Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to Spend a Weekend in Evergreen Colorado


My friend Beth came for a visit last weekend. I haven't seen her in almost two years,  so we were looking forward to making the most of her visit. To say that she has boundless energy is an understatement. To prove my point, here's what we accomplished in one weekend....

FRIDAY


On Friday, we took Henry to the Bark Park for a hike on their open trails. Afterward, we did a little shopping and then grilled dinner on the deck.

While we were enjoying margaritas and looking at the stars using the ipad for stargazing, I mentioned that I really wanted to do the Evergreen Road Race, which was to be held that weekend. So we got all the information online and .....

SATURDAY


Got up the next morning at 6:30am to go to the high school to sign up for the race.

We then discovered that race day was Sunday, not Saturday....since we were already in the car, we took a drive up to Echo Lake, a beautifully scenic drive.

At 10:30 we took a Pilates mat class my local Pilates studio.


Afterwards, we stopped by Echo Thrift Store to pick up Mom, who was volunteering there and then headed to Main Street just in time to see the launch of the Dam Duck Derby.....an event which involves floating little rubber ducks down Bear Creek.


The little darlings get caught in the rocks and have to be scooped up.


We also managed to get a picture of the free horse drawn trolley that goes up and down Main Street.

SUNDAY


Finally, it's race day and we are up early. We participate in the 5K (walk) and enjoy a lovely stroll down Upper Bear Creek. The number of pictures we took is a testament to our speed (or lack thereof). However, I've decided to run the 10K next year in honor of my 50th bday.


After the race, we drove to Vail. Took the gondola up to the top of the mountain, had a beer, then back down to Vail Village to do some shopping.



On the way home, we stopped in at the Little Bear Saloon in Evergreen, to listen to the Railbenders, an excellent country music band.

MONDAY


On Monday morning we were back at the Bark Park for another walk with Henry.

 And then, we managed to play nine holes of golf before I took Beth to the airport.

After which, I went home and slept.

In all, a great weekend!

Thanks to Beth's adventuresome spirit, we enjoyed a variety of fun activities, some of which I wouldn't have tried without her impetus, such as the 5K and playing golf for the first time in years....but which I will now make a part of my life here. Thanks Beth!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Out and About in Evergreen: Elk in My Yard


I thought you might enjoy our very first sighting of elk in our yard. We came home yesterday afternoon after a day of looking at houses to find these beautiful creatures grazing in our yard. While we have grown used to seeing white tail deer moving through the yard, this is the first time that we've actually seen elk in our yard. There were seven of them, and they made themselves right at home. We were so excited we actually took our evening cocktails out on the deck to enjoy their presence along with the setting sun. I'd have to say that this will become one of my favorite memories of my time at our little red house in Upper Bear Creek.

So without further ado, here's the elk...





Out and About in Evergreen: First Snow of the Season


On October 4th I posted pictures of the golden Aspen trees outside our window and wondered when we would see our first snowfall. Well this morning when I got up it was sprinkling, and then those drops slowly turned to snow and it kept snowing, snowing, snowing... and I kept taking pictures. I believe we're received not more than an inch of snow and it's already stopped. But it's so beautiful! Here's some pictures for your enjoyment.

It started like this....





 And then it became like this....




Our last day of snow was May 18th....our first day of snow is October 12th. Yea, snow!!!!!

Out and About in Evergreen: Autumn




The golden aspen colors that we experienced a couple weeks ago in Steamboat Springs, have finally arrived here in Evergreen. The pictures below are of the aspen trees in my neighbors yard, we have a great view of them from our living room window.



With the advent of autumn, we have have been in Evergreen for ten months and have now experienced all four seasons. This autumn has actually been quite mild, a veritable Indian Summer, with warm days and cool nights.


Despite the unusually mild weather, I find myself wondering when we'll see our first snowflakes or have our first snowfall. A couple years ago, when I was visiting Evergreen on an exploratory trip, we actually saw snow flakes at the end of September.


This contemplation of 'what comes next' is a inexorable habit of mine, a friend once described it as my constant 'yearning'. I suppose it might also be described as an impatience to see what happens next. And while I continue to wonder when I'll see those first snowflakes, I remind myself to savor the beauty of now, this moment, right here.

Out and About in Evergreen: Day-trip to Georgetown


Now that you've decided to move to Evergreen, you've decided that's it's time to get out and start enjoying your adopted home state of Colorado...one lovely town that is only a short drive away is Georgetown.

Yesterday we took a day trip to Georgetown, a former mining camp established in 1859 to support the silver and ore mining in the region. This lovely town is nestled in a valley between towering peaks of the Rockies and a quick 30 minute ride on I-70, from Evergreen.

Its noteworthy features include a quaint Victorian main street with lovely art galleries and handmade candy and ice cream shops. A few blocks from downtown is the historic Loop Railroad, an hour-long ride on a steam locomotive, that runs between Georgetown and Silver Plume. What better way to spend an afternoon?!



Or so we thought...When we arrived at the train station we were told that dogs were not allowed on the train. As we'd brought Coco, my little yorkie, we had a decision to make... luckily she's gotten used to riding around in my oversized Cole Haan hobo bag, so in she jumped and away we went. (Although after an hour of having my red jacket draped over her head, she may have felt more like a kidnap victim than a day-tripper.)



Afterwards, Coco was freed and joined us for lunch at the Happy Cooker, a relaxed outdoor cafe, followed by a completely unnecessary ice cream cone....okay, and some chocolate fudge to take home, from Georgetown Valley Candy Shop (only because it was home-made, of course!).





Stay tuned, I hope to share more trips with you over the coming months.

Out and About in Evergreen: Guanella Pass and Loveland Pass, Colorado


The secret to a successful road trip is two-fold: 1) be willing to take unexpected set-backs as the chance for new adventure, 2) be ready to activate your 'impromptu' gene.

Last Sunday, as part of our Out and About in Colorado adventures, we started out on a drive over the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway which connects Interstate 70 in the north and SR 285 in the south.


View of Georgetown from the start of Guanella Pass


Exit I-70 at the Georgetown exit, follow the  Guanella Pass signs through the quaint downtown (you may want to stop at Georgetown Valley Ice Cream and Candy for a ice cream cone!). The signs will lead you to the start of the pass which is actually a dirt road that quickly twists and turns its way up the mountain.

Well, that's the way it's supposed to go...




A mountain stream roaring with snow melt


Instead, when we stopped at the Visitor's Center in Georgetown to pick up some maps for the drive, we were informed that only the first four miles of the Byway were actually open. From there the road was closed as they attempted to repair a falling rock wall.

Undeterred, we decided to make the abbreviated drive and then we would get back on I-70 and head further west to drive the Loveland Pass. A suggestion made by the very helpful cashier at the Visitor's Center.



Along the shores of Green Lake 

The four mile drive was worth it. As we climbed we were greeted by the lovely view of Georgetown laid out beneath us. Then at the top of the drive I found this lovely little lake and the roaring mountain stream which fed it.


A view from Loveland Pass

Afterwards, we got back on I-70 and headed west to US 6 which took us up and over the Loveland Pass, the Continental Divide. This road has a steep 6% grade with lots of twists and turns that are challenging even in summer. I can't imagine what they would be like in winter, and yet, before the Eisenhower Tunnel was built, this was the way over the mountains and is still used by trucks today.


Adeline rocking the retro shades on the Continental Divide at 11,990 feet above sea level

At the summit of the Pass is the Continental Divide, where we stopped and took this picture of Mom against the backdrop of the towering peaks.


An alpine pond on the Pacific side of the Continental Divide

As we drove down the other side of the pass, we found this peaceful little pond, where we stopped for a moment.

US 6 ultimately drops down into Dillon. In town, Mom found one of her favorite shopping destinations, a local thrift store, where she scored a Coach bag for $18 and a beautiful red quilted winter jacket for $6! We then consulted one of the restaurant guides we'd picked up in the Visitor's Center in Georgetown and decided on an impromptu dinner in town. We stopped at Jersey Boys, the best pizza and sandwich joint in town according to our guidebook.... They were right, I enjoyed one of the best chicken parm hoagies I've ever had. In addition to happy bellies and full shopping bags, our stop meant that we avoided the usual Sunday crush of traffic on I-70 as we headed back to Evergreen.




Out and About in Evergreen: Farmer's Market




During the summer months, June to September, Evergreen hosts a Farmers Market on Tuesdays. It's a wonderful collection of local Colorado farmers, ranchers, bakers, and foodies, gathered to share their produce and products and to further the cause of eating locally.

I've become a huge fan and try to visit each week to try a new vendor and a new product. As a result, I've found brown eggs from free-range hens, locally grown organic produce at reasonable prices, fabulously tasty smoked pulled pork, homemade hand cream made of beeswax and lavender, pickled sweet jalapenos, and local grass-fed beef.

Rather than show you more pictures of the market, I'm going to share what I produced with my food finds. And hopefully, you'll be inspired to visit a farmer's market in your community soon!

~

A great cheeseburger is one of my favorite comfort foods, so I've decided to use my Farmer's Market finds to create a healthy and tasty burger:


I start with an onion bun, which I've lightly toasted under the broiler. (Yes, that bun was buttered. Is there any other way?)


I've added a light bed of bean sprouts and a healthy dose of those pickled sweet jalapenos that I bought at the market.


On the grill I've got the locally grown grass fed ground beef frying. Because this is honestly the best tasting beef I've ever had, I keep the seasonings to a minimum: salt and pepper.


Finally we're ready to assemble all the components. The burger goes on top of the sprouts and jalapenos, followed by a couple slices of Dubliner aged cheddar. The other bun is slathered with real mayonnaise and grainy mustard. The combination of the sweet heat from the jalapenos, the sharp bite of cheddar, and the tang of mustard are wonderful compliments to the savory taste of real beef.

Yummy!