Don’t Be A Scaredy Cat….It’s FUN!


Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get your fright on at one of Denver Colorado’s amazing, totally theatrical, and nationally-acclaimed haunted houses. Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get your fright on at one of Denver’s amazing, totally theatrical, and nationally-acclaimed haunted houses. Take yourself into a real life horror flick where zombies follow you, masked psychopaths make you feel as though your life is at stake, and endless screams of tortured souls chill your spine. And while it takes great imagination to create these haunted houses, producers have taken a bit from Denver’s own history because not only is it one of the country’s most beautiful cities, it’s also one of the most haunted.

Denver’s most iconic haunted locations include the Brown Palace Hotel, where guests have claimed to hear the ghost of an old railroad ticket manager walking down the hall, and Cheesman Park, which was a cemetery for outlaws, paupers, and the diseased. It is said that as many as 2,000 bodies are still buried under the park’s grassy lawns and that their spirits continue to roam the park and surrounding neighborhoods. Even at the old Governor’s Mansion, ghosts are said to walk the halls, and at the State Capitol buildings, a phantom woman in a long dress is often known to appear.

Inspired by Denver’s notorious hauntings are the city’s haunted houses, many of which have received accolades from the Travel Channel, MTV, Discovery Channel, USA Today, and Hauntworld Magazine. Open for the second half of October, some of the most popular (and scariest) haunted houses include the 13th Floor Haunted House, Asylum Haunted House, and Primitive Fear Haunted House.

For a complete guide to Denver’s haunted houses, visit

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

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Find the State’s Largest Pumpkin in Old Colorado City

Find the State’s Largest Pumpkin in Old Colorado City

Now that it’s October, pumpkin season is officially here. There is no better place to revel in the splendor of fall’s greatest squash than at Old Colorado City’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off, one of the last great outdoor festivals for the year. This historic area of Colorado Springs welcomes the biggest pumpkins Colorado has to offer, making it lots of fun to guess who’s going to take home the top prize. Weigh off begins at 10am, which leaves plenty of time for celebrating the harvest season for the rest of the day.
Bring the whole family, there’s fun for everyone. A giant kids’ zone keeps the little ones entertained. With characters from the Wizard of Oz, spinning wheels, games, prizes, and a pumpkin patch, there are hours of fun to be had. Come dressed and ready for the event’s costume contest or come prepared to shop the Giant Sidewalk Sale with many of the local shops offering killer deals on great items and gifts.
From noon to 5pm on the same day, nine of Old Colorado City’s finest stops have joined together to create the Giant Spirit Local Craft Beer and Wine Walking Tour, which will offer the best tastings and samples of craft beers and wines around. Tickets, with a tour map, will be available starting on October 8th at Sun Mountain Cafe located at 2428 West Colorado Avenue and on Saturday, October 22, 10am to 1pm, during the Pumpkin Festival.
For more information on the Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off and the Giant Spirit Local Craft Beer and Wine Walking Tour, visit

Denver: No Longer Just for Cowboys

Denver: now a multi-cultural city infused by technology, nature, cutting edge architecture, and above all, art. From award-winning Broadway shows to world premier plays and coveted exhibitions, there’s an abundance of things to see and do during a Denver arts getaway.

It’s no secret Denver’s population is exploding. With over 300 days of sunshine, a casual business culture, more than 4,000 acres of park space, 85-miles of paved bike trails, world-class museums, chic shopping districts, exquisite dining, and more entertainment than you can shake a stick at, it’s no wonder everyone, from the east coast to the west, want to live here.

In fact, Colorado has been rated the second fastest growing state in the U.S., adding over 100,000 people to its population between 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, for many residents, this translates to increased real estate prices, heavier traffic, and greater crowds on some of their favorite trails. However, for those wanting a more dynamic art scene, there is no better time than now in Denver. Thanks to its growing population, this once “cow town” has become a fluid and progressive center for creative undertaking. With five downtown museums, dozens of art galleries, multiple art organizations, and the second largest performing arts center in the nation, Denver’s art scene is quickly becoming its namesake, providing first-rate art, dance, music, and theater for a diverse and discerning population.

In the last thirty years, Denver has transformed itself from a city with record unemployment, nation-high carbon monoxide pollution, abandoned warehouses, and rising bankruptcies, to one of the U.S.’s most desirable cities to live. Colorado’s history is chock-full of boom or bust stories, and Denver is the epitome of this pattern. Today, it’s bursting—literally—and with this has come an art scene that no longer plays second fiddle to other major American markets. Denver now offers museums, galleries, art centers, and art schools like the prestigious Art Institute and the holistic-focused Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, which, together, draw hundreds of talented artists to Denver every year. As the largest city within a 600-mile radius, it’s safe to say Denver is now the art capital of the Rocky Mountain West.

No institution better personifies Denver’s constant evolution in the world of art than the Denver Art Museum, whose architecture spurs discussion and debate and whose interactive approach to exhibition allows for terrific creativity. In 2016 alone, the museum is pushing boundaries with exhibits like, Rhythm and Roots: Dance in American Art, What it Meant to be Modern, 1910-1965, and Star Wars and the Power of Costume, which exhibits more than 60 original Star Wars costumes.

Local, regional, national, and global artists are also celebrated at Denver’s other art museums, all of which provide unique and engaging experiences. The Museum of Contemporary Art offers a wide range of exhibitions that promote creative experimentation through art and ideas. The Clyfford Still Museum houses the collection of one of the most important painters of the 20th century, a mysterious man whose estate was sealed off in 1980 and whose works would not be seen again until the museum opened in 2011. At the Kirkland Museum of Fine Art, visitors experience the best of salon style exhibition while drowning themselves in the museum’s massive collection of mid-century decorative art and Kirkland’s brightly and sometime outlandish nebula and dot paintings. Finally, as an homage to its history and geography, Denver is the proud home of the American Museum of Western Art, whose collection is intended to give the public a better understanding and appreciation of the character, history, and beauty of the American West.

Now that Denver is a city that embraces creativity, there is also a number of growing art districts that are becoming more popular among the public and artists alike. Most notable is the Santa Fe arts district located on Santa Fe Drive between 4th Ave. and 12th Ave. With a long history of supporting artists and over 30 galleries consolidated on a single street, it’s the ideal First Friday art outing. Newer to the scene is the River North art district (RiNo), which has a vibrant and rich community of people exploring what is new, hip, and trendy. Helping the art districts grow are dozens of art organizations like Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, which doesn’t just give kids a safe, healthy place to hang out after school, but also challenges them to be free and creative thinkers. There is also the Lakewood Cultural Center, which has a good eye for high-quality touring acts and puts them together for stellar seasons of music, dance, and theater. Or, there’s the Denver Public Art Program, which has erected dozens of sculptures and art installations throughout Denver’s parks and parkways.

Denver’s artists and art organizations keep scoring with audiences not just in museums, galleries, and art centers, but also on the stage, most notably at Denver’s Performing Arts Center, which boasts five separate venues, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and the Colorado Ballet. Here, Broadway shows like The Lion King, Newsies, and The Phantom of the Opera rotate throughout the year.

Art in Denver can also be found in the most unassuming places. In 2014, the Denver Botanic Gardens raised the bar when it presented, Chihuly, the Rocky Mountain Region’s first major outdoor exhibition of artwork by celebrated American artist, Dale Chihuly. Chihuly’s glass sculptures—ranging in size and form—were placed among flowers, in ponds, and on trees, ultimately adding bold colors and dramatic beauty to the Gardens’ 24-acre urban oasis.

Denver’s come a long way from its cowboy roots. It’s now a multi-cultural city infused by technology, nature, cutting edge architecture, and above all, art. From award-winning Broadway shows to world premier plays and coveted exhibitions, there’s an abundance of things to see and do during a Denver arts getaway.

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

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Join the Debate Surrounding DIA’s Most Controversial Piece of Art

 Join the debate surrounding DIA's most controversial piece of art at Denver Airport Colorado

As the Denver International Airport neared completion in 1995, the old Stapleton Airport struggled to accommodate the influx of people traveling to and from Denver. However, despite the state’s need for a larger airport, there was no way to predict the amount of controversy that would surround it.

At fifty-four square miles, DIA is the largest airport in the United States and second largest in the world. Not only was it costly to build, it took an unprecedented amount of time to complete. And with details like multiple unmarked buildings, a level built into the ground that is protected from vibrations, and gate and door numbers corresponding to emergency action plans to “people in the know,” some conspiracy theorists have suggested that DIA is hiding an underground bunker intended to safeguard government officials, the New World Order, or even Neo-Nazis (due to the swastika-like shape of the runways) in the event of an apocalypse.

Hints supporting this theory also exist in the airport’s artwork. The dark murals painted in the airport’s terminals, for example, allude to the end of civilization as we know it. Examine one and discover refugees living in a basement and the Lord of Death brandishing an AK-47, killing the dove of peace. In another, there’s horrific destruction, the extinction of multiple species, and a little girl holding a Mayan tablet insinuating Dec. 21, 2012—the end of the world.

While these murals are unanimously disturbing, no symbol in the airport draws more debate, or is more contested, than the mighty “Blue Mustang,” a 32-foot-tall fiberglass sculpture that greets visitors near the airport’s main terminals. This cobalt blue mustang, commonly known as “Bluecifer” or “Satan’s Stead,” has fiery red eyes and a demonic face that make it appear bloodthirsty and devilish. Surrounded by controversy since its erection in 2008, multiple groups have unsuccessfully tried to remove it, and for many, it is yet another symbol linking the airport to supposed underground facilities. But, for those who know that during “Blue Mustang’s” creation a piece of the sculpture broke off, pinned its artist against the wall, and cut an artery in his leg, ultimately killing him, the purchase and display of the sculpture is even more bizarre.

Conspiracy theorists believe the horse symbolizes death and destruction and is a marker for the supposed underground facility. However, there are also those who recognize its representation of the wild spirit of the American West or who call it awesome and amazing. Honestly, I can’t help but applaud DIA for choosing a sculpture that warrants such debate, that calls attention to Colorado’s bold, daring, and risk-taking citizens. I feel “Blue Mustang” illustrates our passion and our desire to protect our land and our ideals. While the mustang’s exterior can ignite chills, its surreal energy should also be praised. Moreover, no one has yet stated what would possess a super-secret organization, like the New World Order, to blatantly display “Blue Mustang” in order to show off its headquarters underneath the world’s tenth busiest airport, to 50 million passengers a year. It defeats the purpose of being secret, doesn’t it?

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado? . 719.221.3986 

photo credits:


Autumn Magically Rolls in at Crested Butte’s Vinotok

Vinotok is its own beast with a bold personality and a loyal following. It is a celebration, a passing, a time to forgive, a chance to bond, and above all, a lovefest of the rhythms of nature and the bounty and mysteries it provides.

My legs are spent and I’m exhausted. Still, I clutch a Great Divide Denver Pale Ale and take a sip. After a day on the 401, the beer tastes like gold and the early evening sun that warms my face feels like a blessing. I think after I inhale—yes, inhale—my burger, I’ll put back one more beer, and then head back to camp.

Never have I been so wrong.

Sitting on Brick Oven Pizza’s patio, I’m surprised when men and woman dressed as medieval characters march down Elk Street. Some wear flower wreaths, while others carry banners, flags, and torches. Drums, flutes, and tambourines are played, and arms and faces are painted in vibrant colors. However, no one compares to the shirtless Green Man, who is surrounded by an entourage and who puffs his chest, holding his hands up high. I catch my breath when they stop in front of the restaurant, pass through its gates, and begin to sing.

I must look aghast because my friend, a Crested Butte local, laughs. “Did I forget to tell you it’s Vinotok?”

I nod, not quite registering what she’s said. To me, Vinotok sounds like the name of a fictional planet or a man-made avenger gone wrong.

The crowd quiets around us as the medieval-like people introduce themselves through song. They are maidens, harvest lads, a man named Sir Hapless, the Earth Dragon, a very pregnant Harvest Mother, and of course, the Green Man. Together, they are the Vinotok Mumming Troupe, a group of dedicated Crested Butte locals who seek to set the magical mood for Vinotok, Crested Butte’s uniquely imaginative, week-long harvest festival.

Once they leave, parading down the street and performing a step-hop-style of dance, antlers, feathers, leaf headdresses, and loincloths abounding, my friend takes a long, slow sip of beer as she prepares to dive into the festival’s details. Vinotok, as I would learn, is a long standing Crested Butte tradition and allegedly the inspiration for Burning Man. The event begins a week before the Autumn equinox and culminates with a massive procession and bonfire. In its 31st year, it is part film festival, part medieval gathering, and largely folk theatre. The festivities include rabid partying, fire blowing, and ultimately the burning of the Grump. Vinotok is its own beast with a bold personality and a loyal following. It is a celebration, a passing, a time to forgive, a chance to bond, and above all, a lovefest of the rhythms of nature and the bounty and mysteries it provides.

Vinotok honors the transition from summer to fall and eventually winter. Through wreath making, storytelling, and the crowing of the Green Man, it is a time for this small town to forget the woes of yesterday, to bond together as a community, to let go of grievances, and to celebrate this wild place in which we live. Above all, Vinotok is a celebration of the abundance of harvest, a time meant for us to give thanks through song, dance, and feasts.

I laugh because suddenly, the guy walking around with deer antlers affixed to his head earlier that day makes more sense.

“So, what’s next?” I ask eagerly, anxious to become part of this wild festival.

“The trial,”

“The trial?” I’m confused. What could a trial have to do with harvest and community and forgiveness? My brows furrow as a waitress places my burger in front of me.

My friend gestures at it. “Finish up and I’ll show you.”

We head down Elk Street as the sun sets. Night is upon us, as is, what seems to be, the entire town of Crested Butte. Hundreds of people swarm the street, and ahead of me is a cloth draped, insect-looking monster towering above the crowd. In the dark, torches blaze and the chanting begins.

“Burn the Grump! Burn the Grump!” the crowd shouts in unison.

They mean the creature—the scapegoat for all of our worries—and it stands trial on the final night of Vinotok. For the weeks prior, boxes were placed throughout town into which everyone placed their written grievances. Those boxes were then tucked within the Grump before it headed to trial. Even I had a chance to slip a few in, though I won’t admit to what they were. Essentially, The Grump represents everything bad you want to let go of, and it must die.

Poor Grump never had a chance, and I feel a brief moment of pity as the crowd and those carrying the towering beast march farther down Elk to a pre-erected bonfire. The Grump is placed on top of it, the logs are lit, and the crowd goes wild as the Grump and all of our grievances go up in flames. The maidens dance in the burning light, and finally, autumn begins.

The whole evening seems archaic to me—the drinking, the costumes, the accusations, and finally, the burning. There’s an intensity in the air unlike anything I’ve ever seen, as though the Grump were a real monster that threatened villages and stole children from their beds. Perhaps, giving a name and a form to those issues that sadden or anger us makes for the surreal chanting and the intense desire to watch the Grump burn. But, as people walk away, I notice everyone grinning, and the feeling of being cleansed and ready to begin a new year becomes infectious. I feel my own smile widen and my body lighten. I picture the words I wrote on that slip of paper, which are now ash, and none of those grievances bother me, as though they’ve been stripped away.

I stare at the smoldering logs and the remains of the Grump and realize there is indeed magic in Vinotok. Crested Butte’s community is strong and imaginative and together, the citizens of this small mountain town create their own special type of wizardry. Fall is officially here with winter around the corner, and almost instantly, I find I’m ready for a deep breath, a break from the endless activities of summer, and a chance to reconnect with friends and family but mostly, with myself.

Vinotok 2016 begins on September 18th and culminates on September 24th with the burning of the Gump.
Check this video to learn more on this amazing and unique festival.




About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado? . 719.221.3986 

Photo credit:

Eat a Peach in Palisade

 Palisade Colorado Peach Festival

Immerse yourself in the red rocks of Western Colorado, savor a glass of cabernet, and bite into the sweetest, juiciest peach the world has to offer at Palisade Peach Fest, a celebration of one of Colorado’s richest, agricultural hubs.

Palisade’s agricultural boom began in the early 20th century, when settlers, impressed by Palisade’s mild climate and unique terrain, built irrigation canals to support young crops. Paving the way for Palisade’s reputation as Colorado’s breadbasket was the peach, which this Western Slope town would ultimately become famous for.

Today, Palisade’s agricultural history is celebrated at the annual Palisade Peach Fest. Not only is it one of Colorado’s original agricultural festivals, it is also a world recognized event that draws thousands of visitors. The festival takes place on the third weekend of August, when peaches are at their peak. Here, senses are ignited by the sweet smell that permeates Palisade’s Riverbend Park. The aroma is so thick, you’ll taste it on your tongue, and your mouth will water. It’s then that you’ll realize what it means to be in the heart of peach country and that there’s hardly anything else like it.

Palisade Peach Fest officially kicks off Thursday night with “Peach Night at the Rockies” (Grand Junction Rockies, that is). On the same evening, the Peach Queen is crowned, free peach ice cream is scooped, and towns folk get down at the much anticipated street dance. The following morning, Riverbend Park’s gates open and the festival’s activities go into full swing.

Palisade Colorado Peach Festival

Take part in a peach orchard tour, shop dozens of fruit stands, and dine with Feast in the Fields, a five course meal that honors local food and wine as well as the talents of local chefs. Live music, including bluegrass, acoustic, rock, and reggae, begins Friday afternoon and runs through Saturday evening. Peach contests draw a crowd, declaring the perfect peach recipe and the fastest peach eater. Additionally, there’s a peach parade, Jake’s Jungle for Kids, peach cuisine demos, and horse cart rides. As a celebration of locally grown food and locally produced products, Palisade Peach Fest is also the perfect place to stock up on jams, butters, salsas, wines, and crafts. And while peaches are the star of the show, the festival also shows off all of the produce grown in and around Palisade—produce that’s ripe for pies, canning, and drying.

Come to Palisade Peach Fest to partake in a true local food economy, listen to great music, and taste the perfect peach. I promise, it’s a flavor and sweetness you’ll never forget.

For more information on Palisade Peach Fest, visit

Where to Stay:

Wine Country Inn – (970) 464-5777 

Visit Wine Country Inn and experience the romance of the vineyards at Colorado’s first wine-themed hotel. Stroll through the working vineyards that surround the Inn. This Victorian style hotel sits in the middle of 21 acres of vines that produce grapes, which are crushed and bottled as their signature label wines.

Vistas and Vineyards – (970) 464-7478

Nestled in an agricultural buffer east of Grand Junction and just west of the Town of Palisade, Vistas and Vineyards has a beautifully landscaped yard with many flowering trees, shrubs, and roses, a bocce court, patio, and deck. This relaxing environment will beckon you outside with your favorite beverage to enjoy great conversation with the owners and other guests.

Wine Valley Inn – (970) 464-1498

Wine Valley Inn is a relaxing, luxury inn set in the heart of Palisade’s fruit and wine country. With many repeat guests, this award winning inn offers the amenities you desire and the lifestyle you came to Palisade to experience.

Where to Eat:

Palisade Café 11.0 – (970) 464-2888

An authentic small-town cafe with wood paneling on one side, brick on the other, local art on the walls, and food made from scratch. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Inari’s – (970) 464-4911

A quaint neighborhood bistro in the heart of Colorado’s orchard and wine country featuring an eclectic and seasonally changing menu and select wine and beer that compliments the cuisine.

357 Bar and Grill – (970) 464-2226

A family friendly sports bar with TVs, a juke box, and a daily happy hour from 3pm to 7pm.

Where to Imbibe:

Palisade Brewing Company – (970) 464-1462

Palisade Brewing Company brews innovative American style beer with respect to the traditional roots of craft brewing. They are constantly pushing to keep up with the evolving palette of the craft beer community in Colorado. Food menu includes starters and sandwiches.

Any One of the Many Wineries

Tour Palisade’s multiple wineries and sample all flavors of wine. Vineyards include: Canyon Wind Cellars, Garfield Estates Vineyard & Winery, Hermosa Vineyards, Mesa Park Vineyards, and more!

Where to Camp:

James Robb State Park

From Fruita on the west end, to Island Acres on the east end and three stops in-between, this is one park split into five sections. To visit the park, follow the Colorado River west from Debeque Canyon to Fruita, and enjoy five uniquely different river and lake based outdoor recreation opportunities. Camping is offered year-round at the Island Acres section and the Fruita section. Coin showers and laundry are available from early spring through fall. Reservations are recommended because many weekends in summer fill-up fast. Consider camping during the week and off-season while visiting one of the many attractions or events.

RV Ranch – (970) 434-6644

RV Ranch is just minutes away from award winning wineries of Grand Valley as well as historic downtown Grand Junction, with its acclaimed outdoor sculpture park, diverse restaurants and museums. A short drive away is Colorado National Monument’s unforgettable scenery and miles of hiking trails. Or, you can spend days at Grand Mesa with its expansive views, four wheel drive roads, skiing, fishing and hiking.


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado? . 719.221.3986 

Palisade Colorado Peach Festival

photo credits: GJ Sentinel, Lucky Eight Events, The Coloradoan


Cowboy Up at Gunnison’s Cattlemen Days

 Cowboy Up at Gunnison Colorado Cattlemen Days

Photo Credit: Open Your Eyes Gallery

In the early 1800s, it was determined that Gunnison, Colorado was not the ideal place to grow crops. The valley’s climate was too dry and the elevation too high. Desperate to make the beautiful valley their home, homesteaders turned to ranching, which made Gunnison a popular destination for cowboys. Centuries later, ranching still thrives in this Western Slope town, as do cowboys, making Gunnison the truest example of western cowboy culture.

Each July, Gunnison celebrates its history and culture by hosting Cattlemen Days, the “Granddaddy of Colorado Rodeos.” Selected as one of the “Top 101 Western Events” in the country by American Cowboy Magazine, Cattlemen Days provides 11 days of authentic wild west experiences and boot-stomping festivities. The only traffic jam you’ll encounter is the occasional cattle drive led by real cowboys. The thrills, spills, and good natured fun you’ll discover come from cowboys displaying courage and skill, the antics of rodeo clowns, and the pageantry of rodeo queens and princesses.

Debuted in 1900, when Main Street served as the rodeo site, Cattlemen Days now has its own arena and hosts a country fair, a parade, live music, dancing, and livestock competitions. Additionally, there is a silent auction and a “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Rodeo, which raises money and awareness for breast cancer treatments, research, and support. Of course, there is also a rodeo sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which draws some of the country’s top cowboys, who demonstrate just what it takes to be a winner.

Its rich history, great environment, and high quality production have helped make Cattlemen Day’s one of the most popular small rodeos on the professional circuit. If you love rodeos or are aching to check one out, Cattlemen Days is the one to visit.

Gunnison Cattlemen Days
When: July 8, 2016 to Jul 17, 2016
Where: Gunnison, Colorado
For more information, visit

Where to stay
Comfort Inn Gunnison – (970) 642-1000
Luxury at affordable prices. Heated pool, hot tub, free high speed wi-fi, Direct TV, HDTV, local calls, airport transportation, breakfast, and laundry facilities.

Econo Lodge – (970) 641-3068
An easy stop and a great place to stay at an awesome rate. Hot breakfast, free airport shuttle, and smoke free.

Island Acres Resort Motel – (970) 641-1442
Enjoy spacious outdoors, gorgeous views, quaint vintage charm, and retro modern furnishings. Take a step back in time in this newly restored paradise!

Rockey River Resort – (970) 641-0174
Riverfront cabins complete with kitchens. The gold medal waters of the Gunnison River are just out your door!

Waunita Hot Springs Ranch – (970) 641-1266
A decadent bed and breakfast with home cooked meals, beautiful scenery, and of course, hot springs!

Where to eat
Garlic Mike’s – (970) 641-2493
Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine right on the banks of the romantic Gunnison River. Reservations are recommended.

Gunnison Vitamin & Health Cafe – (970) 641-5928
Local, natural, non GMO, and organic food. Open for 18 years, this cafe serves healthy made-from-scratch goodness. Gluten free & vegan options.

Blackstock Bistro – (970) 641-4394
Excellent and unique made-from-scratch dishes created by sous chef Luke Martin. Comfortable, casual dining in an elegant, historic atmosphere. Complete with full bar and music venue.

Añejo Bistro & Bar – (970) 641-1427
Award-winning authentic Mexican food. Made to order with the freshest of ingredients. Fabuloso Margarita Bar!

Where to shop
Open Your Eyes Gallery – (970) 707-5021
Showcasing the work of Allan and Francie Ivy. In-house printing, matting, and framing.

Starhouse Goods/Salvage & Such – (970) 209-6587
Up-cycled artifacts, future primitives, visionary art, and fine funked junk.

Bluebird Boutique – (970) 641-3795
Unique, eclectic blend of “a little something for everyone.” Great mix of new clothing, shoes, accessories, repurposed furniture, vintage finds, and treasures by local artists.

Treads ‘n’ Threads – (970) 641-1551
Down to earth shoes, clothing, and accessories to fit your active lifestyle.

Into The Woods Gifts & Ice Cream – (970) 641-7456
A unique gift emporium. Souvenirs, decor, wall art, fashion accessories, candles, trains, and delicious ice-cream.

Where to put your pooch
Waggin’ Tails – (970) 641-9247
Pure fun doggy daycare. Offering boarding and in-home pet care. Amazing staff pampers your furry friends. Insured & bonded.

😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.


Johnny Canoe Paddle Fest at Twin Lakes

Johnny Canoe Paddle Fest at Twin Lakes ColoradoTucked between Buena Vista and Aspen on the eastern side of Independence Pass and surrounded by multiple fourteeners is the small town of Twin Lakes. Though its population doesn’t top 200, its scenery and the serenity it affords are mighty.

Aptly named for the state’s two largest glacial lakes that sit at the edge of Lake Creek Valley, this hidden gem of a town is a wonderful place to hike, fish, stand up paddleboard, or canoe. As you arrive, you’ll notice the steeped, forested mountains that encircle the lakes and the green meadows that lap their shores, and you’ll quickly understand why these lakes are so special. To paddle Twin Lakes is to feel as though you’ve stepped into a treasure box of tranquility and beauty. To hike its trails is to discover the ultimate in peace and a true escape from it all.

July 9, 2016 might be the perfect day to visit Twin Lakes because it’s Johnny Canoe Paddlefest, a super fun event sponsored by Twin Lakes Canoe and Kayak Adventures. The festival’s boating race is designed for anything that can be paddled or sailed (no motors, please). Try your hand at crossing two miles across the lake and back, and see if your time is the fastest.

Don’t have a boat? Don’t worry. Boats can easily be rented at Twin Lakes Canoe and Kayak for half price. Jump in at the Red Rooster Boat Launch anytime between 9am and 3pm, and be sure to stay for food and fun, which start at 4pm.

Register the day of the race for $40 or pre-register by calling Johnny Canoe at (719) 251-9961. Registration fees get you entered, a tee-shirt, a meal after the race, and prizes donated from Twin Lakes, Leadville, and Buena Vista businesses.

Take in the beauty of Twin Lakes while also having a great time paddling across the water. I promise, after spending a weekend in this little town, you’ll go home telling your friends that you might have just discovered the most beautiful place in Colorado.

For more information visit:

Where to stay:
Twin Lakes Roadhouse Lodge and Cabins – (719) 486-9345
Experience the peaceful quiet of scenic Twin Lakes, Colorado. Decide between fishing, boating, hiking, or simply walking around the 130-year-old dirt streets of this historic mountain village.

Twin Lakes Inn – (719) 486-7965
Once a stage stop on the way to Aspen and then a brothel, Twin Lakes Inn asks that you leave your mundane, motel-chain notions behind and come experience true Western hospitality.

Mount Elbert Lodge – 719-486-0594
Offering Colorado vacation cabins and individual rooms for rent on Lake Creek, Mount Elbert Lodge is situated at the base of the Black Cloud Trail, the shortest route up Mount Elbert.

Where to camp:
There are many San Isabel Nation Forest Campgrounds in Twin Lakes. These include Dexter Point, Lakeview, Parry Peak, Twin Peaks, and White Star.

Where to eat:
The Twin Lakes Inn – (719) 486-7965
This restaurant inside The Twin Lakes Inn serves up tasty meal choices within an historic setting.

photo credit: Carol Milisen

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.


Overwhelm your Senses with Crested Butte’s Wildflowers



Wild Flower Festival in Crested Butte Colorado
Ask me for the one Colorado town everyone must visit, and I won’t hesitate to say, Crested Butte. Though this breathtaking Elk Mountains town isn’t necessarily a quick getaway, it provides unparalleled rewards worth every minute of the time it takes to get there.

Perhaps the ‘greenest’ town in Colorado, Crested Butte sparkles like emeralds during the summer months. Its hiking and mountain biking trails are considered some of the most epic in the state, and its downtown bursts with so much charm, it’s easy to believe you’ve stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting. While this is all wonderful and good, there’s another unique feature that makes Crested Butte even more special and has jaws dropping and cameras clicking year after year. It’s Crested Butte’s wildflowers.

Crested Butte’s wildflowers put on a stunning show for hikers and shutterbugs every summer. From early June to late August, the ultra-green Elk Mountains are awash in shades of color as field after field of blooms line roads and drown trails like paint on a pallet. Tucked in ditches, slumbering in the shade of Aspens, and towering high in the mountains, Crested Butte’s wildflowers are so extraordinary, the town was designated the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado” by the state legislature in 1990 and has remained undisputed ever since.

Why are Crested Butte’s wildflowers so bountiful? It has to do with Crested Butte’s unique location. Isolated within the Elk Mountains, plants have had the opportunity to survive and evolve, which contributes to the large variation of species. Additionally, Crested Butte is also abundant in the three factors wildflowers need to flourish—sunlight, snowpack for moisture, and really good soil.

Since 1986, Crested Butte has been sharing Mother Nature’s colors with flower lovers in fun, fresh ways at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. In mid-July, when the greatest number of flower varieties are expected to be in bloom, visitors can take part in over 200 wildflower-based events, including guided hiking tours, jeep tours, and photography and painting workshops. For more information on the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival visit

Exploring Crested Butte’s wildflowers on your own is easy, too. Whether from the road, biking trail, or hiking trail, there is so much to see. Following are some of the best wildflower hikes depending on the time of year:

Early to Mid-June

June is Crested Butte’s greenest month, and it’s when the lupine are most dominant. Find them on Upper Loop Trail and Lupine Trail. There will also be larkspur, paintbrush, and other “wetter” flowers on the Copley Lake Trail and the Lower Loop Trail.

Late June to Early July

This tends to be the peak of wildflower season and when aspen sunflowers, mule’s ear, sneezewood, scarlet gilia, monkshood, and columbine make their debut. Check them out on Cliff Creek Trail, Oh-Be-Joyful, Rustlers Gulch, Meander, and Prospector.

Late July to Early August

During this time, sunflowers can be found at higher elevations, and late summer flowers like asters and firewood can be found throughout town. Get the most of late summer’s wildflowers on Rustlers Gulch, West Maroon Pass, Frigid Air Pass, and Hasley Pass.

I can’t urge you enough to make the trip to Crested Butte. Its scenery is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and the magic that comes from such a dense concentration of wildflowers is something you’ll never forget. You might even find yourself pulling out your inner Sound of Music and running through the hills with your arms held wide. But hey, you’ll never know until you go.

Wild Flower Festival in Crested Butte Colorado

Where to Eat:

The Eldo Brewery and Taproom – (970) 349-6125

After a day of playing outside, reenergize yourself with fresh beer and delicious American-style food at this lively brewpub.

Where to Imbibe:

Montanya Distillers – (970) 799-3206

Relax with a glass of hand brewed, made from scratch, local Rum. Montanya Distillers offers daily tours, tastings, and a full rum bar with artisan cocktails, appetizers, and small plates. They also host wonderful live music on many evenings during the ski and summer seasons.

Where to Play:

Evolution Bike Park – (877) 547-5143

The Evolution Bike Park was established at Crested Butte Mountain Resort in 2009. Since the beginning, it has been designed to meet the needs of all riders; from beginners on two wheels to gravity experts. The Bike Park has a diverse network of trails that now contains over 30 miles of singletrack on the resort; both lift served downhill trails and cross country rides that connect to some of the legendary rides in and around Crested Butte.

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

photo credit: J.C. Leacock

Catch Some Waves (and Thrills) at FIBArk

In the world of whitewater festivals, no weekend is more recognized than the third one in June, when river enthusiasts pour into the small mountain town of Salida, Colorado to paddle, party, and play during FIBArk, American’s oldest and boldest whitewater celebration.

It’s easy to tell when the festival, also known as First in Boating on the Arkansas, is near. Trucks and trailers stacked with rafts, standup paddleboards, and kayaks crowd the streets, the population of dogs sporting life jackets doubles, and the river fills with everyone from novice to Olympic boaters. Eventually, 10,000 people will ascend on Salida for FIBArk, which safeguarded its place on the whitewater calendar sixty-seven years ago.

In the world of whitewater festivals, no weekend is more recognized than the third one in June, when river enthusiasts pour into the small mountain town of Salida, Colorado to paddle, party, and play during FIBArk, American’s older and boldest whitewater celebration.

On June 19,1949, six teams entered the Arkansas River in Salida with hopes of winning a race 57 miles downriver. In the end, only one boat with a team of two Swiss men reached the finish line. Their victory ignited something in the whitewater world, bringing attention to the difficulties and excitement associated with racing downriver and starting the world famous FIBArk festival.

On June 19,1949, six teams entered the Arkansas River in Salida with hopes of winning a race 57 miles downriver. In the end, only one boat with a team of two Swiss men reached the finish line. Their victory ignited something in the whitewater world, bringing attention to the difficulties and excitement associated with racing downriver and starting the world famous FIBArk festival.

While the festival still holds the Downriver Race, FIBArk’s signature event, it now offers freestyle kayak competitions, standup paddle board races, a Crazy River Dog competition, and a Hooligan race, which is open to anything that floats. In addition to water-based events, FIBArk has extended its activities onto land, where it now hosts mountain bike races, a parade, a carnival, live music, running races, dozens of whitewater and craft vendors, and the Chain Drain, a disc golf competition in nearby Poncha Springs.

Though Salida is a small town, FIBArk will surprise you with the intensity of its fearless river competitors, its revelers, and its endless number of activities for all. For more information, visit

Salida Colorado FIBArk.While the festival still holds the Downriver Race, FIBArk’s signature event, it now offers freestyle kayak competitions, standup paddleboard races, a Crazy River Dog competition, and a Hooligan race, which is open to anything that floats Salida Colorado FIBArk. While the festival still holds the Downriver Race, FIBArk’s signature event, it now offers freestyle kayak competitions, standup paddleboard races, a Crazy River Dog competition, and a Hooligan race, which is open to anything that floats


Where to Stay:

  • Palace Hotel – A boutique hotel located in the heart of historic downtown and next to the Arkansas River & park
  • Tudor Rose B&B and Chalets – Enjoy 37 secluded acres with stunning mountain views and close proximity to downtown
  • Poncha Lodge – A charming, affordable cabin-style lodge
  • Simple Lodge & Hostel – Partake in the most social lodging experience in all of Salida
  • 4 Seasons RV Park – Be close to town without being in town while camping on the banks of the Arkansas River

Where to Eat:

  • Amicas Pizza & Microbrewery – Handmade pizzas, handcrafted beer, salads, and desserts in a welcoming & healthy atmosphere
  • Little Cambodia – Authentic Asian comfort food in the heart of Salida with great Pho, spring rolls, eggrolls, and patio seating
  • Shallots Restaurant – A modern American restaurant featuring Salida’s only craft cocktail bar.
  • Currents Steak & Seafood – The locals’ choice for beer, wine, and surf & turf created from Colorado sourced, house-made ingredients.

Where to Imbibe:

  • Elevation Beer Company – Beers brewed for the outdoor enthusiast & hard-working man alike such as easy-drinking classics, unique seasonals, specialty Belgian ales, and barrel aged beers
  • Hubbub Brewing – Brewing delicious craft beers and providing a friendly place to gather
  • Vino Salida Wine Cellars – Sip lovingly crafted Colorado wine, mead, & vermouth in their new wine bar and tasting room

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

Get a Taste of the Wild West at Carbondale’s Rodeo

Carbondale Colorado Wild West Rodeo
photo credit: George Hendrix
The wild west was known for its cowboys, cattle, and dark, starry nights. The cowboys were tough and rugged, and their job—wrangling cattle while traveling for hundreds of miles—was no easy task. However, as the number of cattle being driven across the country grew, land became barren, making it hard to keep so many of them alive. In response to hundreds of hungry cattle, homesteaders started to fence their land to keep the animals out, which ultimately led to the decline of long cattle drives and the downfall of traditional cowboy culture.
Yet, cowboys refused to stop doing what they loved. Thus, the rodeo—and a new venue where cowboys could continue to make a living—was born.
The rodeo paints a portrait of the American cowboy, a profound historical figure who’s evolved from solitary professional to crowd-drawing athlete. And nowhere is a cowboy’s history more alive than in Colorado, where mountains, fertile pastures, and open spaces have drawn cowboys for generations.
A Colorado Rodeo is the perfect place to immerse yourself in wild west history while also taking in great entertainment. The energy surrounding a rodeo is surreal as men and women show off incredible skills and provide terrific excitement. If this sounds like something you want to check out, one of the greatest rodeos in Colorado is the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo, which is dedicated to keeping the Roaring Fork Valley’s western heritage alive.
Ranching has been part of Carbondale’s history since its earliest days, and the town is still known for its working cowboys, cattle drives, and prizewinning livestock. The Carbondale Roping Club, formed in 1948, held regular rodeos near the site of the Log Cabin Museum, and the tradition continues today with Thursday night events that run all summer long.
Despite its proximity to Aspen, the rodeo has managed to stay low key, with the board nixing elite access in favor of tailgate barbecues and a family friendly atmosphere. A perfect illustration of this is the pricing structure. While you can pay $10 for an individual ticket, a carload will cost you $30. In other words, fill up your truck and save big! What’s also great about this rodeo is the mix of people it attracts. In a single stand you might sit with a Mennonite family, a gaggle of retirees, a mother speaking to her children in Spanish, businessmen, or visitors from France asking about the trail to Hanging Lake. 
The Carbondale Wild West Rodeo offers many of the traditional events you might expect at a rodeo. Get your kicks watching barrel racing, one of the most unique events in the rodeo world. While cowboys are holding down bucking broncos and spinning bulls, cowgirls are charging through the gate in a race against the clock. Or, catch your breath watching bull racing, perhaps the most recognized and popular of all the rodeo events. It’s also the most dangerous. As cowboys often say, “It’s not if you get hurt, it’s when.”
If there are kiddos in your party, the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo has plenty to offer. Enter them in the Calf Scramble, where kids chase calves and snatch ribbons from their tails. Or, watch Mutton Bustin’, where kids grab hold of wool and ride sheep for as long as they can. For a milder activity, horseback rides are also available on select dates. 
If you’re in the Roaring Fork Valley this summer and are looking for something new, something exciting, or just a plain old good time, the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo is the perfect place to go. If you do, here are the details:
The rodeo runs every Thursday June 2 through August 18
Gates Open: 5:30 pm
Slack: 6:00 pm
Grand Entry: 7:30 pm
The rodeo is held at the Gus Darien Riding Arena. County Road 100 (Catherine Store Road) Carbondale, CO 81623
Ticket Info;
Carbondale Wild West Rodeo tickets can be purchased at the gate or purchased in advance at the Roaring Fork Valley Coop in Carbondale. Individual tickets are $10/each or a book of six tickets can be purchased for $50. Or, pay per carload, which is $30.
For more information, visit
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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

Grrrrr. Gunnison’s Growler Bike Race – For Experience Riders Only

The Original Growler Epic Bike Race in Gunnison Colorado

Photo by Matt Burt

If you’re an experienced mountain bike rider looking for a challenge this Memorial Day weekend, you might want to consider riding in Gunnison’s notorious Growler Bike Race, a 64-mile ride that is often considered one of the most difficult in the industry. You’re even asked to check a box stating you’re an experienced rider upon registration!

What makes the Growler so difficult? As opposed to the Leadville 100, which is predominately fire road and double track, the Growler offers loads of classic and challenging singletrack and a climb of 4,000 feet for each loop—broken up, of course. There is almost never ending pedaling during this isolated, backcountry race as you wind your way around the ever-undulating Hartman Rocks trail system, just a few miles from downtown Gunnison. If this sounds a little too intimidating, know that these techy runs are broken by fast, flowy trails.

In classic Colorado style, the race ends back downtown where a party with food, drinks, and awards awaits and where bikers can celebrate their accomplishments.

photo credit/ Dan Stevens

Race Details:
Half Growler – Saturday May 28th – 9am
A popular single lap option that runs 32-miles.

The Original (Full) Growler – Sunday May 29th – 7am
This is the race the started it all, the big kahuna! Two laps plus Sunday’s half featuring most of the trails at legendary Hartman Rocks.

Sunday Half – Sunday May 29th – 7am
Sunday’s Half is one lap within the Full Growler. It’s perfect for those who might not have gotten a spot in Saturday’s Half Growler, or for those who want to accompany a Full Growler racer, but don’t want to commit to the full 64 miles.

For more information, visit
To register, visit

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.


 Paddlefest: The Best Time to Check Out Buena Vista Colorado

The once sleepy town of Buena Vista is sleepy no more; its popularity evident by the increasing number of people who visit each year. Contributing to the town’s thriving reputation as a mountain oasis are local establishments like a nationally recognized brewery, a stellar eatery catering to the diet-conscious, an award-winning distillery, an awesome outdoor shop, a brand new craft beer bar, hot springs resorts, multiple music venues, a disc golf course, a hip bike shop, and more. To say that Buena Vista is ‘cool’ is an understatement. To suggest it’s still a secret would be untrue.

What is accurate would be to say that any first-time visitor will be blow away by Buena Vista’s beauty, amenities, recreational activities, and most of all, by its warm and welcoming residents who adore their town and are happy to remind you why you should, too. But above all, Buena Vista is a river town, and there is no better time to feel the love for this Arkansas River Valley jewel than Memorial Day weekend when residents welcome summer—and river season—with CKS Paddlefest: an annual celebration hosted by Colorado Kayak Supply Mainstreet and dedicated to all the fun and excitement that comes from living on the Arkansas River.

If you’ve ever wanted to try a river activity, this is the time to do it. During CKS Paddlefest, Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center and other local outfitters offer kayak clinics, river running basics, surf sessions, group paddles, safety classes, and kayak roll lessons. For a more mellow day, float on still water with SUP yoga or family paddling on the town pond. If you’d rather watch the action, there are multiple competitions such as the BV Kayak Rodeo, a surfing contest, and Race to the Grill, where people of all ages choose to raft, SUP, or kayak down the gentler waters of the Milk Run to Riverside Grill where libations, food, and music await.

As CKS Paddlefest has grown, so too have the types of events it offers. In addition to water-based activities, there are organized nature walks, a scavenger hunt, the Yucca Classic Disc Golf Tournament, bouldering competitions, an 8K and half marathon trail run, and a kid’s bike race. Also, no festival would be complete without music, and CKS Paddlefest has tons of it. Touted as one of Colorado’s secret gems, the Beach at South Main offers a riverfront, family-friendly venue with food, drink, and gear vendors. Music plays into the evening while the river roars and stars sparkle. The festival’s second venue is the newly renovated Lariat Bar and Grill, which will host late night bands for those wanting to carry their fun into the early hours of the morning.

The first time I visited Buena Vista was during the second annual CKS Paddlefest, and I instantly fell in love with the town and its people. More than ten years later, I’m lucky enough to call Buena Vista home. There is an energy here that is unlike anywhere else in Colorado, and it is addicting. Come to CKS Paddlefest and experience it for yourself, and you’ll wish 81211 was your zip code, too.

Where to Stay:

  • Arkansas River Rim Campground and RV Park – Offering river and fishing access, tent sites, shaded sites, big rig friendly sites, hot showers, pet friendly accommodations, and Wi-Fi
  • Surf Chateau – A beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of South Main with impeccably furnished rooms and private balconies overlooking the river
  • Antero Hot Springs Cabins – A legendary Colorado destination made of historic cabins each with a private natural hot spring pool along Chalk Creek
  • Thunder Lodge – Family and pet-friendly creek side cabins with spacious living rooms, comfortable furniture, kitchens, and Wi-Fi

Where to Eat:

  • House Rock Kitchen – A new fast casual restaurant serving healthy, locally sourced food that is made from scratch and sugar free.
  • Asian Palate – Delectable Thai cuisine & sushi, a full bar, fine wines, and specialty cocktails in a great atmosphere decorated with local art
  • Trailer Made Provisions – Grab artisan tacos, burritos, and homemade crème brûlée while kids five and under eat free.

Where to Imbibe:

  • Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar – Housed in an historic jail, there are ten taps with stellar brews from Colorado and around the world, small bites, and cozy outdoor spaces with fire tables.
  • Lariat Bar and Grill – A cool, hip, and upscale dive music venue with 16 taps of standard & craft beer, house-made & locally sourced casual pub fare, pool tables, and darts.
  • Deerhammer Distillery – hand-crafted, award winning American single malt whiskey and other fine spirits the old fashioned way in a casual and warm atmosphere.

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

A Boulder Memorial Day

Boulder Colorado Creek Festival

What are you doing this Memorial Day Weekend? If you’ll be on the Front Range, why not head into Boulder and check out the annual Boulder Creek Festival, a mainstay for over twenty-five years and Boulder’s unofficial ‘welcome to summer’ event.

As an amazing array of free fun for attendees of any age, the Boulder Creek Festival lines the creek from 9th Street to 13th Street just south of downtown, making it centrally located and easy to enjoy on foot. With over 500 vendors, four performance stages, and the best well-known 10k race in the U.S.—the BolderBoulder—the Boulder Creek Festival is recognized as the county’s favorite and most popular event.

The festival kicks off Friday night with a free concert at the Bandshell Amphitheater, followed by a fishing derby on Saturday, and the festival’s signature event, the Duck Race, on Monday. For three days, enjoy over 500 vendors, including specific areas like Outdoor Adventures, where the top outdoor recreation vendors exhibit, the Boulder Creek Bazaar, where you’ll find craft vendors and a beer garden, and Kids’ Place, where the festival’s youngest visitors are welcomed to jump, climb, and play.

Musical acts are also lined up all day, every day. Take in some funk, soul, jazz, and rock. If dance is more your thing, the Community Dance Stage offers a wide range of dance performances throughout the weekend.

If this sounds like a great way to spend your Memorial Day Weekend, check out these tips:

  • For more info visit: Boulder Creek Events
  • There is free parking available in the parking garages off Walnut Street
  • Pack lots of water, especially if it’s going to be a hot day
  • Bring cash because some vendors charge more for credit card purchases

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

Take in Colorado’s Gorgeous Scenery and Sunny Skies with a Round of Disc Golf

Photo Credit: Andy Librande/Colorado Mountain College Carbondale Colorado Disc Golf Course

Back in the 15th century, when men gathered for sport, golf was often favored. Six hundred years later, it is still played, though its popularity has declined in part due to its high associated costs. In its place has sprung disc golf, an affordable alternative that has been making waves across the country.

Unlike traditional golf, disc golf requires little investment and has low environmental impact. Yet, similar to traditional golf, it is challenging, provides comradery, and takes you outside where fresh air and sunshine do a body good. Try a round yourself and it will be easy to see why disc golf has been named the fastest growing sport in America.

Much like traditional golf, discs are thrown from a tee and across a fairway to a hole, which is a suspended metal basket, and the player with the fewest strokes (or throws) wins. Likewise, as golfers have multiple clubs for different types of strokes, disc golf players have multiple discs for driving, putting, windy conditions, etc.

These days, people often look for more casual activities, and disc golf is just that. In many cases, courses are free and tee times are not necessary. Show up when you want and play as little or as much as you want. Play solo, bring any number of friends, or take your dog as a companion. Wear what you want and imbibe what you want. In most instances, rules are few—as long as you respect the land, the course, and the people around you. The best part of disc golf is that it’s easy to take up. Novices can easily play alongside experts, though newbies may wonder about the twenty or so discs the expert insists on carrying along.

It’s no surprise that in Colorado—with its outdoor mentality and sporty residents—disc golf is especially popular. With the state’s gorgeous scenery and sunny skies, disc golf can sometimes feel like a great adventure. If you want to find a course near you, check out Disc Golf Course Review for the largest and most detailed list of Colorado disc golf courses. Following are some awesome courses to check out.

Beaver Creek Ranch in Conifer Park – Confier
Though $8 to play, this course is well worth it. Set in a beautiful mountainous area that is heavily wooded, it will take you through a forest and make you feel like you’re in the backcountry. The signage here is superb, and on some days, there may be a food truck waiting at the end of your round.

Lake Dillon Disc Golf Course – Dillon
With unbelievable views of the lake and its surrounding mountains, this course will give you a workout with its extreme elevation changes. And, it’s an easy trip from Denver for those who want to get into the mountains but don’t want to drive hours to get there.

Shining Mountain Disc Golf Course – Woodland Park
With views of Pikes Peak, this beautiful and impressive course is Colorado’s first permanent disc golf course on a public golf club course. A variety of elevations, distances, and out-of-bounds areas make this course challenging.

Buena Vista Disc Golf Course – Buena Vista
Tough lines and long holes make this course a good challenge. Creative use of elevation and natural rock features also makes for tricky basket locations. However, with shorter trees, it’s easier for first timers, and it’s walking distance from downtown, so refreshments and a bite to eat are close by.

Disc Golf Course Buena Vista ColoradoDisc Golf Course Buena Vista Colorado

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

Colorado Bucket List—‘Tis the Season to Visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park

Best of Colorado

Photo credit: Michael Deyoung

It’s springtime in Colorado, and you’re anxious to start your camping season. But, the mountains still have snow and nights are cold. So, you pull out a Colorado map and look toward the southern portion of the state, where temps tend to be higher and the ground drier. And there, below the large belts of green, is a vast area of high desert, and in that tan colored region, written in bold, is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.


Four hours from the Front Range and with few other big attractions surrounding it, the Great Sand Dunes National Park attracts just 250,000 visitors a year (compared to Rocky Mountain’s 3,500,000). But, as you drive south on Highway 17, passing signs for UFO-spotting sites and alligator parks, you can’t help but think you’re on a unique and out-of-this-world journey, that you left Kansas miles ago, and that something amazing must be waiting.

Then, you see it, thirty square miles of sand dumped in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, as though some of the Sahara has been transported to this less-traveled part of the state, and it dawns on you how surreal this national park must be.

The Great Sand Dunes were formed when a huge lake covering the San Luis Valley dried up and southwesterly winds blew the remaining sand up against the bordering mountains. Recognized as a national monument in 1932, and then a national park in 2004, the Great Sand Dunes is the perfect place to plan a springtime getaway. From May to early June, when snowmelt is at its peak, Medano Creek flows along the east side of the dune field. Families and groups prop umbrellas, relax in lounge chairs, and play in the calm water as the day passes in amazing tranquility. Moreover, spring surface temperatures are still comfortable, beckoning exploration, whereas summer surface temperature can reach 150°, making it nearly impossible to walk barefoot during the day.

Beyond the creek, dunes loom and are open for play. There are no paths or trails to adhere to. Rather, visitors are encouraged to go wherever they want, unleashing a child-like exhilaration. And while you can simply hike the dunes and run down their sides, which can feel like flying, sand sleds and boards are available to rent at the Oasis store, located just outside the park’s main entrance.

Spend the night and camp in the park’s Pinon Flats Campground. Or, stay nearby at the Sand Dunes Swimming Pool (aka the Hooper Pool), a 50’s style pool club complete with tent camping, RV hookups, and cabins. Those looking for a deeper sand dunes experience can strap on their backpacks and hike Cold Creek Trail (8.9 miles one way) or Sand Creek Trail (10.5 miles one way). With one of the darkest skies in the U.S., a backcountry trip into the sand dunes will give you one of the starriest skies you have ever seen. And while you are staring up at that sky, you will marvel at how unique a destination the Great Sand Dunes is, what a Colorado treasure it is, and how cool it is that you are actually there, in the middle of the Rockies, surrounded by mountains of sand.

For more information, visit the National Park Service’s Great Sand Dunes National Park.

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

When Water Runs High, Thrill Seekers Head to the Mighty Arkansas

When Water Runs High, Thrill Seekers Head to the Mighty Arkansas in Colorado

It’s the end of April, and Coloradans are anxious for summer, the time of year when pine permeates the air, the sun burns shoulders, and bikes, kayaks, and tents are pulled from storage so they can be easily grabbed for a quick getaway.

But then, in classic Colorado-style, a two-foot snow storm pounds the state, leaving most residents moaning about a weekend wasted and the inevitable muddy trails to follow. However, while much of Colorado gripes about the state’s unusual weather pattern, those living in the Arkansas River Valley celebrate.

Because more snow on the valley’s peaks translates into greater water flow for the Arkansas River, which means more visitors, greater economic growth, and above all—more time to surf, splash, and raft.

With several fourteeners in the Arkansas River Valley alone, and twice as many mountains towering above 13,000 feet, the number of snow covered peaks rivals any other location in the state. And in this valley, melted snow trickles into streams, and then into creeks, and finally into one of the country’s greatest whitewater rivers—The Arkansas—making it the premier destination for whitewater rafting in the country.

The world’s top whitewater rafters always come back to the Arkansas because a trip down this river is like no other. With diverse terrain, challenging rapids, gorgeous scenery, and abundant sunshine, no journey is the same. It’s no wonder raft trips are high on a visitor’s activity list. And with dozens of outfitters lining the valley, families, large groups, and small parties all have the chance at having an adventure to last a lifetime.

If you want to plan a vacation to the Arkansas River Valley, and rafting is high on your list, check out American Adventure Expeditions. They offer everything from family float tours to high octane trips down the Numbers, a series of rapids known for tight channels, steep drops, white knuckles, and non-stop action. A newcomer to the valley is The Adventure Hub, located in Buena Vista’s South Main, an urban, riverside neighborhood. While The Adventure Hub also offers several types of raft trips, it gives you a chance to try an inflatable kayak or a SUP (stand up paddle board). If you want to try a little bit of it all—biking, kayaking, climbing, stand up paddle boarding—another great outfitter is the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center, which has been a local staple since 1982.

When snow comes in April, we should relish it. It feeds our soil and our rivers, nourishing trees and plants, and supplying world famous whitewater for the thousands of visitors who want a taste of excitement, who want to holler as they tear through rapids, and who want the honor of saying they rafted the mighty Arkansas.

For more information on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, visit

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

Photo Credit: Noah’s Ark Whitewater Rafting

Artists Flock to Greeley for America’s Largest Jazz Festival

Greeley Colorado Jazz Festival

Jazz—America’s truest art form. For many jazz lovers, it’s not just about the music, but the scene and the mood it creates. Jazz concerts can inspire romance, provide disguise, or initiate a party. It is the soul of our country and a celebration of our struggles, our victories, and of our people.

Although started in the south, highlights of the jazz movement don’t just belong in Louisiana—where the famous New Orleans Jazz Festival takes place—but in other parts of the U.S. as well. The longest running, for example, is in Monterey, California and the largest can be found right in our backyard, in the northern town of Greeley, Colorado.

Hosted by the University of Northern Colorado, the Greeley Jazz Festival is getting ready for its 46th year, where it will bring together internationally recognized artists, jazz lovers, award-winning clinicians, jazz vocal groups, and 250 college, high school, and middle school big bands.

Not only does the Greeley Jazz Festival carry the tradition of featuring some of the most prominent names in jazz today, it also brings artists to Colorado that are rarely or never heard of in this region. Over 8,000 participants enjoy the main stage, while many others perform in after-hours sessions or teach in educational workshops.

This year’s festival will run from April 21st to April 23rd and will feature internationally acclaimed jazz vocal group, the New York Voices, premier big band and Grammy nominated, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and Grammy nominated, jazz organist, Joey DeFrancesco.

Come to Greeley for the weekend to enjoy the music and stay for everything else this great town has to offer, such as its historical museums, 100-piece public art collection, and 85-miles of in town bike lanes. For more information on the Greeley Jazz Fest, visit UNC Greeley Jazz Festival

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

Colorado Bucket List: Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater

Colorado Bucket List Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater

In 1941, the Civilian Conversation Corps—a public works program part of FDR’s New Deal—laid the final stone in what would become the world’s greatest outdoor amphitheater. Little did they know that what they had done would change the music world forever, sealing Morrison, Colorado as the number one destination for artists and music lovers alike.

With Mother Nature as its architect, Red Rocks’ famous pair of geologically formed monoliths promote seamless acoustics that many artists claim to be the best in the land. And while the sound at Red Rocks is to die for, it’s just one factor that makes this outdoor venue a must-see for any Colorado visitor.

Come for the music and fall in love with the view. With rolling green hills spotted with, well, red rocks, and the Denver skyline aglow from the setting sun, all sorts of good feels happen when you soak it in. And, once the sun has set and the sky has turned dark, stars light the night, turning the show into something magical. It’s no wonder bands pull out all the stops when they play at Red Rocks. Don’t be surprised when famous guests hop on stage or insane light shows are set ablaze.

Dozens of famous acts have played Red Rocks, some of the most notorious being the Beatles in 1964, Jethro Tull in 1971, which led to a five-year ban on rock and roll after a riot broke out, and U2, whose Live at Red Rocks concert video was listed in Rolling Stones: 50 Moments that Changed Rock and Roll.

Come to Red Rocks for a mixture of love, fascination, tranquility, and exhilaration. As one of the most unique historic sites in the nation, it’s safe to say there isn’t another place on Earth quite like it. Here, bands turn into gods and concerts into quasi-religious experiences.

For anyone that lives in or visits Colorado, Red Rocks is an absolute must and an experience that will stay with you forever.
For more information on Red Rocks events, visit

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 Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

Colorado’s Hot Springs: Perfect Getaways for Spring

Cottonwood Hot Springs . Buena Vista

 Mud season is upon us. It is too cold to raft and trails are too muddy for hiking and biking. When you glance at your skis, you know you won’t use them until next season because after months of shredding powder, you’re not going to fight the crowds to ski on slush. 
What’s a Coloradan to do? 
There’s a simple answer for locals and visitors looking for a unique Colorado activity that won’t leave a car caked in mud. It’s a trip to one of Colorado’s gorgeous and relaxing hot springs.
As unique from one another as a Chihuahua is from a Great Dane, Colorado offers dozens of hot springs resorts that range from primitive to glamorous, small to large, and popular to inconspicuous. Before summer is in full swing, take your friends, your kids, or your honey for a day of fun in the sun. 
Though the list of Colorado hot springs is long, these are some of my favorites:
Strawberry Park Hot Springs – Steamboat Springs
Nestled in an aspen forest, these hot springs feel as though they’ve come out of a fairy tale. With multiple pools built into the hillside and others lining Hot Springs Creek, there is plenty of room for all. Stay overnight in a rustic cabin or book its most popular accommodation—a train caboose.
The Springs Resort and Spa – Pagosa Springs
Enjoy the rolling green hills of Pagosa Springs as you soak in one of 23 mineral hot springs terraced to overlook the beautiful San Juan River. This resort boasts the deepest geothermal hot spring in the world, rooms for overnight guests, and a spa guaranteed to give you total relaxation. 
Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort – Nathrop
Situated in the breathtaking Arkansas River Valley, this is the ideal family hot springs resort. With a large waterslide in one pool and shallow soaking pools along the river, this resort knows how to keep the kids happy. However, for those seeking a romantic getaway, Mt. Princeton’s private cabins, fine dining, and child-free pools are sure to deliver. 
Valley View Hot Springs – Villa Grove
Tucked in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the San Luis Valley, these hot springs are a series of all natural, body temperature soaking ponds found along wilderness trails. To preserve this delicate and peaceful ecosystem, visitation is managed through a guest quota for day and overnight use. Even when accommodations are available, visitors are frequently turned away, especially on weekends when capacities are reached. It should also be noted that Valley View Hot Springs is clothing optional for the more adventurous traveler.
Valley View is operated by The Orient Land Trust.
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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

Colorado’s Newest National Monument – Browns Canyon

Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Friends of Browns Canyon, a group of passionate outdoors recreationists, Browns Canyon is officially a National Monument. With designation granted by President Obama in February 2015, Arkansas River Valley’s outdoor treasure is now guaranteed federal protection, ensuring a lasting legacy for future generations.

Browns Canyon is located in Central Colorado between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida. With elevations ranging from 7,300 to 10,000 feet, a hike through Browns Canyon is the perfect way to experience Arkansas River Valley’s breathtaking scenery. From long stretches of white water, to dramatic 14,000 foot peaks, to expansive fertile valleys, a visit to Brown’s Canyon will send you home with memories to last a lifetime. Furthermore, the trail within the canyon does not allow any motorize vehicles, and in the quiet, it might be possible to spot one of the many species, such as elk, red foxes, coyotes, and mountain lions, that call this area home.

Recreation abounds in Browns Canyon. Hiking is the most popular and is easily accessible from the northern end of the canyon at the only designated trailhead, which is located next to Ruby Mountain Campground. For a more unique adventure, try rafting through Browns Canyon on the mighty Arkansas River. Numerous outfitters dot the valley, so there is no shortage of guides ready to take you over roaring rapids and through craggy cliffs.

Nearby, take advantage of the Arkansas River Valley’s attractions including multiple hot springs resorts, the ghost town of St. Elmo, and the vibrant downtowns of Salida and Buena Vista where great restaurants, art galleries, and unique shopping await.

Spring and summer are around the corner. It’s time to start planning your trip to Colorado’s newest National Monument! For more information, visit

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

photo credit- Logan Myers

Denver’s Art Scene is on Full Display

  • Santa Fe Art District First Friday Art Walk
  • When: First Friday of each month
  • Where: Santa Fe District between sixth and 13th Ave. 

Santa Fe Art District First Friday Art Walk in Denver Colorado


Colorado is famous for breathtaking scenery and plentiful outdoor opportunities. But, did you know that it also has a thriving art scene? Nowhere is this more evident than in Denver, where artists from all over the country are hoping to create a name for themselves in the eyes of critics, collectors, and art enthusiasts.

The most exciting way to experience Denver’s incredible art scene is by attending the First Friday Art Walk in the historic Santa Fe Art District. In the evening, stroll the streets and visit over 60 galleries exhibiting everything from paintings to sculpture and mixed media to photography. Discover up-and-coming artists or seek out well-loved, established artists while sipping wine and chatting with gallery owners. For a more in-depth look at the culture that helped shaped the neighborhood, check out Museo de las Americas, a popular museum that educates the community about the diversity of Latino Americano art and culture from ancient to contemporary through innovative exhibitions and programs.

The Santa Fe First Friday Art Walk attracts a lively crowd, and in August, the event is so popular that the streets are closed to traffic. As you peruse the galleries, you’ll most likely encounter string quartets, street performers, and live bands. There are even eclectic poets offering instant works typed on antique typewriters. Come hungry because Santa Fe’s side streets are filled with food carts, making this a great date night, family outing, or gathering place for friends.

Here’s a final tip for those excited to explore this awesome area. Every third Friday, the Art District offers Collector Preview Events, a more intimate version of First Friday with an opportunity for patrons to see the art and meet the artists and owners without the large First Friday crowds.

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.



BUENA VISTA – Picturesque Cottonwood Lake

Buena Vista ColoradoCottonwood Lake is a high alpine lake that you can drive to. This sweet little lake is a pleasant 20 minute short drive from downtown Buena Vista. Stock full of rainbow fish make for a nice fishing outing, practicing your kayaking rolls, or kite surfing in the winter.  The backdrop is dramatic white chalk clifts with mountain sheep frolicking.  There’s a nice campground nearby.

Buena Vista


Buena Vista Colorado


BRECKENRIDGE – Magical Ice Castles

Best Winter Fun in Colorado


Best Winter Fun in ColoradoBuilt by hand and made from more than 20,000,000 pounds of ice, the Ice Castles are READY to be explored! Carved walking paths will lead visitors through towering glacial formations, caverns, archways, and maze-like tunnels.

Come experience vivid glacial hues by day and nightly displays of millions of tons of illuminated ice.

150 West Adams Ave.
Breckenridge, CO 80424

For more information or to buy tickets ➦ GO HERE    



BUENA VISTA – Classic Drive-In Movie Theater

There are still a smattering of drive-ins in the west.  The Comanche Drive-In is a classic with spectacular views on screen and all around as the Collegiate Peaks Mountains loom overhead  Call for showtimes 719-395-2766  Map it

Family fun in Buena Vista Colorado




SALIDA – Fun Adventure for All Ages

Fun Adventure for all ages Challenge yourself at Captain Zipline’s new Aerial Adventure Park with swinging bridges, catwalks, ladders, platforms, nets, rope and cable swings, obstacles and flying elements. Nine courses with more than 100 different elements of varying levels of difficulty are denoted by color codes, similar to ski areas. Ages 8 and up can participate. Suspend your fear as you zip along the Lost Canyon Zipline Tour.  You’ll reach speeds up to 40 mph, and soar over the canyon floor some 100-200 feet below! Guests come for the adventure, but they get a whole lot more–while taking short hikes between the platforms, they can marvel at the 300 million-year-old colorful rocky cliffs, look down at the 1890 lime kiln ruins and abandoned silver mine shaft, or learn about the area’s rich past, steeped in mining and Wild West history. Check out the views of awesome 14,000 ft. mountain peaks from the zipline platforms…after all, this is Colorado Rocky Mountain High at its finest! Four rock-climbing courses allow less-experienced climbers to enjoy views and adrenaline rushes usually reserved for elite climbers. The routes have a series of cables and metal rungs, allowing guests to remain attached to a safety line while climbing the inaccessible cliffs. A Safer Way to Adventure! Captain Zipline’s courses are insured, inspected by ACCT-certified inspectors, and regulated by the State of Colorado. The safety and comfort of our Guests are our main concerns; we have a spotless safety record and are entering into our tenth year of zip line operations. Our new Canyon Aerial Course and Via Ferrata make use of the Bornack Safelink SSB which allows 100% attachment while traversing the courses. Family-Friendly Adventure! Captain Zipline Tours has high rankings in some of the most prestigious outdoors publications. Captain Zipline was the first zipline tour in Colorado and was ranked among the top 10 ziplines in America by USA Today. TAKE A TOUR:

  • Tours of the park are:
    • Daily – 1 pm
    • Weekends – 10 am & 1 pm


LEADVILLE – Community Movie Night

Movies in Ice Palace Park is a free local event. There will be 5 movies during the summer. Every show will be sponsored by RE/MAX Aspen Leaf Realty, The Lake County Recreation Department and Lake County Build a Generation, while each separate movie will be sponsored by a different local business. Concessions are provided by local fundraising groups.

During the winter, Community Movie Nights will be held every 3rd Friday of the month in the Climax Gym/Colorado Mountain College.   DIRECTIONS HERE 

For a list of shows   VISIT HERE

BUENA VISTA – Community Climbing Wall

Community Climbing Wall at Adventure Unlimited . 18325 County Road 366 . Buena Vista  719.395.2468

11.1 thru 12.13 Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:30 to 9:00pm

  • $7 for climbers & belayers
  • gear rental: ~shoes $2 ~harness $1

Climbers under 18 must be supervised
Price does not include climbing instruction or belay service/instruction
For groups, instruction, or extra service please call to schedule

climbing in colorado
photos by Meredith Winkelmeyer