Oh - I KNOW we've said that before - right Micanopy, Plant City, and the Texas Hill Country....
BUT we have just found THE place that we want to live. We've passed through and visited our fair share of towns and cities - and we truly enjoyed many of them - but Ft. Collins, Colorado?!
YOU have it all!
As usual though I am ahead of the game - first to show you our first stop Thursday afternoon - Boulder.
We didn't leave Indian Hot Springs until the 11:00 am checkout time - Cassia and I went for one last soak while Derek loaded the van. Boy, had we transferred a lot of stuff to the room over the three days!
After the recent snow storm, we were surprised to see how little snow remained on the #6 down to Golden and the #93 over to Boulder.
Heading into Boulder - which is very nicely situated.
We drove straight to downtown Boulder and fairly easily found a street parking spot close to Pearl Street - Boulders pedestrian mall and main downtown shopping area. We passed the Colorado University along the way - a very nice campus with stone buildings.
Boulder's Pearl Street - still some snow remaining.
We were in luck for lunch - more falafels and gyros - we are taking advantage of Middle Eastern food while we can get it - doubt they'll have any where we'll be this summer. I MAY have to work on making them for us.
We stopped in a few stores - such as Patagonia - but didn't find much.
Cassia was happy to be rock climbing in the middle of the city.
I don't think you can tell but there is a waterfall down the rock. Derek and I just got a good laugh out of this photo - it looks like they were posing - nope - I just got lucky!
Boulder has it's share of micro breweries - we took a picture of the Walnut Brewery but didn't go in for a taste - still a bit early in the day.
Great looking Boulder Theater - I detoured a bit to take a photo - neat that it still exists, from 1935.
And that was our tour of Boulder - we spent a few hours on Pearl Street and then headed back to the van and continued on. We left via the 287 but since it was rush hour we quickly realized our mistake and headed over to the I25 at Longmont.
As it was getting our dinner time, and we had had quite the day already, we pulled into the Colorado Welcome Center at Fort Collins for the night.
A neat building. Derek took some pictures as the sun was setting. A good place to over night if you are on the I25 - exit at 268. Sadly no wifi - strange for a Welcome Center.
The next morning - after a short stop at the Welcome Center to get some maps and info we headed into the Old Historic Square of Ft. Collins.
Our most favourite city EVER! Yup - those are some strong words right?! After all - over the course of four winters down south we have seen our fair share of towns.
Here - see for yourself! Lots of photos coming your way!
Again - we parked easily enough. While Boulder has a fee of $1.25/hour with a max stay of three hours - Ft. Collins has free street parking but with a max stay of two hours. Of course - all we did in Ft. Collins - since we needed WAY more than two hours! was that we moved the van.
Very neat - a the bicycle library - borrow a bike for the day. Ft. Collins is a VERY bicycle friendly town.
Or a little music? Cassia getting some piano practice in - right downtown on the street - a first for us.
Another BeauJo's! We were tempted but after two visits to the one in Idaho Springs we probably shouldn't - although we could have....
Lots of murals in Ft. Collins. We were smitten with this place from the moment we drove in.
Our first shopping stop. The brown little boots you've been seeing on Cassia are from Mexico - they were ok but not really snow worthy - things got even worse when one of the zippers broke. We had been on the hunt for new boots for a while - would this be the place? The Clothes Pony and Dandelion Toys.
A MAJOR children's store - poor Cassia was in a bit of a tizzy - not really fair to bring a child into a place like this - so much to like - for her, and .....
for me - just LOOK at those neat little girl dresses.
We had already worked up our appetites - the ladies at the Clothes Pony directed us to the Silver Grill Cafe - THE place to eat in Ft. Collins. Our kind of place.
If only you could taste Derek's cinnamon french toast through the computer - AMAZING.
And for me? Why biscuits and gravy of course! If you can imagine we both ordered the 'light' meals - more then enough for us!
As I mentioned - VERY bicycle friendly.
Lots of neat pubs in the historic area of Ft. Collins - actually called Pub row - Ft. Collins is BIG into mirco brews - more about that later.
Still lots of ghost signs remain - in fact you can do a ghost sign tour - we spotted a few.
One of the more famous ones.
Another micro brew pub stop....Cooper Smith's.
Can you see the lower right of center beer? Sigda's Green Chili Beer!
One of the places we were keeping our eyes open for was Kilwins - we had seen their ad in the Ft. Collins book that we had picked up a the Welcome Center - we were NOT going to NOT come here.
Ice Cream - chocolate.....
Actually Derek and I did well - he went without while I treated myself to a marzipan fruit.
However, friendly Krystal did serve up a sugar cone with Cherry Ice Cream for a little girl we know.
Another store - a ME store - here are a few pictures for all of you (ladies?) that love these types of stores! The White Balcony!
Then back on the street.
We did pretty well as far as outdoor shops in downtown Ft. Collins - thankfully there aren't many. It turns out that Khumba Adventure Gear is only 10 months old. We went it just to check - and we were curious about what they carried.
Derek was happy that he found a shirt on sale - looks pretty spiffy for $18. Thanks Sabina - originally from Nepal - it was nice talking with you - AND thanks again for Cassia's four balloons! Two are blown up and still going strong.
Good Luck with Khumba!!
Another ghost sign - I read that the Owner of the Saloon was asked to keep the sign - I'm glad that he agreed.
With our downtown tour of Ft. Collins completed - for this trip - we made our way to one of our other destinations.....
Beer - anyone? Did you know that Ft. Collins is the Capital of Micro Brewed Beer?! Yup - that little bit of info didn't pass us by. And yes, there IS a Budweiser Brewery in Ft.Collins - but no that is not the kind of beer we are talking about.
The well known New Belgium Brewing Company - we have sampled their beer from the grocery store on more then one occasion - it is readily available in the USA.
We had actually stopped in for the tour rather than the beer - since they were booked we didn't stay. But we nabbed a guy in the parking lot to take a picture of us first.
Because we still had some brewery visits lined up for later in the day we - the great parents we are ;) - decided to take Cassia to The Farm. We had learned about this place during our stop at the Ft. Collins Info Center in the Historic Downtown.
It was a bit cool to be walking around but we persevered.
Won't be long before we can get her working one of these things - right?!
Strong little girl!
We then went to the park next door - Derek walked Rufus....
while Cassia and I hit the playground. Brrrrrr........
Then it was back to beer. We easily found the next brewery although it is a bit out of the downtown. See - not even living here yet and we are nicely making our way around the city.
Odell Brewing Co. - VERY good beer - can't wait to try it for the first time.
Our friendly and helpful server - which is really saying something - it was VERY busy being Friday afternoon around 5:00pm. Crazy timing on our part.
What we purchased to take with us - I mean Chocolate Milk Stout - HOW could we NOT order that.
And our new friend Glen who we met at Odell's! REALLY nice guy which you can tell just by looking at him! Remember to keep in touch Glenn!
We visited with Glenn for quite awhile - he headed home - his ride - while we did what? Yup - hit another brewery.
Just a block away from Odell's is The Fort Collins Brewery. We DID come for the beer but also the food - Odell's didn't have a restaurant and it was about that time. Plus we had heard good things about the food.
It's a VERY popular place so it was a bit of a wait - at least we were warm.
We could see the brewery from our seats. The Fort Collins Brewery also gives tours.
Haley - the very personable hostess at TFCB - get traveling Haley! Sorry about the blurry picture that DEREK took of you! (maybe it was all that craft brew)
The food was great - Derek has a roast beef and cheddar - and me! Bacon wrapped pretzels with beer cheese soup for dipping! Beyond good!
So - how was THAT!? Enough pictures for you - a record I think. I just couldn't help myself.
Are we moving to Ft. Colllins? Maybe - maybe not ..... but we could and we might.
For the Wood Clan from what we have read and what we saw with the historic downtown, shops, hiking trails, cute houses, a seemingly young family population, access to the mountains, four seasons (yes! we are starting to like snow again) and well - local micro beer .....
TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: Wondering about the history of the name - Fort Collins? Well, we were -- here's the Wikipedia link - it was a military outpost established in 1864 during the Indian Wars.