Mese Verde National Park. HeidiTown.com

Mesa Verde National Park

In 2010, we headed out of state again, to a state I’m excited to start covering as HeidiTown. South Dakota is one of the most gorgeous and friendly places I’ve encountered.

We covered so much ground and did so much during this three night stay in South Dakota that I can’t even begin to tell you all about it here. We loved Deadwood, thought Custer State Park in May rivaled Yellowstone, except there aren’t any geysers, and were blown away by the scenery in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

14 Anniversary Trip. Custer State Park in South Dakota. HeidiTown.com

A traffic jam in Custer State Park.

We made our way to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs in Nathrop, Colorado in 2011 to celebrate our ninth year of marriage. This was a super laid back trip punctuated by an excursion to the ghost town of St. Elmo, just up the road from Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. We’ve been back twice, so yes, we like this Colorado hot springs destination a lot.

14 Anniversary Trips, Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs

We stayed at the Brown Palace in Denver for our 10th anniversary, which was appropriate because this is where we stayed after our wedding day and before we flew to England for our honeymoon. We did a package here that included a night’s stay and tickets to the show at the Denver Art Museum, which was Yves St. Laurent. I wrote about the weekend here.

We went back to Glenwood Springs for our 11th anniversary because we’d been invited to the 125th anniversary of Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. By 2013, HeidiTown was in full swing, and so I wrote about this excursion here too. We can’t get enough of Glenwood Springs. After spending two anniversaries there, as well as other stays, it will always be a special place for us.

Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool in May 2015. HeidiTown.com

Glenwood Hot Springs Pool

Our 12th anniversary was in Denver. We had season tickets to the Colorado Symphony in 2014, and so we combined an outing to the symphony with a stay at the Curtis Hotel and steak at Morton’s Steakhouse. Again, this is an anniversary trip I wrote about here.

In 2015, our anniversary and HeidiTown Fest in Ouray, Colorado were in the same week, so we made that trip our annual anniversary getaway.

14 Anniversary Trips, HeidiTown Fest in Ouray, 2015. HeidiTown.com

HeidiTown Fest 2015, celebrating with all the attendees.

Last year’s anniversary, number 14, was especially memorable. We decided to do an off-the-grid getaway at Dinosaur National Monument in Northwest Colorado with our old dog Xena. We spent two nights camping in Echo Park and one night in nearby Rangely. I wrote a series of articles about this trip, including a popular piece on Rangely, Colorado.

Easy hiking around Echo Park, Dinosaur National Monument. On the trail to the confluence. HeidiTown.com

Dinosaur National Monument, one of the most beautiful and remote spots in Colorado.

In May, we’ll be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. I’m scheduled to give a presentation on tourism advocacy in La Junta, Colorado at the SOCO Tourism Summit on the day of our anniversary. We plan to explore the La Junta area and from there we might continue the road trip for a couple of days. Not sure if we’ll head into New Mexico or stay in Colorado, but you can be sure that I’ll write about it here.

If you have any questions about any of these destinations, please feel free to ask in the comment section below. I love helping people trip plan.

The Wild Game Longmont, Not Just for Kids

One of the perks of being in my line of work is that occasionally I am invited to check out a new place. I don’t always accept these invites, but when The Wild Game in Longmont asked if I’d be willing to check them out on the house, I knew Ryan would be disappointed if I turned them down – the guy loves games.

The Wild Game Longmont, not just for kids. bocce ball. HeidiTown.com

The second The Wild Game opened recently in Longmont on Ken Pratt Boulevard. The first is located in Evergreen, Colorado.

While we enjoy entertainment centers such as this one, they are often filled with children and there’s no place for adults to escape. After munching on awesome happy hour pretzels at The Wild Game’s downstairs bar, we headed to The Loft, the 21 and older second-floor bar. We sipped beer and I crushed Ryan at shuffleboard. The Loft also features pool, darts and a patio for sunset watching. Continue reading

Don’t Be a Hangry Travel Buddy: Tried & True Road Trip Rules To Live By

I am, without a doubt, the Road Trip Queen. I put tens of thousands of miles on my car every year checking out festivals and exploring new destinations, and I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.

Road Trip Planning 101. San Luis Valley, HeidiTown.com

Hwy 285 near Villa Grove, Colorado in the San Luis Valley.

With spring a few days away, and summer just around the corner, here are some tried and trued ways to make your next road trip the best experience possible.

Check Your Fluids

My first piece of advice is boring, but important. Before heading out on the highway, make sure your car is in good working order. Make sure the tires have the correct pressure and the oil isn’t overdue for a change. Also, check to make sure that your window washer fluid is full. Take it from me, you don’t want to be stuck on a slushy pass without it.

Don’t be Hangry

Pack snacks and water or plan to make pit stops for food along the way. There’s a gas station in Walden, Colorado with free popcorn and I hear there’s a gas station in Fairplay, Colorado with great hot dogs. Continue reading

Mayor of HeidiTown Announces Annexation of Six States

The HeidiTown Chronicle

HeidiTown.com

“Covering festivals & destinations across the west”

Volume 1   Festivals | Road Trips | The West   March 10, 2017
 
HeidiTown Annexation
Includes Six States

By Staff

The Chronicle

Mayor of HeidiTown, Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, has just announced a major annexation that will happen throughout 2017 and into the future.
HeidiTown is annexing parts of Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico.

Mayor of HeidiTown Announces Annexation. Heidi & the Saratoga donkeys

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer on magazine assignment in Saratoga, Wyoming.

“This was inevitable,” says Kerr-Schlaefer. “I’ve been covering Colorado festivals and destinations for more than seven years. I believe it’s the right time to branch out into other states.”
The Mayor went on to say that HeidiTown’s focus will continue to be on festivals and road trips.
“If you can’t get to a destination by car within a day from the Denver area, it won’t be included,” says Kerr-Schlaefer.
Over the last seven years, HeidiTown has helped festivals grow, including the Annual Biergarten Festival in Morrison and the Estes Park Winter Festival.
She looks forward to introducing HeidiTown citizens to new festivals in new destinations and helping these festivals find a new audience.
“HeidiTown is about exploration. Not the kind that requires a passport, but the kind that requires a car and a desire to drive new roads,” said Kerr-Schlaefer. “While Colorado will always be the heart and soul, and main attraction of HeidiTown, new roads are calling me.”
“I think HeidiTown citizens will be excited to go on these new adventures with me, and I’m excited to expand the town’s population through this annexation.”

Savor the Summit Photo Provided by Park City Restaurant Association

Savor the Summit in Park City, Utah. Photo Provided by Park City Restaurant Association

Covering Festivals from Denver to Park City to Deadwood

By Staff

The Chronicle

HeidiTown was founded in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2010 that the town began to see major growth.
It was coverage of Colorado’s emerging festival scene that caught the attention of the masses and put HeidiTown on the map.
By publicizing startup festivals like Estes Park Winter Festival, the 1940s Ball,  and various beer festivals, HeidiTown became the go-to place for Colorado festival information.
HeidiTown’s focus wasn’t only on large events. She covered smaller festivals around the state such as the Glenn Miller Swingfest in Fort Morgan and niche events such as the High Plains Snow Goose Festival in Lamar.

Enjoying the 2013 Estes Park Winter Festival with a famous friend.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer at the 2013 Estes Park Winter Festival with a famous friend.

“Festival coverage is what sets HeidiTown apart and it will continue to be the focus of HeidiTown,” said Kerr-Schlaefer, Mayor of HeidiTown. “I’m just going to be driving a little farther to reach them, and in doing so, I’ll share about the towns I discover along the way.”

 

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Three Comfy Colorado Cabin Getaways in the Mountains

When I was a kid, if my family wasn’t camping, we were staying in a cabin. Whether it was at a KOA in Ouray or a primitive cottage in Yellowstone, we were cabin people, and I still am.

Three Comfy Colorado Cabin Getaways in the Mountains, Fireside Inn Cabins, Pagosa Springs. HeidiTown.com

Fireside Inn Cabins, Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Here are three very different Colorado cabin getaways in the mountains that I love.

A Cabin by the River

Fireside Inn Cabins, Pagosa Springs

FiresideCabins.com

We recently stayed in Cabin #7 at Fireside Inn Cabins in Pagosa Springs, Colorado during Winterfest. Open year round, these cabins are far from rustic. They offer all the conveniences of home including flat screen televisions and small kitchenettes.

During the summer, guests can bask in the sun on the banks of the San Juan River that flows next to the property. In the winter, there’s an enclosed hot tub for soaking weary muscles after a long day at Wolf Creek Ski Area, just 25 minutes away. Continue reading

When Visiting Aspen, Colorado, Eat All the Things

No matter when you plan to visit Aspen, Colorado — winter, spring, summer or fall — plan to spend some time and money on dining. You won’t regret it.

Before we visited this winter, I had no idea Aspen was such a foodie town, and I’m not kidding when I suggest that you should go there and eat all the things. Seriously, forget about the diet and don’t cry over carbs, just eat everything and be happy.

When Visit Aspen, Colorado, Eat All the Things, photo courtesy of Meat & Cheese, HeidiTown.com

Photo courtesy of Meat & Cheese.

While nothing in Aspen is cheap, the bar is set high for good food in this resort town, and it’s nearly impossible to have a bad meal here.

When in Aspen, you must go to Meat & Cheese. The restaurant was opened in late 2014, by the founders of Avalanche Cheese Company, and these folks know their cheese and meats.

When Visiting Aspen, Colorado, Eat All the Things, Meat & Cheese courtesy photo. HeidiTown.com

Meat & Cheese, courtesy photo.

Of course, when at Meat & Cheese, a restaurant and farm shop, you must order the Meat & Cheese board, which serves two, and follow it up with one of the restaurant’s creative entrees such as coffee chocolate rubbed short ribs or the rotisserie chicken (the best I’ve ever had). Continue reading

A Hot Air Balloon Ride in Pagosa Springs, Colorado with the Dickey Brothers

Hot air ballooning is a bucket list activity for many of you, and if you are lucky enough to live in or visit Colorado, it’s relatively easy to book a ride in a hot air balloon. In fact, you’ll find commercial hot air balloon outfitters in many beautiful destinations from Steamboat Springs to Pagosa Springs.

A Hot Air Balloon Ride in Pagosa Springs, Colorado with the Dickey Brothers. HeidiTown.com 6

Pagosa Springs Winterfest 2017

Earlier this month, Ryan and I attended Winterfest in Pagosa Springs. For years, a hot air balloon ascension has been part of this event, and I managed to hitch a balloon ride with the Dickey brothers from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

It turns out, I couldn’t have been in better hands. These brothers, Frank and Bill Dickey, have decades of hot air balloon piloting experience. And in fact, the Dickey brothers have come in first and second at the piloting championships held at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest hot air balloon festival.

A Hot Air Balloon Ride in Pagosa Springs, Colorado with the Dickey Brothers. The 2nd Wind Hot Air Balloon. HeidiTown.com 5

Ryan up in the 2nd Wind.

For the participants, a hot air balloon event is a lot of work, a little flying and lot of tailgating. It’s a family and friends affair due to the fact that a balloon needs at least four people to help get it unpacked, up in the air, back down on the ground and packed away. Continue reading

Spring Break Festivals in the Colorado Rockies

Make your spring break experience extra special this year with these fantastic Colorado ski resort festivals.

Spring Break Festivals in the Colorado Rockies, Keystone photo by_jack_affleck_HighRes

Keystone Resort, Kidtopia Experience Week, photo by Jack Affleck.

Breckenridge

This town knows how to throw a party and spring break is no exception. There are lots of kids’ activities around Breckenridge from ice skating to arcade games at Downtown at Eric’s. See a full list of Breckenridge activities for kids here.

Spring Break Festivals in the Rockies, Breckenridge Spring Break courtesy of GoBreck

The Denver-based group, The Flobots, performs at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge, Colorado for the ski mountain’s Spring Fever music series.

Orbital Flight is a big-air format freestyle event featuring music from Keys-N-Krates. Taking place on March 19, this will be a fantastic event to watch.

For the adults, Spring Breckenridge Beer Festival is April 8, 2017.

And don’t forget that April 1 through 23, 2017, it’s Spring Fever at Breckenridge Ski Resort, an event that includes everything from sports competitions to free concerts.

Copper Mountain

Copper is a great festival destination. Their annual Copper Uncorked wine event, occurring on March 25 this year, is one of my favorites. Continue reading

Surprise! You Can Afford to Shop in Aspen, Colorado

If you’re in the market for a pair of shoes that cost more than my first car, Aspen is certainly the place to go. However, I was surprised to find a number of shops selling affordable items in this high-end town.

Surprise! You Can Afford to Shop in Aspen, Colorado. Mountain Flowers. HeidiTown.com

We visited Aspen in January during Wintersköl, their annual winter festival that features snow sculpting, a canine fashion show, on slope fun and more.

While in Aspen, I discovered that if you poke around, you can find some fun little shops scattered amongst the big fancy names we’re all familiar with from New York Fashion Week.

Here are some of my favorite Aspen shopping finds. I’d love to learn about your favorite Aspen stores in the comment section.

Explore Booksellers

Do you think the old-fashion bookstore is a thing of the past? It’s alive and well in Aspen at Explore Booksellers. This the kind of place that welcomes the reader and encourages them to stay awhile. Continue reading

A Symphony of Food & Music on a Denver Date Night

Ryan and I hadn’t been out in the big city since the fall, so when we read that the Colorado Symphony was playing Beethoven, we decided it was time for a Denver date night.

A Symphony of Food & Music on a Date Night in Denver, HeidiTown.com, © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2009

Colorado Symphony © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2009

We used to frequent the Colorado Symphony quite often. In fact, for several years we bought concert packages to the CSO, giving us an excuse for a Denver date night every month. The Colorado Symphony has all sorts of subscription packages available, making it easy to pick and choose the number of symphonies you want to attend and which shows.

We started our Denver date night at TAG Restaurant on Larimer Street, an eight minute walk from Boettcher Concert Hall. This restaurant has been on my radar for awhile now and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

A Symphony of Food & Music on a Date Night in Denver, TAG Restaurant octopus

The food scene in downtown Denver has come a long way since we lived in the Mile High City in the early 2000s.

Chef Troy Guard, who opened TAG in 2009, is a big part of the city’s culinary expansion. He has opened a number of restaurants since, and there are still more in the works. Guard’s restaurants elevate food, while still making it approachable, and I think this is why he’s so well-loved by Denver foodies. Continue reading

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