The days are dwindling down to a precious few on your time in Boulder, unless you're lucky enough to snag a gig that keeps you in the shadow of the beautiful Flatirons in perpetuity.
With the heavy rigors of the academic's existence likely leaving you with little more than a library pallor and a borderline Adderall addiction, it's quite possible that you have never tasted some of the sweetest fruits life in the Boulder Valley and its immediate environs have to offer.
But in the time that's left, there's still a chance to cross some must-dos off your Boulder bucket list. You'll never get them all, and there's no shame in that. People who have lived here for decades probably haven't bagged all of these, and no two people would necessarily come up with the same list.
Before heading home to Orange County — surely a lovely place that we promise, really, to possibly check out for ourselves — you might want to take a stab at one or more of the following.
There are all sorts of stereotypes about Boulder, and at least half of them are somewhat true. Folks in Moline may think we all wear hemp clothes and have daisies growing from our dreadlocks because we're too stoned to shower and we protest once a week over quinoa prices. For most, it's usually only every other week. But no doubt it's a quirky town, so why not embrace it?
Hit the Pearl Street Mall and jam out on your instrument of choice — be it bagpipes, trumpet or African shell. Or cook a vegan meal or make it through a weeklong dietary cleanse. You may want to stop by a dispensary and pick up some legal weed or spend a day at the Boulder Reservoir doing yoga on a paddleboard. Join a crossfit gym and spend the rest of the week unable to move. It's all part of the Boulder experience.
Make a run for It
People come from foreign countries to do it, and there is plenty of time to prepare, so start logging the miles now so you can be in shape to join 50,000 others in running the Bolder Boulder, the third-largest road race in the United States, according to Running USA.
The race is 10 kilometers, and as an almost college graduate, you would recognize that as 6.2 miles, enough to work up a good sweat but not enough to break a reasonably fit human being. The course carves a scenic path through the heart of Boulder, with streetside musicians and performers spread along the way to provide diversion and boost morale, all the way to the finish line at Folsom Field. For those who have never been bathed in the roar of a crowd from a stadium floor, few thrills are greater. Additionally, runners are rewarded with beer and snacks, and you can walk or run the whole thing in the costume of your choice.
Hungry? Make your parents pay
You've been busting your tail for four years to achieve that eye-popping GPA, and you deserve to be commended for it. And to be fed.
Invite your parents or most solvent supporters to fete you at the Flagstaff House. Perched at 6,000 feet on the side of Flagstaff Mountain just a five-minute drive from Boulder, it offers an overlook of the city that is breathtaking whether in daylight or if Who-ville is nothing but a carpet of twinkly lights.
The Monette family offers a multi-award-winning wine list from their 15,000-bottle wine cellar, and the mouth-watering French-American cuisine and unrivaled service make the experience one that will linger in your memory long after the wallet of whoever pays has bounced back from the considerable price tag. Sometimes, top-tier restaurants get away with charging based on reputation not matched by the actual dining experience. This will not be one of those times. Two words: Do it.
Tea and so much more
A nice cuppa tea might not sound like the most electrifying experience for a Boulder bucket list, and it probably wouldn't be unless you were to enjoy it at the Dushanbe Tea House. Boulder has sister cities the way some dogs have fleas — eight, with the recent addition of Nablus, Palestine — but supporting international diplomacy isn't the reason for making this stop before you clear out of town.
In visiting Boulder in 1987 to cement the sister city relationship with Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Mayor Maksud Ikramov announced that Dushanbe would present Boulder with the gift of an ornate teahouse. He followed through, and the city found itself with a truly unique structure featuring the work of more than 40 artisans, including a hand-carved and hand-painted ceiling, stools, tables, columns and exterior ceramic panels.
Perhaps you don't drink tea. That's all right. But you probably like breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, wine — all of which are also offered at the tea house. Drop in, find yourself a perch in a cozy corner and take in the splendor. Bring a friend. You and your pals have probably never seen anything like it.
Head for the hills
Make for the high country — but not to ski. If you were going to do that, it would have happened by now. The Frozen Dead Guy Days in nearby Nederland, however, is something you won't get to do anywhere else.
Set for March 10-12, the annual winter festival is celebrating its 16th year of paying homage to Bredo Morstol, who is frozen in a state of suspended animation and resides in a Tuff Shed atop dry ice on a hill above Nederland. Billed as Colorado's "most frigidly fun festival," Frozen Dead Guy Days features about 30 live bands in heated tents and costumed polar plunging, frozen T-shirt contests and a coffin race.
Particularly for the living, the weekend is a can't-miss opportunity for a really strange brand of fun — which, your years in Boulder have surely taught you, is often the very best kind.
Charlie Brennan: twitter.com/chasbrennan