Ah, Fall! This is my absolute favorite time of year. The weather has finally started to cool down and the leaves are making their last dazzling show before winter settles in. This autumn has been crazy busy for our little family. Between my first foray into Colorado gardening, a new exercise program (more on that later), tending to chickens and chasing around my soon-to-be two-year-old (WOW! Time has flown!), my husband and I have barely had time to breathe!
My family believes strongly in the concept of being a tourist in your own home town – eat at a local restaurant you’ve never been to before, visit a historical landmark (or 12), hike a local trail, or shop at a local boutique. Not only are you having fun in the town where you live and being a part of your community, you are investing into the local economy. Seeing as we only moved to this town a little under two years ago, it has been pretty easy to find places we haven’t been to before on our little weekend excursion.
This weekend, we went to Florence, Colorado. Florence is a small but fun and funky town in its own right. It’s the lauded “Antiques Capital” of Colorado, and therefore one of my favorite places to poke around. The downtown is absolutely filled to the brim with little treasures. My favorite shop in downtown Florence is the 103 Vintage Market. The ladies who own the shop have a wonderful eye for design and you can just see the items they sell in your home. My second favorite store is the Salvage Antiques Vintage, ETC. Their specialty is salvaged windows, doors, hinges and the like but its organized immaculately.
The restaurants are pretty good there as well. Right now, I’m low key obsessed with Ito’s Japanese Steak House – its a tad bit on the pricier side for the area, but the sushi there is delicious and beautiful and worth it! They also have delicious things on the menu if you aren’t all that in to raw fish, like authentic ramen, bento boxes, hibachi grill items and Thai food (the pad thai is one of my favorites)! They focus on being family friendly and they succeed big time. If you haven’t been there, you should definitely go.
Once we finish grabbing lunch, we usually head down to the Pour House for a cup of freshly-roasted-in-house coffee and a handmade dessert or artesian chocolate in the shape of a dinosaur (because dinosaurs). Also, a pro-tip if you have littles with you and want to make a nice mommy/daddy date – order a milk steamer. They will put whatever flavoring you want in it for the littles so they can have a “coffee” too. Our two year old daughter feels so special getting to sit in the booth with her own “latte” while “reading” the tourism magazines they keep on hand.
Florence also hosted its third annual Octoberfest that weekend, thanks to the up-and-coming Florence Brewing Company. Although it was a pretty chilly afternoon, that didn’t stop the die hard fans of the brewery from coming down and enjoying the live music and festivities. In a state full of big name microbreweries, FBC stands out with its amazing Alpine Loop Hefe and their Fresh Hops – which is brewed with pounds and pounds of locally grown hops, but the beer menu is always changing with the season and occasion (they have been known to brew a special batch or two in honor of a new business in town etc). The bar is also dog friendly (for well behaved pups), so its a perfect watering hole for you and you pooch after a brisk walk out to admire the fall leaves!
Florence, Colorado always surprises and delights. I could go on for pages and pages about the fun things to do around town but as I’m focusing on this past weekend for now, I will leave it there. If you live in the area, or are passing through the Central Front Range region of the state, make sure and swing by Florence for an afternoon of antiquing and beer tasting, you wont be sorry you did.