Friday, January 14, 2011

Scouting Fort Collins

We've been in Fort Collins the past few days - our first solo family adventure (ie not visiting Granparents). While Will was on an intensive interview, Ava and I have been on a mission to explore as much of Fort Collins as possible in between naps. I toted my camera around diligently with the intention to document everything we saw. Hmm. The camera came out for the first time today. Ah well.

I can say with certainty that Fort Collinders love living in Fort Collins. And many of the things they say about Fort Collins are things we say about Ann Arbor. With two very important exceptions. First, obviously, there's the mountains (we just don't have those in Michigan). Yes, you can go for a ski at Boyne 'Mountain', but the idea is laughable when you have the Rockies in your backyard. Second, there's the sun factor. When we emerged from the airport in Denver we were nearly blinded by the sunshine. You see, coming from winter in Michigan, we haven't actually seen the sun in several months. When we started to complain about how bright it was (and, strangely, how warm 14 degree weather in Colorado feels - they say because of lack of moisture in the air), we realized how curmudgeonly midwest we've become. No wonder everyone is so overly happy and nice here.

And I just watched a dog board the elevator in the Hilton. Yes, this place is friendly to dogs and humans alike.

So, Will finished his interview and we ventured downtown together this afternoon. At the heart of Fort Collins is a thriving downtown with many cool independent shops that seem small from the outside, then just keep going and going and going once you get in. As we were about to cross the street I was surprised by a train rolling along with the cars down the middle of the road. Yes, there's a train that travels along a road in the downtown and cars ride right alongside it. 

We had lunch at La Creperie, where the croissants and crepes are both authentic and absolutely divine. Ava enjoyed her first croissant and the attentions of the owner, who was the loveliest woman. She said she 'had a good feeling' about Will getting the job and hoped that we decide to come back - that luscious croissant, smoked salmon, brie and greens sandwich just might have been enough to convince me. We left with chococroissants in hand and intentions to return tomorrow for one more buttery croissant fix before we head out of town.

At La Creperie of Fort Collins
Fort Collins is very bike and pedestrian friendly, with bike lanes on many streets and a pedestrian mall lined with stores and restaurants, and populated by a bike library, mini-urban-ice skating rink, a cool fountain (that is currently looking like a bizarre ice sculpture) and functional statues meant to be climbed on, and curled under. Ava particularly enjoyed her first ride on a giant salmon.

Ava aboard an urban salmon

The highlights of my day of exploration, though, were my visits first to one of the three Fort Collins knitting stores, Your Daily Fiber, and one of the sewing stores, Mama Said Sew. Both were so much cooler than anything we have in Ann Arbor. The owners of the knitting store live near the border of Wyoming and own a herd of llama that they shear to make their own yarn. They hand dye it and sell it in the store. You can even custom order your own hand-dyed wool! Mama got a little present for herself on that visit.

Orange and Bulky

The sewing store is everything I've dreamed of having in Ann Arbor and more. They even have a playspace set up for kids so that they can occupy themselves while Mamas view the very cool selection of fabrics. Can you imagine not having to choose fabrics and judge color combos online? This pretty much convinced me that we can live in Fort Collins.

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