It’s finally arrived. The summer we’ve all been waiting for. Amidst the rain, the hail and a nearby tornado, our summer has begun!
Early morning sunrises from the top seat at Red Rocks, late afternoon biking/hiking at Staunton State Park, the concert series at Evergreen Lake (May Be Fern on July 26), the kids playing in the creek at the open space park, deck BBQs with Summer Beer, the traditional outing to Water World, and one epic European vacation with my mother. Right after I finish writing this article, I will go pack for my annual mother/daughter trip! After the Covid Experience (2020-2021), I asked my mom, “What’s at the top of your bucket list?” Her quick reply was Greece. For no particular reason other than that she wanted to see the white stucco homes overlooking the ocean. She’s really an artist who has always appreciated “color” and the mesmerizing Santorini landscape like the rest of the world. So, this summer, we set off on a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two girls (we’re really not girls), to fill our hearts and step into the great outdoors of another world. We are Colorado natives who have loved the foothills of Denver: the winters with the snow and sunny, 45-degree days that will burn you to the core; the summers on Chatfield Lake and camping in Jefferson with the sweet smell of warmed pine cones. There really isn’t a good reason to leave this state, you know… you live here too!
Your summer may look a little different, yet the sun will shine and we will all be singing its praises ’til the leaves take a turn. The point is… get outdoors and spend time with your people. Time is limited, and in the mountains, we really understand the urgency in soaking up as much as we can of our short summer. The other day, a friend mentioned to me that we only have 18 summers with our kids, and here I am, having spent almost 20 with my first born. And if you look at it from my mother’s perspective, she’s had 48ish with me. Yep, it goes fast.
When my kids were little, I would write up a summer bucket list (yeah, I’m dorky like that) and it seemed that we were never able to complete every activity. We always hit the beach at Bear Creek, looking for crawdads and eventually paddleboarding with friends. Most mornings would find us in the car heading out to a park, the zoo or a pool; anything to get outside. My kids loved camping, and ironically they only got a few trips in over the years, once they started baseball, soccer, golf and football: the usual suspects of time consumption—organized sports—and we loved it. Looking back, those weekend tournaments were made of the best times with friends and our little family. Of course there were tears, lost games/matches, exhausted children, scraped knees and concussions, missed parties and long car rides. It’s all part of what would make the smiles, wins, positive family encounters and car time so wonderful too. We had both great times and challenges.
It’s an interesting idea of whether we should over-plan our summer vacation or take it as it comes. When you live in the foothills, you have the opportunity to do both, and you might just come across a fun opportunity while you’re out meandering. A walk around Evergreen Lake leads to photo ops of the elk, a stroll down to the waterfall and a taste of something light and fresh down at Kiki’s. The thing that I love the most is knowing that there are so many people out there who appreciate where we live. We appreciate the personal space, the comfort and shelter of the mountains, and the local shop owners who create the sweet small-town vibes: from the live music of Hutch at Bailey Days to the new Underground in Conifer and the classic bands at Little Bear. Wow, we like to party. So if you are not a planner, be sure to browse through your local Chamber website events page for a summer of great activities that support the community and local businesses.
Conifer will host its largest event—a street fair with live music—Elevation Celebration, on July 29 & 30 (GoConifer.com).
Evergreen just wrapped up its Evergreen Rodeo and Parade—what a blast!
Evergreen Park & Recreation will host the Summer Concert Series, and so much more (Evergreenrecreation.com).
Bailey just celebrated Bailey Days, a weekend street fair with live music (Bailey-Colorado.org).
Idaho Springs will host the RapidGrass BlueGrass Festival on August 4 through the 6.
Golden has a Farmer’s Market every Saturday through October (Goldenchamber.org).