I have lived in the Northern Colorado community for over 20 years now. Still a baby to some long-time residents, but certainly long enough that I can call it home. Over the years, I have seen cities change, neighborhoods emerge and community personalities shape and reshape. For instance, Windsor was a bedroom community with little in the way of dining and retail. Now it is has become a destination all its own. As newcomers settle in NOCO, many of them are drawn to a particular city, often due to housing and its availability (whether they are looking for a cheap rental or a spacious home with designer features). We took the opportunity to break down our communities into the stats that are important and the features that are desirable. And, as we continue our NOCO Explore series, I am always delighted by both our small downtowns and our larger, bustling ones. The quality of life in NOCO is still some of the best. Yes, the cost of living can be expensive. But that seems to be true everywhere. Here we have the mountains in our backyard, rivers to play on, and vibrant and growing downtowns that celebrate life with music, art, food, shopping and more. And, if you need a reminder why you don’t live in a big city, Denver is close enough for a pop of culture. In this issue, we celebrate some of what makes NOCO special.

We visit Hazel Dell Mushrooms and learn about the art of growing mushrooms and how our local restaurants incorporate these earthy delights into their recipes. But if you are a do-it-yourselfer, foraging is also a possibility and July is a great month to head to the Rockies in search of these treasures. If your pursuits of pleasure are more urban, check out one of our local food trucks set up outside of a taproom or head to one of the food truck rallies. Food trucks have become a staple in NOCO, and believe me when I tell you, fans will follow their favorites from town to town. A clear sign our community is confidently heading out of the pandemic is in the number of events popping up all over. Our Community Calendar, which limped along with online events for well over a year, is filling up with in-person events at normal capacity. We print as many of these events as we can each month, but our online calendar is continually updated; keep it as a resource for your summer planning and don’t waste a minute enjoying NOCO.

For me, I am going to snack a little here and there. Some Friday night music on a patio, some championship golf in Berthoud, the Fort Collins Peach Festival in August; my plate is full this summer. I hope to see you there.

Until next month,

Angie Grenz