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Shooting All the Flowers at Denver Botanic Gardens

I admit that I have a small addiction to shooting flowers, as well as birds, landscapes, and animals at the zoo, but flowers are my favorite thing to shoot.

Sculptures by Alexander Calder are on display at the Denver Botanic Gardens through September 24, 2017.

Sculptures by Alexander Calder are on display at the Denver Botanic Gardens through September 24, 2017.

There’s no better place to shoot flowers than at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The person who accompanies me to the gardens, usually Ryan, ends up doing a lot of standing around, however, I’d argue that there are a lot worse placed in which to stand around than at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Last week, as you probably know if you read my last blog post, my mom was in town from Oregon. She is likely the reason that I love flowers so much, but she prefers planting and painting them as opposed to shooting them.

My mom is a Master Gardener and I always say that “she’s happiest when her fingers are in the dirt.” I can barely keep a weed alive, so obviously a green thumb is not inheritable, but I do adore flowers.

Shooting All the Flowers at Denver Botanic Gardens (6)

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

My mom had been to the Denver Botanic Gardens just once before, many, many moons ago, so we decided to swing by on her last day in town. It was during that rather rainy week we just had and the skies were iffy, but the flowers were radiant. I hadn’t been since the fall of 2015, and by the way, fall is a beautiful time to visit the gardens.

Shooting All the Flowers at Denver Botanic Gardens (18)

Due to all the rain we’ve been getting, the gardens are very, very green.

As it turns out, even my mom, who adores all growing things, thought I was a bit of a slowpoke on our outing. I can’t help myself; the need to shoot everything is very real and I usually need one wide shot and one close up of everything and I do mean everything.

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Water lilies are fabulous even when they’re still closed.

In the end, we had a great time at the gardens and I only took a little more than 200 photographs. I also discovered the ice tea at the Offshoots Cafe. The green tea on ice is addictively good so don’t miss out on it when you go.

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These flowers were actually quite tall!

The Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street are open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily from May 14 to September 24 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from September 25 through May 12. Evening light in the summer makes for fun photography for those of you who also enjoy shooting flowers.

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Beautiful early evening light.

Admission to York Street location is $12.50 for adults, Seniors/Military are $9.50, children (3-15) and students are $9, and children 2 and under, as well as members of the gardens are free.

For more information about the Denver Botanic Gardens go to BotanicGardens.org. Photographers, please take note of the York Street Photo Policy before you go.

A few more photos for your viewing pleasure. I promise, I didn’t upload all 200+. Enjoy!

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A Spa Getaway with Mom at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa

I’m not a girlie girl. I can count on one hand the number of manicures I’ve gotten over the course of my 40-year-life, however, I’m no stranger to spa life. I adore the aroma, the hot tea, the cozy robes, the steam room and sauna… did I mention the aroma?

A Spa Getaway with Mom at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa (3)

When I told my mom that I needed a distraction during eye surgery recovery, she jumped on a plane and flew from Oregon to Colorado. During her visit, I decided to treat her to an overnight stay and spa getaway at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain. As a late birthday present for my mom, I booked treatments for us at Spa Anjali.

The Westin Riverfront property is located in Avon, just a few minutes west of Vail, at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain. It’s a ski-in/ski-out property, but it’s also popular with summertime guests who enjoy all the recreational activities offered in the area and the outdoor pool area which made The Heidi Guide’s “4 Mountain Resort Pools to Help You Beat the Heat” on MountainLiving.com. Continue reading

A Jolly Trolley Ride in Cheyenne, Wyoming: History, Hauntings & Hilarity

It’s been interesting to watch my first article about Cheyenne, “So You Think You Know Cheyenne, Wyoming?” circulate the interwebs. Some of the comments are a reminder of how many of us tend to become jaded about our own hometowns. Whether you agree with me or not about Cheyenne, I think the city is swell and has a lot to offer visitors.

A Jolly Trolley Ride in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Riding the trolley. HeidiTown.com

Trolley Selfie | I love riding trolleys!

One of Cheyenne’s major assets is its colorful past. When you get to town, just look up at the amazing architecture in downtown. The buildings here are a reminder of the city’s rich history; and it’s a history that should be celebrated.

A Jolly Trolley Ride in Cheyenne, Wyoming. architecture shot HeidiTown.com

When you visit Cheyenne don’t forget to look up. The buildings here are fantastic.

Nowhere is this history more celebrated than on the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley Tours. Ryan and I hopped this 90-minute trolley tour during our visit. Lucky for us, our conductor, Brenda Badgley, grew up in Cheyenne, and so in addition to all the historical facts, she gave us personal tidbits about growing up in the town in the 60s. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Glenn Miller Swing Fest, August 17-19, 2017

I think swing music is happy music, and that’s why I love the Glenn Miller Swing Festival in Fort Morgan, Colorado. This is a happy event that celebrates one of this town’s favorite sons, Glenn Miller.

World famous big band musician, Glenn Miller, went to high school in Fort Morgan. The story goes, in addition to football, as a high schooler, Miller loved music and skipped his own graduation ceremony to head to Laramie, Wyoming to play in a band. His mother had to pick up his diploma for him.

While Miller’s life story didn’t have a happy ending — he was lost in a plane disappearance during WWII at the age of 40 — the Eastern Colorado town of Fort Morgan annually honors his memory with festivities.

The Grand Plan

A true Americana kind of town, Fort Morgan is an idyllic place to celebrate this style of music, and for three days the town comes alive with the sound of brass and drums.

Featured Festival Glenn Miller Swing Fest. Photo by Jon A Yamamoto

Photo by Jon A Yamamoto, courtesy of Morgan County Tourism.

Part community festival, part music festival, Glenn Miller Swing Fest welcomes swing music aficionados from around the country to partake in the event.

This is a sort of “pick and choose your adventure” sort of festival with a variety of events starting on Thursday evening and ending on Saturday night. The schedule includes history presentations about Glenn Miller, a community barbeque, social cocktail gatherings, Glenn Miller movies, a street dance and more. Nearly all of these events include live music.

See the FULL Glenn Miller Swing Fest Schedule Here

A Swingin’ Kind of Town

Only an hour from Denver, Fort Morgan, located in Morgan County, is where the “prairie meets the sky,” and I’m here to tell you that it’s a beautiful and somewhat under appreciated area of Colorado.

Featured Festival Glenn Miller Swing Fest. Photo by Jon A Yamamoto 1

Photo by Jon A Yamamoto, courtesy of Morgan County Tourism.

One of my favorite Thai restaurants is located in Fort Morgan, Little Bamboo, and one of the state’s most fantastic Italian restaurants, O’ Sole Mio Trattoria Italiana is also in town.

This isn’t the big city and the sidewalks roll up at night, but that’s part of Fort Morgan’s charm. It’s a true throwback, the kind of place that still has an old-fashioned movie theater on Main Street.

Featured Festival Glenn Miller Swing Fest. Photo by Jon A Yamamoto 2

Photo by Jon A Yamamoto, courtesy of Morgan County Tourism.

Whether you go for the day or the weekend, Glenn Miller Swing Fest in Fort Morgan is a toe tappin’ good time. For more info on where to stay, where to eat and what to do in Morgan County, visit MorganCountyTourism.com.

Glenn Miller Swing Festival

August 17-19, 2017

Events take place around Fort Morgan, Colorado

*some events are ticketed (see festival website for details)

GlennMillerSwingFest.com

Join this festival on Facebook

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Note from the Mayor: This event has a big heart as well as strong community roots and is one of the festivals that inspired me to focus on Colorado’s small town festivals back in 2010. I am delighted that individuals within Fort Morgan and Morgan County recognize the benefits of continuing this unique festival.

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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!

Featured Festival: Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival, August 11-12, 2017

There are many things to love about the North Fork Valley of Delta County and the Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival (August 11-12, 2017) is at the top of that list. This festival was brand new last year, and from the moment I heard the name, I knew they had a good thing going.

Farm to Fiddle Blue Logo

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival takes place in the lovely village of Hotchkiss, Colorado, located about an hour southeast of Grand Junction in one of our state’s most bountiful growing areas.

It’s About Music

As the name suggests, this festival features lots of music and that’s easy to do in an area brimming with musicians.

Featured Festival Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival Jeneve Rose Mitchell courtesy photo HeidiTown.com

Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Friday’s musical guest is the North Fork Valley’s very own Jeneve Rose Mitchell who grew up in Crawford, just down the road from Hotchkiss. Now 17, at age 15, Mitchell appeared on American Idol where she stole hearts and the show. Performing since the age of 4, Mitchell is taking the country music world by storm and this is your chance to see her live.

Saturday’s musical feature is David Starr. His website describes him as a musician with “Arkansas roots and Colorado wings.” This past April, he released “The Head And Heart,” produced and arranged by John Oates. Also local, when he isn’t touring the country you’ll find Starr in his music store in Cedaredge, Colorado, about 30 minutes from Hotchkiss.

Featured Festival Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival David Starr courtesy photo. HeidiTown.com

Courtesy photo. Used with permission.

There are many other musicians scheduled to play throughout the two-day festival including another local favorite, the Solar Brothers. Check out the festival’s website for the entire musical lineup.

It’s About Farms

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival plays hosts to a farmers’ market that will have you drooling. And this farmers’ market is your chance to meet local farmers who will be in attendance selling their fresh produce.

FEATURED FESTIVAL Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, Colorado. Veggies. HeidiTown.com

Veggies at the Hotchkiss Saturday Farmers’ Market.

It’s About Art

Hotchkiss is a highly active art community. In fact, their Creamery Arts Center is a major feature of the town and a can’t-be-missed attraction when you visit. The park next to the center is where much of the festival’s activity will take place. There will be arts and crafts on display throughout the festival.

It’s About the Great Outdoors

In addition to farm fun, musical performances and art and food, the Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival will play host to the Western Colorado Outdoor Expo, a show that showcases the outdoor adventures available in Delta County and Western Colorado. From the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to the Grand Mesa, this area is jam-packed with recreational opportunities for everyone. And a bonus about doing outdoor activities here is that unlike Colorado’s Front Range, these beautiful parks and open lands are crowd free.

This expo features speakers, demos, vendors and more.

Hotchkiss from Delta County Tourism 4

A hoola hooper in Hotchkiss. (Courtesy of Delta County)

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival takes place at the same time as the Delta County Fair, which is also held in Hotchkiss, so it’s an exciting time to visit the town.

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival

August 11-12, 2017

Downtown Hotchkiss, Colorado

FarmtoFiddle.com

FREE ADMISSION

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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!

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Cortez, Colorado: Blending the Past & Present

I love road trips and I love Americana, and Cortez has more “Americana” architecture on Main Street than I’ve seen in any other Colorado town. From the Cork n’ Bottle liquor store to the Retro Inn, vintage signs are standard fare around town. It gives this part of Colorado a “Route 66” type of feel even though that famous road is well south of the area.

Cortez, Colorado, Blending the Past & Present, Fiesta Theater retro sign. HeidiTown.com

It had been years since Ryan and I visited the Mesa Verde area of Colorado. We weren’t sure what to expect when we sailed into the region earlier this month.

The Anasazi Heritage Center – A Must Stop

Our first official stop was the Anasazi Heritage Center, 15 minutes out of Cortez. I really like this museum because a walkthrough gives the visitor an easy to comprehend history lesson on the area. I encourage everyone to make this their first stop when visiting Mesa Verde Country. Continue reading

Jet Boat Colorado: The Most Fun You Can Have with Wet Clothes On

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.

Jet Boat Colorado The Most Fun You Can Have with Wet Clothes On 4. HeidiTown.com

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? Continue reading

Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse in Colorado

A Note from the Mayor: Sight is a precious thing (something I know all too well). Before you go trotting off to watch the eclipse this month, please take a moment to review these recommendations from NASA on how to safely view the eclipse.

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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.

Where to Watch the Eclipse in Colorado

Photo courtesy of Colorado.com. Wildflower hike near Vail, Colorado. (Matt Inden, photographer)

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

Avon, 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.

Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse in Colorado - Westin Beaver Creek summer fire pits, credit the hotel

Westin Beaver Creek summer fire pits, courtesy of the resort.

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.

Where to Watch the Eclipse in Colorado, Colorado Springs Discovery Center

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.

Denver, Colorado

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.

Vail, Colorado

An exclusive solar hike for guests of the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail is planned for August 21. This luxury hotel with a European twist is offering a hike on Shriner Ridge. The outing includes transportation, a guide, solar viewing glasses, water and a snack.

This two-mile hike/three-hour excursion will provide a fantastic view of the 2017 eclipse in one of Colorado’s most gorgeous settings. To book your hike contact Kara at 970-479-5448 or email kschmidt@sonnenalp.com.

Buena Vista, Colorado

Deerhammer, a distillery located in Buena Vista, is hosting an eclipse viewing party featuring $5 Barrel Aged Black Hole Sun (a coffee old-fashion), during the event. They will also have solar glasses available for guests.

Where to Watch the Eclipse in Colorado, Deerhammer in Buena Vista

Photo courtesy of Deerhammer.

Watch the Eclipse with a Cold One

Lots of breweries around Colorado have put together solar eclipse watch parties. From City Star Brewing in Berthoud to Goat Patch Brewing in Colorado Springs, you can watch the eclipse at your favorite brewery, purchase a pair of eclipse glasses on site and enjoy special beer releases.

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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.

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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!

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Cheese Making Class in Longmont, Colorado is Deliciously Fun

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.

Cheese Making Class in Longmont is Deliciously Fun Becca Heins, HeidiTown.com

Becca Heins

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

Featured Festival: BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado

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.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - steak & dark beer

Photo courtesy of BrüFrouFEST.

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.

Bru Frou 2016. HeidiTown (2)

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.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - Mussels & chorizo

The Bristol Brewing & Brother Luck pairing in 2016.

Ryan couldn’t get enough of the Copper Kettle Mexican Chocolate Stout pair with spicy chocolate cake from The Rosedale Tavern.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - Chocolate Cake

Spicy Chocolate Cake. Photo courtesy of BrüFrouFEST.

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.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - action shot

Photo courtesy of BrüFrouFEST.

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.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - crowd shot

Photo courtesy of BrüFrouFEST.

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.

BrüFrouFEST 2017

BruFrou.com

SUNDAY, July 16, 2017

12 to 5 p.m. at Tivoli Station

Denver, Colorado

Get BrüFrouFEST tickets NOW

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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!

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