Mike and I were in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York last week, looking out on to the blue mountains, which can fall in the range of 4,000-plus feet, and thinking about Lewis and Clark (because that is what geeky, literary couples do). The Adirondacks are moving in their own right, blue peaks undulating north. Yet, while there, we were remembering our encounters with the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and how amazing it must have been for Lewis and Clark to see the Rocky Mountain range for the first time, with East Coast mountains as their only frame of reference. Fly over the Rockies. Hike them. Whatever your vantage point, from the clouds or from the soil, they are huge, regal, quiet beasts of rock that have stopped man and animals in their tracks, reminding them to take notice of who is really in charge.
One of the best places to enjoy the Colorado Rockies is in Fort Collins, Colorado, which we visited two summers ago. That trip stayed with me, and now my piece appears in today’s Los Angeles Times. It’s my second story for this newspaper (my first piece ran in March and was about my obsession with hotel pools), however, the Weekend Escape format doesn’t do the town justice. And now there’s the new Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, which opened in 2012, and seems like a vacation-must, especially if you have kids. My daughter now talks about going to college at Colorado State in Fort Collins because she loved its landscapes. New York City, she says, “doesn’t have landscapes,” for to a tween-age girl, landscapes require, well, land.
Downtown Fort Collins inspired Main Street, USA, in Disneyland, yet downtown in 2013 isn’t filled with mouseketeers but with beer lovers, bikers, hipster chicks wearing funky floral dresses with funky floral cowboy boots, artists, families, and old people who stay young living and loving the outdoors. Money magazine named Fort Collins one of the best places to live in America, with its artisanal shops, affordable houses, bike library, and copious bike paths. Fort Collins is the new west, trendy and amenity-friendly, still rugged, but now more accessible. The city received more than a foot of snow on May 1, but Fort Collins hums this summer with outdoor festivals celebrating beer, bikes and art. Nothing slows down this town. We can’t wait to go back.