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Posts Tagged ‘Boulder’

I figure I’ve hiked Boulder’s Mt. Sanitas trail somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 times during the 19 years I’ve lived in the Boulder area. I know there are many people who have hiked it a whole lot more than I have, whose counts are in the thousands and who regularly scale mountains 10 times as high — but I have to marvel a little bit about why I’ve kept going back over the years.

Each time it is a thigh-trembling, heart-hammering, oxygen-gulping experience. Often there is cursing.

Truth be told, the last three years have seen only two or three of those treks (something about having a kid, starting your own business, getting old…blah blah blah). So when I headed up two weeks ago — on one of those shining, 50-degree days we’ve been having this winter — it was like reuniting with an old friend.

Mountain Sanitas, Boulder, CO

Self portrait on Mt. Sanitas. Tired but happy.

I was reminded of everything I love and hate about the trail at once. I always choose the Western route up — it’s steeper, but shorter. Before long, I start to sound like a asthmatic bulldog. But just when I’m barely managing to place one pathetic, plodding step after the other, I’ll spot a welcoming little turnout, with that heartening view of Boulder sprawling out below. Or sometimes a flatter, more forgiving part of the path emerges. I catch my breath and start anew, thinking, “I might actually make it to the top today!” Only to be passed by an 80-year-old jogging up the damn thing. And the whole cycle starts again.

Mt. Sanitas, hikers, Boulder, CO

Fellow hikers often include small children, dogs and elderly folks — all of whom are usually bounding past me.

Until I get to the top. And then it’s just pure endorphins. I actually have to restrain myself from hugging all those other sweaty, smiling people perched on the rocky outcroppings, sucking down water and drinking in the views.

On the way down, my legs always feel like jello for the first five minutes, and I think, am I going to be the first person in Boulder history to have to be air-lifted off Mt. Sanitas? But then, miraculously, my legs get used to the pounding, downhill motion, and by the time I reach my car, I’m positively giddy and pretty sure I could do it all over again, right then and there.

Mt. Sanitas, Boulder, CO

So on this hike two weeks ago, I promised myself I’d make time to come back more often. In fact, I headed back yesterday, just before the snow storm moved in. It was much colder — and tougher — than the previous time. But in the end, I found myself sending up a little thank you to the clouds for holding off just long enough for me to make it to the top and back, one more time.

Bird on Mt. Sanitas, Boulder, CO

This robin seemed to be assessing the air as a winter storm moved in.

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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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This flawless autumn day in Boulder had us seeking as much outdoor time as possible. Claire and I took advantage at Scott Carpenter Park (which recently made news when astronaut Scott Carpenter visited for a rededication ceremony). We ran around on the playground, walked along the Boulder Creek path and ran up and down the still-vibrant green hills. The ice cream truck made a call, probably the last we’ll see this year, so we dashed across the sprawling lawn to make sure we didn’t miss out. Claire’s pick: a Spongebob Squarepants popsicle, loaded with yellow and red dye #20. Wheee!
Scott Carpenter Park, Boulder, Colorado

Scott Carpenter Park, Boulder, Colorado

Scott Carpenter Park, Boulder, Colorado

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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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So, yeah. It’s been awhile since my last post. I’ve still been out enjoying Boulder as much as ever, but a busy work schedule has kept me from telling you all about it for the past few months.

I’m also eight months pregnant, and late nights in front of the laptop just don’t happen much anymore.

I’m hoping that my approaching new-parent status will inspire me to write more about my adventures in Boulder from new perspectives. In fact, I thought I’d start right now.

During this long, hot summer, during which I’ve swelled to the size of a hippopotamus, I have discovered new, pregnant-friendly places in Boulder (I now know all the best restrooms on Pearl Street, for instance).

I wanted to tell you about one special place, in particular, that tops my list: A Mellow Mood spa. Billing itself as a “family spa,” A Mellow Mood specializes in prenatal and postnatal spa treatments by miracle worker Heather Lynn. She’s one of those people who you’re around for one minute before you’re smiling and realizing her infectiousness has transformed your mood. Not only is she just a sweet gal, but her knowledge of the pregnant body and how to position it just right for a joint-relieving, muscle-reviving massage (LOTS of squishy pillows are involved) is also unmatched. She’ll even give baby an in-utero massage, if you choose.

What makes A Mellow Mood a “family” spa? On-the-spot childcare is available for parents who need some pampering but can’t find a babysitter. There are plenty of other special touches, too, including freshly baked cookies to top off your already delicious spa treatment.

A Mellow MoodIn these last days of my pregnancy, I’m hoping to make it back to Heather Lynn for a final pampering session before, well, everything changes. I’m also hoping to make a few more blog posts, but if the little one has other plans, then I’ll see you sometime…on the other side.

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Cello by stevendepolo on Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by stevendepolo, Flickr Creative Commons

Sadly, it has been many moons since Eric and I were good, supportive friends and made it to a Boulder Chamber Orchestra to hear our dear friend and cellist Rebecca Holley play. But we finally made it to a performance on Friday night at the First Congressional Church of Boulder.

The evening’s theme was Sounds of the Countryside, and although the pieces seemed obscure (at least to a classical music ignoramus such as myself), they were the most approachable and enjoyable I’ve heard the BCO play.

The first was made up of selections from Ten Armenian Songs and Dances by an Armenian composer named Komitas Vardapet. Upon introducing the pieces, Bahman Saless, the musical director and conductor, noted that the songs were intended to include some folk drumming, but as they couldn’t find anyone, they’d have to do without. A fellow in the audience stood and said “Excuse me, but I’m actually a drummer. I could stand in if you wish.” In faux surprise, Bahaman agreed that, why yes, that would be wonderful. The audience had a good chuckle and the drummer joined the orchestra on stage with his hand-held drum.

For the second piece, a clarinet concerto by Gerald Finzi, the featured soloist of the evening, clarinetist Jerome Fleg, made his appearance and impressed the audience with the sweet, floating sounds of his instrument. I was transported to a scene from a Disney movie, with little bluebirds and butterflies flitting around.

The final selection was An English Suite by Hubert Parry, a delightful, head-bopping composition that really did capture the essence of the English countryside.

With each piece, Bahman gave his take on why the music is historically significant and called out a few unique features to listen for during the performance. For example, he explained why he so admires Parry’s talent for symphonic composition and his ability to extend the melody through several bars before bringing it “back home.”

As I was looking around the crowd, which consisted largely of elderly folk and families of the musicians, I got to thinking that more people really should know about this experience. It’s not as stodgy and boring as you might think. Bhaman makes a concerted effort to bring some fun and learning into the equation — and he suceeds. And at the very least, you’ll find yourself in the sanctuary of a small church or theater, turning off your iPhone or Blackberry and getting carried away by the music — even if it is to drift off with your own thoughts.

Their next performance is The Lyricists, featuring violinist Lindsay Deutsch on April 2–3.

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More friends are undertaking an exciting new business venture (suck it, recession). The lovely Suzanne Moore and her husband Ian, with business partner Matt Notter, have opened a new sports bar in Boulder at 28th Street and Bluff (just south of Valmont).

Over the years, I’ve witnessed Suzanne’s hubby Ian hone his finely tuned bartending skills at the neighborhood joint Outback Saloon, just down the street. (Suzanne and I honed our finely tuned drink-sipping skills here, too, and at places all over Boulder, oftentimes after long days working at Blue Mountain Arts, where we met.) Now Ian’s come into his own as barman extraordinaire with the opening of his 28th Street Tavern.

Ian Moore and Matt, 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

Congrats, Matt and Ian.

Eric and I attended the grand opening and were blown away by the beautifully renovated space, which includes a nice loooong bar, a small stage for live music, a juke box, a billards room, dart boards and a back patio.

The Grand Opening of the 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

Photo by Eric Gray.

The Grand Opening of the 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

How cool is this room? This where we hung out the most. Photo by Eric Gray.

The Grand Opening of the 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

Photo by Eric Gray.

The tavern is painted in warm reds and has spiffy new wood floors. We spent most of SuperBowl Sunday afternoon there, along with a huge grand opening crowd, watching the game on the big-screen TVs and sipping Ian’s yummy cocktails. I was drinking cranberry vodkas, but I hear the bloody Marys are to die for.

The Grand Opening of the 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

Well hello, lovely ladies. That's Suzanne on the right. She doesn't look a bit like she's been working 20-hour days helping to get this bar open.

28th Street Tavern has great happy hour deals on weekdays 4-7pm (oh how I LOVE a happy hour that goes until 7pm!) and all day Sunday. So now you’ve got an irrefutable reason to go check it out.

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