This past weekend was college graduation for our university town. In other words, it was craaazzy crowded. We didn't realize of course, because our daughter just graduated the weekend before down the road in Boulder, and we assumed the University graduations here were at the same time. So we found ourselves downtown on Sunday amidst wandering, shell shocked parents clearly from other parts of the Country. We passed one meandering pair pausing on a street corner taking it all in commenting, "It really has a big city feel to it". I just grabbed on to my husband and laughed. Remember, I'm from San Francisco - love big cities - feel at home in big cities - and it always gives me a chuckle to hear other people refer to a town as city-ish or too crowded. It reminds me that everyone has their own perception of reality. Technically we are a city.... we are "an incorporated municipality, governed by a mayor" ...I refer to us as a town. Tomatoes, tomahtoes...Come with me on a walk. Armed with my new Mother's Day 8 megapixel Iphone, I learned to appreciate my town in a new way...
First stop was sustenance. In the form of a steak sandwich, salad, and local beer. Sometimes I've just gotta have beef.
We then headed out of the little hub of downtown restaurant, people, and shop activity, and headed through the residential zones. What I love about our town are the multitudes of alleys. Quiet, picturesque, charming, dirt road alleys. Here you can find quirky, old carriage houses from the late 1800's early 1900's, large backyards with wandering chickens, bountiful kitchen gardens. It's like peaking behind the scenes on a movie set.
This little gem has been empty for years and I want it!!
Heading North out of town, we are fortunate to have walking trails and a river.
It's called Cache La Poudre, or Poudre River. Obviously French, it means hide the powder. The name originated with some French traders, a snow storm and some gun powder in the 1800's. Us locals call it the pooter. It flows from the Rockies and heads out East to eventually go where all good rivers go....
We are good with our snow pack this Spring - look at all my snow blog posts from May, we're doing great! with our snow pack, so in another month this baby should be raging!
It's just a pleasant, usually quiet walk aside an ever rushing river
In some places a little more rushing than others. I can almost taste the trout.
Dorothy, we need a scarecrow!
Always something obvious yet magical to observe
There are horses that frequent the path as well. If you don't actually see them, you see the evidence they leave behind. I don't mind.
A little dam slows everything down.
Another thing I love about our town - we still have trains come through - daily. And yes, they hold up traffic, but hey, leave a little early and you won't be stressed. Roll down the window and enjoy the rumbling of the box cars. (note to self)
Sometimes when the river is raging a little too much this path is under water.
Emerging from the serene river walk there are still some fun things to admire. Like old grain mills
And picturesque little feed stores
And wait...we have a Christmas store??? When did that happen??? I just may have to stay here
The town has also been prettying up our alleys in Old Town. They're actually really cool, and many have brightly hand painted pianos that you can just have a sit at and practice your Beethoven's 5th concerto - or chopsticks, whatever you're up for.
This used to be the main post office and now presides over modern art exhibits and a square filled with fountains, families, and music.
After our excruciating long ( ok, it's probably only 2 and half miles at best) walk along the river and round about walk, we ended up back in the center of town at one of our favorite sidewalk café restaurants relishing a glass of white wine and listening to a sidewalk band.
Surprisingly great bands with amazing harmonies
...singing over the comforting splash of the Old Town Square fountain
A Colorado cloud on a beautiful temperate Spring day
I have to confess by this time it was mid to late afternoon and I talked my husband into a little shopping - hey I try to support our local businesses! And by then, it was happy hour at our fav place. So after a long above ground outdoorsy day, we descended to a refuge of cool, dim elegance, some new experimental cocktails from Ray and some smart jazz. A perfect way to end a pleasant day admiring the blessings of our surroundings. Welcome to our town.