5 Things To Do On A Fall Day In Colorado
The classic fall day here is a blend of sunny skies and scattered clouds, warm air with a crisp cool breezy edge, and an air of excitement all around as we get ready for holidays and ski season. I once heard a statistic from my pastor that Colorado is the only state in the US where the locals actually wake up earlier voluntarily on the weekends. My household is no exception. Our weekends are jam packed full of outdoor sporting events (rain, snow, or shine!), festivals, pub crawls, concerts, mountain ventures, foot races, bike races.... pretty much anything you can imagine outdoors. I often struggle with how I even have time to go to work.
Despite the robust offering of community events, it is some of the more personal activities of that season that make this time especially enjoyable to me. Here are 5 of my most favorite things to do on a fall day in Colorado.
1. Enjoy A Native Seasonal Craft Beer
Along with the classic comfort flavors of fall comes the return of the eagerly anticipated annual release of seasonal microbrews. Colorado boasts a proud list of contributors.
- Autumn Ale by Breckenridge Brewery, CO - For a limited time only be sure to pick up a six pack of this "Pre-Winter Winner" as the brewery itself aptly proclaims. Bonus if you are able to make the short drive up the mountain to sample it from the brewery itself.
- New Belgium Pumpkick by New Belgium Brewing Company, CO - Become the hero of the end of the season bbq by showing up with a six pack of this treat. With the flavors of pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cranberries, and lemongrass, you will definitely be forgiven for not bringing dessert. On another weekend, the 'Mothership' maker of this treat offers tours for the taste seekers as well. Find more information at: http://www.newbelgium.com.
- Blue Moon Caramel Apple Spiced Ale - by Blue Moon Brewing Company, CO - This limited autumn release is the perfect combination of your childhood memory and all of the privileges of adulthood indulgence.
These are only three of a multitude of seasonal brews available. I am especially fond of the pumpkin varieties the season offers. A robust craft beer complements both a hot fall afternoon or the crisp cool ones we are so blessed with here at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Excuse me while I take a break from writing for the evening to go take my own advice here.
- Bonus Recommendation - Shadow Mountain Oatmeal Stout by Grand Lake Brewing, CO - Okay to be honest this is a year round offering by Grand Lake Brewing but one of my personal favorites in the fall. I am constantly torn between this choice or the White Cap Wheat, also by Grand Lake. It really comes down to the mood I'm in and the weather outside. If you enjoy craft beer, you'll get it. Bottom line: Do yourself a favor and try this brew on your favorite type of Colorado fall evening. You're welcome.
2. Visit A Patio Bar
Between the views, the food, the cocktails, the company, and the crisp fall air, this is one of the absolute best ways to enjoy Colorado during the fall. The experience can be especially enhanced with live music. I cannot possibly begin to list all of the patio bars available for your outdoor enjoyment. Here are a couple of my favorites:
- Pancho & Lefty's - Grand Lake, CO - I was surprised to see mixed reviews for Pancho & Lefty's but I will tell you from personal experience when I've been there with my family the food is great and the view is the best kind to get in Colorado. Indoors or outdoors you are right next to the lake in this altogether gem of a mountain town.
- Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar - Highlands Ranch, CO - Located in a central hub along the 470 commute of so many of Denver's workers, Indulge is easy to get to for happy hour after work. Enjoy the spectacular view of the entire front range foothills from the comfort of the wrap around patio seating, while sharing cocktails and appetizers. Options are especially affordable during happy hour. All menus and pricing are available for viewing on the website at www.indulgewinebar.com.
Please tell me about your favorite one! If you enjoy the experience of a patio bar on a fall evening in Colorado as much as I do I want to know about it. There are so many around here I cannot give appropriate tribute to on my own. I would love for you to please tell me your favorite and maybe send me a picture so that I can post it on here for everyone else to see!
3. Visit A Corn Maze
If you are only able to fit one or two extra agenda items into your busy schedule, you will find that visiting a corn maze allows you to experience all of the delights of the fall season in a single afternoon. Corn mazes are exactly what they sound like: a life size maze mowed through a corn field after the produce has been harvested.
Some mazes have stations you must find throughout the maze where you might answer trivia questions or stamp a punch card in the effort to collect a token to be considered as successfully completing the maze. This can be even more fun if your family or group of friends splits up and races each other!
Most corn mazes also feature a pumpkin patch for you to complete your Halloween pumpkin shopping at the same time. Occasionally you will find seasonal preserves, ciders, and locally farmed produce for sale as well.
Corn mazes are fun for all ages! They are great for family outings, date nights, team building, and entertaining guests visiting from out of town.
4. Make Apple Turnovers
If you find yourself at home for a fall day, indulge in the culinary side you might not even know you have by taking a couple of hours to bake a batch of homemade apple turnovers. I did this once on a whim a couple of years ago and I was so pleasantly moved by the experience that the it became a sort of fall tradition that I have found myself performing at least once annually since then. The spicy sweet cinnamon apple scent of the turnover filling bubbling away on your stove top while you roll out homemade crust complements a fall day perfectly. While I've always loved baking, I realize in my younger years before children and life's other grown up responsibilities, I used to have so many less priorities competing for the time it takes to bake homemade treats. Nonetheless I have found very much enjoyment in making sure I take some time, if only once per season, to be sure to include this activity.
I have added a link below for a great apple turnover recipe. Of note - I highly recommend Granny Smith apples for this recipe. The sour notes of the Granny Smiths complement the sugar and cinnamon resulting in a perfect sweet tart bite for the turnovers. Also, instead of the glaze I brush the turnover with egg white just prior to baking and sprinkle with decorative sugar crystals. This allows for a little cleaner storage than the glaze covered variety without compromising the pretty finish and sweet balance. I'm so excited for you to try this!!
5. Go For A Drive In The Mountains
It's no secret that one of the best features of Colorado is her mountains. I've been so lucky to call this place my home since I was two years old. The minute I turned 16 and earned my driver's license I began winding my '83 Ford Ranger all over the Rocky Mountain switchbacks, seeking out every mountain town, elk jerky stand, and creek side campsite to be found.
During the fall, these mountains take on a refreshing energy as they cool down from the listless dry summer heat. Aspen groves burst into stunning panoramas of colors splashed through pine green slopes. Most of the creeks have simmered to a much milder tempo allowing for wading and splashing, having recovered from the earlier season rapids of cold deadly snowmelt. An abundance of wildlife including bighorn sheep, elk, moose, deer, and bear can be spotted if you sort of know where to go and what to look for. Finally, the food and beverage options are an endless assortment of gems tucked throughout the giant treasure chest that is this Colorado portion of the great continental divide.
Whether you consider yourself a mountain type person or not, a drive through the Colorado mountains will serve as a scenic adventure, and can be as energy consuming or as relaxing as you want to make it.
Tips For Being Outdoors In Colorado
Many of the activities I suggest, and the many more I'm sure you will find if you are fortunate enough to live in or visit our beautiful state, involve being outdoors. We are one of the lucky climates to be blessed with mother nature's gift of all four seasons. In order to be safely and adequately prepared, as well as to maximize your fun factor, I encourage you to adhere to the following tips:
- Dress in layers
- Wear sunscreen and re-apply often
- Carry and consume plenty of water
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Carry a combination of healthy snacks including fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and whole grain carbohydrates
- Don't forget your camera!
Which of the above suggestions are you most likely to partake in?
Go Forth and Enjoy The Season!
I hope I have inspired you to want to try something that Colorado has to offer.
Happy fall season to you my friend!