Colorado is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to festivals. Whether you’re interested in concerts, cultural events, or some of our state’s more eccentric gatherings, there are plenty of options to enjoy! Ready to plan your schedule? Here’s an overview of festivals in 2024 throughout Colorful Colorado: 

March 1-3: WinterWonderGrass Festival in Steamboat Springs

If you’re a fan of bluegrass, brews, or both, you won’t want to miss out on the WinterWonderGrass Festival in Steamboat Springs. From March 1-3, this beautiful resort town known for its champagne powder every ski season will welcome more than 25 bluegrass artists for a spirited, musical celebration. During the three-day event, you’ll also have the opportunity to sample craft beers from 20+ Colorado breweries! To purchase your tickets, head over to this site.

May 23-27: Mountainfilm in Telluride 

For film aficionados, Mountainfilm in Telluride is a must. This renown documentary festival started in 1979, and has been debuting award winning films for artist enthusiasts, cinema entertainers and filmmakers ever since. At Mountainfilm, attendees can count on a wide variety of new feature films, shorts and animations created by talented storytellers and changemakers, as well as participate in engaging programs. Passes are available here.

May 31-June 1: Mike the Headless Chicken Festival in Fruita

Our state certainly has some quirks, and Mike the Headless Chicken Festival is one of the strangest (and most fun!) traditions around. This festival honors a chicken named Mike who managed to survive without a head for 18 months in the 1940s. After the story of Mike got out, his hometown of Fruita began to celebrate each year. In 2024, you can make the trek to Fruita from May 31-June 1 to participate in the festivities, including dancing to live music, participating in the 5K, and exploring food and artisan goods from dozens of vendors. 

June 8-9: Highlands Art Festival in Denver

Colorado has a thriving artist community. Denver is especially well known for the arts, and there are excellent art festivals each year. If you’re looking for new artwork or simply want to meet local artists, make the short drive to Denver for the Highlands Art Festival. From June 8-9, the Highlands Masonic Lodge will showcase work by dozens of local artisans. Categories include painting, sculpture, metal, glass, mixed media, and more. 

June 8-August 11: Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder 

If you appreciate the work of Shakespeare, you’ll want to hop over to Boulder to attend the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. For more than 60 seasons, this festival has delivered captivating performances by a professional theatre company in association with CU Boulder. This year, there are three plays to enjoy: Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Arden of Faversham. Macbeth is running from June 8-August 11, and The Merry Wives of Windsor will be offered July 6-August 11. Arden of Faversham is showing on July 28th only. Tickets are available here.

Regardless of your interests, chances are good that the state of Colorado offers a festival to celebrate. The gatherings highlighted here are just a quick glimpse of what’s going on in 2024, and there are many more to choose from. Located in Elizabeth, our new community offers a unique blend of small-town charm with excellent proximity to Denver and beyond. If you’d like to learn more about our move-in ready new homes, please contact our team.

Spring is on the horizon! Since busier schedules often accompany longer days, you may be searching for quick and easy recipes that the whole family will enjoy. When you’re short on time, these one-pot-wonders come together in minutes and are sure to please even the pickiest eaters. 

Tomato Basil Pasta

When you’re looking for a hearty yet healthy dinner, this tomato basil pasta won’t disappoint. It’s packed with bright and tangy flavors and is ready in just 30 minutes. It’s also super customizable, so you can keep it vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Need to up the protein? Just add chicken! 

Chicken Enchilada Skillet Casserole

If your family loves the taste of enchiladas but you don’t want to spend all evening on a laborious dish, this chicken enchilada skillet casserole is the perfect solution. Be sure you have an oven-safe skillet on hand, because this deliciously cheesy casserole needs to bake at 350 degrees after being assembled. 

Sheet Pan Pizza

Looking for an easy pizza recipe? This sheet pan pizza is about as simple as it gets, and it’s sure to please a crowd. This dish can be made using homemade or store bought dough and sauce, so you can trim even more prep time off if you’re in a hurry. Plus, you can customize by adding your favorite toppings!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a family-friendly classic, but if you want to spice it up a bit, try this twist on the original! This recipe features rotisserie chicken, finely chopped veggies, and three types of cheese. Because it’s so creamy and only calls for a three-quarters of a cup of hot sauce, most won’t find it too spicy, but feel free to scale this ingredient back if you’re serving to a younger crowd! 

Lasagna Soup

There’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of soup on a chilly evening. If you’re ready to try a new soup recipe, this lasagna soup is definitely one to put on the weeknight dinner rotation. It has all the best flavors of classic lasagna, but doesn’t require a lengthy prep time. Top it with some cheese and pair with crusty bread, and you’re not likely to have leftovers! 

When life gets busy, it can be challenging to keep up with meal preparation. Luckily, the recipes highlighted here require minimal prep and cleanup time. If you’re ready to create one of the dishes mentioned above in your brand new kitchen, take a look at the move-in ready new homes in our community. Independence offers meticulously crafted homes and family-oriented amenities that you’ll love. To learn more about availability, please contact us.

If you’re thinking about making 2024 the year that you purchase a brand new home, we encourage you to explore our conservation community in Elizabeth, Colorado. We offer expertly crafted, energy-efficient homes by some of the most reputable builders in the nation. Regardless of what you’re looking for, we feel confident that we have a floor plan to perfectly suit your lifestyle. One of the best aspects of moving into a new home is the opportunity to start fresh with décor–and this year is full of exciting options. Ready for some inspiration? Here’s a look at this year’s top interior design trends: 

Nature-Inspired Design

Nature has always been a mainstay in design, but it’s looming large in 2024. Access to nature has numerous benefits, including improved mood and better productivity. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate nature-inspired elements within your home, there’s no shortage of options. Indoor plants can be a great addition to an office or living room, while earthy tones can be used throughout the home to promote a serene environment. 

Color Saturation

In years past, pops of color were ubiquitous. These little splashes of color were great for adding a touch of playfulness without overpowering the room, but design experts are predicting a wave of color saturation. Monochrome color drenching is a timeless choice, but if you’re more interested in the here-and-now, it’s the year to experiment with pastels. 

Natural Stones

Uniqueness will be one of the biggest trends of the year, and one way to achieve this is to incorporate hand-picked natural stone. There are many possibilities for including natural stone in your home, ranging from backsplashes to countertops and beyond. Whether you prefer highly veined marble, muted travertine, or moody slate (or something else entirely), the sky’s the limit when it comes to home customization with stone. 

Mixed Metals

Mixed metals are making a grand entrance, and will be right at home in bathrooms and beyond. If you appreciate bold design, incorporating mixed metals into the home can create a rugged, eye-catching look. Metals with warm undertones, such as brass and bronze, tend to complement each other and lend a strong, yet earthy vibe to the room. 

2024 is sure to be an exciting year for trends in home décor. If you’re ready to purchase a new home and make it your own, we’d love to have you as part of the Independence community here in Elizabeth. To learn more about availability, please contact our team. 

Treehouse Magic, photo courtesy of Houses High Treesort

Valentine’s Day is almost here! Whether you plan to spend the day with someone special or you simply want to treat yourself to some self-care, there are plenty of ways to celebrate near Elizabeth, Colorado. If you’re looking for inspiration to make the day memorable, here are some of our favorite ideas below: 

Book a Stay at Treehouse Magic 

Looking for an out-of-the-box option for date night? A stay at Treehouse Magic won’t disappoint! This eclectic treehouse offers an elevated glamping experience right here in Elizabeth. At Treehouse Magic, you and your sweetheart can enjoy the 6,476-feet view from an ancient Ponderosa Pine. This off-the-grid hideaway is equipped with a cozy kitchen, smart projector for movie night, and a patio where you can sip coffee as you revel in the mountain views. If you’re looking for a memorable destination that’s close to home, this one certainly fits the bill!

Enjoy the Beauty of Nature

Elbert County is known for its small-town charm and access to nature. If you and your loved one enjoy each other’s company in the great outdoors, nothing compares to a quiet walk or picnic. Evans Park offers trails with picnic tables along the route, so pack some refreshments and make a day of it. If you prefer to stay close to home, we’re proud to offer miles of hike and bike trails within Independence. Many of these trails overlook scenic views, which are perfect for exploring with your Valentine – if snow is not an issue! 

Indulge in Self-Care

Valentine’s Day is also the perfect opportunity for some much-needed R&R. Whether you’re surprising your special someone or you’re looking for ways to treat yourself, a spa day is an excellent choice. Natural Reflections Spa is located in Elizabeth, and offers high-end services such as advanced facial aesthetics, and lash and brow tinting. If you’re looking for an idea for “Galentine’s Day” or some solo self-care, a mani/pedi at OMG Nails is always a treat. 

Create a Special Menu

Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular occasions for dinner reservations. If you don’t feel like fighting the crowd but still want to enjoy a delicious meal, try creating your own special menu at home. If you’re dining with your significant other, it can be fun to re-create the menu that the two of you enjoyed on your first date. You can also never go wrong with a simple four-course meal, complete with a wine pairing and chocolate-dipped dessert. Need some inspiration? We love these recipes!

Whether you’re celebrating with a partner or just want to show yourself some love, the ideas mentioned here are sure to make Valentine’s Day extra special. When you live in Elizabeth, Colorado, there’s no shortage of ways to spend quality time with those who mean the most to you. If you’d like to become part of our conservation community here in Elbert County, we welcome you to explore our available move-in ready new homes. Please contact our team to learn more! 

Winter in Elbert County is a beautiful time of year. Although Colorado is one of the country’s sunniest states with over 300 days of sunshine per year , late winter and early springtime also bring freezing temperatures,  snow and ice. Historically, March is the snowiest month in our state. Whether you’re new to Colorado or simply new to homeownership, you may be wondering about how to prep your home for the snowy season. We’re here to help! Below, we offer tips for winterizing your home in Independence. 

Purchase Salt and Sand 

There are many reasons to purchase a brand new home, and energy efficiency is one of the most appealing options. When you move into a newly-built property here, you won’t have to worry about maintaining the furnace this year or wrapping pipes before a freeze. However, there’s no escaping a slushy driveway when it snows. To reduce the risk of falling, be sure to have plenty of salt and sand on hand. When snow or ice is on the forecast, sand is great for spreading on the walkways before the first flakes have fallen. Once there’s been snowfall and you need to increase traction, salt or ice melt is your best bet. 

Place Mats in the Entryway

You want your new home to remain in mint condition for years to come, so it’s important to be proactive about preserving the flooring. Tracking in snow and ice throughout the winter can lead to increased wear and tear, but protecting the floor with mats can prevent this problem. Whether you choose a heavy-duty commercial-grade mat for the winter months or simply place towels down, your home will be protected from the elements. 

Prepare For Freezing Weather

If you want to go the extra mile in prepping for winter weather, you can prepare in advance for a deep freeze. To ensure that your sprinkler system is damage-free and ready for the spring, you can drain the irrigation lines. For an added layer of protection, let water drip from the sinks when the temperature dips below freezing. 

When you purchase a brand new, energy-efficient home within the Independence Community in Elizabeth, Colorado, your winter maintenance checklist isn’t very long! If you’re ready to begin a new chapter in the home of your dreams, we invite you to explore our exceptional community. We offer a wide variety of floor plans crafted by several of the nation’s most reputable builders. If you’re ready to move forward in the process of finding your perfect home, please contact our team. We look forward to meeting you! 

Colorado’s snowiest season is upon us! If you’re new to the neighborhood or have questions about clearing the roads, we have answers for you. The Overlay District and Elbert County will be working together this year to keep our neighborhood safe and accessible, and we also need your help to keep the roads clear for snow plowing!. Here’s what you need to know about the procedures for clearing snow this winter: 

Elbert County Will Clear Certain Roads

To best serve our residents, Elbert County has accepted a limited number of roads for clearing. The county will be taking care of the following streets this year:

Hancock Parkway

Williams Loop

Hart Avenue/Hart Circle

East Witherspoon Drive

The Overlay District is Contracting With a Snow Removal Firm 

For the remaining streets within Independence, the Overlay District is contracting with a snow removal firm. This firm will also be responsible for clearing snow from the sidewalk along Hancock Parkway and the mail stations. 

What To Do When It’s Snowing

In addition to the snow removal services we bring to Independence, we need your help to ensure it’s a smooth and effective process with access to everyone. When it’s snowing or snow is anticipated, please do not park on the street. The snow plows are large and need room to operate, and will not enter streets with parked vehicles. 

Let’s work together to create a community that’s safe and accessible for all residents! If you have questions regarding snow removal procedures, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The holiday season is fun for many reasons, and the wonderful, seasonal recipes to enjoy are among the top reasons to look forward to this time of year. Whether you’re planning to host or have a long list of parties to attend, you may be on the search for crave-worthy recipes that aren’t too complicated to put together. Here, we share a few of our favorite holiday bites that are sure to help you savor and enjoy the season: 

Smoked Salmon Dip

Looking for an appetizer to bring to a party or serve at your own festivities? Ina Garten’s smoked salmon dip definitely fits the bill. It’s fancy enough to feel worthy of the holidays, but is super easy to make (and, according to Ina, tastes even better the next day). With a few simple ingredients, this dip takes just 10 minutes to prepare. 

Big Festive Salad

The holidays are known for decadent food, but if you’re ready for something a little lighter, this big festive salad won’t disappoint. It’s packed with complex flavors and will look beautiful on any table. With a base of arugula, spinach, and kale, this salad is topped with mandarin oranges, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, and more! 

Herb-Crusted Roasted Leg of Lamb

If you want to serve a centerpiece dish that’s show-stopping but also easy to make, look no further than herb-crusted roasted leg of lamb. Lamb is often regarded as more elegant than ham, but it’s also available at most grocers and pairs well with traditional holiday sides. This main course takes just 20 minutes of prep time before cooking low and slow and finishing up on high heat to form that beautiful crust. 

Sugar Cookie Bars

The dessert table typically gets the most attention at holiday parties, and these sugar cookie bars are well worth coming back for seconds. They’re moist, buttery, and dressed up in whatever festive toppings you like. As an added bonus, they’re simple to prepare and just require one pan–no need to roll the dough and wait for it to chill. 

Eggnog

Eggnog gets a bad rap, and it’s typically because the store-bought stuff isn’t as good as the classic recipe. If you have a little extra time on your hands and want to wow guests, try creating this cozy and comforting beverage. It’s ready in just 30 minutes, and can be made non-alcoholic if you prefer. 

Food is a big part of sharing joy during the holiday season, and we hope you enjoy the recipes highlighted here. If you’re looking forward to celebrating the holidays in the comfort of a brand new home, we have excellent options for you at Independence. Located in Elizabeth, Colorado, our community offers small-town charm combined with modern design. To learn more about available homes, please contact our team. Happy holidays!

The holiday season is upon us! If you’re looking for some fun events to enjoy, there are plenty of festivities near Elizabeth, Colorado. Ready to explore what’s out there? Here, we share a few options that are coming up soon: 

December 2: Mayor’s Tree Lighting

If you’d like to stay close to home when attending a holiday event, the annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting is a great option! Located right here in Elizabeth, the lighting will take place on Main Street and Broadway. Thousands of lights will illuminate the tree at 5pm, and the merriment doesn’t stop there. Family-friendly activities will be available along Main Street from 3-6pm, including crafts with elves, carriage rides, face painting, and so much more! To learn more, please visit this site. 

December 9: Watercolor Holiday Cards

Want to add a special touch to your holiday cards? It doesn’t get more creative than making them yourself! Residents of Elizabeth are fortunate to have CREATE! at the Carriage Shoppes as a local resource. CREATE! offers artist workshops, personal development courses, and community connection. On December 9th at 10:30am, you’ll have the opportunity to let your creative expression flow as you design your own holiday cards using watercolors. Spaces are limited, so reserve your spot here. 

December 9-10: Visits with Santa

Centennial, Colorado is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Elizabeth. If you don’t mind making the 35-minute drive to our neighboring town, you can enjoy a visit with Santa Claus at Tagawa Gardens on December 9th or 10th. During this beloved holiday tradition, your family can snap a photo with Santa and explore the grounds in search of the perfect Christmas tree. Depending on when you arrive, you may be able to catch a musical performance by a local school or other special guest! You can find all the details here. 

Now Through January 7th, 2024: Blossoms of Light

Elizabeth is known and loved for its small town charm, but one of the many perks of living here is that Denver is just an hour’s drive. If you’re looking for a spectacular display of lights, the commute to Denver is absolutely worth the drive  to experience Blossoms of Light. Hosted at Denver Botanic Gardens, this holiday event is one of the venue’s signature events. Explore York Street as it’s transformed by color-changing LED lights, and stop by Offshoots Café or Hive Garden Bistro to indulge in some delicious treats. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and you can book them here. Blossoms of Light is open from now through January 7th, 2024 (with the exception of Christmas Day, December 25th). 

The holiday season is a magical time of year. When you live in Elizabeth, there are an abundance of festivities nearby to make the season extra memorable. If you’re looking for some fun this season, we hope you’ll enjoy one (or more) of the events mentioned here. If you’d like to celebrate the holidays in a brand new home, Independence has beautiful options for you. Our conservation community offers homes for every lifestyle, and we’d love to speak with you about becoming a resident. Please contact us to learn more! 

If there’s one thing that grandchildren are known for, it’s bringing joy to the lives of their grandparents (and vice versa!). If you’re a grandparent who is fortunate enough to live close to your grandchildren, or are planning a visit from them over the holidays, there are plenty of activities for grandparents and grandchildren to enjoy near Elizabeth, Colorado. If you’re on the search for fun pastimes that are sure to turn into treasured memories and great photos, here are some  of our favorite options: 

Fishing at Bingham Lake 

Bingham Lake Park is located in Parker, which is just 18 miles from Elizabeth. This tranquil oasis is perfect for introducing grandchildren to the classic sport of fishing, or for enjoying a picnic or a walk along the trail. Bingham Lake is stocked with largemouth bass, black crappie, channel catfish, and other species of warm water game. Because the lake is managed under a private license, a Colorado fishing license isn’t required. Time to get out the fishing gear!

Horseback Riding 

There’s no place more beautiful than Colorado to enjoy from the back of a horse. Our state offers numerous opportunities for exploration via horseback, and Elbert County is home to several ranches for recreational riding. Whether you’d like to go on a group trail ride or treat your grandchild to a riding lesson, you can learn more about local equine centers here.

Treehouse Camping

Looking to take camping to the next level (literally)? You’ll want to check out Treehouse Magic in Elizabeth! This amazing treehouse was built by hand and is nestled in an ancient Ponderosa pine, 20 feet above sea level. Unlike traditional camping, the treehouse offers all the niceties of “glamping” in this one-of-a-kind venue. Guests will enjoy breathtaking mountain views and plenty of activities on-site. The attached Cabana room is perfect for kids, and if you’d like to venture into town for some shopping or dining, Elizabeth’s historic downtown is just minutes away. 

Apple Picking

Apple picking is one of those quintessential childhood memories, and our state offers an abundance of opportunities to explore the land and pick some fresh fruit. If you’re hoping to stay close to home, you can’t go wrong with Nelms Farm. Located in Golden, this orchard is about an hour’s drive from Elizabeth. In addition to apples, pumpkins are in season right now, which can make for a fun afternoon of carving and decorating. 

When you live in Elizabeth, Colorado, there’s no shortage of ways to spend quality time with loved ones and create memories to last a lifetime. No matter your age, we welcome you to Independence. We have new homes to suit every lifestyle, and we’d love to have you join our community. If you’re interested in learning more about available homes, please contact our team. 

Each December, the Geminids meteor shower graces Earth’s residents with a spectacular light show. This shower is beloved for its impressive display of bright, slow-moving meteors, making it one of the most anticipated events for stargazers around the world. For those living in Elizabeth, Colorado, and the Independence community, there are ample ways to get outside for an extraordinary evening under the stars. 

History of the Geminids Meteor Shower

The name “Geminid” is derived from the Gemini constellation, as the meteors appear to radiate from this point in the night sky. Unlike most meteor showers, which are caused by debris from comets, the Geminids originate from the 3200 Phaethon asteroid, which was the first asteroid discovered via spacecraft in 1983! This legendary celestial event first started in the 1800’s but only boasted 10 – 20 meteors per hour. Now during peak activity in mid-December, observers can witness up to 120 meteors per hour under optimal conditions. The Geminid meteor shower is cherished by astronomers and casual stargazers alike for its breathtaking natural light show, creating a sense of wonder and connection to the vastness of the universe.

When & Where

The predicted peak viewing time is slated for December 14 at 19:27 UTC, which is 1:27 MST, but rest assured, the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that you’ll be able to bask in the glow of Geminid meteors all evening long. It reports that “Geminid meteors can be seen all night long because Gemini rises so early, though Gemini is at its highest point (offering optimal viewing) around 2 am. However, the meteor shower is usually in full swing by 9 p.m. because the sun sets so early in December.” The entire shower will likely occur from November 19 to December 24 and Elizabeth residents should be able to catch the light show anywhere clear with minimal light pollution, especially at the Independence Community!  

Independence Open Space

With over 400+ acres of open space throughout the Independence community, there are plenty of places to set up your telescope or sprawl out on a picnic blanket with eyes fixed on the universe. Take a nature trail and see where you end up. 

Castlewood Canyon State Park

Travel time from Elizabeth: 15 minutes

Just a short drive from Independence Community, Castlewood Canyon State Park feels like a world away. Winding trails along the canyon floor treat hikers to a secluded nature walk. Known for its biodiversity, plan to picnic in the canyon and keep an eye out for bighorn sheep. The park gates close at sunset but that doesn’t mean you can’t take in the dark night sky from just outside. Set up in the parking lot for some amazing views. 

Red Rocks & Morrison

Travel time from Elizabeth: 1 hour

This locale isn’t just a fantastic music venue, but a wonderful place to see some remarkable lights. Pack a picnic and take an evening hike with headlamps to find a cozy spot around Red Rocks Amphitheater to kick back and wait for the celestial show to start. 

Garden of the Gods State Park

Travel time from Elizabeth: 1 hour 

For epic views of rocky silhouettes cast against the night sky, head south to Garden of the Gods. Make an evening out of it and grab dinner in downtown Manitou before heading out to this natural area to see the meteor shower. 

Jackson Lake State Park 

Travel time from Elizabeth: 1 hour 45 minutes

Named an International Dark Sky Park in 2020, Jackson Lake State Park is among the best places to star-gaze year-round in Colorado. If you have the time, plan to camp out to enjoy the lake in the daytime, as well. 

At our conservation community, we love to see our neighbors get outside and embrace the gifts that Mother Nature has to offer. Don’t miss the chance to take a stroll beneath the dark sky near the Independence Community and witness this truly remarkable phenomenon!