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French Food, Festivals & Fun in Breckenridge, Colorado

There’s no better mountain party town than Breckenridge, Colorado. This past visit was my umpteenth trip to Breck to cover a festival, so take it from me, it’s the best.

French Food, Festivals & Fun in Breckenridge, Colorado 5

It’s a good idea to serve bread at an event where all beer must be 7% abv or higher.

While Breckenridge is a great town year round, when this Victorian village is covered with a fresh layer of snow, there’s just no sweeter spot on earth. The town does get busy, and this past weekend was no exception, but it still retains that small town charm even when it’s buzzing with tourists.

Breckenridge, Colorado decorated for the holidays. HeidiTown.com

I took this photo a few years ago. It’s a sweet little shot of this great Colorado winter town.

We made a quick trip to Breckenridge this past weekend to attend, for the first time, Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center. The event has been on my radar for some time as it is wildly popular with brewers and if a brewer likes a beer fest, you know it has to be good.

French Food, Festivals & Fun in Breckenridge, Colorado 3

Hanging with one of the owners of Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland, Aaron Heaton.

Big Beers is one-of-a-kind and unlike a lot of other festivals, it tends to attract a lot of craft beer connoisseurs and home brewers. This means that the intellectual beer talk is at an all-time high here, from the seminars, which start on Thursday, right through the Commercial Tasting event on Saturday afternoon. It’s truly is all about the beer at Big Beers.

French Food, Festivals & Fun in Breckenridge, Colorado 4

They may not have had fancy signs, but this beer from Snowbank Brewing in Fort Collins was one of my favorites.

If that sounds like a festival for your, book your room well ahead of time because it’s popular.

Big Beers at Beaver Run

We were lucky enough to stay at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center. This is where Big Beers is held so it’s the ideal location. I’ve been staying at Beaver Run for a number of years and on this most recent stay, we were in one of the remodeled Colorado Suites, now called Summit Suites.

French Food, Festivals & Fun in Breckenridge, Colorado 6

The view from our Summit Suite in Building 4 at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center.

We were very impressed with the upgrades. I especially loved the comfy platform bed. I loved the pillows, but I promise I didn’t steal them (and you shouldn’t either!).

The Summit Suites are bright and airy and include a bedroom, large bathroom, full kitchen, plus living and dining areas. There was a real wood burning fireplace, which is rare in Colorado, but we were so busy we never used it.

Beaver Run is an ideal place to stay in Breckenridge for many reasons, but perhaps the number one reason during the winter is that it is a ski in/ski out property. The resort sits at the base of Peak 9, right next to ski school.

French Food, Festivals & Fun in Breckenridge, Colorado 2

In addition, Beaver Run features restaurants, bars, multiple pools and hot tubs and lots of other amenities. Although, I do encourage you to leave the resort occasionally because there is a lot to explore in Breckenridge.

French Food in Breckenridge

Breckenridge has long been known as a steak, burgers and pizza town, but recently, a handful of restaurants offering an array of international cuisine have opened.

French Food, Festivals & Fun in Breckenridge, Colorado, Bella V. Courtesy of the Breckenridge Tourism Office

Belle V.
Photo Credit: Breckenridge Tourism Office

On this trip, we decided to treat ourselves to French food at Belle V. Opened by locals last winter, the “Summit Daily” reported that the Ohayon family wanted to take away any stereotypes that come with French food. They wanted to create an inviting space where anyone could stop in for an amazing bite of French cuisine. Read the entire article at SummitDaily.com.

After our experience in this snug and charming restaurant, I believe they’d done just that.

The restaurant has a bit of Paris meets Colorado mountain town milieu. There’s warm dark wood, sparkling chandeliers and a modern wall mounted fireplace in the dining room.

French Food, Festivals & Fun in Breckenridge, Colorado 1

We started with a freshly made baguette and escargot. These snails aren’t served in a shell but rather in a glass jar with asiago cheese sauce and tomatoes. They were tasty little bites of earthy goodness and I mopped up all the cheese with my bread which wasn’t very lady-like, but I wasn’t going to waste a drop of it.

We also had the soup of the day which was a shrimp bisque with enormous pieces of lobster floating on the top like a beautiful seafood painting. This was Ryan’s favorite dish on the night because the man loves bisque.

The Cotes de Porc et Champignon was the pièce de résistance. This was a dry aged pork chop with fresh wild mushrooms and triple brie in a mustard cream sauce. Ooh la la was it good.

BelleVResturant Courtesy of the Breckenridge Tourism Office 3

Belle V.
Photo Credit: Breckenridge Tourism Office

Our dinner ended with two scoops of salted caramel gelato and a scoop of vanilla bean gelato for good measure.

It was a delightful meal and I’m so glad we decided to stop. The dishes here are served tapas style with no sides, but ordering four plates, plus a dessert, was perfect for two people who like to eat.

Whether you’re heading to Breckenridge for Ullr Fest this week or some skiing later this winter, keep Beaver Run Resort and Belle V. top of mind. You won’t be disappointed in either.

Thank you to Beaver Run Resort & Conference for hosting us in the beautiful Summit Suite.

Colorado’s Back Road Towns: Resolve to Travel Somewhere Small in 2018

As most of you know by now, I grew up in several small towns in the Pacific Northwest. I think this is where I get my affinity for small towns and the characters who call these places home. While cities are very entertaining and they have many stories to tell, I believe the heartbeat of our country is in our small towns.

Colorado's Back Road Towns, between Lamar & La Junta, HeidiTown.com

The highway between Limon and La Junta, Colorado.

I am challenging you to resolve to travel somewhere small this year, and I am providing a list of Colorado’s small towns for you to consider. In this blog post, a town qualifies as “small” if it has a population of 10,000 or less.

Northwest Colorado

If you’ve kept tabs on HeidiTown over the past two years, you’ll know that we discovered this fantastic corner of Colorado in 2015 during an anniversary trip to Dinosaur National Monument.

It was during this trip that we discovered Rangely, a place I dubbed “Colorado’s Friendliest Town.” All of the towns in this post are above-average when it comes to friendliness measured by Colorado standards, but Rangely out-friendlies them all. It was so noticeable that I wrote about it. Continue reading

Party Hardy at These 3 Colorado Winter Festivals

Party Hardy at These 3 Colorado Winter Festivals, Ullr Fest Polar Plunge, Louie Traub

Ullr Fest Polar Plunge | Breckenridge Tourism Office | Photo Credit: Louie Traub

I’ve been to each of these festivals and can personally vouch that they are worth the drive. The fact is, I have actually been to 99% of the places/festivals that I write about and you can trust that my observations have come through actually having boots on the ground (my boots). Continue reading

The Road Trip Life: A Year on the Road with the Mayor of HeidiTown

HeidiTown.com turned ten this fall and that’s a real milestone for a blog. It’s been a fun ride with many adventures along the way. This year happened to have more than its fair share of plot twists with two big eye surgeries in a span of nine months. That unfortunate turn of events put a real cramp in my travel style. I did, however, manage to make it to a handful of great festivals and wonderful destinations around Colorado and beyond.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer enjoying a cider at Big B's. Photo by Ryan Schlaefer.

Unforgettable Festivals

I attended several stand-out events this year around Colorado. One of the most memorable was Winterfest in Pagosa Springs where each year, hot air balloons take to the air during an ascension event. Last February, I was in one of those hot air balloons and the scenery of the Pagosa Springs area from the air was stunning. Continue reading

The Best Last Minutes Holiday Gifts in Colorado & Beyond

I have been the recipient of several of these membership gifts over the years and I can attest that they are the best.

The Best Last Minutes Holiday Gifts in Colorado & Beyond, Longhopes Donkey Rescue

Adopt a donkey in your friend or family member’s name this holiday season. Longhopes Donkey Rescue, Bennett, CO

The Gift of Membership

Giving the gift of membership really is the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m not talking about the Jelly of the Month Club. I’ve got much better membership gifting advice for you.

Gift of Membership

Denver Botanic Gardens

Over the years, we’ve been members of the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Colorado Symphony. Currently, I’m a member of the Denver Botanic Garden. Giving a membership to any of these organizations is excellent for many reasons; the first being that the recipient may make you his or her plus one and this gift is likely a tax right off, but there are more altruistic reasons too. Continue reading

A Holiday Date Night in Denver With a Stay at Le Méridien

I’m a small town girl at heart, but I love the city during the holidays and Denver is especially Christmassy at this time of year.

This past weekend, we visited Denver with the intention of immersing ourselves in the holiday spirit and we accomplished our mission.

A Holiday Date Night in Denver With a Stay at Le Méridien. Chandelier at Le Méridien. HeidiTown.com

Lobby chandelier at Le Méridien Denver Downtown.

Ryan and I arrived in the city around 1 p.m. and checked in early to our hotel, the brand new Le Méridien in downtown Denver. From the chandelier in the lobby to the rooftop bar, Le Méridien is 20 floors of modern, classy comfort. Plus, the location of this Denver hotel is ideal if you’re catching a show at the Denver Performing Arts Center or attending an event at the Denver Convention Center, as both are less than a block away.

A Holiday Date Night in Denver With a Stay at Le Méridien. Lobby at Méridien. HeidiTown.com

Le Méridien would be an ideal hotel to stay at during GABF (Great American Beer Festival), but I’d reserve your room now as the entire city books up during that week. Continue reading

A Visit to Bellingham, Washington, the Mayor’s Homeland

Washington State is not in HeidiTown’s region, however, I do travel outside of the HeidiTown sphere occasionally, and when I do, I write about it here.

Squalicum Harbor at sunset / Photo by: Lou Nicksic / Credit: Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

Squalicum Harbor at sunset / Photo by: Lou Nicksic / Credit: Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

Also, rather excitingly, the mountains regions of Washington and Oregon are now in The Heidi Guide’s region (my travel column for Mountain Living magazine), so my recent trip there was for work and pleasure.

***

I am not unbiased when it comes to writing a travel article about Bellingham, Washington. I grew up nearby and I attended Western Washington University during my sophomore and senior years of college in the late nineties. I met my husband, Ryan, in Bellingham, and I have many good memories of the town.

A Visit to Bellingham, Washington, the Mayor’s Homeland. downtown mural HeidiTown.com

If you are unfamiliar with the area, Bellingham is about an hour and a half north of Seattle and 30 minutes south of the border crossing into British Columbia, Canada. It’s where the mountains meet the sea and each year this connection is celebrated in a one-of-a-kind race called Ski to Sea. It’s the kind of event I’d cover if there was a HeidiTown, Washington. Continue reading

Art & Luxury in Denver: Her Paris & The Oxford Hotel

What’s better than a day at the Denver Art Museum? A day at the art museum followed by a stay at The Oxford Hotel in downtown Denver.

Art & Luxury in Denver Her Paris & The Oxford Hotel Photo courtesy of The Oxford Hotel

Photo courtesy of The Oxford Hotel

Earlier this month we participated in The Oxford Hotel’s Denver Art Museum package which includes VIP access to Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism. It’s the perfect combination because the woman featured in this exhibit would have likely stayed at The Oxford Hotel if they had visited the Mile High City at the Turn of the Century. After all, any woman who had time to paint during this era came from a family of means.

Art & Luxury in Denver Her Paris & The Oxford Hotel, photo courtesy of The Oxford Hotel

Photo courtesy of The Oxford Hotel

The package includes two VIP tickets to the show, complimentary valet parking at The Oxford, transportation to and from the exhibit in the hotel’s gorgeous Cadillac and a complimentary hotel upgrade based on availability.

Believe me, there’s no better way to impress your significant other this holiday season than with this Denver hotel package. Continue reading

Santa Claus is Coming to Town: 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado

‘Tis the season for holiday-themed festivals and while craft shows and Christmas parades abound, here are a few unique events where you get to join in the fun.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado Photo credit Crested Butte Mountain Resort Santa Ski Crawl

Photo Credit: Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Crowds of Santas Spotted in Breckenridge and Crested Butte, Colorado

There’s something particularly amusing about being surrounded by hundreds of Santas; boy Santas, girl Santas, tall Santas, short Santas, fat Santas, skinny Santas, pantless Santas (it happens). Here are two Colorado mountain festivals for folks who love Santa Claus and who like dressing up like the fat old fellow.

Race of the Santas, Breckenridge, Colorado

December 2, 2017

I’ve attended this event and can personally give it two white-gloved thumbs up. Race of the Santas is part of the Lighting of Breckenridge, a beautiful weekend tradition that involves the conversion of Breckenridge from a charming Victorian town to a charming Victorian town covered in holiday lights. 

Race of the Santas, Breckenridge

Photo courtesy of the Breckenridge Tourism Office

The Race of the Santas is seven blocks (0.75 miles) and contestants must dress like Santa. Some Santas who enter this race are serious runners while others, the Santa’s with a flask tucked into their black boot, are just there to have a good time.

You must register for this race by Friday, December 1, 2017. The race takes place on Saturday, December 2 at 4:30 p.m. Santa suits are for sale at the Breckenridge Welcome Center and Vertical Runner, a local running store. Contestants may also wear their own Santa costume.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado Photo Credit Carl_Scofield_2015_Lighting_Santa-1

Photo Credit: Carl Scofield

Click here for more information on the Lighting of Breckenridge and Race of the Santas. If you’ve never visited Breckenridge during the holidays, it’s truly magical.

Santa Ski Crawl, Crested Butte, Colorado

December 9, 2017

Be part of history in Crested Butte this December and help break the World Record for the most skiing Santas at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. You can ski, snowboard or snowblade, but you must be dressed as Santa. This fifth annual event will attempt to break the record they set in 2015 which was 827 skiing Santas. Will YOU be number 828?

Santa Claus is Coming to Town 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado Photo Credit Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Photo Credit: Crested Butte Mountain Resort

In addition to the event, this is a festive weekend to be in Crested Butte. There’s a Santa Pub Crawl for drinker Santas as well as $25 lift tickets for skier and riders decked out in full Santa suits (valid 12/9/17 only).

This is also the weekend of Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Light up the Night and annual Christmas Tree lighting, so it’s a good time to be in town. Register for the race here.

Santa Stampede, Littleton, Colorado

December 16, 2017

Okay, so this is less of a fest and more of a race, but I thought I’d throw it on this list for good measure.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado Photo credit Colorado Runner Events, Santa Stampede

Tim Hancock, Photographer | Colorado Runner Events, Santa Stampede

This 5K and 10K winds along the banks of the South Platte River in Littleton, Colorado, just southwest of Denver. The entire family is encouraged to join in this Colorado Runner Events race. All runners get a Santa hat with registration, but participants are encouraged to dress up as well.

The race’s start and finish grounds are located at Hudson Gardens and will feature more than 20 vendors. There will be a festive, holiday atmosphere. To register for this family-friendly fun run go here.

While most Friday festival posts are sponsored, this is not a sponsored post.

Five Reasons to Love Vail, Colorado

Vail has grown on me over the years and I enjoy it now more than ever, so without further ado, here are five reasons to love Vail, Colorado.

1. It’s a BIG Mountain

You may stand in lift lines at the base of Vail ski area but once you are on the mountain it’s easy to get away from the crowds. The size of Vail ski area is what makes it tops with my husband, a lifelong Colorado skier. He loves getting into the back bowls where he’s far away from any slope traffic. Here’s a great Insider Guide to Vail Back Bowls on Snow.com.

Five Reasons to Love Vail, Colorado_Vail_BackBowls__Photo by Jack_Affleck

Vail Back Bowls, Photo by Jack Affleck (Vail Resorts)

The only problem with the sheer amount of acreage here is that you might be late to lunch with your wife because you underestimated how long it was going to take to ski back to Vail Village — so plan accordingly!

2. Truffle Fries

While my husband’s a lifelong fan of skiing, I’m a lifelong fan of truffle fries. There’s nothing better in this world than when they are done right and the truffle fries at Expert Burger in Vail’s Lionshead neighborhood are to die for. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water. Continue reading

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