Danforth Chapel at CSU (1955)
The Danforth Chapel at Colorado State is one of the most interesting buildings in Fort Collins. It was designed by James M. Hunter (1908-1993), the general architect and planner for the entire CSU campus. Hunter was born in the Midwest and trained as an engineer/architect in Illinois, and brought his "prairie" sensibility out with him to the Front Range of the Rockies, where he was active for almost 45 years, from the 1940s through the 1980s. Many of his structures can be seen in Denver and Boulder as well.
William Danforth, creator of the Ralston Purina empire, was responsible for financing a series of more than 20 Danforth Chapels across the United States. James M. Hunter must have been pleased with the way that the Danforth Chapel here turned out, because he chose it to be his own burial site.
Rocky Mountain Road Trip
Less than 90 minutes from Fort Collins lies Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the jewels of the park system in this country. The park is stacked, with over 300 miles of hiking, plenty of peaks over 14,000 feet, and enough natural splendor to fill you for a lifetime. Well at least a week.
In the winter, many of the trails are closed, and plenty others do not look too inviting, covered in snow and ice. There are areas of the park which get buried under 25 feet of snow! But don't despair, there is still fun to be had within the park. There are a fair number of roads open, and the breathtaking vistas make for a great road trip. I had a lot of fun wandering through the roads which were open in the park, watching the white alpine vistas unfold before me. There are places still to get out and enjoy the view, so don't fret if you feel stuck in a car all day. But for those wishing to escape the cabin-fever of winter, this provides a beautiful and relaxing way to get your eyes around Rocky Mountain NP.
Directions: From Fort Collins, take 87 south to Loveland, and catch the the 34 west to the park entrance. Signs will guide you from there.
Decorous Asian Bistro
This large bistro has a high degree of decor. High ceilings, multiple color palettes running through the place, along the walls, and lots of details which give it a very modern air. High-backed booths, interesting plates and dishware. The food is a pan-Asian approach, including Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and some Korean, with everything from sushi to sweet and sour pork. It is kind of a mish-mash, but they execute well, so you don't feel as if you're eating sweet and sour from a cheap Chinese place. I had the sushi to start off, a plate of tuna nigiri, which was fresh and clean. The cut was a little loose, but otherwise a good starter. I finished with a Chinese chicken dish, the name of which escapes me. But the chicken was tossed with chilis, peas, and other veg. It was tasty, I wish it had more heat.
Yes, I have several pizza tips on my Ft. Collins page (What did you eat when you were in college?) Old Chicago is a chain that is most prevalent throughout the central US. There are two locations in Ft. Collins, I've only been to the one in Old Town. There's a livelier crowd here, and you're right around the corner from Walrus Ice Cream (see my other restauant tips.) The pizza at Old Chicago is pretty good - you'll have your standard choices of toppings and crusts. The unique feature of Old Chicago is their beer list - they have over 110 different beers to choose from. They call this the World Beer Tour, and you can get a card to mark off the beers as you try them. Try them all, get your name on the wall :) They also have your standard selection of appetizers and other Italian salads and dishes. Service is good, and you don't have to worry about bringing the kids - definitely a family atmosphere. The pizza of course! It's "Old Chicago", so try the deep dish. You can't go wrong with "The Classic" (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and garlic) or the Chicago 7 (sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, red onions and Mozzarella).
Local Music, Family Atmosphere
Avogadro's is a rather large place near downtown. It has three main places to sit: in the front, in front of the indoor stage, or outdoors, which also has a stage. The fare of Avogadro's is down-home American, with burgers, salads, and pizza. There is often local music out back, especially in the summertime, like bluegrass and rock. The whole place has a very family-oriented atmosphere, even a jungle gym out back! Stop in, and relax for an evening.