If you find yourself driving between Boulder and Longmont, Colorado, whether it be your daily commute, because you are on a business trip or you are just plain board, you should browse this article to get a better sense of what is available in this seemingly barren landscape between Boulder and Longmont along the Diagonal Highway.
Stop at the quant historic little town of Niwot, briefly, to see these amazing sculptures. These amazing works were created by Eddie Running Wolf as a dedication to the Arapahoe Indians who roamed this beautiful land in plenty, not so long ago.
Spear Lodge Man
If you look around the area, you will see, it looks like the artist has plans to convert more of the remnant trees carcasses into more sculptures.
The sculptures are only a 3 minute detour off of Diagonal Highway. The following are directions on how to get there:
Places To Eat
The Blue Cafe in Gunbarrel
I would recommend this casual, fine dinning restaurant in Gun Barrel called the Blue Cafe. It is one of the few high quality restaurants you can find right off of Diagonal Highway in Gunbarrel. It is a little on the expensive side ($14-$20ish), but you get what you pay for.
I recommend the following menu items:
Santa Fe Chicken Salad
Stacked Prime Rib Enchiladas
Prime Rib Philly Cheese Steak
The Garden Gate Cafe in Niwot
If you are looking for quality country dinner style cooking for a good price then check out the Garden Gate Cafe in Niwot. I particularly recommend them for breakfast.
Oscar Blues in Longmont
Ok, so this restaurant is not on your "way" between Boulder and Longmont because it is in Longmont. However since it is the first thing you see as you enter Longmont, I think it is worth mentioning here, due to the quality of the food and its proximity to your inbound route.
Oscar Blues is a brewing company who is credited with spear heading the "quality craft brew in a can movement." They not only make incredible beers but they have great food at their mothership brew pub off of Diagonal Highway.
Looking for a good cup of joe, a place to hang and Wi-Fi? Surprisingly finding a pit stop for a good cup of coffee is easy between Boulder and Longmont. You would think as you leave the yuppy Mecca of Boulder on your way to the more pragmatic Longmont, all you would find is Starbucks and Gas station brews, but for the coffee connoisseur you are in luck. Check out the following locations, which I have listed in order of my preference for coffee quality.
Tod's Espresso Cafe in Gunbarrel 3.5 out of 4 stars coffee
The Winot Cafe in Niwot 3 out of 4 stars coffee
The Eye Opener Coffee House 2.75 out of 4 stars coffee (but a great hang out)
Tod's Espresso Cafe in Gunbarrel
I recommended it, for the 3.5 out of 4 star coffee and its accessibility off of Diagonal Highway in the Gun Barrel Shopping Center. It can be found right next to King Soopers and is what you would expect in the realm of decor for a shopping center coffee shop. A clean, minimal commercial space that makes up for it's starkness in coziness due to its small size and large windows that afford a view of the front range. They serve coffee from the roaster Conscious Coffees and I hold their Manteca Espresso Cappuccinos in high regard as the awesome blend holds up to its name (Manteca means butter in some parts of latin america) as it is metaphorically rich like butter.
The Winot Cafe in Niwot
Pronounced "Why Not Cafe" as a play on words with the town's name, I recommend this coffee shop, for its quaint store front, its 3 out of 4 star coffee and its low-key space to work on your laptop or to read a book. I will sometimes travel to this coffee shop from Boulder just to get away from the madness of Pearl street. It is also easily accessible from the Diagonal Highway.
The Eye Opener Coffee House
This is the Cafe that is located closest to the Diagonal Highway. Located on the historic downtown strip of Niwot (2nd Ave) you will be transported back to the era of the old western with the the quaint store fronts and the west end of 2nd street opening on a view of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I recommend this coffee shop for it's proximity to your route, its quaint location, its atmosphere and its 2.75 out of 4 star coffee. Keep in mind that though their coffee isn't stellar, it's still great.
Would you want to make the lands between Boulder and Longmont a destination? Probably not, unless you were just tired of Boulder, Longmont or the surrounding areas. So why write this article? These places are worth a stop, if you are on your way already. This article is primarily written for the thousands of commuters who traffic from Boulder, Broomfield, Superior and other towns to Longmont or vice versa. I find people never stop on the way home to discover what is between these two epicenters of their lives.
This article is secondarily written for business travelers. It is common for business travelers to find themselves, marooned in this seemingly cultural desert between business meetings while visiting places like IBM, Qualcomm, Covidien, Celestial Seasonings, Blue Mountain Greeting Cards or any of the other massive companies found along Diagonal Highway. For those who find my article by some miraculous web search, I hope this information improves your stay and your commute.
Please post any additional ideas you may have bellow in the comments. Thank you.