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Meet Me in Meeker, Part Two: Staying & Dining in Meeker, Colorado

Last week, I shared with you part one of my two-part “Meet Me in Meeker” series. In last week’s post, I wrote about the surprisingly vibrant downtown we encountered. Click here to read it. This week, I want to introduce you to where we ate, drank and stayed in this fun little northwest Colorado town.

Meet Me in Meeker, Part Two Staying & Dining in Meeker, Colorado (10)

As a reminder, we were in town for the Jammin’ Lamb Festival, a culinary event that’s part of the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials which I wrote about here. I’d been invited to town to be a judge for Jammin’ Lamb Festival.

After discovering all the neat stores in downtown Meeker, we drove the short distance to 8th Street to find our bed and breakfast. Festival organizers had booked us a room at the Bear Mountain Inn. Cheryl Houser welcomes guests into her home as if each one were a long-lost friend. Her husband Dale and son Toby are also very sociable and accommodating to guests. Continue reading

A Staycation at Hilton Denver Inverness in the Denver Tech Center

Why would one staycation at the Denver Tech Center? Hilton Denver Inverness, that’s why. This resort hotel has everything you need for the perfect getaway and you’ll never need to leave the building unless of course, you want to golf their pristine, 18-hole park-like course.

A staycation at the Hilton Denver Inverness in the Denver Tech Center. Golf Course shot

Photo courtesy of Hilton Denver Inverness

This is part two of my three-part series on great staycation resort hotels around Colorado’s Front Range, and Hilton Denver Inverness, formerly The Inverness, is indeed a truly great staycation spot south of Denver.

Hilton Denver Inverness is undergoing a multi-phase remodel and the new contemporary look and feel of the place suit my tastes perfectly. It also suits the architecture of the hotel which was built by a Scandinavian hotel company in 1989. Continue reading

When Visiting Aspen, Colorado, Eat All the Things

No matter when you plan to visit Aspen, Colorado — winter, spring, summer or fall — plan to spend some time and money on dining. You won’t regret it.

Before we visited this winter, I had no idea Aspen was such a foodie town, and I’m not kidding when I suggest that you should go there and eat all the things. Seriously, forget about the diet and don’t cry over carbs, just eat everything and be happy.

When Visit Aspen, Colorado, Eat All the Things, photo courtesy of Meat & Cheese, HeidiTown.com

Photo courtesy of Meat & Cheese.

While nothing in Aspen is cheap, the bar is set high for good food in this resort town, and it’s nearly impossible to have a bad meal here.

When in Aspen, you must go to Meat & Cheese. The restaurant was opened in late 2014, by the founders of Avalanche Cheese Company, and these folks know their cheese and meats.

When Visiting Aspen, Colorado, Eat All the Things, Meat & Cheese courtesy photo. HeidiTown.com

Meat & Cheese, courtesy photo.

Of course, when at Meat & Cheese, a restaurant and farm shop, you must order the Meat & Cheese board, which serves two, and follow it up with one of the restaurant’s creative entrees such as coffee chocolate rubbed short ribs or the rotisserie chicken (the best I’ve ever had). 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

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

Five Ways To Take A Vacation In Your Own Town

My Facebook wall has been full of tropical vacation photos for several weeks. I even have a friend on a private yacht in the Caribbean. If this is the case for you too, it’s rather depressing, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to be on a yacht in the Caribbean?

If you’ve got cabin fever, I’ve got a solution and no, it’s not robbing a bank. It’s called a mini-vacation, and while I’m not promising that this outing will be as exciting as snorkeling in Grand Cayman or zip lining in Costa Rica, it will brighten your day.

1. Take a Walking Tour

Not every town has a guided walking tour, but you’d be surprised at how many towns have a printed version of a walking tour. They are usually available at your local visitor center, museum or at the chamber of commerce.

how to take a vacation in your own town. Crested Butte, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

See your town from a different perspective. (Crested Butte, Colorado)

I once took a walking tour of Fort Collins, a town with which I am very familiar. It was a night walking tour, but it wasn’t about ghosts, but rather the town’s history. Despite having walked Fort Collins’ streets many times (even at night), during the tour I felt like I was in a brand new town. Continue reading

The Best Taco I Ever Ate in Colorado

I’ll be the first to admit that I used this title as click bait. I knew that those of you with favorite taco shops around Colorado were going to click the link, and if you didn’t see your favorite taco listed you would school me on taco greatness.

The Best Taco I Ever Ate in Colorado. Fish taco at Kip's Cantina in Pagosa Springs. HeidiTown.com

Kip’s Cantina, fish tacos

Here’s the thing. “Best of” lists about food are crap and I can say that because I’ve written one in the past. Everyone has a different set of taste buds, not to mention we are influenced by things ambiance and the people we were dining with.

With that being said,  I shall reveal three of the most memorable tacos I’ve eaten in Colorado. I’m sure I’ve had other delicious tacos, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind, and whether that makes them the “best” or not, I refuse to be the judge. Continue reading

Ameristar Casino Resort, when you’re not gambling

We all know the number one reason to visit Black Hawk, Colorado is to gamble, but did you know that Ameristar Casino Resort offers several additional experiences?

When the Ameristar Casino Resort was first built I thought, “Now this place really looks like Vegas.” It’s not brand new anymore, but still retains that modern look of new Vegas. From the faux sky ceiling to the large, modern guest  rooms, Ameristar is the top-notch hotel in Black Hawk.

Ameristar Casino Resort casino floor. HeidiTown.com

This past week I finally got to experience a stay at this resort casino and it didn’t disappoint.

The Ara Spa at Ameristar Black Hawk

In the past year or so I’ve had the great pleasure of being pampered at some really fantastic Colorado spas and Ameristar’s Ara Spa rivals the best of them. It has a contemporary Colorado ambiance, and the interior design incorporates a calming combination of wood, stone and water. Continue reading

A food tour in Delicious Downtown Colorado Springs

Last Saturday we went on the Delicious Downtown tour in Colorado Springs with Rocky Mountain Food Tours. My first piece of advice for anyone participating in this tour is to wear stretchy pants. Seriously, you will thank me.

Our tour started at The Antlers Hotel, a mid-modern goliath in downtown. We had a full tour of 14 hungry people. About half the group was from the Springs area and the other half from the Denver metro area.

Rocky Mountain Food Tours, Delicious Downtown tour. Bambino's Urban Pizza HeidiTown.com

Bambino’s Urban Pizza, Colorado Springs, Colorado

There’s some walking involved on the tour, but I was grateful for the time between stops to let a little bit of the food in my stomach digest. Plus, Colorado Springs is a sunny city, so it’s likely that you’ll be soaking up some Vitamin D while you walk.

Our tour started with a visit to the Caribbean and ended by going down the Rabbit Hole. True story.

I’m not going to give away all the wonderful experience you’ll have on this Colorado Springs food tour, but I will tell you some of my highlights. Continue reading

A delicious, two-day Grand Junction & Palisade itinerary

Frog Prince in Downtown Grand Junction. HeidiTown.com

There are more than 100 sculptures in Downtown Grand Junction as part of Art on the Corner.

As you know, Ryan and I did a lot of traveling this winter and every trip has a special place in our hearts. Grand Junction, however, has a special place in our stomachs. If you are a fan of eating and drinking, you’ll want to get out a pen and paper and take notes on this post.

We’d driven by Grand Junction and Palisade a number of times over the years, but had never stopped, so we had no idea what we’d been missing.

So without further ado, here’s a two-day Grand Junction/Palisade itinerary, influenced greatly by our March trip.

Day One:

Before heading out to Grand Junction, call and make dinner reservations at Bin 707 Foodbar. Arrive Grand Junction and check into your hotel. We stayed at The Clarion. It’s a simple, freeway hotel, but they provide a free shuttle to downtown and there’s a nice little bar at the attached restaurant, Pantuso’s Ristorante.

Utilize free shuttle ride to downtown. If you are a little early, browse Art on the Corner and do a little shopping. We were impressed without how busy downtown Grand Junction gets on a Friday night – every restaurant was packed and the sidewalks were bustling with people.

Bin 707 Foodbar is a little slice of culinary heaven in the heart of Grand Junction. They serve up locally sourced food in a contemporary, yet comfortable environment. Engage your knowledgeable server to learn about the menu.

We started with an assembly of charcuterie and artisan cheese. Charcuterie is the craft of salting, curing and smoking meat. There was a rich pate made in-house with fresh herbs, prosciutto cut so thin you could see through it and headcheese made by the Chef of Bin 707. All the cheeses were from Colorado including the Ashley from MouCo Cheese Company in Fort Collins, a personal favorite.

Bin 707 cheese plate HeidiTown.com  Beet Salad at Bin 707 HeidiTown.com  Momofuku crack pie at Bin 707

We didn’t stop with the cheese and meat plate. We ordered up fried oysters served with aioli sauce, roasted beet salad (a customer favorite) and grilled cheese flatbread with arugula salad. I felt like I was on an episode of Top Chef and I gave everything top scores.

We paired our food with local wine and ended our meal with two unique deserts. I’m not a big desert person, but my beet ice cream was sweet and earthy at the same time, an amazing combination. Ryan ordered the Momofuku Crack pie, and they might actually spike it with an illegal substance because it’s that freakin’ good.

The cutest retro chairlift at Powderhorn Resort Colorado HeidiTown.comDay Two:

We got up early, had the free breakfast buffet at The Clarion and then headed to Powderhorn Resort for a morning of skiing. The resort is about 45 minutes from Grand Junction. However, if you’re making this trip during the spring or summer, head to the Colorado National Monument to some morning hiking and bighorn sheep hunting. Hunt with your camera, of course. I wrote about our experience at the Colorado National Monument in a previous post here.

After burning some calories, it’s time to start eating and drinking again. Grab a quick lunch at Pablo’s Pizza in downtown Grand Junction and now it’s time for wine.

Start with Two Rivers Winery & Chateau in Grand Junction; the Syrah and Cab were my favorite here. Afterwards, make the 20 minute drive to Palisade where you can hit multiple wineries within walking or biking distance of one another. We started at Grande River Winery, one of the original wineries on the Western Slope. Just next door is Talon Winery and St. Kathryn Cellars. Talon has traditional wines while St. Kathryn’s stirs things up a bit by offering fruity wines.  They even have a lavender wine. Just down the road, we visited Plum Creek Winery where I enjoyed nearly every taster on their list.

We heard wonderful things about Colterris, but were unable to visit them on this trip. I did have one of their reds at Bin 707, and it was a well-rounded, memorable wine.

Peach Street Distillers in palisade, Colorado. HeidiTown.comBefore leaving Palisade, be sure to visit Peach Street Distillery. The cliffs of the mesa glowed pink as we pulled into the parking lot just before sunset. It was warm enough to sit on the patio, but every seat was taken, so we sat inside, sipping on sweet, fresh drinks and listening to classical guitar. It was a wonderful way to end a wonderful afternoon.

Note: If you plan to spend the afternoon drinking in Palisade on Day Two, please make someone in your group the designated driver!

For dinner we ate Irish fare at Naggy McGee’s Irish Pub in downtown Grand Junction. This is a popular place, so be prepared for a wait. On a two-day itinerary, beer drinkers may prefer dinner at Kannah Creek Brewing Company. I had a yummy sandwich there on our visit to Grand Junction. Popular with college students, the patio fills up quickly on a nice day.

So there you have it. A two-day itinerary to Grand Junction, and I promise it will not disappoint.   Book you trip around one of the Western Slope’s many spring and summer festivals, like the Palisade International Honeybee Festival on April 12-13, or the Art & Jazz Fest in downtown Grand Junction on May 10-12, 2013. For the scoop on other festivals, go to VisitGrandJunction.com.

We genuinely fell in love with the Western Slope during this trip. The landscape + people + food + wine is a winning combination and we can’t wait to visit again.

This trip sponsored by Visit Grand Junction.

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