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How We Ended up in Minturn, Colorado & Why You Might Want to Go

Sometimes the best part of traveling is when something unexpected occurs. Even getting stuck on Vail Pass in a snowstorm can result in a nice long soak at Glenwood Hot Springs, which is what happened to us in 2014.

It wasn’t a snowstorm that brought us unexpectedly to Minturn last month – it was Record Store Day. If you are an avid collector of vinyl, like my husband, Ryan, you know that this is an important day. It only happens once a year and vinyl nerds do not miss it.

How we ended up in Minturn, Colorado & Why You Might Want to Go. HeidiTown (6)

However, having been laid out flat with the flu for the week leading up to our Vail trip, Ryan had forgotten that Record Store Day was the Saturday we’d be 150 miles away from his hometown record store.

Thankfully, while browsing the Vail Daily over a beer at Vail Brewing on a Friday afternoon, Ryan realized the Record Store Day was the following day. Where in the world could he participate in Record Store in the Vail Valley? Continue reading

A stay at The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado

The Rush Casino & Hotel by HeidiTown

The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

While in Cripple Creek I was incarcerated and lost some money, but I’d still go back. We arrived in Cripple Creek on a cloudy Friday afternoon. I had been invited to be a guest at the brand new Rush Casino, formerly the Gold Rush. The building had been shuttered for three years before the new owners bought it, renovated the place and opened in August 2012.

I had never been to Cripple Creek before, and I can’t say that about many Colorado towns, so I was extra excited as we past Manitou Springs and then Woodland Park. As we neared our destination we were greeted by this view, just outside of Cripple Creek.

view driving into Cripple Creek Colorado photo by HeidiTown

View driving into Cripple Creek, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

When we arrived in town I was quite delighted by the look of the place. Cripple Creek is an authentic mining town, all red brick and Victorian charm. While they legalized gambling in the early 1990s, the town has managed to retain its historical appeal.

At The Rush we found a open-plan casino, with extra high, golden ceilings and lots of elbow room. I dislike feeling pinned in at a casino, so this was a pleasant surprise. Apparently every guest at The Rush receives a mini-bar gift basket, a practice I would encourage every hotel to establish. At check in we were asked what we would like in our gift basket and given a list of items we could choose from.

mini-bar gift basket at The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek photo by HeidiTown

Our mini-bar gift basket at The Rush. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

While the casino at The Rush has been fully remodeled, the boutique hotel upstairs hasn’t receive as much attention, but there is a fresh coat of paint and upscale amenities like flat screen televisions and high end bath products. Our large room overlooked Bennett Avenue and included a nice view of the vintage Gold Rush sign.

We spent the first night gambling at The Rush, and winning at everything with the exception of three-card poker. I had very good luck at the Elvis game; the King and I got on famously. I enjoy these new games that include a chair with surround sound. At this game you rock out to famous Elvis tunes while trying to hunt down the rabbit in the Hound Dog Hunt. It’s seriously fun.

Elvis machine at The Rush photo by HeidiTown

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

In addition to your mini-bar gift basket, guests at The Rush get free “bottomless” breakfast at the casino’s restaurant. I really enjoyed the breakfasts during our stay, especially the fresh jalapenos in my omelet, and you can’t beat the $1.50 bloody Mary.

We spent the morning of our second day exploring Bennett Avenue. As we scouted out the other casinos and did some shopping at the boutiques along the northeast side town, it began to snow. The town was quickly blanketed in white and with the twinkling Christmas lights, it felt very much like an old-fashion kind of holiday.

There are some cute shops in Cripple Creek, including a candy store that we stopped at every day during our stay and 9494, my favorite store in town where I bought an adorable hat. The General Store is over 40 years old and squished between two casinos on the south side of Bennett. It is an entertaining place to shop and includes lot of stuff for kids.

Back at the casino we met up with my in-laws who had arrived from Denver. Lunch at The Rush got fairly high marks from our group, especially the chicken wrap.  After lunch, we left my mother-in-law at the slot machines and took my father-in-law with us to get into some trouble – and we succeeded, as the photos prove.

Heidi at the Cripple Creek jail museum photo by HeidiTown

Ryan at the Cripple Creek Jail Museum photo by HeidiTown

My father-in-law goofing off at the Cripple Creek jail museum by HeidiTown

As you can tell, we had a good laugh at the Outlaw & Lawmen Jail Museum.

That evening we spent time gambling at The Rush, and my husband had too much fun at the Monopoly slot machine and the black jack tables. Every Saturday night the casino brings in a DJ who takes requests and keeps things festive. The drinks and fun flowed, and despite not winning the hourly cash prize of $100, we had another great night.

The Rush Casino Cripple Creek December 2012 HeidiTown.com

The Rush Casino, formerly The Gold Rush. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

I’m very excited about the future of The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek. The Palladium is a 900-seat outdoor auditorium directly behind the casino and the owners plan to renovate it starting this spring. It should be open for summer concerts in 2013 – more than enough reason to go back and stay at The Rush again.

You can find The Rush online at TheRushCasino.com. You can also find them on Facebook HERE and follow them on Twitter.

PLEASE NOTE: The Rush Casino unexpectedly closed on Friday, January 4, 2013. I still highly recommend a trip to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Top 10 Memories from the Mayor of HeidiTown, Colorado for 2012

It has been an AMAZING year here in HeidiTown…

and 2013 is going to be even better.

I have so many great memories from this past year, like emceeing a freezing/cold/snowy  Berthoud Oktoberfest, attending the Great American Beer Festival for the first time and speaking multiple times at Metropolitan State University. There were some real standout moments however, so without further ado, here are my Top 10 Memories from the Mayor of HeidiTown, Colorado for 2012 (in pictures):

March – MyHandleBar HeidiTown ride in Fort Collins, Colorado

 My Handle Bar Ride March 2012 HeidiTown.com

May – The HeidiTown banners are revealed

 HeidiTown Banners May 2012

June – Champagne in the gondola & dining at the top of Keystone Resort during TBEX

 Champagne on the gondola in Keystone for TBEX June 2012 HeidiTown.com

June – Being a judge at the kick-off of Loveland Loves BBQ , Bands & Brews

 Haivng a laugh with Lauren Hoff at kick off for Loveland Loves BBQ Brews & Bands June 2012 HeidiTown.com

July – Gorging ourselves on food cart delights & wine at Unwined Denver

 Cupcakes from Denver Cupcake Truck at Unwined Denver 2012

July – Enjoying a really big pretzel and German dancing with my main squeeze at the Biergarten Festival

 Biergarten festival big pretzel July 2012 HeidiTown.com

August – My first hot air balloon ride at Sweetheart Balloon Rally in Loveland

 Sweetheart Balloon Rally August 2012 HeidiTown.com

August – Ziplining at Copper Mountain & riding the chairlift with beers

 zip lining at Copper Mountain HeidiTown August 2012

October – Staying at  One Steamboat Place for the Governor’s Tourism Conference in Steamboat Springs (via Moving Mountains Chalet)

One Steamboat Place Diamond Peak

December – Laughing our butts off at the Cripple Creek Jail Museum & winning on Elvis at The Rush Casino

 The Rush Casino Cripple Creek December 2012 HeidiTown.com

   Thank you to everyone who has helped make this year so special & now? Bring on 2013!

P.S. A special thank you to my husband, Ryan, the person I most enjoy taking adventures with – now and always!

Be a tourist in your own town

Greeley Freight Train Museum

Greeley Freight Train Museum (Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved)

As tourists we take the time to learn the history and hidden secrets of the places we visit, but how many of us know the story of our own town?

Earlier this year I wrote a post entitled, “Become an advocate for your town,” and today’s post has a similar feel, although I fear I’m going to get preachier. In that piece I gave you five ways to become an advocate because your advocacy will result in a positive economic impact for your town.

Today, I want to inspire you to become a tourist in your own town because it will enrich your life. HeidiTown is about festival, events and travel in Colorado, however, this post is for people who live in Florida, California, or anywhere in between. Every town has a different tale to tell, but many of us don’t know our community’s story.

This post was inspired by two recent incidents. Earlier this fall I attended an event held at the Greeley Freight Station Museum in Greeley, Colorado. Most of those in attendance were from Greeley, but none of the thirty-some people there had ever been to the museum before.

Train enthusiasts come from around the world to visit the Greeley Freight Station Museum because it’s truly one-of-a-kind, but many who live in the region haven’t stepped foot in the building.

Tread of Pioneers Museum Colorado

Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. .Photo taken by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer in February 2011. All rights reserved.

I had a similar experience earlier this month in Steamboat Springs. While there I took a walking tour presented by the Tread of Pioneers Museum in downtown. I’ve been to Steamboat Springs a number of times, but was surprised to realize I knew very little about the history of Ski Town USA. I was even more startled when our tour guide informed us that she’s been giving these historical tours twice a week for about a year and no local has ever been on the walk. In fact, locals seldom visit the museum, unless it’s a group of school children.

It’s time we all became tourists in our own towns. There’s no doubt in my mind that knowing your town’s story and hidden treasures will enrich your life. It may even make you a little prouder about where you live. So this weekend, get out and discover your town; visit a museum, visit your town’s Visitors Center, and find out what hidden gems are right outside your front door.

Top 5 Colorado Christmas Towns

I love Colorado during the holiday season. From Denver’s Larimer Street to the Christmas Market in Georgetown, there’s something about Colorado that make me feel as though I’m spending the holiday season in a postcard.

As the Mayor of HeidiTown.com, I attend a lot of events and festivals and I spend a lot of time at holiday events around the state, so I’ve decided to share what I deem as the Top 5 Colorado Christmas Towns. This list is in no particular order, although if I were to pick a number one Colorado Christmas town, it would be Georgetown.

 

Georgetown, Colorado horse & sleigh

1.   Georgetown, Colorado is a hidden gem just 45 minutes west of Denver along I70. I’d driven by it a hundred times before actually stopping in, but once I did I realized what a great little place it really is, and during the holidays it’s truly outstanding. With the a tree lighting ceremony, Letter Day and the Georgetown Christmas Market running for two weekends, this town commemorate the holidays the way they were intended to be celebrated. Visit HistoricGeorgetown.org for more information.

 

Breckenridge holidays carolers Scofield

2.   Breckenridge, Colorado is well known as a ski town, but this place has a lot of other stuff going on and that’s why it makes my list. The Victorian style architecture of the town looks resplendent during the holidays. With the Lightening of Breckenridge on the first weekend in December to carriage rides available throughout the holidays, and wonderful shopping opportunities, this town will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into a holiday postcard. Check out GoBreck.com to keep an eye what’s happening in Breckenridge year-round.

 

Polar Express arrives at the station Durango

3. HGTV recently named Durango, Colorado as one of their “Top Ten Christmas Towns,” and it’s no surprise. Durango is home to the Polar Express, a production of the Durango & Silverton Narrow  Gauge  Railroad. This train ride is a memorable way to celebrate the holidays with your children. During the month of December, Durango is alive with festive music and the hubbub of the holidays. There’s never a dull moment and always something Christmassy happening, and that’s why it makes my list. Go to Durango.org for more information on this top Christmas town.

 

 

Aspen.Winter.NewYearsEve.Fireworks3.JeremySwanson

4.   The 12 Days of Aspen, is just one reason this ski town is making the list. From December 20, through New Year’s Eve, Aspen, Colorado celebrates the season with all sorts of cheery activities from concerts to theater, from street entertainment to free ice-skating, to shopping and restaurant specials and so much more. Aspen is also quite lovely during the holidays – just one more reason they made this list.

 

Estes Park Colorado holiday photo

5. Nestled between the soaring peaks of the Rockies, Estes Park, Colorado is known as the Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s always a bustling during the summer, but this charming little village lights up during the holidays. Visitors should stop at Longs Peak Coffee & Paper House for a cup of hot chocolate and then stroll the streets of this picturesque town. While in town, be sure to visit the famous The Stanley Hotel, to see the holiday décor.

HeidiTown.com on KRFC 88.9 FM – What to do in Colorado this weekend

There’s an eclectic weekend of Colorado fun in store for October 21-23, 2011.

Here’s my weekly radio segment for KRFC 88.9 FM.   This week highlights include a science-fiction/fantasy convention, doll expos, ghost tours and so much more.     Enjoy and share with your friends!

Note to Subscribers: Head over to HeidiTown.com to view this video.


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