Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Favorite Colorado Towns...and Why

Well, I have revised my list of favorite Colorado towns and will also expound more on WHY these towns are my favorite.

**(I would ask for a drum roll here but that seems a bit pretentious for such a tiny blog as this.)

My Favorite Colorado Towns:

1) Telluride
This town sits perched amidst some of the most breathtaking mountain peaks in all of Colorado. I felt like I was in the bottom of a bowl looking up... The downtown area is cute, rustic, quaint, and caters to the wealthy but also can accommodate those on a budget. I picked this town as number one because of the ambiance of the town...the feel...the vistas...the western, rustic really seemed to epitomize the Colorado experience.

2) Ouray
Of course, since I picked Telluride for the number one spot then I had to pick Ouray for the number 2 spot...since they share the same mountainous backyard basically. Ouray also is surrounded by majestic peaks on all sides it seems...has a western, rustic charm...and offers several main attractions besides the views. For instance, there is Box Canyon, Ouray ice fields (in winter), and hot springs.Ouray is nicknamed "Colorado's Little Switzerland". When you drive in you will see why...There is something for everyone in this cozy hideaway.

3)Estes Park
You can't visit Colorado and not go to Estes Park. Its just the thing to do really. Estes Park is probably one of the most visited towns in Colorado, if not THE most popular tourist town in Colorado. Mostly in part because it is the main thoroughfare for Rocky Mountain National Park. There are a ton of places to stay, eat, and play in this nature-lover's paradise.

4)Steamboat Springs
This town has it all with a little less of the ritz that perhaps Telluride may have. Steamboat Springs offers fabulous skiing and snow activities during the winter. As well as, a myriad of activities during the other seasons....such as; hiking, biking, fishing, shopping, dining, sightseeing, etc. Steamboat, like most other towns in Colorado, is absolutely beautiful and charming. It is also home to my favorite hot springs in all of Colorado; Strawberry Hot Springs.

This little, cozy, artsy town is a precious gem. It is quite small but it is hugely popular among Colorado fans..especially among kayakers, campers, and artists. It sits upon Colorado's most popular area for rafting...the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. It is close to some of the best four-wheeling, hiking, and outdoorsy activities around. There is so much to do in and around this town if you do your research. There are 2 hot springs less than an hour away, one old ghost town, atleast one waterfall hike nearby, and obviously tons of open space to hike or go 4x4ing. The area between Salida and Buena Vista is my favorite place during the summer...I have written about this in other blog entries.

Breckenridge is a great summer and winter destination. The ski slopes are directly in this towns well as the breckenridge brewery. This town is quaint, cute, and makes a great day trip from Denver. There is a main strip of shops, restaurants, and a new historical museum that rests along a rushing river that winds through downtown.

7)Colorado Springs
This town is home to Garden of the Gods and several other popular attractions. There are alot of sites to see in this town...several waterfall destinations nearby, hiking and shopping. What else I enjoy about Colorado Springs is that two other cute cities are adjacent to it...Old Colorado City (which takes about 5 minutes to drive through but has several cute, rustic shops) and Manitou Springs (a VERY cute and tiny town...alot of excellent shopping and eating...kinda has a hippie feel at times).

8)Ft. Collins
A mountain college town that has an adorable downtown strip...the town has a cute, peaceful, old-school feel about it...It feels very relaxed. It is home to the popular New Belgium Brewery; voted one of the best companies to work for in the Unites States. It is also home to the Horsetooth Reservoir; a winding lake that lies beside a rock canyon. This western-feeling town is great for summer activities and shopping.

9)Grand Lake
This secluded mountain town is basically the backdoor of Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park would be considered the front door...of course depending on where you are coming from...but Grand Lake is typically the less popular entrance...but don't take that to mean that it is not full during the summer...because it definitely gets filled up!). Grand Lake is great for summer kayaking, hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park or surrounding area, boating, fishing, shopping, etc. A beautiful drive along the way as well. Also, the Hot Sulphur Springs in Grandby is not far either.

This would be a great town to live in if you preferred the southwest part of Colorado. Durango feels like a family town surrounded my mountains...kinda spread out...yet not too big. It has a historical, western type of downtown section...very cute. Alot to see and do. It also is part home to the Durango-Silverton Railroad. Also, Mesa Verde National Park is not too far from Durango.
(I did not include Aspen in this list because it felt too posh for my style. But I'd say it is an interesting place to drive through if you have never been there.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flatirons Vista Trailhead

Great views. Great space. Great trails. Great hike. (Great for hiking, biking, or walking your dog).

Oskar Blues

I have been hearing about Oskar Blues for several months now. So, I finally went to check it out. I highly recommend this incredibly tasty place which serves a "cajun, creole and southern-style menu". Oskar Blues is also known for its unique Colorado style canned beer.

There are several venues as you can explore on their website. I enjoyed the ambiance, blues music, and food at the Oskar Blues Grill and Brew in Longmont, CO. I had a delicious dish of shrimp and grits...mmmmm...even better than the one's I've had down South!

So, if you get a hankering for some down home cooking, beer, and you know where to go!