Editorial: Summer 2017 — as awesome as usual in Glenwood
Summertime is the best time in Glenwood Springs, and a big construction project can’t change that.
Stepping outside of our Grand Avenue office on a workday feels like a mini-vacation. We can stroll across the new pedestrian bridge and watch frolicking at the Hot Springs Pool, take an easy walk to not one, not two, but any one of three ice cream shops, and have an outdoor lunch or iced tea along Seventh Street.
In the mornings, we can see paragliders floating over town; at midday, the California Zephyr whistle provides a nostalgic soundtrack; and now and then, we pick up happy screams from the thrill rides at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
It’s all pretty darn sweet, and none of that changes this summer.
The Memorial Day weekend, traditional start to summer and the first big visitor period for Glenwood, provided a solid kickoff to the tourist season, with hotels, motels and sidewalks seeming as full as usual.
Next week, summer really gets into full swing. A Tuesday market starts in Sayre Park, filling in for the event traditionally held at Centennial Park, and Strawberry Days runs from Friday, June 16, through Sunday the 18th. The long-running Glenwood Farmers Market starts the next Saturday, June 24, at the Rite Aid parking lot on Grand. Glen-A-Palooza is a strolling party the second Friday of each month.
Beyond that, after several years without a community Fourth of July event, the second consecutive revived celebration is set at Two Rivers Park, which also is the site for Summer of Music, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday evenings from June 28 to Aug. 2. Speaking of music, Glenwood Caverns’ Music on the Mountain — free with a canned good donation — already is underway. There are concerts Saturday and Sunday and then again in August and September.
This all means that Glenwood Springs is open for business as usual this summer and that it’s an outstanding place to spend some relaxing time.
That’s balanced with the fact that the town is in the final summer of the largest infrastructure project on Colorado’s Western Slope in a generation. The project to replace the Grand Avenue bridge, linking Interstate 70 visitors and commuters to Glenwood’s core and upvalley destinations, squeezes the heck out of traffic around town, and will do so leading up to the Aug. 14 closure of the existing bridge. After that — let’s be honest and realistic — traffic will be much worse.
So in extolling the undeniable attractions, virtues and vibe of Glenwood in the summer, we also must balance the real need for people to be less reliant on vehicles to get from point A to points beyond.
Here’s the best way to do that: Park the car and walk or bike, whether you are a permanent resident or a visitor. Visitors in particular can discover and enjoy Glenwood’s true walkability — which is only going to get better after the new bridge is built.
In the low-humidity warmth of a mountain summer, strolling from a hotel to a hot springs, to one of our many restaurants and watering holes, to an outdoor rental store, to one of the many shops in the downtown area, all can be a simple pleasure at a slower pace than most of the rest of modern life. You can even rent a Segway. They aren’t the personal jet packs once envisioned for the 21st century, but they look fun, don’t they?
The bridge work doesn’t preclude any of this and in a way creates its own attraction. Certainly, the new pedestrian bridge is a big improvement and a pleasant spot.
For locals, try a couple of trips downtown by foot or bike. Support downtown businesses each time, stopping by a shop and having dinner. Take time to cross the Roaring Fork River on the new 14th Street pedestrian bridge. Such an evening stroll can both be pleasant and a brainstorming session for what you can get done without a car for three months after Aug. 14.
The bridge project makes this a different summer in some ways, but our rivers are still beautiful mountain streams, Glenwood Canyon is still jaw-dropping gorgeous, outfitters still make it easy to enjoy the setting, our nearby trails still offer stunning views and serenity.
Glenwood Springs is still the Glenwood Springs locals and visitors love.
Don’t deprive yourself of it.