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Archive for the ‘Pearl Street’ Category

This year, we have a little one in our family who has a burgeoning obsession with Santa Claus. So when I heard he was making a visit to Pearl Street to help Switch on the Holidays, I knew we had to be there.

The weather this year is anything but frightful, so we gathered with hoards of other families in front of the courthouse in the early evening on Sunday. Around 5pm, the Boulder Chorale came onstage and sang a few carols. Then at last, Santa appeared atop the courthouse, gave a wave and, in a flash, was down on the stage in front of us (with Mrs. Claus at his side).

And with a “ho, ho, ho,” the strings of Christmas lights draped across Pearl Street, winding up trees and bedazzling the courthouse came alive. Claire shrieked with excitement!

Boulder Chorale, Switch on the Holidays in downtown Boulder

Switch on the Holidays, downtown Boulder 2012

Santa makes an appearance!

Switch on the Holidays, downtown Boulder 2012

The big man himself.

Switch on the Holidays, downtown Boulder 2012

Ta-da!

Switch on the Holidays, downtown Boulder 2012

Switch on the Holidays, downtown Boulder 2012

Winter wonder.

We wanted to stay for the free ice skating show at One Boulder Plaza, but our rumbling tummies called us away to dinner. We’ll be back next year to catch the first annual glimpse of Santa Claus, the lighting of downtown Boulder and all the festivities. Maybe with a thermos of hot cider in hand next time!

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In light of National Geographic Traveler naming Boulder one of the world’s Top 10 Winter Towns, I thought I’d put together my list of favorite ways to enjoy Boulder in the wintertime:

1. Glide Around the Ice Rink at One Boulder Plaza

Each winter, the little courtyard at One Boulder Plaza becomes a delightfully old-timey ice rink, complete with music, twinkling lights and an oval shape. Okay, it’s no Rockefeller Center, but it’s usually not very crowded and is fun to hook arms with your sweetie and take a leisurely spin. On Tuesdays, if you bring a can of food to donate, you’ll get discounted admission!

2. Sip a Steaming Cup of Tea at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Boulder’s lovely teahouse, located downtown (very near the Ice Rink at One Boulder Plaza), was a gift from our sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan. It was shipped here in pieces and assembled in the late 90s. Inside, trickling fountains, leafy plants and intricately carved and painted walls and ceilings make an exotic winter escape. Order a little pot of tea from the menu of more than 80 flavors, sit back and warm up as you admire the artwork that is this unique building.

3. Get Cozy Inside a Warm Brewpub

Much to the dismay of my waistline, wintertime always has me craving hearty fare. Maybe a big basket of onion rings, a batch of warm, freshly baked pretzels or a cup of cheesy soup. Boulder’s brewpubs are the place to go for this kind of stick-to-your-ribs sustenance. And best of all, you can wash it all down with a handcrafted beer. Perhaps a pint of Buff Gold at The Walnut Brewery, Java Porter at Mountain Sun or Feisty Fiddler IPA at the Boulder Draft House. Or you might opt to go on the Boulder Brew Bus tour to experience Boulder’s legendary microbreweries on a deeper level.

4. Stretch to New Limits with Hot Yoga

Boulder might just have as many yoga studios as Seattle has coffee shops. There’s one on every corner. And one winter-friendly trend among them is Birkram and hot yoga classes, where the room is typically heated to over 100 degrees. The warmth allows muscles to really stretch and your body to detoxify through sweat — which feels surprisingly wonderful in the middle of winter. Yoga Pod and CorePower Yoga are two Boulder studios that offer hot yoga.

5. Take Advantage of Sunny Days with Winter Hiking

Okay, let’s face it. Even though it can be a bit chilly here, Boulder’s average temperature during the heart of winter is somewhere around 46-49 — not exactly arctic conditions. There are enough mild days to make it possible to get out and hike or snowshoe just about anytime of year. One of my favorite winter trails is the Shanahan Trail, starting at the Cragmoor Road trailhead. A relatively easy loop takes you through open meadows and pine forests, with beautiful views of the Flatirons.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Boulder in wintertime?

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From the owners of Violette — you know, that cute-as-pie clothing shop next to Bliss on Pearl and 17th — comes a new boutique called Lilli, located just across the street. I stopped by the other day to check it out, and despite the alarmingly unnecessary comma in their sign (see below) and the matronly clothes in the front window (the shop is clearly aiming to balance out Violette’s younger demographic), I was pleasantly surprised and tempted by plenty of stylish garments inside. Among them: a cream bohemian blouse that would great with skinny jeans and cognac boots and a lot of comfy (yet adorably cut) jersey tops, cardigans and dresses.

Lilli

Lilli on Pearl - Love Boulder Blog

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Firefly Handmade Holiday Craft Show

You won’t see any “Bless This Home” wooden plaques or teddy-bear adorned quilts at this particular craft market. Boulder’s crafters have really upped the hip factor on handmade goods, and the dozens of vendors at today’s Firefly Handmade Holiday Market (happening all weekend in the Boulder Co-Op space at Pearl and 19th) is proof.

The creativity and quality at this show was staggering. The only problem? These savvy crafters know they’ve got a good thing going, and consequently, the prices reflect it. But if you’re looking for truly unique, one-of-a-kind, locally made gifts — and you’re willing to drop a little more for quality — make sure you stop by tomorrow between 10am and 3pm.

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Are high unemployment rates good for coffee shop business, as more people seek an office away from home? Well, if it’s any indication, there are now four coffee shops within a three-and-a-half-block span on Pearl Street’s East End. And they all seem to be busy pretty much nonstop: Laughing Goat, The Cup, Starbucks (not exactly everyone’s favorite locavore hot spot, but still…) and, now, Atlas Purveyors.

I stopped in Atlas (at the corner of 15th and Pearl) for the first time this weekend to grab a latte. I never had occasion to visit while the location was a tea shop (until a about a month or two ago), but it appears the tea theme has carried over in a pretty big way. They have a wall-o-tea lined with beautiful jars full of loose tea leaves. I asked about one with bright periwinkle-blue flecks in it and was told it’s a creamy Earl Grey. Um, I’ll be trying that next time.

They also had a case full of luscious-looking baked goods. Unlike last weekend, I managed to resist and stuck to just my latte. It was decent. Not as smooth as I like it, but not offensive by any means.

Atlas was very busy on this Saturday afternoon. Just about every table was taken (granted, there aren’t that many). But I managed to grab a seat; take a moment to decompress from a day of ballet class, Christmas shopping and errand running; and soak up the atmosphere.

A couple of the walls are covered entirely with chalk-board surface and display some amazing drawings. One guy was creating some new masterpieces while I was there.

Atlas Purveyors, chalk drawings, Boulder, CO

Something about the place relaxed me, and I found myself inspired and warmed by the sun coming in the window.

I glanced around and saw couples chatting, a mother and daughter sitting side-by-side on a couch, each reading their own book, students working away on laptops and plenty of characters strolling by outside the window. For a minute or two, it was nice just to get absorbed in watching other people’s lives.

Hopefully the shop won’t mind if “that weird girl who stares at people and takes pictures of glasses full of chalk” comes back now and then.

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I’ve been meaning to check out this new-ish place on 21st and Pearl Street called Joyful Furniture.  You know that I do love a good thrift or consignment shop. This one’s got a little twist.

The folks at this workshop/store reclaim old, discarded furniture. They refinish pieces with “good bones” in great new colors and stains and add spiffy new hardware — ultimately saving them from the landfill. A pretty joyful concept. They will also custom refinish pieces for you.

Yesterday I spotted some great desks, dining tables, chairs and other pieces — some of which are still waiting to be refinished to customer specifications — but I actually found their artist-made accessories, jewelry and artwork to be among the shop’s highlights.

Joyful Furniture, Boulder, CO

Chairs and dressers awaiting refinishing

Joyful Furniture, Boulder, CO

Felted, lavendar-filled decorative pillows

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After burning a bunch of calories in my ballet class yesterday, I decided to replace every last one of them (and then some) by stopping in Tee & Cakes for a little treat. It was my first time in, driven by one of their frequent Twitter promotions.

I chose this little lopsided, orphaned red velvet cupcake and promptly gave it a warm home. In my belly.

Tee & Cakes, bakery and tee shirts, Boulder, CO

The cake was moist, yet the tiniest bit crispy on top (which seems to be a yummy common characteristic of all red velvet cupcakes), and the frosting was a heavenly balance of buttery and sweet — not cloying like the frosting you buy at the supermarket.

Tee & Cakes, bakery and tee shirts, Boulder, CO

I washed it down with a delicious, piping-hot cup of local, organic apple cider.

Tee & Cakes, bakery and tee shirts, Boulder, CO

The small shop was hoppin’ with folks loading up on a dozen cupcakes at a time and cooing over the rack of clever t-shirts (hence the name Tee & Cakes). Apparently, they are so busy on Saturdays that they have a one-dozen limit per customer.

Sufficiently amped up on sugar and warmed by the cider, I headed out for a stroll on Pearl Street and stopped to join a crowd listening to an elementary school chime choir playing Christmas carols. Adorable.

Eagle Elementary Chime Choir, Boulder, CO

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