The Ultimate Travel Guide for Boulder, Colorado

Exploring The Charming Houmas House on the Mississippi The Travel Brats

Houmas House- A Historic Gem Hidden on the Mississippi The first word that comes to mind when thinking about our stay at the Houmas House Home and Gardens is magical. From the elegant romantic suites to the grand dining room and the blooming gardens to the House itself, this property was something out of a fairytale, with a rich story behind it. Bout in 2003 by the owner, Kevin Kelly,  Houmas House was turned into an oasis to escape the bustle of NOLA and take a trip back in time for a few days. To add to the singular story of the house, years before the purchase, Mr. Kelly and a friend visited the Houmas House, which at that time was in disarray. They each tossed a coin into a fountain on the property made from a cane sugar drum and made a wish. Mr. Kelly wished for someone to come fix up the musty, damaged, and overgrown property. Years later, after much financial success, Kelly was looking for a plantation home to make his own but none were available at the time. Kelly gave up on his endeavor only for the Houmas House to go on the market shortly after. He seized the opportunity and began his journey to restore the Houmas House back to its historic glory. Although buying the property anonymously, he received a call from his friend congratulating him on his new purchase. Surprised, he inquired how his friend knew about the private transaction. At that point, his friend revealed his wish made years ago at the sugar drum fountain-that Kelly would be the one to purchase the Houmas House one day and restore it. The Houmas House HistoryThe House is spectacular from the inside out. Mr. Kelly has done a phenomenal job restoring the house to its original look, while also incorporating his own personal touches that add a tasteful elegance and intrigue to each room. From Winter to Summer, and Autumn to Spring, the Houmas House and Gardens are seasonally spectacular. Spring and Autumn are the favorite seasons to visit, however, visitors come from all over all year round to see this gorgeous home. With Mansion tours every 30 minutes from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, gardens you can explore 24/7, four restaurants to dine in, and a museum rich with Louisiana history, you can keep occupied for hours. I recommend staying at least two full days to try the different restaurants, relax in the gardens and explore the museum. The Gardens Complete with swans, geese, butterflies, and even a peacock, the grounds surrounding the house are a true garden oasis. The extensive gardens are replete with blossoming flowers, trees, and plants of all kinds. From Japanese gardens to bushes shaped like dragonflies, lily ponds, and oak trees, the gardens are full of inspirational beauty. Some of my favorite additions to the gardens were the statues I saw such as a lion, a hanging cherub, and greek figures. The head gardener and his team have left no stone unturned, taking meticulous care of the current gardens while pursuing new visions for the grounds. Restaurants The three restaurants located at Houmas House are the Carriage House Restaurant, the Dixie Café, and Latil's Landing Restaurant. Be sure to order a drink at the Turtle Bar, housed in a building dating back to the 1700s, and ask about the Wine Cellars of the Houmas House. From the elegant ambiance of the Carriage House to the excellent southern breakfast buffet at Dixie Cafe, we enjoyed the seasonal menu and unique regional cocktails.On the event side of things, the Houmas House is a spectacular wedding venue, with several picturesque locations on the property to pick from. A bride and groom can select any spot to wed, from in front of the house, to the amphitheater, or any spot in the gardens. There are special halls for the reception, special rooms for the bride and groom's parents, and Hollywood-like parlors for the bridesmaids to get ready in!I was fascinated with the museum which tells the story of Louisiana exploring slavery, the Civil War, disease, industrial advances, and American patriotism. Walking through the museum takes you back in time and opens your eyes to the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of history, causing you to reflect on our country’s complex past. What impressed me the most is that Mr. Kelly has committed to upholding the true story of this historic home because he values the importance of history, and the multitude of lessons we learn from it. Despite pressure from opposers, he has committed to recounting the truth of the Houmas House and its neighboring plantation homes during the Civil War era. With a rockstar staff, Houmas House was five stars when it came to customer service. From the young man who initially welcomed us and escorted us to our room, the tour guide for the house, the head landscaper of the gardens, as well as Mr. Kelly himself, every interaction with the warm and friendly Houmas House family made for a truly special stay. For those who have avoided travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Houmas House proves a safe escape from your regular quarantine spot, because of its quaint and spaced-out property.
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Photo by Martin Alargent on Pexels.com

As many of you know, that I co-created the “Who Wear There” Podcast with my wonderful friend, Sofia. I love to share these resources with my followers on Thoughtful Blonde, so here’s the run down – In episode 33, The Travel Brats interview the lovely and well-rounded, Suzi, who is well versed in all things Boulder, Colorado, skiing, adventuring, breweries, and yummy places to eat. In this episode, Suzi shares her insight about making the most out of your Colorado trip by showcasing the best local eateries, CU Campus, biking and skiing hot spots, and must dos.

Travel Brats asked: “Where are we talking about today?”

Suzi said:

“Boulder is a city at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in northern Colorado. To the west, are the Flatirons which are craggy rock formations overlooking the city. Downtown’s is the pedestrian Pearl Street Mall which includes art galleries, cafes, restaurants and boutiques. To the north, about 45 minutes away is Rocky Mountain National Park and to the south/southeast is Golden and Denver.Fantastic skiing exits 90 minutes away with half a dozen world class ski resorts nearby.

Boulder is home to the main campus of the University of Colorado, the state’s largest university. The city frequently receives high rankings in art, health, well-being, quality of life, and education.

Boulder was a popular hippie town in the 1960s and re-invented itself as an affluent outdoorsy town, but it’s still very rooted in its hippie traditions.” 

Travel Brats asked: “Who lives there? What’s the environment like?”

Today, there’s lots of organic, natural items, as well as a number of breweries, and lots of great restaurants. “I like to say all the hippies had to grow up and wanted education and outdoor recreation for their children.

Additionally, there are world class road cyclists, skiers, and climbers that call Boulder home. Both NOAA and NIST have sites in Boulder and most recently, many tech companies have moved to Boulder and even Google has a large campus in town.”

Travel Brats asked: “What are the best things to do there?”

Suzi said: 

  • Lots of road biking – anywhere on the Front Range as well as climbing into the mountains.
  • Lots of mountain biking – generally one must go up and then come down. Single track and dirt roads.
  • Lots of climbers – seek out Boulder to climb year round
  • Lots of hiking – can be either flat or up the mountain. Lots of trails from Golden to Lyons. 
  • Climbing the Flatirons from Chautauqua http://www.protrails.com/trail/138/boulder-denver-golden-fort-collins-lyons-flatiron-1 is a favorite tourist To Do.

Travel Brats asked “ What are more things to do along with the best hikes in Boulder?

Suzi said: 

Suzi continued on to say:

“What you find in Boulder is that everybody does everything meaning most folks do hike, bike, ski, climb, and anything else outdoors. The Pearl Street Mall https://www.pearlstreetmall.com/ is a pedestrian mall that has lots of restaurants and shop. Both locals and tourists alike will be on “the mall”. The “hill” is a subsection of Boulder where the CU Boulder students congregate or hang out. Generally, most locals stay away from the “hill” since that area of town borders the CU campus.”

Travel Brats then asked the infamous question — “Where should you eat there?” 

Suzi said: 

“Favorite Breakfast Spots:

Walnut Cafe – on 30th – known for great pie https://www.walnutcafe.com/

The Buff – great coffee & skillets https://www.buffrestaurant.com/

Dougs Diner – awesome breakfast bowls https://www.dougsdiner.com/

Snooze – nice casual & healthy https://www.snoozeeatery.com/branches/1733/snooze-boulder/

Village Inn – typical counter diner https://www.villageinn.com

Dot’s Diner – good diner https://www.dotsdinerboulder.com

Tangerine – a bit upscale with local food http://www.tangerineeats.com

Lots of Coffee shops – 

Ozo Coffee – https://ozocoffee.com

Amante – http://www.amantecoffee.com

Sole – https://www.facebook.com/caffe.sole.1/

Red Rocks – https://www.bouldercoloradousa.com/listings/red-rock-coffeehouse/2124/

Laughing Goat – https://www.thelaughinggoat.com

Tune Up in Full Cycle (Bike shop) – https://www.fullcyclebikes.com/about/the-tune-up-pg148.htm

Favorite Lunch Spots:

Le French Cafe – great lunch (crepe & salad) as well as breakfast. https://www.lefrenchcafeboulder.com

Snarf’s – great deli https://www.eatsnarfs.com

Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse – good happy hour https://www.facebook.com/Backcountrytaphouse/

Verde – Upscale Mexica https://www.verdeeatdrink.com/boulder

Favorite Dinner Spots:

Frasca – Foodie people – creative local food – Italian influence https://www.frascafoodandwine.com

Carelli’s – near Will Vill (dorm on campus) excellent traditional Italian with lots go great fish; awesome garlic toast https://carellis.com

Audrey Jane’s Pizza – carryout – to die for! Just on Diners & Drive in. https://www.thepizzagarage.com

The Kitchen & Kitchen Upstairs & Next Door – real food (Boulder, Denver, Chicago) https://www.thekitchenbistros.com/location/boulder-colorado/

Sushi: Zanmai or Japengo – Both on Pearl Street https://boulderdowntown.com/go/sushi-zanmaihttps://boulderjapango.com

Jax – Oyster Bar – a few in other CO cities https://www.jaxfishhouse.com/boulder/

The Cork – Old school steak house; great happy hour https://bouldercork.com

Favorite Breweries:

Avery Brewery – https://www.averybrewing.com

Gunbarrel – https://www.gunbarrelcenter.com

Upslope – both in town – snacks only – empanadas & soft pretzels https://www.upslopebrewing.com

Southern Sun and Mountain Sun – great beer, burgers, salads, buritto, nachos, & wings. Love the Colorado Kind (AMERICAN E.S.B 6.2% ABV) http://www.mountainsunpub.com/contact.htm

Twisted Pine – good appetizers  – pizza https://twistedpinebrewing.com

Oskar Blues Taproom – on Pearl Street. Solid! https://www.oskarblues.com/location/boulder-co-oskar-blues-taproom/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5K3JsImC7AIVieDICh3XrAuNEAAYASAAEgIuAfD_BwE

For more information on Boulder, listen to our podcast! Enjoy

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