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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

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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Featured Festival: Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, Feb. 10-12, 2017

This fest has fireworks and fire arts, ice sculptures and light shows, bands and singers and so much more. No wonder Loveland Fire & Ice Festival won the Downtown Colorado, Inc. Governor’s Best Festival Award 2016.

Featured Festival Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, courtesy photo

Courtesy of Loveland Fire & Ice Festival

The amount of things to do at the Loveland Fire & Ice Festival will make your head spin. It truly has a little something for everyone. Whether you like live music or are looking for entertainment for the kids — toddler or teens — this festival has got you covered.

In addition to the festival’s fireworks show that occurs every evening throughout the three day festival, and ice sculptures that dot the downtown landscape, there is a new event happening at this year’s Loveland Fire & Ice Festival.

It’s the brand new Brewing & Distilling Arts event. In addition to a carved ice bar that will be on display, local craft beers, ciders, wines, sangria and specialty moonshine will be available to taste via a token system.

The Brewing & Distillery Arts events, which happens daily throughout the event, is sure to liven up this already joyous festival. Check here for specific times and token sale information.

At its core, Loveland Fire & Ice is a family festival. Children will enjoy a carousel and carnival games. There are also carriage rides available to both families and sweethearts.  

Featured Festival Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, ice sculpture, courtesy photo

Photo courtesy of Loveland Fire & Ice Festival

If you love live music, you won’t want to miss this festival.

The musical lineup on the event’s Main Stage is filled with bands that will keep festival attendees dancing in the streets of Loveland to the sounds of classic rock, blues and pop.

There will be three more places to listen to music over the weekend including the Cleveland Performance Stage, Lincoln Performance Stage and Jefferson Performance Stage. The festival’s website has a complete lineup of performers on each stage on their Attractions page.

Visitors can also shop at Loveland Fire & Ice Festival in the event’s Marketplace featuring multiple vendors and exhibitors.

Loveland Fire & Ice Festival 2015. HeidiTown.com (9)

Should all this excitement make you hungry, visit the Food Truck Food Court which will host 13 different vendors selling everything from coffee to waffles.

Loveland Fire & Ice Festival is an extravaganza of fun and an affordable way to entertain the entire family.

Featured Festival Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, fire performer, courtesy photo

Photo courtesy of Loveland Fire & Ice Festival

Loveland is located just 52 miles north of Denver, 58 miles south of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is just minutes from Fort Collins. It’s easy to join in the free fun in downtown Loveland this February.

 

Loveland Fire & Ice Festival

February 10-12, 2017

Loveland, Colorado (downtown)

Admission: FREE

(with the exception of some ticketed events)

LovelandFireandIce.com

Loveland Fire & Ice on Facebook

Follow Loveland Fire & Ice on Facebook

#LoveFireIce2017

***

Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

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Hate the Snow? These Colorado Winter Outings Are for You, No Coats Required

It has come to my attention that not all HeidiTown citizens love winter. Apparently sparkling snow doesn’t have a magical effect on some people and in fact, makes them long for hot summer days at the lake.

Hate the Snow on HeidiTown.com, Mystic Mermaids; Photo credit by Luis Torres

Mystic Mermaids, photo by Luis Torres (photo provided by Downtown Aquarium)

I don’t have a touchstone with this, as I love the snow and all things snow-related, but as a good Mayor, I shouldn’t ignore this segment of my town. And while I enjoy tromping through freshly fallen snow, I do, occasionally, go indoors during the winter.

Here are a few Colorado outings where it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get a snowball to the face or slip on unseen ice or get your tongue stuck to a frozen pole.

Get Artsy

Denver is no cowtown. The Denver Art Museum gets the top shows in the country and I’m thrilled to have such a high caliber museum out my backdoor.

Hate the Snow on HeidiTown.com DAM Star Wars

Denver Art Museum, courtesy photo

We’re planning to head down soon to see the new Star Wars exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. If you haven’t heard about this exhibit yet, I could accuse you of living under rock, but I won’t. Sometimes these things get past even me.

The Denver Art Museum is fun to visit year round, but we often find ourselves targeting this museum on snowy days. Continue reading

Colorado’s Most Picturesque Winter Towns

A Note from the Mayor: This article first appeared in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor where I work as a reporter-at-large. The original title was “Explore Colorado.”

Colorado is a beautiful state. Even the towns that dot the Eastern Plains have their own sort of nostalgic charm. However, there are a few towns that really sparkle when blanketed with a fresh layer of snow. Here are the towns that I consider to be three of the most picturesque winter towns in Colorado. 

Crested Butte

Coloradans have a long time love affair with Crested Butte. And while it’s not quite the same quaint place it once was – according to Zillow the median home price is $995,000 – it still retains an authenticity that residents and visitors love.

Crested Butte, Colorado, photo by Trent Bona.

Picturesque Crested Butte, Colorado, photo by Trent Bona.

Crested Butte sits on the border of where ranch land merges with the mountains. The town, which is located a short (free) bus ride from Crested Butte Mountain Resort, is full of colorful Victorian buildings, many of which house fantastic restaurants.

The town was incorporated in 1880, and had a population at that time of 400. In addition, approximately 1000 miners lived in the surrounding area. One of Crested Buttes’ most popular winter festivals, Al Johnson Memorial Uphill/Downhill Telemark Ski Race, is a celebration of Al Johnson, a mail carrier who traveled between the mining communities in the Crested Butte area in the late 1800s. Continue reading

Fort Collins for Christmas

Considering a holiday getaway this month? Fort Collins is an excellent Colorado Christmas town. Downtown sparkles with thousands of lights and from Old Town Square to Oak Street Plaza Park, the atmosphere is merry.

Fort Collins for Christmas

This past weekend, we did one-night getaway in Fort Collins to experience the city’s holiday offerings. Before exploring the festive scene we checked into the Fernweh Inn & Hostel on Mulberry, just blocks from the excitement of downtown Fort Collins.

Some people, including my husband, Ryan, have an aversion to any place with hostel in the name. The word makes him worried that he’s going to have to share a bathroom or wash dishes to earn his keep.

Fort Collins for Christmas, the Fernweh Inn & Hostel in the snow

Fernweh is a modern-day, American hostel which offers private rooms as well as bunk rooms. Our private room, “The Loft,” was a virtual suite because the space occupied the entire upstairs of this historic, Victorian home. There was a full bathroom in the room complete with large, soaking bathtub and multiple beds, making it perfect for a family or friends. Continue reading

Skip the Christmas Parade, Get Drunk with Elves – Colorado’s Unique Holiday Events

I started writing for a small Colorado newspaper in 2006. A year later, I started HeidiTown, as well as my magazine writing career. Therefore, I have written dozens of articles and posts about Santa Claus coming to town and Christmas parades.

Skip the Christmas Parade, Elf Crawl Littleton

Photo courtesy of City of Littleton.

I realize that it’s important to get the word out about these traditional holiday happenings, however, I’ve grown tired of writing about them. With that in mind, I asked my Facebook friends if they knew of any unique Colorado Christmas events happening over the next month and a half and I got a few fun responses that I shall share here.

First up is Elf Crawl in downtown Littleton, Colorado. If you haven’t been to Littleton’s downtown, it’s adorable. I actually used to live in the area and we’d occasionally catch shows at Town Hall Arts Center. Continue reading

Out of the Ordinary Winter Escapes in Colorado

I pride myself on finding out of the ordinary destinations. And I don’t just find them online, I visit them. This is the only way to know for sure if a place is worth writing about and worth sending you to. 

Out Of The Ordinary Winter Escapes in Colorado. Sand Dunes Swimming Pool & Hot Springs near Alamosa. HeidiTown.com

The following Colorado destinations are three out of the ordinary winter escapes worth checking out.

Carr Manor, Cripple Creek

I toured this large bed and breakfast while in Cripple Creek a few winters ago. I love unusual repurposing projects and this is definitely a unique one. Carr Manor is an 120-year-old school building that’s been renovated into a bed and breakfast. Continue reading

Facing Forty Fiercely

I’m going a little off plot in today’s post. You see, by the time you read this, I’ll be 40. 

I thought I’d be a lot more upset about turning 40, but it turns out that 30 was a lot harder. As I faced 30 in 2006, I’d just decided to become a writer instead of a lawyer, but I didn’t really know what it meant to “be a writer.”

Facing Forty Fiercely

Ryan and I had started our furniture business two years earlier and that too was still a bit of an unknown. I really thought I was going to be something by the age of 30 (a “Reality Bites” reference), but instead I felt uncertain about my future and less than confident about some of the choices I had recently made.

Over the last six months, as I faced 40, I realized that I felt much more at ease with turning 40 than I had with turning 30, and I began to pondered why. The answer was easy – it’s confidence. Today, I’ve got it in spades. I know who I am, and what I’m doing, and I love it. Continue reading

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