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Posts Tagged ‘tea’

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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I am so in awe of people who can just up and start their own businesses. That’s what my friend Guy Knox did recently when he opened Red Rock Coffeehouse on Iris and 28th St. in Boulder. Guy had been working in the coffee biz for years when his employer, Peaberry Coffee, closed all its corporate locations — and Guy found himself poised to take all that coffee knowledge and venture out on his own.

He didn’t waste any time. And he didn’t cut corners. His shiny new shop is beautiful, with lovely wood accents, striking photography and some gorgeous custom decor (look up as you enter the shop). It’s a warm, calm, quiet and clean atmosphere that I imagine will continue to grow in popularity with students and the-coffeeshop-is-my-office crowd.

But enough about the ambiance. No one’s going to go to a new coffee shop if the coffee isn’t good. Never fear; Guy did the right thing and sought out a local star as the source of his beans: Kind Coffee. If you’ve ever stopped at the Kind Coffee store in Estes Park, you’ll know what to expect: a robust, slightly creamy espresso — that happens to be fair trade and organic. There are also fancy teas from the Tea Spot and a couple of different (reportedly amazing) chai varieties to choose from. Throw in a few decadent baked goods from Breadworks, and I’m sold.

Red Rock Coffeehouse, Boulder, CO

Red Rock Coffeehouse, Boulder, CO

Hi there, Guy! Your new coffee shop rocks (pun intended).

Red Rock Coffeehouse, Boulder, CO

Red Rock Coffeehouse, Boulder, CO

Ooooh. Look at the gleam on that new machine!

Red Rock Coffeehouse

I love the choice of coffee beans: Kind Coffee out of Estes Park.

Red Rock Coffeehouse, Boulder, CO

Super neato vintage posters from Art Source International on Pearl St.

Red Rock Coffeehouse

Red Rock Coffeehouse, Boulder, CO

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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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