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A Spa Getaway with Mom at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa

I’m not a girlie girl. I can count on one hand the number of manicures I’ve gotten over the course of my 40-year-life, however, I’m no stranger to spa life. I adore the aroma, the hot tea, the cozy robes, the steam room and sauna… did I mention the aroma?

A Spa Getaway with Mom at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa (3)

When I told my mom that I needed a distraction during eye surgery recovery, she jumped on a plane and flew from Oregon to Colorado. During her visit, I decided to treat her to an overnight stay and spa getaway at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain. As a late birthday present for my mom, I booked treatments for us at Spa Anjali.

The Westin Riverfront property is located in Avon, just a few minutes west of Vail, at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain. It’s a ski-in/ski-out property, but it’s also popular with summertime guests who enjoy all the recreational activities offered in the area and the outdoor pool area which made The Heidi Guide’s “4 Mountain Resort Pools to Help You Beat the Heat” on MountainLiving.com. Continue reading

A Staycation at Hilton Denver Inverness in the Denver Tech Center

Why would one staycation at the Denver Tech Center? Hilton Denver Inverness, that’s why. This resort hotel has everything you need for the perfect getaway and you’ll never need to leave the building unless of course, you want to golf their pristine, 18-hole park-like course.

A staycation at the Hilton Denver Inverness in the Denver Tech Center. Golf Course shot

Photo courtesy of Hilton Denver Inverness

This is part two of my three-part series on great staycation resort hotels around Colorado’s Front Range, and Hilton Denver Inverness, formerly The Inverness, is indeed a truly great staycation spot south of Denver.

Hilton Denver Inverness is undergoing a multi-phase remodel and the new contemporary look and feel of the place suit my tastes perfectly. It also suits the architecture of the hotel which was built by a Scandinavian hotel company in 1989. Continue reading

Staycation at Omni Interlocken, Broomfield, Colorado

Want to get away, but don’t have a lot of extra money or extra time? There are a few hotels located on Colorado’s Front Range that will give you a resort experience close to home.

Whether you plan to take the kids along, want a romantic weekend with your sweetheart or are looking for a place to party with the girlfriends, these hotels have got your covered.

Staycation at Omni Interlocken, Broomfield, Colorado, pool overview

Photo courtesy of the Omni Interlocken

Over the next month or so, I’m going to share with you some of the Front Range’s best staycation hotels starting with the Omni Interlocken in Broomfield, Colorado.

The Omni is an expansive resort property that features a spa, multiple swimming pools, kids club and semi-private champion 27-hole golf course that can’t be topped when it comes to views. In fact, the course offers up such spectacular scenes of the Flatirons and the Rocky Mountains that couples occasionally book a wedding on the course. Continue reading

Five Ways To Take A Vacation In Your Own Town

My Facebook wall has been full of tropical vacation photos for several weeks. I even have a friend on a private yacht in the Caribbean. If this is the case for you too, it’s rather depressing, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to be on a yacht in the Caribbean?

If you’ve got cabin fever, I’ve got a solution and no, it’s not robbing a bank. It’s called a mini-vacation, and while I’m not promising that this outing will be as exciting as snorkeling in Grand Cayman or zip lining in Costa Rica, it will brighten your day.

1. Take a Walking Tour

Not every town has a guided walking tour, but you’d be surprised at how many towns have a printed version of a walking tour. They are usually available at your local visitor center, museum or at the chamber of commerce.

how to take a vacation in your own town. Crested Butte, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

See your town from a different perspective. (Crested Butte, Colorado)

I once took a walking tour of Fort Collins, a town with which I am very familiar. It was a night walking tour, but it wasn’t about ghosts, but rather the town’s history. Despite having walked Fort Collins’ streets many times (even at night), during the tour I felt like I was in a brand new town. Continue reading

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

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.

A 3-Day Fort Collins itinerary during Colorado Brewers’ Festival

Colorado Brewer's Festival

The Mayor’s husband merrily displays our tasting glasses at Colorado Brewers’ Festival.

So you’ve decided to spend a weekend in Fort Collins – a very good choice, and even better if you plan your stay around Colorado Brewers’ Festival, June 22-23, 2013. In its 24th year, this is one of the first Colorado brew fests and my favorite. With multiple music stages, lots of shade and of course, lots and lots of beer, the Colorado Brewers’ Festival ticks all the right boxes on my What Makes a Great Festival list.

Instead of giving you a specific schedule, I’m going to throw out a bunch of my Fort Collins favorites and let you organize your own fabulous weekend. So without further ado, here’s my 3-day Fort Collins itinerary during Colorado’s Brewers’ Festival.

Stay in Fort Collins

As a fan of boutique, downtown hotels, The Armstrong Hotel is my recommendation for a weekend stay in Fort Collins. This historic property is within walking distance of restaurants, museums, galleries, theaters and, of course, the Colorado Brewers’ Festival.

The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins, Colorado HeidiTown.com

The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I took my husband to The Armstrong for his birthday a number of years ago, and we were delighted to find charming rooms that really are one-of-a-kind. Our room was huge and had a bright and cheery, contemporary sort of feel.   Continue reading

Riding the train in Durango, Colorado

engine 481 at Cascade Station. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. HeidiTown.comI love trains. If you’ve been a fan of HeidiTown for any length of time you are already aware of my train obsession. I’m not into the technical stuff, but I like the experience of train travel and the nostalgia that comes with it. Train travel forces us to slow down and look around; something we should be doing on a daily basis.

While in Durango last month, Ryan and I had an opportunity to ride the famous Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. We boarded on a brisk morning at the end of April. I was gripping my camera and probably sporting a rather silly grin, because I’d been looking forward to this ride for a very long time.

We were happy to discover that a tour group of Brits were in our car. We love the British, and they did not disappoint – proving to be a very entertaining lot.

I suppose this is where I should tell you a little bit of the history. Durango was developed as a railroad town by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in 1880. The railroad arrived in town the next year, and construction on the line to Silverton began that fall. By July of 1882 the tracks to Silverton were completed and the train began hauling both passengers and freight. If that seems fast, it was.

After WWII, the Silverton line was nearly shut down, but thanks in part to a slew of 1950s westerns filmed in the area that featured the train, tourist began flocking to Durango. Today, the train provides year-round service. The locomotives used to pull the train are 100% coal-fired, steam-operated, and circa 1920s.

the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad chugging through the canyon HeidiTown.com

As soon as the train left the station we moved to one of the open-gondola cars, as did most of the Brits. The open-gondola cars are excellent during warmer months, although you will be covered in a thin layer of coal soot by the end of the day, and by the end of our excursion I’d made the decisive decision never to work in a coal mine.

Continue reading

An itinerary for fun in Ouray, Colorado

Ouray, Colorado by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer for HeidiTown.comDo you seek out adventure? Or would you rather soak in hot springs all day? Does rappelling into a waterfall sound exhilarating? Or would you rather sit on a sun soaked, rooftop patio drinking a beer? You can do all of these things and more in Ouray, Colorado.

Ryan and I visited Ouray in March and we fell in love with the town. I hadn’t been to Ouray since my parents made the road trip from the Oregon Coast to Colorado in a Volkswagen Rabbit in 1978. The most memorable photo from the trip is of me at age two, sitting on a snow bank, surrounded by wildflowers.

Ouray is nestled between high mountain peaks, giving it the deserved nickname of Little Switzerland. The town still has many unpaved streets, adding to its unpretentious charm. Here are highlights from our March trip, and I hope that they will help you make the most out of your Ouray experience.

Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer for HeidiTown.comStay in Ouray:

Does the idea of rolling out of bed and into a hot springs pool every morning sound appealing? This experience awaits you at the Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings. The Wiesbaden is unique because in addition to a hot springs fed pool, they have a vapor cave, something my husband enjoyed enormously.

They also have a private hot spring called the Lorelei. It is magical, and I highly recommend booking the Lorelei when you stay at the Wiesbaden, and be sure to ask if they are running any discounts for hotel guests.

There are several different types of lodging options at the Wiesbaden. We had apartment style accommodations complete with a kitchen. Eating in is a great way to save money if you are staying somewhere for more than two days.

The Wiesbaden is retro, but has all the accoutrements of modern living such as flat screen televisions. The big bonus is that it is within walking distance of everything downtown Ouray has to offer.   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.

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