The Geiger Counter: Day trippin’ beyond the border |

The Geiger Counter: Day trippin’ beyond the border

Racers and their burros trot down Leadville's Harrison Avenue in 2018. Along with burro races, Leadville has plenty of neat shops and restaurants worth checking out.
Nathalie Eddy / Special to The Daily

Don’t know what to do this weekend? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a seat to the counter and I’ll tell you about everything that’s hot and happening.

This last weekend I traveled down Freemont Pass for the first time in about a year. While there’s always plenty to do in Summit County, it’s easy to get stuck in the loop between home and work and forget about options in other zip codes.

Whether you’re a commuter from outside of Summit, a resident looking for a weekend minivacation or a tourist exploring around your High Country home, here are a few of my favorites in nearby locales.


No matter if I’m on my way to hike up Mount Elbert or simply passing through, a favorite pit stop of mine is City on a Hill. The quaint coffee shop has burritos, quiches and fresh baked goods for breakfast along with sandwiches, salads and soup for lunch. Oh, and don’t forget to order a cup of coffee, too!

After the hike or shopping at clothing store Melanzana, refuel at Tennessee Pass Café. It might not look like much on the outside, but they can cook up hearty meals such as shepherd’s pie, buffalo meatloaf and sweet potato gnocchi. They also have a robust cocktail bar and serve Colorado craft beer from breweries like Elevation Brewery, Funkwerks and Crazy Mountain Brewery.

Buena Vista

If you can handle the line, or time it just right, no trip to Buena Vista is complete without a stop at K’s. The simple counter service restaurant always hits the spot with their old-fashioned burgers, fries and malts. Rather than call out order numbers, K’s put’s a fun spin on the process by assigning each customer a celebrity name.

For those that want a healthier meal after rafting or hiking, House Rock Kitchen offers bowls packed with greens, brown rice burritos, grass-fed burgers and other farm-to-table dishes. To wash it all down they serve kombucha, local organic soda and refreshing lemonade that pair perfectly with their spacious outdoor patio.

Another option is Eddyline Brewery. The brewery has expanded with some satellite locations, but I always prefer saddling up to the original restaurant at 926 S. Main St. There you’ll find wood-fire pizzas (try the Colorado), my favorite raspberry wheat beer, yak burgers and more.


I haven’t spent much time exploring the town of Georgetown proper so I can’t recommend many shops or restaurants, but I have done the nearby activities.

The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a fun, family friendly way to see the mountainous sights as it travels to Silver Plume. The trip also gives the option to tour the Lebanon and Everett mines.

Another option for a scenic view is driving up Guanella Pass. You’ll likely spot some wildlife as you take the tight switchbacks up to the 11,700-foot summit. If you’re feeling adventurous and have the right gear, from there you can then head to the trailhead of Mount Bierstadt, a class 2 14er. One of the easier 14ers, and I think a pretty fun one, it’s 7 miles round trip with 2,850 feet in total elevation gain.

Speaking of the pass, though I haven’t physically been to the establishment, I have tasted some beers from Guanella Pass Brewery. While in town you might as well grab a pint and reflect on your recent excursions.

What I’m Listening To

‘Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!’ by NPR

No roadtrip is complete without a podcast and there’s no show I recommend more than NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” It’s part news, part interview show, part comedy panel and part trivia game. Panelists — including people like Paula Poundstone, Mo Rocca, Bobcat Goldthwait, Hari Kondabolu and others — compete for bragging rights as the public calls in to answer questions about the week’s news. If they are correct at guessing which news story is true or complete a limerick, they’ll win the voice of announcer Bill Kurtis, host Peter Sagal or whoever else from the show on their voicemail.

It’s silly, informative and always entertaining. Along with focusing on current events and comedy, the main portion of the show is an interview with a celebrity where they get asked random questions in a segment called “Not My Job.” For example, when I saw the show live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, they asked Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin about downhill cheese racing.

I’ve been listening this radio show on car rides with the family since before the invention of the iPod and SiriusXM and I’ll likely never stop. Go download the latest episode right now.

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