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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Long days, light hearts: June in Colorado

by | June 4th, 2015

The summer solstice is coming up on June 21, a happy reminder to squeeze in more hours of fun on our long, gorgeous Colorado days. So now’s the time to let your inner kid out for good behavior and take advantage of these events—several of which will keep you nice and close to your BackCountry neighborhood.

Sundial House View

Senior Adult Fun at the Park-June 9, 9am-noon
Parks aren’t just for kids anymore. Seniors, try something new or revisit a favorite activity, such as Zumba, gentle yoga, bocce ball or cornhole, and stop by educational booths, all at nearby Redstone Park.
This event is hosted by the Highlands Ranch Metro District, Highlands Ranch Community Association, and 50 & Better Together. For more information, contact Jodie McCann at 720-240-4922 or jmccann@highlandsranch.org.

Colorado Renaissance Festival-Opens June 13
Entering its 39th season, the Colorado Renaissance Festival offers eight weekends of engaging time travel to the rowdy festival days of 16th century England, full of authentically costumed (and interactive) jousters and jugglers, hearty fare, and seven stages of performances. Pick up BOGO tickets for the opening weekend at Wendy’s, or hit the Royal Ale & Art Festival (with free ale samples) on June 20-21, or check out the Celtic Festival (with men’s kilt contest and hard lemonade samples) on June 27-28. Held at Perry Park in Larkspur. Learn more.

Colorado Renaissance Festival

Empty Nesters Summer Potluck-June 25, 6-8:30pm
For BackCountry residents only, this summer potluck offers a sweet opportunity to hang out with your neighbors while enjoying a delicious meal. Bring a dish to share that will serve eight, as well as your own beverages. Log into www.backcountrylife.org and RSVP by Friday, June 19.

Denver Museum of Natural Science Free Day -June 29
If you haven’t visited lately, it’s time—especially on one of the museum’s free days, which give you license to stay just as long as you’d like. You’ll have plenty of reasons to linger, of course, between all the permanent exhibits and the current Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids. You’ll explore stories and uncover the truths behind the myths of the aforementioned beings, along with kraken, giant squids, flying horses, and the ever-popular Nessie and Big Foot. Learn more.

mythic-dragon-Denver Museum of Nature and Science

BackCountry’s Red White & Blue Celebration at the Sundial House

by | May 29th, 2015

Residents kicked-off the summer with high energy and interactive games during the Red White & Blue Celebration.

Ready, set, get wet!

by | May 18th, 2015

It’s time to test-drive your new swimsuit: BackCountry’s first pool party of the season is almost here. On Friday, May 22, the Sundial House pool officially opens for summer at 9am. Then, stop by from 3-4:30pm for the Memorial Day Weekend pre-party, complete with beer, popsicles, and a meet-and-greet with this year’s lifeguard crew and pool management company, Perfect Pools. (For residents only; please RSVP at backcountrylife.org by Monday, May 18.) And be sure to come back the next day for the big event—our Red, White, & Blue Celebration.

Held on Saturday, May 23 from 4pm-7pm, this annual event is the season’s much-anticipated kick-off. What’s on tap? High-energy, interactive games and fabulous face painting (come right at 4pm for a shorter wait for our truly talented painters). Free hot dogs sponsored by As You Wish Pet Sitters. Plus snow cones, popcorn, a DJ, and prizes. Please RSVP at www.backcountrylife.org by Monday, May 18.

With so much going on right in the neighborhood, why not make the Lantern House your Memorial Day weekend HQ? Hang out with your family and neighbors—a much more relaxing choice than fighting the masses headed to the mountains. Plan that trip for a non-holiday weekend!

Here are a few photos from previous summers to wet, er, whet your appetite for another season of happy memories.

backcountryfirepit

It is May in Colorado after all, where a firepit is as practical as it is delightful.

backcountrygirlwithribbons

And so it begins: Rhythmic Gymnastics champion, Olympics 2028?

backcountrygirlfacepaint

On a hot day, even kitties love a snow cone.

backcountrygirlssmile

The smiles say it all. Summer vacation has arrived.

backcountrycoolfacepaint

True artistry happens at our face-painting booth.

backcountrypartymtns

Beautiful foothills views create an idyllic party backdrop

backcountryboyhulahoop

How does he do that?

backcountryirises

Colorful, late spring decor just in time for the Red, White & Blue Celebration

The Quintessential Coloradan’s Bucket List

by | February 23rd, 2015

Our thriving economy is one logical explanation of why people keep moving to Colorado. But really, how many people do we know who came here on vacation… to college… to visit friends and family… and got hopelessly hooked on the state? It’s the natural beauty—and the endlessly fun, associated activities—that just keeps ‘em coming, year after year.

So as a welcome to all the newbies and a refresher course for you natives and long-timers, here’s a selection of “must-do” Colorado activities that capture the flavor of our state across the seasons. If you’ve already checked these ideas off your list, explore a more fine-grained rundown of ideas published in last month’s article in 5280 magazine. And be sure to share your bucket list with us on our Facebook page.

TellurideSkiResortCom
Ski at Telluride

Ranked the best overall ski resort in the US by powderhounds.com, Telluride Ski Resort Colorado Telluride offers stellar skiing and snowboarding far from the maddening weekend pilgrimage on I-70. That’s the beauty and curse of Telluride, of course, as its southwest Colorado location makes it a bit of a hike from metro Denver. But the rewards, beyond the powder, are a unique town with an extra-laidback vibe, colorful mining history, and its awe-inspiring canyon setting with steep mountain vistas. Learn more.

Bike on Independence Pass
Jaw-dropping gorgeous and a wee bit harrowing, thanks to narrow lanes, hairpin turns and dramatic drop-offs, traversing Independence Pass is truly a Colorado rite of passage. Driving the road is a badge of honor all by itself, but biking can take your Colorado cred to a whole new level. Start at Aspen and end at Twin Lakes, and in between, log 37.6 miles and gain 4,187 feet—while taking in magnificent, jagged vistas thick with aspen and evergreen. Open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day, due to high altitude and winter road conditions. Check for road closures here.

StrawberryHotSprings
Soak at Strawberry Springs

This destination is the perfect complement to your ski trip or summer vacation in Steamboat Springs, http://www.steamboat.com another must-see destination. Just outside of town, these hot springs clock in at about 104 degrees—a perfect contrast with the literally adjacent, frigid river. (One favorite diversion is to dip, courageously, from one to the other.) These mineral pools are of the more naturalistic type, with rocky, tree-filled surroundings, but there are private massage huts if you want to glam up the experience. Be warned: come evening, clothing is optional. Learn more.

Ogle at Bridal Veil Falls
Let’s say you went skiing at Telluride and fell in love with that charming town. Be sure to go back in summer and explore its many warm-weather pleasures, including Bridal Veil Falls. With a 365-foot drop, these are the tallest free-falling falls in Colorado. It’s a 4.2 mile trek to the top of the falls with a gain of 1,650 feet, so let that inform your decision whether to hike, bike, or four-wheel drive up the road. Learn more.

manitouincline
Quiver on the Manitou Incline

Rare is the hiker whose thighs will not jellify on this incline, the former site of a cable car ride. After a rockslide in 1990, the Manitou Incline was closed and locals started (illegally) hiking up the remaining ties for a lung-searing workout. The incline was officially opened to the public in 2013 and is a popular, challenging hike of 2,741 steps—a one-mile ascent with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. Good luck! Learn more.

Learn at Mesa Verde
While Mesa Verde National Park is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, warmer months are a better bet for fully enjoying this national treasure. This park was once the home of ancestral Pueblo people from 600-1300 A.D. who lived both on the mesa tops and in dwellings carved into the rock below. These cliff dwellings are some of the country’s best-preserved. While you’re there, you can explore a variety of cliff dwellings and learn about the Puebloans’ way of life from well-informed park rangers. Nearby camping is also available. Learn more.

georgetownlooprrcom
Time Travel on the Georgetown Loop

This one’s an idyllic way to spend an afternoon with everyone from kids to grandparents. Nose around Georgetown, with its charming historic buildings, and then hop a classic train on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, built in 1884. This three-mile, 1-1/2 hour loop takes you through the mountainous terrain between Georgetown and Silver Plume, another quaint mining town. Options include mine tours, dinner, wine and hors d’oeuvres, and “ales on rails.” Learn more.

Why BackCountry is so much fun.

by | January 28th, 2015

Kids Dancing BackCountry Highlands Ranch July 4
And who’s behind it all.

Bored while living at BackCountry? Not a chance on Britany Chambers’ watch. Britany is BackCountry’s full-time Lifestyle Director, and she’s always stocking the community calendar with special events.

“Right now I’m securing bands for summer events and bar nights,” Britany reveals. That kind of long-range planning makes for smoothly run, well-attended events, as do generous doses of creativity and community input. Once a month, Britany meets with BackCountry’s Lifestyle Committee of nine volunteer residents to share ideas and firm up details for the next few months’ events.

Fan favorites revealed

So, what are the most popular events in BackCountry? Depends on whom you ask. Families with small children favor the two events with, not surprisingly, the largest attendance: Visits with Santa (the traditional lap chat, cookies and milk) and a similar meet-up with the Easter Bunny, complete with fast-paced egg hunt. Up to 250 kids can show up for these events!

On the other hand, young couples and empty nesters favor all the date night options—happy hours, live music, and comedy nights, as well as cooking classes and special events like the upcoming Valentine’s Day Chocolate and Wine Pairing. The monthly Drive-By Dinners are a big hit, too, in which residents pre-order restaurant-prepared dinners and conveniently pick them up at the Sundial House.

Santa at BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado
“People work hard all week long,” says Britany. “So by the time the weekend comes, they can be really ready for down time, a date night, or just spending time with their kids.” Which is why she strikes a healthy balance between creating kid- and adult-oriented events.

Families, couples, and singles alike enjoy all-age events like the Fourth of July, with country music, dancing, food trucks, and Uncle Sam on stilts, and last summer’s Drive-In Movie Night, which featured live music, root beer floats, hand-jive lessons, and Back to the Future playing on a 20-foot blowup screen.

Perks of an active community

Compared to most other communities, BackCountry is exceptionally active. Having a full-time Lifestyle Director, outdoor amphitheater, pool, and the 12,000-square-foot Sundial House with pub, demonstration kitchen, terraces, and meeting and fitness rooms, promotes community cohesiveness.

SundialHouseExteriorFromGrounds2
“All these ways to gather creates a strong sense of connection,” explains Britany. “Which is especially helpful when you’re a new resident. In other neighborhoods, you might just meet the people on your block. But because of all the community events, here you meet people who live all around you. It’s much easier to connect with other families or empty nesters, and people who share your interests.”

All those connections make for a rewarding job for Britany. Before coming to BackCountry, she helped plan huge public events at Flatiron Crossing Mall in Broomfield. But the smaller scale at BackCountry means she gets to know “all the great people here.” And, she says, “When I see people asking for an encore or not wanting to leave an event because they’re having so much fun, it feels great knowing I’ve done my job.”

Four Seasons at Discovery Park

by | January 7th, 2015

Unlike other Colorado neighborhoods, BackCountry offers its residents an awe-inspiring natural backdrop for enjoying the beauty of all four seasons. Panoramic mountain views let you marvel at each year’s dramatic snow buildup and melt-off, as well as the greening up and autumn vibrancy of the 467-acre South Rim area and 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area that surround BackCountry.

Even closer are BackCountry’s trails and six parks. One of them, Discovery Park, features a meandering waterway that makes its way into a pond along the Discovery Center’s edge. On BackCountry’s Facebook and Pinterest pages, a months-long series of photos taken in 2014 shows the year-round beauty of this one small area, a perfect hideaway for quiet reflection or reading. This year, BackCountry will take another yearlong series of photos, but in another neighborhood setting. Keep an eye on it here and here.

#1: Springtime in Colorado is always a back-and-forth dialog between snowing and growing.
May BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado

#6: Blooming lily pads in June.
June BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado

#12: A welcome afternoon rainstorm in July, part of Colorado’s monsoon pattern.
July Rainstorm BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado

#22: October means golden leaves and grasses around the pond.
October BackCountry Highlands Ranch

#28: November brought light, quickly melting snow.
November BackCountry Higlands Ranch Colorado

#33: By the final day of the year, winter had truly found us here at BackCountry.
December 31 2014 BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado

BackCountry’s Blues and Brews Event at the Sundial Amphitheatre

by | September 23rd, 2014

Residents celebrated the last outdoor concert of the summer with a picnic dinner and local brews during the Blues & Brews event at the Amphitheatre.

BackCountry’s Back to School Pool Party at the Sundial Pool

by | August 14th, 2014

BackCountry children enjoyed their final days of summer during the Back-to-School Pool Party.

BackCountry’s Red White & Blue Celebration

by | June 26th, 2014

Residents kicked-off the summer with a Red, White & Blue Celebration including flag spinning, hula hooping and streamer dancing.

BackCountry Bucket List

by | June 6th, 2014

Now that summer is here, we want to make sure BackCountry residents have as much fun as possible! Introducing, the first-ever BackCountry Bucket List.

The rules are simple:
1) Take a picture of yourself enjoying each of the activities on the list below; and,
2) Submit the photos along with your name and phone number to bchambers@ccmcnet.com, or drop it off at the Sundial House by August 15.

All entries will be entered into a drawing for prizes!

The BackCountry Bucket List:

  • Attend a BackCountry summer event
  • Swim at the BackCountry pool
  • Blow bubbles somewhere in the neighborhood
  • Have a picnic in one of the parks
  • Take a walk on the trails (with a grown up)
  • Rock Climb at Solstice Park
  • Fly a kite or play catch with a friend
  • Draw a sidewalk chalk drawing in your driveway.

Remember, all entries are due by August 15. Good luck and have fun!

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