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Published on : Wednesday, May 11, 2016
While April may be “Stress Awareness Month”, Colorado specializes in year ‘round stress relief. So, whether you want to spend time with friends and family or embark on a solo journey, there are countless ways to relax and rejuvenate in Colorado: unwind on a guest ranch, wander remote trails, partake in epic stargazing, or sip and stay at a winery. At mealtime, nourish your body with locally sourced herbs, meats, fruits and vegetables harvested straight from Centennial State soil. With summer on the horizon, spring in Colorado invites you to establish a fun and revitalizing foundation of health and happiness for endless adventures ahead.
Ranch life: Take your sights off the stresses of everyday life by settling in to the distinct rhythm of a new environment at a Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch. Across the state, these rustic getaways offer inspiration and respite in the form of learning, playing, relaxing and adventuring. At Rawah Ranch, nourish the body and soul with gourmet meals designed to fuel a week of campfires, fly-fishing, horseback riding, wildlife watching, hiking and more. At Chico Basin Ranch, enjoy the intimacy of limited guests—never more than 6—and sleep like a true cowboy after a day of ranch work. Wake well rested and take a dip in the spring-fed lake that’s home to a host of waterfowl, then sketch, write or siesta on the shores before an evening hike next to Chico Creek. At Majestic Dude Ranch in Mancos, enjoy everything from horse rides to snowmobile adventures, saunas to skeet shooting, and work up an appetite for ranch-gourmet cuisine like fresh trout and prime rib. At Waunita Hot Springs Ranch, enjoy trail rides on National Forest land, then rest and restore your muscles at the on-site hot springs. Ditch your phones and computers and bring the family together with a classic, country-inn break at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch; ride horses through Roosevelt National Forest, stargaze from the Jacuzzi, swap stories in front of a fireplace, or simply enjoy a book on the sunny porch.
Close encounters with culture: An ongoing education is directly linked to health and longevity, and Colorado culture and heritage offer endless inspiration. The little-known Vogel Canyon in southeast Colorado is home to petroglyphs, wildlife, birding and a placid river that meanders through the stunning landscape. Colorado’s premier archeological wonder, Mesa Verde National Park, offers fourteen centuries of history accessible during the day; in the evenings, camp at the Morefield Campground and gaze at some of the best stars in the state. At the nearby Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch, follow the road early Mormons used to migrate to Utah to this guest ranch -originally owned by a legendary cowboy- in a region with more than 5,000 archeological sites. At Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta, leave your wallet and your financial worries at home when you celebrate the Centennial of National Parks by visiting during “Fee Free” 2016. At Bent’s, spend time with the Santa Fe Trail Travel Trunk, a mini-museum offering 10 lesson plans, period clothes, work sheets, maps and board games. In the Pueblo area, unwind on a drive down Frontier Pathways, a Colorado scenic byway where fur traders and trappers converged at the base of the Sangre de Cristos.
Forage, feast, and feel better: Put good in to get good out, so give your body a break, learn something new, and reap the benefits of Colorado expertise and opportunities with foraging and farming opportunities across the state. At Earth’s Green Gifts, enroll in a wild edible plant workshop for springtime identification tips. Commit to the “Spirit of the Herbs”, a six-week introduction to herbalism at Three Leaf Farm in Lafayette. In Durango, celebrate Earth Day with Turtle Lake Refuge or stop by any Tuesday or Friday for wild harvested and locally grown lunches. In Silver Plume, get some R & R at Dram Apothecary’s new B & B, and learn all you can from owner and Colorado native Shae Whitney, who utilizes her collegiate background in Food Science, Ecological Agriculture and Botany to forage for the ingredients in her syrups and bitters. After a day helping with farm chores, rest easy at the Horse and Hen Farmhouse Inn, and wake to a bountiful, farm fresh breakfast. Make sure your vacation road map includes a stop at one of Meadow Lark Farms traveling farm-to-table dinners, which are held at various farms and prepared fresh from the day’s harvest. At Mesa Winds Farm and Winery, pitch in on the farm and hang out in one of their rehabbed “picker cabins”; or, master the craft of cheese making during a rejuvenating stay at the Mountain Goat Lodge in Salida. Back at home; keep nourishing your body (and your brain) with the Wild Edible Notebook, a monthly magazine highlighting Colorado’s foraging opportunities.
The Sublime vs. The Screen: On your next Colorado-cation, set screens aside and tune into the wonders of some of the country’s most stunning scenic places. Home to four National Parks and 42 State Parks, Colorado embraces the Centennial celebration of our National Park Service. For an approachable adventure, trace the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison on the North Vista Trail and enjoy stunning views of the canyon and the Precambrian basement rock—nearly 2 billion years old—to put things in perspective. Seek serenity and solitude in the Arkansas River Valley’s newly designated Browns Canyon National Monument, where the nearly 3,000-foot elevation range boasts a variety of wildlife species and plentiful opportunities for fun. Nurture your soul stargazing at the John Martin Reservoir State Park, where the nearby Las Animas County has less than 1 person per square mile. Camp year-round at the Lake Hasty Campground for mesmerizing views, and for more epic skies in the northern prairies, head to the 193,060-acre oasis of grass and sky at Pawnee National Grassland. At Jackson Lake State Park in Fort Morgan, exalt in the reflection the Milky Way makes in serene lake waters. North of Steamboat Springs, spot Colorado’s abundant wildlife on a 5-mile hike along the shores of Sarvis Creek—a perfect, low-elevation hike for spring. After your hike, head to Strawberry Park Hot Springs for a soak and a stay under starry skies. In the southwest, the private and public campgrounds near the shores of Vallecito Lake provide a resplendent environment to put the devices down and enjoy the moment.
Sip the stress away: Uncork and unwind at one of the Centennial State’s interactive and unique wineries. Hunker down in a cool, underground cellar in Palisade for an old-world experience at Stone Cottage Cellars, where you can stay in the original stone cottage located in the center of the vineyard and constructed of fieldstone cleared from the vineyard. Lavender lends its calming, soothing scent to St. Kathryn Cellars, in Palisade, where their lavender wine is crafted with locally grown product. In Hotchkiss, camp, taste and pick at a visit to Delicious Orchards, home of Big B’s juices, where you can sample a wide variety of ciders. At the Claremont Inn & Winery, relax and rejuvenate in romantic and uniquely decorated rooms, enjoy wines crafted and bottled on site, and cultivate new skills through on-site cooking classes. Grab a glass of Leroux Creek Inn and Vineyard southwestern wine and prepare for a friendly game of petanque (a bocce-like ball game) while overlooking stunning vineyards just outside of Paonia. If you fancy a brew, beer tastes better at 12,000 feet, so grab a pint of Colorado craft beer, sit back, and enjoy one of Colorado’s 300+ licensed craft breweries.
Through a rejuvenating combination of natural offerings and unplugged activities, Colorado offers an ideal escape to relax and restore. The mountains, canyons and plains all supply stunning vistas and opportunities for adventure or for a soothing, meditative stroll. Music festivals across the state provide respite, laughter and social interactions guaranteed to enhance your mind and uplift your spirit. Locally grown foods and craft wines, ciders and beers work together to nourish you, one nurturing bite or sip at a time. Ditch the screens and the stress, and head for some Colorado genuine and lasting peace of mind.