Tap into Boulder's creative side

Mix the start-up energy of Silicon Valley with the craftiness of Portland, and you’ve got the most-inspired town in the West

All things chocolate. Try cake making or chocolate-and-beer pairing at Piece, Love & Chocolate, a decadent shop curated by chocola­tier and pastry chef Sarah Amorese. Classes from $55; 805 Pearl St.; pieceloveandchocolate.com

Shake one up. The Bitter Bar’s cocktail class ($50) will give you the 101 on using bitters, the right ice, and how to mix it all up like a pro. 835 Walnut St.; 303/442-3050.

Eat like a farmer. Eric Skokan, chef and owner of Bramble & Hare restaurant, is transforming Front Range cuisine as a new breed of chef-farmer. At his 160-acre Black Cat Farms, he grows more than 250 varieties of fruits and veggies, and raises hogs, sheep, and chickens. Skokan says, “Now I can dream up dishes with the seed catalog,” instead of simply relying on what’s available. $$; 1970 13th St.; 303/444-9110. 

DIY workshop. At Fabricate, shop for fabric, and learn to make your own clothing, table linens, and quilts. Classes from $25; 2023 17th St.; fabricateboulder.com

High-altitude coffee. At Boxcar Coffee Roasters, which shares a storefront with Cured, Cara and Vajra Rich have developed a special brewing method for Boulder’s elevation and lower water-boiling temp. The process involves mixing almost-boiling water with coffee grounds, heating to boiling, adding ice, and straining—kind of like a mad science experiment. Brewing classes start this winter. 1825B Pearl St.; boxcarcoffeeroasters.com

Cocktails for champions. A trail runner turned mixologist, Bryan Dayton transferred his athletic drive to the bar he co-owns, Oak at Fourteenth. His housemade bitters, sodas, and hand-carved ice spheres have put Boulder on the map in cocktail competitions nationally. No wonder, with drinks like the East Aspen Heights: gin, yellow Chartreuse, and blackberry and pear juice. 1400 Pearl St.; 303/444-3622.

A Euro-style grocery. Coral and Will Frischkorn (formerly a graphic designer and pro cyclist) were inspired to open Cured, a shop specializing in meats, breads, cheeses, and wines, while living in Spain. “Rather than stocking up weekly, people did daily rounds, like to the cheesemonger,” says Coral. Free wine sampling Tue; wine-and-cheese classes Thu (from $35); 1825B Pearl St.; curedboulder.com

Get creative. Shop and DIY design at FactoryMade. Classes from $15; 2000 21st St.; madelife.com

Hobbyists turned designers. In 2010, artists Kristin FitzGerrell and Allison Bozeman created Firefly Handmade Markets. They felt that the talent, energy, and momentum of the local handmade community was poised for something larger. “We wanted a craft fair like Renegade here,” says FitzGerrell. “For the first market, we searched local makers on Etsy and pulled people out who were working in their closets.” Sixty vendors filled the inaugural market, and a year later they had double the applicants. “There are a lot of people who have a day job but are moonlighting doing what they love, and some are now determined to make a go of it,” says Fitz­Gerrell. One recent success story is Elke Bergeron (byelke.com), a stay-at-home mom whose handbags made from vintage materials have become popular. $2 entry; fireflyhandmade.com

Get around. Check out a bike from five downtown B-cycle stations. $5/24 hours; take unlimited hourlong rides, or add $4 per additional half-hour for longer trips; boulderbcycle.com

Stay. At the Colorado Chautauqua’s 58 cozy cottages near downtown, there’s always something going on—films, concerts, and forums. From $122; chautauqua.com

 

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