Breckenridge is a town we know well and many of my readers do too. So on our last trip, we decided to do some things in Breckenridge that we’d never done before. That included the fat bike tour that I wrote about earlier this month.
New Hotel in Breckenridge
It also included staying at a brand new hotel, the Residence Inn by Marriott. It’s not only new to us, this hotel is new to Breckenridge, having opened this winter on the south side of downtown. Its location is ideal for easy exploration of Breckenridge on foot.
The Residence Inn has cool, contemporary interior design, but retains mountain touches and odes to Breckenridge’s past. The best part of this hotel, for me, was the pool. If there were a “Best View from a Mountain Pool” award, this one would surely win.
You be the judge.
Saloon Tour in Breckenridge
As part of our “new” look at Breckenridge trip, we went on the Behind the Swinging Doors Saloon Tour with the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance. While we’d been into nearly all the bars on this tour, we’d never heard the many stories associated with the town when it was a rough and tumble mining community in the 1800s.
One interesting fact about Breckenridge is that many of the original buildings are not located in their original locations. Through the years, buildings were moved around in order to suit the needs of the community as they arose.
The saloon tour involves stops at various downtown watering holes that are still popular today. It also includes entertaining stories and time for those taking the tour to imbibe a drink or two along the way. The tour is for adults only (21+), and at just $15, is a fun way to expand your knowledge about Breckenridge and Colorado history while enjoying a cold beer or whiskey shot.
Breckenridge Distillery Tour
While in town, we toured the new Breckenridge Distillery location on the north side of town (we accessed the area via our fat bike tour). While the distillery has been around for quite some time, we’d never been on the tour, which features tasters of their booze and a behind-the-scenes look at this big operation.
Tours are free, but please tip your tour guide.
During this weekend trip, we also ate at the brand new Breckenridge Distillery restaurant, a dining experience I wrote about in its entirety here on The Heidi Guide.
Back at the Residence Inn after an exhausting first day, we ordered wings at the hotel bar, Base Camp Lounge. They were delicious and the bar menu is full of great Colorado craft beer as well.
On our two night stay, we ate breakfast at the hotel every morning; not because it was free, but because it was so good. It’s one of the best complimentary breakfast buffets we’ve encountered in our vast travels around Colorado.
We didn’t bring our dog Xena, but we could have because the Residence Inn is a dog-friendly hotel property in Breckenridge.
I love riding bikes. I know this because at the end of a ride my teeth are covered in bugs and grit from smiling widely during my outing, but that’s okay – totally worth it. Riding a bike is one of the last things that genuinely makes me feel like a kid again.
This past weekend, I got to experience the best of both worlds during a fat bike tour with Ridden – I rode a bike that made me feel ten again and I took full advantage of being an adult because our bike ride destination was Breckenridge Distillery and Broken Compass Brewery.
We met up with our tour guide, Ashley Mahs at Ridden, a cool downtown sports shop selling new and used gear and providing rentals. Ridden started offering guided fat bike tours this winter, and participants get to ride brand new Borealis fat bikes that are made in Colorado Springs. Continue reading
I love things that make me feel like a little kid again; things like magic, 50 pound bags of popcorn at Costco and fresh snow. There’s something nostalgic about being truly awed, and as we get older that feeling happens less frequently.
However, these three Colorado winter festivals are sure to amaze even the most stoic adult. And if you bring along the kids, they’ll have memories to last a lifetime.
Telluride Fire Festival
January 20-22, 2017
The fire arts seem to have gained popularity over the last five years or so. Fire performers combine the entertainment style of Cirque de Soleil with the power of combustion. It’s sort of like magic because most of us have no idea how they do what they do.
Telluride Fire Festival is in its third year. It takes inspiration from Burning Man, and has been created by an incredible group of dedicated people in Telluride.
I attended the first-year event and I can tell you from personal experience that Telluride Fire Festival will make you feel like a kid again. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, spontaneous fire performances occur around town. From art cars to fire-breathing sculptures, it’s truly spectacular. Best of all, these events are free.
Additional ticketed events and workshops take place at various venues around town throughout Telluride Fire Festival. Explore their event calendar to learn more.
International Snow Sculpture Championships
Sculpting Week – January 24 to 28, 2017
Viewing Week – January 28 to February 5, 2017
I had heard about this Breckenridge event for years before I actually attended it in 2015, and I can honestly report that it lived up to the hype. The sheer scope of these snow sculpture is astounding, but then when you see the detail the artists are able to render in snow, it’s downright incredible.
Walking among these giant, snowy effigies gives me that spine-tingly excitement that’s a reminder of childhood.
I recommend attending the International Snow Sculpture Championships towards the end of the sculpting period when the artists are finishing up their sculptures. Watching the sculptors work gives real insight to the difficulty of this competition. I also encourage you to visit once at night too. Darkness adds a certain level of magic to this event.
Crystal Carnival & Ski Joring
March 3-5, 2017
Last, but certainly not least, I can almost guarantee that you’ll verbalize some “oohs” and “ahhs” at Crystal Carnival in Leadville. The ski joring competition at this festival is one of the most hair raising events I’ve ever witnessed in person and I’ve watched ice climbing.
The ski joring competition at Crystal Carnival is the real deal. This isn’t a stunt performance for the crowds. These are real cowboys, cowgirls and skiers who come to Leadville to compete for real cash prizes and bragging rights.
Leadville’s main street, Harrison Avenue, is transformed into a snowy raceway for the ski joring competition that occurs throughout Crystal Carnival weekend.
I recommend checking the schedule and arriving early so you can get a good spot to watch, preferably around the jumps.
Other events take place during Crystal Carnival including a night mountain bike ride in the snow called the Mineral Belt Mayhem, and there’s usually an evening dance at the local Elk’s Club with a live band. However, the highlight at this festival is definitely the ski joring, so don’t miss it.
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.
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 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
New festivals crop up every summer in Colorado and it’s hard to keep track of them all, but I try. Here are five new ones that will appeal to a variety of different tastes.
Tequila & Tacos, Winter Park, July 9, 2016
Winter Park is a wonderful summer festival town and when Tequila & Tacos came across my radar, I immediately saved the date on my calendar.
Located in one of Colorado’s best festival venues, Hideaway Park, this new event is a celebration of one of my husband’s favorite things (tequila) and one of my favorite things (tacos) – so, yes, we have to go.
As you might expect, Tequila & Tacos includes tequila tasting and taco tasting, plus, live music provided by The Rick Lewis Project.
Keystone River Run Village Art Festival, July 30-31, 2016
Keystone is another great summer festival town. River Run Village is well-laid out for fun fests such as Wine & Jazz Festival and the Mountain Town Music Festival. This art event is the newest festival in the Keystone Festivals summer lineup.
There will be 80 artists at this juried, outdoor event. Admission is free.
Vertex Festival, Buena Vista, August 5-7, 2016
This new “camping” festival is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Colorado. The Vertex Festival website states, “Vertex merges the best of worlds to create a present-day frontier where anything is possible. Diverse music, exhilarating outdoor adventures and artful fun and games bring people together for an enduring shared experience.”
Vertex includes lots of live music, field trips, art events and more. If you’re looking for an event that will inspire creativity in a fantastic destination, Vertex may be the festival for you.
Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, August 12-13, 2016
This festival makes me want to start singing, “these are a few of my favorite things!”
Hotchkiss, Colorado is in Delta County, which is our state’s hidden gem. The region is bountiful and offers everything from vineyards to farm stays, and this festival is a celebration of those things, plus arts and crafts. Events include music, demonstrations and of course, wine, hard cider and lots of delicious, farm fresh food.
Breckenridge Wine Classic, September 15-18, 2016
A new wine event is coming to Breckenridge, Colorado. This festival brings together food artisans, wineries, breweries, distilleries, epicurean purveyors and locally made products. There will be cooking demonstrations, seminars and other opportunities for wine education. Events will take place at various venues around town.
The Breckenridge Wine Classic is for discriminating wine aficionados and it is also for those who may be new to the wine world.
If you know of any new festivals in Colorado this summer that aren’t listed here, please leave me a note in the comment section.
Last year I finally got the opportunity to attend the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. I’d known about the event for years and wondered if it would live up to the hype.
We were booked at the Village at Breckenridge and our room overlooked the parking lot in which the snow sculpting teams were working on their creations.
We were lucky enough to stay for long enough to watch the sculptures as they were carved into their various final compositions.
As we watched the sculptures take shape over several days I was blown away by the size and intricacy of each piece. The photographs I had seen of this event, while amazing, just simply hadn’t done it justice. Seeing this event in person is truly astounding.
This year’s event International Snow Sculpting Championships run Jan. 18 through February 7, 2016. The ideal time to visit, in my opinion, is Jan. 26-30 while the sculptures are being created, especially Jan. 29 when the teams work late into the night to finish their pieces. Watching the sculptures come to life, so to speak, is quite astonishing. Continue reading
If you’ve been paying attention, by now you probably know that I was invited by GoBreck to judge the 50th Annual Ullr Festival parade last week in Breckenridge, Colorado.
After looking through our parade photos, taken mostly by my husband, Ryan, I just had to share a few of our favorites with you.
Here are photos from the Ullr Festival parade on Thursday, January 10, 2013:
If there had been a prize for “cutest float,” this would have won it.
This is a good time to tell you that it was COLD out! Really, really cold.
The Ullr Festival parade is way more entertaining than your average 4th of July parade.
It’s fun being a judge! My hands were cold, but my helmet was AWESOME!
This gal was having A LOT of fun!
There are lots of viking women at Ullr Festival in very little clothing.
This float by Grand Lodge took home first place & won $1000.
The Good Times Adventures Snow Globe float was my favorite & they won 2nd place.
Floats full of shiny, happy people.
One of my favorite photos from Ullr Festival parade.
A huge thank you to GoBreck for asking me to participate in this wacky week of fun in Breckenridge, Colorado!!!
After a week off, it’s time for another installment of the Mayor on KRFC 88.9 FM, community public radio in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Starting in February, these shows will occur on the 1st and 3rd week of each month. Life is just getting too crazy to do a show each and every week.
Remember, if you’d like to catch the show on the radio, I’m on at 5:55 p.m. on Wednesdays, immediately before Bikes & Beer and on Fridays at 5 p.m.
On this week’s segment I talk about what I’m up to this week – it’s ULLR FESTIVAL – and preview one of my favorite winter festivals in Colorado.
Some people love the holidays, but there are many of us who find the season a bit stressful. Family obligations, travel and high expectations can make an otherwise merry time of year downright excruciating.
There’s no way to avoid the holidays, but you can find ways to make them a little less hectic. In this week’s segment on KRFC 88.9 FM, I outline some activities that will slow you down and hopefully, relax you a little during the Colorado holiday season.
My segments on KRFC air on Wednesday evenings just before 6 p.m. and on Friday evenings at 5 p.m., but you can listen to this week’s segment HERE.
The following is the transcript from HeidiTown’s weekly radio segment on KRFC 88.9 FM in Fort Collins, Colorado. Covering the weekend of January 6-8, 2012.
Listen to the audio —> HERE.
Hi, my name is Heidi and I’m the mayor of HeidiTown.com, a blog about events, festivals and road trips around Colorado.
It’s looking like January is a rather quiet month in Northern Colorado, so if you know of an event or festival in the area please, please email me about it! You can reach me at TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.
Here in Fort Collins it’s First Friday Featuring Gallery Walk. Nineteen business participate from 6 to 9 p.m. It will be a great night to be in downtown. For more information and a list of all participating businesses and sponsors go to DowntownFortCollins.com.
This Friday at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden, Colorado, it’s the 38th Annual Cherrleyn Postage Stamp Show from 12 to 5 p.m. There will be 29 dealers and millions of stamps, postcards and postal history. This event is open to the public.
On Saturday, at the same venue it’s the Intermountain Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society’s 14th annual model railroading and memorabilia vendor extravaganza. The event runs from 9 to 4 with early bird entry at 7:15. Visit Jeffco.us/fair for all events taking place at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
This Saturday visit the Agricultural Heritage Center in Longmont on St. Vrain Road. Open from 10 to 5, the center is a place to learn about the rich agricultural history of Boulder County. This site focuses on 1900 to 1925 and the farm includes a farmhouse built in 1909 and furnished from that area, two barns, an outhouse, a milkhouse, a blacksmith shop and there are animals on the site seasonally. Tours start at 11 a.m. For more information visit BoulderCounty.org.
At the Plains Conservation Center in Aurora, families can learn about farm chores this Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Take a wagon ride to Wells Crossing and discover how pioneers survivied on the prairie help feed farm animals. More at PlainsCenter.org.
This is a good time of year to visit your local museum, and there are quite a lot of good ones all across Colorado. I’ve written about several of my person favorites on HeidiTown.com under the Museum tab.
Here’s a fun activity happening at SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch. From January 7 to April 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. every Saturday enjoying night skiing and tubing under the lights. Visit GranbyRanch.com for details.
On Sunday, January 8, it’s the start of a 48 year tradition in Breckenridge, Colorado. Ullr Fest takes place through January 14 and during this wacky week viking hats are the fashion accessory of choice in Breck. Ooler, is spelled Ullr and in Norse mythology he is the son of Sif and the stepson of Thor, the God of Thunder. Ullr loves the cold and loves to party and so does Breckenridge. This crazy festival includes Ullrlympics, where the Ullrympions fling frying pans for prizes, and it also includes a parade that entices 12,000 revelers to the streets of Breckenridge. Visit GoBreck.com for more details.
Thanks for listening!