When Ryan and I were invited to experience Jet Boat Colorado during our visit to the Grand Junction area, I was simultaneously delighted and terrified. I love boats and I love the water, but ever since I had a scary river incident many years ago, I’m not particularly fond of getting out on a river of any kind, let alone the mighty Colorado River.
Despite my fear, I realized that some of the scariest things in life have been the most fun — snowmobiling and zip lining, for instance. So I would do it, even if it meant swallowing my fear and spending the entire outing with my eyes squeezed shut.
There was another motivator for doing this activity — Jet Boat Colorado is the only jet boat operation in the state and they just opened this summer. This means I’d be one of the first people to get to experience jet boating in Colorado and who doesn’t love being one of the first ones to do an activity such as this?
The temperature in Grand Junction had been soaring to over 100 degrees for the last two days when we arrived at Jet Boat Colorado in De Beque on a Saturday afternoon. De Beque is about 25 minutes east of Grand Junction along Interstate 70.
I was nervous and when we donned our lifejackets and headed down to the boat my stomach began to hurt a bit, but I was going to do this because, for one thing, one of the other riders was a preteen and if she could do it, I sure could.
I’d learned from owner Joe Keys, and driver Jason, that all the guys involved in Jet Boat Colorado have years of experience guiding river rafts and they know how to read a river. This made me feel a little better. A lot of jet boat companies operate on lakes and that’s an entirely different animal from operating a jet boat on a river, especially one the size of the Colorado.
I also learned that this is one of only four jet boats of its kind in Colorado, so this is truly a one-of-a-kind sort of jet boat experience.
So, did I like it? DID I LIKE IT? I LOVED IT!
From the first “Cowboy Spin” I was hooked. Ryan described it as feeling a bit like “snowmobiling on the water,” and that’s a pretty good description. The speed runs are exhilarating, the power slides exciting and the spins are downright crazy.
Jason raced Wild Mustang, that’s the name of the green, New Zealand-style jet boat, up and down the Colorado River. I couldn’t contain my steady stream of giggles as we bounced along. And this ride has a bird watching component too. We saw blue herons, swallows, ducks, osprey and several bald eagles.
I rarely use exclamation points when I write these posts, but I feel this post needs an exclamation point.
Here’s the deal, citizens, you gotta jet boat this summer! I guarantee it will be the most fun you can have with wet clothes on. And you will get wet. Also, wear sunglasses. If I hadn’t been wearing mine it felt as though the wind may have whipped the contact lenses right out of my eyes — that’s how fast we were going! Two exclamation points in one post. Oh, my.
Learn more about Jet Boat Colorado at JetBoatColorado.com.
Thank you to the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau for hosting our trip to your beautiful area and booking us with Jet Boat Colorado. Thank you to Jet Boat Colorado for the fun ride.
Have you heard about the upcoming solar eclipse? If not, you may be fairly surprised when the sun disappears behind the moon on August 21, 2017, starting around 10:30 a.m. We won’t experience a total eclipse here in Colorado, but we will see a partial eclipse and it will occur over a three hour period.
Here’s a cool video of how this partial eclipse will appear in Colorado.
I’ve made it my mission to find eclipse parties happening in Colorado, and at the time of the writing of this post, there aren’t many being advertised online yet so I’ll try to update this article as they pop up.
Eclipse Parties in Colorado
The first party that came on my radar is the Solar Eclipse Viewing Party being held at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Beaver Creek. Ryan and I have stayed at this fantastic property near Vail that features several restaurants, an incredible spa, an enormous pool, lovely salt water hot tubs, and large, comfy suite-style rooms.
The resort is partnering with Walking Mountain Science School, a non-profit science learning center, to offer a free party to the public that includes educational family activities and celestial crafts. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the Westin’s patio.
The Rocky Mountain Eclipse Getaway (offered August 20-23, 2017) at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa includes a studio suite, exclusive access to the resort’s educational event with Walking Mountains, solar eclipse viewing glasses and nightly s’mores at the resort’s fire pits. Rates start at $179.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Total Solar Eclipse Party is being held at the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s will be held on August 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This will be an exciting day at the Discovery Center. They will have solar viewing telescopes, tubes and boxes for visitors to use and they will feature live feeds from other eclipse locations around the United States.
Visitors may purchase solar viewing glasses, while supplies last, for just $3 or two for $5. There will be craft events and a planetarium show in the center’s new inflatable planetarium.
This is a once-in-childhood experience for your science-minded children, so if you live in or near the Colorado Springs area, don’t miss it.
Visit the Total Solar Eclipse Party online HERE.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science will start their solar eclipse festivities at 9 a.m. on August 21. The museum will be buzzing with eclipse activities including events scheduled outside on Boettcher Plaza, in the Science Studios, on the south atrium, inside the Space Odyssey exhibit and at the Discovery Zone (the area for young learners ages 5 and under).
A solar-scope viewing will be held on Boettcher Plaza from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The museum will be providing safe viewing options for guests in the form of solar eclipse glasses and pinhole viewers. There will even be pop-up food available service outside during the event.
While the eclipse is happening in the sky outside, inside the museum visitors can enjoy stories, kinesthetic activities and crafts related to the eclipse. The eclipse-related activities end at 2 p.m., but the museum will remain open until 5 p.m. Don’t miss the Space Odyssey programming that will include eclipse-themed shows throughout the day.
See a map of the eclipse in the United States here.
For information on Where to Watch the Eclipse in the West, visit The Heidi Guide at Mountain Living online.
I’ve scoured the internet and even made some calls to find out if more parties are planned and nothing comes up… yet.
I am certain that more parties will pop up and I’ll try to keep this list updated. If you know of a party or your organization is putting something together for the public, please leave me a comment here or email me at TheMayor@HeidiTown.com with details. Thank you!
Making cheese is almost as fun as eating cheese, but in the cheese making classes in Longmont, you get to do both.
Back in April, Ryan and I took a Flavored Cheeses class with The Art of Cheese in Longmont, Colorado. It was part of a weekend visit where we explored a familiar town in an entirely new way; via trolley and via foot. There are more Longmont posts to come.
We arrived at Haystack Mountain Cheeses’ facility on a drizzly, slightly humid morning; perfect for being inside a nice, cool creamery. The Art of Cheese holds their classes inside of Haystack, but they are not related businesses.
Ryan and I love cheese. My favorite spot in the world is the Cheese Importers in Longmont, and by visiting this store many times, we’ve become quite knowledgeable about cheese, however, neither of us have ever tried our hand at making it. Continue reading
BrüFrouFEST was my husband’s favorite event of 2016, and that’s really saying something because we go to a lot of events. I loved it too. What’s not to love about food and drink pairings? And this is not your average “taste of” kind of event.
BrüFrouFEST inspires chefs and brewers to take food and drink pairings to the next level — and they do.
Last year, we wandered through the event, increasingly impressed by what we were putting in our mouths. Verboten Brewing’s Cucumber Gose paired with Harman’s Eat & Drink’s salmon pastrami with dill cream cheese mousse, avocado, brewers rye crisp, pickled mustard seed and cilantro was my favorite on the day.
However, there were other standouts too including the Bristol Brewing Company Roggenbier paired with saffron banana steamed mussels with Aurelia chorizo and crumbled rye (food by Brother Luck). Obviously, I love seafood, but there were lots of other pairings as well, including last course options.
Ryan couldn’t get enough of the Copper Kettle Mexican Chocolate Stout pair with spicy chocolate cake from The Rosedale Tavern.
BrüFrouFEST is for foodies and foodie wannabes, and the brewers and chefs that are involved take this event very seriously.
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse is thrilled to be pairing their beer with cuisine by Euclid Hall at this year’s event and I can’t wait to taste the result of this stellar combination. Verboten also got a great pairing this year – Blackbelly Market out of Boulder. Only good things can come from that collaboration.
While the food will continue to be spectacular, some things at this year’s BrüFrouFEST will be a little different. For instance, they are holding it outdoors at Tivoli Station in downtown Denver. They’ve also moved it from Saturday to Sunday to make it easier for chefs to be away from their restaurants on the day of the event. And it takes place from 12 to 5, as opposed to in the evening. Lastly, they’ve added craft beer cocktails from some of the region’s finest mixologists.
Chefs are coming from as far as Vail to participate and compete and overall, there are 125 chefs and breweries and 80 unique pairings. In addition, six bands will be in attendance to keep things lively when the meat sleeps start to kick in.
This is the largest culinary event of its kind in the country, so you really, really, really don’t want to miss it. Seriously, my husband talked about this one for months; obviously, it makes an impression. This year, tickets start at just $35, so you’ve got no excuse not to be there.
SUNDAY, July 16, 2017
12 to 5 p.m. at Tivoli Station
Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!
What comes to mind when you think of Cheyenne, Wyoming? Cowboy hats and big trucks? Trains? Those are all accurate descriptions of Cheyenne. It’s a historic train town with a lot of cowboys, cowgirls and big trucks. Today, however, Cheyenne is so much more.
We spent a weekend in Cheyenne earlier this month. We were there to attend the Celtic Festival and Rock the Block, as well as explore a town that we’d only ever passed through.
I’m going to write several posts about this trip, including some of the fun touristy things you can do here like the trolley tour, botanic garden and museums, but in this post, I want to concentrate on some of the surprising things we discovered in Cheyenne.
First of all, did you know that there are three breweries in Cheyenne, Wyoming? True story.
We visited two of the three, stopping first at Accomplice Beer Company where guests pour their own beer. Yes, you read that right. Accomplice has self-pour taps, and they have a lot of them. After a brief explanation of how it works from the bartender, we were off. They use an electronic card system to track how much you pour, so you can’t drink here all day long.
We also got lunch at this brewpub, sliders for Ryan and chicken tenders for me. The tenders were some of the best I’ve had, although the ranch dressing could be a bit thicker. While it’s a bit gimmicky, Accomplice is centrally located in the famous depot building and a must-visit when in Cheyenne.
Freedom’s Edge Brewing Co. is just a couple blocks from Cheyenne’s downtown plaza. They have a traditional taproom with a nice contemporary feel and really good beer. We’ll definitely be back to Freedom’s Edge on our next visit to Cheyenne.
We didn’t make it to Danielmark’s Brewing Co. on E. 18th Street, but this is Cheyenne’s newest brewery and is located in a renovated historic home. They have an outdoor patio and feature food trucks.
And speaking of food trucks, there’s a delightful pizza place in Cheyenne that got its start as a food truck. Bella Fuoco Wood Fire Pizza gets top marks from both Ryan and I, and we recommend the jalapeno popper and the NY Blue. Just thinking about these pizzas makes my mouth water.
Everyone knows about the Wrangler (Boot Barn) in Cheyenne, and I did purchase a hat there while I was in town, but we found a real gem of a shop next to Freedom’s Edge Brewery.
Mid Mod Etc. is a terrific store that’s worth the drive if you love mid modern clothing, furniture, decor and even cars. You can track their inventory by following their Facebook page. And here’s the best part, their prices beat anything you’ll find at the mid-modern stores in Denver.
Ryan was excited to discover two stores selling vinyl in Cheyenne. There’s Ernie November and Phoenix Books & Music.
In addition, Ryan was overjoyed to discover that Cheyenne has an arcade bar. Located in downtown, Flippers Family Arcade is good for families, but also fun for adults because not only do they have a large selection of arcade games and pinball, they have a bar serving beer and wine. It’s a great place to kill an hour or two.
So there you have it — did you know Cheyenne was so hip and happening? I didn’t. Keep an eye on HeidiTown.com for more posts about where we stayed and what we did in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Thank you to Visit Cheyenne for hosting us on this trip.
I write a lot about beer because Colorado is filled to the brim with great craft beer. However, our wine scene is pretty spectacular too and I happen to love wine, so here’s a collection of five spectacular wine festivals that are taking place this summer in some of Colorado’s most beautiful towns.
Telluride Wine Festival, June 22-25, 2017
Telluride’s remoteness is part of its charm. A trip to this region comes with awe-inspiring vistas that you’ll find nowhere else.
The Telluride Wine Festival has been running for 36 years and features seminars, parties, luncheons, etc. You can pick your level of involvement at this wine festival that includes free events as well.
The Culinary Village in Mountain Village is a new feature this year. It’s free to stroll through Culinary Village where you’ll be treated to culinary demos, bands, wine tasting and more.
Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival, July 15-16, 2017
Having attended twice, Keystone Wine & Jazz is a personal favorite of mine. It’s free to stroll through the event that sprawls throughout the Keystone Village. In addition to the hundreds of wines being served from dozens of booths, there’s endless music on various stages.
Everyone has a good time at this festival, including children who love Keystone’s Kidtopia and the festival’s Kid Zone.
Whether you love wine and want to learn more at one of the festival’s various workshops, or just enjoy listening to great music in the sunshine, the Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival is for you.
Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival, July 26-30, 2017
Without a doubt, Crested Butte is one of Colorado’s most picturesque towns, and while the town has an old-timey feel, the Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival is anything but old-fashion.
This is a first-rate wine event with a Grand Tasting that features more than 500 wines. The five-day festival has a large variety of seminars to choose from and includes outdoor events such as the Standup Paddle Board & Lunch outing on July 29.
Steamboat Wine Festival, August 9-13, 2017
As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Steamboat Springs. While there’s a ski resort, there’s also a lot of real people who call this town home and that gives it a welcoming feel.
Steamboat Wine Festival is a celebration of the town’s refined side. This festival has grown into a destination event that includes master winemakers and culinary celebs.
It’s a “stay and play” sort of event that invites guests to enjoy a long list of wine-centric activities throughout the festival. There’s everything from a hiking outing with mimosas to Wine on the Nine, a best ball tournament with a nice wine finish.
Colorado Mountain Wine Festival, September 14-17, 2017
The largest and oldest wine festival in the state, Colorado Mountain Wine Festival is the granddaddy of all Colorado wine festivals. This year the event turns 26.
Located in one of Colorado’s most fantastic agricultural areas, guests will enjoy a variety of farm-to-table food events at the festival, as well as guided tours of the region. “Festival in the Park” takes place on Saturday during the event and is the highlight with live music, grape stomping, chef demos and seminars.
Being the largest wine festival means that you should purchase your tickets early and plan your attack. Some local hotels fill up months in advance, especially ones in Palisade. Thankfully, Grand Junction is just 12 miles away.
This is only a small list of the many wine festivals that happen across Colorado every year. If you have one that you love, please tell me about it in the comment section.
I know it’s a big ask, but every town with more than two breweries should have a BrewHop Trolley. Not only is it fun, but it’s a safe, efficient way to explore a town’s breweries.
On Saturdays and Sundays, Longmont, Colorado’s BrewHop Trolley drives a repeating route between Longmont’s many breweries and brewpubs. There’s a schedule so you don’t have to guess when and where you’ll jump on and off. For just $15 bucks, you can ride as many times as you like throughout the day. A two-day pass is $25.
It’s simply brilliant. Continue reading
As many of you know, I’m a passionate dog-lover. I believe strongly in the dog/human bond and that’s why it’s inconceivable to me that some people abuse these wonderful animals. Puppy mills are a form of abuse. If you have any doubts, read the story of the little puppy mill rescue dog that inspired Hops & Harley.
Five years ago, the first Hops & Harley occurred in the taproom of City Star Brewing in Berthoud. Today, the event is held at Fickel Park and has grown into a festival that attracts dog and beer lovers from around the country; after all, Harley, who passed away last year, is quite famous. His work as a spokesdog against puppy mills eventually resulted in him becoming the 2015 American Hero Dog.
City Star Brewing is the host of Hops & Harley and 100 percent of the proceeds from the event go to Harley’s Dream, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and educating the public about the commercial dog breeding industry (aka puppy mills).
While puppy mill tales are sad, Hops & Harley is a celebration. This year’s event features live music from Bonnie & the Clydes and Woodbelly Bluegrass Band. Food trucks will be in attendance, along with activities for children and for dogs. In addition, attendees will enjoy a photo booth, doggy doppelgänger contest, Painting & Pints, and they’ll have a chance to learn about puppy mills.
Of course, no Hops & Harley is complete without beer. City Star will be pouring a variety of their craft beers including Harley’s Wheat, and a personal favorite of mine, Spirit Hound Distillers from Lyons, will provide cocktails.
Hops & Harley is kid-friendly, dog-friendly and free, so pack up the entire family and head to Berthoud on Saturday, June 24.
Hops & Harley
June 24, 2017 | 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!
Last week I was invited to Fort Collins to be on a tourism panel. Happily, the event was held at The Gardens on Spring Creek, a place I’ve wanted to visit for some time now.
The gardens were established in 2004 when Ft. Collins voters supported a proposal to create a community horticultural center. More recently, an expansion of the gardens has been approved which will add a permanent Butterfly House and a concert venue that will accommodate 1500. You can see an artist’s rendering of the plan at The Gardens on Spring Creek. Continue reading
It’s that time of year. What time of year? It’s time to party!
I’ve spent years telling you to never forget sunscreen and to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, so I decided to write a different sort of festival survival guide. Without further ado, here’s my festival survival guide for smart people.
Festival Apps are the Bomb
Many festivals now have an app to help you get around their event. These apps include things like the event schedule, breweries in attendance, food truck lists, etc. Continue reading