Sunday, June 24, 2012

Therapeutic Hot Springs for Relaxation in the Colorado Rockies

It's a classic photo that most everyone has seen:  monkeys relaxing in a steaming pool amongst snow-covered ground.  Despite yourself, you sigh, and you become the slightest bit jealous.  But fear not - you too can be as happy as a monkey right here in Colorado when you plan your mountain getaway at your favorite Rocky Mountain inn!

Hot springs are created when groundwater, heated from within the earth, emerges onto the surface.  Volcanic areas often have superheated water that erupts in the form of geysers.  However hot springs in non-volcanic areas like Colorado are heated when water comes into contact with hot rocks within the earth's mantle, creating warm-to-hot pools of water very comfortable for use, no matter what time of year!

The lore of hot springs is known the world-over.  Native Americans have always thought hot springs to be natural spots full of spiritual power and used them for healing, purification, sacred rites, and meeting places. Even today, many believe that these pools have therapeutic properties, thanks to the ability of the heated water to hold minerals.  Everything from calcium to lithium and even radium can be found in these warm bodies of water.  Although unsupported by science, many believe that these mineral-rich waters prove both physical and spiritual healing.

One thing is for sure - unless you're in trouble, it is very nice to find yourself in hot water!  While the mineral healing may not be scientifically proven, your aching muscles know how nice it is to be warm!  A simple soak in hot water can provide relaxation otherwise unavailable.  Why do you think hot tubs are so popular?  Of course, steam is also good for the sinuses and for deep breathing techniques.  Being submerged in water also helps ease movement, and being submerged in hot water eases joint pain associated with daily stresses on the body.  Put all these together, and hot springs are a big draw for both relaxation and overall well-being.

Colorado boasts several hot springs, both in natural settings, and in use by spas or communities.  Whether you choose to visit hot springs for pampering or recreation, you will certainly come away feeling relaxed, refreshed, and warm to the core!

Please be aware: 
  • Most springs found in wilderness settings are clothing-optional.
  • Fahrenheit temperatures given are in averages, and are prone to change seasonally.
  • Non-wilderness locations open to the public have an admission/usage fee.

Great Hot Springs in Colorado
  • Alamosa - Splashland Hot Springs:  A family-friendly geothermal swimming pool that is open seasonally.  Concession stand onsite.
  • Alamosa - Valley View Hot Springs:  Operated by the Orient Land Trust, this clothing-optional site is a mini-paradise containing several swimming pool 'ponds'.  Temperatures range from 95 degrees and up.
  • Aspen - Conundrum Hot SpringsNatural Site.  A nice welcome after a long 9-mile (one-way) trek to this gorgeous wilderness location.  Water averages 102 degrees.
  • Boulder - Eldorado Springs:  A bottled water business that houses a family-friendly swimming pool.
  • Buena Vista - Cottonwood Hot Springs Spa:  An old-west style gravity-fed mineral spa with several pools, creekside tubs, and a dry sauna.  Swimsuits required.
  • Buena Vista - Mt. Princeton Hot Springs:  Five swimming pools averaging 95 degrees, a 400-foot waterslide, and a soaking pool.  Exercise classes also offered.
  • Carbondale - Penny Hot SpringsNatural Site.  Just park along the road past Carbondale and hike down to the river to enjoy this beautiful location.  Clothing required.
  • Florence - Desert Reef Beach Club:  Although family-friendly, this location IS clothing-optional.  Fridays are SUIT ONLY days for those families who do not care to see more than usual.  Water temperature ranges from 94-102 degrees, depending on time of year.  Pool use is limited to 60 patrons.
  • Glenwood Springs - Glenwood Hot Springs:  Two family-friendly swimming pools.  The main pool is kept at 90 degrees, and the Therapy Pool is kept at 104 degrees.  A mini-golf course is onsite for when you need a break from swimming.
  • Glenwood Springs - Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves:  Natural underground steam baths with full spa amenities.
  • Granby - Hot Sulphur Springs Spa:  Offering 21 mineral pools (both outdoor public and indoor private) with temperatures ranging from 95-112 degrees.
  • Idaho Springs - Indian Hot Springs Spa:  Features a 90-degree swimming pool, geothermal cave baths, and private outdoor jacuzzi tubs.
  • Moffat - Joyful Journey Hot Springs Spa:  Featuring mineral spring pools kept between 98-108 degrees and full spa amenities and treatment options.
  • Ouray - Ouray Hot Springs Pool:  Family-friendly pool with slides and diving boards.  Temperatures range from 96 to 106 degrees.
  • Pagosa Springs - Rainbow Hot SpringsNatural Site.  A 4-mile hike ends at a small pool in a wilderness location beside the San Juan River.  Jump into the river to cool off from the 103-degree waters.
  • Penrose - The Well at Brush Creek Spa:  This swimsuit-optional free-form pool averages 95-degree water and is between three and five feet deep.  No radios allowed.
  • Ridgeway - Orvis Hot Springs Spa:  Nude and clothing-optional spa with box-canyon vistas.  Five soaking pools (including a smoker's pool) and two private tubs.
  • Salida - Salida Hot Springs Pool:  Three community pools featuring waters piped in from Poncha Springs, averaging 95-100 degrees.  Six secluded soaking tubs can be rented by the hour.
  • Steamboat Springs - Strawberry Park Hot Springs:  Family-friendly during the day, and clothing-optional at night, this location features stone pools surrounded by forest.  Temperatures range upwards of 102 degrees.

Plan your Colorado bed and breakfast getaway and spend some time at area hot springs and hot spring-fed attractions.  Between the therapeutic effects of the hot springs and our warm and welcoming inn atmospheres, we bet that you'll have one of the most relaxing vacations of your life!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Visual Art Shows & Festivals Thrive in Colorado

It's true.  You don't need to travel to Europe to experience the visual art culture.  But while most may not think of Colorado when planning an art-oriented vacation, art lovers can rejoice:  the art culture is alive and well right here in Colorado!
Colorado's visual arts organizations present a variety of great art-related activities throughout the year in a variety of venues.  From large museum events to small-town festivals, Colorado does its part to showcase both local artists and well-known names.  So whether you want to appreciate the classics, or find your new favorite artist, there are many art-related activities near Colorado's unforgettable bed and breakfast inns to plan the perfect Colorado art-lovers' getaway.

June 22-23-24, 2012:  Salida ArtWalk, Salida
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, the charming art community of Salida and its varied artisans open their gallery and studio doors to once again showcase their talents.  Mini Masterpieces, local musicians, and a Street Sheet make it an extra fun event for everyone strolling the streets of this historic railroad town!

June 30-July 2, 2012:  Pike's Peak Arts Fest in Colorado Springs
Held at the gorgeous America the Beautiful Park, this festival features over 80 booths of fine art, including paintings, photography, sculpture, mixed-media, glass, wood, and more.  Food, beverages, and live entertainment are also featured at the festival.

July 4-5-6-7, 2012:  Park to Park Arts & Crafts Festival at Pagosa Springs
Celebrate the 4th of July at this festival featuring over 80 booths featuring a wide variety of visual arts and local crafts.

July 7-8, 2012:  Art In the Park in Steamboat Springs
Coinciding with the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, this free event features 140 artist vendors, live music, food, and a children's art area.  The Steamboat Springs Arts Council welcomes you to enjoy the myriad of colorful balloons and art-related shopping at this annual event.

July 21-22:  Open Arts Fest in Boulder
A celebration of the visual arts, this event features both local artists and artists from around the country.  Featuring food, drinks, and activities for the entire family including art showcases, demonstrations, workshops, children's art activities and a silent auction benefiting OpenArts scholarship programs, the Open Arts Festival provides the perfect day of fun for the entire family.

July 28-29, 2012:  Downtown Aspen Art Festival
A free outdoor art festival that showcases a variety of visual artwork by the nation's best artists including sculpture, photography, glass, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and mixed-media.

August 2-3-4-5, 2012:  Art Aspen and ArtCrush
These consecutive Aspen events comprise a single weekend celebrating fine art.  The Aspen Ice Garden hosts Art Aspen, an intimate fine arts fair featuring post-war and contemporary art.  Featuring only 30 dealers, this exclusive event is ideal for anyone looking for that perfect fine art piece.  On August 3rd, The Aspen Art Museum is home to ArtCrush.  This single evening event is a seated dinner for 350 guests featuring wine tasting and auctions of contemporary artwork.

August 4-5, 2012:  Beaver Creek Art Festival near Vail
2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beaver Creek Art Festival near Vail, Colorado.  This resort Alpine village oasis has hosted hundreds of artists and fine crafters to this free community festival that highlights talents of artists from both the local area, and from around the country.

August 5-6-7, 2012:  Crested Butte Arts Festival
A variety of visual arts, food, wine and spirits, and live entertainment are offered to festival-goers at this open air event.  There is something for everyone at the Crested Butte Arts Festival.

August 11-12, 2012:  Salida Riverside Fine Arts Festival
Presenting fine art from 14 states, this event features juried awards, live music, and family fun, all on the banks of the Arkansas River!

August 15-16-17-18-19, 2012:  Steamboat All Arts Festival
Artists from across the U.S. participate in this 4-day event that not only presents art, but also offers workshops for attendees.  This amazing event highlights not only visual arts, but also performing, literary, and culinary arts.

August 17-18-19, 2012:  Telluride Festival of Arts
Held at the Mountain Village near Telluride, culinary and visual arts festival offers art by national and regional artists in all visual media categories, the Grand Tasting paid culinary and wine event, and live music.

September 15-16, 2012:  Sugar Beet Days Arts and Crafts Festival in Sterling, CO
This all-around town festival features goods presented by area artists, food, rides, and live entertainment in a small-town atmosphere.

April, 2013:  Colorado Arts and Crafts Spring Festival in Denver
Featuring arts and crafts presented by local and regional artists, this event presents handmade, original creations, live music, and specialty foods.  April, 2013 dates have not yet been confirmed.  There is an approximately $10 admission charge for this event.

April, 2013:  Otero Arts Festival in La Junta
The Otero Junior College presents their annual arts festival.  Students showcase over 2,000 entries including paintings, drawings, pottery, sculptures, creative writing, and more.  This festival is the longest running event for public school students.

May, 2013:  Downtown Denver Arts Festival
The largest art event in Colorado, the Denver Arts Festival showcases visual artists from both Colorado, and select artists from across the  nation.  This Memorial Day event hosts upwards of 150,000 people to the Denver Pavilions.  Artwork is available in almost every imaginable form including paintings, photography, mixed-media works, sculpture, 3D art, wearable art, pottery, furniture, glass, and woodwork.  There is something for everyone at the Downtown Denver Arts Festival.

May, 10-11-12, 2013:  Art & Jazz Festival in Grand Junction
Mother's Day Weekend bring a grand festival featuring live jazz music, art vendors, art demonstrations, and more.

This is no means a comprehensive list of every Colorado event, but simply an overview of some of the larger and more widely-known events.  Many individual towns have more intimate, local events featuring art by local and regional artists throughout the year.  For more information about art festivals near your Colorado bed and breakfast inn of choice, your innkeeper will be happy to provide you more information.  So book your stay now to enjoy Colorado's varied visual arts communities, shows and festivals!