Summer Activities in Colorado

It is summertime in Colorado!  A beautiful season to explore Colorado’s endless bounty.  There are a plethora of activities to keep you busy for many weekends.  We have now lived here for almost 4 years and I have to say the pressure can be somewhat insurmountable to get out and go every weekend!  With that being said we try to be very strategic with our weekend planning.  The following recommendations are what we have actually experienced.  With that being said, make the most of your weekend and see some fabulous sites and take some breath takings pictures.  Have fun!  (By the way, the recommendations are in no particular order).

1.  Manitou Incline—So, I saw this glorious incline on Instagram.  I told my husband we must experience this immediately!  Well, we did and it was quite the up hill battle no pun intended.  Very strenuous.  However, worth every ounce of sweat and strain.  The views from the top are phenomenal.  According to http://www.manitouincline.com/

The Manitou Incline was built as a cable car to carry materials to build pipelines on Pikes Peak. After the pipelines were finished, it was turned into a tourist attraction.

After a rock slide damaged a section of track in 1990, the Manitou Incline was closed down and the rails removed. Some locals started hiking up the remaining ties for a tough workout even though it was illegal because of crossing private property. As of February 1st, 2013, it is legal to hike.

This is what Manitou Incline looked like before:

Photo_of_a_Manitou_Incline_Railway_box_car,_1908This is what Manitou Incline looks like now:

20130602_173826This incline is only 1 mile BUT climbs 2,00o vertical feet.  Please refer to http://www.manitouincline.com/ before setting out to hike Manitou Incline.

2.  Any Alpine Slide or Gondola.  We are on a mission to ride as many gondolas and alpine slides at the ski resorts this summer.  During the summer the resorts reopen and offer summer activities.  A few of the activities that we like to partake in are the alpine slide and riding the gondolas.  Why?  The views at the top of both of these attractions are unbelievable.  The alpine slide and gondola in Winter Park and Breckenridge are fantastic.  We did ride the gondola in Vail as well as Glenwood Springs (http://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/glenwood-springs-gondola-7/).  Another plus, a lot of the gondolas are dog friendly.20130616_16165120130616_17254920130817_16292020130817_1355433.  Independence Pass.  This is a must….period.  One of the most spectacular drives in Colorado.  Words can’t always express the abundance of beauty that you will experience on this drive.  We took 70 to the Copper Mountain exit and followed signage.  We looped around into Aspen and I must say that this drive alone could easily sum up why we absolutely love living in Colorado.  Just remember to bring a coat and to fill up the gas tank before committing to the pass.  There are not a lot of gas stations along the way.  Also, bring a camera…any camera, but you must take pictures!  http://www.independencepass.org/20130630_17011120130630_16551920130630_164753I will try and post some more summer activities but in the meantime you can find me on Instagram under @lovelivingincolorado or Twitter @lovelivinginco.  I update these accounts regularly.  Happy summer!

Posted in Aspen, Breckenridge, Colorado, Exercise, Glenwood Springs, Hiking, History, Manitou Springs, Mountains, Photography, Road Trip, Rocky Mountains, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2014 Easter Sunrise Service-Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Last year we made it to our first Easter Sunrise Service at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre.  It was a wonderful experience. We had to wake up quite early.  It is best to be at Red Rocks by at least 5:00 am.  A lot of people attend this celebration.  The service starts at 6:00 am but in order to get a great seat in the back of the amphitheatre you must get there early.  We didn’t get a seat in the back but instead sat pretty close to the stage.  I didn’t mind where we sat because the whole experience was beautiful.  Some helpful tips if you are planning on attending:  the earlier the better….door time is 4:30 am but people are up and ready to get those prime seats at the top of the amphitheatre.  The top seats are where you actually get to see the sunrise above the red rocks.  Dress warmly.  It is chilly in the early am.  I would wear layers.  I would also suggest bringing a light blanket to cover your legs.  If you think about it, a hot beverage is a good idea.  Maybe coffee or hot chocolate.  Bring a backpack or tote bag to carry items.  Keep in mind that it is a steep climb up to the amphitheatre.  Admittance and parking are free. One more thing……don’t forget your camera!  You can’t beat the views from Red Rocks.  I have included some of my Easter pictures from last year.  Hope to see you there this year!  For more information please see below or visit–http://www.redrocksonline.com/CalendarEventDisplay.aspx?id=285755

DSC_0004This picture was taken at the beginning of the Easter Service.

DSC_0009This is mid-ceremony.

DSC_0010This is what it looks like when the sun has risen!

DSC_0030This is the walk up!

IMG_20130331_065451_184My husband captured this wonderful picture on our way back to the car.

Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheatre:

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado

I am addicted to Instagram.  This is one of the main reasons that my blogging days are few and far between.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to write about Colorado but Instagram is well, so instantaneous (no pun intended)!  This is a nice segue into my post about Pagosa Springs.  I found some great pictures of Pagosa Springs on Instagram.  We made a trip to Pagosa Springs in May to celebrate our anniversary.  The drive alone was unbelievable!  We had never taken that particular route so we were in awe at every turn!  Image

The drive takes you through San Isabel National Forest.  Image

The Collegiate Peaks are a wonderful surprise along this very picturesque drive.  The Collegiate Peaks is a name given to a section of the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains located in central ColoradoImage

Wolf Creek Pass is the other beautiful feature on this lovely Colorado drive.  Wolf Creek Pass is a high mountain pass on the Continental Divide, in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

Image

Treasure Falls is the other “treasure” along the route.  Treasure Falls is a waterfall located off Hwy 160 about 15 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The falls are named after a local legend of a treasure of gold on the mountain the falls plunges from.Image

While staying in Pagosa Springs we stayed at The Fireside Inn Cabins which are on the banks of the San Juan River and are probably the quietest accommodations that I have ever experienced.  Image

The Fireside Inn Cabins are also pet friendly!  This is the pet bag we got upon our arrival.  Isn’t is adorable!  Image

What did we do in Pagosa Springs?  We ate and soaked in the Pagosa Hot Springs.  The Pagosa Hot Springs can best be described as many pools of varying temperatures.  We were advised to start with lower temperature pools and then work ourselves up to the hotter temperatures.  We had a great time!  We celebrated our anniversary by enjoying a fabulous meal at the Alley House Grille.ImageImage

Interested in visiting Pagosa Springs?  Here are my recommendations:

1.  If driving from Denver, take the US-285 route.

2.  Definitely, stop at all of the scenic turnouts and take lots of pictures. 

3.  Book a cabin at The Fireside Inn Cabins and enjoy the grounds.

4.  Soak in the Pagosa Hot Springs during the day.

5.  Alley House Grille is a great dining experience.  It is a Holy Good food experience!

6.  Check out the Liberty Movie Theatre.  Fun little historic theatre in downtown Pagosa Springs.

7.  Soak in the Pagosa Hot Springs at night. 

8.  Check out the history of The Great Springs before visiting. 

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Aaron Woo featured Chef at Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management

It is spring!  That means there are new cuisines to enjoy at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.  In previous posts I have raved about the School of Hospitality Management. Before I begin this post, if you haven’t had a chance to check out the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management…it is a Denver must!!!!!    On Wednesday, May 15, 2013 the school will be welcoming chef Aaron Woo, Sunset Magazine’s Best Chef of the West, and Chef and Owner of Natural Selection in Portland, Oregon.  This dinner appeals to me in many ways.  First, we lived in Portland, Oregon (http://ouryearinportland.wordpress.com/)for a year and I loved it.  Next, the cuisine will be vegetarian.  If I have a choice, I prefer not to eat meat.  So I am very excited about this vegetarian cuisine.  Last, the School of Hospitality Management is phenomenal.  I sing their praises as often and as much as I can.  If I could dine at the School nightly, I would.

Aaron Woo is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy who has worked in such notable San Francisco kitchens as Absinthe Brasserie, La Folie, Stars, and as sous chef of PlumpJack Cafe under Chef Keith Luce. In Telluride, Colorado Aaron worked as Executive Chef at 9545 and Chef de Cuisine at The CosmopolitanRestaurant. Upon moving to Portland he worked with Morgan Brownlow and Jason French at ClarkLewis.

The dinner will include a wine pairing and is $70.00 per person.  Cocktails start at 6:00 pm and dinner is at 7:00 pm.  The dinner will be held at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management Joy Burns Center, 2044 East Evans Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80210.  To RSVP for this amazing night please check out the website:  http://knoebelschool.ticketleap.com/aaron-woo-guest-chef-dinner/

Please check out my other posts about University of Denver’s School of Hospitality Management: 

http://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/tour-ditalia-dinner-at-du-with-gina-stipo/

http://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/fritz-knoebel-school-of-hospitality-management-and-gina-stipo/

http://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/university-of-denver/

We have been very honored to attend these FANTASTIC events at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management:  Beer Pairing Dinner, the Guest Chef Dinner with Gina Stipo, and the Spring Showcase (picture featured below is from the Spring Showcase).IMG_20130326_221214Of course, I can’t close this post without giving my favorite peeps at the School a shout out!!!  Chef Raymond and all of the exquisite students you are the best….talented, professional, and extraordinary!!!!  ????????????????????????????????????

Posted in Blog, Colorado, Denver, Dessert, Eats, Food, Foodie, Restaurants, Review, Road Trip, Travel, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tour d’Italia Dinner at DU with Gina Stipo

The Tour d’Italia dinner at DU was fantastic.  Gina Stipo was very nice.  The setting was intimate so we got to talk with Gina as well as take pictures and discuss the menu.  DSC_0042We absolutely love dining at Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management in Daniels College.  We feel like part of the family and we ALWAYS are the last to leave.  The room was beautifully decorated as usual and the food presentation was delightful.  The students in this program are out of this world.  We absolutely love the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.  It truly is a hidden gem tucked away in Denver.  Now onto the food!  If these pictures please your palette please check out the Daniels College website–http://daniels.du.edu/ and click on the “view calendar” icon under Daniels Events to make reservations for upcoming events.

DSC_0023This is the menu.  Beautiful and elegant.  I just love the presentation at the Fritz Knoebel School. 

Our first course was Baccala with crostino, celery, and pickled onion, paired with Le Rime.DSC_0024The next course was Roasted cauliflower soup with Rosemary, paired with Centine Rose.????????????????????????????????????Oh my favorite–Mushroom and three cheese ravioli with Sage butter, paired with Centine Rosso.  These were so good that three just simply were not enough.  They were delectable!  I could have eaten a whole bowl full of these raviolis.  Truth be told, I probably should have with all of the wonderful wine I sampled :).DSC_0033The main course was Pan fried loin of veal with black cabbage, kale, and cannellini, paired with Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino.  Believe it or not this was the first time I have ever eaten veal.  It was very tasty and very tender.DSC_0035Dessert–Pear poached in spiced Chianti with cinnamon Mascarpone and granola brittle, paired with Rosa Regale (the best dessert type wine I have ever tasted).  This was a very light and whimsical dessert.  DSC_0037An absolutely wonderful evening.  A picture of our favorite people at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality.  Thank you!!  We adore you!????????????????????????????????????

Posted in Blog, Colorado, Denver, Dessert, Eats, Food, Foodie, Photography, Review, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tom’s Urban 24 Winter Menu

I was invited to the winter menu tasting for Tom’s Urban 24.  It was a wonderful experience!  I felt extremely lucky to be invited to this extraordinary tasting event.  I am going to tempt you with the glorious menu options that Tom’s Urban 24 is currently offering.  I have previously posted about Tom’s Urban 24http://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/toms-urban-24-in-denver-colorado/

I like this diner for two main reasons:  unique, modern food offered in a 24 hour restaurant.  I am going to let the pictures tempt you into trying Tom’s Urban.  Let the pictures marinate in your mind and hopefully cause your mouth to water!2013-02-07_11-43-45_944  This is the Truffled Lobster and Shrimp Pot Pie $24–the king of all pot pies!  Truffled lobster, shrimp, roasted vegetables, truffle gravy, topped with a puff pastry lid.  I literally ate chunks of lobster that were deliciously stored inside this wonderful pot pie.1360283620993Tuscan Kale and Romaine Chicken Caesar $13.50–chargrilled marinated breast of Red Bird chicken, peppercorn Caesar dressing, shaved Parmesan cheese, and grilled lemon.  This is an excellent way to get in your daily dose of greens.  Plus, I am really loving kale lately.  2013-02-07_11-46-53_734Thom’s Urban Super Pho $13–egg, shrimp, chicken, duck garnished with basil, cilantro, mint leaves, chile slices and sprouts.  I am a Pho fan!  This Pho doesn’t disappoint.  It is warm and comforting and very filling.2013-02-07_11-24-47_286Lobster & Shrimp Taco Platter $21–butter-poached lobster and shrimp, Baja slaw, cilantro crema, chipotle sauce on blue corn tortilla, served with seasoned Mexican rice and charro beans.  If you like seafood then you are going to love the lobster and shrimp tacos.  A generous portion of lobster and shrimp await the diner inside these decadent tacos.2013-02-07_11-34-09_830Stranahan’s Whiskey BBQ Ribs $26–chargrilled full slab of ribs.  Stranahan’s Whiskey BBQ sauce, Asian peanut vegetable slaw and sweet potato waffle fries.  My husband was terribly jealous that I got to sink my teeth into these ribs.  I have previously posted about Stranahan’shttp://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/the-tour-of-stranahans-distillery-in-denver-colorado/

If you haven’t made it to Tom’s Urban 24, please give it a try.  Some other menu items that were available during the winter menu tasting:  Tuscan White Bean Dip, Colorado Calamari, Urban Cowboy Egg Bake, NY Strip Steak and Eggs Platter, Tom’s Filet Mignon Pot Pie, Blue Corn Crab Enchiladas, Angus Open-Faced Meatloaf Platter, Fried Chickenlooper with Corn Cakes, and Fried Brussels Sprouts with Asian Vinaigrette.  For more information on these tasty treats please visit:  http://www.tomsurban24.com/menu/

Thank you to denver.eater.com for mentioning lovelivingincolorado!  http://denver.eater.com/archives/2013/02/25/the-early-word-on-toms-urban-24-in-ludo.php

Posted in Blog, Breakfast, Colorado, Denver, Eats, Food, Foodie, Photography, Restaurants, Review, Stranahan's, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Estes Park Recommendations

I recently asked our friend Erika to fill us in on all things Estes Park.  I looked to her for Estes Park recommendations because she grew up in Estes Park.  I therefore consider her an Estes Park authority!  She did not disappoint.  She sent me a wonderful list of Estes Park recommendations and I thought I would share the wealth (thank you Erika!).  Estes Park, Colorado is considered the “Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.”

  1. Aerial Tramway (literally a red box that goes up and down Prospect Mountain).  At the top there are amazing views and hungry chipmunks (they sell peanuts at the top which you can feed them). There’s picnic tables and rock croppings to explore so it’s a great place for a snack and to take in some nature.   http://www.estestram.com/
  2. The View Restaurant at Crag’s Lodge.  It was built in 1914 and maintains its mountainous charm, and yes, the chairs are handmade from when the hotel was built.  Make a reservation for one of the balcony tables.  The views are absolutely stunning and you are basically eating in the trees.  The walnut crusted trout, brie chicken, and steaks are amazing. And who doesn’t love warm brie with berry couli as an appetizer with some wine or beer?  Also, they have live music some nights.  http://www.cragslodge.com/gallery.html
  3. Mary’s Lake Lodge.  This hotel/restaurant/venue is rustic and charming and is open late.  Which is hard to find in Estes.  They usually have live music and a popular bar/grill.  This is a wonderful late night spot with fun people in what seems like the middle of the wilderness.  Definitely worth checking out.  http://www.maryslakelodge.com/dining.htm
  4. Downtown strip (Elkhorn Ave) Now, if you want to do something fun go take an old time photo at one of the shops downtown.  It’s a blast and 100 percent worth the keepsake if you haven’t done it before.  There is a plethora of shops to wonder around and check out.  I always love getting a caramel apple at the ice cream/fudge shops. There’s also a glassblowing place that is fun to check out on the far west side of the downtown strip.  Also, check out the Stanley Hotel.  (the hotel in which Stephen King based his book “the Shining“) http://www.stanleyhotel.com/
  5. If you feel like succumbing to your inner child definitely buy a $1.00 ticket to slide down the Rainbow slides at Fun City.  Down the road a bit there is “Tiny Town Mini Golf” and it is by far the best mini golf course you will ever play.  http://www.funcityofestes.com/
  6. Definitely stop by the Estes Park Brewery and do some beer tasting. http://www.epbrewery.com/
  7. Also in town it’s worth going to the Marina and renting a boat for an hour or two. Delightful!  Or rent a few bikes and take an easy ride around Lake Estes, the entire loop will actually take you behind the dam and you can see the water being held and being released from the dam to the Big Thompson River.  The dog park is right off Lake Estes and you can let your dog go swimming and socialize with the other pups.  http://evrpd.com/marina/marina-info
  8. Other places to eat I would recommend would be “Nepal’s Cafe“, (on backside of downtown strip) they have the best lunch buffet with Naan, noodles, curry, potatoes, Masala, and Chai tea!
  9. Sweet Basilico, this is a little Italian restaurant that has an amazing dinner salad, pizza, and pasta for a very reasonable price.  Tasty! (located by Fun City and the Tramway)
  10. If BBQ is what you’re looking for Dave’s BBQ has some delicious pulled pork and burgers. (by Tiny Town Mini Golf)
  11. If it’s a steakhouse you are looking for, Hunter’s Steakhouse is right by the Marina and has great game.
  12. Also, the best breakfast place is “The Sundeck” which is near Mini Golf.  Their Chorizo, french toast, and strawberries and cream are delicious!
  13. As for the National Park you definitely want to check out, Sprague Lake, Bear Lake, Alberta Falls, and the Alluvial Fan.  All are not challenging hikes and are gorgeous.  Also, you definitely want to drive up Trail Ridge Road.  It’s an exhilarating, scenic drive with many pull offs along the way for photos and a gift shop at the top.  Bring a jacket! Even in the summer it can get chilly.  You can look these up on any RMNP map.
  14. If you want an easy hike off the beaten path check out Lily Lake and St. Malo’s Church (they are not in the same place). http://www.scenicusa.net/090210.html. Both are on the same road passing Mary’s Lake Lodge.  If you go to Lily Lake there is a wonderful picnic location.  http://www.rmnp.com/RMNP-Areas-LilyLake.HTML (on this map there is a trail on the south side of the lake that bubbles out, take this trail instead of the one that runs right along the lake and you will find a picnic table tucked in the woods that’s quiet and peaceful)
  15. There are many hotels that are dog friendly and that have private hot tubs.  Many of which are on Fall River Road.

Guess what we will be doing when the weather warms up–yes, finally taking a trip to discover, explore, and relish in the beauty of Estes Park, “Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.”  Thank you so much Erika for the AWESOME recommendations!!

Posted in Beer, Blog, Breakfast, Breweries, Colorado, Eats, Exercise, Food, Foodie, Front Range, Hiking, History, Mountains, National Park, Park, Restaurants, Review, Road Trip, Rocky Mountains, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment