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.
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
It’s always about this time of year when Coloradans are lulled into the belief that spring is just around the corner, and then, in comes March, Colorado’s snowiest month.
Have you been wondering how you’re going to make it through the doldrums of winter? Never fear, the Mayor’s here, and I’ve got some suggestions that should put a smile on your face as the last few weeks of winter tick down.
Fantastic March festivals in Colorado
There are two fantastic March festivals that will help alleviate your wintertime woes. First up, Crystal Carnival & Skijoring Weekend in Leadville. We attended for the first time last year (I wrote about our experience here).
Forget the X-Games, if you really want to be wowed by athletes who push the boundaries, you must visit Leadville during the Skijoring Championships, March 5-6, 2016, during Crystal Carnival. Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before 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.
I’ve been writing for the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor for 7 years, so I’ve had a long relationship with the town of Berthoud, Colorado. I’ve known about the Berthoud Inn, the only local bed and breakfast, but had never had the opportunity to stay there until I started helping out the owner, Mark Chaffee, with the Inn’s Facebook page.
Berthoud is a charming town, and a visit there is a bit like going back in time. It’s a town where everyone still comes out to high school football games and the Homecoming Parade is one of the biggest events of the year.
The Berthoud Inn & Events is located on a huge lot of land, just east of downtown. Built in 1888, the house is magnificent. In 1904, a local newspaper said of the home, “It has always been considered one of the most beautiful in the vicinity.” And more than 100 years later, it still is.
Berthoud is situated between Longmont and Loveland, about 45 minutes north of Denver and just 35 miles from Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Inn is within walking distance of everything the small town has to offer including restaurants, several day spas and a bit of shopping.
There’s also a brewery and that’s why we were there on a Wednesday. We were planning to defend our title as champions at Trivia Night at City Star Brewing.
We arrived at the Inn around 5:30 p.m. and a tour reveals seven themed rooms suited for a variety of guests. The Egyptian Room, in the basement, is probably the most interesting. It includes a tub the size of a small swimming pool, and some Egyptian costumes for those who may want to play a dress up.
The Inn also has a gigantic backyard that includes two stages and is home to the two tallest trees in Berthoud. Appropriate since the town’s nickname is “The Garden Spot.” Small weddings are welcome here, and the space is pretty, even in the winter. I can easily visualize sitting on the wrap around patio during the summer with a glass of wine at my elbow and a book in my hands.
After the tour we set out for City Star on foot, with a brief stop at the Brick Oven to order pizza. City Star lets visitors bring in food, and some places in downtown Berthoud will deliver your food directly to the brewery.
Trivia night has become popular and the brewery was packed. No problem for our team; we soundly beat everyone anyway. It probably helped that we had a team of nine very smart, very good looking people.
Breakfast at the Inn was a smorgasbord of culinary delights. Chaffee has owned the Berthoud Inn for 12 years, but before that he was the owner of multiple restaurants in Denver. There’s little doubt in my mind that his abilities as a chef is what truly sets the Berthoud Inn apart.
Our breakfast started with coffee and fruit in cream, and from there it just got better and better. Chaffee says he takes breakfast and “elevates it.” You may dine on strata with shrimp or poached salmon with a tropical fruit medley. He always serves eggs alongside, but your main dish may be more gourmet than you were expecting. It’s not unusual to have pork medallions with a savory sauce as your breakfast entrÃ©e – and be warned that portion sizes may have you skipping lunch.
Our breakfast concluded with cinnamon rolls served with a side of ice cream, so perhaps not surprisingly the dining experiences at the Berthoud Inn is what is most often referenced in their reviews on Trip Advisor.
The Berthoud Inn offers seven rooms in the main house, but also has a fully equipped, two bedroom apartment available for families, extended stay guests, business travelers, or those traveling with their canine companion. Since we were staying in the main house, we left our dog at Happy Tails Dog Ranch. Just five minutes from the Inn, I highly recommend Happy Tails. We’ve been utilizing their dog boarding services for a number of years. Learn more here.
To those of you who may have hesitations about staying at a bed and breakfast, please read my post, Dispelling Myths about Staying at a Bed & Breakfast. Bed and breakfasts are one of my favorite lodging options when I travel, and I think you’ll love it too if you give it a try.
Please note: I am assisting the Berthoud Inn with their new Facebook page. Therefore, I received a free stay to experience firsthand everything the Inn has to offer.
It’s that time again, time for another installment of HeidiTown on the radio.
Every two weeks I have a show on KRFC 88.9 FM, community public radio. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling this winter, so in this week’s segment I share a little from our trip to Grand Junction and the surrounding area. I will be writing some blog posts about this trip as well, so stay tuned!
Also included, a preview of the Fort Collins St. Patrick’s Day Parade – a very popular and very green event in Northern Colorado.
Without further ado, listen to this week’s segment HERE.
Want to experience an authentic Colorado Valentine’s Day? Here are my tips for infusing a little Rocky Mountain high into your relationship this February.
Colorado offers everything from well-appointed historic hotels like the Brown Palace and Hotel Colorado to the shiny and still-fairly-new Ritz-Carlton in downtown Denver to Movie Manor, a motel in Monte Vista offering a drive-in movie with your stay.
When it comes to lodging options, this state has it all, but it’s Colorado’s bed and breakfasts that offer the perfect romantic ambiance for a Valentine’s Day escape. Many bed and breakfasts are located in the heart of Colorado’s unique towns, making everything within easy walking distance including restaurants, bars and shopping.
If you have reservations about staying at a bed and breakfast, I encourage you to read my article, “Dispelling the myths about staying at a bed & breakfast.”
Pick a bed and breakfast with a romance package, or make your own romance package. Pack a bottle of bubbly, some of your partner’s favorite chocolates or other fancy foods and stay in for the evening. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!
We recently stumbled across the Carr Manor in Cripple Creek, and toured this 14-room bed and breakfast in a converted high school. There are two spa suites that will blow your mind. One has a vaulted Jacuzzi tub that should come with a couple servants waving palm frawns.
For a romantic little get away in the charming town of Berthoud, Colorado, check out the Berthoud Inn. The owner is an accomplished chef who just might cook up something special for your dinner if prearranged.
When it comes to the culinary scene, Colorado has chefs who are pushing the boundaries and testing the palates of residents from the Front Range to Aspen. While not always known as a “foodie town,” today, inspired cuisine can be found throughout Denver at places like Euclid Hall and Fruition Restaurant.
But let’s face it, Colorado’s known for meat, red meat like steak, lamb and wild game.
If you want to impress your date this Valentine’s Day with an authentic Colorado meal, try the Frontier Platter at The Fort in Morrison. This sample plate includes a buffalo sirloin medallion, wild boar chops and grilled teriyaki quail. Start your meal with some Rocky Mountain oysters as a daring aphrodisiac.
Looking for Rocky Mountain oysters at a less fancy establishment and price? Try Bruce’s in Severance, Colorado. A basket of oysters, fries and dip at Bruce’s will only set you back $8.99.
Here at HeidiTown, I’m all about doing stuff, and Valentine’s Day is your opportunity to get out and do something romantic with that special person in your life.
If you read HeidiTown then you’re already an expert when it comes to doing fun Colorado stuff, but if not, here are a few suggestions for this Valentine’s Day.
Dinner theater – This option kills two birds with one stone; dinner and the evening’s entertainment. And if you want to keep the Colorado theme going, The Unsinkable Molly Brown is now onstage at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown.
A free gondola ride in Breckenridge – The 143-cabin Breckenridge Gondola runs year-round for skiers and non-skiers. This ride could be part of a romantic getaway in the beautiful town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Current hours of gondola operation are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A moonlight snowshoe outing – Check out Colorado’s Best Snowshoeing Trails and do a little investigating to find out what resorts/ranches have this unique experience available.
It seems rather appropriate for the Mayor of a place called HeidiTown to have a connection to the German Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter. Full disclosure: This organization has been advertising their events with HeidiTown for a while now and it’s a match made in heaven.
This organization puts together well-organized and top-notch events that I am more than happy to slap my endorsement on. Their Biergarten Festival is a summer party my husband and I look forward to every year.
The GACC-CO’s winter event is the Denver Christkindl Market. In operation for 12 years, this year there’s a new look, but the market hasn’t lost its intimate, European feel.
Christkindl markets have deep roots in Germany where the oldest recorded Christmas market dates back to 1310 in Munich. Held in front of churches, the markets were often part of a person’s church visit. Today, these markets are still held in town squares across Germany.
Tour the Denver Christkindl Market to find unique, handmade gifts for nearly everyone on your list. I found lots of knit hats and beautiful artisan jewelry that I’d love to find under the tree this Christmas.
The best part of the market, in my illustrious opinion, is the food and the beer/entertainment tent. I’d recommend coming hungry, having some delicious European-style food and a beer or two and then going shopping.
While we were visiting the beer tent last weekend, the Chalet Dancers from Castle Rock were peforming and their authentic German dances impressed the crowd, me included. Under the tent you’ll find a full lineup of entertainment on the weekday evenings and weekends.
Sipping a beer or gluehwein (spiced wine), you’ll be transported to a different time and place, and this is what I love the most about the Denver Christkindl Market and the Biergarten Festival – it’s a chance to experience a little German culture right here in Colorado. Our state is rich with German heritage, but we don’t always get a chance to see it, taste it and feel it in action. I applaud the German Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter for keeping this culture alive and well.
Keep in mind that the market is a wonderful event for children – from entertainment to delicious pastries, make the Denver Christkindl Market a part of their childhood memories this Christmas.
Denver Christkindl Market
Skyline Park (16th & Arapaho)
November 23 to December 22, 2012
Sunday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and that means means people are driving, flying, cooking and visiting and most likely two or three of you will actually read this post today.
So I’ve put off writing about the Colorado Railroad Museum, and instead I’m going to write a kitschy Thanksgiving post. I am going to share with you a few random things I’m really thankful for starting with books on tape.
I am very thankful for books on tape. They aren’t really “on tape” anymore because you can download them directly from your computer to your mp3 player. We have a subscription to an online site where you can browse and download a certain number of books each month.
As the Mayor of HeidiTown I travel around Colorado quite a bit, and Ryan and I can only talk to each other for so long. After all, we’ve been married for 10 years and we’ve pretty much heard everything the other person has to say, so books on our mp3 player are vital for our travels. Whether it’s just a drive through Denver rush hour traffic, or a cross-state trek, listening to books in the car is the only way we choose to travel.
I am thankful for diners and dives. There’s just something so right about eating at a diner when you are on a road trip. We have a couple favorites around the state, but the one we’ve been going to the longest is the Cutthroat CafÃ© in Bailey, Colorado. You won’t find a website for this joint, but I assure you it’s there at 157 Main Street.
Breakfast is my favorite meal at the Cutthroat because they serve coffee in those brown diner mugs that remind me of my grandparents. They also serve a tasty hamburger and service is fast and friendly. You won’t have to rob a bank either because lots of meals are priced under $8, and some are under $5.
Lastly, and here is when I hope more than a few of you read this post, it’s been a phenomenal year here in HeidiTown and I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all the citizens of this town. Citizens are those of you who read this blog, those who have liked HeidiTown on Facebook or Google Plus and those of you who stalk HeidiTown on Twitter. Without all of these amazing people the HeidiTown brand wouldn’t be where it is today.
It’s impossible for me to thank each of you personally, but please know that I appreciate all the support over the years and thank you for being citizens of my little, virtual town. It’s truly an honor to be Mayor of HeidiTown.
Thank you, thank you, thank you & happy Thanksgiving!
As much as I love small towns, during the holidays I love taking a trip to the big city. One of my fondest Christmas memories is walking under the canopy of lights on Larimer in downtown Denver. We were checking out all the window decorations and that year they were all ski scenes. Some were very elaborate with skiers moving up and down paper mache mountains and ice skaters twirling on painted ponds.
Denver is delightful during the holiday season; horse drawn carriages clomp up and down the 16th Street Mall, children skate at Skyline Park and you might even hear a Christmas carol or two.
The Mile High City knows how to do the holidays and the city literally lights up on during the Grand Illumination on Friday, November 23, 2012.
This year there will be lighting displays at the City and County Building, Larimer Square, Denver Pavilions, Union Station, Skyline Park, the 16th Street Mall and the historic D&F Tower.
This is a FREE event, so bundle up the kids and bring them down for an evening in the city. Live entertainment starts at 5:30 p.m. at Skyline Park and at 6 p.m. at Denver Union Station and at Civic Center Park. The official “countdown” begins at 6:30 and the lights go on at 6:45 p.m.
Once the lights are on, wandering over to the Denver Christkindl Market to do a little shopping and listen to live German music from Peter Kron. Afterwards, warm up at one of Denver’s fine eating establishments – currently, my personal favorite is Euclid Hall.
Grand Illumination of Downtown Denver
Friday, November 23, 2012
Free fun for the entire family
If you are looking for more FREE winter events and activities in Denver, I love this list compiled by Visit Denver.
Have you ever gone on vacation and then felt as though you needed another one when you got home? This has happened to me many times, but vacations shouldn’t be work. If you want to experience a true escape from all of life’s stresses, you’ll want to read this post.
I’ve stayed in many types of accommodations around Colorado over the years, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, rented homes and campgrounds, but last week I stepped it up – way up.
While attending the Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference in Steamboat Springs, I was the guest of Moving Mountains, and stayed at Diamond Peak Penthouse at One Steamboat Place.
This isn’t your average vacation rental – Diamond Peak is 2800 square feet of luxury living in the middle of one of the most spectacular ski resorts in North America.
Moving Mountains was established 15 years ago by husband/wife team, Robin and Heather Craigen. Their goal was to make European style holidays available in Steamboat Springs; this meant high end, catered chalets where their guests’ most stressful decision of the day would be picking the perfect ski run. The catered chalet option available at Moving Mountains properties includes a personal chef and staff.
Today Moving Mountains has many fabulous properties in their repertoire, including private homes and condominiums. All have easy access to the ski slopes and any can be fully catered.
Upon our arrival at One Steamboat Place, we were escorted to the sixth floor where our penthouse awaited. This four bedroom, five bath home has a comfortable, open plan living space that includes a gourmet kitchen.
In the kitchen we discovered a little “welcome to Steamboat gift” of homemade granola and beef jerky from Sweetwood Cattle Co. I’ll admit that I was probably more excited about the beef jerky than most, because it’s my number one weakness in life. I love beef jerky more than cake.
My favorite room in the house was the master bath, located in the master suite wing of the home. It includes an Olympic-size bathtub and huge freestanding shower. I spent a lot of time in this room getting ready in the mornings and even managed to squeeze in a soak between conference sessions. I also made good use of the home’s office that featured a computer with high speed internet, and I never even opened my laptop.
While I was networking and conferencing, my husband was enjoying the amenities at One Steamboat Place. He lounged in the pool and relaxed in the hot tub. Other offerings include an adult game room and a children’s play room. We didn’t book a treatment at the private spa, but it was tempting. There’s also a locker room for your boots and skis, because One Steamboat Place is a true ski in/ski out accommodation located right next to the gondola. This would be perfect for me because I hate walking in ski boots.
Another one of the benefits of staying at One Steamboat Place is the shuttle service. All catered packages through Moving Mountains also include private shuttle services within the Steamboat area. This is a big deal for people like me who enjoy having a few glasses of wine with dinner.
A stay at a Moving Mountains Chalets’ property is not a cheap experience, but it’s not out of reach. If you want a relaxing holiday in one of my favorite towns in the world, it is well worth it. Also, if you stay with a group, lodging expenses can be shared. Moving Mountains’ properties are the perfect option for a family reunion, a vacation with friends or a corporate get away.