Posts Tagged ‘Things to do in Fort Collins’

St. Paddy’s in Fort Collins

MARCH: St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, Daylight Saving Time, Spring Break, National Nutrition Month, Palm Sunday, Easter….lots going on this month.

So, I would like to start with our town’s Irish roots…there are none! Camp Collins, later Fort Collins, was named after Lt. Col. William Oliver Collins, the popular commander of Ohio Cavalry troops whose headquarters were at Fort Laramie. The genealogy of Collins is English and/or Irish (Ó Coileáin) and that is as close as we get to Irish heritage in Northern Colorado.

Last Friday, we met friends at Lucky Joe’s in Old Town for their tasty Irish coffee: Jameson Irish Whiskey, brown sugar, fresh hot coffee, and homemade sweet cream. The presentation is what really elevates their coffee to “the best Irish coffee in Fort Collins!” Each cup is topped off with a cinnamon design. My wife and I ended up with a shamrock and our friends had a panda bear. #bestirishcoffee

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One of the McElroy St. Paddy’s traditions is making Irish coffee. Our recipe of choice is from the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco. Real cream is used, not whipped cream in the can.

Irish Coffee…the drink of music and magic…was conceived by Joe Sheridan at Shannon Airport. Stanton Delaplane discovered it there and brought it back to San Francisco. In 1952, Delaplane asked The Buena Vista to recreate the drink and today you can head to the end of the cable car line to get a cup of authentic Irish Coffee, just as it is served in Shannon. (Or, come to my home!)

1.    Fill glass mug with very hot water to pre-heat, then empty water.

2.    Pour hot coffee into hot glass until it is about ¾ full. Drop in 3 sugar cubes.

3.    Stir until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved.

4.    Add a full jigger of Irish Whiskey.

5.    Top with a collar of lightly whipped whipping cream by POURING GENTLY OVER A SPOON. (by pouring over the spoon, the coffee and whipping cream do not mix and you have a beautiful layering of your Irish Coffee).

What are your favorite Saint Patrick’s Day traditions?

10 Free March Things to Do in Fort Collins

Where is all of our March snow? Thankfully not on the ground. This sunshine has been wonderful…it certainly has me thinking of Spring already and I’m sure you are as well.

Whether you’re feeling the call of Spring or just want to get out of the house, try one or all of these FREE (or mostly free) events in the month of March. #FreeFort CollinsThingsToDo

1. Spend 2 hours on a Fort Collins Historical Walking Tour by downloading the free brochure, http://static1.squarespace.com/static/51a3ad7ce4b0cf20ca0a3afc/t/51a8ce0ee4b02f35a70d1f13/1370017294885/Historic+Walking+Tour.pdf.

2. The Margaret Brown Collection is among the largest and most important donations of historic costume to the Poudre Landmark Foundation. The exhibit offers a beautiful, extensive range of fashion of fine womenswear, mid-1800s to mid-1900s. Saturdays & Sundays, 1-4 p.m. Free but we suggest a donation of $3 per person. http://poudrelandmarks.org/photos-ah-exhibit-2016-margaret-brown-collection.

3. The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising is Colorado State University’s historic costume and textiles collection. Its mission is the exploration of the aesthetic, social, cultural and physical significance of textiles, dress and interior furnishings. Blackwell: Artist of Subtle Witchery, http://avenir.colostate.edu. Free admission.

4. Winter Farmers Market, March 12 and 19.Free music, food and drink samples and a great downtown vibe. Opera Galleria, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Opera-Galleria/172344802813993.

5. Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 12, 10:00AM and Old Town Irish Party 10:00-5:00, http://downtownfortcollins.com/events/lucky-joes-st-patricks-day-parade.

6. Spring Holistic Fair March 12-13. http://holistic-fairs.com. $6 one day, $9 weekend, $1 discount with non-perishable food donation or go to website and BUY 1 GET 1 FREE.

7. Foodie Walk, March 18, 6:00-8:00PM. A different theme each month with participating businesses offering free samples. http://www.thesourcedowntown.com/foodie-walk.

8. 9th Annual Seed Swap & Giveaway in partnership with the Poudre River Public Library District and The Growing Project. Saturday, March 5, 2016, 10:00-2:00. Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St. Trade your seeds, knowledge & resources. Free seeds, seed-starting soil, seed packets, talks by expert gardeners. See the website for times: http://read.poudrelibraries.org/events.

9. First Friday Art Walk: http://www.thesourcedowntown.com/first-friday-gallery-walk.

10. Poudre River Public Library District not only has books and media to check out, but there are FREE classes, discussions and concerts. Explore genealogy, computer programs, Ugly Craft Night, meet authors, participate in global discussions and be part of a book group. March 11, 7:00-8:30 Harmony in the Round traditional Celtic music performed by the trio, “The Unfortunate Rakes”. http://read.poudrelibraries.org/events.

What are your favorite free things to do around town?

Discovering the Discovery Center

Even after living in Fort Collins for over 40 years, we still find new things to enjoy. Over the holidays, we renewed our Family Plus membership at the Fort Collins Discovery Museum. While at the museum we watched Dream to Fly in the Digital Dome, dodged kids in…errr…explored a bit of the museum (we look forward to trying their adults only night), and purchased a gift at the museum shop.

Last week we used our Family Plus membership for free passage into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Here are ten benefits in joining and supporting this wonderful cultural and science center as a Family Plus Member.

  1. You are supporting our local nonprofit museum.
  2. Free unlimited access to the Discovery Museum for a year. Pop over or just hangout in the 27 million dollar facility. Grab a craft coffee at Flat Hat Coffee Shop.
  3. The pass gives you free unlimited general admission for up to 4 adults and 8 children to more than 350 science centers and museums in 20 countries. In Denver, that amounts to $10-$15/ person at the Museum of Nature & Science. Heading to warmer climates? You can get free admission to two Balboa Park museums in San Diego.
  4. You receive 6 free Digital Dome passes for the year. The dome is a state-of-the-art theater that immerses you in a planetarium experience or short film with its 36′ diameter, 360° screen! A slightly dizzying, but very cool experience.
  5. You get a 10% discount at The Cache museum store. They carry unique gifts, many with a CO history slant.
  6. You get a 10% discount on education, workshops, and adults-only programs.
  7. Free photo copies at The Archive, the history research library at the museum. Last year, I used The Archive to find information for one of my real estate listings that was built in the 1800’s. I was able to go through old phone books, photos, and records. Basically, property genealogy research! While researching, Teresa and I took a break to look up our name in phone books from the 1970’s when we moved to town.
  8. Head up to the 42′ high Observation Deck and look at Fort Collins from a bird’s perspective. It isn’t Top of the Rock in NYC, but heck, we have the mountains to look at!
  9. In the permanent collection, you can see artifacts collected north of Fort Collins from the Paleoindian Period, 13,000-6,000 BC. Wow!
  10. If you love music, attend the the After Hours events. Connect with fellow musicians at Museum Meetup; attend special events (checkout DJ Spooky: the Hidden Code, happening on Jan 22nd); jam with friends or strangers at The Music Garage, record a session, or try out a variety of instruments.

Check out the museum here.

Find out more about the memberships here.

What new discoveries in Fort Collins have you made?

 

Tuesday 10: Listening to Autumn

My favorite youngest daughter loves to read. When she was a child, she would cuddle up with a book instead of a stuffed animal and go to sleep at night. In 1993 a wonderful children’s book was released authored by Paul Showers and illustrated by Ailiki, called The Listening Walk. We gave it to her for her birthday in October and a few days later she said, “Daddy, let’s go for our own listening walk, just like the story.” In our busy 21st century lives, taking time to listen to the world around us takes dedication to having an experience where you are living 100% in the moment.

With a Bi-week for the Rams and Broncos, I spent a lot of time outdoors over the weekend and decided to listen to the sounds of autumn:

IMG_20141019_1643390361. Canada Geese are heading south and Fort Collins has a history with this species, introduced to the area by two Fort Collins Wildlife Biologists in the late 50’s-early 60’s (Jack Grieb and Gurney Crawford). As I was raking leaves, I heard them overhead. Some birds seem to have a singular sound when flying, but Canada Geese are a chorus with their note range. Sometimes all you can hear is the whirring of their 4’-6’ wingspan.

2. We walked our dog through the neighborhood and as we approached a big weeping willow tree, we could hear buzzing. Under the canopy of the tree, we discovered it was alive with a deafening sound of yellow jackets!

3. Our friend, Kathy, says her favorite part of Fall is listening to the sound of leaves crunching under your feet when walking through them. Remember as a kid piling leaves up in mound and jumping into them?

4. In our yard, we have a variety of deciduous trees which change colors and drop their leaves over several weeks. The good news is that you can hear the leaves falling from the trees for weeks. The bad news is there are leaves on the lawn nonstop for a month!

5. With our mild temperatures this year, we can still hear the flies outside. As long as they aren’t bothering me, I can be amazed at how such a small insect can make such a big sound.

6. Xeriscaping with native grasses bring a wonderful dimension to one’s landscape. I was raised in Nebraska where the prairie is endless. Stand in the middle of a field of grasses on a breezy day and you can see and hear the “waves”, not unlike the ocean.

7. Last year, my wife and daughter decided to create a sound garden in our front yard. Among other things, they planted tall grasses and added two wind chimes. The bamboo wind chime and Corinthian bells wind chime have a repertoire of their own depending upon how gentle or pronounced our winds blow.

8. Shortly after moving into our home in 1996, my wife requested that we create a small pond. As a family, we spent one Sunday digging the hole and creating our little water feature. Although it is simple compared to many I have seen, it is our special place to enjoy the sound of water.

9. Have you ever listened to the “brush” of a rake as it passes through grass on its way to gathering leaves. The rhythm can be hypnotic!

10. And what would a listening list be without the ambient sounds of a plane overhead, a lawn mower in the distance, or the barking of a dog?

Tuesday 10: Great Colorado Hotels

Next week, my wife and I celebrate our 42nd anniversary. Some years, like this one, we enjoy a quiet night with good food, and others we celebrate with a staycation close to home.

Fort Collins makes it easy to take mini vacations. If we feel like the mountains, there’s Estes Park an hour away. If it’s city, museums, and theatre, we drive the hour to Denver. If it’s beer and a visit with our favorite middle daughter, it’s an hour to Boulder and Avery Brewing. We’re pretty lucky.

As fall takes hold and special occasions abound, take a staycation close to home and experience one of our wonderful Colorado historic hotels, not in any particular order:

1.Stanley Hotel, Estes. A few summers ago, we checked into the Stanley and requested that they give us a room on the second floor, away from the third floor and its resident ghosts. After a relaxing cocktail on the veranda looking up at the full moon, we retired to our room. In the middle of the night, our peaceful sleep was interrupted by a pounding on the door from the adjacent room. We sat straight up in bed and waited for another sound. Was it our imagination? Nope. All of us woke at the same time and all of us remembered the knocking. In the morning at check-out, we thanked the staff for not putting us on the third floor because of the ghosts. Then we were told, “oh, you were adjacent to the most haunted room in the hotel where Stephen King wrote “The Shining”. http://www.stanleyhotel.com/

2. Brown Palace, Denver. What’s not to love about “The Brown”? When our daughters were young, we would go take an overnight journey to Denver at Christmas time to experience all of the festive events. One year, the valet took our car as we unpacked and prepared to go to Zoo Lights. We called for the car and were told that management needed to speak to us in person. The valet had crashed our Minivan in the parking garage and the manager wanted to know how to create a better experience for us at the Brown (with the whole side of our car crunched). We had heard about “the Beatle Suite” where the Beatles stayed in 1964, so I requested the suite and flowers for my wife. My Dad always said, “shoot for the moon”, and I did. The Brown accommodated our request and it was quite the memorable evening! http://www.brownpalace.com/

3. Broadmoor, Colorado Springs. The Colorado Association of Realtors held its annual convention at the Broadmoor for 40 years. Some years our daughters would join us, in particular when I was incoming President in 1993 and outgoing President in 1994. It was another favorite Christmastime destination. Nothing beats the “fairy lights” of the Broadmoor on a crisp December evening as you walk around the lake. http://www.broadmoor.com

Broadmoor at Christmas time

Broadmoor

4. Armstrong Hotel, Fort Collins. My wife and I became tourists one night and stayed at the Armstrong in downtown Fort Collins. It was a blast! We first attended a CSU Basketball game, checked into the lovely hotel, had dinner at Sonny Lubick’s and ended with a nightcap at Ace Gillette’s. The next morning it was coffee and croissants at Le Creperie and then we made our way back home feeling like we had traveled miles away. http://thearmstronghotel.com/

5. Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs. Another haunted treasure in Colorado! We love Glenwood Springs from the hot springs to the Pullman Restaurant to hiking Hanging Lake. The Colorado Association of Realtors has held several conferences in this hotel and we always look forward to going there. Ask me about our haunted experience at the Hotel Colorado…. It’s even better than the night at the Stanley! http://www.hotelcolorado.com/

6. Oxford Hotel, Denver. My wife and I went to Denver for one of their 5280 specials in December one year (Mile High Holiday Hotel Deals). The hotel opened in 1891 and is as charming as it gets. We often have fun eating dinner at the bar in a restaurant, chatting with bartenders and surrounding patrons. The Cruise Room is a dynamite post-prohibition style bar with great food and drinks. http://www.theoxfordhotel.com/

7. Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center- This year, we celebrated my birthday at this new favorite Downtown Denver hotel. Former home to the Colorado National Bank, the soaring lobby is filled with Alan Tupper True murals. A client of mine is the granddaughter of Alan True, American illustrator, easel painter and muralist who specialized in depicting the American West. This 1915 treasure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Not only is the building breathtaking, but the service is impeccable. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, stop into the bar for a drink or head toward the stairs and watch the video on the amazing Alan True and his soulful depiction of native americans. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dendr-renaissance-denver-downtown-city-center-hotel/

8. Cliff House at Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs. Our daughter spent 3 years in college in Colorado Springs and Parents Weekend happened to correspond with our anniversary one year. So, we spent the night in this lovely little hotel tucked into the mountains in Manitou Springs. A fireplace in the room took the chill off an October evening and breakfast in the morning looking out over colorful autumn leaves was most memorable. http://www.thecliffhouse.com/

9. Hotel Teatro, Denver. The Ju Ju Bistro was a family favorite after attending matinees at the Buell. It was the first place we had truffle fries and the addiction began. Gone are the family theatre days and sadly, the Ju Ju is no longer at the hotel. However, the restaurants continue to serve wonderful food. Our daughters loved to use the restroom in the downstairs level because the walls are filled with theatrical costumes. Originally built in 1911 as the Denver Tramway Building, the elegance of the marble flooring and wainscoting was a perfect segue as the building was transformed into a first class hotel. http://www.hotelteatro.com/

10. Strater Hotel ,Durango. Nothing captures the 1880s west as a visit to the Strater Hotel . We attended a conference in Durango and were housed in this fun and funky hotel. Surrounded by the San Juan Mountains, it is a place to kick back and enjoy Colorado at its finest. http://strater.com/

What’s your favorite Colorado hotel?

Tuesday 10: Our Favorite Things About Living in Fort Collins

My wife and I love meeting new people when we travel. We will strike up a conversation and the first question is usually, “where are you from?”. When Colorado is mentioned, 99/100 people will say, “what a beautiful state!”. Normally, we respond, “the beauty is in the people that live in Colorado.”

That being said, here are my Tuesday Ten Favorite Things about this beautiful city we call home:

1. The people. We are a community of warm and generous residents. On a monthly basis, we “pass the hat” at The Group and raise up to several thousands of dollars for someone in need.

2. Colorado State University. My wife and I specifically moved to Fort Collins in 1974 because we love the atmosphere and diversity of a college town.

3. The weather. Having grown up in Nebraska, we love an area with four seasons. Trees and flowers reinvent themselves every spring after resting for the winter. Living in the “banana belt”, we often play golf year ’round.

4. Music. Our daughter lives in Austin, Live Music Capital of the World. In the last 5-8 years, Fort Collins has become a center of musical richness.

5. A great place to raise a family. Having raised three daughters in Fort Collins, I can attest to the amazing activities, sports and schools in our town. Often times Fort Collins is described as being a bubble in the real world. It is true that we live in an extremely safe, nurturing and caring community. Remember…Disneyland is modeled after Fort Collins!

6. Opportunities to grow. You can fill your calendar with all of the classes available to expand your horizons: art, music, dancing, language, gardening, financial planning, and more.

7. Nicknames. For years, Fort Collins was known as the Choice City. As our town and area has grown, we have numerous monikers that describe where we live: The Napa Valley of Beer (2015 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medal winners in Northern Colorado: “WeldWerks Hefeweizen” WeldWerks in Greeley, “Fearless Youth” and “Snowdrop” Grimm Brothers in Loveland, “Oktoberfest” Fort Collins Brewery and “Friar Chuck” Black Bottle Brewery in Fort Collins); Fort Fun; The Fort; FoCo (FOrt COllins); and NoCo (NOrthern COlorado).

8. Festivals and Special Events. Pick a day…. any day… there is always something cool happening in Fort Collins.

9. Geography. Mountains, prairies, hills, valleys, lakes, and rivers are at our fingertips to enjoy the great outdoor lifestyle. The ONLY thing missing is an ocean. But heck, hop a plane in Denver and in 2-4 hours you can be on the west coast, east coast or Mexico.

10. Healthy Life. Clean air, organic food, recycling, exercise, mental and physical activates, community involvement…. these qualities are important to my family and a majority of the residents of Fort Collins. This is what makes our town so great!

Fort Collins was recently ranked within the top 15 cities for best places to live in Livability.com. Check it out here.

What is your favorite thing about Fort Collins?

Tuesday 10: Colorado Leaf Peeping

My wife and I arrived in Colorado from Nebraska in the summer of 1974.  One weekend late in September we took a trip to Aspen and were blown away by the colors along the way. The first snow of the season had dusted the pine and aspen trees with white powder and the effect was breathtaking! We made a vow to duplicate the same trip every year. 

Over the years we learned that autumn in Colorado is never the same. Some years we have snow and cold in September and some years summer continues to bless us with warm weather until October.  Two years ago we joined friends on a journey through New England and discovered the term “leaf peeping”. This means the full experience of traveling through the countryside and experiencing the colors of fall foliage.

 In Colorado, we happen to have five different climate zones so our leaf peeping season can last from mid-September to mid-November. Lucky us! Depending upon the elevation, one can enjoy spectacular colors in the mountains and on the plains. As a rule of thumb, from mid-September to early October, the aspen are changing above 9,500 feet. Late September to mid-October, the aspen will change from 7,000 to 9,000 feet. Most of October, the color blazes on trees from 6,000 to 8,000 feet. And finally, early October to mid-November all of the trees throughout Colorado’s plains and foothills are dancing with autumn colors.  This past week we were in Keystone for the annual Colorado Association of REALTORS state convention. The colors were close to perfect so I suggest you go to the higher elevations….. ASAP! If you want to see a map of leaf peeping in Colorado, go to the 9News Colorado website and look for When and where to see the fall colors in Colorado. #LeafPeepingColorado.  

Here are my Tuesday Ten Colorado Leaf Peeping Picks:

1. Rocky Mountain National Park. We are lucky to have this beautiful national treasure in our backyard! Not only can you enjoy the autumn colors, but you can be awed by the elk bugling.

2. The Autumn Gold Festival in Estes Park is this weekend, September 26-27.  A festival of bands, brats, beer and family activities.

3. Also in Estes is the 18th Annual Elk Fest, October 3-4. Hop an elk-viewing bus, participate in a bugling contest, experience the Mountain Man Rendezvous or enjoy the native American music, dancing and storytelling.

4. Bike along the Poudre River trail.

5. Pack a picnic lunch and pick your favorite hiking trail in the Poudre Canyon.

6. Spend an overnight in the Red Feather Lakes area.

7. Go to breakfast up Rist Canyon

8. Head out to Pawnee National Grasslands for bird watching.

9. Drive the Cache La Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway.

10. Read a book outside and experience the wonderful state in which we live!

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What is your favorite thing about autumn?