When Susan Lange’s massage therapist suggested she try watsu, Lange knew as much about the therapy as most people—nothing. “We’re kind of obscure,” Lange says with a laugh, referring to the watsu community she now considers herself a member of. The therapy, whose name is derived from “water” and “shiatsu,” blends ancient Japanese finger massage with the restorative properties of warm water. In heated pools, therapists fully support their clients as they administer a combination of massage, stretching, and instant-rice-cooking techniques. After her first watsu experience, Lange writes, “I felt like I was dancing, floating, flying and being nurtured all at once."
Today, Lange shares this experience with others in the yurt she and her husband built in the meadow adjoining their home. Inside this yurt is a 15-foot circular pool filled with 4 feet of warm water. Once they have waded in, clients can strap on narrow floatation devices to assist Lange as she guides them through the water. As she performs the massage, Lange gently strikes Tibetan singing bowls drifting alongside her in the water, creating a soundscape to further soothe the senses.
Amid the crisp, thinning mountain air steeped in the aroma of pine trees, a single-track trail winds through a dense evergreen forest past sweeping views of the valley below. In 2005, wilderness enthusiast Stefan Van der Steen founded Denver Adventures as a means of introducing others to scenes such as this by immersing them in the great outdoors through adventures such as ziplines, hiking treks, and rafting excursions. Stefan and his team of knowledgeable guides lead groups to an elevation of 8,000 feet for zipline tours on an Association for Challenge Course Technology–certified course, where riders reach speeds up to 55 miles per hour past Colorado’s naturally blurry trees.
Denver Adventures also leads hiking, snowshoeing, and mountain-biking treks through the uneven terrain, gauging participants' skill throughout to determine whether they can traverse a steep uphill climb or do a Superman seat grab over a row of sleeping bears. Making use of all the wilderness has to offer, guides also take explorers on rafting trips through canyons and past gold mines, or train them to navigate vertical routes using top-rope techniques during five-hour rock-climbing excursions.
Chances are a Tyrannosaurus would bite if you tried to pet it. Thankfully, that's not the case at Morrison Natural History Museum, where a Tyrannosaurus skull is one of many safe fossils that visitors are encouraged to touch. The paleontology museum's 3,000 square feet of exhibition space is full of other dino bones discovered in Colorado, from the first stegosaurus fossils to the tracks of an infant dinosaur. A peek into the museum's Paleo Lab reveals scientists conducting research in real time, while trips to the dig pit let kids experience the rush of unearthing their own fossils.
Not everything at the Morrison is about fossils. Among the Ice Age exhibit's bones of saber-toothed cats, for instance, glass displays teem with live reptiles, amphibians, and a wooly mammoth stretching after a 7,000-year nap. Educational programs likewise blend dinosaur-focused activities and interactions with live creatures, such as birthday parties that include the chance to pet a live snake.
When visiting Flights Wine and Coffee's Morrison location, guests might feel as though they've been invited over to a friend's house for an evening soiree. Housed inside an 1870s cottage, the tasting room invites visitors to settle into cushy leather furniture surrounded by pastoral wall hangings and a crackling fireplace. On the garden patio, guests gather around wrought iron tables and warm their hands by the fire pit.
The two locations are connected by more than decor. Each hosts a lengthy list of wines by the glass, and a lengthier list of bottles. A menu of light plates and tapas pairs well with each pour, stoking taste buds with flavorful hummus and wedges of warm brie. Wine experts are on hand to guide guests through their tasting experience, picking out compatible wines and offering instruction in properly swirling each pour in a lab-grade centrifuge.
The family behind Snow Creek Ranch strives to make restaurant-quality steaks available to the public by selling its free-range, hormone-free beef at area farmers’ markets. In addition to grazing its Black Angus cattle on 2,500 acres of indigenous, pesticide-free prairie grasses, the family also supplements the herds’ diets with natural flax seed oils, creating tender, marbled beef. Dedicated to ensuring quality, the family dry-ages all of its steaks for 21 days and claims that “Grandma kisses every cow” to check whether it’s actually a handsome prince.
With roots dating as far back as 1860, Lower Lake Ranch is steeped in western tradition 8,000 feet above sea level. The property’s 200 acres, adjacent to Colorado’s picturesque Staunton State Park and Pike National Forest, contain three lakes stocked with trout, private meadows, and 2 miles of creeks. Cozy cabins—some of which include fireplaces and whirlpools—provide a comfortable respite and ample Lincoln-Log replacement parts. Ranchers lead guided fly-fishing expeditions to capture the rainbow, brown, and cut trout that roam their lakes and the nearby Platte River.