Our Top Spontaneous Adventures

Our Top Spontaneous AdventuresIn the past we’ve mentioned several times, the scientifically proven benefits of buying experiences over things. Where buying things can cause stress and anxiety, or buyer’s remorse, simply planning experiences can make you feel more motivated, excited, and overall just happier. If you’re interested in what else we said, check out one, two, three, previous posts we wrote on the subject.

So while the benefits of buying experiences over things might not be news to us (as an experience-based gifting company), it’s news to a lot of people. Just last week Fast Company penned an article titled: “The Science of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things”, in which they discussed a lot of what makes our most memorable experiences so valuable. So, in honor of the recent attention being paid towards experiential gifts, we’ve rounded up our top spontaneous adventures so you can make this weekend a memorable one.

Horseback Riding

This weekend skip the city with a scenic horseback ride through Idaho Springs. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, while trying something new. If you’re looking to saddle up this spring, take a look at our Adventure Wishlist, which includes two horseback riding adventures.

Fly Fishing

Even though nice weather isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for fly fishing, it certainly makes for an even sweeter time. Whether you’re new to fishing or an old pro, an afternoon on the water is a great way to spend your weekend. For this last minute adventure, check out our Adventure Wishlist for our three-hour introduction to fly fishing course in Loveland.

Farm Fresh Food

With spring here at last, many cities are welcoming back their local farmer’s market. In Boulder, we’ve already seen the arrival of our favorite stands from dumplings to fresh tomatoes. So what better way to spend the weekend than by heading to the farmer’s market to pick up the ingredients for a gourmet meal? Plan your dinner based on the foods they have available, and enjoy a spontaneous evening trying new recipes and foods.

Art Crawl

Every first Friday of the month in the Santa Fe art district in Denver they have an art crawl. There you can see handcrafted works, and various knick-knacks made by Colorado locals. Or if you’re feeling extra spontaneous, head to the real Santa Fe district, in New Mexico where you can view one of a kind art in a row of galleries. The ride is just under six hours, but the scenery on the way up is breathtaking, and you’ll have an unforgettable weekend.

Festival

Colorado is known for a lot of things, but seemingly more so than any other state, Colorado knows how to throw a festival. Weather it’s music, barbeque, or even cryogenically frozen mascots (Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland) there’s a festival for everything. So when Saturday morning rolls around, keep your eyes peeled for any upcoming festivals as a fun, spontaneous way to enjoy the weekend.

How are you going to spend this spring weekend? Let us know by commenting below or on our facebook page. As always stay up to date with all Wishlist news by following us here or on any of the social media platforms.

Client Spotlight: The Denver Botanic Gardens

 

Photo Courtesy of The Denver Botanic Gardens
Photo Courtesy of The Denver Botanic Gardens

Wishlist is fortunate enough to work with many influential and inspiring companies across the state and provide them with unique employee rewards.  One such company is the renowned Denver Botanic Gardens. The Botanic Gardens was founded over sixty years ago and is dedicated to preserving as well as showcasing native plants in stunning settings. We recently caught up with John Calderhead, CFO of the Denver Botanic Gardens, to ask him a few questions about one of Denver’s most noteworthy locations.

The Denver Botanic Gardens have been a staple in the community for many years. Can you offer us a brief history on how the Gardens came to be and what they looked like in those early years?

DBG was founded in 1951, originally in a location near the Museum of Nature and Science. Unfortunately it wasn’t a fenced in spot and the plantings had a habit of “walking away”. So in 1959, DBG moved to our current location on York Street, near Cheesman Park. The early gardens included roses, annuals, irises, daylilies, peonies, tulips, crocus and narcissus. With the addition of the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory in 1966, Denver Botanic Gardens became a year round attraction. DBG was one of the first gardens in the country to emphasize native plants and to champion environmentally responsible practices, such as water conservation and biological control of pests.

In the mid-1970’s the Army Corps of Engineers asked DBG to take over management of 700 acres in the floodplain of Chatfield Dam, where we have a growing Community Supporting Agriculture program. Many of our largest events (Pumpkin Festival, Corn Maze, Concerts, and more) as well as the historic Hildebrand Ranch, a restored 1918 dairy barn and silo, the 1874 Deer Creek Schoolhouse, 2.5 miles of nature trails, the Deer Creek Discovery children’s play area and numerous wildflower gardens can be found here.

Client Spotlight: The Denver Botanic Gardens
Image Courtesy of The Denver Botanic Gardens

How did you become involved with the Gardens, how long have you worked there, and what is your current position?

I am Chief Financial Officer and came to the Gardens about three and a half years ago after working many years in higher education finance. The opportunity to work for one of Denver’s top cultural organizations has been a great thrill.

What changes have you witnessed in recent years, and how do you think the transformations in both the space (with remodels, and the new amphitheater) as well as the exhibits helped the gardens grow?

Last year we built a great new outdoor restaurant, The Hive, adjacent to our Monet Pond, which has been a huge hit. We also built The Science Pyramid an iconic structure that has already been nominated for architectural awards. The Science Pyramid showcases DBG’s research activities and invites the visitor to see the world of plants through a scientific lens.

And, of course, last year we were privileged to showcase the works of glass artist Dale Chihuly. This amazing exhibit brought visitors from around the world and helped us set records for attendance of over 1.4 million guests. This helped us become the most visited botanic gardens in the United States in 2014. 

We know the Gardens are ever evolving, but do you have a favorite space or exhibit?

Right outside of my office window is The Ellipse Garden which we built last year on the site of a former parking lot. It’s a beautiful, peaceful spot and in the middle, for Chihuly lovers, we were lucky enough to commission a new piece from Dale Chihuly, an amazing 15 foot tall colorful piece that the artist named Colorado. So, even though the exhibit is gone, we’ll always have a striking reminder of an amazing year.

Client Spotlight: The Denver Botanic Gardens
Image Courtesy of The Denver Botanic Gardens

What upcoming exhibits and concerts excite you the most?

Starting in May and running into October we will be featuring the sculptures of Deborah Butterfield, an American sculptor renowned for her life-size horses that have been the subject of her work for more than 30 years. Sculptures will be displayed throughout the Gardens’ York Street location. The works are made of cast bronze wood collected from many locations including Montana, Hawaii, Washington, Israel and Iceland.

The concert schedule is still being put together for both our York Street and Chatfield venues. Last year was our biggest year ever for concerts with great shows from Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Jimmy Cliff and many others. I don’t have any names for you yet, but expect another great summer of music.

What impact have the gardens had on the surrounding community, and how can visitors get more involved?

One very exciting project that DBG is working on is its Urban Food Initiative. Denver Botanic Gardens is committed to increasing access to fresh, healthy food. We have recently stepped up efforts in so-called food deserts. Highlights include projects with Denver Housing Authority and Denver Human Services. We received a grant to purchase a refrigerated truck, which has allowed us to set up farm stands in food deserts around the city.

As for getting involved, we have an amazing volunteer program with lots of fun activities, from assisting our horticulturists in the gardens, to giving tours, to volunteering at special events. Our website has additional information on how to get involved.

Finally, how did you become involved with Wishlist and how have the Gardens used Wishlist to benefit its employees? 

We were introduced to Wishlist by one of our consultants. Hosting the Chihuly exhibit was a huge undertaking for our staff in 2014. When our attendance tripled it put strains on every part of our operations. Realizing this, we were looking for a way to recognize staff mid-year to keep spirits up and show appreciation for everyone’s hard work. Now I’m sure everyone would have loved cash, but we were looking for something more thoughtful. So we gave all staff a Wishlist experience. One of the fun by-products was listening to everyone share their experiences (“What did you do?”… “Where did you go?”, etc…). We got great feedback.

Image Courtesy of The Denver Botanic Gardens
Image Courtesy of The Denver Botanic Gardens

Is there any additional information you think our readers would be interested in learning? 

I think many readers would be surprised at the extent of the research that DBG is involved in, not only at the Gardens themselves, but throughout the Rocky Mountain West, and across the world. We have a team of PhD’s that are involved in research and conservation efforts in Mongolia, Sudan, Patagonia, South Africa, Madagascar, and many other corners of the globe.

To find out more about this urban Eden, visit the Gardens’ homepage. To learn more about how you can incentivize your team with awesome activities by Wishlist, contact support@enjoywishlist.com.

 

Introducing the Premier Getaways Wishlist

Wishlist has launched our most luxurious category to date, Premier Getaways. The 7th Wishlist category has a higher price tag of $499, and gets you a two-night stay at gorgeous and historic properties in Colorado. Premier Getaways features resorts in some of Colorado’s most treasured mountain towns: Steamboat Springs, Estes Park, Crested Butte and Durango.

Steamboat Springs: Steamboat Springs, Colorado has been one of the state’s hidden gems for quite some time. This valley town thrives year-round, with an abundance of winter and summer activities; including skiing/snowboarding, natural hot springs, biking, river sports, air boarding, and paddle boarding. Steamboat’s expansive, powder covered mountain attracts snow enthusiasts from all over the world.

TheInnatSteamboat
Photo Courtesy of The Inn at Steamboat

 

The Inn at Steamboat is Wishlist’s featured Steamboat Springs resort. This boutique lodging property is located only 4 short blocks away from the base of the mountain.

 

 

 

Offer includes:

–       A two night stay in a king room, for two people

–       $50 dinner voucher to a local restaurant

–       A bottle of wine

Estes Park: Estes Park, Colorado is one of our most historic hot spot destinations. In the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, this beautiful city has so much to offer. After being hit pretty hard by the flooding this past summer, the city is back up and running. Their cute town and access to so many outdoor activities guarantees an awesome weekend away. We are fortunate enough to bring you two Premier Getaway properties in Estes Park, Colorado.

TheStanley
Photo Courtesy of The Stanley Hotel

 

The Stanley Hotel is one of the most historic and famous properties in Colorado. You may recognize is as the hotel from the horror film The Shining. If you haven’t had the pleasure of staying here before, now is your chance.

 

Offer includes:

–       A two night stay, for two people.

 

EstesParkResort
Photo Courtesy of The Estes Park Resort

 

The Estes Park Resort is a luxurious mountain resort, with the comforts of home. Expansive views of the Rocky Mountains and Lake Estes may make it hard for you to ever return home.

 

 

Offer #1 includes:

–       A two night stay in the Lake View Room

–       $50 restaurant voucher

–       A bottle of champagne

–       Chocolate covered strawberries

 

Offer #2 includes:

–       A two night stay in the Jacuzzi Suite, for 2 people. This suite has 1.5 baths, a Jacuzzi, fireplace, king bed, and balcony with a view of Lake Estes.

Crested Butte Is a former mining town. It is now most notably recognized as one of Colorado’s oldest ski towns. This smaller town plays host to a wide variety of outdoor activities, most notably skiing and mountain biking.

Nordic Inn
Photo Courtesy of The Nordic Inn

 

The Nordic Inn is implanted in the heard of the Gunnison National Forest, one of Colorado’s best playgrounds.

 

 

Offer includes:

–       A two night stay in the signature room

Durango is tucked away in the southeast corner of Colorado. This active town offers year round activities and majestic views. Check out our previous post “Exploring Colorado: Durango” for Wishlist’s travel guide.

Blue Lake Ranch
Photo Courtesy of Blue Lake Ranch

 

Blue Lake Ranch is our featured premier resort in Durango. This lavish ranch sits on 80 acres off the Platte River. Offers at Blue Lake Ranch are valid from October 1st through May 31st.  Each unit sleeps up to 6 people.

 

 

Offer #1 includes:

–       A two night stay in the River House, located one mile from the main house. This rental is a southwest style cottage with a great room, full kitchen, 3 king beds, 2 bedrooms, luxurious bathrooms and a fireplace.

Offer #2 includes:

–       A two night stay in the upper or lower unit of the Spring House. This rental has two bedrooms with one king, and two twin beds, two window seat beds in living area and luxurious bathrooms. This unit sleeps 6 and has expansive mountain views.

Treat yourself or someone you care for to some time away in on of our featured premier resorts. You deserve it. We all do. So whether you would like to treat yourself, a client, employee or loved one – Premier Getaways is an ideal gift.

As always, we would love to hear about your favorite Colorado getaway. Comment below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Experience Fall in Colorado

Photo Courtesy of A&A Stables
Photo Courtesy of A&A Stables

Trees are starting to change color and daylight hours are diminishing. Autumn has arrived, and that means it is time to swap out your sandals for a warm pair of boots. Grab that box from the back of your closet, it is sweater weather!

Experience this fall to the fullest. Utilize all five senses and embrace every moment. Close your eyes and become aware of the chill breeze as the sun hits your face. Listen to the aspen leaves as they shake in the wind. Indulge your taste buds with pumpkin pie and a spiced chai latte. Take notice as our fresh mile high air starts to smell of smoky bonfires and savory spices. Absorb the warm color palate that sweeps across Colorado.

As seasons phase into one another, it is important to pause from our daily routines to take notice of the changes that surround us. It is so easy to get so caught-up in the past, and paths of our future, that we forget to embrace the moments in front of us.  This autumn, take a day to change your perspective. Do something new. Experience life from a different vantage point. Wishlist has made it easy for you explore through the woods or catch an arial view of Colorful Colorado, with a diverse selection of activities across the state.

Experience fall in Colorado with Wishlist:

 Urban Living ($39)

Hiking (Boulder) – Immerse yourself into the change of seasons, that engulf you as you explore the Front Range on foot.

Carriage Rides (Fort Collins) – Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy your own horse drawn carriage as you coast through town.

Adventure ($99)

Horseback Riding (Idaho Springs) – Kick back, experience the Rocky Mountains on Horseback.

Mountain Biking (Colorado Springs) See the Colorado’s versatility in a thrilling 7000 ft coast down Pikes Peak, passing five climactic zones on your way.

Zip Line (Cañon City) – Zip across the Royal Gorge and let Colorado’s expansive plateau take your breath away.

Getaways ($169)

Idaho Springs, Evergreen, Carbondale, Crested Butte, Peyton, Durango, La Veta – Escape to one of our fabulous bed and breakfast resorts. Catch the sunset and sunrise from a new vantage point, and explore new territory.

Adrenaline ($269)

Hot Air Balloon Ride (Boulder) – Glide over Boulder in a hot air balloon, for the best view of the Front Range you may ever get.

Paragliding (Glenwood Springs) – Soar through the sky and over the valley, in an invigorating, and adrenaline pumping paragliding experience.

Jeep Tours (Hayden)Explore the backcountry outside of Steamboat Springs for breathtaking, panoramic backdrops.

Colorado has taken on a new coat as temperatures drop and introduce us to a rapidly approaching winter. The heavy rainfall and disastrous floodwaters that recently ambushed Colorado have left much of our agriculture diminished. While parts of our beautiful landscape have taken a hit, there is extraordinary beauty to be explored. Your favorite fall foliage won’t stick around for long. So, don’t blink. You might miss it.

Keep up with all things Wishlist by signing up for a our newsletter. Connect with us by sharing your favorite fall memories and activities on our Facebook page, or by commenting below.