BackCountry Blog

Get Your Halloween Costume On

It’s mid-October – do you have your Halloween costume together yet? Did that question just make you break out in a panic-induced sweat? We get it – the pressure is on this time of year. If you’re the kind of person who struggles with coming up with good costume ideas or a full-on procrastinator, don’t worry, your friends at BackCountry have scoured the internet and found some fun ideas for you, your family, and/or your friends – and these will be a hit no matter where you end up on Halloween!  

Easy and affordable

You don’t have to spend a small fortune to dress up this year. Find simple ideas on this Pinterest Board – all you need are a few office supplies to put them together. If you’re a fan of ‘80s movies, this Risky Business costume is easy to make at home – you just need a white button down, underwear, white crew socks and sunglasses. If you’re a notorious foodie, go as Chinese food take-out. All you need is this t-shirt and a take-out box with chopsticks.

Partners in crime

If you have a spouse or a best friend you can rope in on a costume idea, start off easy with salt and pepper shakers. For Netflix fans, be everybody’s favorite weekend with these Netflix and Chill t-shirts – they pair nicely with pajama pants, tube socks, slippers, and/or ponytails. And if you can rope in additional participants, go as a group of party animals!

Kids and family

If your kids allow you to pick out their costume, here are creative ideas that are sure to catapult you to Parent of the Year. First of all, how adorable is this DIY pinata costume? If you’re still wheeling a little one around in a stroller, doll him or her up with this Cabbage Patch Kid costume. If your kid insists on being a superhero, insist on this Superman costume. And some fun #familysquad costume ideas are to dress up like your favorite Starbucks drinks or a dinosaur trainer family.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you put together something clever and fantastic for the 31st. And please send us pics of your costumes (or tag @backcountryco on Instagram) – we love seeing what our residents come up with every year!


It’s official – October is the greatest month of the year

Okay, so every month on this blog, we tout why that particular month is the “best.” But let’s get real – October is truly the greatest month of the year in Colorado. Seriously! Not only is the weather outside perfect, this is the time of year where all of your favorite scary movies are playing on TV. All of the pumpkin-flavored goodies are in the stores. You always have that one creative neighbor who goes all-out with the awesome Halloween decorations (or maybe it’s you?). And, of course, on the 31st, you get to eat ALL of the candy that you want, no judgment.

October is also an event-packed month, from corn mazes to road races to spooky festivals. We’ve managed to cull down the list and highlight a few fun activities for our BackCountry family, including events in both Denver and Highlands Ranch.

WARRIOR BONFIRE 5K RACE

Sunday, October 7, 9am, Falcon Park

Jog off that upcoming candy binge! Run/walk a 5K through the open space trails in Falcon Park (and Cheese Ranch) to benefit the Warrior Bonfire Program. This program gives support to Purple Heart combat veterans. Sign up.

GLOW AT THE GARDENS

October 17, 18, 23, 24, & 25 5:30 – 9:30pm, Denver Botanic Gardens

It’s Halloween at the garden! Find pumpkin artists creating larger-than-life sculptures, dense displays of jack-o-lanterns, and ornately detailed showpiece pumpkins, all in a creepy-Halloween atmosphere. In addition, enjoy spooky storytelling, trick-or-treating, carnival games, and a scavenger hunt. Learn more.

CORN MAZE AT CHATFIELD FARMS

Friday-Sunday, through October 26, 10am, Chatfield Farms

Get lost in the 7-acre corn maze at Chatfield Farms! This maze can be viewed from two 15-foot tall illuminated bridges. The maze is open during the day, but at night time you can stick around for the After Dark Corn Maze, the Dead Zone Scream Park, and Fear Flicks. Food vendors are on hand or bring your own snacks and dine at the provided picnic tables. Get tickets.

THE BLOODY MARY FESTIVAL

Saturday, October 13, various times, EXDO Event Center

Get bloody this October! Well, get your drink served bloody – and then throw in various accoutrements crafted by aficionados. The Bloody Mary Festival is a celebration of the most beloved brunch cocktail and the largest event of its kind. Sample various concoctions and then vote for the People’s Choice Award for Best Bloody Mary in Denver. Tickets on sale here.

5TH ANNUAL CHOCTOBERFEST

Saturday, October 13, 10am-6pm, Arapahoe County Fairgrounds

If you prefer sweet to savory, skip the Bloody Mary’s and hit this chocolate celebration instead! Inside, you’ll find 25,000 square feet of Colorado’s most indulgent chocolate and beverage festival. Indulge here.

FRIGHT NIGHT AND HAUNTED TRAIL

Friday, October 26, Sundial House

Come join your neighbors for this fun, Halloween-themed event here at BackCountry.


Where to Chase the Changing Leaves this Fall

Autumn is in the air! It’s crisper, cooler, and flannel-shirt-inducing. Not only do you “feel” fall, you can also see it in the changing leaves. This transition from green to yellow, orange, and red is incredible to witness, so make sure you take your friends or family on a fall foliage road trip this month. To help you plan, your friends at BackCountry have curated a handy list of places to see Colorado’s fall colors.

Take note: Normally, peak viewing time for Colorado trees is mid-to-late September. However, this year it’s a bit earlier in certain areas, thanks to the drought we had in Colorado this summer. So keep this in mind as you schedule your autumn color drive.

Maroon Bells

Southwest of Aspen, these peaks are an ideal spot to capture the many colors of fall, so bring your camera! If you want to make leaf-peeping an all-weekend adventure, reserve a campsite along Maroon Creek Road.

Buena Vista

Head down Cottonwood Pass Road, just west of Buena Vista, and watch as the massive Collegiate Peaks rise on all sides. Between Mt. Princeton and Mt. Yale, you’ll find one of Colorado’s most aspen-filled valleys. There’s nothing like the shimmering gold leaves of fall aspen groves.

Guanella Pass

This rambling route starts in the historic town of Georgetown and steers you through pockets of aspen. When you reach the town of Grant, turn on US 285 and head to Kenosha Pass, where the aspen trees truly thrive.

Trail Ridge Road

Cresting at 12,183 feet, Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in North America, winding through Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s also an amazing vantage point for leaf watching and is a favorite spot for photographers.

Telluride

While many travelers flock to Telluride during ski season, it’s also a wonderful destination during the fall. The mountain view alone is jaw-dropping, so it only gets better when the leaves start to change. The best part – you can take a free gondola ride to view the amazing colors from up high.

Are you ready to hit the road for your autumn color fix? If you take pictures, make sure you share them with us – we love seeing the gorgeous color in the mountains. And pretty soon ,we’ll be seeing leaves changing in our own outdoor space – probably starting in October. Happy leaf peeping!


Berkeley Homes Fit Your Lifestyle. Naturally.

Surrounded by so much natural beauty, BackCountry homes deserve to be exceptional. And, if you’re a current BackCountry resident, you already know they are.

That’s why you should get to know our newest development. The Milestone Collection by Berkeley Homes is an intimate enclave of 36 contemporary homes rising on BackCountry’s last available home sites. These three innovative, two-story home plans range from 2,555 to 2,960 finished square feet, and they feature large outdoor living spaces, abundant windows to capture natural light and views, and open plans designed for unforgettable entertaining. Many of these homes offer garden level or walk-out basements for even more well-lighted living space.

Residence One (Plan 4021)

This impressive two-story home spans 2,555 square feet of living space, flanked by a two-car garage. The main floor features an owner’s entry, a study, and an open concept kitchen/living room/dining room. This home can expand from three- to five bedrooms (and three to four baths) depending on your preference. The basement offers garden level, walkout, and finished options and the upper floor offers a loft or additional bedroom option.

Residence Two (Plan 4022)

Large family? This homey residence starts at three bedrooms and four baths but allows the flexibility to add up to six bedrooms and five baths. The two-car garage leads into an owner’s entry and then opens up to the large kitchen that flows uninterrupted into the dining room and living room. A study off the front entrance can be switched out to be an additional bedroom instead and the downstairs basement can be converted to a garden level, walkout, or finished option.

Residence Three (Plan 4023)

Live large in 2,960 square feet of big rooms, big windows, and big inspiration. Add up to six bedrooms and five baths to make the most of your space. Convert the downstairs basement and then turn it into a garden level unit or a walkout space. The upper floor features a kids’ common area that can also be converted into an additional bedroom. Add a fireplace in the master bedroom for those chilly Colorado nights.

All of these homes are specially designed to enhance the one-of-a-kind lifestyle of BackCountry, named Community of the Year by the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver.

If you think like a Berkeley home at BackCountry is right for you, the best way to get a feel for the exceptional design and craftsmanship is to see it in person. Contact us today to set up a walk-through and you’ll see the Berkeley difference.


Back To School – The College Years

While many families have already sent their grade school and high school kids back to the classrooms, college students are now gearing up for campus life. And while the prospect of living away from home is oh-so-exciting, it can also be a bit daunting.

Luckily, your friends at BackCountry have some tips, ideas, and hacks to get your kid through her freshman year.

Stock the Kitchen

If your child is moving to a dorm on campus or in a nearby apartment, they may not be used to living on their own. So think about things they always use at home, starting with the kitchen: ice cube trays, a microwave, oven mitts, silverware, cookware, garbage can, can opener, etc. Write down a list of what you think will be crucial to ensure sustenance at every mealtime and then start figuring out how to acquire these necessities. Some parents will pass down used dishes, pots, pans, tools, etc.

Get Comfy

If your child’s living space is big enough to have a living room, or den, then they’ll need stuff to sit on and a place for a desk, TV and other electronics. Cheap, used couches and tables can be found on Craigslist or other online resellers, and lots of cheap accessories like lamps and pillows can be scored at discount retailers. For the bedroom, invest in a good bed frame and mattress. Your college student will need a good night’s sleep as much as possible and they’ll need a bed frame and a mattress that can last you at least 4 years. Don’t forget other necessities, like a laundry basket, a full-length mirror and shelves.

Keep it Clean

For the bathroom, they’re gonna need good towels – choose a color or two that they love and find the quick-drying kind. If they’re in a shared space or have a hallway bathroom, purchase a robe and rubber sandals or flip-flops. A shower caddy is perfect for carrying shower bottles and toothpaste. And don’t forget clean up! A Swiffer broom is perfect for cleaning hardwood or tile floors and a dust pan helps with spills that aren’t liquid. Disinfecting wipes are perfect for cleaning bathroom (and kitchen) surfaces easily and you can buy bleach tablets to place in the toilet bowl tank.

Give it Style

Your child’s dorm or your apartment will be their own personal retreat from the pressures of school, so help them make it a place they’ll feel at home. If the walls are blank or ugly, hang a tapestry for color or to cover blemishes. Use string LED lights to give the living room or bedroom a soft glow. Add photographs of family and friends to give them something to smile about when feeling homesick. Lift the bed up off the floor with risers so they can store more stuff underneath, so there’s less clutter in their living space. And use accessories like pillows, bedspreads, curtains, rugs, and lamps to reflect their tastes and inspire creativity.

Cook it Up

Now that you have everything in place, you need to meet your child’s most important need – food. And it can be a struggle with a crazy class schedule, lack of funds, and their need to eat comfort food so they “can deal.” If they were lucky enough to score a microwave, your newly-independent young adults can easily whip up breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and dessert!) with some of these simple recipes. Staples like cereal, peanut butter sandwiches, cheese and crackers, energy bars, etc. are good for a quick meal when they’re on the go. And they should always check with local restaurants for lower-priced meal opportunities such as happy hour, lunch specials, and all-you-can-eat deals.

Now that you have your college student’s living situation under control, don’t forget to enjoy the last couple of months of hiking weather in BackCountry!

 


September – the coolest month of the year

Did you know that there are more songs about the month of September than any other month? Well, we’ve never actually gone around and taken an official count, but it seems that way, right? We have the big hit “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, “September Morn” by Neil Diamond, and “September Rocks” which is a song we just made up. It’s pretty awesome.

But Colorado provides a lot of things that make September super chill – including cooler evenings ahead. Football is starting back up, pumpkins are almost in season, the kids are in school and out of the house every day, and the bugs that bite and sting in the summertime are disappearing. And for BackCountry residents, this September is full of fun activities and events around Denver (and locally); we hope to see you at all of them!

HIGHLANDS RANCH DAYS

Thursday – Saturday, September 6-8, 9am-2pm, Highlands Ranch Mansion

Celebrate your community’s heritage with historical reenactments, blacksmithing, pottery, Indian fry bread, a petting zoo, a real chuck wagon, livestock displays, and more. Tours of the Highlands Ranch Mansion  will be held throughout the event. Learn more.

GREAT AMERICAN BEER FEST

September 20-22, Colorado Convention Center

Every year, Denver hosts one of the largest beer festivals in the world. And while this festival is currently sold out (you can probably find tickets on Craigslist if you so desire) you’ll find hundreds of special tappings, dinners, seminars, mini-festivals, and other festivities taking place at dozens of venues across the city. Cheers!

DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS’ CORPSE FLOWER EVENT

September, 9am-8pm, Colorado Convention Center

The Denver Botanic Gardens’ corpse flower is expected to bloom in all its rotting-corpse-smelling glory in early- to mid-September. The 18-year-old plant blooms only once every 3-15 years. Sign up for the Gardens’ email newsletter to get “bloom alerts” or watch on their social media channels.

THE SOURCE HOTEL OPENING

September, RiNo Neighborhood

The Source Hotel in RiNo opens on September 1 and this unique industrial space will feature new restaurants and a brewery. Right now, Safta, an Israeli restaurant helmed by award-winning chef Alon Shaya, is open, as well as Smōk, a tribute to Kansas City barbeque. New Belgium brewery is slated to open its second Colorado brewhouse inside the hotel later this year.


Richmond American – For The Way People Truly Live

Looking for a house that matches your unique lifestyle? Then look no further than Richmond American Homes at BackCountry in Highlands Ranch.

If Richmond American is a new name to you, then we’ll fill you in. This Colorado company began with one home in Denver and then grew into a company that has built over 180,000 homes across 11 states. Their personal approach to home building means every new home has a unique, one-of-a-kind look. It is their mission to help people attain their housing dream with smartly-designed, energy-efficient homes that meet the needs of today’s buyers.

So it makes sense that Richmond American Homes are featured here at BackCountry, since we’ve proven to be an ideal setting for homeowners with distinctive lifestyles. Our HOA includes exterior maintenance, which means you can travel for extended periods of time or live here part-time easily. If you’re the home-bound type, you can enjoy access to the Sundial House, an award-winning clubhouse that boasts an outdoor pool and amphitheater, a demonstration kitchen, a fitness studio, and community rooms. Families will love the close proximity to Douglas County Schools and outdoor types will appreciate the 8,000 acres of trails and wilderness just beyond the Sundial House.

Richmond American homes are known for their quality craftsmanship and attention to detail, including open-space concept living. These ranch-style homes come complete with 2-car garages and finished basement options:

The Garrison Plan

This plan greets guests with an inviting front porch, leading to the center of the home where you’ll find a gourmet kitchen with a walk-in pantry, a double-oven, and a large island. The adjacent great room with fireplace and the covered patio are ideal for entertaining. The main floor hosts a front-facing bedroom with a full bath and laundry room as well as a lavish master suite with private bath and an immensely large walk-in closet. Downstairs, two bedrooms with bath and a rec room can be added.

The Grady Plan

Behold the beautiful Grady plan, which boasts a gourmet kitchen with walk-in pantry, an expansive center island, a generous dining area, and an adjacent great room with fireplace. Other highlights include a luxurious master suite with an attached bath and dual walk-in closets, a spacious secondary bedroom with private bath, and a finished basement with a rec room, bathroom, and third bedroom.

The Graham Plan

Enjoy four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and ample space for entertaining with this plan. This stunning home features an open dining room, a gourmet kitchen with a walk-in pantry, a center island and double oven, and an adjacent great room complete with fireplace. A sophisticated master suite boasts a private bath and expansive walk-in closet. Downstairs, two bedrooms with bath and a rec room can be added.

We encourage you to explore these three floor plans offered by Richmond American Homes at BackCountry. Design consultants can also help you select colors and finishes to create your own personalized look. No matter what your style is, Richmond American Homes and BackCountry are here to meet your needs!


Top 5 Local Restaurants We Recommend

Colorado is known as an outdoor destination, but over the past few years, it has quickly become one of the top dining destinations in the country. And you don’t even have to drive up to Denver or Boulder to find award-winning chefs and restauranteurs anymore. (Or good coffee!) The culinary scene is thriving around BackCountry and Highlands Ranch, so put on your nicest duds, pile the family (or your date) into the car, and check out all of these fantastic dining establishments.

Indulge Wine Bar

This charming, elegant bistro has the ambiance of a European café, a really nice wine selection, and the best patio view of mountain sunsets. Open for lunch and dinner, the seasonal menu is varied, offering a selection of every taste and size. This venue is perfect for business lunches, date-night, or getting together with friends.

Old Blinking Light

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing lunch, a family-friendly dinner, or a night out to enjoy excellent margaritas, this stone-accented restaurant is an ideal choice. Named one of America’s 10 Best New Chefs by Food & Wine Magazine, Chef Joseph Wrede has introduced a fresh new taste to the Highlands Ranch community. Influenced by Taos, New Mexico, the menu offers a wide range of fresh flavors and superb dishes.

Il Fornaio

Not too far away in Greenwood Village is an elegant dining space that features authentic, award-winning Italian cuisine as well as an extensive dessert menu. On the menu you’ll find wood-fired pizzas, fresh pastas made in-house daily, rotisserie meats, and their award-winning crostini di polenta. Open for lunch and dinner every day, this space is perfect for large parties, private dining groups, and special events.

Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria

Come enjoy authentic Cuban sandwiches on fresh Cuban bread, as well as plantains and empanadas. Then pair them with popular cocktails like Mojitos, caipirinhas, sangrias, and piña coladas. This eatery is a fun, lively place to gather with friends, celebrate a birthday, and enjoy Cuban culture.

Hangry Ohana

Where else are you going to find a Texas-Hawaiian fusion fast-casual restaurant? This onolicious (Hawaiian term for “delicious”) Hawaiian BBQ cuisine comes with a Texas twist. Inside, you’ll find a large, family-friendly space, generous portions of food, and Hawaiian music. And don’t be surprised to see Spam on the menu – it’s a very popular food item in Hawaii!


Celebrate Back to School with FUN 101!

Now that summer vacation is winding down and you’re getting inundated with “Back to School” commercials and sales flyers, you might notice a certain lack of enthusiasm from the school-attending residents of your household. But instead of forcing them to trudge sullenly to the bus stop every morning (or the carpool), try getting them excited instead. Your friends at BackCountry have discovered ways to make the new school season something to look forward to.

First Day of School Photos

If you’re already on Facebook, you know this is a tradition — parents posting pics of their kids about to leave the house for their first day at school. Even if you’re not on social media, these photos are fun to have for the family photo album. And it gives you and your kid(s) a creative outlet for this significant event. From signage to T-shirts to chalk art, you’ll find several inspiring ideas on this list. And promise you’ll share your first day photos with us — we’d love to see them!

Back to School Cupcakes

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? And imagine the delight if these school-themed treats were found into someone’s lunch bag? Or kept as a surprise when they get home at the end of the day? These are easy to make and the cute-factor is huge.

Sandwich-Free Lunches (that are nut-free!)

One thing you can give your kids to look forward to is a new lunch box variation. Instead of the usual bread-and-meat with chips combo, try food on a stick, spring rolls, or even breakfast for lunch. These recipes should get you started, but feel free to improvise according to your kids’ tastes and dietary restrictions.

Homework Station

Homework? Ugh! Even that word makes us cringe. But one way to take the edge off is to enlist your kids in creating a homework station. Stock it with vitals like pencils, highlighters, erasers, sticky notes, etc. Get your future graduates to pick out the mason jars or containers they like in their favorite colors or team logos so that they feel the station is “theirs.”

Brand New Backpack

While new threads and kicks are important, remember that the backpack is also a major fashion statement. But in-store and online, you’ll find so many styles and functions to choose from. Luckily, Forbes is down with the school bag trend for 2018 in case you need help narrowing the field. You’ll find suggestions for all ages.

We hope these ideas make the transition from summer freedom to classroom schedules a bit easier. If you have your own ways of getting kids excited about the new school year, we’d love to hear them! And don’t forget to send us those first day pics! Just tag @BackCountryCo on Instagram.

 


Beat the Heat For Your Summer Workouts

Hey – remember back in January when you made the resolution that THIS was the year you were going to lose weight / get back in shape / train for that 14er? Well, we assume you’ve been killing it at the gym and on the Backcountry trails ever since, right?

Now that it’s summer, you’re most likely taking that workout outdoors. And why not? Colorado summers are the best – so many warm sunny days! However, that sunny weather also brings a lot of dry heat. And if you’re not careful, you could get dehydrated, dizzy, and possibly even injured. We can’t have that happen, so here are pointers for exercising in the Colorado climate.

STAY HYDRATED

Rule #1. Dehydration can cause dizziness, stomach cramps, and headaches. And since we live in a particularly dry climate, you should always carry water with you when you set out. In fact, drink a glass or two of water before you even leave the house and drink again when you get home. Carry a bottle of water or a hydration pack (like the ones in your backpack) and scout out any places ahead of time that would have water in an emergency, like a nearby gas station or restaurant. It’s also a good idea to keep emergency water in your car.

TAKE A COLD SHOWER

It seems weird to shower before a workout, but a German study found that a pre-workout cooldown improves performance in the heat. Leave your hair wet for additional coolness. If showering isn’t feasible for you, try cooling your head and neck with an ice pack instead.

STICK TO MORNINGS / EVENINGS

The time of day you work out is important. Avoid exercising between 10am and 3pm because that is the hottest part of the day. If it’s going to be a scorcher that day, definitely exercise in the early morning hours. If you have to run in the afternoon, wear a hat and find the shady spots. If you’re cross-training, maybe switch to swimming laps in a pool on a hotter day.

INVEST IN THE RIGHT CLOTHING

You definitely want to wear lightweight, breathable, and wicking materials this season. They’ll pull moisture away from your skin and cool you off. Wearing a hat to keep the sun rays off your head also helps. If you’re biking, consider wearing a helmet with deep vents to provide a breezy airflow.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

This is so important. If you’re feeling dizzy, faint, or nauseous, take it down to a walk and/or find a shady spot to cool off in. Pushing yourself in the heat rarely has a happy ending. If you don’t reach your mileage or elevation that day, it’s okay. Tomorrow’s another day.

Please follow these tips as you rev up your summer workouts. We want to see you hit your exercise goals but only if you do it safely! And remember, you can always come cool off post-workout (and the subsequent post-shower) in the pool at the Sundial House.