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Fort Collins, Colorado

In early December we had an opportunity to travel to Ft. Collins, Colorado which is about an hour north of Denver and an hour south of Montana. I was surprised to see that most land north of Denver is prairie land. It's flat as far as the eye can see to the Rocky Mountain Range. Ft. Collins is a historic town dating back to the gold rush. It is a college town for the University of Colorado evident in all the young people in varied styles of dress. We started in Old Town at a great little eclectic cafe, Backcountry Provisions. There were tables in the window so you could people watch. The floors in this cafe are gorgeous wood and the place has a rustic mountain feel to it. The walls are adorned with a mixture of mountain scenes or Boston Sports posters. The menu offers over twenty sanMountains - Fort Collins, Colorado - Usaescapedwich variations and encourages you to make up your own choosing between meats, cheeses, veggies, spreads and breads. The potato soup was homemade that day and came out steaming hot in an inviting bowl. I had the Hot Springs sandwich made up of cream cheese, avocado, sprouts, tomato, cucumber, carrots, red onion and lettuce. For $6.75 it was not only a great deal but a feast in my mouth. My husband made up his own creation of capocollo, ham and Swiss cheese with a spicy mustard that he said is the best he ever had. He loved it so much he is trying to get it from a food supply co. If you are ever in Ft. Collins you must travel to Old Town and Backcountry Provisions.

Old Town is really magical. It has eclectic shops and restaurants all down
the street. They favor the younger crowd from the college and that's fine because they bring an energy that is contagious. There is a huge courtyard in the center of Old Town which had a frozen fountain, beautiful stone and brickwork and benches to relax and enjoy. Being the beginning of Dec. there was Father Christmas, a lovely little cottage for Santa and children performing their holiday songs. It was very magical and put me in the spirit of the holidays. When we returned to Old Town that evening for dinner all the trees were decorated with white lights and it was absolutely glorious. For the rest of the day we visited three breweries. It was tremendous fun. We first drove to Odells which is a gorgeous building with friendly service. My husband and I shareSkating Rink - Fort Collins, Colorado - Usaescaped a brewers sample which had pretty large servings of each beer brewed there. We had great conversation once again inspired by the energy of the young. We then drove to the New Belgium brewery which offered free samplers to promote their bottled product. The place was packed and people of all ages continued to pour in while we were there. Our friends said that last spring they watched a triathlon of thousands of bikers all dressed in silly garb. The bartender said they were amazed at how many bikers showed up. It was a really fun place. With the staying power which comes from practice we headed back downtown to Coopersmith's which actually occupies two restaurants across the street from one another. We shared another sampler there which came in lovely glasses which had to be at least 6 ounces. Thank goodness we decided to share that afternoon or it would have been nap time.

That evening we headed to a piano bar called Jay's. It is an incredible lounge and restaurant filled with little nooks and crannies for very intimate seating. They have a couple other rooms and the decor was very nice. We shared a bottle of wine and had a great time. We then went back to town to Nico's Catacombs. This wasn't just dining THIS was an experience. Nico himself seated us in a cozy booth in the rear of the restaurant. As we perused the menu a waiter came to a table near us and flamed cherries jubilee tableside. I have not seen tableside preparations in a lot of years and was enthralled. We ordered a Caesar Salad to share and that was prepared table side. It was so fresh and delicious. As we often do, my husband and I decided to order two dishes and switch off halfway so we get the best of both worlds. We ordered a lobster and scallop dish and another great dish I can not remember, which I know you will understand after the breweries and wine. As we dined another waiter appeared carrying flaming Baked Alaska. It was very impressive. Nico's has an extensive menu and pleasant service. I highly recommend you try this restaurant if you ever pass through Ft. Collins.

The next day we headed off to Estes State Park and the Rocky Mountain National Forrest. It was an incredibly gorgeous ride. Our first stop was Stanley Hotel - Fort Collins, Colorado - Usaescapethe Stanley Hotel made famous when the Steven King's the Shining was filmed there. It is a huge gorgeous old gracious style hotel which reminded us all about the Mt Washington Hotel in NH. We then headed into the National Forrest. It was very windy and very cold. As we traversed the mountain roads we say a herd of Elk grazing in a valley pasture. I had never seen a wild elk before and it was incredible. Across the street was a herd of mountain deer. We marveled at the incredible scene. We continued up the mountain as far as we were allowed to go. It had been snowing in the mountains and some of the passes were closed. On our way back down we saw a herd of mountain sheep and rams with huge horns. Unbothered by the cars stopping and people taking pictures they continues to graze while the largest ram kept an eye on everything. Another incredible first in a lifetime site. This is a must do in Colorado. On the way back we stopped in a little town and ate at a small restaurant. It was an American menu we could tell was frequented by locals. We had good old chicken soup and split an artichoke/spinach dip with my friend. My husband had Elk on the side of the road - Fort Collins, Colorado - Usaescapea chili hot dog. The food was good, the atmosphere homey and people were very friendly.

We ended our day with a lovely family dinner with son and daughter in law, grandson, brother and sisters of our friends. We have been friends for 20 years and watched each other kids grow. It was an incredible trip and I highly recommend Ft. Collins be added to you "I want to go there list".


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