“Home is where your story begins.”
It’s always a treat to come across a Colorado native. As a woman who was born and raised in Broomfield, Colorado, I feel a sense of camaraderie when I meet someone who understands and appreciates all that this beautiful state has to offer.
I met Shelley while working at a school in Centennial, Colorado. Shelley is a Colorado expert, having lived here for nearly 55 years. She was born at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Castle Rock, Elizabeth and Englewood. Shelley has had plenty of chances to move to another state, she actually did for a total of 3 years when she was a young girl and again as an adult. So, what brought her back to the Centennial State?
Good memories, blue skies and the great outdoors.
Here are a few questions answered by a Colorado Native.
What is your favorite place in Colorado? Why?
Hmm…I don’t have just one favorite place in Colorado, the whole state has special things to offer. One of my favorite places in Colorado is Glenwood Springs for a few reasons: We spent our honeymoon there, the drive through Glenwood Canyon is spectacular and we love the hot spring mineral pools. We like to visit in the winter because it can be snowing and still enjoyable. I remember one time we were in the pool and everybody had a little pile of snow on their head while sitting in the hot water, call me simple, but that was fun.
Generally, how has Colorado changed since you first moved here?
When I was growing up in Englewood, Colorado I attended Flood Junior High located on Broadway and Hampden, my husband’s grandfather attended Junior and Senior High School in the same building. It has been torn down and now is a multi-story apartment building. Also, when I was young I would visit my grandmother in Elizabeth, she owned 10 acres just outside the town as you enter on main street. Now, it’s better known as the Big R Farm and Ranch Supply store. I learned how to ride my bike and drive a car on this property. Now, it doesn’t even look like the same place.
Describe an area of Colorado that has recently grown/expanded. What did this area used to look like? What does it look like now?
When I was growing up in Englewood, County Line (right before C470) was the “end of the line” there wasn’t any Highlands Ranch. We would drive on County Line Rd with my dad to the dump and the road was like a roller coaster going up and down all the way. Same as Parker and Arapahoe Road, we would go visit my grandmother in Elizabeth and going by the intersection, anything east of there was dirt road and farms. Castle Rock would be another area that is completely different now, the actual “Castle Rock” seemed so much bigger when I was younger and was really a huge landmark, now it seems to be diminished by all the new shopping and houses.
What is your best ‘driving in the snow’ tip?
Don’t slam on your breaks unless you have anti-lock breaks, you need to pump the breaks if you are sliding. If you are sliding one way turn the wheel the opposite way (sounds weird but just do it). If you are going any distance or away from the city; pack a shovel, a blanket and extra snacks in case you get stuck or in case it turns into a blizzard. Even though Colorado is heavily populated people have been stuck in their cars for hours. If you can’t see the road and the snow is really deep, don’t keep going, I high centered my car once and then I had a problem.
What is the best season in Colorado? Why?
This question is very hard to answer. I love all the seasons in Colorado. Spring because everything is fresh and turning green, and the sky is so blue. Summer because it is warm and even hot without the humidity, it always cools of in the evening so we can enjoy eating outside or going to concerts etc. Fall, because the weather is so crisp and the sun so warm, and the sky is so blue. Winter because it snows (I truly enjoy the snow) but then the sun still shines so much in the winter that we can have blizzards one day and you can go out in the sun to shovel snow the next without a coat. I enjoy being outdoors as much as I can. There is something to do in any season of the year in Colorado.
Have you ever considered moving out of Colorado? If so, where?
We have been considering moving, not necessarily out of Colorado but out of the Denver area. Maybe to southern Colorado where my father has 40 acres, or to Wyoming to even Kansas if the right opportunities and location came about. Mainly to live a slower pace of life with less people around. Now I’m sounding like an old person…
What is your opinion of the growing Colorado population? Are you angry at transplants for moving to Colorado?
I still love Denver and Colorado but the population of the past five years has gotten to be too much, too many crowds and traffic wherever you go. My former commute to work took seven to fifteen minutes longer than as recent as three years ago. I am not angry at the transplants moving here because it is a great state to live in. However, it has changed things in the city and elsewhere. I enjoy the open spaces in Colorado which now it seems that any open space left is being swallowed up by new construction, and more people equals more housing. I am thankful that I live where I live and have a house with a big backyard; I would not be able to afford my house if I had to buy it today. The added population has also had negative effects on traveling to the mountains, skiing, sightseeing and camping. It is much harder to get to the mountains and back home to enjoy a weekend trip. We used to camp by driving to the mountains, finding a campground and pitching a tent. Now we have to reserve a spot six months in advance.
What hikes would you recommend to someone visiting Colorado?
I would definitely recommend Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, it is really beautiful once you get to the lake. However, it is getting overcrowded and I saw on the news recently that the number of hikers is going to be limited to a certain number each day. Other hikes would be any of the fourteeners, but people have to prepare and research before they go. I climbed Mt. Elbert (the highest point in Colorado, but not a super difficult hike) when I was thirty and it was well worth it. I also like to just get out a map and follow trails to lakes that are off-the-beaten-path to fish. The water is so pristine and there aren’t many people. Other things that I would recommend other than hikes are the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde (really cool history and artifacts) and a Jeep ride out of Durango to old mining Ghost Towns. Just to name a few.
What restaurants would you recommend?
This is also a difficult question; I like history and wild game so The Buckhorn Exchange is number one for someone who likes those things. It is in the original building and was the first liquor license in Colorado. Among the taxidermy hanging on the walls it has many photos of famous people who have visited over the years; such as JFK’s fishing license, Teddy Roosevelt would visit to go bear hunting so his picture is there and much more. My husband and I also like to try out new restaurants that are not chains; Acres and The Whiskey Biscuit are newer to Englewood, small but very, very unique and delicious. Acres is farm to table style and the menu varies.
If you were trying to convince a friend to move to Colorado, what would you tell them?
I would tell them up front that it is expensive to live in Denver or anywhere near Denver. After that, I would say that there is something for everybody in Colorado with activities abound, whether you have a lot of money to spend or no money at all there are things to do and see. My favorite thing is 300 days of sunshine a year and how blue the sky is.
Do you have additional questions for a Colorado Native? Comment below and Shelley will respond.
Thanks for reading,