Here at More Native Than The Natives we love to find out about all sorts of places. Katie give us the lowdown on what it’s like as a local in Colorado…
“We don’t need a compass. We have the mountains.”
– # 4 on the list of You Know You’re From Colorado When
It’s true. The mountains are west. You can always get grounded in your space when looking to the mountains. Out there, brushing the big blue skies with their snow tipped peaks. Who needs a compass. Just look to the mountains.
“Where are you from?” is a pretty common first question in new conversations, right? When I respond, “Oh, I grew up here” people seem rather shocked.
“You don’t meet many of those anymore,” they say, “happy to meet a Colorado native.”
“Excuse me?” I want to rebuke, “Why where have all of the natives gone?”
I have tried to leave this beloved state and I come running right back. People from all over the country are moving here and so I figure, why leave. I’m proud to stay.
This dirt, these waving pines, the mountains to the west, and the clear blue skies in the middle of February – they are mine. They are home. I don’t want to leave.
And as I sit on 1-70, the highway becoming notorious for traffic, cars filled with (ahem) Californians…… I have to say that it is ok to share. More than enough Colorado for all of us. But please, leave your Carhartt jackets at home when you go skiing. Want to fit in? NEVER EVER Ski in jeans.
I’ve spend 28 of my 29 years in this state and am thrilled to share some of my favorite places with you. I live in the Northern Part – NoCo – as we are starting to affectionately call it. It’s a big state and there are lots of adventures to be had.
So, let’s cover the basics. You want to live like a native? Here’s a few things you can’t leave off your list.
We’ve become a bit of a craft brew hub with breweries popping up seemingly overnight. At last count there are 19 in my tiny town and hundreds of more as you expand across the state. My favorite is Odell Brewing Company. Their patio is the perfect place to spend a Saturday in the summer. Or the occasional day in February that breaks the 70 degree mark. Also popular: New Belgium Brewing – they have a slide at the end of their tour. Phantom Canyon Brewing Company is a fun one in Colorado Springs.
I’m a self-proclaimed vanilla latte addict. Stop by Bindle Coffee at Jessup Farms and pick up your favorite coffee drink. Quaint and tiny, these guys roast their own beans and make their own pastries. Be sure to get their early and snag their homemade breakfast sandwich. The cherry tarts are to die for.
Never heard of a Chaco? Other people across the country don’t understand these funny shoes, but they are a Colorado staple. You get praised for your Chaco tan at the end of the summer. The better your tan-lines, the more adventures you have had. I wear mine hiking, rafting, or just to the grocery store. They adjust to your feet, and have traction on the soles and can be used across many terrains. Here’s a pic of me wearing mine at Joyful Journeys, a funny little hippy hot springs spa in Southern Colorado. Highly recommended.
4. Watching Rock Climbers at El Dorado Canyon
This is one of my favorite hiking spots just outside of Boulder, Colorado. They’ve got huge rock faces that the intense climbers scurry up. I’m not hardcore like that but I do like to be in the canyon, sit by the river, and spot blurs of color as they move up the rock walls.
5. Visit Tattered Cover Book Store.
Not an outdoor person? Hate to ski. That’s ok. Colorado has lots of wonderful places for artists and creatives to be free. My favorite place to spend time browsing is the Tattered Cover bookstore. Remember how books smell? How could you forget. This Denver staple has been around since 1971. I have lots of memories going there with my mom as a kid, getting lost in the stacks, and staring at the plush green carpet.
They have several locations in Denver now, but the one in LoDo is my favorite.
Come, let the fresh air and mountains beckon you. If you must, stay. But please, drive a little faster on 1-70 ok?
Katie Huey is a vanilla latte loving writer who enjoys searching for ordinary and beautiful things. She blogs regularly at http://www.52beautifulthings.com. She lives in Colorado with her husband Dylan and rambunctious puppy Olive.