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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 flower 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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Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse in Colorado

A Note from the Mayor: Sight is a precious thing (something I know all too well). Before you go trotting off to watch the eclipse this month, please take a moment to review these recommendations from NASA on how to safely view the eclipse.

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Have you heard about the upcoming solar eclipse? If not, you may be fairly surprised when the sun disappears behind the moon on August 21, 2017, starting around 10:30 a.m. We won’t experience a total eclipse here in Colorado, but we will see a partial eclipse and it will occur over a three hour period.

Where to Watch the Eclipse in Colorado

Photo courtesy of Colorado.com. Wildflower hike near Vail, Colorado. (Matt Inden, photographer)

Here’s a cool video of how this partial eclipse will appear in Colorado.

I’ve made it my mission to find eclipse parties happening in Colorado, and at the time of the writing of this post, there aren’t many being advertised online yet so I’ll try to update this article as they pop up.

Eclipse Parties in Colorado

Avon, Colorado

The first party that came on my radar is the Solar Eclipse Viewing Party being held at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Beaver Creek. Ryan and I have stayed at this fantastic property near Vail that features several restaurants, an incredible spa, an enormous pool, lovely salt water hot tubs, and large, comfy suite-style rooms.

Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse in Colorado - Westin Beaver Creek summer fire pits, credit the hotel

Westin Beaver Creek summer fire pits, courtesy of the resort.

The resort is partnering with Walking Mountain Science School, a non-profit science learning center, to offer a free party to the public that includes educational family activities and celestial crafts. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the Westin’s patio.

The Rocky Mountain Eclipse Getaway (offered August 20-23, 2017) at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa includes a studio suite, exclusive access to the resort’s educational event with Walking Mountains, solar eclipse viewing glasses and nightly s’mores at the resort’s fire pits. Rates start at $179.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Total Solar Eclipse Party is being held at the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s will be held on August 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This will be an exciting day at the Discovery Center. They will have solar viewing telescopes, tubes and boxes for visitors to use and they will feature live feeds from other eclipse locations around the United States.

Where to Watch the Eclipse in Colorado, Colorado Springs Discovery Center

Visitors may purchase solar viewing glasses, while supplies last, for just $3 or two for $5. There will be craft events and a planetarium show in the center’s new inflatable planetarium.

This is a once-in-childhood experience for your science-minded children, so if you live in or near the Colorado Springs area, don’t miss it.

Visit the Total Solar Eclipse Party online HERE.

Denver, Colorado

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science will start their solar eclipse festivities at 9 a.m. on August 21. The museum will be buzzing with eclipse activities including events scheduled outside on Boettcher Plaza, in the Science Studios, on the south atrium, inside the Space Odyssey exhibit and at the Discovery Zone (the area for young learners ages 5 and under).

A solar-scope viewing will be held on Boettcher Plaza from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The museum will be providing safe viewing options for guests in the form of solar eclipse glasses and pinhole viewers. There will even be pop-up food available service outside during the event.

While the eclipse is happening in the sky outside, inside the museum visitors can enjoy stories, kinesthetic activities and crafts related to the eclipse. The eclipse-related activities end at 2 p.m., but the museum will remain open until 5 p.m. Don’t miss the Space Odyssey programming that will include eclipse-themed shows throughout the day.

Vail, Colorado

An exclusive solar hike for guests of the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail is planned for August 21. This luxury hotel with a European twist is offering a hike on Shriner Ridge. The outing includes transportation, a guide, solar viewing glasses, water and a snack.

This two-mile hike/three-hour excursion will provide a fantastic view of the 2017 eclipse in one of Colorado’s most gorgeous settings. To book your hike contact Kara at 970-479-5448 or email kschmidt@sonnenalp.com.

Buena Vista, Colorado

Deerhammer, a distillery located in Buena Vista, is hosting an eclipse viewing party featuring $5 Barrel Aged Black Hole Sun (a coffee old-fashion), during the event. They will also have solar glasses available for guests.

Where to Watch the Eclipse in Colorado, Deerhammer in Buena Vista

Photo courtesy of Deerhammer.

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See a map of the eclipse in the United States here.

For information on Where to Watch the Eclipse in the West, visit The Heidi Guide at Mountain Living online.

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I’ve scoured the internet and even made some calls to find out if more parties are planned and nothing comes up… yet.

I am certain that more parties will pop up and I’ll try to keep this list updated. If you know of a party or your organization is putting something together for the public, please leave me a comment here or email me at TheMayor@HeidiTown.com with details. Thank you!

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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

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

Staycation at Omni Interlocken, Broomfield, Colorado

Want to get away, but don’t have a lot of extra money or extra time? There are a few hotels located on Colorado’s Front Range that will give you a resort experience close to home.

Whether you plan to take the kids along, want a romantic weekend with your sweetheart or are looking for a place to party with the girlfriends, these hotels have got your covered.

Staycation at Omni Interlocken, Broomfield, Colorado, pool overview

Photo courtesy of the Omni Interlocken

Over the next month or so, I’m going to share with you some of the Front Range’s best staycation hotels starting with the Omni Interlocken in Broomfield, Colorado.

The Omni is an expansive resort property that features a spa, multiple swimming pools, kids club and semi-private champion 27-hole golf course that can’t be topped when it comes to views. In fact, the course offers up such spectacular scenes of the Flatirons and the Rocky Mountains that couples occasionally book a wedding on the course. Continue reading

A Symphony of Food & Music on a Denver Date Night

Ryan and I hadn’t been out in the big city since the fall, so when we read that the Colorado Symphony was playing Beethoven, we decided it was time for a Denver date night.

A Symphony of Food & Music on a Date Night in Denver, HeidiTown.com, © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2009

Colorado Symphony © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2009

We used to frequent the Colorado Symphony quite often. In fact, for several years we bought concert packages to the CSO, giving us an excuse for a Denver date night every month. The Colorado Symphony has all sorts of subscription packages available, making it easy to pick and choose the number of symphonies you want to attend and which shows.

We started our Denver date night at TAG Restaurant on Larimer Street, an eight minute walk from Boettcher Concert Hall. This restaurant has been on my radar for awhile now and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

A Symphony of Food & Music on a Date Night in Denver, TAG Restaurant octopus

The food scene in downtown Denver has come a long way since we lived in the Mile High City in the early 2000s.

Chef Troy Guard, who opened TAG in 2009, is a big part of the city’s culinary expansion. He has opened a number of restaurants since, and there are still more in the works. Guard’s restaurants elevate food, while still making it approachable, and I think this is why he’s so well-loved by Denver foodies. Continue reading

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

Gift Guide for Friends with Good Tastes (In Food)

Know someone who loves food? Instead of buying them a cookbook or newfangled kitchen item, how about buying them a foodie experience?

Colorado has blossomed with food tours over the last several years, and I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing several of these delicious excursions.

Local Table Tours

LocalTableTours.com

This company was started by a Boulder food blogger who has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad. Today, Local Table run tours in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins. In Denver, they do a tour at The Source, a Taste of Highlands and in downtown (Taste of LoDo and Union Station).

Gift Guide for Friends with Good Tastes

Photo courtesy of Local Table Tours.

Their Boulder-based tours including A Taste of Boulder, Cocktail Tours, Coffee & Chocolate Tours and May through October they offer tours at the Boulder Farmers’ Market.

In Fort Collins, tasting tours include a Cocktail Tour, Waffle & Chocolate Tour, Artisans at Scotch Pines Tour and, the one I experienced this past summer, the Jessup Farm Tasting Tour. 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

44 Days of Fall in Colorado

We have 44 days of fall left, but the beautiful fall drives are over, so how do we continue to celebrate this shoulder season? I’ve got a few suggestions.

A Late Fall Getaway in Colorado

November isn’t a big getaway month for most people, but the “shoulder season” is a wonderful time to travel in Colorado. There are less cars on the roads, and unless you’re traveling on Thanksgiving, you’ll find some great hotel deals over the next 44 days.

44-days-of-fall-in-colorado-elk-near-estes-park-colorado-heiditown-com

An elk herd near Estes Park, Colorado.

We have a tradition of doing birthday getaways in our house and since my husband’s birthday is in November, we’ve done quite a bit of fall travel in Colorado. Denver is actually one of my top picks for this time of year because the city dresses up beautifully for the holidays and it’s fun to stroll a brightly lit up downtown. Continue reading

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