Day 2: Boulder has agricultural roots that are oft-overlooked, but a trip to the Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden of Western Art (303-530-1442, leanintreemuseum) offers the necessary reminder that this was once, and is still, a Western town. To the north, Loveland is hosting a grand cowboy event May 30–31. Be sure to include the Rock’n Western Rendezvous(970-619-4000, rocknwr.com), featuring the Extreme Mustang Makeover, a WRCA-sanctioned rodeo, music, cook-offs, and more, in your travel plans. While in town, grab a bite at the Sports Station American Grill(970-461-8825, bestcoloradosportsbar), housed in the 1902 Colorado & Southern Railway Depot. Finally, don’t miss the Loveland Museum/Gallery(970-962-2410, lovelandmuseumgallery.org), which includes incredible interactive exhibits.
Day 3: Fort Collins wasonce a 19th-century outpost designed to protect the Overland Trail from the Natives. Agricultural success resulted in a nearly 200-percent population increase in the early 1900s, resulting in a transportation boom. The 1906 Colorado & Southern Freight Depot is now the Downtown Transit Center. Be sure to pay your respects to Annie—a dog rescued by the C&S workers in 1934, who greeted inbound trains until her death in 1948 and was buried in the yard, where her marked grave remains. The 1911 Union Pacific Depot is now the Rodizio Grill (970-482-3103, rodiziogrill.com), which serves up tasty Brazilian-style steaks. If you find yourself in the Fort on a weekend, be sure to board Birney Car 21 (fortnet.org/trolley), a restored trolley that served as a vital transportation option in the 1900s, and again today.