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A sleigh ride at Snow Mountain Ranch

You’ve heard about it in songs and perhaps you’ve seen it in a movie or commercials, but did you know that you can do it right here in Colorado? Several places around Colorado offer horse and sleigh rides, and earlier this winter we got to experience an outing at Snow Mountain Ranch, a beautiful YMCA of the Rockies property in Grand County, Colorado.

A sleigh ride at snow mountain ranch. Natalie & Rufio. HeidiTown.com

We arrived at Sombrero Stables a little before our scheduled excursion. All the draft horse teams were lined up, waiting to be hitched to their sleighs for multiple afternoon outings, so we walked down the line giving head scratches and taking photos.

I fell in love with draft horses while writing a series of articles about  Norwegian Fjords for a Colorado newspaper. Draft horses are called “gentle giants” for a reason; their demeanor is calm and they are unlike any other horse I’ve been around. I love their chill personalities. Continue reading

Spend Valentine’s Day in Loveland, Colorado

Three years ago I got together for drinks with two good friends, Christine Forster, owner of My Big Day Events and Mechelle Martz-Mayfield, owner of NOCO Short Bus Tours. That’s when we developed My Big Date, the first-ever Valentine’s Day tour packages in Loveland, Colorado.

My Big Date, Valentines Day in Loveland, Brunch & Brew Tour Two. Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer (13)

My Big Date, Valentine’s Day tours in Loveland, Colorado.

This year, we’re at it again and the My Big Date tours are better than ever. We even have a hotel partner offering discounted rates to our attendees. This is especially important because it’s difficult to get a hotel room in Loveland on Valentine’s Day weekend – most hotels book up.

Our tours are so good that our VIP Brunch & Brew tour on 2/14/16 is already sold out, but there are still available tours on 2/13/16. Continue reading

Why You Should go to the Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado

Last year I finally got the opportunity to attend the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. I’d known about the event for years and wondered if it would live up to the hype.

We were booked at the Village at Breckenridge and our room overlooked the parking lot in which the snow sculpting teams were working on their creations.

We were lucky enough to stay for long enough to watch the sculptures as they were carved into their various final compositions.

As we watched the sculptures take shape over several days I was blown away by the size and intricacy of each piece. The photographs I had seen of this event, while amazing, just simply hadn’t done it justice. Seeing this event in person is truly astounding.

1st place Team Lithuania at the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. HeidiTown (1)

1st place Team Lithuania at the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado 2015.

1st place Team Lithuania at the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. HeidiTown (7)

1st place Team Lithuania 2015

This year’s event International Snow Sculpting Championships run Jan. 18 through February 7, 2016. The ideal time to visit, in my opinion, is Jan. 26-30 while the sculptures are being created, especially Jan. 29 when the teams work late into the night to finish their pieces. Watching the sculptures come to life, so to speak, is quite astonishing. Continue reading

Dog Sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch

Dog sledding in Colorado? Yes, you can. I’ve done it twice now and our experience this past week at Snow Mountain Ranch was like no other.

Dog sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch. HeidiTown.com

I was a huge fan of the Iditarod when I was a kid. The race incorporates lots of things I love; dogs, snow and perseverance.

Snow Mountain Ranch is part of the YMCA of the Rockies. It is located between Winter Park and Granby, Colorado and is a snow sports fanatic’s dream destination. In addition to dog sledding guests can participate in everything from cross country skiing to fat biking to ice skating and the best part? Guests never have to leave the property. Continue reading

Top 10 HeidiTown 2015 Highlights

Each year I compile a list of my top ten highlights and each year it gets harder. This year was no exception. From birding festivals to wine festivals to festive Christmas outings, 2015 was chockablock with amazing Colorado experiences.

I truly hope you took inspiration from my travels and had a few Colorado festival and travel highlights of your own this year. At the end of this post feel free to leave a comment telling me a few of yours.

Without further ado, here are my top ten highlights of 2015 in no particular order.

The gift of a tomato in Crested Butte

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. The magic of Crested Butte.

There’s a real kind of magic in Crested Butte.

Coloradans adore Crested Butte and before I visited this fall I wondered if the town would live up to the hype. Not only did it live up to my expectations, it exceeded them. The Crested Butte story I will tell for the rest of my life is that of the gift of the tomato. I’d only been in town a few hours when, while riding the free bus from town to the resort, a man gave me a beautiful heirloom tomato. Where else but in Crested Butte does a person receive the gift of fruit from a perfect stranger? No wonder folks adore this quintessential Colorado town.

Snow Sculpture Festival in Breckenridge

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. Posing with friend and arist Kerri Ertman at the Breckenridge Snow Sculpture Championships.

Posing in front of the People’s Choice winner from Team Alaska with my friend and artist, Kerri Ertman.

I’d been reading and hearing about the Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge for years and in 2015, I finally attended. I discovered that there’s a good reason this event gets so much attention – it’s amazing. We were blown away by the spectacle of huge snow sculptures coming to life over the two day period while we were in town. This is an event that should absolutely be on your Colorado bucket list. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Telluride Fire Festival (Jan. 14-18, 2016)

This was the most unique winter festival we attended last year. It’s a spectacle of creativity and fire and must be experienced to be truly understood. And, the fact that it’s held in Telluride is a big bonus.

Part Burning Man, part community party, 2015 was the inaugural year of Telluride Fire Festival. The first thing we witnessed on our first night in town was El Pulpo Mecanico. I’ll admit, this fire breathing art car was one of the most amazing things I’ve witnessed in my nearly 40 years on this planet.

Featured Festival Telluride Fire Festival 2016 El Pulpo Mecanico

Photo courtesy of Telluride Fire Festival.

Telluride Fire Festival is broken into various piece. There are free events held in the Town of Telluride and in Mountain Village. There are also ticket events. Last year, March Fourth put on an outstanding ticketed show during Telluride Fire Festival.

There are also festival workshops. You can learn to weld or spin fire (yes, fire!). Some workshops have a fee while others are free. See a list of them here.

Dozens of artists come to town for this festival. From fire spinners to DJs to dance troupes, you won’t be able to toss a snowball without hitting an artist during Telluride Fire Festival. This is what makes it one of the most inspiration winter festivals in Colorado. See a list of participating artists here.

FractalTribePerformer#2ByRyanBonneau (1)

Photo provided by Telluride Fire Festival. Photographer, Ryan Bonneau.

During the day you can participate in workshops or visit participating art galleries around Telluride, or you can ski or take a yoga class. That’s the beauty of Telluride, there’s a lot to do in this beautiful town.

Each night of fire festival there will be an event to warm you up including a dance party on Friday with Rob Garza, a Costume Fire Ball on Saturday and a fire-spinning party on Sunday.

A VIP event takes place Thursday evening and only those who purchase an All Access Pass will be allowed into this private reception.

An All Access Pass is just $195 (must be 21 or older to purchase). Purchase your pass here. Tickets to individual events are also available.

Telluride Fire Festival fire breathing dragon. HeidiTown.com

While some events are 21 and older, in general this is a festival for anyone who seeks to ignite a creative fire within their soul. I guarantee that something you see, hear or feel at Telluride Fire Festival will spark your imagination.

Telluride Fire Festival

January 14-18, 2016

Telluride, Colorado

Free & ticketed

TellurideFireFestival.org

Join Telluride Fire Festival on Facebook

Join Telluride Fire Festival on Twitter

***
Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

A 2-day getaway to Golden, Colorado

Sitting on our room’s patio at the Table Mountain Inn, we felt a million miles away from the big city. This is the best part of a visit to Golden, Colorado; it is a small town that’s so close to Denver metro and the Front Range that you’ll hardly see your fuel indicator move on a drive there.

Welcome to Golden Sign HeidiTown.com

We were in town to attend the Golden Music Festival, but this 2-day itinerary works for whatever happens to bring you to Golden.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon, checked into our hotel and decided to indulge in nachos and a couple gigantic margaritas on Table Mountain Inn’s restaurant‘s new patio. A great idea because it was happy hour and everything was just $5, plus the nachos were impressive.

Tour Miller Coors Brewery

After our snack, we walked the short distance to Coors for our VIP tour. This was my first-ever big brewery tour and it was an eye-opener. The scale on which Miller Coors brews beer is staggering. My husband kept referencing “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” as we gawked at huge copper kettles and ginormous two story vats of bubbly stuff. Continue reading

HeidiTown on the radio – Colorado in June

Beer at the Lyons Fork HeidiTown

Enjoying a couple beers on the patio of the Lyons Fork in Lyons, Colorado.

It’s time for another HeidiTown segment on KRFC 88.9 FM.

June has five weekends, so that’s changing up my recording schedule. After this segment, I won’t be back on the radio until July 3rd, so this week’s segment covers the rest of June.

As always, in order to get the most out of HeidiTown, I encourage you to visit the town’s block party on Facebook and subscribe to HeidiTown.com here.

Without further ado, listen NOW to the HeidiTown segment on KRFC.

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

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