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HeidiTown’s Ten-Year-Anniversary: Ten Things You Didn’t Know About HeidiTown

It’s apropos that I’m posting this anniversary blog post on October 10, my birthday, because I have always considered ten to be my lucky number.

Thank YOU for taking this road trip with me and please don’t get out of the car now, the fun has just begun.

HeidiTown's Ten-Year-Anniversary Ten Things You Didn't Know About HeidiTown. Buttercup the camper at Delicious Orchards

Hanging out with Buttercup the camper rental from Rescued Relics at Delicious Orchards in the North Fork Valley during Mountain Harvest Festival earlier this fall.

My first official HeidiTown blog post was posted on October 8, 2007, and that means HeidiTown is 10-years-old this month. At first, I thought I’d write a retrospective, but even the word “retrospective” sounds boring, so I decided to write a list. Lists are fun, lists are easy and I try not to do very many, so here you go.

1. The Who: My name is Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer. I was born in southern Oregon in a hospital that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. The ocean still calls, but the pull of Colorado sunshine is greater.

HeidiTown's Ten-Year-Anniversary Ten Things You Didn't Know About HeidiTown Oregon Coast pic

The Oregon Coast is one of the best spots in the world.

I grew up in a family that took road trips to most of the National Parks in the Western United States and who backpacked every summer into back country around Mt. Rainier. These trips instilled in me a strong love and respect for the natural world.

Me with my dad and brother in Yellowstone National Park. HeidiTown.com

My dad, brother and me at Yellowstone National Park in 1990.

2. The Name: My husband, Ryan Schlaefer, came up with the name HeidiTown and created the brand’s original art work. The sign was inspired by the Vegas welcome sign and the stars were inspired by the old Celebrity Lanes’ stars that were part of Ryan’s Colorado childhood.

3. The Mayor: My friend, Leslie Collins, gave me the nickname, Mayor. I wish I’d thought of this creative title myself, but I have to give Leslie credit. As soon as she started calling me “The Mayor” way back in 2008, I adopted the title and began calling my readers and followers, “HeidiTown citizens.”

4. The Beginning: In the beginning, HeidiTown reviewed books, restaurants, and movies with an occasional trip or festival thrown in for good measure.

HeidiTown's Ten-Year-Anniversary Ten Things You Didn't Know About HeidiTown Bucksnort Saloon

Bucksnort Saloon

5. The Why: I started the blog about a year after I started freelance writing because everything I read in the mid-2000s recommended that a professional writer should have a blog. In all honesty, when I started HeidiTown.com I didn’t really know what a blog was, so I literally just stumbled along with no big plan of world domination (that came later).

6. The Backstory: While Ryan grew up in Colorado, we met in my home state of Washington. I moved here with him in 1999 with the intention of attending DU School of Law. As a pre-law student in college, I had studied political science, philosophy and French. In 2005, after a bit of early midlife crisis, I decided that I didn’t want to become a lawyer. In 2006, I got a job as a writer for a small town newspaper (and now you know the rest of the story).

HeidiTown's Ten-Year-Anniversary Ten Things You Didn't Know About HeidiTown hive retrieval outing

As a brand new reporter on 5/13/2007, I was sent on a hive retrieval outing with Beth Conrey of Bee Squared Apiaries. This is, hands down, one of my favorite reporter memories.

7. The Niche: In early 2010, I decided to focus the theme of HeidiTown on Colorado festivals. Ryan and I have always been active road trippers, but once I started covering festivals our road trips became even more frequent and this led to travel writing. At the time, no one else was writing specifically about Colorado festivals, and very few people were concentrating only on Colorado travel; within a few months, hits on HeidiTown.com went way, way up and people began to enthusiastically engage with HeidiTown on social media.

Covering Burro Days in Fairplay, CO in 2010. HeidiTown.com

Covering Burro Days in Fairplay, Colorado in 2010.

Early this year, HeidiTown annexed six more states. Put a pin in Denver and make an eight-hour circle around the city and that’s the approximate region I’ll be covering. Colorado will still be the heart and soul of HeidiTown, but I do hope to incorporate a few articles throughout the year about surrounding states.

Heidi & John Forsberg, aka Ullr. Photo by Ryan Schlaefer at Ullr Fest 2014 (2)

Ullr Festival is one of Colorado’s best winter festivals! I should know, I’ve partied with Ullr himself!

8. The Husband: I’ve been asked a number of times how Ryan is able to travel with me on most of my trips. He can join me because he’s also self-employed. We’ve co-own Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, Inc. since 2004. Join us on Facebook here.

Ryan Schlaefer, Photo by Sarah Frazier

Ryan Schlaefer, Photo by Sarah Frazier, WiesnerMedia

9. The How: People often ask how HeidiTown makes money, and the truth is, HeidiTown is a real business. Over the years, HeidiTown has contracted with festivals large and small, and destinations too. I also work as a freelance writer for various magazines and am the author of The Heidi Guide for MountainLiving.com.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, The Heidi Guide, Mountain Living (Photo by Sarah Frazier)

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, The Heidi Guide, Mountain Living

10. The Best: I have made some truly great friends because of HeidiTown. Whether it’s the amazing travel and tourism people I get to work with every day, or readers/followers who have become close friends, my life has been enriched by HeidiTown more than I ever realized was possible.

Cheers! And here’s to another decade of festival-ling and exploring Colorado and beyond.

 

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16 Responses to HeidiTown’s Ten-Year-Anniversary: Ten Things You Didn’t Know About HeidiTown

  • Happy Birthday and Hsppy Anniversary!! We loved reading your post today and revisiting the journey. Keep up the great work and motor on😊
    Love Ya,
    Joan and Kurt

  • I am beyond glad that you started HeidiTown!! I thank all the lucky stars in the sky that you did, that I found it, and that I won those Kress tickets! Happy anniversary, happy birthday, and every best wish in the world for the future!

  • Congrats Heidi, way to go! Say … 8 hour circle … hmmm. Have you ever done anything on Dodge City, KS? Worth my time for a weekend road trip? I remember the scene there from National Lampoon’s Vacation … you could stop in Coolidge, KS, and visit Cousin’ Eddie. (actually, that part was filmed down hear Fowler, Colo)

  • Well done❗️ It has been amazing, watching you create your own niche and ROCK it❗️I admire your ability to think creativly and your sheer tenacity❗️You have put Colorado on the map – literally❗️Congratulations, Kudos, Anniversary 🥂Greetings and Birthday 🎂Blessings to you, Heidi❗️

    • Thank you, Mary Jo. I couldn’t have done this without the support of people like you. I sincerely appreciate your cheerleading over this past decade. HUGS!!!

  • I’ve been able to show my husband around a state that was my home for only a short time via your blog. Planning a road trip in 2019 after retiring and using your tips to map out our adventure! Best wishes to you and Ryan….

    • Bonnie,

      It tickles me to know that you still read HeidiTown and are using the info here to plan your retirement adventures. I love to hear things like that!!!

      Here’s to those future adventures! I’m so glad our paths crossed many years ago.

  • Congrats on 10 years! Thank you for all you do. We have gone to a few of your suggestions on our road trips and have had some of the best food/scenery that we never would have known about if it wasn’t for Heiditown. So glad we met on football Sunday all those years ago! Keep up the great work and cheers to many more years!

    • Nothing unites people quite like football, Sonya!!!

      I’m glad that HeidiTown has helped you two trip plan. It’s always my hope that people are taking my travel blog posts and not just living vicariously through them, but acting on them.

      Thanks for stopping by today. 🙂

  • Congrats on the anniversary
    I have really enjoyed learning more about places to visit and festivals to go to.
    The North Fork Valley is a great place to get away and truly relax.

  • Cheers to *10* 🍻May your next decade treat you even better than your first online! I like learning more about your beginnings.

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