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New Things to Do in Breckenridge, Colorado

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 Things to do in Breckenridge, Colorado. free bus in Breckenridge. HeidiTown.com

When we weren’t biking or walking, we got our Breckenridge via the free bus service. It goes everywhere you want to be!

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.

New Things to Do in Breckenridge, Colorado. Residence Inn by Marriot wall art. HeidiTown.com

Fun wall art at Residence Inn by Marriott, Breckenridge.

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. Continue reading

From Farms to Wineries, Where to Stay in Delta County, Colorado

Finding a place to stay in Delta County is really fun because there’s such a variety of accommodations in this area of Western Colorado. From farms to bed and breakfasts and everything in between, the only thing you’ll be hard pressed to find is a chain hotel.

Whether you’re heading over for a festival or just to explore, here are some of the interesting places that we’ve stayed during our trips to Delta County. 

Bross Hotel Bed & Breakfast, Paonia, Colorado

paonia-inn.com

Where to Stay in Delta County, Colorado.

We stayed at Bross Hotel in downtown Paonia on our most recent trip to Delta County’s North Fork Valley. This hotel is unique because it was a purpose built hotel and has remained a hotel for 110 years.

The Victorian rooms are cozy and will leave you with the feeling that you’ve traveled back to 1916, except that I expect the plumbing is much better today.

Each room at Bross comes with a delicious homemade breakfast, and don’t miss out on sipping your coffee on the expansive front balcony overlooking Onarga Avenue. I felt a bit like the Colorado version of Scarlett O’Hara on that balcony. As a bonus, Revolution Brewing is just around the corner from Bross Hotel.

Gunnison River Farms, Orchard City, Colorado Continue reading

A stay at Colorado Trail House in Leadville

 Colorado Trail House offers something new to the traveler in a home that rings with echoes of the past.

Steeped in history, Leadvillle’s lively past is palpable on every visit to the town, and whether a visitor cares a whit about history or not, it’s all around them.

A stay at Colorado Trail House in Leadville. HeidiTown.com

I have been visiting Leadville for nearly a decade, and on my most recent trip, I experienced many new Leadville sites and sounds that held echoes of past visits. This is the first in several posts about my latest Leadville adventure.

The first harmonization of the past and present was my booking at Colorado Trail House, a brand new lodging destination in Leadville that’s located in a not so new building. The Victorian home at 127 E. 8th Street has stood for more than 100 years, and while researching Colorado Trail House online before my visit, I realized that I’d been there before. Continue reading

The Good Life In Cherry Creek At JW Marriott

In the heart of Cherry Creek, you’ll find a hotel where they celebrate the finer things in life on a daily basis. Whether you’re looking for a weekend spa escape or a girls shopping weekend extraordinaire, JW Marriott Denver has got you covered.

The Good Life In Cherry Creek at JW Marriott. blue room. HeidiTown.com

Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Denver.

This past weekend, Ryan and I needed a place to stay in Denver after Bru Frou, an amazing culinary and craft beer pairing event held annually at Wings over The Rockies Air & Space Museum. JW Marriott Denver, just 4.5 miles from the venue, graciously offered to host us.

This Denver hotel is the very definition of posh, but you don’t have to take my word for it. In 2014, it made Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice list as one of the “Best Hotels in the West.” Continue reading

HeidiTown on the radio – Ghost stories in Colorado & beyond

Halloween creepy walk casket

Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

I don’t believe in ghosts, but I have seen them.

It’s almost Halloween, and this compelled me to tell some of my own ghost stories in this week’s segment on KRFC 88.9 FM.

Find out when and where my ghostly encounters took place, and maybe you can travel to these haunted Colorado locations to seek our your own paranormal experience.

Listen to this week’s radio show HERE.

Dispelling the myths about staying at a bed & breakfast

When I was a child, my family used to vacation each year on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. We always stayed at the same bed and breakfast, and I have wonderful memories of our stays there. As an adult, I continue to choose this style of lodging when I am on vacation, especially when visiting smaller towns around Colorado.

Over the years, Ryan and I have stayed at bed and breakfasts in the United States, and across Great Britain. We love bed and breakfasts, but I realize that a lot of you are hesitant about this type of vacation lodging.

Here are some of the common fears I hear about bed and breakfast, and my responses to each:

Rose Street B&B Georgetown, Colorado

Rose Street B&B in Georgetown, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

“I will feel like I’m invading someone’s home.”

Only once have I had the experience of feeling like a nuisance when staying at a bed and breakfast and this took place in England. Sometimes the line between bed and breakfasts and “renting a room in a house” becomes blurred, and this was one of those times. But this was an exception. This had never been our experience before and has never been our experience after at any bed and breakfast in England or stateside.

Typically, we choose a room with our own bathroom and have even had rooms with their own private entrance. Breakfast is usually served in a dining room where you may or may not meet other guests at the establishment. Most bed and breakfasts in the United States take pride in making delicious and memorable meals. Ryan and I still rave about the breakfast we had on the terrace at Hughes Hacienda in Colorado Springs.

“People will get all up in my business.”

I think this is the #1 fear I hear from my friends. They think that a bed and breakfast will lack privacy or that they will be forced into extensive conversations with perfect strangers. I can tell you that a bed and breakfast experience is what YOU make of it. Most proprietors are friendly and enjoy people, otherwise they wouldn’t be in this profession.

However, most proprietors are very intuitive as to their guests’ level of comfort in chatting, and will not push their guests into conversation, especially if a guest appears to be a more private type of person.

arch in Moab

Thanks to the proprietors of Dream Keeper Inn, we were able to find out about this amazing hike in Moab, Utah.

If you do choose to engage the bed and breakfast proprietors, and I suggest that you do, they are a wealth of information about the area in which you are staying. During our stay at Dream Keeper Inn, in Moab, Utah, the owners knew all the best local hikes, and were a big help in assisting us in picking a wonderful hike to see a hidden arch.

You can also choose whether or not to engage the other guests, who you will likely only run into during breakfast service. Many bed and breakfasts have multiple tables, although some seat everyone together. We have met the most interesting people over the years, and have had a blast sharing travel stories with Australians in Bath, England and with New Yorkers during  a stay in Georgetown, Colorado.

“B&B’s are too expensive.”

This is a complete misnomer. With the price of hotel lodging today, bed and breakfasts are often competitive when it comes to price. Plus, you get a free, full breakfast every day of your stay, which will easily cost more than $20 at a restaurant.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love staying at a nice hotel, and we do not choose bed and breakfasts on every trip we take. However, they are a nice change up from the traditional hotel room, and can create memorable stories that will last you a lifetime.

Yves St. Laurent & the Brown Palace ““ a weekend of luxury in Denver, Colorado

Denver Art Museum sign on lamp post

This is the only United States venue for this exhibit that is on display through July 8, 2012. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

My husband and I just celebrated 10 years of marriage in style. We spent a high-end Denver weekend with a trip to the Yves St. Laurent exhibit at the Denver Art Museum and a stay at the Brown Palace Hotel.

Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective at the Denver Art Museum

I sport a rather laidback Colorado style, so folks may be surprised that as a little girl I filled binders with clothing designs; everything from medieval princess dresses to ready-to-wear business suits.

By the time I entered my teenage years, grunge had become popular and living in the Pacific Northwest, I was at the epicenter of the flannel and ripped jeans trend. I bought my first pair of Birkenstocks and didn’t look back.

I never lost my love of haute couture, however, and you can often catch me watching shows like “America’s Next Top Model” and “Project Runway,” albeit wearing a comfy pair of flannel pants and a t-shirt.

When I heard the Yves St. Laurent exhibit was coming to the Denver Art Museum, I had to see it. Thankfully, my husband is an artist and will always happily tag along to any art-oriented event that I want to attend.

We visited the exhibit on a Saturday and it was packed with well-dressed women. We counted exactly four men in the crowded lobby. That being said, while my husband’s response to my ooohs and awwws throughout the exhibit was always “that’s cute,” he actually found St. Laurent’s story inspirational from an art perspective.

On busy days you may have a wait because they stagger entry times into the exhibit. Our wait was less than ten minutes, and I was happy to see that the museum staff was handing out portable tour guides. I’ve only seen these useful devices at large English museums. They look like one of those huge, old cell phones from the eighties. Each is equipped with a key pad and when you punch in the numbers corresponding with the various exhibits a nice voice tells you all about it – no reading required. It makes for a very quiet trip through the exhibit, despite the crowds.

Yves Saint Laurent- The Retrospective curated by Florence Muller,Pierre Berge

Installation view of Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective at the Denver Art Museum.

St. Yves Laurent was an influential clothing designer who lived from 1936 to 2008. He came to prominence in the French fashion world in the early 1960s, and started making waves right away. He was the first designer to introduce leather on the runway, shocking, not nearly as scandalous as his biggest contribution to the fashion world, the ladies pantsuit.

There was even a saying at the time: “If it’s pants, it’s Yves.”

Yves Saint Laurent_ Tuxedo with pants

Yves Saint Laurent, Tuxedo with pants, haute couture collection, Fall-Winter 1966. Black barathea and satin silk, white organdy blouse. © Foundation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, Paris / Photo A. Guirkinger.

Walking through the exhibit one experiences St. Laurent’s evolution as a designer, although he never moved away from putting women in designs that had been previously cut for men, like square shoulders. It’s also a walk through pop culture history.

St. Laurent is credited with being the first French clothing designer to develop an entire ready-to-wear line. He was quoted as saying, “Down with the Ritz, up with the streets!” referring to his clothing line for the everyday woman.

If you enjoy art, fashion and history, you should see Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective at the Denver Art Museum. This is the only United States venue for this exhibit that is on display through July 8, 2012. During the last 10 days of the exhibit, the museum will have extended hours. To learn more and purchase tickets go to DenverArtMuseum.org.

Brown Palace Hotel & Spa

Bright and sparkly new hotels are fine, but historic hotels have always been my favorite. They are steeped in history, and none more than the Brown Palace in Denver, Colorado. Nearly every President has stayed at the hotel since Roosevelt, and stories from this place could fill a book, and probably do.

tea at the Brown Palace

Afternoon tea at the Brown Palace in Denver, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

A stay at the Brown Palace isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for and more. You are treated like an honored guest from the moment they hand you champagne at the front desk. Everyone is genuinely nice without being pretentious – this is, after all, Colorado.

We’ve stayed at the Brown Palace a number of times, including on our wedding night, so it has a special place in our hearts. We always have a drink at Ship’s Tavern and sometimes indulge in breakfast at Ellington’s.

The rooms are comfortable with historic touches combined with modern conveniences like flat screen televisions. I would encourage you to check out the “specials and packages“ section on their website. I always book one of these options.

Currently, you can reserve the Designer Package which gets you two VIP passes to the Yves St. Laurent exhibit, plus a delicious chocolate surprise in your room. Visit the hotel online at BrownPalace.com.

 

 

Win tickets to Estes Park Winter Festival including beer, wine & chili tasting

Estes Park Winter Festival ice castle

The Estes Park Winter Festival is fun for the entire family. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

The 3rd Annual Estes Park Winter Festival runs Friday, January 13 through Sunday, January 15, 2012.

Last year, my husband and I decided to randomly check out this event without really knowing what to expect, and we had so much fun! In addition to the interactive ice castle, which is really great for kids, we loved the chili cook off. I think we sampled over forty green and red chilis. The hot green chilis are always my favorite and there were some memorable ones with a good kick.

The event starts on Friday night with a Céilidh Barn dance and outdoor bonfire that includes cowboy poetry and ghost stories, hot chocolate and s’mores. This event is free and sponsored by Estes Park Weddings.

Estes Park Winter Festival chili cook-off

Last year's chili cook off attracted more than forty competitors. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

The next day is Winter Trails day at Rocky Mountain National Park and the two days of live music, chili, beer and wine tasting commence at the Estes Park Winter Festival. This event has become so popular it has been moved from Bond Park to the heated, enclosed pavilion at the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park. This has allowed the festival organizers to increase the size and scope of this event and I can’t wait to attend again this year! To read the entire schedule of events planned for Winter Festival, go here.

Admission to Estes Park Winter Festival is just $5, and this includes chili tasting. For $25 you can purchase festival admission that includes chili tasting and the extensive beer and wine tasting. Purchase tickets here.

And now for the really, really good part”¦ you can enter here to win admission for two to this event. One luck winner will receive two $25 full admission tickets that include beer and wine tasting. ID required at the door.

Estes Park Winter Festival beer photo

Estes Park Winter Festival includes an extensive beer and wine tasting. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

Just leave a comment below telling me if you prefer green or red chili and you’ll be entered to win a pair of tickets to this fantastic Estes Park  event. Feel free to tell us who makes your favorite chili, whether it be a restaurant, family member or friend.

I think I make a darn good red chili, but my friend Lara, of Fly By Chili,  makes my favorite green chili.

A winner will be chosen at random this Friday, January 6, at approximately 3 p.m.

Join the Estes Park Winter Festival on Facebook  and  check out more photos from last year’s Estes Park Winter Festival on HeidiTown’s Facebook page.

Good luck!

~ CONTEST CLOSED ~

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