Monday, June 30, 2014

Staycation: Nederland

Last summer my husband and I began taking "staycations" regularly. We would plot out a day trip during the week, and on Saturday we'd pack up our sunglasses and a camera and have ourselves a fun adventure. Those trips came to a screeching halt mid September when Colorado experienced an epic flood with after affects that lasted for several months. I'm happy to report that we're back to planning some close-to-home outings. Saturday we took a trip that ended in a little town in the mountains in southwest Boulder County {Colorado, USA}.

There are some trips where it's all about the destination and others where the journey is just as important. For this outing is was definitely the latter. Nederland is not really a tourist attraction like other mountain towns along the front range {Estes Park, Central City, Black Hawk, etc.}. I'm certain the approximately 1,500 residents would like to keep it that way. There are a few attractions in town that you could stop at on your way through town, but one doesn't generally vacation there like they might in other mountain towns.

We started our trip heading out of Longmont toward Boulder. I'll never tire of views like this...

Once in Boulder we headed up Boulder Canyon on State Highway 119 toward Nederland. This highway travels along Boulder Creek for much of the drive.

Boulder Creek regularly flows at 150-200 cubic feet per second. During the flood it was reported to have exceeded 5,000 cubic feet of water per second, which caused serious damage to buildings along the creek and the creek path. We were surprised to see, however, that there isn't much evidence of that destruction as we traveled up to Nederland.

Important Tip:
You would think after living in Colorado and taking advantage of mountain settings I would know this important piece of information, but I forgot this lesson Saturday. The temperature dropped 30 degrees between Boulder and our destination {25 minutes away} in Nederland. It was 60 degrees in Nederland at 1pm. Wear long pants, shoes, and bring a sweater/jacket {dress in layers} when traveling in the mountains in Colorado -- even in the summer! 

Once in Nederland we stopped at the few attractions, including a small mining museum...

... the 14th annual "High Peaks Art Festival" that boasted approximately 20 vendors...

...and the Carousel of Happiness where rides are only $1!

Originally the carousel was housed at Saltair near Salt Lake City, Utah.

After 50 years in 1986 the wooden animals were sold and the frame was transported to Nederland. Over the next 26 years the new owner carved new animals to bring the carousel back to life. It's a beautiful, wooden carousel that is the pride of Nederland.

Dining options are limited in Nederland. Fortunately, the Sundance Cafe had been recommended before we left home. It's located south of Nederland on Peak to Peak Highway {119} about five minutes outside Nederland.

What it lacks in ambiance, it makes up for in this view from the tables on their outdoor patio...

The cafe serves lunch till 2:30pm every day. I would recommend the fresh strawberry french toast and bacon {to die for}.

We stopped again on our way back home for a few photos of Boulder Creek.

Outdoor enthusiasts love the bike and hiking trails along Boulder Creek's lush banks, but you can also see people of all ages picnicking, tubing, rock climbing, fishing, and sunbathing next to the icy cold water.

Next staycation destination:
Mt. Evans