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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.

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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 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

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

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

***

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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So You Think You Know Cheyenne, Wyoming? Think Again

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.

So you think you know cheyenne, think again. Wrangler building. HeidiTown

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.

So you think you know cheyenne think again. taps at accomplice beer co. HeidiTown.com

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.

So you think you know cheyenne Accomplice Beer Co. HeidiTown.com

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.

So you think you know Cheyenne think again. Freedom's Edge Brewing. HeidiTown.com

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.

So you think you know Cheyenne Think Again. Bella Fuoco Wood Fire Pizza. HeidiTown.com

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.

So you think you know cheyenne think again. Mid Mod Etc. sign. HeidiTown.com

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.

So you think you know Cheyenne Think Again. Ryan sporting his Mid Mod, Etc. shirt in Cortez, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Ryan sporting the vintage shirt he bought at Mid Mod, Etc. on our recent trip to Cortez, Colorado.

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 you think you know Cheyenne Think again. Flippers Arcade & Bar. HeidiTown.com

As some of you know, I’m a coffee snob, so I was delighted to discover Paramount Cafe in Cheyenne. This trendy coffee shop under The Second Floor, a coworking space, serves up a quality cup of Joe.

So you think you know Cheyenne Think Again. street scene. HeidiTown.com

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.

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Dining in Colorado – New Favorites & Longtime Favorites

I wish I were a picky eater, because if I were pickier I’d probably be a bit slimmer, but I like food a lot. Thankfully, Colorado’s food scene is fantastic right now. No matter where we go, we find good, often farm fresh, food to eat. It’s a fabulous time to be a foodie in Colorado.

Dining in Colorado, Meat & Cheese in Aspen. HeidiTown.com

Photo courtesy of Meat & Cheese.

In my work as a freelance writer and Mayor of HeidiTown, I get the opportunity to dine out a lot. Here are a few standout restaurants from the last six months; some are brand new to me and others are old favorites we hadn’t visited in awhile. Continue reading

Six Reasons to Visit Steamboat Springs this Summer

Most of you don’t need a reason to visit Steamboat Springs, Colorado, but I’m going to give you six great reasons to visit anyway because you never know what new things you may discover. I thought I knew this town well, but last summer .

  1. Yampa River Botanic Park

We’d been visiting Steamboat Springs for more than a decade before stumbling across this fantastic park last summer during a bike ride.

Six Reasons to Visit Steamboat Springs, Yampa River Botanic Park, HeidiTown.com

Yampa River Botanic Park

Located alongside the Yampa River Core, #5 on this list, this park is a true hidden gem. I did not inherit my mother’s gardening gene, so the fact that the gardeners can make stuff grow at 6,880 feet above sea level, is sort of like magic to me.

The gardens here are absolutely stunning and feature meandering stone paths, ponds and waterfalls and colorful perennials.

The peaceful space is used for yoga classes, weddings, theater and is also home to Music on the Green each summer. The park is free and open to the public from dawn to dusk May 1 through October 31.

  1. Taco Cabo

Located on the west side of downtown, Taco Cabo has become a must-stop for us when we visit Steamboat Springs. Continue reading

Viking Helmets Never Had Horns & Other Things You’ll Learn at the New Vikings Exhibit in Denver

Note from the Mayor: This exhibit is in its final weeks at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The Vikings sail away for good on August 13 (final day of the exhibit).

So you think you know about the Vikings, but did you know that the word “viking” isn’t a noun? That’s right, it’s actually a verb. You’ll learn tidbits like this and a lot more at the new Vikings: Beyond the Legend exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Viking Helmets Never Had Horns & Other Things You'll Learn at the New Vikings Exhibit in Denver, HeidiTown.com 1

This guy appears to have lost his entire crew. Photo: HeidiTown.com

My husband was ecstatic about this exhibit because he’s a history nerd and loves anything to do with Vikings, Barbarians, Romans, etc. If they carried swords, he’s into it. So we set up a tour of the new exhibit with curator Steve Nash. When you’d visit, I’d encourage you to pick up the audio guide before going through this exhibit. This is akin to a tour with a curator.

I’m not going to tell you all the things we learned while going through this exhibit, because I need to leave a few mysteries for you to discover for yourself. However, one fascinating tidbit is the meaning of the word “viking.” While it’s frequently used to define a group of people as in, “the Vikings.” In actuality, the people we call Vikings would “go on a viking.” It’s a verb used to describe the act of going on a journey (most likely a raid). Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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

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