Big Escapes: Balancing Effort and Indulgence in Boulder, Colorado.
For a city with just over 100,000 year-round residents, Boulder, Colorado, located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in the northern part of the state, might surprise you with just what is going on. To the uninitiated, Boulder might look like the great outdoors, a thriving craft beer scene, and its university (around 30,000 students are enrolled at the University of Colorado at Boulder). But these three elements actually helped create a vibrant destination.
A trip to Boulder demands an audience with the fantastic natural scenery that surrounds it. In fact, the city has deliberately designed a green belt to ensure that nature remains its main feature rather than its urban sprawl. (Boulder has doubled in size every decade since World War II.) Thirty-seven hiking trails lead to 151 miles of multi-use trails. And there are over 300 miles of dedicated bike paths; biking is so important to Boulder residents that bike paths are sometimes cleared of snow before the streets.
But the city knows how to reward you for all those hiking and biking tours. The craft beer scene is strong, but where there is good drink, there is equally delicious food. Boulder’s thriving culinary community is perhaps the most established in all of Colorado, adding to the city’s already high standard of living. Elon’s brother Kimbal Musk was part of the buzz around him when he opened a bistro in Boulder in 2004. Things have only gotten more exciting and diverse since.
Perhaps this is what won over not only the 30,000 students who live there, but also the leading companies – Google, Microsoft, Twitter and AstraZeneca to name a few – who have established offices. here and the celebrities who now own homes in and around town.
For luxury travelers, the flagship is centrally located Hotel & Spa Saint-Julien, a 201-room property that captures the laid-back elegance of a city like Boulder. Here you will definitely want rooms located on the upper floors, they have the best views of the mountains. Some even look directly at the Flatirons. The hotel also has an on-site garden which houses its restaurant and bar as well as a rooftop bee colony whose honey is used in both the kitchen and spa, a busy piece of equipment in both. by locals and visitors. So if you’re in the mood for a post-hike massage, make sure you’ve reserved a spot well in advance of your trip.
For something entirely different, save the 1971 creation by prolific Colorado architect Charles Haertling: The Barrett House, a three bedroom, three bathroom rental located in the foothills of the mountains bordering the Roosevelt National Forest. This sculptural wood-wrapped building not only looks great, it’s packed with a ton of fabulous amenities that make it a great choice for travel groups or families, like an outdoor hot tub and bathroom. theater. Plus, its bucolic location means nature is close at hand, but downtown Boulder is less than 10 miles away.
Believe it or not, in the state of Colorado, fine dining spots in Boulder have been established far longer than those in Denver or Aspen. The locals have been eating very well for a long time.
For example, the nationally renowned northern Italian restaurant Frasca First opened in 2004 and received its first of 11 James Beard nominations two years later, a rising star chef for co-founder Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson. (He was recognized as Best Chef: Southwest in 2008.) Today, Frasca’s kitchen is run by Rob Hurd, who cooked with Daniel Boulud in New York, and it’s still so exciting with dishes that everyone likes apricot soup with cream, fennel, and marigold as well as zucchini flowers stuffed with crab meat and mint.
In November 2014, Chef Hosea Rosenberg expanded his thriving catering business with black belly, a nose-to-tail carnivore’s dream. Think: roast chicken with farro stew, a glazed braised lamb shank with marbled potatoes, and a plate of tender wagyu breast that has been smoked seven times. Rosenberg is actually from New Mexico, and his latest outing to Boulder is a tribute to his home country called Holy, where you can stock up on pozoles and white flour enchiladas with chopped green chili peppers.
TO Bullfight, a chophouse inspired by the culinary traditions of Spain, you don’t just come for the tangy gin tonics and mix-and-match tapas, but also for the incredible mountain views. Sunset reservations for the outdoor patio are hard to come by, so book ahead if that’s where you want to spend your evening tasting the all-Spanish wine (there’s a lovely rosé from the Canary Islands) and sherry list while your A5 wagyu strips sizzle on a hot baking stone.
Boulder is home to the Brewer’s Association, which represents craft breweries in the United States, and is therefore perfectly equipped to address any thirst problem. Start to Avery Brewing Co.‘s taproom not far from the Twin Lakes. Avery has served beer in Boulder since 1993; the unfiltered Belgian-style White Rascal and Ellie’s Malted Brown Ale are some of the brand’s most famous creations. But their barrel aging program has a ton of fans, and a few of the current selections are available at the bar.
The Flatirons, the angled, eye-catching sandstone formations visible from almost every corner of town, are an icon of Boulder. Hiking to or around them is a local pastime on the weekends. The two-mile Flatiron Loop Trail, which takes you through the forest just below the Flatirons, is a manageable (easy to moderate) introduction to hiking options in the area.
If you’re more serious about your nature walks and want another feather in your cap, there are 14ers (or mountain peaks that rise above 14,000 feet) that you can try to conquer. . Torreys Peak and Quandary Peak are popular options for beginners, but they are at least an hour’s drive from Boulder.
Do you prefer your outdoor adventures on two wheels? Boulder has a bike path for everyone. If you’re staying in St Julien, grab a bike from the concierge and set off for the nearby Boulder Creek Path. This is a lovely relaxing trail punctuated by the rushing waters of the stream, on which you will see kayakers and inner tube enthusiasts. Local bike shop Complete cycle can also arrange all kinds of guided excursions, from electric bike tours around town to off-the-beaten-path gravel rides that require a bit more muscle.
Downtown activities are a little less physically demanding. If you’re interested in learning more about Colorado’s burgeoning wine scene, BookCliff, one of the state’s best-known brands, has a cellar and tasting room on the northern outskirts of town. A peek at their vineyards in the Palisades (one of the areas in Colorado where winemaking resumes) is done virtually, but the tasting (with chocolate, cheese, or both) is done in person.