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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

Brewery Lights Delight in Fort Collins, Colorado

Looking for something unique to do with the entire family this holiday season? Look no further than Brewery Lights at the Budweiser plant in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Brewery Lights Delight in Fort Collins, Colorado

Last week, I was invited to opening night at Brewery Lights which takes place Thursdays through Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m. through December 30, 2016.

Ryan and I arrived early for a meet and greet with the Budweiser Clydesdales. One of the teams was in town for the weekend, and Clydesdale handler, Zane, introduced us to Frankie. At just four-years-old, Frankie stands 19 hands tall and is about 2000 lbs. He nuzzled us, looking for treats, and seemed to personify the breed’s reputation as “gentle giants.” Continue reading

HeidiTown on the Radio – Colorado summer is officially underway

Solshine Music Festival photo

Solshine Music Festival photo

Holiday weeks such as this one are notorious for low blog engagement, and that’s okay. I hope everyone is out enjoying the 4th of July and the extra, extra long weekend!

The HeidiTown Gives Back post about National Dog Mill Rescue went up on Monday, so today I’m sharing my radio segment. My 5 minute show airs twice a month on KRFC 88.9 FM, public radio in Fort Collins, Colorado. You can hear me on air at 5:55 p.m. on Wednesdays and 5 p.m. on Fridays.

This week I give you a sneak preview of my trip to Winter Park for The Village Uncorked and the SolShine Music Festival. Plus, a look ahead at the big, second weekend in July when huge festivals are happening up and down the Front Range of Colorado.

Listen to this week’s show HERE.

Do Durango, Part 3 – Get Touristy

Mayor’s note: I’ve written a three-part series on Doing Durango. Part one, published on 5/15, was all about beer and part two published on 5/29/13 was all about food. The final post is all about the touristy activities you shouldn’t miss.

beautiful haflinger horses and Dean from San Juan Sky Outfitters in Durango, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Beautiful haflinger horses & Dean from San Juan Sky Outfitters in Durango, Colorado.

When I visit a new place, I usually try to blend in with the locals, but I’ll be honest, sometimes being a tourist is a lot of fun. We did a lot of stuff in Durango that locals love to do, but we also got to play tourists on our nearly week-long stay.

Ride the Train in Durango

I’ve already written about our excursion on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad here, and it is, without a doubt, the top tourist activity in the area. In addition to the standard train ride they have special train rides, like the Dinosaur Train this month, package excursions and more. Go to Durangotrain.com for more.

Don’t miss the Durango Train Museum located at the train depot. It’s free to tour and has an expansive model train set up that kids (and adults) will enjoy.

An Historical Walking Tour of Durango with the Victorian Aid Society

As part of the conference I was attending, I got to participate in an historical walking tour of downtown Durango guided by the Victorian Aid Society. Anyone can book a tour with this organization, just go here. They even have a Facebook page.

On our historical walking tour with the ladies of the Victorian Aid Society. HeidiTown.com

On our historical walking tour of downtown Durango, Colorado with the ladies of the Victorian Aid Society.

I’ve been on a few historical walking tours and this one is top notch. I wish I’d written down the names of our guides, but thankfully I got pictures. These gals were wonderful storytellers, and that’s what makes a good tour. I don’t just want dates and names, I want the inside scoop, the nitty gritty, the lowdown – and these ladies deliver all that and more.

Take a Horse & Carriage Ride in Durango

I’ll be honest. I have never wanted to go on a horse and carriage ride. It just seemed way too touristy. However, when I was offered a ride by Dean of San Juan Sky Outfitters, I decided to take him up on it, and Ryan and I were so glad that we did.

Even though I’d never been on a horse and carriage ride, as soon as I boarded, I knew this going to be a ride like no other. First of all, Dean and his haflingers are real characters. Haflingers are small horses known for longevity and their excellent disposition. This ride so memorable because of Dean and his horses.

Dean taking some local kids home by carriage in Durango, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

The father of these two local kids, bartered with Dean to give the children a carriage ride home for a small fee. Gotta love a small town!

We boarded the carriage in front of the beautiful Strater Hotel and took off fairly quickly as the haflingers were excited, after all, we were their first passengers of the season.

Our 40 minute tour of historic downtown Durango was exhilarating and humorous. Dean’s stories were slightly different versions than those told by the ladies of the Victorian Aid Society, which only added to the entertainment level. Let’s call Dean’s version of the same stories told by the VAS, the “Cowboy Version.”

You do not need reservation in advance. Just show up and jump aboard. Or you can sign up for a carriage tour with Dean at the Strater Hotel.

Want more info on Durango?   Go to Durango.org.

Special thanks to the General Palmer Hotel for hosting us during part of this trip. Room 301 was a wonderful place to relax after a busy day of exploring Durango.

This trip was sponsored in part by Durango.org.

Featured Festival: Golden Music Festival (June 14-16, 2013)

Golden Music Festival LogoI love music. I grew up in a family where guitars were played on a nightly basis and a singalong accompanied by the piano was commonplace. I don’t, however, go to a lot of music festivals. There are two reasons for this, and the first reason is that they tend to be pricey. Second, like beer festivals, there are a lot of them. They happen all the time, especially in the summer, all over the state. I just can’t keep up.

I’ve known about the Golden Music Festival, formerly the Summer Solstice Music Festival) for a few years. The event features folk, Americana and bluegrass. I have a soft-spot for singer/songwriters and I love acoustic guitar – if you throw in a fiddle, I’m in heaven.  When Visit Golden invited me to attend this 3-day music festival over Father’s Day Weekend, I jumped at the chance.

I am happy to report that tickets to this event are very reasonably priced. A 3-day admission to the fest is just $35. Tickets for Friday and Saturday are $25, and to attend just one day is $15. The best part? Children under 12 are free.

The event is a yearly fundraiser for the Golden History Museum and is held at the natural amphitheater at Clear Creek History Park, a beautiful setting right downtown. Picnics are allowed, but alcoholic beverages may only be purchased onsite.

I know this is an event that will appeal to lots of music-loving fathers out there. I hope that you will join me!

I plan to dance.

Golden Music Festival

June 14-16, 2013

Clear Creek History Park

Golden, Colorado

GO HERE for band line-up & to purchase tickets

Join the Golden Music Festival on Facebook

Golden Summer Festival Crowd Shot

Golden Summer Festival at Clear Creek History Park. Photo from Golden Music Festival’s Facebook page.

 

Do Durango, Part 2 ““ Eat Good Food

The Durango Diner, HeidiTown.comMayor’s note: I’m going to write a three-part series on Doing Durango. Part one, published on 5/15 was all about beer. Today’s post is all about food and the last post in the series will focus on touristy, fun activities you shouldn’t miss.

In Durango you are just as likely to see a man in a cowboy hat as a guy with sleeve tattoos and ear gauges, and you can be certain that both will be more than happy to stop and help you with directions.  This town is friendly and locals will eagerly give you their two cents on the best spots in town to eat and drink.

Dining options abound in Durango. From vegan and gluten free options to menus dedicated to the meat lover in all of us. Nearly every eatery has a top quality wine menu and large craft beer selection; it’s definitely a foodie sort of town.

After spending the good part of a week in Durango, here were our dining highlights, and the places I’d recommend.

Breakfast in Durango

This one is a no-brainer. No less than five people had recommended this place to me when they found out that I was going to be visiting Durango. Ryan and I are big fans of diners, and this one is authentic.

With only a few tables, most of the seating is at the long diner-style bar, and they cook and prepare the food right there in front of you. You see everything, from 12 eggs sizzling on the large flat grill to ladles full of Durango Diner’s famous green chili being generously poured over nearly every plate.

Our verdict? Continue reading

Do Durango, Part 1 ““ Drink Beer

Mayor’s note: I’m writing a three-part series on DOing Durango. Part one, focuses on the Durango brewery scene. Part two will focus on food. Part three will focus on touristy, fun activities you shouldn’t miss.

Ska Brewing Tasters HeidiTown

If I had to use just one word to describe Durango, Colorado, it would be “chill.” People are friendly and the pace of life is a few clicks slower than along the Front Range of Colorado.  It’s not surprising that this town of 17,000 has five breweries, because nothing says “chill” like relaxing on a sunlit patio with a cold craft brew in hand.

We visited in late April and for the first several days of this trip I was attending a conference, but for the last couple days we played like locals and that meant drinking some really good beer.

The Ska mobile outside Ska Brewing in Durango, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Pretty sure the Mayor of HeidiTown needs a car like this.

I have been behind the scenes at a number of breweries, but have never had on an official tour until we visited Ska Brewing in Durango. Our tour guide was Holly and we were joined by a pair of brewery owners from Fruita. Continue reading

HeidiTown on the Radio – Mid April Festivals in Colorado

Go on an adventure - HeidiTownThis week’s a little screwy, but that’s okay. Radio is not an exact science and neither is blogging. This post usually goes up on a Monday, but this week it’s being posted on a Friday, but that’s okay too because most of what I talk about in this segment are festivals in mid-April.

As you know, my radio segments on KRFC 88.9 FM are now recorded and aired every other week instead of weekly.

In this week’s segment I discuss great events happening in mid-April. In fact, the second week in April is so busy you’ll need a couple clones to do everything. I also share a bit about my trip to Ouray, Colorado.

You can listen to the entire KRFC HeidiTown segment HERE.

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.

Featured Festival: Denver Record Collectors Expo

Old fashion record player

Nothing moves us quite like music. If you are anything like me, music is one of the most powerful memory triggers. While certain tunes take me back to college or high school, other songs take me back to a specific place and time. To this day if I hear “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray I have a vivid memory of driving through the hills of west Seattle with my girlfriend Rachel, singing at the top of our lungs.

Our relationship to music is often deeply personal, emotional and truly powerful. I cry anytime I hear “In the Arms of an Angel,” by Sarah McLaughlin because it was sung at my uncle’s funeral.

With this intense relationship i mind, it’s not surprising that people are crazy about collecting music. And records are gaining popularity again. Some claim it’s the baby boomers who long for the nostalgic items of their youth. Perhaps it’s the hipsters and their fanaticism about everything retro, but whatever the reason there is a renewed interest.

That’s why this year’s 20th Annual Denver Record Collectors Expo should rockin’. This is the Rocky Mountain region’s premiere music collector’s show because more than 40 dealers from around the country attend the one day event.

This expo will have everything from records to 45s and even CDs, and every style of music is represented. Whether you are a hardcore collector, often called audiophiles, or just a fan of music in general, there will be something for you at this event. In addition to music there will be posters and memorabilia for purchase.

So without further ado, here’s the nitty gritty:

Denver Record Collectors Expo

Sunday, April 14, 2013

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ramada Plaza

Just off of I25 at 120th

(directions here)

Admission $2

DRCE is a brought to you by Big K productions.

www.bigk.com

Big K Productions logo Denver Record Collectors Expo

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