In the blink of an eye, your Boulder idyll is going to be coming to an end, and you’ll be wondering how did it all go by so fast?
And, how is it that you never got around to exploring some of the exotica that was available for you all along, beyond the borders of the University of Colorado’s beautiful Boulder campus?
Don’t be among those rueing the missed opportunities. Your tireless attention to the academics has served you well to this point, but if you want to leave town with more than a library pallor and serious caffeine habit in May, it’s time to check out some of the extracurriculars that have eluded you to date.
Everyone’s got their own list of can’t-miss experiences that are just … so Boulder. In all its arbitrary glory, here’s ours at least, the 2020 version.
It doesn’t get too much more Boulder than the solstice observations at the Labyrinth on the basement level of the First United Methodist Church of Boulder, at 1421 Spruce St.
On both the winter and summer solstices, as well as the spring and fall equinox, those special days are marked at the 11-circuit labyrinth modeled after the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France.
Typically held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the event invites visitors to sit on meditation pillows as they are soothed by the ethereal tones of Heartsong Way, two Denver-based musicians who fill the air with soft earthly and unearthly sounds, pulling guests deeper into the spell of the sacred space. When moved by the spirits — or boredom with sitting — visitors are invited to stand and walk the labyrinth from its exterior to its center, dwell there as long as they wish, and then make their way out again. And sit down. Or leave. Or whatever.
The labyrinth is also available at many other times, as well. Currently the church advertises labyrinth hours of 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, as well as 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. It is closed Friday and Saturday. For more information, go to fumboulder.org.
Get flexy — with a goat
Goat Yoga classes at Boulder’s Mountain Flower Dairy are billed as a combination of exploration, fitness and humor. One-hour classes are conducted out in their pasture with, yes, goats, allowing farm visitors to truly experience the delightful creatures in their natural environment.
Visitors are advised to be prepared to laugh, and get all flexy, as they are guided through a yoga practice geared to connect the community with land, animal and the playful side that dwells within us all. At least on our good days.
Classes, which have been offered there since the spring of 2017, and are now increasing in popularity across the country, are geared toward all ages and all levels, and it’s gotten air time from CNN and National Geographic. An instructor at Mountain Flower once noted that “it’s taking something normal that people love and adding a unique twist.” Like so much of what goes on in this town.
Note: It’s closed until the spring, but you can check the dairy website at mountainflowerdairy.com to find out when you can once again get down with the goats.
Crawl the mall
There are all sorts of stereotypes about Boulder, and at least half of them are somewhat true. Folks in Fargo 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 djembe. 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.
Dead guys have all the fun
Head 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 13-15, the annual winter festival is celebrating its 19th 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.
Brave the Bolder Boulder
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, always held on Memorial Day.
The race, scheduled for May 25 this year, is 10 kilometers, and with all that education under your belt, you may recognize that translates to 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 tsunami-like roar of a crowd from a stadium floor, few thrills are greater. Additionally, runners are rewarded with beer and snacks, and you can run — or walk, if you must — the whole thing in the costume of your choice.
It’s about more than tea
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 Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Boulder has sister cities the way some dogs have fleas — no fewer than 10, now — 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.
The teahouse last year even saw a bit of a touch-up, courtesy of a visiting Tajik artist who is the son and grandson of previous craftsmen who left their imprint on the exotic edifice.
Perhaps you don’t get too excited about tea. Chill. You probably dig breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, wine — all of which are also offered at the tea house. Drop in, find yourself a spot in a cozy corner and take in the splendor. Bring a friend. You and your peeps have probably never seen anything like it.