Did you know that Colorado.com publishes “Colo-Road Trips“? These ready-made itineraries provide great information about how to string together some of Colorado’s best food, culture, history, nature and more into a memorable road trip packed with adventure and exploration.
For example, take a look at their “Days of Fun in the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area.” Per the website, “From Fort Collins to Greeley and the villages of Laporte and Windsor, this northern Colorado region is packed with expansive views, welcoming locally sourced restaurants, frontier history and much more.” I couldn’t have said it better myself — and even though Northern Colorado is my stomping grounds, I still found plenty of new-to-me spots for my to-do list. It might be time for a staycation!
This week, the story that caught my eye was not about nature or food or even llamas but about architecture and history: specifically, the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver. Radio station KUNC took a tour with guide Ellen Stanton, and I loved hearing stories about the 1,700-pound chandelier, the hidden faces in the walls, and the missing portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Tours are free — I’ll have to take my tiny human before long!
The KUNC story inspired me to dig deeper. Here are a few more points of interest that I unearthed about the Colorado State Capitol:
- “The official elevation of Denver is measured on the West steps outside the building, where the fifteenth step is engraved with the words ‘One Mile Above Sea Level'”
- The Capitol’s dome was not always the stunning gold it is today; the gold was added to commemorate the Colorado Gold Rush of the mid-1800s
- The dome’s beautiful golden color comes from “copper panels that are gilded with gold leaf from a Colorado mine“
- Following a restoration project in 2012, the dome was re-covered in gold, a project requiring “approximately 65 ounces of .9999 pure gold … at the time of donation, the estimated value of the gold, refining and transportation was $125,000”
- The Capitol is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
- “The inside of the building is adorned with what is believed to be the entire known supply of Colorado Rose Onyx, a rare rose marble from a quarry near Beulah, Colorado”
- The grounds of the Capitol display one of 53 full-sized replicas of the Liberty Bell — each state and the District of Columbia received a bell, and the other two bells have been lost
- You can request a ceremonial Colorado or U.S. flag be flown over the Capitol! The flag is later mailed to you with a certificate of authenticity
I love that you can learn so much about a building, a neighborhood or a city without ever leaving home! What would you like to learn about Colorado?
The town of Berthoud in Northern Colorado has been booming lately. Anna S., a recent transplant to Berthoud, explains why she and her family felt so drawn to this up-and-coming area.
What are a few of the other areas you considered, and what made you ultimately choose Berthoud?
Anna: We looked at a lot of places in Northern Colorado: Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Johnstown, Greeley. We fell in love with Berthoud’s downtown and the fact that we could afford a place close enough to it to be able to ride our bikes there. It has a couple good breweries, a distillery, and a really good bakery, plus some cute shops. It’s a very walkable downtown.
It was also in just the right spot for us. We travel frequently, and we really wanted to be under an hour to the airport. We’re also 45 minutes to downtown Denver, 35 to Boulder, 45 to Estes Park, and 30 to Fort Collins. Loveland and Longmont are both great cities and very close. Carter Lake is an enormous, beautiful reservoir, and it’s only 15 minutes away. Berthoud is really centrally located.
You’ve lived in Berthoud for a few months now. Do you have a few favorite haunts?
Anna: City Star Brewing makes great beer, hosts great music, and has a great beer garden. They also sponsor a lot of community events. RISE Bakery is excellent. There are also several good thrift stores – Mr. Thrift, Habitat for Humanity, Flashback Antiques. And I absolutely have to mention Little Thompson Observatory; it’s an amazing facility, particularly for a town this size.
What makes Berthoud a family-friendly town?
Anna: The downtown has lots of programming and events, such as Berthoud Days in the summer, Snow Fest, Oktoberfest, and weekly farmers’ markets. They’re having their first fireworks show this summer. Apparently there’s a large quilting festival in July! Due to the recent growth in Berthoud, there are a lot of young families moving here.
Is there anything else that house hunters should know about Berthoud?
Anna: The P.O.R.T. Advisory Committee (parks, open space, recreation, and trails) has been working on a really impressive recreation master plan. Berthoud is the Garden Spot of Colorado, and they take it to heart with lots of trees, community gardens, trails, and great landscaping.
Curious about Berthoud? Let’s talk!
On the northern corner of Old Town Fort Collins sits a unique stack of shipping containers that are drawing a lot of attention. Named The Exchange after the stockyard exchange that used to exist in the same spot, this vibrant new development has added energy and fun to the area. Here are just a few reasons why I’m drawn to it:
- The food. I love getting to choose between Vatos Tacos & Tequila, Chick’n Cone, and The Pizza Press—that is, when I don’t give in and just eat Fort Collins Donut Co’s strawberry rosé doughnuts for dinner.
- The drink. Copper Muse Distillery has been in the area for years, but they have two great new neighbors: Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery and Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project. Not only are the options great, but as of April you can enjoy your drinks outside due to The Exchange’s new common consumption permit.
- Its family-friendly nature. The Exchange’s patio area is large enough to spread out, but not so huge that I can’t keep an eye on my kiddo. There is playful, loose seating, usually a cornhole set or two, and always many kids running around. And did I mention that the center of The Exchange is dominated by an ice cream shop in the shape of an enormous churn? A miniature golf course just opened up as well!
- The Summer Series. The Exchange recently announced on Facebook that they would be putting on a free music series on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, June through August. Read more about the Summer Series here, and count me in.
If you’re looking to shake up your social life or just want to be within biking distance of amazing doughnuts, let’s meet at The Exchange and talk about Fort Collins!
How would you like 1/2 off your mortgage?! I imagine most people would jump up and shout "YES!" to that question. Unfortunately I can't give you half off of your mortgage but based on todays rates and the long-term average (going back with 40 years of data), mortgage rates are still at an all time low and are actually half of what the average is. Todays rates are hovering around 3.5% and the 40 year average is actually around 7.5%, more than twice the current rates! What does that mean? That means someone with a $350,000 mortgage at the 3.5% interest rate has roughly the same mortgage payment as someone with a $250,000 mortgage at 7.5%. Wow!
What's going on? Why is this happening? Well, there are a couple reasons, the biggest one is the global economy. Right now the American economy is in recovery mode and is growing stronger. Normally that would mean a shift up in rates. However, the rest of the world is not faring so well and is keeping rates low because of it. Did you know that nearly 500 million people all over the globe are in a "negative interest rate" situation? That means that the banks are charging THEM, the consumer, to keep their money in the bank instead of the other way around. And you thought your 1.5% savings account was bad! Can you imagine actually losing your money over time if you tried to save it in a bank? These economies are trying to encourage spending by essentially penalizing their citizens for saving. They feel that if they are forced to spend, it will help bolster their weakening economies. While we're not sure how sound this strategy is, these economies are the ones you can thank for our current, historically low rates. At some point the global economy will start to recover and then you will start to see an increase in rate, until then- Half Off All Mortgages!!