Longmont, Colorado

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Longmont, Colorado is a historic town just northwest of Denver where I had the pleasure of spending a few days last month. Upon arriving, I checked into the Thompson House Inn and my accommodations were exactly what you would expect from a charming bed and breakfast. It was comfortable, quaint and personable and even included afternoon tea.

Longmont is home to many excellent and well-known and varied restaurants around town, including Mike O’Shay’s, Lucile’s Cajun Cuisine, Jefe’s Tacos and Tequila. Two others, The Roost and Samples, were featured on the television show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”.  But I have to give a shout out to Cheese Importers. This restaurant is housed in a building that has had many lives. Starting as the first power station to service city residents and most recently a storage facility for the City of Longmont Museum. Now, it’s a successful cheese importer and bistro that is well known to both residents and visitors of Longmont.      

The city also offers public art, including a self-guided Art in Public Places tour that you can see on a bicycle through Zagster Bike Share. Downtown Longmont 2nd Friday featuring gallery openings and other activities sponsored by the Downtown Longmont Creative District.                             

I also enjoyed Rosalee’s Pizza, which adapted an old world, east coast style of making pizza with a thin chewy crust. Coming from someone who has eaten a lot of east coast pizza, Rosalee’s Pizza held its own!

On Saturday morning I visited the Longmont Farmers Market, which began in 1989, and is held at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. I grew up going to farmer’s markets and wholly appreciate that this market is producer-only, where the farmers only sell what they grow. Their season lasts from April - November. I enjoyed hearing local live music while walking through the market, sampling produce and seeing what crops were grown in the area.

Lunch on this day was at The Dickens Tavern, located downstairs from the Dickens Opera House. This upscale restaurant offered a menu of American gourmet comfort food in a 19th century setting.

Longmont is known for its craft breweries and after lunch, I jumped on the Brewhop Trolley, a really fun tour around town, where I sampled the local offerings of St. Vrain Cidery, GrossenBart Brewery and Wibby Brewing. So much beer and so little time…Cheers!

My evening continued with a shuttle to Nitro Fest, held at the well-known Left Hand Brewery. Nitro Fest is a beer festival with regional, national and international breweries showcasing their “nitro” products. I didn’t think I liked dark beer, but then after trying an exceptional Milk Nitro Stout, I was a convert. This year the featured music were the bands MarchFourth and BIG Something. The festival was also visually entertaining with many people dressed in costume, because it was a “Voodoo Masquerade Formal” themed event. Nitro Fest was a great night filled with live music, macabre performances and delicious beer and one that I highly recommend attending.                                                               

On Sunday morning I woke up to a picture perfect Colorado snowfall and enjoyed a Bluegrass Brunch at Oskar Blues. This local restaurant is known for it’s excellent beer and, in fact, was the first craft brewery in the United States to start canning their own beer. Dale’s Pale Ale, first canned in 2002 started the craft beer-in-a-can craze.  The menu featured southern breakfast specialties such as Chicken and Waffles, Biscuits and Gravy and Chicken Fried Steak.  There was even a make your own Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar and local musicians brought their own instruments for an impromptu blues session. Brunch at Oskar Blues was a great way to start a Sunday!

On Sunday afternoon, I attended a cheese-making workshop at The Art of Cheese. As a cheese lover, it was very satisfying to learn how to make my own ricotta and mozzarella at home. Simple recipes, including the correct milk to use, had us creating and stretching the curd in no time.  Stuffing the mozzarella with fresh ricotta created my absolute favorite cheese, burrata. Served with a glass of red wine, I was in cheese nirvana.

A Caesar Salad and Farmhouse Burger at Samples finished my day on a delicious note. Samples is a restaurant that serves amazing comfort food and has over 30 rotating craft beers on tap. It also has an awesome mission to provide employment for adults with disabilities through their Sample Supports program.

Although I was only in Longmont for three days, my itinerary was full, and this brief but wonderful stay has me wanting to return and explore the city some more. The highlight of the trip was discovering Longmont itself and what the town, founded in 1871, had to offer. What I found was a city of historic architecture, art and culture, an amazing selection of beer, excellent restaurants fun outdoor activities and very friendly people. Longmont is an awesome city in the incredibly beautiful state of Colorado and definitely worth a visit!

Taylor Camp