Rural Longmont has been better known through the years for saloon brawls than culinary prowess. But a recent influx of breweries, cheese stores, gourmet shops, restaurants, and ethnic markets has turned this town into a food destination.
Visit during the annual Holiday Creek Walk on December 18 to enjoy Longmont's culinary offerings plus an old-fashioned Christmas celebration with light displays, a free barbecue, carolers, and live reindeer.
Spend the morning exploring shops like La Fromagerie at Cheese Importers Warehouse. More than 500 artisan and farmstead cheeses share space with fondue and raclette accessories. The cafe and European marketplace showcase a stocked olive bar and French chocolates and truffles, as well as cookware and tableware.
Continue to satisfy your sweet tooth at Madhava Honey, which features pure, unfiltered alfalfa, wildflower, and clover honeys and honey spreads and sticks. Nearby, Longmont Dairy Farm Country Store offers milk ― fresh from its own livestock and sold in old-fashioned glass bottles ― and an excellent selection of Colorado-made salsas, jams, and mustards.
Plan a midday break at the Left Hand & Tabernash Brewing Company and, on Saturdays, take a free 20-minute tour. Then head for Your Butcher, Frank, a small-town meat market that sells locally raised lamb, hand-cut beef, and pork sausages. Or visit Las Americas tortilla-making factory and market, where the shelves overflow with Mexican salsas, spices, and tortillas.
Time for one more stop? Revitalize with a seafood dish at Tortuga's Caribbean and Cajun restaurant. Look for the jambalaya and the yucca-crusted grouper special. You'll leave in merry spirits, which is what warming up to winter is all about.
Longmont is located one hour north of Denver via U.S. 36 and U.S. 287, and 20 minutes northeast of Boulder via State 119. For lodging information, con-tact the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce (www.longmontchamber.org or 303/776-5295).
Holiday Creek Walk. 3:30–8 Dec 18; free. Along 0.25-mile St. Vrain Greenway trail in Roger's Grove, Hover Rd. at Third Ave.; 303/774-4440.
La Fromagerie at Cheese Importers Warehouse. 33 S. Pratt Pkwy.; 303/443-4444.
Las Americas. 830 Lashley St.; 303/651-3454.
Left Hand & Tabernash Brewing Company. Closed Sun; $5.99 beer-tasting fee, free tours Sat at 1 and 3. 1265 Boston Ave.; 303/772-0258 ext.106.
Longmont Dairy Farm Country Store. 10675 Ute Hwy. (State 66); 303/776-6456.
Madhava Honey. Closed Sun. 4689 Ute Hwy.; 303/823-5166.
Tortuga's. $$$; dinner Tue–Sat, reservations required. 218 Coffman St.; 303/772-6954.
Your Butcher, Frank. Closed Sun–Mon. 900 Coffman; 303/772-3281.