The Definitive Guide to Denver and Colorado

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COLORADO’S HIDDEN TREASURE

in Dining & Nightlife/Front Range Activities/Front Range Attractions/Front Range Dining & Nightlife/Front Range Shopping/Shopping/Uncategorized by

GOLDEN, COLORADO SHINES OUT WEST

by BRITTANY BANDEMER

It’s no secret that Colorado’s real estate market is booming, spurred by an influx of out-of-staters making the Centennial state their home. While many consider Denver or Boulder favorable places to settle down, they often overlook one of Colorado’s most beautiful and understated municipalities: the city of Golden.

Golden rests in a basin against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, below the North and South Table Mountains. On one side the city is marked by the prominent “M” for the School of Mines; on the other with the infamous “G” of Golden. Golden’s prime location serves as a focal point between Denver, Boulder and Evergreen, and offers a direct route to Black Hawk and canyon access – bypassing traffic to the slopes.

The city’s history is traced to its establishment in 1859. Proudly proclaimed across its welcome banner in the heart of downtown, Golden’s slogan is simply, “Where the West Lives,” and this declaration couldn’t be truer. This city is rich in history and continues to embody that spirit with barn wood trimmings, stucco-styled homes and architecture reminiscent of the Old West.

Yet for all its storied past, Golden is becoming increasingly modern, with red cobbled brick lining pedestrian walkways and immaculate landscaping  – lending the town the uniquely dichotic feeling of being in two periods at the same time.

While technically a college town, home to the School of Mines, Golden does not resonate with that trait. A top-notch university, The School of Mines was recently rated the top engineering school in the nation by College Factual. Clearly, the college is not home to lackadaisical students. In fact, these students are ambitious and disciplined learners, attending the university not for a good time, but for the most advantageous career achievable. While they may go out on the weekends to the Swig Tavern, students are more likely to spend their free time studying or experiencing the great outdoors.

Golden’s myriad outdoor activities attract athletic enthusiasts by the droves. Colin Endsley, an outdoor adventurer who has lived in Golden for a little over a year says, “Golden is great in that you can walk in any direction from town and find some trail to fall into,” and truly there aren’t enough trails to behold. Golden’s trails are perfect for hikers and cyclists – Lookout Mountain serving as a popular route for the avid cyclist – and the views from each trail are spectacular, ranging from downtown Denver to DIA and back to the formidable Rockies.

Yet the ample trails are just a sampling of what Golden offers. There are also water sports such as tubing and kayaking (when the water flow is safe) from the Clear Creek River, and fishing for Rainbow and Brown trout for the avid angler.

Of special note is Golden’s popularity for the extreme sport of hang gliding. Windy Saddle Park offers a great launch point for hang gliders, and these colorful contraptions can be seen sashaying down the mountain most Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months.

Outdoors aside, one of Golden’s leading attractions is its quaint downtown, a charming and unassuming destination for tourists and locals alike. Downtown Golden is privileged to have so many locally owned restaurants and shops that could keep the body feasting and the mind entertained for days. Home to the infamous Coors Brewery and seasonal farmer’s market, the area embodies everything regionally Colorado.

Notable boutiques include Spinster Sisters Co., which now offers three locations in the Denver metro area (Golden serving as its home base). Opened in 2011, its founder Kelly Perkins calls her products “an alternative to the witches’ brew of 

chemicals that many mod

ern skin care products represent.” From body scrubs to men’s shaving cream, Perkins and her team will keep your skin singing and fantastically fresh, no matter how dry Colorado’s air may be.

Sharing a storefront with Spinster Sisters is Baby Doe’s, a retailer showcasing relaxed and bohemian styles for the laid-back mountainista, as well as the craftsmanship of more than 40 regional artisans. Now under new ownership, Baby Doe’s offers a fresh look and feel that is sure to keep visitors stopping in to shop at one of the downtown area’s well-known establishments.

While the shopping is great

, the dining options are varied and delicious. If you’re looking for a good beer and a good time, there’s the Golden Moon Speakeasy and Buffalo Rose with live music weekly. If you’re following your taste buds and looking for superb dishes, you can venture over to Woody’s Pizza or Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar; Indulge has perhaps the best iced tea in Colorado, which they’ll bring to you by the pitcher.

When you’re ready for dessert, a must-visit is the family-owned and operated Gold Mine Cupcakes. Recently  named by MSN.com as one of the top 16 best bakeries in the U.S., the bakery offers delicious, made-from-scratch creations served fresh by an even sweeter staff. Gold Mine Cupcakes will surely satisfy your sweet tooth with its assortment of 35 flavors and specials daily.

With all these successful businesses and the city’s incredible geography, it’s no wonder people are choosing to explore and settle down in Golden. The once outdated homes are constantly under renovation and are becoming prime real estate for those looking to live the mountain lifestyle, while not sacrificing proximity to the Denver area.

In the future, more local businesses will continue to take root and make their home in Golden. Thoughtful development and growth will only add to the area’s allure as a destination spot for visitors looking for something unique and special, and locals wanting to stake their claim in this unsung gem of Colorado’s landscape.

MEET THE BEATLES

in Profiles/Uncategorized by

By Angela Youngman

The year was 1967, and it was the Summer of Love in San Francisco. Hundreds of thousands of flower children gathered in Haight-Ashbury, and in cities all over the country. In London, similarly themed gatherings took place in Tottenham Court Road where experimental groups like Pink Floyd played, and at Speakers’ Corner, beat poet Allen Ginsberg spoke at a Legalize Pot rally.

     It was also the year a seminal pop album was released by one of the most iconic music groups the world has ever known. Fifty years ago, The Beatles released “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” containing songs such as “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” The music world gasped. This was a visionary, themed collection of songs wrapped in musical experimentation, which included everything from Indian instruments to crescendos from a 40-piece orchestra, never heard in the context of pop.

     The Beatles already dominated the music charts. This was the era of the Merseybeat, when the Liverpool-born band was producing hit-after-hit. “Sgt. Pepper” was released on June 1, 1967 and was an immediate success, spending 15 consecutive weeks at number one on the American charts. Time Magazine hailed it as “a historic departure in the progress of music.” The following year, “Sgt. Pepper” won four Grammy Awards as well as Album of the Year, marking the very first time a rock album had done so.

    Not surprisingly, half a century later, Liverpool is celebrating the occasion in grand style with the Summer of Love Music Festival in the city where Beatlemania still rules.

     Almost every street in the city carries memories of the Fab Four, for it was here that John, Paul, George and Ringo were born and raised. This northern English city is a busy port, with its own very distinct character, facing the river Mersey and the gray waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The Mersey Ferry crosses the river regularly, just as it did when the famous mop tops played concerts on one of the boats.

     Today, you can take a combined tour of Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road, the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, respectively, where they wrote and rehearsed many of the early songs that made the Beatles famous. Walking through the rooms of these homes is like stepping back in time – almost as if the Beatles had never left.

     Walk just a few more minutes and you’ll arrive at Strawberry Field, the site of a former Salvation Army children’s home well-known to Lennon. As a child, he used to attend summer garden parties here. A replica of the red gate he would walk through is one of the most-photographed places in Liverpool. It was this site that inspired him to write the classic, “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Travel around the city and other images can be found – Penny Lane where McCartney and Lennon caught buses into town; a statue of Eleanor Rigby sculpted by another famous ‘60s performer, Tommy Steele; and, of course, statues of the Beatles. A Magical Mystery Tour bus travels to all of the main sites, and passengers stop off at each destination to take photographs.

     Then there is the infamous Cavern Club. Take a look at Lennon’s statue slouching against the wall before passing through the entrance and down the stairs for an absolute must-see on any Beatles fan’s bucket list. Check out the mural celebrating all the bands that played here during that incredible period: Gerry and The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, The Shadows, Stevie Wonder and – right in the center – The Beatles. The Fab Four played the Cavern Club 292 times in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, developing a sound that would eventually lead them to international stardom.

This is also one of the sites used by the annual International Beatleweek Festival each August. It features 70 bands from 20 countries, including bands such as The Original Quarrymen, The Bootleg Beatles, Cavern Club Beatles and Hamburg Beat. Another of the Festival’s venues has special links to the Beatles – the local church of St. Peter, Woolton, in Liverpool. The church was where John Lennon was introduced to Paul McCartney at the Woolton Garden Fete on July 6, 1957. (John Lennon had actually been playing at the fete as part of The Quarrymen.)

     Out on Pier Head, in the old Albert Dock, is another essential part of the Beatles legacy: “The Beatles Story.” Sit down for a virtual drum lesson, overseen by none other than Ringo Starr. Admire John Lennon’s piano, his glasses and scrawled sheets of paper containing the beginnings of some of the greatest songs ever written. Inspect George Harrison’s first guitar. And watch video interviews with McCartney, Starr, George’s widow Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono as they recall their own memories, along with the countless photographs of screaming crowds, about the unique pressures the young musicians experienced. New on display this year are replicas of the costumes worn on the “Sgt. Pepper” album cover. Another rare display item is an alternative print of the album cover. It’s a little-known fact that Sir Peter Blake shot several alternative covers to the album, which were discarded in favor of the famous one. This alternative incorporates various alterations to the familiar collage background, as well as the positions of each Beatle.

     For the ultimate in Beatlemania immersion, there’s the Hard Day’s Night Hotel, named after the band’s first motion picture. Owners Bill Heckle and Dave Jones, who also own the Cavern Club and Cavern City Tours, live and breathe all things Beatles, having spoken to them, their families, friends and people who have worked with the band over the years. Although none of the Beatles have stayed at the hotel, Ringo’s son, Jason Starkey, and his grandchildren stepped inside a couple of years ago. Other visitors include McCartney’s brother, Mike McGear; May Pang, Lennon’s former assistant and infamous “lost weekend” girlfriend; as well as his younger half-sister, Julia Baird.

     Wherever you go in the hotel, the story of the Fab Four is outlined in words, art and memorabilia. This is a Beatles world where you can sleep in themed rooms, with original Beatles-related artwork on the walls created by “the World’s Greatest Beatles Artist,” Shannon McDonald. No two rooms are the same; each tells the unique story of the world’s most-famous rock-and-roll band, from birth to the present day.

     To complete the visit, Beatles fans can dine in the restaurant amid a plethora of memorabilia. Blakes Restaurant is named in honor of Sir Peter Blake, the pop artist who created the iconic artwork for the “Sgt. Pepper” album cover. All the walls are covered in stunning Beatles artwork. Also on display are 60 original items relating to the artist’s distinctive work on the “Sgt. Pepper” cover.

     What more could any Beatles fan want? This is pure Beatles heaven.

Vans Warped Tour ’17

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The Vans Warped Tour is always an artist-filled event in indie rock. This all-day event has music, entertainment, and plenty of goodies to purchase. Check the link for the list of artists playing in Denver.

Westword Music Showcase

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This annual festival is celebrating its 23rd year with big-name bands that are sure to wow, including Shakey Graves, The Revivalists, Cut Copy, COIN, and more.

Hurray for the Riff Raff

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An American songwriter, this folk singer takes inspiration from the underdog in her newest album, Small Town Heroes.

Country Jam 2017 – A Quintessential Colorado Experience

in Activities/The Colorado Blog by

BY MARIAN TUIN

In its two and a half decades, Country Jam has built much more than a festival. This four day country music-camping-pool party-extravaganza is considered one of the biggest parties in Colorado. Celebrating their 26th year in 2017, they hosted nearly 92,000 attendees who welcomed to the stage some of the most iconic country artists like Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Thomas Rhett.

We had boots on the ground to give you an exclusive glimpse into this quintessential Colorado experience. One that has captured the essence of community that comes together to celebrate country music. Every year their community grows to include new attendees, but its core group thrives and continues to returns time and again, some of them for upwards of ten years. We met a few. They camped near us.

Country Jam is more easily described as an energy. It’s people who release the mundane restrictions of life and exchange them for a few days to dance, camp and party. For those who indulge, it awards freedom – of spirit, mind and body. It’s where the base instinct of humanity finds a moment to exhale and freely live life without schedules or limitations. For a few days, life is simpler and reminds those that experience it, it is a good way to live.

Country Jam is a place where megastars like Jason Aldean come to play and stay on stage well into the early morning hours saying, “I’m not going to do much talking. I figure you all came to listen to music and get drunk, so I’m going to play you some music.”

Jason Aldean at Country Jam

Its stage is a place where artists like Randy Houser expresses gratitude proudly to his talented band and loyal fans, acknowledging he wouldn’t be standing there without both. It’s a place where Frankie Ballard asks to borrow a hat from a fan in attendance to keep the setting sun out of his eyes as he performed, and is generously given one.

Country Jam is lighters to the sky, inspired by songs that promise a better day. It’s a place where a perfect stranger sings in unison with you because your bond is universal, it’s music. It’s hot, it’s dusty. If you camp, it is basic. Sometimes in between sets, you fall asleep. It’s okay. Many do. It’s essential when you are experiencing the unmatched energy Country Jam emits.

We learned that Country Jam is a festival that no review could encapsulate entirely. It is best experienced. And it’s certainly not too early to dust off your boots and brush up on your two step. Country Jam will be back for their 27th season in 2018 and has already announced Florida Georgia Line as the headliner of what promises to be another irresistibly danceable, star studded party.

Denver Pridefest

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This celebration of the LGBT community is a fun and colorful event. With a 5k, parade, and tons of vendors and entertainment, it’s a celebration for everyone to enjoy.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival

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This popular event is in its 44th year and will star big names like Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Dierks Bentley and more. This four-day festival happens at 8,750 feet and is sure to take your breath away.

Norah Jones

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Norah Jones is a singer and songwriter who has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Taking inspiration from jazz, blues, and folk, her soothing sound is known and loved across generations and locations.

Future — Nobody Safe Tour

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This American rapper was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and began to take the rap world by storm in 2010 with a series of mix-tapes. On his Nobody Safe Tour, he’ll be performing the hits that regularly land him on Billboard charts.

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